Researchers from Purdue University in Indiana have developed two software algorithms for reducing time and materials in 3-D-printing – reducing time by up to 30 percent and materials by up to 65 percent. The algorithms work by printing a project in segments that can fit into the printing tray and later be glued together. The algorithm determines how to pack the most elements into the smallest possible space. The second algorithm results in smaller support structures, reducing printing time by an average of 30 percent and the quantity of material by an average of 40 percent. Before printing the object, a geometry-based method determines how it should be oriented on the printer tray so that the overhanging area requiring support is minimized. The computer automatically determines the best possible orientations and orientates itself before printing such that the orientation has the smallest overhang area. The result is a scaffold-like structure that effectively supports the overhangs.
Source: Purdue University