Posts Tagged "3D Printing Hawaii"

Prototype Development Using 3D Printing Technology [Case Study]

August 21, 2015
3D Innovations

CASE STUDY

The Challenge: Develop Functional Prototypes To Mimic A Molded Part

Our customer required Product Development support for a new product that was to be introduced to the market.  Similar products were thermoformed to produce the commercial products, but as with any new product being developed, avoiding any type of tooling was going to accelerate the design and prototyping processes.

Thermoforming is a process of taking thin sheets of plastic material, typically High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), (PET), or Polypropylene (PP) that is heated and formed over a mold.  Producing the mold can be costly and would only be done to produce the final parts.

This project required creating a new design and also a prototype. Walls were .018” – .022” thick making the process of 3D Printing the part successfully very challenging due to the wall thickness.  Most process can accommodate features greater than .020” thick.  The design required the part to maintain this thin wall so that it would function properly.  As with any design, the challenge is not only designing to work properly, but being able to functionally test it.

thermoformOther prototype development methods were explored to produce these prototypes, but machining this type of part would not only be very costly, but also difficult due to its geometry and thin walls.

Using a relatively inexpensive 3D Printing process, we were able to successfully develop functional prototypes that were then used for testing.

In the end, a successful set of prototypes were built and delivered to the customer for review and testing before moving into the production manufacturing stage.

The costs for several sets of prototypes were approximately 600% less versus the cost of using a machining process.

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

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3D CAD Speeds Up Product Development

August 18, 2015
3D Innovations

“Innovation” has been a popular buzzword in the last few years, especially when it relates to technology, with each new innovation promising more than the last. But there are many steps between an initial product idea and a truly innovative new product. For most, the first step in the quest to produce the next big innovation is building a digital design of the product idea using 3D CAD.

Product Design and Development | 3D PrototypingEngineers are increasingly using 3D CAD to develop product designs and models, visualizing concepts, exploring new design ideas, and simulating how a design will perform in the real world. Whether the design is a corporate building, an automotive part, or an innovative consumer product, 3D CAD has become an early critical step of the design process.

For entrepreneurs and inventors, 3D digital designs of ideas and inventions save both time and resources, since 3D CAD can be used to initially test product design theories and understand all of their aspects without the need for building actual prototypes. Even though prototyping costs are decreasing, due partly to additive manufacturing (3D printing), it is best to develop a 3D digital design before producing a prototype.

Demand for 3D Digital Designs Is Rising

3D digital design is on the rise, driven in part by entrepreneurs with the need to communicate their product concepts clearly with potential investors. Whether the audience is an investment firm or a crowdfunding platform, digital designs allow stakeholders to visualize concepts and provide feedback and modification ideas. Multi-platform collaboration is extending to investors, part suppliers, and other product development team members, as the digital designs are used congruently to develop marketing materials, packaging, and customer demonstrations.

Design validation is a critical step in the product development process. Until it is tested, a virtual design is merely a theoretical assumption. So it is not to say that 3D digital design is meant to replace physical prototyping, but it is bringing advantages throughout the design workflow that include computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools for virtual simulation/testing, using the same data as for physical prototyping. Files can be exported into various formats that CNC machines and 3D printers can utilize for production.

Within the enterprise system, a physical prototype has many advantages over CFD simulations and should not be replaced; rather 3D digital mockups and physical prototypes should be jointly integrated in the product development process. In the testing phase, a prototype should serve to validate the product’s form, fit, and function, as well as mechanical and thermal properties. Existing workflows will maintain multiple iterations of digital design and physical prototyping to get new products to a manufacturing-ready state.

Manufacturers around the world have adopted common practices and standards that rely on the use of digital design files for their production processes. This adoption of using digital designs for their downstream applications eliminates operator error, increases productivity, and allows for more competitiveness in the marketplace. Digital design, paired with design automation practices, ultimately leads to higher efficiency and increased communication between the customer and the manufacturer.

Product Commercialization

While direct focus of 3D digital design is on product manufacturing, marketing teams will be using these same designs to create photo renderings and produce distinctive packaging designs and design demonstrations for early investors. Digital design is speeding up the marketing development process as a way to reduce total development time and quickly get products to market and, in turn, consumers. Working congruently in this manner, across departments, keeps the commercialization timeline on track.

Getting a project started out on the “right foot” with 3D digital designs will minimize challenges and complications later on in the design cycle, which is why organizations are increasingly adopting them. While the benefits of 3D CAD might seem obvious during the design phase of the product development lifecycle, the real benefits extend far beyond this and into prototyping, manufacturing, and even the commercialization phase.

Note: We (3D Innovations LLC) published this article on the Design News website in June 2015.

