Co-Founder & CEO
3D / Print / Materials //
More intelligent design tools
Both parametric & generative are terms used to signify intelligent tools in CAD. Initially, tools in CAD were built to replicate existing ways of doing things — sometimes even borrowing from other industries (like lofting from the shipbuilding industry). As new manufacturing methods have emerged, like additive, the existing techniques make it difficult (if not impossible) to take advantage of all of the amazing things that these advanced processes allow for. The current argument has always been additive manufacturing allows for far more complex structures than what we could have built in the past, so design tools need to represent this complexity. While this is true, additive cannot build “anything” & there also still are a number of constraints. It is just that the constraints are different. Allowing CAD to understand constraints is the first step towards more intelligent design tools. These constraints can be mechanical: like interfaces to other parts, structural: like load cases, & they can be based on the manufacturing process: like no large horizontal spans. However, the knowledge of the constraints are not enough to design an object. Additionally, rule sets are needed that represent a structural system or typology in combination with constraints allow for more intelligent design tools. Parametric technology is still incredibly useful to allow for the constant changes within the design process while the actual tools, or operations are generative.
Brad Rothenberg is the co-founder & CEO of nTopology Inc., a startup developing design software for industrial additive manufacturing. Brad has been working with 3D printing for 10 years & has a background in computational geometry in architecture. Brad received his B. Arch at Pratt institute in 2009.