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A novel segmentation algorithm for support-free 3D printing

Filoscia I., Alderighi T., Cignoni P., Giorgi D., Malomo L.

3D shape segmentation  digital fabrication  geometry processing 

Digital fabrication, and 3D printing in particular, are growing important in a variety of fields, from industry to medicine, from cultural heritage to art, as often they are more rapid and cheaper than traditional manufacturing techniques. In this context, our aim is to make it easier for people to print high-quality objects at home, even of complex shape, by incorporating into software some of the professional skills that are needed to fully exploit the potential of 3D printing A major limitation of FDM printers is that the material must be supported when it is deposited: bridge-like structures or hanging features, which are not supported by other object parts, often need additional support structures. Indeed, most printers can produce overhangs, but only up to a certain tolerance angle, usually in-between 30 and 60 degrees. To solve this problem, additional columns of material are built to support the parts in overhang. These supports need to be removed in a postprocessing step, which may cause imperfections on the surface, or even break thin parts. A possible solution, which we adopt in this work, is to segment the object into smaller parts which can be printed individually with no or minimal need for supports. The main drawback is that the decomposition introduces cuts on the object surface, in correspondence of the boundaries between parts. Such cuts can be as visually disturbing as the imperfections due to the removal of supports, or even more. Therefore, given a 3D mesh representing the input object, our aim is to develop a segmentation technique to partition the mesh into a small number of simpler parts, each of which can be printed with no or minimal support, and such that the boundaries between the parts (i.e., where the cuts in the object surface will be) affect the appearance of the printed model as little as possible. We pose the segmentation problem as a multi-labeling problem solved via functional minimization. In our formulation, the data points will be mesh elements (either faces or clusters of faces), and the labels will be potential printing directions. We will define an objective function that takes into account the area of supported regions and support footings, as well as the visual impact of the cuts, in terms of both their length and location on the surface. We formulate this multi-labeling problem as an Integer Linear Program (ILP), which can be solved using standard optimization packages such as Gurobi.

Source: ISTI Technical reports, 2019

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BibTeX entry
	title = {A novel segmentation algorithm for support-free 3D printing},
	author = {Filoscia I. and Alderighi T. and Cignoni P. and Giorgi D. and Malomo L.},
	institution = {ISTI Technical reports, 2019},
	year = {2019}