Innovators working with an effort called Project Escher at design software firm Autodesk recently told Design News they will soon release a new software product that should greatly increase the performance of 3D printing. The new solution applies a parallel processing model to 3D printing, by supporting a new type of hardware that engages multiple nozzles to produce a single item.
Corey Bloome, hardware lead for Project Escher, said in an interview that the new Autodesk product applies parallel processing, not precisely in the sense of parallel computing, but “in an analogous way, in that you have all the print heads working side by side at the same thing. It’s not computer parallel processing, it’s manufacturing parallel processing.”
In 2014, Autodesk released its own 3D printer called Ember. Ember is based on open-source technologies, including hardware, firmware, software, electronics, and materials. Escher, on the other hand, is a software-only effort. In a video from Autodesk, research scientist Andreas Bastian said that progress in the 3D printing field has been held back by “an undue focus on the actual hardware, and a lot of the software has been kind of left behind.” Escher, he said, enables “collaborative fabrication between a number of tools to describe [the] geometry in parallel, and when you parallelize fabrication, it dramatically reduces the time and cost of a lot of these challenges.”