MIT CSAIL scientists have developed a new live feedback tool for laser-cut designs called Fabricaide.
Fabricaide provides live feedback on how different parts of the design should be placed onto their sheets. It even helps analyze how much material is used exactly, helping reduce leftover material.
Laser-cutting is important for many industries; it plays an integral part in car manufacturing and construction. However, the process isn’t always easy or efficient.
Cutting huge sheets of metal requires time and expertise, and even the most careful users can still produce huge amounts of leftover material that go to waste.
Moreover, the underlying technologies that use lasers to cut edges aren’t actually all that cutting-edge: their users are often in the dark about how much of each material they’ve used, or if a design they have in mind can even be fabricated.
This is where Fabricaide differs from the pack.
By giving feedback on the feasibility of a design as it’s being created, Fabricaide allows its users to better plan their designs in the context of available materials, says PhD student Ticha Sethapakdi.
Sethapakdi developed the system alongside MIT professor Stefanie Mueller, undergrad Adrian Reginald Chua Sy, and Carnegie Mellon University PhD student Daniel Anderson.
According to the scientists, Fabricaide has a workflow that significantly shortens the feedback loop between design and fabrication.
It comes with a really fast 2D packing algorithm that arranges parts onto sheets in an optimally efficient way in real time.
The tool keeps an archive of what the user has done, tracking how much of each material they have left.
If there is insufficient material, Fabricaide gives suggestions for material substitutes – like using 1 millimeter-thick yellow acrylic instead of 1 mm red acrylic.
It also allows the user to assign multiple materials to different parts of the design to be cut, which simplifies the process so that it’s less of a headache for multi-material designs.
Image and content: MIT CSAIL