Posts Tagged "3D Printing Honolulu"

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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3D Innovations – Developing Ideas from Concept to Product

October 1, 2014
3d-innovations.com

We have just released a new company video and are excited to share it with all of our followers. Please take a moment to view it and feel free to share any feedback you may have with us!

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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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Makerspace + Engineering and 3D Printing Resource

July 10, 2014
3d-innovations.com

Is it just us or does it seem as though makerspaces are rapidly popping up all over the world? When you go to Google and type in ‘makerspace’, not only do you find a long list of established makerspaces, but also numerous tutorials on how to build a successful makerspace. As an engineering and product development firm we think this evolution is exciting, as it reflects a changing mindset in individuals and the business community. People have ideas and many want to turn their ideas into an actual product, not only for their own use, but to commercialize it and share it with the world. Makerspaces allow people to find the resources to do just this!

While makerspaces are wonderful on so many levels, it can be challenging for makerspaces to find dedicated experts in certain fields to be a resource for their budding entrepreneurs. Our 3D Innovations team has experience working with makerspaces on a variety of levels. We specialize in 3D engineering and specifically the entire product development life cycle (from 3D design to a fully functional 3D prototype and product) and have helped numerous entrepreneurs launch successful businesses. If your makersapce has product development questions or is simply looking for an engineering and 3D printing resource for your makers please reach out to us and we can chat!

Our e-mail is info@3d-innovations.com and you can visit our website here.

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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.