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

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3D Printing is Shaking Up the Manufacturing Industry

August 7, 2015
3D Innovations

prototype-3d-printing-innovations-1003D printing is a technology that has been around for some time, but, within the last few years, its popularity has picked up steam and is now completely revolutionizing the way business is conducted. The technology itself has advanced, and with this advancement, the financial barrier to entry has dropped considerably; making it possible for businesses and even individuals to harness the benefits of 3D printing production. While 3D printing continues to be the playground for the maker community, it’s also branching into industrial manufacturing.

3D production of functional end-use parts is already one of the fastest growing areas in the manufacturing sector. In 2014, a PWC survey found that 11% of manufacturing companies had already switched to volume production of 3D printed parts or products. It is no secret that 3D printing is shaking up global manufacturing; below are seven ways the technology is asserting its influence…

  1. True Rapid Prototyping. The product development cycle has been shortened from months or weeks to mere days. Multiple design updates no longer hinder the development timeline, but instead can be accommodated for in a short period of time, thus delivering the final product to market faster.
  2. Rapid Design Iteration (A/B testing of physical products). 3D printing has gone beyond prototyping and into first-run production, allowing for market testing and rapid design iteration. Engineers are able to explore and test a variety of designs before finalizing for manufacturing.
  3. Low volume production. Companies are no longer burdened with high costs when they are producing small amounts of a product. For production runs of less than 1,000, many companies are considering 3D production as a cost-effective alternative.
  4. Mass Customization. Customers want customization and 3D printing can provide it. The days of “one-size-fits-all” is quickly fading away, and making room for personal product customization.
  5. Virtual Inventory. With 3D printing production, a company only makes what it needs at a given time, thus eliminating warehousing and other costs associated with storing large product quantities. Virtual inventory improves the efficiency of every business that uses anything manufactured. Inventories around the world will soon shrink dramatically as virtual inventory goes mainstream.
  6. The Long Tail of Parts. 3D printing is changing the way designers and engineers plan for the end of a product’s life cycle. With 3D production, you now have the long tail of parts. Hold on to the digital design files, and you can print any part for as long as it is needed.
  7. Product Innovation Renaissance. 3D printing’s lower barriers to entry and ability to produce radically more complex objects is changing the way we think and design products. The door of innovation is wide open. Harvard Business Review recently published a piece, 3D Printing Is Changing the Way We Think, and we could not agree more. A new realm of design possibilities is going to eventually make companies rethink the design of nearly all of their products.

3D printing technology is revolutionizing business and we are just skimming the surface of the sweeping changes to come.

Have questions about 3D printing? Please feel free to e-mail us at info@3d-innovations.com

Referenced Source: 7 Ways 3D Printing Is Already Disrupting Global Manufacturing, Forbes

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

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Functional Prototypes are Critical for Success

July 23, 2015
3D Innovations

The ability to effectively communicate your idea with a functional prototype is one of the many benefits of prototyping. Whether your goal is to find investors or patent your idea, a prototype shows that you have tested your design, finalized your product and are ready for the next step.

Still asking yourself, “Should I prototype my idea?” consider the following factors…

3D Printing Services | Rapid Prototyping Services | 3D-innovationsTest the Design & Finalize the Product

3D modeling is a great tool for conceptualizing and structuring your idea, but there is no substitute for a functional prototype. A prototype allows you to fully test the design, try out different materials, and really dive in to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Before you head out to launch your product or obtain funding you want to be sure that your product is feasible and can be successfully manufactured.

Gaining Investors

Whether you are preparing a professional presentation for angel investors or planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign, a prototype is necessary. Investors want to see that you have vetted the design and have worked out all of the “kinks”. To gain the trust of investors you want to present your product in the most comprehensive way possible. While a presentation is good, a functional prototype makes you stand out in the crowd and shows that you are committed to the successful launch of your product. Additionally, crowdfunding campaigns rely heavily on descriptive videos and nothing is more descriptive than showing the complete functionality and capabilities of your product.

Team Collaboration

Illustrating an idea with words alone can be a challenge for even the most descriptive orator. 3D CAD designs help clarify aspects of the product for team members, but a prototype brings the idea to life. When team members get to feel the product and test it themselves it is no longer an obscure idea but a tangible one that they can work with.

Patent Application

For many inventors the thought of a patent application can be daunting. While a prototype is not required for a patent application it is highly encouraged by many patent attorneys. With a prototype you can clearly demonstrate the patentable features of the design and describe in detail each component of your product.

The prototyping process should not be overlooked or underestimated. This step in the product development timeline is a critical factor for future success.

