Product Overview

Continuous3D is software which works on a standard PC. In the one desktop environment, we’ve combined 3D toolpath generation with robot motion planning for optimal robotic execution, without jumping between multiple software packages.It has a simple user interface that doesn’t require any robot programming​. Instead, Continuous3D creates the robot programs for you!

Continuous3D supports:

  • export of robot programs for different industrial robot models (ABB, Motoman, Fanuc, etc)

    Screenshot of Continuous3D main window showing dual-robot path generation

  • direct integration with robot controllers
  • export of gcode for 3d printers and other gantry systems
  • a variety of metal deposition processes including laser, wire arc additive and cold spray and can even be used for 3D printing other materials, such as polymer and concrete
  • a range of inbuilt toolpath strategies; continuous, revolved, non-planar
  • integration with other software​ libraries such as Robot Operating System (ROS)

Continuous3D works with sensors for real world interaction. This is often preferable to offline programming using digital files such as CAD, particularly when repairing or modifying exisiting components. CAD data frequently don’t give an accurate representation of the component, particularly if it has been modified, worn or damaged.​

​Continuous3D takes advantage of the higher degrees of freedom available to robots. A gantry-based printer has movement on 3 axes (x, y, z) and generally builds material vertically onto a flat plate. In comparison, an industrial robot arm typically has 6 axes or joints. This extra freedom of movement allows flexibility with respect to build directions and toolpath design. 3d models no longer need to be sliced using flat planes, which typically results in builds that are weak in the z-direction. Instead, with Continuous3d’s advanced slicer, non-planar toolpaths are possible, allowing smoother, stronger builds, that are optimised for robot execution. Material can be added onto existing facets of a repair part.

Continuous3D is able to produce paths which fill a 3d volume with a systematic, layered pattern, while avoiding self-intersections. This avoids having to start and stop the deposition process multiple times during printing. A conventional 3d printer uses non-printing ‘skip’ moves, where the material deposition process is paused while the print head moves to another position. With a continuous toolpath, skip moves are eliminated, allowing deposition to continue uninterrupted. Start/stops cause defects in processes such as WAAM and extrusion-based 3d printing. In polymer 3d printing, they are responsible for so-called ‘stringers’. In high-pressure cold spray, stopping the powder feed instantaneously is particularly problematic or not possible at all.

Creating g-code for a plastic 3d printer using Continuous3D. Continuous3D can produce continuous toolpaths that reduce stringers (shown here in green). It can also create non-planar and revolved toolpaths for 5-axis configurations.

A robot scanning and repairing a shredder machine. Robots can work on-site to repair objects at the point-of-need.