Author Archive

FOG Safe Drain Guards a top eco-friendly kitchen product.

FOG Safe Drain Guards for Holiday Cooking

FOG Safe Drain Guards for proper fats, oils and grease disposal during holiday cooking.Our client, FOG Safe, has seen tremendous growth this past year and their FOG Safe Drain Guards should be on everyone’s holiday cooking prep list. Their drain guard is an environmentally friendly way to responsibly dispose of cooking fats, oils and grease so that they don’t cause major environmental damage.

What is a FOG Safe Drain Guard?

It is an eco-friendly, convenient and hassle-free way of disposing of used cooking fats, oils and grease after making a meal. (That pan of bacon grease can now be properly disposed of and not rinsed down the sink.) The drain guard is made of recycled materials and quickly absorbs the fats, oils and grease that you pour into it directly from your cooking pan. You then simply dispose of the entire drain guard into your trash.

The FOG Safe Drain Guard keeps harmful fats, oils and grease contaminants out of your plumbing, city sewers and the environment. When cooking fats, oils and grease build up in your pipes and city sewers, they end up clogging your plumbing and sending raw sewage back into your home, neighborhood and the local environment.

See a FOG Safe Drain Guard in action over on the FOG Safe YouTube channel.

Holiday Plumbing Issues

Did you know that calls to the plumber for clogged pipes peak around the holidays? This is the time of year where people are cooking large family feasts and sending items they shouldn’t down the kitchen sink drain—looking at you turkey drippings.

According to Home Advisor, the average cost for hiring a plumber is $310.

One way to ensure a clog free holiday season is by properly disposing of all fats, oils and grease after cooking a meal.

Where can I find FOG Safe Drain Guards?

FOG Safe Drain Guards can be found in a number of retail locations in Hawaii as well as throughout the United States.

In Hawaii you can find FOG Safe Drain Guards at: Times Supermarkets, City Mill, Simply Organized, KTA Super Stores, Hardware Hawaii, Big Save Markets and Purchasing Hui of Hawaii.

FOG Safe Drain Guards are now in 90, and still growing, ACE Hardware locations throughout the United States.

You can also purchase your FOG Safe Drain Guards online on Amazon and The Grommet.

Learn more about the ways in which we have assisted FOG Safe during their product development journey.

Interested in learning more about FOG Safe? Head on over to their website.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

3d printing for manufacturing has challenges to overcome.

5 Challenges in 3D Printing Manufacturers Need to Overcome

3d printing for manufacturing has challenges to overcome.

We cannot underestimate the power of 3D printing as it pertains to manufacturing. It has allowed us to create complex parts with pinpoint accuracy, lowered the cost of production and expanded our imagination beyond historical limitations. The technology is poised to revolutionize the manufacturing industry in the future. Despite all these benefits, there are still several weaknesses that we have not been able to conquer in 3D printing. While the technology is still evolving, 3D printing firms like Geomiq will have to overcome several challenges to ensure quality, cost reduction and drive innovation. Here are five such challenges.

Quality Problems with 3D Printing

This is the most basic of the challenges that many printers have to contend with. The quality-related problems can be subdivided into few issues like available materials, low-resolution output and fused deposition modelling parts that are fragile. A combination of these three makes most 3D printed parts to be of an inferior quality to those manufactured with traditional means.

First, the material choices are limited to those that can be melted, squirted or extruded. This puts away lots of other materials that can produce better quality items. There have been strides in creating multi-materials, but there are only two at a time. Intelligent machine design may eventually solve problems with human error in complex printing, while improvements in output may help solve low output problems.

Lack of Standardized Procedures

While 3D printing provides cheap items compared to traditional printing methods, it takes too many parameters, adjustments and juggling formats. It has been joked that the reason 3D printers are transparent is to enable engineers to determine if the printing is going on right. It is up to the printing firm to come up with clear processes when undertaking the printing work so that each output is similar to the rest.

