Now users can bring ideas to life faster for less with this major breakthrough in MakerBot’s MinFill, a dynamic new Print Mode that is the first of its kind in 3D printing. Short for “Minimum Infill,” MinFill uses an intelligent algorithm to determine the absolute minimum amount of support needed for the inside of any 3D print.
As they’ve learned from professional users, not all prints need to be durable, dense, or heavy. When surface quality and print speed are more important, MinFill is a far more efficient option — especially for prints with a large internal volume.
Based on the testing process, MinFill typically prints 30% faster using 30% less filament. With especially voluminous models, like spheres, they’ve seen MinFill print up to 80% faster. For professionals, that means faster early concept modeling, faster form studies, and more iterations in less time.
MinFill’s Benefits at a Glance
- Professionals can accelerate early concept modeling, form studies, and iterations.
- Educators can serve more students and classrooms while saving time and money.
- Based on our testing, MinFill typically prints 30% faster using 30% less filament.*
- The greater the internal volume of the print, the more time and money the user can save.
- Compatible with MakerBot Replicator+, Replicator (5th Gen), and the Replicator Z18.
* MinFill’s performance numbers are averages based on testing a variety of object geometries with significant internal volume.
How MinFill Works
To understand MinFill, let’s dive into the science behind infill. Infill is the support structure inside the 3D print that’s printed as a pattern. Most objects cannot be 3D printed without it. Infill holds up the outer layers of the print, or shells, as well as the final roof layers. The more infill, the more solid and durable the print will be. The only catch is, printing with more infill takes substantially more time and filament.
With most 3D printing software, users can adjust the percentage of infill; however infill is always printed uniformly throughout the entire object. It’s even printed in areas that don’t necessarily need infill for structural support. Given this inefficiency, they wanted to challenge the idea that all prints must have an infill pattern. And that’s just what our software team did. They developed the engine behind MinFill —its intelligent slicer algorithm.
As a powerful new Print Mode and infill setting, MinFill radically streamlines supports inside of the 3D print. Through this advanced algorithm, MinFill will automatically analyze a 3D model to learn where infill is needed. Depending on the geometry of the design, MinFill will build the smallest possible support structures inside the print. It decides on the shape, placement, and density of the infill, only printing in areas that require structural support, like roofs and certain types of walls.
Unlike other infill settings, MinFill will decide if the print needs internal structures at all. If none are required, it prints none. Plus, it will do so for each and every print without compromising surface print quality or appearance. MinFill is the only solution of this kind that applies to all geometries without first requiring users to make manual adjustments in their printing software.
MinFill’s Exponential Speed and Filament Savings
Since MinFill uses the minimum infill possible, its value lies in printing models with a larger internal volume. Smaller models will most likely print faster with MinFill; however, the greater the internal volume of a print, the more time and filament users can save.
Based on our testing, MinFill on average prints 30% faster using 30% less filament. Even with these numbers, the individual speed and filament savings you can achieve will depend on the size and geometry of the model to be printed.
Since MinFill is designed for professionals, they also wanted to test MinFill with models that can be found in a design firm or engineering consultancy. They compared MinFill against the Balanced Print Mode in MakerBot Print, which uses 10% diamond infill. MinFill printed the following models with varying speed and filament improvements:
At MakerBot they also tested MinFill with a dodecahedron as a more challenging model that had a larger internal volume and that required support for a variety of roofs.
Faster Turnaround Times Mean Faster Iterations
MinFill’s advantages go beyond any one print. MinFill further accelerates the design process by dramatically speeding up iterations that are part of early concept modeling. With each iteration, the user can print models faster and quickly evaluate designs.
With the added speed and cost savings, MinFill is also ideal for printing iterative form study models. The user can evaluate the fundamentals of a design, such as its overall form, size, proportions, and surface quality. For these models, print speed is more critical than structural strength. Take the example of a designer evaluating the form and feel of a Bluetooth speaker. Each iteration only needs to hold up to the very minimal pressure of the designer holding the model. As a result, it’s not necessary to fill the entire model with infill.
In a busy design studio or engineering consultancy, the faster you can print, the more projects a team can complete in total. From these five geometries altogether, they saved four days printing.