The M3D project develops a complete processing chain for capturing, processing, 3D modeling, searching in databases and 3D printing of spare parts. M3D is our latest project supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).



M3D describes an ongoing collaborative project of different partners dealing with mobile 3D capturing and 3D printing for industrial applications. The constantly increasing speed of digital data transfer made the capturing, processing and production of audio and video data as well as of multimedia-based documents of all kinds location independent. Likewise, the rapid advances in input and output technologies for 3D will enable the processes for capturing, processing and production to become location independent. An important aspect in this regard is also the fast development of additive production methods – in the media better known as 3D printing.

Whereas these technologies were mostly used industrially for the production of prototype parts new applications are aiming at producing actual products or spare parts. There are already several attempts to improve the quality of the different parts by optimizing the processes. This will result in substantial savings with respect to warehousing, logistics, and human resources and enable an individual production on site. This is especially useful for small quantities or for the procurement of spare parts. However, fast and inexpensive processes for the provision of 3D data are still missing.

The M3D project will conceptionally and technologically analyze the huge potential of the latest developments in this sector by using the example of spare parts in industrial applications. The results will be demonstrated in prototypical form. During the project term, a complete processing chain for capturing, processing, 3D modeling, searching in databases and 3D printing of spare parts will be developed. Special emphasis is put on the use of mobile devices and on processing in the cloud, which will enable the technician on site or the consumer to become part of a distributed production process.

The following figure gives a brief overview of the operational procedure for mobile capturing, shared processing and additive production of 3D objects using 3D printing.


By using the example of spare parts in industrial applications, the M3D project will conceptionally and technologically analyze the huge potential of the latest developments in this sector. The results will be demonstrated it in prototypical form.

Basically, the project has five main goals:

1.     The development of new image and sensor-based algorithms for 3D capturing.
2.     The development of procedures and algorithms for data management and identification.
3.     The development of procedures for data processing for additive production.
4.     The development of techniques for a cloud-based support of fast, real-time capable 3D data processing.
5.     The set up of a demonstrator for testing the newly developed technologies.

Results And Partners

Image and Sensor-Bases Algorithms for 3D-Data-Acquisition

There are two different ways of digitally capturing object data. On the one hand, this can be done by using photos – through a mobile device (photogrammetric) – and on the other, by using a stripe-light scanner (See Fig 2.). The challenges with both methods of capturing industrial objects are transparent, homogeneous, dark absorbing and/ or reflective materials and surfaces because they make a robust data acquisition more difficult. To capture 3D objects, filters and special algorithms first create sparse point clouds. By means of an extended Poisson-Mashing, these can be converted into a refined 3D object (see Fig. 3). In a next step, the 3D object can be improved through user information.

Figure 2: Lightweight robot with real-time stripe-light scanner for object-friendly surface scanning © Fraunhofer IGD.
Figure 3: A sparse point cloud serves as a template for the first coarse creation of digital 3D objects © Fraunhofer HHI.

Data Processing for Additive Production Processes

In order use an improved object as a spare part various applications of the digital object are tested in an extensive simulation. This simulation takes place before the additive manufacturing. The aim is thereby to avoid previous defects. For example, the Finite Element Method (FEM) can provide an analysis of loading conditions. This can give information about possible breakages of the object (Fig. 4).

Based on the collected information, a form optimization of the object can be given.

Figure 4: To enable a shape optimization of the object before production, weaknesses of the model are displayed to the user in color © Fraunhofer IGD.

A subsequent geometric and physical optimization of the model allows an optimal modeling for additive manufacturing. Thus, it will be possible to minimize the artifacts, which have been created by the slicing required in additive manufacturing. In addition, the production time can be reduced or at least can be kept constant.

Work Packages

The project is divided into different work packages (WP 1 – WP 7), where each is dedicated to a single element of the processing chain. The project partners will contribute their expertise to different work packages and gather the results.

WP1:   Project Managementt
WP2:   Requirements and System Architecturet
WP3:   Mobile 3D Capturing and 3D Reconstructiont
WP4:   Data Management and Algorithms for Identificationt
WP5:   Modeling of Data for Additive Productiont
WP6:   Hardware Accelerated Server Architecture for Cloud Processingt
WP7:   Integration & Demonstrator Set Upt

Events And Conferences

3IT Summit: 3IT Summit: milestone presentation of the project.
10/23/2017 – 10/24/2017

Download the presentation given by cirp.

FormNext: international exhibition and conference on the next generation of manufacturing technologies.

Technology Day Cirp GmbH: presentation and demonstration on the topic of additive manufacturing for highly stressed prosthetic components.

Moulding Expo 2017 Stuttgart: international trade fair for tool, model and mold making.