Besides, professional organizations are also tasked with creating standardized processes for most of the 3D printing projects so that printing across various industries can result in quality and standardized products just like the case of traditional manufacturing. The overall goal is to have one-click printing reliability, just like the 2D printers.

Lack of Specialized Skills

As 3D printing technology continues to infiltrate various industries, there is a lack of enough skilled employees who can design, use software, computer-aided design and operate 3D printers. For the technology to live to its promise, companies need to invest resources and time into training staff members on emerging innovations in 3D printing. This may be a challenge as many seasoned engineers and companies are reluctant to incorporate new technologies. On the same note, technology institutions must also start investing in the technology and giving their students hands-on experience in 3D printing. The training will become easy if there is standardization, as explained in the section above.

Capital Equipment and Material Costs

The cost of owning an industrial-type 3D printer is prohibitive. Unlike many disruptive technologies where the cost of owning the technology is fairly low, with 3D printing, the company must have deep pockets for the capital equipment. Materials used in the printing are also not widely available and, therefore, do not come cheap. This makes it hard for most firms to invest in several printers or expand their production using 3D printers. If the technology is to gain traction in manufacturing, the cost of assembling the printers should go down so that many can own the piece of equipment.

Focus on Prototypes and not the Final Products

Sadly, many 3D printing efforts are aimed at the wrong target. Most organizations would be happy to use the technology in creating replacement parts, tools and prototypes with the technology and not think of wholesome solutions or final production parts. The reason for this myopic view is because many engineers do not see the technology from a holistic view of solution building.

Any additive manufacturing technology should have a process, materials, parts and a system. It may be okay to separate the four ideas in manufacturing. However, when building a solution, all these parts must work together. For example, if you are creating springs for a piece of equipment, you should not see it just as parts but should look at the relationship with other parts. You can re-engineer the whole engine so that you produce smaller or better parts and result in high-performing, low-cost equipment. This way, 3D printing will have lived to its promise.

As we refine 3D printing technologies, manufacturers are likely to meet several challenges on the way. Most challenges can be dealt with to acceptable levels. However, manufacturers must also be dynamic enough to incorporate innovations in the technology as they come.


Guest post from Jessica Harper at Geomiq.

3D Academy STEM education partner in Hawaii.

Focusing on STEM Education | 3D Academy

3D Academy is your STEM education partner.STEM education is a popular education topic and it’s making great strides in schools across the globe. Our 3D Academy team has seen first-hand the positive impact STEM education has on children of all ages. Students that are exposed to STEM subjects early-on are learning much more than just science, technology, engineering and math—they are learning critical thinking skills, design thinking and team collaboration to name a few. Below we are sharing more STEM education facts.

We have a passion for STEM education and wanted to share some of our most popular STEM related blog posts with you.

The Baby Toon – From Science Fair to Shark Tank

Our client, The Baby Toon, was featured on the Season 11 Premiere of Shark Tank and was able to successfully secure a deal with Lori Greiner. Inventor of The Baby Toon, Cassidy Crowley (age 10), and her family have been on this startup journey for three years now and watching it culminate with a deal on Shark Tank was certainly a highlight for them and us. We had a chance to talk with Cassidy and her mom, Lori, to discuss the entire experience and share their favorite memories with us.

Entrepreneurship Needs STEM Education

A quick glance inside of a STEM focused classroom will show a range of design possibilities to the same question posed by the teacher. Students love to think critically and use their creativity—much like entrepreneurs. Getting hands-on and designing a solution is what entrepreneurs do best.

STEM education is more than four subjects, it’s a mindset. The skills taught in STEM classes can be used in any career field—especially, entrepreneurship.

The Changing Landscape of STEM Education

Technological advancements coupled with vocal industry proponents, have successfully transformed the way STEM education is taught. This is great news, because the long-term benefits of STEM are profound on students’ future career success—whether in a STEM field, or not.