Have further questions about prototypes or the prototyping process? Please contact us at info@3d-innovations.com

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

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The Correlation Between Patents & Innovation

June 24, 2015
3D Innovations

With increasing litigation sparked by patent trolls, patents and the entire patent system have come under scrutiny. Many are calling for patent system reform while others are saying that the entire system should be abolished. Getting rid of the entire patent system would “strip away much of the incentive to create, impeding investment in new technologies, slowing the production of new creative content and harming economic growth”. In short, it would be a disaster.

“Just because today’s technologies can sometimes make it easier to invent more quickly and at less cost doesn’t mean the resulting inventions are less valuable to society or less worthy of protection.” Without the protection of the patent system many entrepreneurs would be at risk of having their innovations simply stolen by larger competitors. The Patent Act of 1790 was the first federal patent statute in the United States and it was created because there was a need to safeguard inventors. While patent laws have transformed over the years, the principle that entrepreneurs and inventions need safeguards remains true.

The current patent system in place does have its flaws and standards should be tighter to ensure that only inventions truly worthy of protection receive intellectual property rights. Reforming the patent system should be the next step, not abolishing it. “The fast pace of innovation and the increasingly international flow of goods and content can create challenges for traditional patent and copyright systems. But those systems, despite their flaws, remain vital to economic prosperity. The correct approach is to update them, not dismantle them.”

Have further questions about patents, the patent process or prototyping for a patent application? Please contact us at info@3d-innovations.com

Works cited: The Scientific American – Why Patents and Copyright Protections Are More Important Than Ever

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

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Design for Manufacturability

June 4, 2015
3D Innovations

Design engineers are critical during the product development cycle for concept, planning, detailed design and prototyping, and are also increasing responsible for manufacturing methods analysis and production planning. These last two responsibilities are rapidly increasing because there is more pressure on businesses to offer a quick turnaround and speedy market delivery. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology is one way design engineers have been able to keep up with the demands.

SONY DSC“Although additive-based rapid prototyping technologies are ever more established, from producing concept models to detailed engineering prototypes, engineers must not lose sight of how to go from prototyping and the final design stage to manufacturing production in the most efficient and effective way.” This is where design for manufacturability and assembly plays a critical role. When determining how to design and assemble in the most efficient manner possible organizations also have evaluate whether to use internal business resources or develop an external partnership.

No matter whether an organization looks internally or externally, the goal to get prototypes and production ready-parts into engineers hands in a matter of days instead of weeks remains the same. “There is now a plethora of 3D printing methods at companies’ disposal, from stereolithography to inkjet printing to direct metal laser sintering, just to name three. But quick-turn production is method-agnostic at its heart, where companies and their product development partners should keep all 3D printing options open and make their choices based on a balance of prioritized needs. These include lead time, cost, surface finish, detail and resolution, strength and material properties, and functional behavior for form and fit checks and engineering evaluation.”

Read more about design for manufacturability on the Design News website, How Do You Make Quick-Turn Design & Production a Reality?

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

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The 2nd Annual Honolulu Mini Maker Faire

May 12, 2015
3D Innovations

3D InnovationsThe 2nd Annual Honolulu Mini Maker Faire was this past Saturday at ‘Iolani School, and we must say that it was another fantastic event! The turnout was exceptional and there was a wide variety of technology on display. The hard-work and dedication by all of the volunteers was very evident.

There were makers from various industries and everyone was eager to learn. We were happy to impart our 3D printing knowledge on everyone that stopped by our booth. We answered many questions about 3D printing technology, applications for the technology and how it can be integrated with product design and prototyping. The community of makers in Hawaii is quickly expanding and we can’t wait to see what is in store for the 2016 Honolulu Mini Maker Faire.

You can check out photos from the event on Flickr and we shared a couple on our 3D Innovations Facebook page as well.

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

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3D Innovations: Upcoming Events

March 12, 2015
3D Innovations

Spring is almost here and, it’s a busy time around our office. We have a few upcoming events that we are very excited about and wanted to share with you!

The first event is next week, March 18-20th, and it’s a free 3 Day AutoCAD Workshop for Students in grades 7 to 12. This event is in partnership with STEMworks and will be held on Oahu at the Manoa Innovation Center from 9 am – 3 pm. You can learn more about the workshop on the STEMworks Facebook page and can quickly register on Survey Monkey.

On March 26th our President & Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, will be speaking at the Hawaii Pacific Export Council monthly seminar, “Emerging Global Trade Trends: Where Are the Future Profit Pools?” discussing how Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) is making a global impact on business.

April 17 & 18th we will be at the annual Hawaii STEM Conference on Maui. We look forward to this event each year because the students are so excited and inspiring!

