Sunday, 16 March 2014

BT Young Scientist & Technologist Exhibition 2014

The Analog Devices Award
This year my BTYSE project was on alternative infills for consumer 3D printing, entered in the senior individual technology category. The code along with everything else is on git here.
Friendly Neighbourhood Politician at the Stand

Here's the abstract of the project:
Infill patterns are a vital part of 3D printing objects, especially when using today's consumer-grade plastic extrusion printers. The job of an infill pattern is to act as a support structure for the model from the inside. This negates the need to fill the model solidly, saving materials and time.
In this project I aim to design and effectively implent several new, possibly more effecient, infill algorithms. Currently, infill algorithms create regular two dimensional patterns upwards through the model. While these are simple to implement, they fail to take advantage of the printer's ability to handle complex three dimensional shapes. It is proposed that three dimensional shapes may produce a more evenly distributed and stronger support for models.
To approach the creation of these infill patterns, I created software which applied these infills to models. I then printed models containing these new infills to test how effective they are. For fair comparison between new and current infills, the primary controlled variable was that all models were printed with the same volume of plastic to be used in the infill. Resulting prints showed that some of the new infills performed very well, providing more support and giving more strength to the model, than currently availible infills, even for the same amount of plastic used.
I did pretty well, winning first in the category, a display award and the Analog Devices award, which comes with a free trip. Once again the exhibition was a great experience.

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