Live Parts™ is an experimental technology from DM Labs, Desktop Metal’s internal research and innovation group. It takes a new approach to generative design by applying morphogenetic principles and advanced simulation to shape strong, lightweight parts. Live Parts is driven by nature-inspired algorithms that cause parts to grow and adapt based on their function and environment. Powered by a GPU-accelerated, multi-physics engine, Live Parts auto-generates designs in minutes. This enables users to quickly realize the full potential of additive manufacturing—including material and cost efficiency, and design flexibility.
Live Parts begins with a constraint model that you pre-define in SOLIDWORKS using the Live Parts for SOLIDWORKS Add-in. Live Parts places this model within a multi-physics environment and grows your part beginning from pre-defined seed cell start locations. Stems form as seed cells spawn additional cells in the direction of their pre-defined end locations. Gravity forces act upon the stems, causing them to strain and deform and triggering additional cell growth in the free directions to strengthen the stem. Multiple stems can eventually grow together and morph into a single contiguous organism.
Once stems reach their end locations, Live Parts applies the any pre-defined forces - these can be linear, radial, and rotational as well as static or dynamic (driven by time and position). These forces simulate the anticipated loads on the part and cause its cells to strain (yellow and red regions in the part) due to compression, torsion, and shear, triggering additional cell growth within these areas and further strengthening the part. Over time, as the strain experienced by regions of cells decreases (blue and green areas in the part) due to the addition of helper cells, those cells are killed off and fall to the ground. Cells are protected until they reach a certain deactivation age.
Eventually — typically within 5 minutes for a medium-sized part and up to 15 minutes for a larger part — the part will reach a steady state where the cells are all within an acceptable range of minimum and maximum allowable strain, or where the object is constrained from creating any additional cells that would reduce the strain. At any point during the growth process in Live Parts, you can stop the growth and smooth the part for export back into SOLIDWORKS for auto-assembly and further analysis.
The result is a part in SOLIDWORKS that is strong, lightweight, free of stress concentrations, and designed for 3D printing.
Please refer to this section for more information on how to use Live Parts.