Shop Talk Podcast Episode 4: Stefan Hermann on How Platform Design Solutions Save Time

Muna Idriss Muna Idriss November 3, 2023

3 min read

Welcome to Shop Talk, a podcast where we catch up with designers and makers live from their workshops. In this episode, designer and Autodesker Jonathan Odom speaks with Stefan Hermann of CNC Kitchen

Stefan Hermann is a well-known figure in the CNC and 3D printing community as the creator of the popular YouTube channel “CNC Kitchen.” On his channel, Stefan shares in-depth reviews, tutorials, and experiments related to CNC machines, 3D printers, and other fabrication tools. He covers topics such as machine calibration, material testing, slicing software, and much more. Stefan’s content is valuable for both beginners and experienced users in the CNC and 3D printing community. We spoke with him about his work in aerospace, the frontier that is additive manufacturing, and all the cool stuff on his shelf.

Check out the full episode below, along with a short excerpt to give you a taste of what to expect.

This excerpt is edited for brevity and clarity. 

We’ve talked in the past about you trying to find one product to fit all your needs. Could you elaborate on that?

I think one of the challenges that I find in my normal job is that we design parts for additive manufacturing. Therefore, there’s a very close connection between boundary conditions, initial design, generative design, creating a build job from that, adding support structures, and then also taking that 3D-printed part and manufacturing it.

What we always struggled with was that we used individual tools for all of these steps. So you had one tool where you did initial design work, then you went into another tool for topology optimization, then a third tool where you interpreted your topology-optimized design, then you got back into normal CAD where you did all of the boundaries. Then you have the analysis step and yada, yada. It was a very complex workflow!

Of course, we could choose the best tool for each of the steps, but we had so many interfaces in between that, so organizing the data was hard. And, when you had a final design but you wanted to iterate on it, you had to go back to the beginning. And since there isn’t any connectivity between those tools, the amount of work that you had to put into the iteration steps was almost as much work as doing a complete design from scratch.

All that slowed down our workflow—the initial design was okay, but every iteration took so long. So we did a research project where we tried to find a process chain for additive manufacturing, where we have one tool that is able to do all of the steps that are necessary to design, analyze, support, and also manufacture a 3D-printable part, which is hard because there are a lot of boundary conditions that have to be met and there aren’t a lot of tools on the market that are able to do that. B

ut in the end, we showed that using a platform suite like Fusion that can implement everything, without switching between different software, could speed up the design workflow by like 20-30%. If we did an iteration, we were like 70% faster, which was really nice. That gave us the possibility to either be done with a design quicker or to use the time that we had for more iterations to get a better design out of our workflow in the end.

If you have a platform tool that supports all of the steps in your process chain, you change something in the beginning, and ideally, you just hit one button and everything is done for you. This is one of the reasons why we were able to save such a huge amount of time. 

Stay tuned for the next episode of Shop Talk. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, catch up on any episodes you missed, and get your audio-only fix on Spotify.

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