.MGX Production Process
The name .MGX comes from the file extension of the software Magics, created by Materialise (the parent company of .MGX and world leader in rapid prototyping techniques). This software makes rapid prototyping and 3D manufacturing techniques accessible to design professionals, enabling them to bring to life creations that would otherwise be impossible to produce.
The process begins when a CAD design file is converted into an STL-file and then transformed via Magics into an .MGX file that renders a design printable. With the Magics production software developed by Materialise and thanks to 3D printing technologies, (primarily stereolithography and selective laser sintering), 3D visual images are then literally “printed” as sustainable 3D material objects.
More specifically, in the case of stereolithography, the process takes place in a large tank, and begins when a layer of liquid polymer is spread over a platform. A laser beam is then directed into the liquid, (guided by the design file and the .MGX software), solidifying the areas it comes in contact with. Once the laser is finished, the platform with the solid areas resting on it, shifts down, and the process begins again: liquid is spread; a laser beam hardens specific points in the liquid; and the platform and completed layers of the object move down. In this way, layer by layer, an object is “drawn” in the liquid by the beam, with the layers being consolidated throughout the process. When the object is complete, it is raised out of the tank via the supporting platform – much like a submarine rising to the surface of the water – with the excess liquid flowing away.
In the case of selective laser sintering, the process is similar but with a few differences, the primary one being that powder is used in place of the liquid polymer. The end result however is the same: creations are brought to life that would otherwise be impossible to produce.