Posts Tagged "Additive Manufacturing"

Additive Manufacturing is Bending the Rules

Additive manufacturing (commonly referred to as 3D printing) technology is altering the business landscape and changing the way products are made. Before additive manufacturing was available to the masses, designing, prototyping and manufacturing a product took time and was considerably expensive—the cost prohibitive nature of the product development process left many startups in the dust. However, this technology has reduced both product development timelines and expenses, which means that kicking a hardware startup into high gear is not as challenging as it once was. Below are three ways 3D printing technology is bending traditional business rules—and helping startups succeed.

Product Design

Ideas and products that were once seemingly impossible to produce, due to design constraints, are now finding life with 3D printing. New designs are taking on geometric shapes that have never been produced before and the possibilities are endless. Product designers now have the ability to design a product in the most efficient way possible, instead of focusing solely on meeting manufacturing constraints.  Limitless design is now at your fingertips.

The Hardware Startup Scene

While additive manufacturing is changing many facets of business, prototyping is still where the technology is used most frequently. Entrepreneurs with a great product idea are now able to prototype their design in mere hours and at a low-cost. With the ability to build and validate an idea within such a short time period, the world of hardware startups is shifting. Hardware startups are gaining momentum and major investors are starting to take notice.

Innovation

Additive manufacturing is pushing the boundaries of innovative product design, but the technology in itself is undergoing major innovations. Where plastics once dominated the 3D printing scene – ceramics, metals, bio materials and even food are now viable options. New desktop 3D printers with customized capabilities are being designed at a rapid rate, and many can even be found on crowdfunding sites. The at-home consumer 3D printing market has not lived up to the hype that surrounded it a few years back, but industrial scale additive manufacturing technology is taking off.

Entrepreneurs and hardware startups are finding that designing a product has never been as easy as it is today—thanks in part to 3D printing. With 3D printing poised to disrupt manufacturing in a big way, we can only imagine how it will continue to revolutionize the entire business landscape in the coming years.

Ready to prototype your product idea? Contact us at info@3d-innovations.com to get started.

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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 Innovations in the News — Printing Innovation on Demand

3D InnovationsRecently our very own Collin Kobayashi, 3D Innovations President and Chief 3D Officer, was interviewed by Pacific Business News regarding the additive manufacturing industry along with the challenges of starting your own business. Below are a couple excerpts from the interview:

Regarding the 3D printing industry growth:

“The market with 3D printing now is so wide and deep. It can be applied to almost any type of industry… People want to be able to build parts on demand and not have to wait on parts from the Mainland or China. We have to ship everything here in Hawaii, so there’s big value in 3D printing.”

Discussing our top service:

The 3D printing is sort of a secondary process. Most times the customer wants to get a new product to market, get it developed. The 3D printing comes after that. Sometimes a customer will have their own 3D file, made on their own or downloaded from the internet. Other times we assist in the design process. The first step is the design and prototype and then you get into the production and manufacturing environment.

Read more of this interview on the Pacific Business News website, “Printing Innovation on Demand”.

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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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Manufacturing Technology: 3D Printing vs CNC

3D printing has undoubtedly become a tool-of-choice for makers and educators alike. 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.

Below we will discuss the benefits and pitfalls of both 3D printing and CNC milling.

Methodology

CNC milling machines “take a block of solid material (e.g. aluminum or wood) and use sharp rotating tools or cutters to remove all parts that are not needed. Milling is a subtractive method. CNC mills are computer-controlled. The computer feeds the machine-specific code that controls the cutting tools (just like the G-code used by 3D printers). The models for CNC mills are created using 3D modeling software, so-called CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) software applications.” (All3DP.com)

3D Printing starts from scratch and builds a three-dimensional product layer by layer. This technology is referred to as additive manufacturing. Just like with CNC milling machines, a computer feeds the machine specific code that controls the design process.