The Long-Term Benefits of a STEM Education

STEM teaches valuable life skills. Technology is transforming the landscape of our lives—in today’s global marketplace there is no substitute for a strong STEM education background as you enter the workforce. In this post we discuss STEM education facts about the benefits of the curriculum outside of the classroom.

3D Academy

Our 3D Academy is your STEM education partner. We specialize in developing and integrating industry technologies with STEM education and can build custom programs for your classroom or school. We understand that closing the STEM skills gap takes effort from both academia and professionals in the field, and we are happy to work with schools to bring hands-on and project-based opportunities to students.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

3D Innovations has product design and packaging expereince in a variety of materials.

Product Design Beyond Plastic—Exploring Materials

3D Innovations has product design and packaging expereince in a variety of materials.Plastic is a popular go-to material for many new products and inventions—however, there are many more material options to choose from based on your product design, product specifications, intended use and performance maximization. Over the years our team has developed various products, and their packaging, in a variety of industries using a wide range of materials.

While the advancements of 3D printing and the popularity of product customization rely heavily on plastic—it is not the only option out there for your product. Below are a number of materials to consider when it comes to product design and your product’s intended use.

Material Options for Your Product
  • Fiberglass: Selected for specific applications where products will be exposed to outdoor elements, larger than 4 cubic feet, and when low volume production is required.
  • Metals (Aluminum, Stainless Steel, etc.): When requirements dictate that the product materials be metal, casting or CNC are required to produce the parts.
  • Neoprene: Used for soft good products used in athletic and training equipment.
  • Paper Pulp (recycled paper and cardboard): Used in packaging as well as an alternative for plastic to reduce negative footprint on the environment.
  • Plastics (ABS, Nylon, Polycarbonate, HDPE/LDPE): Most commonly used plastics for consumer-based products.
  • Plexiglass: Used as an alternative for glass and when applications require a lighter weight material.
  • Rubber: Nitrile rubber for automotive and aerospace industries due to its versatility and strong resistance to chemicals, heat, and abrasion resistance.
  • Silicone: Products made for food or medical industries.  Needs to be Food Grade or FDA medical grade.
  • Thermoplastics (HIPS): Selected for high volume consumer products where application is for single or multiple use.
  • Urethane Resin: A good alternative for low volume production of parts when injection molding is not feasible.
Product Packaging

An area that is easy to overlook when you are deep in product development is packaging. In product packaging there have been strides in moving away from plastic in favor of sustainable materials and more resource-efficient designs.

Consumers have a growing interest in businesses and brands that focus on sustainability.

“21% of consumers surveyed by Unilever said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging.” (Sufio)

The following are some of the packaging materials that are biodegradable and recyclable.

  • Biodegradable Plastic: When exposed to sunlight, the biodegradable plastic decomposes. It is also used to make envelopes that are usually used for bulk mailing. Biodegradable plastic is a viable and practical alternative to traditional plastics.
  • Bubble Wrap: Bubble wrap made out of recycled polyethylene is fully degradable. They help to keep your product safe.
  • Cardboard and Paper: They are biodegradable, recyclable, and reusable. Paperboards are lightweight, yet strong. They can be used to pack products ranging from medicines to frozen food to cosmetics. A pizza box constructed out of corrugated boards helps to retain the heat and freshness of the pizza for a short time.
  • Corn Starch: Corn starch-made items are biodegradable. They are ideal for all types of food packaging. The package can be sent via post as well. Packages made out of corn starch have limited or no negative impact on the environment.

*The above list of packaging materials is from “6 Eco-friendly, Sustainable Packaging Ideas for your Products

Our team has experience working with a large variety of materials for both your product design and packaging. When it comes to developing a product, tailoring every aspect to both your product and business’ goals is our main focus.

