Posts Tagged "3D Printing Honolulu"

Improving Medical Devices Through 3D Printing

medical 3d printing

Photo credit: 3D Printing Industry

As news of the latest advancement in experimental 3D printing of tissue and organ regeneration gains attention, it would be easy to believe that 3D printing in the medical field only happens in the lab. However, new equipment and devices are being 3D printed now and in real world settings.

After years of feasibility studies, 3D printing for medical equipment and prostheses is becoming reality.

Reports have continually shown that 3D printed devices are both practical and less expensive than traditional options. For example, a University of South Florida study[i] related to prosthesis molds found that “Owing to the similarity of the 3D printed materials and the traditional materials, the 3D printed molds are easily integrated into current processing procedures.” And a UK study[ii] observed that 3D printed sensors added onto a prosthesis could help medical professionals increase comfort levels for the prosthesis wearer. In addition to better comfort, these sensors improved overall patient care.

Alan Louie, research director for IDC’s Health Insights Life Sciences Practice, which helps investors with business decisions, has this to say about 3D printing technology: “There is a lot of investment in 3D printing at the moment because there are some very clear ways that the technology can be used to improve existing processes.”[iii]

Louie sees 3D printers as a way to revolutionize medicine. “There are areas where you can determine that using a 3D-printed replacement for the current methodology can actually save money, improve healing, reduce pain, and improve overall patient care—all positive driving factors that are helping the industry move forward.”

3D Printing Improves More Than Just the Device

An example of how 3D printing medical tools reduces costs is with this bone drill that required an update to better suit the needs of both the patient and surgeon. The existing drill needed a redesign that would consistently keep its temperature low in order to avoid having to pause the procedure to let the tool cool down. The only solution available prior to the 3D printed upgrade was to pause drilling. However, with the assistance of 3D printing technology, a new drill was made using a biocompatible material “designed with their own integrated cooling ducts”. This new drill could be used for longer periods of time during a surgery. “The tests of the 3D printed bone drill determined that its use had reduced the temperature produced by drilling up to 70%”. This upgraded device has shortened the time required for surgery, saving both time and money.

The design process for medical devices and tools begins with patients, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. They are at the forefront of the industry and keenly aware of the challenges, limitations and frustrations with existing devices. From their daily observations, efficient product re-designs and new medical device designs can, and will, transform the entire medical support field. These innovative ideas create an opportunity to improve care and support, while reducing costs.

3D printing is quickly reshaping the medical device landscape and creating more efficient tools for the medical community. Rapid prototyping brings to life product ideas that support patient care while keeping innovation at the forefront of design.


References:

[i] Jairo Chimento, M. Jason Highsmith, Nathan Crane, (2011) “3D printed tooling for thermoforming of medical devices”, Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 17 Issue: 5, pp.387-392

[ii] Development and validation of a 3D-printed interfacial stress sensor for prosthetic applications. Laszczak, P. et al. Medical Engineering and Physics, Volume 37, Issue 1, 132 – 137.

[iii] https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/08/healthcare-cusp-3d-medical-printing-revolution (both quotes)


About the Guest Author:

Becky Wilson writes about the applications of additive manufacturing and 3D printing, highlighting the heart in the tech. Known as Writing by Becky, she lives in Nova Scotia with her family, including two cat overlords, along with various tech gadgets – maybe adding a 3D food printer someday. You can connect with Becky on Twitter (@WritingByBecky).

3D Innovations Blog: Guest Writers Welcome

Product Design, Prototyping, Manufacturing

Our 3D Innovations team is always on the lookout for individuals with exceptional writing skills and an interest in hardware startups, 3D printing and/or product design. If this sounds like you, we would love to have you as a guest contributor for our blog!

How to Get Started

Send us an e-mail, info@3d-innovations.com, with the following information:

  • Your Name
  • Your Contact Information (and social media accounts, so we can connect with you)
  • Sample Blog Topic Ideas
  • Short Writing Sample (does not have to be on your blog topic ideas)
  • Estimated Blog Submission Date

After we receive your e-mail, we will be in touch to narrow down a blog post topic with you, discuss the length of your piece and schedule a posting date. If you have a blog topic idea that does not fit in the hardware startups, 3D printing or product design categories, but in a similar category, we would be open to discussing this with you to get clarification and check that it would be a good fit for our audience.

About 3D Innovations

We are a Product Development company located in Honolulu, Hawaii. 3D Innovations provides Product Development services assisting companies with all stages of development. Our suite of services includes product design/engineering, prototyping, 3D Printing, additive manufacturing, supply chain management, packaging design, and production manufacturing sourcing. Using our experience in Design For Manufacturing processes, we are able to develop custom solutions for clients that accelerate their commercialization activities.

