Carbon Design Engine™: Empowering Customers with Better Design Tools
It’s undeniable that additive manufacturing is transforming how we design, prototype, and produce parts. At Carbon, we have drastically accelerated product development thanks to high-quality 3D printing materials comparable to traditional thermoplastics, and reliable printing processes viable for production. And today, we’re doing it again. But this time through design software.
We’re excited to announce that our subscribers now have access to Carbon Design Engine™: a sophisticated design tool that automates the process of creating performance-oriented lattices, saving design engineers significant time and effort. With the release of Design Engine to all Carbon subscribers, we are giving our customers better design control within the product development lifecycle and helping users iterate through their design thinking faster.
Innovative Design Tools for Innovative 3D Printing Processes and Materials
You may be wondering, why is a company like Carbon creating software design tools?
Early on, we recognized the ability of 3D printing to eliminate the design constraints and volume thresholds of traditional manufacturing technologies that were holding engineers and product designers back. Now, with the ability to manufacture unmoldable geometries, such as internal channeling, consolidated part designs, and lattice structures, 3D printing has fundamentally changed how engineers think about designing a part and leveraging software tools to improve a part’s performance.
In particular, we found lattices to be 3D printing’s strong suit because they allow designers to specify the characteristics required for the part at every millimeter—ultimately changing the face of next-gen product design. When paired with high-quality 3D printing materials, lattice structures can be the main source of product improvement for various industries, with several application areas including midsoles, padding, saddles, helmets, life sciences, and more.
However, as we dove deeper into latticing design tools and began surveying leading CAD lattice-design generation software, it became clear there was a gap:
“Traditional CAD tools have not kept pace with the innovation of 3D printers and materials. This lack of progression limits the ‘idea to design’ stage of the product development lifecycle… On average, it can take 18–24 months to bring a consumer product to market. But when we put the best design tools, 3D printers, and materials in the hands of designers and manufacturers, we’ve seen our customers accelerate the development of innovative new products—going from idea to finished designs to production in less time.” Phil DeSimone Chief Product and Business Development Officer
We, like many engineers and designers, were consistently frustrated with the results of existing tools:
- Generating lattice designs was extremely slow and could take hours for a single part.
- Lattices were limited to uniform and non-conformal geometries, requiring significant engineering hours filled with tedious design optimizations, one strut at a time.
- “Optimized” lattice structures were geometry-oriented versus performance-oriented, resulting in failed structures that couldn’t be used in end-use products.
We wanted lattice-generation software that would 1) make it easy for engineers to tap into the full potential of unmoldable lattice geometries enabled by 3D printing, and 2) eliminate the extra time and effort required by existing solutions. With future plans for existing lattice-design generation software looking bleak, we decided to make a tool ourselves.
Meet Carbon Design Engine™
Carbon Design Engine leverages computing power in the cloud to quickly generate performance-oriented, conformal lattices with a specified, single-zone mechanical response. The process automatically resolves part features, both large and small, making it suitable for a wide range of parts and feature sizes, and saving engineers significant time and effort. Learn more about Design Engine features here.
Proven in Production
Carbon Design Engine has already been proven in production. When faced with a shortage of nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing at the start of the pandemic, CPN partner Resolution Medical leveraged Design Engine to produce the Resolution Medical Lattice Swab.
The Journey to Better Design Tools
Carbon Design Engine signifies our first step toward empowering engineers and product designers with premium software tools that help them create better parts, faster. As we continue to expand our software offering, we look forward to introducing more robust Design Engine capabilities like inverse design for multi-zonal lattice generation that companies like Specialized, Riddell, and Fizik are already leveraging today.