Have additional questions for our product development team? Please send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

Our client, The Baby Toon, on Shark Tank Season 11 Premiere

The Baby Toon – From Science Fair to Shark Tank

Our client, The Baby Toon, on Shark Tank Season 11 Premiere

Image is from ABC Shark Tank

Our client, The Baby Toon, was featured on the Season 11 Premiere of Shark Tank and was able to successfully secure a deal with Lori Greiner. Inventor of The Baby Toon, Cassidy Crowley (age 10), and her family have been on this startup journey for three years now and watching it culminate with a deal on Shark Tank was certainly a highlight for them and us. We had a chance to talk with Cassidy and her mom, Lori, to discuss the entire experience and share their favorite memories with us.

From this entire startup journey, what valuable lesson did you walk away with?

Cassidy C.: I learned to just go for it because you never know unless you try! It was super exciting to go through the whole Shark Tank process. I know not many kids or adults get this opportunity in life so I am very thankful. It was fun to get to see behind the scenes of my favorite TV Show and meet the Sharks!

What are the chances you’ll get on “Shark Tank”? On average, the show receives 35,000 to 40,000 applicants each season, some of whom are reapplying after earlier rejections. Of those, about 1,000 advance to a second round of vetting. But this season 10, the show filmed just 158 pitches, and will air only 88 of them, four each episode. So even getting into the tank is no guarantee of TV glory. -USA Today

Lori C.: I learned how with the power of the internet, and Google, you could learn how to do and approach things you know absolutely nothing about! I also learned that your kids can inspire you to never give up! There were many times that I felt defeated and wanted to give up simply because we didn’t know how, had no experience, and didn’t have a friend we could ask to point us in the right direction. However, in those difficult times, it was the kids who said, “we can’t give up”. Their drive, perseverance, and determination to push through even when we didn’t know the answers is something I as a parent will always admire and remember. It really is because of them that we were able to take this journey from science fair to Shark Tank and I am so proud of their commitment to this.

What was your favorite part about being on Shark Tank?

Cassidy C.: My favorite part was showing The Baby Toon to these super successful Shark entrepreneurs.

Lori C.: Cassidy was amazing and handled herself with grace, energy and poise that I could never do at 10 years old or even now at 40! I’m so proud of her strength. I am proud of my other daughters for the never-ending positive support they gave their sister. They were right there every step of the way. We met the most wonderful people along the journey who became our friends and taught us so much.

“We met the most wonderful people along the journey who became our friends and taught us so much. We really knew nothing about how to design and start a business and the experts we met were completely open, knowledgeable, and kind enough to educate our family (with 3 kids!) about their area. Thank you so much for being kind and patient. 3D Innovations and Collin, you set the tone and caliber so high from the start everyone else we worked with had to match up to you!” -Lori C.

During the product development process of The Baby Toon, do you have a favorite memory or experience?

Cassidy C.: I loved learning about 3D printing, how you could design on a computer and actually 3D print it! I liked going to Albany, NY at Extreme Molding because we got to see our mold and how silicone is made, injected into the mold, and see how the product comes out of the machine. I loved selling our product and sharing our story live with people at the Baby Expo and craft fairs.  And finally Shark Tank, like I mentioned above, pitching to the Sharks then actually talking to Lori Greiner about The Baby Toon’s future.

Lori C.: Learning with my kids!  You’re never too old to learn! Traveling to see a working US manufacturing company and bringing home the first suitcases of Baby Toons hot off the press!  And of course, auditioning for Shark Tank, getting a call back, and actually making it to the Season Premiere! Really, who would have ever thought a little 7-year-old from Hawaii with a dream of sharing her school science project with the Sharks would be there, pitching The Baby Toon 3 years later. It was truly one of those just try and see what happens—and a memory we will all never forget.  It was just so cool to see the Sharks right in front of us asking Cassidy questions and seeing how she would respond. There is a lot going on and lots of questions that are asked. She was fearless, it was so fun to watch.

Collin Kobayashi at 3D Innovations, LLC

The Baby Toon has been a truly special project to work on. From the start, Cassidy and her family have been eager to learn about all aspects of product development and open to ideas.

You are never too young or old to invent. If you have an idea or passion that you think can change the world, go for it! Many first-time entrepreneurs often think that they need to have all of the answers figured out before reaching out to us—you don’t. As a product development partner, we help guide you through each step of the product development process and help you connect with the right industry partners.