This May 9th is the Honolulu Mini-Makerfaire 2015 at Iolani School and we will be participating again this year. It is always fun connecting with local makers and the entrepreneurship community. Learn more about the Maker Faire on the official website and register for a FREE early bird ticket!

We will be sharing event updates and photos from each event on our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages so be sure to check them out!

If you are in town, we would love to see you at an event, please stop by and say hello!

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

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Optimizing Design for 3D Printing (CADSpeed Interview)

February 1, 2015
3D Innovations

Recently Collin Kobayashi, President & Chief 3D Officer of 3D Innovations, was interviewed by CADSpeed. The CADSpeed blog is the brainchild of Cadalyst magazine and is “devoted to helping CAD users, CAD managers, and IT personnel optimize hardware for 3D CAD applications”. In the interview Collin discusses the emergence of 3D printing and the challenges facing a CAD designer when they design for 3D prints and production. Below are a few excerpts from the interview but we encourage you to read the interview in its entirety on the CADSpeed blog.

3D Printing Services | Rapid Prototyping Services | 3D-innovationsIn what ways do you predict that 3D printing will revolutionize industry?

Initial 3D printers and processes were limited to various types of plastic such as ABS, nylon, and other polymers. With the introduction of metal 3D printing several years ago, it has opened up other industries and applications to adopt 3D printing as a standard, not an option. Large aerospace companies are beginning to integrate 3D printed parts into their products. Development of new materials and technology to build parts is evolving and a fast pace. These new, revolutionary developments will drive the 3D printing/additive manufacturing industry into areas that will change the market. Such industries are medical, food, and biotechnology, to name a few. By using 3D printing over conventional manufacturing methods, designs can be more complex while increasing their functionality.

You talk about rapid prototyping being one of the advantages of 3D printing. Can you give a couple of real-world examples of this, and why it’s helpful?

In most applications, having the ability to 3D print a prototype for testing form, fit, and function is extremely critical. When tolerances are not crucial, 3D printing is a far more cost-effective and efficient option than having the parts CNC machined. For one particular project, we needed to build a prototype of a miniature cooler design. This product was unique and had multiple parts with some complex features and details. It was designed to be injection molded and to have a set or several sets of these prototypes made would have cost well over $10,000 to produce. By using 3D printing to build the parts, the cost and lead time was reduced significantly, allowing the customer to receive the parts in a shorter amount of time. Because the project only required several prototypes, it wasn’t cost effective to even make “soft tooling” to produce the low amount of prototypes needed, so 3D printing really made the most sense.

To take advantage of 3D printing, you have to start with 3D models. Can you talk about some other ways that 3D CAD differs from traditional CAD drawing?

Traditional drawings, sometimes referred to in our industry as “shop drawings,” have been mostly superseded by 3D design solutions. CAD/CAM was the first set of methods to adopt this practice, translating 3D digital design data directly into the manufacturing machine’s software more efficiently than manual translation. By using a 3D digital design process, we are able to create designs and validate them with up to 95% certainty that they will work before even building a prototype. Integrating other processes such as FEA (finite-element analysis) and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) tools with the digital design process will help to predict the functionality. This would not be achievable from 2D drawings, as no computational data exists. In addition to these design tools, having a 3D digital design will enable us and the client to see the product fully assembled, view it from all angles and visualize the entire design digitally.

…Read more from this interview on CADSpeed.

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

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Product of the Week: The UFO Turntable Strobe

January 16, 2015
3D Innovations

This week we are featuring the UFO Turntable Strobe, a past Kickstarter project that we had the honor of working on, as our “Product of the Week”. Jim Hagerman, the entrepreneur behind the UFO Turntable Strobe, founded Hagerman Audio Labs in 1994 and his company focuses on the design and manufacturing of audiophile-grade electronics. In 2013 we teamed up with Jim on his wildly successful Bugle2: A DIY Phono Preamp. Unfortunately later that year the UFO Turntable Strobe did not meet its Kickstarter funding goal, but that does not mean Jim has given up the dream of bring this product to life. We are still working with Jim to help reduce the manufacturing costs and raise awareness about this fantastic turntable accessory.

The UFO Turntable Strobe lets you know if your turntable is accurate or if a speed adjustment is needed. For the same cost as a two piece pattern disc and strobe light, you can have all of the functionality in one well-designed product. Not only will it greatly reduce distortion in your music, the UFO Turntable Strobe will set you apart. This hovering UFO above your turntable looks fantastic in a dark room or club setting.

If you are a DJ or just a lover of vinyl you should watch the Kickstarter video below to see how the UFO Turntable Strobe can work for you…

If you would like to learn more about the UFO Turntable Strobe or chat with Jim, please send us an e-mail at info@3d-innovations.com

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

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