AI-Assisted 3D Printing: Insights on Emerging Trends and Technologies


AI-Assisted 3D Printing: Insights on Emerging Trends and Technologies

Industry experts weigh in

Jacob Wilson, regional manager at, believes that “in-print monitoring has huge potential for AI integration. We’re already seeing things like ‘spaghetti detection’ (using computer vision and ML to detect print failures) becoming increasingly popular among desktop FFF (fused filament fabrication) systems. I think we’ll soon see AI integrations enter the market that will predict and prevent failures in print jobs on high-end industrial metal or polymer printers, where a failed print can be very costly.”

To delve deeper into the potential of this exciting technology, we reached out to various experts in the AM industry, including thought leaders, journalists, and enthusiasts. Here are their insights on where the industry’s heading.

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However, CNET’s senior editor, James Bricknell, believes that AI could soon eliminate this barrier to entry by enabling even those without any technical know-how to design their own 3D projects with ease.

Achieving the right print efficiency and quality warrants meticulous fine-tuning of a variety of parameters, such as layer height, infill density, path planning, and support structures. Skilled technicians who understand the nuances of 3D printing can accomplish great results.

“Specialized AI tools are set to reduce the complexity of the design process, making it easier for doctors and other healthcare professionals to be more involved in the undertaking,” he says, noting the power of AI to give medical professionals tighter control over the otherwise prohibitively complicated and resource-intensive process.

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Even small defects in components can lead to catastrophic consequences in the aerospace industry. The answer is AI-enabled 3D printers, which can detect errors and correct them before they occur. For instance, Additive Works’ AI-based software platform simulates the 3D-printing process to identify potential problems long before you hit the print button.

“We are quite good at finding patterns, but a neural net trained to iterate general 3D-printing approaches toward a specific design goal (or a series of them) could result in new innovations and altogether different printing techniques,” he says, underscoring the superiority of AI’s iterative approach to problem-solving. “This could be simple, such as improving layer fidelity, or more complex, like exploring novel combinations of manufacturing methods. Humans are very good at recognizing patterns, but we are slow compared to the speed of a computer.”

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2023 – 12:02

But Mark Lamkin, co-founder of FYR Medical, argues that even the most experienced technicians will be surpassed by specialized AI tools.

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Ricardo Alcântara from concurs with Wilson: “We can already see some implementations focused on guaranteeing a successful printing, such as the spaghetti detector and the first-layer LIDAR scanning on the Bambu Lab printers.”

Generative design

Currently, designing personalized 3D models for patients involves using high-quality imaging to determine the specific requirements for each case. This information is then handed over to a design engineer, who uses specialized software. Finally, the digital model is sliced into thin cross sections that are printed layer by layer. With the help of AI, some of these tasks can be automated. For instance, AI 3D-printing tools can tap into medical data such as CT scans and MRI scans to generate personalized designs without requiring much human intervention. This can dramatically cut costs and precious time for individuals urgently needing implants or prosthetics.

Additive manufacturing (AM) and AI are two of the most exciting fields in technology today. 3D printing has revolutionized manufacturing and design, allowing for the creation of complex objects with ease. Meanwhile, AI tools such as ChatGPT, MidJourney, Stable Diffusion, and Resemble have shown their potential to transform the media landscape. With simple natural language text input, these tools can generate art, articles, and stories in a matter of seconds.

However, it’s not just about replacing human technicians. Lamkin considers it a positive development instead. By automating repetitive and tedious tasks, AI can free up designers and engineers to focus on more important things, like creativity and innovation.

Medical industry

The potential of 3D printing in industries such as healthcare is already bearing fruit, with customized prosthetics, medical implants, and other products being produced across various medical disciplines. The integration of AI in the 3D-printing process, however, has the potential to take things to the next level.

First published March 22, 2023, on the Hubs blog.