If you have questions about developing your product idea, send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

Patent drawings are essential for a strong patent application.

Patent Drawings — Essential for a Strong Application

Patent drawings are essential for a strong patent application.When it comes to filing a patent for your invention, patent drawings are an absolute must. These drawings provide you with the ability to disclose all details and functions of your product in a way that neither words nor photographs can. When you are filing a patent application, you are defining your invention and being awarded a filing date for it, which means that every single detail of your invention needs to be included at this time.

Patent Drawings for Your Application

“For applications filed on or after December 18, 2013, other than design applications [1], U.S. patent laws no longer require that an application contain a drawing to be entitled to a filing date. See 35 U.S.C. 111. Having said that, it is an extraordinary mistake for anyone to believe that drawings are no longer required, or that submitting drawings at the time of filing is not the absolute best practice. Furthermore, it should be understood that high quality drawings — and many of them — are the single best and most economical way to expand the scope of any disclosure filed.” (Gene Quinn of IP Watchdog)

While it might seem that since the passage of the Patent Law Implementation Treaty Act in December of 2013 that patent drawings are not required, it isn’t that simple. “35 U.S.C. 113 continues to require one or more drawings if necessary for the understanding of the subject matter.” (Gene Quinn of IP Watchdog)

Therefore, patent drawings should be viewed as required.

Patent Drawings Defined

Patent drawings are a set of illustrations showing the detailed features of an invention submitted during the patent application process.

“Drawings with more details have more success. They often cover what inventors forget to describe in the written disclosure. The best way to get an adequate detailed drawing is to hire a professional patent illustrator. Greatly detailed, professional drawings have an increased possibility of approval during the application process.” (Upcounsel)

3D Innovations for Patent Drawings

We have helped many inventors with their patent application drawings. Our skilled team is knowledgeable about the details required in patent drawings. Send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com to learn more about how we can help during the patent application process.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

 

3D Innovations discusses 3D printing with Hawaii News Now

3D Innovations LLC on Hawaii News Now — Sept. 24th


Update: Here is a link to the news segment that aired: 3D Innovations provides students with hands-on learning experience


President of 3D Innovations LLC, Collin Kobayashi, will sit down with Hawaii News Now to talk about the rapid growth of the 3D printing industry and how this industry is influencing major industries here in Hawaii and worldwide. The segment will air on Tuesday, September 24th at 7:20am HST.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing is a technology that lets you create a physical object from a digital model. This technology originated in 1983 and since then has seen a steady rise in popularity. The original function of 3D printing technology, and still its most popular use today, was to rapidly create, develop and test product prototypes. One of the original terms for the technology was in fact, ‘rapid prototyping’. However, as the technology has evolved and matured, so has its name—today it’s most commonly referred to as 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

The Benefits of 3D Printing

The benefits of 3D printing are numerous: speed, complexity, customization, personalization, simplified manufacturing and ease of access to name a few. For entrepreneurs, these benefits translate into faster product development and quicker product launches. For businesses, these benefits open a completely new way of imaging product designs, expanding product offerings and streamlining the manufacturing process.

The aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, robotics, medical and dental industries are the top industries helping to propel 3D printing forward. These industries have been able to successfully utilize the technology for end-use parts and in turn, have sped up the way they design, build and manufacture—saving companies significant time and money. According to the industry leading Wohler’s Report, the 3D printing industry is forecasted at $15.8 billion for 2020. The forecast continues to climb to $23.9 billion in 2022, and $35.6 billion in 2024.

3D Printing in the Classroom

While 3D printing is making its mark on startups and businesses, it has also found a niche in education. Schools are eager to bring this technology into the classroom as a way of providing hands-on learning experiences. The landscape of education, particularly STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, is shifting and 3D printing is at the forefront. By engaging students in hands-on learning, students are now designing and 3D printing their creative solutions to real world problems, bringing math to life and exploring subject matter in a new and innovative way.

