New file format released for 3D printers
With the possibility to create complex shapes and make use of exotic materials, 3D printing — also known as additive manufacturing — has been embraced by industries from automotive to medical, as well as hobbyists and inventors. A newly published standard is now expected to help realise the full potential of additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing works by depositing material in layers, building up an object from nothing except the plans on a file. Until now, the information that is encoded has relied on a stereolithography file format, known as STL. The new standard will replace STL with the Additive Manufacturing File Format (AMF).
ISO/ASTM 52915, Specification for additive manufacturing file format (AMF) Version 1.2, was developed by the group of experts in ISO’s technical committee on additive manufacturing, ISO/TC 261, in partnership with ASTM International. Committee Chair Dr Christian Seidel described some of the benefits of the new file format.
“The AMF format offers great potential to support the further development of the AM sector and will become increasingly important in the industry in the coming years,” Dr Seidel said. “AMF describes an object in such a general way that any machine can build it to the best of its ability, and as such is technology independent.
“It is easy to implement and understand, scalable and has good performance. Crucially, it is both backwards compatible, allowing any existing STL file to be converted, and future compatible, allowing new features to be added as advances in technology warrant.”
The jointly developed ISO/ASTM standard specifies the requirements for the preparation, display and transmission for the AMF. When prepared in a structured electronic format, strict adherence to an extensible markup language (XML) schema supports standards-compliant interoperability. It does not specify any explicit mechanisms for ensuring data integrity, electronic signatures and encryptions.
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