Posts Tagged "3D CAD"

My 3D Academy

November 21, 2013

3D Academy, A Division of 3D Innovations, LLC provides training services specializing in 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D Printing Technology.

3D Academy promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs that integrate 3D Technology into K–12, as well as university classrooms. Using hands-on and project based learning strategies, we have been effective in providing students with opportunities to excel in the areas of STEM and to integrate industry applications into their learning experiences. Our core program utilizes 3D CAD and takes students through the entire design process (design, prototyping, manufacturing, etc.). When integrated into school curriculum, our STEM education programs provides students with opportunities to solve real world design problems, engage with industry standard technology, and transform concepts into reality. Education programs are available statewide and have been integrated with many robotics programs such as FIRST, UROV,
BotBall, and First Lego League. Programs are both customizable and scalable to meet various applications and grade levels.

Click here to view the Full Version of our video on YouTube

Let the 2014 Halloween Costume Planning Begin

November 1, 2013

It’s time to get extra creative with your 2014 Halloween costume and finally win that office costume contest! Check out this video of a custom Halloween mask in the making…

Read the full article about this video on Design News.


3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Custom 3D Printed Stand Up Paddle Fins (video)

October 17, 2013

Collin Kobayashi, 3D Innovations President & Chief 3D Officer, explains the entire custom Stand Up Paddle (SUP) fin design and manufacturing process in this video.

This video has been provided by

Avoid These Common Additive Manufacturing Design Mistakes

September 12, 2013

Design News recently featured a guest blog post from a member of the Quickparts team, Jeff Cline, titled: 7 Common Mistakes in Designing Parts for Additive Manufacturing. We found this article to be very informative and educational for not only design engineers but those interested in having a product built using additive manufacturing.

3D CADThe mistakes listed below are fairly common in the design process and can lead to additional product costs and delayed production. Being aware of and avoiding these mistakes will cut down on the product development cycle and ultimately lead to a higher quality end-product and happy customer.

“Before submitting a design for any additive manufacturing project, keep an eye out for these seven common mistakes in part design and file conversion:

  1. The part design has thin features or walls, less than .03 inch for standard resolution, or .015 inch to .02 inch for high-resolution machines. Due to the layer-by-layer approach of the additive manufacturing process, anything smaller or thinner than this will often not build and won’t be present in the final model. Pay close attention to raised or recessed logos and areas of small text, knife-edge features which taper down to zero thickness, and curvy sections of any design where thickness can fluctuate.
  2. The native CAD model is converted to .STL format with a very low resolution, resulting in heavy faceting in the model. If the .STL file’s resolution is too low, the model will be faceted instead of having smooth surfaces and curves. This can be quite common and produces unattractive parts. Typically, to achieve a smooth finish on a model, there should be an edge-to-edge distance of less than .02 inch between facets on the .STL file. Check the parameters on the native CAD program being used to determine the best method of exporting acceptable .STL files.
  3. The original CAD data has numerous unstitched surfaces (rather than solids), resulting in errors when converting to .STL format. Make sure that surfaces used in the original CAD model are water-tight. The .STL file should also be inspected to ensure that all dimensions, the part volume, and the surface area appear correct. Your 3D-print software should be built to assist with that.
  4. The part design has an enclosed hollow space from which support and build materials can’t be removed. Any enclosed hollow void in the design will contain support materials that can’t be removed upon model completion. This area may also be filled with unused resin or powder depending on the selected prototyping process. Consider filling in voids to be solid, building the design in halves to allow access to the enclosed space, or adding a hole of some kind in the model to allow for the removal of the support materials.
  5. Assemblies, threads, and mating features are designed with improper clearance. The standard tolerances for most additive manufacturing processes start at +/-0.005 inch and compound from there as the design increases in size. It’s not uncommon for first-time customers to receive parts that, while within the published tolerances of the manufacturing process, don’t mate up as intended. Typically, there should be a 0.015 inch to 0.02 inch clearance between mating parts, which is different from what’s required for traditional injection molding. This is an important point when the project’s success depends on how well different designs assemble with one another.
  6. The design includes a living hinge that needs to function. Living hinge designs on most parts produced via additive manufacturing don’t typically function as intended. The build material involved is often too rigid, especially in such a thin section, and will break. While a few materials have been developed to address this need (such as the Duraform EX material using the SLS process), expect limited use from a living hinge design produced via additive methods.
  7. The measurement units for the .STL file differ from what was intended. Double-check the .STL file’s properties to ensure that the correct unit is selected. This is especially true when there’s more than one design with varying units of measurement being built together. Some CAD packages also have default settings where .STL files may be exported in a different unit from what was used during the design process.”

To red the full article on the Design News website, please click here.

Case Study: Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing Gets Wet

September 5, 2013

Additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) provides solutions for a number of every day problems. You constantly hear and read about individuals using additive manufacturing to build replacement parts for common products. Below is a real world situation that was recently encountered and how additive manufacturing was utilized for the solution.

