Take a first look at Fusion 360’s new multi-axis deposition toolpath capability, now in extension preview.
With the November Fusion 360 update, all users now have access to the Additive Multi-Axis Deposition extension preview, which allows you to create multi-axis additive manufacturing toolpaths. This new toolpath capability primarily drives machines with Directed Energy Deposition capability. However, you can also use post-processing modification with other multi-axis deposition applications (e.g., FFF, large-scale AM, and concrete printing).
Many 3D printers are of a 3-axis configuration. 3-axis configurations are affordable, reliable, and offer plenty of software slicing options. However, they have challenges, such as:
- Support structures must print overhanging surfaces.
- You can only build parts onto flat stock material.
- Surfaces curved upwards suffer from the stepping effect.
Luckily new 3D printing systems are emerging, and the popularity of integrating deposition heads onto CNC milling machines and robotic arms is growing. In this article, we’ll cover what multi-axis deposition technology is and what DED features you now have access to in Fusion 360.
What is Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology?
Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology has been using multi-axis toolpaths for some time now. DED is a metal additive manufacturing technology comprised of a manipulator that moves a depositing head consisting of a material feedstock and a power source to melt the feedstock. The feedstock is commonly in powder or wire form, and the power source is either an electric arc or laser (electron beams also exist, albeit less common due to their cost).
DED technology is available on a wide variety of machines, including 3-axis and multi-axis gantry systems and robot platforms. It’s often integrated into existing cutting machine platforms, resulting in what is known as a hybrid machine, that is, a machine capable of additive and subtractive processes. This myriad of machine configurations and technologies results in endless part manufacture possibilities. However, the availability of additive manufacturing toolpaths has always limited the technology’s potential.
Multi-Axis Deposition tools in Fusion 360
Fusion 360’s new Multi-Axis Deposition toolpaths aim to remove some of those limitations, enabling users to fully use their machines to create 3, 3+2, and multi-axis toolpaths. You can now:
- Create and store process information in a deposition tool (currently limited to DED-type tools).
- Create planar or non-planar part slices from a defined base surface.
- Define a raster infill and perimeter pass build style.
- Control the tool axis for deposition.
- Visualize their toolpath layer by layer.
- Play through simulation or produce a deposition stock model that you can input to a subsequent milling setup for part finishing.
You can access this functionality as an extension preview by clicking on Preferences, then Preview Features, Tick, and then apply on Additive Multi-Axis Deposition.
And there you have it! If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to us via the Forum feedback hub.