A unique characteristic of FDM® technology is that a single part can have regions
with different build styles, which can be used to make a part with variable densities. Unlike default interior styles, such as solid or sparse that are applied to the entire part, variable densities allow a single part to have combinations of solid and sparse fill styles, and each region’s density can be adjusted independently (Figures 1 and 2). With just a few minutes of extra design and pre-processing, you can save hours of build time and/or dramatically improve the part’s properties.
The advantages of variable density parts are:
• Optimized strength, weight and performance
• Reduced build time and cost
• Enable niche applications (e.g., end-use parts, fiber molding and thermoforming)
Variable density parts are created using a combination of 3D computer-aided
design (CAD) and Insight™ software. For complete control over each region, the
3D CAD model is split into sub-components and each may have a unique density.
Each subcomponent is processed with different toolpath options (Figures 3 and 4).
The use of variable density is common when optimizing a design for functionality.
For example, solid fill is used where additional strength is needed, while the
remainder of the part is built using sparse fill.
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