Dr. Elissa Ross, co-founder and CEO of Metafold, the developer of a Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) cloud-based software, recently sat down with Sharon Spielman, technical editor of Machine Design. They discussed Metafold’s beginnings, the technology behind its computation engine, its impact on key markets and its commitment to sustainability.
In this first of a three-part series, Ross offers an overview of the company’s beginning, its software and how to access it. Co-founder Daniel Hambleton is a mathematician who serves as the company’s CTO. Co-founder Tom Reslinski is an architect and Metafold’s COO. Together, the three of them leveraged the expertise of mathematicians and professionals in architecture, engineering and construction to launch Metafold, with a mission to provide digital infrastructure for 3D printing.
“[CAD systems] were developed for conventional manufacturing, and they are excellent in those capacities,” she says. “But when it comes to supporting high complexity, geometry—that is…what 3D printing is really great at—those same digital tools are traditional CAD tools. They don’t offer what we need.” This new technology addresses that, she says.
At the center of Metafold’s platform is its geometry computation engine, which Ross says enables the design and optimization of complex geometries for 3D printing. The web application offers capabilities for creating lattice geometries, lightweight parts and high-surface area structures, she explains, and this opens possibilities for a range of industries where optimized structures are highly valuable.
Ross notes that one of the key strengths is the material and process agnosticism. Users can access the software via the cloud and API, regardless of the hardware used for 3D printing. This flexibility allows manufacturers to optimize their additive manufacturing processes, whether designing lightweight aerospace parts or creating efficient heat exchangers.