Here at 3D Innovations LLC we utilize this technology frequently throughout the product development process and in our 3D Academy workshops. Head on over to our website to see the various ways we are able to help entrepreneurs, in Hawaii and beyond, develop and launch their startups.

Below is the full Press Release from 3D Innovations LLC:

3D Innovations on Hawaii News Now talking about 3D printing technology.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

The Baby Toon on Season 11 of ABC Shark Tank

The Baby Toon on Shark Tank Season 11 Premiere

The Baby Toon on Season 11 of ABC Shark TankWe are excited to share that our client, The Baby Toon, will be on the Season Premiere of the hit ABC show Shark Tank! The episode will air on Sunday, September 29th at 9|8c—mark your calendar.

Product Development of The Baby Toon

The Crowley family came to us with the idea for The Baby Toon. Their daughter, Cassidy (age 7), had come up with the idea and the design for the Honolulu District Science and Engineering Fair.

From Cassidy:

“I was instructed to identify a problem. When I went home, I noticed that my mom always got scared when my baby sister put the back of a long, hard, plastic spoon in her mouth. I didn’t want anything to happen to her and I didn’t like seeing my mom so worried, so I came up with… The Baby Toon!”

We worked with the Crowley family on finding the optimal design for The Baby Toon, we used 3D printing to test prototypes and worked with their manufacturing partner on the molding. The Baby Toon also holds a patent, in which we were able to assist as well.

3D Innovations was efficient, current with technology during the design and engineering process, and aware of staying within our financial budget.  Our family was not only educated and received expert advice through the process, but we gained a friend who we enjoyed working with.

-Lori Crowley, The BabyToon

The Baby Toon

The Baby Toon is a safer option for a baby spoon that eliminates the long sharp design of a traditional spoon. It is made of soft FDA grade silicone with rounded corners and edges (gentle on the baby’s gums) and it’s BPA/PPA free. Babies can also teethe on this soft spoon as well. The Baby Toon is easy for babies and parents to hold with a short neck that protects babies from choking. It also works great for big sisters or brothers to assist with feedings.

The Baby Toon on Shark Tank Season 11 Premiere

The Crowley family was notified recently that they would be on the Season Premiere of Shark Tank and below is their daughters’ reaction to the news!

3D Innovations Case Studies

Head on over to the Case Study section of our website to see a range of products where we have worked closely on many aspects of the product development and helped entrepreneurs launch their businesses.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

Fostering a love of STEM education in students early-on.

Fostering an Early Love of STEM Education

Using hands-on egineering education and innovation to bridge the stem skills gap.As the school year ramps up for students many are starting their journey into STEM education, some for the first time. STEM subjects are a critical component of education and our future workforce. A recent article from Forbes, STEM And STEAM Education: Why We Need Them, captures the need for quality STEM education perfectly:

“STEM education is more critical than ever for all children. It’s vital to the future of our workforce, and we need to equip all children with the tools they need to succeed in a competitive economy.” -Becky Lynch, Director of US Community Partnerships at GSK

Below we have gathered some of our most popular STEM related articles. We hope that these pieces inspire both students, teachers and parents alike to delve deeper into the world of STEM education.

3D Academy: Educate to Innovate

Introducing innovation into a classroom can help students turn their passion into future careers. Here we share five ways to help students develop an innovation mindset and build important life-long skills.

Entrepreneurship Needs STEM Education

While the focus is on educating students around the four subjects—science, technology, engineering and math—the true value of these subject areas goes far beyond an engineering career or science major. STEM education provides a solid foundation for entrepreneurship.

Exploring STEM Subjects During Summer Break

While this piece was written for summer, it can be adapted to any school break.

Diving deeper and exploring STEM subjects during summer break allows students to find what truly interests them. In school, there is a curriculum to follow and goals to meet; however, the unstructured summer months let students explore their own interests in science, technology, engineering, and math. They can dig deeper into subject matter, which helps them not only grasp concepts better, but gives them a better understanding of the world around them.