We support various Commercial and Government industries that include Industrial, Military, Construction, Medical, Manufacturing, Automotive, R&D, Inventors, and many more. We provide 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping services to quickly validate designs and make improvements for production manufacturing. Experience the benefits of 3D Design and see how 3D Innovations can develop innovative solutions to engineer, design, and manufacture your product.

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Three Areas Where 3D Printing Shines

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is one of the most buzzed about technologies of the past five years. The hype around the technology has certainly diminished since its fever pitch in 2014, in which Forbes published, “3-D Printing Is About To Change The World Forever”—and now the genuine potential of the technology is emerging. Certain industries have taken to the technology quicker than others and have been able to successfully implement it into their supply chain. Below we discuss three areas in which 3D printing technology really shines.

Customer Customization

3D printingIt’s no secret that customers are evolving and their preferences are changing. Where once customers were happy with the “Big Box” store approach, this mentality is starting to shift and customers are looking for more customizable products that meet their specific needs and preferences.

Customization is one of the major benefits of 3D printing. Companies are able to print one-of-a-kind products. One industry that has had great success implementing 3D printing for customization purposes is the designing of prosthetics. Companies and patients have found that they are able to create custom prosthetics at a fraction of the cost with the use of 3D modeling and 3D printing technology.

Designing New Structures

Like anything, traditional manufacturing has its limitations. Until recently certain designs could not be manufactured simply because they were deemed “not possible” or the expense was too exorbitant to be justifiable. However, 3D printing allows for greater design flexibility.

Biomimicry has grown in popularity among product designers and architects, however, these designs are usually manufacturing headaches. “The purpose of biomimicry is to learn from the way nature has optimized structures, designs and objects for maximum performance so that we can use them to create better solutions.” The curvature and delicate nature of the designs are very organic, which poses a challenge when it comes time for production. 3D printing has enabled designers to step out of the traditional way of designing and focus more on what makes the most sense for the product.

Specialty Manufacturing

High variability, low demand products cannot be effectively served by traditional manufacturing methods. If you are a collector of any type of vintage item, then you understand the issues that arise if something breaks or you need to restore a piece. “3-D printing readily solves the challenge of manufacturing rare replacement parts, while also overcoming the obstacle of distribution: a plant exists wherever a printer does.”

Certain components cannot simply be bought, and this is where 3D printing comes into play. With a 3D digital design and a 3D printer, a piece that once was impossible to find can now be produced and put into use in record time.

3D printing technology has found its place in the business landscape. With the continued developments of the technology, it is poised to continue to grow and become even more valuable to businesses.

 

References:

Lessons Engineers and Architects Should Learn from Nature and Topology Optimization

Four Areas Where 3-D Printing Could Flourish

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Four Must-Haves When Searching for a Product Development Firm

product developmentBuilding a hardware startup from the ground up is hard work—partnering with the right product development firm from the get-go is vital. Today it seems as though there are a plethora of product development firms out there, however not all are created equal. While you are doing your research and interviewing potential product development partners, here are four things to look for, and measure against.

Experience

You are going to want an experienced firm. Whether you need them for a single stage in the product development cycle or for the entirety of it, you need a firm that has in-depth experience. This experience means that they will be able to foresee potential issues and help remedy them before they become major problems for your startup. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to past clients of theirs to ask about their experience with the firm as well.

Industry Knowledge

Are you going into a niche industry? Search out a product development partner with experience in it. Not all firms can be an expert in every industry out there, we advise you to talk to your network and find a firm that has experience in your specific industry. This will not only assist you in the development of your product, but the additional knowledge brought to the table will help get you up to speed on the industry as a whole.

Professional Contacts

Find a product development firm with a large network and extensive “rolodex”. This network includes everything from Intellectual Property Attorneys to Public Relations Experts. Your startup is going to need assistance from a range of professionals as you work to get it off of the ground. Many first-time entrepreneurs quickly realize that they can’t do it all on their own, and need to bring other professionals on-board to keep things moving ahead.

Manufacturing Partnerships

Manufacturing a new hardware project can be a bumpy road. You are going to want, and need, a product development partner that has established relationships with manufacturers. Most product development firms have relationships with both local and international manufacturing companies, and can help you decide what direction will make the most sense for your business. Also, while the product development firm will have manufacturing partners, that doesn’t mean you are required to use them. If you have a manufacturer you feel will be a better fit, make sure your product development firm is willing to work outside their network.

