There is a need for design tools that can be used by non-technical domain experts, such as clinicians, people with disabilities, and craftspeople, to create designs using digital fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing. These tools should be able to produce optimized designs that meet specific goals in a given domain and be easy to use without requiring programming expertise.
One example of a design tool that meets these criteria is PARTs (Parametric Abstractions of Reusable Things), which allows amateur modelers to specify design intent through geometry using a graphical user interface (GUI), scripting application programming interface (API), and an exemplar library of assertions. PARTs also includes integrators that act on design intent to create geometry, enabling modelers to incorporate advanced, model-specific functionality into their designs. In workshops, PARTs was shown to help users create and modify 3D printable models more easily than with a standard tool.
Another design tool that can assist non-technical domain experts in creating optimized designs is OPTIMISM (Optimization Programming Toolkit Integrating Metaheuristic Intuitive Search Methods). This toolkit enables programmers and domain experts to collaboratively implement an optimization component of a design tool by factoring metaheuristic optimization methods into easy-to-implement and reuse components such as objectives, modifiers, design and modifier selectors, and stopping criteria. By using OPTIMISM, the burden of domain expertise is shifted from programmers to domain experts, enabling the creation of flexible design tools with reconfigurable optimizers that can tackle a variety of problems in a given domain. OPTIMISM has been demonstrated across five demonstrative tools.