The Changing Landscape of STEM Education

Technological advancements coupled with vocal industry proponents, have successfully transformed the way STEM education is taught. This is great news, because the long-term benefits of STEM education are profound on students’ future career success—whether in a STEM field, or not.

The Benefits of Using 3D Printing Technology in Education

3D printing technology promotes active learning and has the power to open a world of career possibilities to students. 3D printing inspires creativity and can help encourage students to explore a career in engineering or science.

Fostering a love of STEM early-on is a great way to help students use their imaginations, build with their hands and help them understand that they can create the future.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

3D printing, additive manufacturing, is heading towards a sustainable future.

3D Printing Heading Towards a More Sustainable Future

3D printing, additive manufacturing, is heading towards a sustainable future.3D printing, also referred to as additive manufacturing, has captured the imagination of consumers, product designers and manufacturers alike over the last decade. We have witnessed the technology go through a hype cycle and come out the other side a more mature and grounded technology. No longer are people predicting a 3D printer in every home; however, product development engineers and the manufacturing industry have seen widespread use of the technology grow as material selection has increased and test use-cases in the aerospace and automotive industries have proved wildly successful.

During the major 3D printing hype cycle of the mid 2010’s, 3D printing technology was being touted as a green technology that was on the cusp of revolutionizing the way we build products and conduct business. At the time there were green components to the technology, but as a whole, it could not necessarily be considered environmentally friendly. Fast forward a decade, and we now see the technology heading towards a more sustainable future through advancements.

3D Printing Plant-Based Plastics

Plastic pollution is a global problem. Microplastics can be found in nearly everything—from the food we eat to the deepest depths of the ocean. Plastic, specifically ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), is a top material used in 3D printing; however, there has been a push to develop more environmentally friendly materials, such as PLA ((Polylactic Acid). “PLA is manufactured out of plant-based resources such as corn starch or sugar cane, making PLA much better for the environment because they are made from renewable resources.” (Fabbaloo)

“PLA plastics are more environmentally friendly. Unlike other thermoplastics that are petroleum-based, they are made from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugar cane. PLA is also much easier to print with compared to ABS; printing can be completed at higher speeds without a heat controlled surface or harmful emissions. Not only do they tend to have a smoother and more appealing appearance, but they can also be used for food packaging being that they are made from food-based materials. However, there are some major limitations to using PLA plastics. Primarily, they are less sturdy then ABS plastics and can become deformed from heat, making them unsuitable for high stress applications.” (Fabbaloo)

While the materials used in 3D printing aren’t 100% sustainable yet, there is an alternative that many people have turned to, filament recyclers. Whether you purchase a filament recycler or use a service, you are reducing waste and recycling materials that should not be in a landfill.

Decentralized Manufacturing

The concept of 3D printing is to produce a part on demand thus reducing shipping and warehouse costs. The aerospace industry has been successful in producing highly customized parts locally that can be used in airplanes. These customized parts often have highly specialized and complex designs that can reduce weight, thus lowering fuel consumption and greenhouse gases.

Many researchers think the capability to make such complicated parts, and resulting gains in energy efficiency, may offer the greatest environmental benefits from additive manufacturing. (Fast Company)

Manufacturing Material Waste

Traditional manufacturing methods take a piece of material and cutaway at it until the final product is formed—there is a great deal of waste that comes with subtractive manufacturing. On the other hand, additive manufacturing produces a product layer-by-layer until the final product is complete, leaving substantially less waste. Yes, large designs will require supports that will need to be cleared away in post-processing, but on average less waste is produced.

As the additive manufacturing industry continues to grow and mature, we suspect that new ways to reduce material waste will be of concern.

As consumers and businesses start focusing more on sustainability, we know that 3D printing materials and waste reducing methods will take center stage. While the technology is not currently a “green technology” with research and advancements it can certainly become more environmentally friendly.

______

3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.