Advancing Additive #7 – The Silver Bullet for Print Quality Issues

By Aaron Frankel

People often look for silver bullets when trying to solve a problem.  The term, of course, comes from the slaying of mythical creatures with a special item or substance.  In the case of werewolves, the item for sending them to their “eternal rest” is a silver bullet.  In everyday speak, a “silver bullet” is a one-shot answer to a complex problem.  Which brings to mind the question “Is there a silver bullet for solving AM print problems?”  That’s where our AM Build Optimizer comes in.

In many regards, you can call print orientation optimization just such a silver bullet.  By optimizing print orientation, you can minimize distortion resulting from the printing process.  In our testing, we’ve found that more than 80% of print quality issues can be solved by optimizing the print orientation during printing.

However, finding the optimal orientation for distortion minimization using manual methods is nearly impossible.  Many companies architect techniques and rules of thumb for this after years of printing and experimentation.  However, those guidelines may improve the problem, but they rarely ever generate the optimal orientation.  To generate the optimal orientation the AM Build Optimizer tries one hundred different orientations, only returning the orientation that best fits the desired criteria.

Optimizing build orientation with the AM Build Optimizer

The only way to handle such a workload is through parallel processing and the AM Build Optimizer uses the cloud to parallel process the multitude of orientation possibilities, examining each possibility to find the result with the minimal distortion.  This takes a task that normally would take a person months and brings a result in a matter of hours or minutes.

Let’s be honest, there is no such thing as a “silver bullet” for any problem.  However, by utilizing the power of parallel processing in the cloud, we can take a very difficult problem and generate an optimal answer in a matter of minutes.  The AM Build Optimizer is about as close to a silver bullet for fixing print problems as there is likely to be.

You can sign up for a free trial of the AM Build Optimizer here.

About the writer:
Aaron Frankel is Vice President of Siemens’ additive manufacturing software program. He has over 20 years of experience in the PLM software industry and has held various positions in engineering services, product management, and marketing – all focused on helping manufacturers take advantage of the latest digital design and manufacturing technology.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at