MakerBot announced a very intriguing feature to their slicing program, “MinFill”.
The new option is a clever type of internal fill algorithm that should have been invented by someone eons ago. Maybe it was, but if so, it hasn’t appeared in popular slicing programs that I am aware of.
The need for internal fill is two-fold.
First, the amount of internal fill must match the functional usage pattern of the printed part. For example, a lever in a machine that takes some mechanical stress would likely require more internal fill than an idle figurine sitting on a desktop. The added infill would provide additional strength in some situations.
The second reason for using internal fill at all is to ensure the print completes successfully. There are many geometries in which there is a kind of “roof” that would otherwise collapse unless there is something underneath it when it is built. It’s like support material, except on the inside.
The problem has always been when you need such internal support the only option is to use infill. And in many cases the infill, when turned on, adds far more material than you’d ever need to fulfill the internal support need.
If only someone would develop an intelligent slicer that would determine such situations and act appropriately.
Well, it seems that MakerBot has done so with their new MinFill option.