Material Selection

CNC mills can work on a “huge variety of materials: metal alloys (e.g. aluminum, steel alloys, brass, copper), softwoods and hardwoods, thermoplastics, acrylic, modeling foams, machining wax (for creating a positive model for casting). You may need different cutting tools for different materials, but the tool-to-machine interfaces are usually standardized—so the tools can easily be exchanged.” (All3DP.com)

At-home desktop 3D printers are usually restricted to a few materials, typically thermoplastics or resins. Thermoplastics can be mixed with other materials such as ceramics, wood, metal, but the workpieces produced on a 3D printer will not be as robust as workpieces cut from a block of metal or wood. Commercial or specialty 3D printers can print with more exotic materials (i.e. bioprinting and food).

Range of Applications

With the range of applications for these two technologies, there is a lot of overlap. (Here we will focus on the applications either technology supports, while the other does not.)

CNC milling is the better solution when you need to manufacture extremely robust, precise and/or heat-resistant products. 3D printing is the better solution when you need quick prototypes to test designs, small batch runs or are interested in exotic application fields—bioprinting, architectural purposes and printing food.

Material Waste

By design, there is less waste with 3D printing. The technology only requires the material needed for building the product. With CNC milling, you need a block of material that is the size of the product it will produce—a great deal of material is then removed, and often times the excess material cannot be recycled.

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.

Have questions about the manufacturing process? Send us your questions, info@3d-innovations.com,we are happy to help.

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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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Designing & Prototyping with 3D Printing

3D Printing Services | Rapid Prototyping Services | 3D-innovationsIt’s no secret that additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) is shifting the manufacturing landscape and transforming supply chains. 3D printing is redefining how companies design, develop and manufacture products. Product designers are experiencing what it means to design without traditional limitations of design for assembly, allowing them to radically reinvent products based on performance rather than manufacturability. Below are four reasons as to why you should be integrating 3D printing into your product development lifecycle if you aren’t already.

Timelines & Budgets.

These are the biggest challenges to any product development team. Producing prototypes and delivering accurate designs to clients has never been easier than it is today with 3D printing. With a 3D printer, CAD models can become real life touchable designs in a matter of hours.

Multiple Design Iterations & Prototyping.

In product development it often takes many iterations of a product before a design is settled on. People have different ideas on how the product should look and function. While a 3D CAD model makes it easier to share design thoughts, nothing compares to holding a physical product in your hand to help communicate an idea.

Once a design has been finalized, a functional prototype is needed to help with other aspects of the business (securing funding, marketing, presentations etc.). In today’s competitive startup market, a functional prototype is no longer optional, and investors (whether VCs or through crowdfunding) want to see how your product actually works and that you have come up with something that is indeed manufacturable.

Manufacturing Flexibility.

3D printing helps reduces the capital involved in achieving economies of scale, thus lowering any barriers to entry for production. This is a major benefit for hardware startups that previously had to find funding before even approaching the idea of manufacturing their product. With 3D printing, startups can now manufacture small batches at an affordable rate and customize products based on customer demands.

Market Testing.

Gauging customer support early in the product development lifecycle is vital for success. You want to get a functional prototype in the hands of your test market as soon as possible so that you can incorporate their feedback into the design. They will be able to share insight regarding product material, product fit, weight, visual appearance and usability. Having access to a 3D printer will let you update designs quickly and communicate design changes.

While 3D printing is making quite an impact on businesses today, it is hard to remember at times that the technology is still evolving and maturing. With the evolution of 3D printing technology, we can only imagine how it will look in five or ten years.

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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 Printing Technology: What Does The Future Hold?

August 10, 2016
3D Innovations

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional model, typically by laying down many successive thin layers of a material. This manufacturing process has been around for over 30 years, and in the last 5 years it has risen in popularity. While there is definitely “hype” surrounding the technology, there is also a lot that this technology is capable of—it is a driving force in hardware product development and the maker movement.

Below are two TED Talk videos that explain 3D printing and what the future may hold for this technology.

What is 3D Printing was 100x Faster? By Joseph DeSimone

In this TED Talk Joseph DeSimone talks about his inspiration for a new 3D printing method that was inspired by Hollywood, or more specifically Terminator 2.