Situation: For a moment imagine this, you are planning for a weekend at the beach full of Stand Up Paddling (SUP), but as you prep your board you find out that your fins are too badly damaged and cannot be used. You hurry to the nearest surf shop and unfortunately they are out of stock of the fins and they are currently on back order, so you try the next surf shop only to find out that they don’t carry the kind that you need. As you start to become flustered you remember a friend that has a 3D printer and he uses it all the time for a range of solutions, so you give him a call to see if he can help…and of course he says “Yes I can print you one today!”

This problem isn’t far fetched at all because we actually encountered a situation similar to this here at 3D Innovations. Luckily we were able to quickly design and 3D print replacement fins for the SUP Board.

SUP Replacement Fins

SUP Replacement Fins

Solution: With the use of additive manufacturing/3D printing, 3D Innovations was able to design and build fins for a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP). With minimum customization, these fins were designed using a 3D CAD program and produced using Production Grade Thermoplastic material using additive manufacturing.

SUP Replacement Fins in Action

Replacement Fins in Action

Once the 3D printing process was complete, the fins were removed and installed onto the paddle board. To ensure the durability and strength, these fins were actually tested in waters off Oahu (Hawaii). While it is hard to measure a difference in performance, the fins did provide an alternative to off the shelf parts and were easily customized to fit the specific model of the SUP board.

Our President & Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, explains the entire SUP fin design and manufacturing process in this video.


3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

New Design Project – UFO: A DIY Turntable Strobe

July 24, 2013

As a design, engineering and 3D printing company we have the opportunity to meet fantastic entrepreneurs and business owners and often we become fully immersed in the projects we work on with them; The UFO Turntable Strobe is one of these projects. The genius behind this Kickstarter project is Jim Hagerman, and we previously had the opportunity to work with him on his widely successful Bugle2: A DIY Phono Preamp project. When he approached us with this new project, the UFO Turntable Strobe, we were on board!

Jim has been working on this project for years and was facing the challenge of keeping the design and production costs manageable. We were able to assist Jim by designing and prototyping the unit to not only be visually appealing, but extremely cost effective as well.

What is it? The UFO is a self-contained strobe light and dot pattern that indicates when your turntable is spinning at the correct speed, whether 33.3 or 45 RPM. It sits on the center spindle and works with any turntable. The unique design not only looks superb, it also has crystal-controlled accuracy. The push-button on top steps through the various operating modes.

Who needs it? Anyone with a turntable! If you want to know that your table is accurate or if it has a speed adjustment, the UFO is exactly what you need. And it doesn’t cost any more than a traditional two-piece pattern disc and strobe light.

Why do you need it? Maybe you just like the way it looks with the room lights off – glowing and hovering in space above your LP. Maybe you’re a DJ working night clubs and want to set yourself apart. Or perhaps you just care a lot about sound and try to get the most out of your vinyl playback system, implementing every tweak possible to minimize distortions. If you have a heavy duty turntable with a massive platter, I suggest getting the weighted version, as the extra mass and damping can improve the noise floor of your system.

View the official Kickstarter UFO: A DIY Turntable Strobe page.

Bringing CAD (Computer-Aided Design) into the Classroom

July 18, 2013

Most think of CAD and 3D modeling as technology that’s taught at the college or professional level, it is now trickling down to high-school and even middle-school classrooms. CAD increasingly is shaping the education of America’s youth in ways that far outstrip its original application as a drafting tool. Its use is helping to shore up the country’s supply of engineers by instilling a passion for technology use at a young age.

When it comes to fostering students’ interest in a subject current wisdom says the window of opportunity is closing by the time students finish middle school. That, together with an emphasis on the importance of teaching process and critical thinking, is what’s driving the push to introduce CAD technologies to students in the third through twelfth grades.

3D Academy, the educational branch of 3D Innovations, focuses on bringing CAD into the classroom. Our program curriculum is structured and designed to give students a head start in their careers as well as exposure to industry practices. Curriculum is focused on pre-engineering principles that integrate CAD, engineering design, drafting, and manufacturing.

Opportunity and exposure to STEM fields are key to fostering interest, but a student’s belief in his or her ability to make a contribution to the professional world is an important precursor to pursuing what often is a hidden dream. CAD is helping students gain that confidence.



3D Academy, A Division of 3D Innovations, LLC provides training services specializing in 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) Technology.

Q&A Session: Prototyping, Product Design, 3D Printing & Much More…

June 13, 2013

“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

As you know, last week and this week we held two Product Development and Design Seminars in Hawaii. We found that these were not only a great opportunity to get out into the community, but these also proved very useful to help entrepreneurs and small businesses get their engineering, manufacturing, prototyping, 3D CAD, additive manufacturing/3D printing, product design and development questions answered. This got us thinking, there must be many more people out there that are curious about all of these design aspects as well, but just do not have a resource in which to ask their questions…Well now you do!

