The Witness - Wheels - - INDUSTRY - NICK LAVARS

CARL Bass, CEO of de­sign soft­ware com­pany Au­todesk, be­lieves com­put­ers can come up with bet­ter de­signs than hu­mans, and proved it with a strange look­ing en­gine block and mo­tor­bike swing arm.

He told Giz­mag that giv­ing a com­puter con­trol over the fi­nal out­come of de­sign within a set of engi­neer­ing pa­ram­e­ters re­quires peo­ple to stop think­ing of com­put­ing as a pre­cious re­source, and in­stead view all the linked com­put­ers out there as the cheap­est as­set we can use to solve any prob­lem.

The pro­gramme Au­todesk Within al­lows CAD de­sign­ers to set pa­ram­e­ters, like de­sired weight and max­i­mum stress and then wait­ing for the pro­gramme to gen­er­ate an op­ti­mised de­signs that meet the re­quire­ments.

The re­sults are not al­ways beau­ti­ful, but each de­sign does make op­ti­mal use of ma­te­ri­als, us­ing ei­ther 3D print­ing or milling.

Bass said he does not see 3D re­plac­ing cur­rent man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses. “It’s an­other tool in the tool­box,” he told Giz­mag. “There will be times when 3D print­ing is awesome, there will be times when man­u­fac­tur­ing is awesome.

“What I think the fu­ture of making things is, is this com­bi­na­tion of hav­ing pow­er­ful de­sign tools in or­der to make them, and the pow­er­ful fab­ri­ca­tion tech­niques to re­alise those de­signs.” — Giz­mag.


A one-cylin­der en­gine block op­ti­mally de­signed us­ing a new pro­gramme that lets al­go­rithms de­ter­mine how much ma­te­rial is needed where.

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