“Now, we were inspired by the “Terminator 2” scene for T-1000, and we thought, why couldn’t a 3D printer operate in this fashion, where you have an object arise out of a puddle in essentially real time with essentially no waste to make a great object? Could we be inspired by Hollywood and come up with ways to actually try to get this to work? And that was our challenge. And our approach would be, if we could do this, then we could fundamentally address the three issues holding back 3D printing from being a manufacturing process.”

What’s Next in 3D Printing? By Avi Reichental

3D printing technology is changing the face of medicine—personalized medical devices are transforming an industry. “3D printing is changing personalized medical devices as we know them, from new, beautiful, ventilated scoliosis braces to millions of dental restorations and to beautiful braces for amputees, another opportunity to emotionally reconnect with your symmetry.”

With the elimination of complexity restraints, 3D printing is opening the doors to designs that have just not been possible before with other manufacturing methods. While 3D printing will not be the end of manufacturing as we know it, it is shaping the industry to meet today’s demands.

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

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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The Third Annual Honolulu Mini Maker Faire

June 7, 2016
3D Innovations

We are excited to share that 3D Innovations will be at the upcoming Honolulu Mini Maker Faire on June 25th. This is always a fantastic event and brings together our local community of makers.

We will have a booth at the event and would love to chat with you! Stop by the 3D Innovations booth to learn about Product Development, Prototype Design, 3D Printing and Manufacturing. If you have an idea for a product that you would like to bring to market and commercialize, come talk to us to see how we can help.

We will also have a few (awesome) 3D printed parts on display for you to check out and get your hands on.

If you have product development questions and don’t want to wait until the Honolulu Mini Maker Faire on June 25th, send them our way at info@3d-innovations.com or reach us by phone at 1-808-772-8667.

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

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Additive Manufacturing Industry Insight From The 2016 Wohlers Report

April 27, 2016
3D Innovations

The highly anticipated Wohlers Report 2016  has been released and is full of insightful data into the additive manufacturing (3D printing) industry. This annual state-of-the-industry report is sought-after by industry insiders and outside industry observes alike. The analysis is based on more than 20 years of data from companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

“For Wohlers Report 2016, input was collected 98 service providers, 51 system manufacturers, 15 third-party material producers, and the valuable contributions of 80 co-authors in 33 countries.” This network has allowed the Wohlers Report access to an unparalleled window into the additive manufacturing  industry.

Valuable insights from the report include:

  • For the second year in a row, the 3D printing industry has grown by $1 billion to a total of $5+ billion.
  • The additive manufacturing (AM) industry, consisting of all AM products and services worldwide, grew 25.9% (CAGR – Corporate Annual Growth Rate) to $5.165 billion in 2015. The CAGR for the previous three years was 33.8%. Over the past 27 years, the CAGR for the industry is an impressive 26.2%.
  • In 2014, the 3D printing industry grew 34.9%, the highest growth rate in 17 years.
  • High growth was experienced in two seemingly distinct and opposite sectors: industrial metal additive manufacturing and desktop 3D printers.

In the coming year we expect to see continued growth in the industry. While public interest in 3D printing has seemingly cooled, those within the industry know that the technology is moving forward with leaps and bounds.

This industry leading report has really become the gold standard for computing growth, analyzing trends, and forecasting the future of the industry.  If you are interested in learning more about the additive manufacturing industry this report is a great place to start.

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

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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“Aspire to Inspire” — Guest Bloggers Welcome

February 12, 2016
3D Innovations

aspireAre you a startup business expert? An entrepreneur looking to inspire others? Interested in all things 3D printing related? An intellectual property wiz?

We would love to extend an invitation for you to become a guest post author on our blog! Our 3D Innovations blog covers a range of topics—everything from advanced manufacturing and product development to the world of startups. If you have an idea for a blog post and would like to share it with our community, please send your idea our way at info@3d-innovations.com. We can chat about your idea and work together to get it published on here.