Please feel free to e-mail with your questions, or post them as a comment on this blog post because chances are that if you have a question, someone out there has the same question! We truly love educating entrepreneurs and small business owners about all aspects of the product development life cycle, so that in the end you are able to make a clear and informed decision about the future of your product.

Product Design & Development Seminar in Honolulu, HI on June 10, 2013


3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the  3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Inspiring Students To Think About STEM

May 30, 2013

“Learning is not a spectator sport.” – D. Blocher

Throughout life we are each inspired by different things…some of us are inspired by a certain professor while others of us are inspired a quest for answers and knowledge…while our inspiration comes from different places, it instills in us a universal drive to succeed. We wanted to reach out to our parents, teachers and educators with this blog post to learn a bit as to how they work to inspire students. How do you light the inspiration spark in students? To take it a bit further, How do you inspire students in STEM fields?

We have come up with some ways in which we have seen students become inspired throughout their educational journey.

  1. Hands-on Activity: We have seen this time and time again, when students are able to actively participate in the classroom we see them become fully engaged with the material. Our educational company, 3D Academy, works with schools and after-school programs to provide interactive education opportunities with 3D CAD, prototyping and 3D printing and each time we actively engage with the students we see their eyes light up because we are using a teaching model that emphasizes trial-and-error rather than lectures.
  2. Field Trips: It is no secret that students love getting out of the classroom and exploring. Whether it is a class field trip or a family trip to the local science museum you see students learning and becoming inspired.
  3. Group Competitions: Robotics competitions are everywhere these days, and what is more powerful than coming together with fellow students to design and build an actual robot? Answer: Nothing. Students become inspired by seeing their work come to life and these kind of competitions often lead students into future STEM careers.
  4. Mentors: Mentoring a student is a very powerful way of helping them see the “cool” side of STEM careers. Having this one-on-one contact with a student allows them to get any questions they have answered and your influence might just be the inspiration they were needing.

Please leave a comment on this blog post with your own ideas about inspiring students, and we will grow the list together!


3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the  3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

3D Academy, A Division of 3D Innovations, LLC provides training services specializing in 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) Technology. 3D Academy promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs that integrate 3D Technology into K–12, as well as university classrooms.

What Does the Future Look Like For Computer Aided Design (CAD)?

May 23, 2013

Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a tool that many engineers have come to heavily rely on. This technology has been around for decades and we have witnessed many advancements in the technology. Recently though we are starting to see a shift in CAD to more “futuristic” ways of using the technology and we wanted to pose a question to our community, What do you think the future looks like for CAD?

For two months in a row now, Rapid Ready Technology has posted some intriguing articles about companies that are trying to advance CAD applications and software in very drastic ways.

1. Leonar3Do Brings Virtual Reality to 3D Design: A Hungarian startup, is ready to offer a different approach to 3D design by allowing people to actually design in 3D. The company’s proprietary technology uses imaging glasses and a stylus called the “Bird” as part of a virtual reality (VR) design space that creates objects in 3D.

“Leonar3Do’s vision has always been to breakout of the antiquated 2D mold and drive design innovation to empower how people can visualize, create and innovate their ideas they have imagined but in real, 3D space,” said Roland Manyai, Leonar3Do’s business development and marketing director.

The system uses infra-red position detection in the form of three sensors mounted around the workspace. The glasses have built-in infra LEDs enabling head-tracking positioning, and the Bird is a spatial input device that allows users to create and interact with 3D VR images.

2. Thinker Thing Directs Digital Design with Your Mind: What if someone could build a design tool that allows the user to make anything they can imagine, by thought alone? Thinker Thing is a company that has taken on this ambitious project, with startup funding from the Chilean government. Instead of controlling the evolution of a design with a mouse or touchscreen, the company is developing a method of using an Emotiv EPOC EEG reader to build 3D objects.

At this point users aren’t directing complete designs with their thoughts, as though your brain were controlling the mouse. Instead, the EPOC measures reactions to different design elements and selects the element that, according to your EEG, is most appealing to the user. Each piece of a larger design slowly evolves as EPOC continues to monitor a user’s thoughts, until eventually the entire piece is complete.

Both of these projects are extremely interesting but at the same time seem a little far off. As far as the future of CAD goes, we expect to see a couple advancements within the next few years. One, Multi-Touch CAD; Take away the keyboard and mouse and you are left with designing on touch screens with your fingers (much like how we use an iPad). Moving geometry, viewing and sketching could all be done with your digits, and could even allow for greater expression than through a keyboard and mouse. Some apps have achieved this, but we expect to see this technology translate to our workplace and become more common. Two, Sharing; One aspect to CAD is the ability to share files from one person to the next. Currently, there are many types of files that cannot be opened with different applications and we expect to see immense growth in this area of CAD as more designers collaborate on projects and push software developers to find better and more standardized was to share files.

These are exciting times for designers, engineers and CAD! We are eagerly anticipating future CAD advancements and can’t wait to see this technology continue its transformation.

Research Articles


3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the  3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.