Deciding on a product development firm to partner with is no small task. You are entrusting your idea and invention to another, and you want to be sure that it is going into the right hands. This crucial partnership during the early formative days, weeks, months of your hardware startup can make all the difference.

Have additional product development questions? Contact us at info@3d-innovations.com

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

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3D Academy: Incorporating 3D Printing into the Classroom

Our second ‘3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO’ Camp of the summer is a little over a month away and in honor of it, we wanted to share ways in which 3D printing technology can be incorporated in the classroom. By now, people understand the practical uses of the technology in a business setting and the benefits of designing and prototyping with 3D printing, but what might be a bit more abstract is how this technology can transform a variety of subjects in the classroom for both students and teachers.

Many K-12 schools and higher education institutions are adding 3D printers to their classrooms and incorporating the technology into lesson plans. 3D printing allows students and teachers to explore, invent and innovate together while promoting a growth mindset. In every step of the 3D printing process students must push the boundaries of traditional thinking and create something entirely new. Critical analysis, critical thinking, design, sketching, prototyping with physical objects, creating a prototype in a CAD software and creating the correct file formats to transfer the finished file into the 3D printing slicer software are the skills students develop and hone when learning to use 3D printing technology.

As noted by the University of Pittsburgh, “3D printing empowers more authentic exploration of objects that may not be readily available. For example, students can print and handle objects such as fossils, prototypes of extinct animals, prosthetics, hardware, buildings and architecture, drones and much more. Students can improve physical objects by 3D scanning the item, uploading the file in a CAD program and tweaking certain aspects to re-invent an object. Flexible filament or filament infused with conductive metals, magnetic metals, or wood allows for more specific applications for certain projects. The possibilities are endless.”

Below are ideas on how to start incorporating 3D printing into the classroom by subject.
  • Engineering and Design: students can print out prototypes of their own creations.
  • Chemistry: students can print out molecules to study.
  • Biology: students can study cross sections of organs and print out entire structures to learn about the intricate details of each organ.
  • History: students can print out historical artifacts for closer examination. This can also be done with the use of a 3D scanner to create an exact replica.
  • Graphic Design: students can create 3D versions of their work.
  • Geography: students could print out maps showing the topography, population or demographics of an area.
  • Architecture: students can print 3D models of their own design.
  • Cooking: students could design intricate molds for ice and gelatin. Or go one step further with 3D printed chocolate creations.
3D printing technology in the classroom

(Image: Creatz 3D)

These are just a few ways in which 3D printing can bring hands-on learning to traditional subjects. If you are interested in learning more about 3D printing in the classroom and how to get started, we are happy to help. Our 3D Academy can get you up to speed on 3D printing technology and help devise a lesson plan to integrate the technology.

If you have further question or would like to learn more about 3D printing in the classroom, please send us an email, info@3d-innovations.com or give us a call at 1.808.722.8667.

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Top Four Product Development & 3D Printing Articles

We have gathered the top four, most shared, product development and 3D printing articles from our blog and put them here, in one place, for easy access and reference. These articles touch on everything from finding the right product development partner to a glimpse into the future of additive manufacturing. Enjoy!

3D Printing Continues to Transform Manufacturing in 2017

Additive Manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is ripe for innovation in 2017. 3D printing technology has been evolving at a rapid rate since it caught the attention of makers and the public alike in 2009. Though the technology dates back to 1986, it wasn’t readily accessible to the public until 2009, when the first commercial 3D printer kit was offered for sale. Since 2009, additive manufacturing technology has transformed in itself, while simultaneously transforming the business and manufacturing landscapes as well. Below are three ways that additive manufacturing will continue to alter the manufacturing industry in the coming year.

Manufacturing Technology: 3D Printing vs CNC

The rapid growth in 3D printing technology and its popularity has manufacturers worried that at-home 3D printers may one day soon replace traditional manufacturing. From our experience though, a maker or entrepreneur is going to benefit the most from a convergence of these two manufacturing methods.

 

Both technologies have their place in the manufacturing landscape. Where one technology falters, the other excels. When designing your product, keep in mind that using both technologies during product development might be just what you need.

Three Common Product Development Myths

Product development is a fluid process that is not truly complete until there is a manufactured product in your hands. However, the process of taking a great idea and translating that idea into a physical product is not as predictable as you might think. Here we highlight three common product development myths…

Five Questions to Ask a Potential Product Development Partner

Product development is a collaborative endeavor, and you want to have a team that is able to clearly communicate, develop and deliver your product on time and on budget.

 

Here we discuss five key questions that you need to ask while searching for the right product development company.

Do you have product development questions? We would love to help, send them our way at info@3d-innovations.com

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

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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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