Once you post is published on our blog, we will share it with our extensive (and active) social media communities and keep the conversation going! We look forward to chatting with you…

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

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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3D Printing Trends to Track in the New Year

January 14, 2016
3D Innovations

From the looks of things, 2016 is going to be a breakout year for additive manufacturing (3D printing)in terms of industrial applications and global supply-chain disruptions. New materials and 3D printer advancements have accelerated the industrial applications for 3D printing (think GE and Ford). Simultaneously, these advancements have shifted the business landscape—supply chains are quickly transforming to meet new demands. In 2016 executives will be compelled to pay very close attention to 3D printing technology and emerging opportunities to inject it into their business to speed up product development cycles.

In relation to the consumer market, personal 3D printers will most likely see a decline, the short-term consumer market is inundated with inexpensive consumer models. However, the CAD technology that enables 3D printing will continue to become more user friendly. With advancements in 3D scanning and 3D modeling, the design technology behind 3D printing is poised to become more accessible.

Forbes recently published 8 Hot 3D Printing Trends to Watch In 2016 and while we agree with all eight points outlined, we feel that there are three, in particular, on the verge of major breakthroughs with significant business implications.

  1. Pushing the limits of technology. While 3D printing technology is decades old, notable recent advancements have propelled the technology into the mainstream. In the coming year, expect to see advancements in 3D printing materialsglass, recycled materials and metal, just to name a few. In addition, 3D printers are getting bigger (much bigger), as engineers as developers envision themselves ‘printing’ homes and large industrial parts in a single print.
  2. Outsourced 3D printing gains share. This is something we have seen in our line of business. More and more businesses are finding it beneficial to use a external providers to design and print prototypes. With 3D printer advances, external providers are able to quickly validate designs and print high-quality prototypes in hours, thus eliminating the headaches and hassles of printing internally.
  3. Virtual inventory becomes real. Producing parts on-demand is a game changer for businesses. Storing large quantities of a product is costly, and with technology today, it’s becoming obsolete. The cost savings associated with virtual inventory is sure to grab the attention of executives. Cloud-based virtual inventory is one way the supply-chain is shifting and moving more towards a supply-network.

3D printing technology is fundamentally changing the business landscape and 2016 is sure to be another exciting year.

Cheers to 2016!

Have questions about 3D printing technology? Send them our way, 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 Printing’s Popularity Continues to Grow

December 17, 2015
3D Innovations

prototype-3d-printing-innovations-1003D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is a truly fascinating technology and it has experienced exponential growth over the past few years. The popularity of 3D printing has skyrocketed within the last five years, even though the actual technology has been around much longer than that. Terry Wohlers, President of Wohlers Associates, Inc., predicts that the worldwide 3D printing industry will grow to $12.8B by 2018, and exceed $21B in worldwide revenue by 2020. By now many businesses realize that 3D printing is starting to shift supply chains and really make its mark on a worldwide scale.

When it comes down to it though, makers, entrepreneurs and businesses want to know… What are the real advantages of 3D printing? Here is our answer…

  1. Quick turnaround. Speed is a major advantage with 3D printing. Building a CAD file and printing a prototype can be completed in mere hours (depending on size and complexity) instead of weeks with more traditional manufacturing methods.
  2. Cost Reduction. The product development timeline is shortened with 3D printing, and material costs are substantially less when you are able to use material only where it is needed.
  3. Complex Shapes & Structures. This is where things really get interesting. Unlike with traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing can print a myriad of complex shapes. Structure design is now only limited by your imagination.
  4. Less Waste. By accurately estimating how much material will be needed to build a prototype, or multiple quantities for a short manufacturing run, 3D printing allows you to cut down on any unnecessary material.
  5. New Material Combinations. This is where a lot of change is taking place. New materials and material combinations are rapidly being developed. By reducing the costs associated with mixing materials, 3D printing is breaking the mold on what is possible.

3D printing technology is quite fantastic and it is changing business as we know it, but there is a lot of hype surrounding the technology as well. It is important to remember that 3D printing is not a “cure all” technology but merely another tool to add to your robust business toolbox.

Have questions about 3D printing technology? Please send them our way, 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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