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3DXpert: The Game-Changer in Direct Metal Printing

Since 3D Systems announced that it would be shipping 3DXpert with all of its Direct Metal printers back in May, there's been more and more buzz about the impact the groundbreaking new software is making in the Direct Metal 3D Printing World.

Designed from the ground up to support 3D Metal Printing, the goal was to create a software that is consolidated into a single workflow. According to Mike McLean of 3D Printed Parts, Scarlett Inc:

“3DXpert is a game changer! It simplifes our workfow and eliminates the need to work with multiple systems. The ability to work on a CAD geometry was one the main benefts we identifed immediately. We can now handle large models without the need to convert them to STL and have the freedom to quickly design the supports to meet our specifc requirements for additive manufacturing. In addition, having full control over the printing parameters with the ability to develop our own printing strategies, will take our productivity to a new level.

3DXpert has also dramatically reduced file processing time, according to Jason Stitzel, MTI's Director of Engineering:

"Before using 3DXpert, running a complicated part through a slicing engine took close to 20 hours to process, slice, run the parameters and create a build file," says Stitzel. "With 3DXpert, we can do the same build in just four hours.

Direct Metal Printing is the Additive Manufacturing process of creating complex metal parts by melding metal powders together using a high power sintering laser. While it falls under the umbrella of 3D Printing, Direct Metal Printing requires an approach that is much different than 3D Printing other materials and plastics. It is much more involved to get the desired result. Previously, multiple tools and separate programs were needed to prepare the 3D file, all before it was imported to be 3D Printed.

Now, with 3DXpert, all the tools needed are consolidated in one piece of software. Available for both 3D Systems DMP printers, and DMP Printers built by other OEMs as well.

See some of the features included below:

1 Import Data


  • Import data from all CAD formats (B-rep, DXF, IGES, STEP, VDA, Parasolid (including binary), SAT (ACIS), STL and SAB), native read formats including PMI data (such as AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, CATIA, Creo Elements/Pro, Siemens NX, SolidWorks and SolidEdge as well as virtually all Mesh formats.

  • Take advantage of continued work with B-rep data (solids and surfaces). Reading B-rep geometry without downgrading to mesh maintains data integrity including analytic geometry, part topology and color coding. This allows preparing the part for printing using history based parametric features.

  • Start working immediately with automated healing of both STL and B-rep geometry.

Part Preparation


2 Position Geometry

  • Position parts on the printer tray, with visualization of gas fow and Recoater/Roller directions.

  • Set part orientation with real-time analysis of support and downfacing areas. Automated orientation optimization allows keeping tray area and supports to the minimum necessary.

  • Apply scaling to compensate for part shrinkage during the build.

  • Use a rich set of parametric and history-based hybrid (b-rep and mesh) CAD tools as well as advanced direct modeling tools to improve part printability and for post-build operations (e.g., close holes and add material for machining, modify geometry due to printability constraints).

3 Optimize Structure

  • Use Micro Lattice to save weight and material. A groundbreaking volume representation technology (V-Rep) allows for lightning-fast creation, editing, and visual manipulation of micro lattices, seamlessly combining the power of lattice structures with history-based parametric features.

  • Optimize lattice structures by creating radial lattices to better fit circular parts, defining your own lattice cell structures, and applying variable lattice thickness based on FEA stress analysis.

  • Import lattice structures designed by other systems.

  • Apply surface lattice to medical parts using V-Rep technology. Add volumetric texture to the outer shell of implants and other medical models to create the required porosity.

  • Hollow out parts using infills to reduce weight and material. Sweep based on a broad 2D pattern library to form internal walls within the part.

  • Use a full set of CAD tools to mend the part (e.g. offset surfaces or holes size) and adjust it to the selected printer if required.

4 Design Supports

  • Analyze the part to find regions that require supports, or manually define regions.

  • Easily create supports of any type (wall, lattice, solid, cone and skirt supports). Use a rich tool set to fragmentize, tilt, and offset supports to simplify their removal and minimize material requirements.

  • Define, save, and reuse your own templates for automating the creation of supports that fit your needs. Use higher level meta-templates to automate support creation for the entire part with just a single click.

  • Eliminate the need to use supports in hard to reach areas. Define special printing strategies to ensure printing integrity without building supports.

  • Perform quick analysis to identify areas with potential stress and adjust supports design to prevent part distortion.

5) Optimize Printing Strategies


  • Use Zoning technology to apply various print strategies to different areas of the part – reducing printing time and improving surface quality.

  • Accelerate printing time with automated assignment of optimal print strategies to relevant objects (supports, lattices, etc.). Manually assign faster print strategies to internal volumes or zones that do not require high surface quality.

  • Achieve better surface quality by assigning more accurate printing strategies to specific zones (e.g., small features, high surface quality, circular areas).

  • Eliminate the need to divide the part into separate objects and avoid weak spots and lines – using automated fusion of zones with different print strategies to maintain part integrity

6) Calculate Scan-path


  • Enjoy intelligent scan path calculation based on a combination of zoning and part geometry.

  • Validate the print process with a quick and accurate preview of the actual scan path for selected slices prior to fully calculating the entire part.

  • Use the Scan Path Viewer to review the calculated contours and hatches.

  • Shorten calculation time by offloading and distributing the calculation to additional computers.

  • Get the most out of your printer using pre-defined best practice parameters for each machine, material, and print strategy, or develop your own printing strategies with unprecedented control over scan path calculation methods and parameters.

7) Arrange Build Platform & Print


  • Position the parts to be printed in any desired array on the build platform and combine all of their scan paths.

  • Use a range of analysis tools to ensure all parts are ready for printing, enabling you to view the combined scan path and estimate print time, material consumption, and overall costs.

  • Finally, send the optimal combined scan path to your printer.

8) Perform Post-printing Operations


  • Use robust machining and drilling programming tools to remove supports, machine high-quality surface areas, and drill, tap or rim holes.

  • Enjoy the benefits of using a single system by automatically receiving printing preparation data as stock (including support geometry, support region contours, and machining offset objects), and apply smart machining templates to them.

3DXpert brings together a lot of features that used to require multiple tools and software to complete. Now, you have one consolidated piece of software thats powerful, effective, and covers all of your Direct Metal Printing needs.


About Canadian Additive Manufacturing Solutions

Connecting Traditional Manufacturing with Additive Solutions. Serving Greater Toronto Area, Southwestern Ontario, and Canada as a whole, we exist to be a full solution provider for all things 3D. From on-demand Print, Scan, and Design Services—to full manufacturing solutions including 3D Printers, Scanner Equipment and Software packages.

We offer 3D Printing services for many different industries. Whether you are looking for rapid prototyping, tooling, model making, end-use products or investment casting patterns, we can provide you with outstanding service and an even better final product. We have the ability to produce custom products from your 3D CAD files. CAMS has access to a variety of technologies so regardless of whether you want to get something printed in plastic, metal or in full colour, we can help!

CAMS is an authorized reseller of 3D Systems' Products, including 3D Printers, print materials, and digital design tools. Our technologies include a spectrum of production and professional printers that utilize MJP, CJP, SLA, SLS and DMP. Contact us to find out how owning your own 3D printer can improve workflow and shorten time in the design-to-manufacturing cycle. We also offer 3D Scanning solutions provided by LMI. Leasing options available.

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