Fixie secures £100k to make 3D printing accessible to architects

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London-based firm looks to simplify 3D printing process by eliminating the need for arduous remodelling

Fixie, a 3D printing bureau, has received £100,000 from Innovate UK to help build an automated online platform to cut the time it takes architects to create physical models from digital designs.

Fixie’s platform looks to simplify the architectural 3D printing process by eliminating the need for arduous remodelling, which can currently take days to convert an architects BIM model into a 3D printable version.

The company, headquartered in East London, specialises on the architectural sector, and for this venture will be supported by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

“We started Fixie to give more architects the opportunity to benefit from rapid prototyping,” said Fixie founder Ronan O’Boyle.

“Our platform means that you don’t need to have any prior knowledge to prepare your design for 3D printing – opening up the technology to those without the niche skills, time and resources.”

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years.

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The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund is funding 1,103 projects, 1189 UK businesses and totalling over £130 million in support across the UK.

Fixie CEO added, “This grant award recognises the potential social and economic impact of Fixie’s platform at a time when architects are rethinking how cities are used and designed.

“It’s an endorsement of our vision and the commitment to providing architects with tools to make practical and wider use of emerging technologies.”

The University of Sheffield AMRC is a network of world-leading research and innovation centres that work with manufacturing companies of all sizes around the globe.

The organisation, part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, transforms industrial and economic performance by making step changes in productivity, increasing competitiveness, developing new products and processes and training new talent and skills.

Head of Digital at the University of Sheffield AMRC, Professor Rab Scott, said: “This is a hugely important project which is at the heart of what the AMRC has built its reputation on: transforming industry through collaborative research.

“Through the application of digital tools, architects will be able to produce digital 3D designs in hours rather than days. The development of this vital platform, increasing speed and cutting costs for the supply chain, will both enhance the sustainability of how businesses deliver for their clients and add value across the construction and built environment sector.”

Innovate UK executive chair Dr Ian Campbell, added: “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy.

“Fixie, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”


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