Posts Tagged "benefits"

Popular 3D Printing & STEM Education News (November 12th – November 16th)

November 16, 2012

It’s Friday, which means that it is time for your weekly roundup of 3D printing and STEM education news! The current state of STEM education made news this week. I think we all agree that there needs to be a stronger STEM presence in our schools, we need to set a consistent plan and ask for continued community support of these initiatives. 3D printing was also making waves with the premiere of James Bond (yes 3D printing assisted in the blockbuster hit) and a lot of people were very interested in the 3D printing booth that recently opened in Japan.

*Please share any additional news in our comments section.

3D Printing News

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Popular 3D Printing & STEM Education News (November 5th – November 9th)

November 9, 2012

Happy Friday! Here is your weekly 3D printing and STEM education news roundup! This week it seems that a lot of stories related to 3D printing were about medical uses for the technology and current experimentation. It is pretty amazing to think about how far medical science has come in the past 100 years, and even more exciting to see how technology is able to further it even more. We will definitely keep our eye on the growing relationship between 3D printing and medicine.

3D Printing News

STEM Education News

Best 3D Printing Process/Material?

November 8, 2012

3D Printing Discussion Question

Tell us what you think is the best 3D Printing Process to use. What do you see being the pros and cons of each process or material that you use?

We are excited to read your responses!

Popular 3D Printing & STEM Education News (October 22nd – October 26th)

October 26, 2012

Happy Aloha Friday! 3D printing set a huge record on Kickstarter this week and has set a great precedent for the future industry. Check out what other 3D printing and STEM education news people were talking about this week!

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The Advantages of Product Prototypes

October 25, 2012 recently published an article called, Creating a Product Prototype, and in it the author describes the process of designing and manufacturing your product prototypes. Many people have a great idea, but have no idea how to execute a mock-up of it. If you are considering prototyping a product this article will help you get started. Below you will find some excerpts from the original article. Enjoy!

Creating a Product Prototype

One of the essential early steps in the inventing process is creating a prototype–which, simply defined, is a three-dimensional version of your vision. Creating a prototype can also be one of the most fun and rewarding steps you’ll take. That’s because developing a prototype gives you the opportunity to really tap into your creativity, using those skills that inspired your invention idea in the first place. And whether you’re making your prototype at home or hiring the services of an engineer, seamstress or machinist, it’s truly exciting to see your idea transformed into something tangible and real.

So what exactly should a prototype look like? First, it depends on your idea. Second, it depends on your budget and your goals. If possible, it’s great to start with a handmade prototype, no matter how rudimentary. For example, I’ve seen prototypes made from the simplest of household items: socks, diaper tabs, household glue, empty milk containers–you name it. If it works for your initial demonstration purposes, it’s as good as the most expensive materials.

Eventually, if you decide to move forward with your invention, you’ll probably need what’s known as a “pre-production” prototype–especially if you plan to manufacture it yourself rather than license it. But as a first step, a homemade “presentation” prototype can give you a good running start.

A prototype provides other advantages, as well:

1. It enables you to test and refine the functionality of your design. Sure, your idea works perfectly in theory. It’s not until you start physically creating it that you’ll encounter flaws in your thinking. That’s why another great reason to develop a prototype is to test the functionality of your idea. You’ll never know the design issues and challenges until you begin actually taking your idea from theory to reality.

2. It makes it possible to test the performance of various materials. For example, your heart may be set on using metal–until you test it and realize that, say, plastic performs better at a lower cost for your particular application. The prototype stage will help you determine the best materials.

3. It’ll help you describe your product more effectively with your team, including your attorney, packaging or marketing expert, engineers and potential business partners.

4. It will encourage others to take you more seriously. When you arrive with a prototype in hand to meet any professional–from your own attorney to a potential licensing company–you separate yourself from the dozens of others who’ve approached them with only vague ideas in mind. Instead, you’ll be viewed as a professional with a purpose, as opposed to just an inventor with a potentially good idea.

Developing Your Prototype

So now that you know that creating a prototype is a vital step in your invention process, how exactly do you move forward and actually do it? This stage in the inventing process is possibly the period of greatest learning…and is also my personal favorite. I love the creative exploration that prototyping inspires! This is where your words and thoughts change from “Can I?” to “How will I?”

Making a prototype by hand is a great way to start bringing your product to life. Remember, there are no rules! Give yourself permission to experiment. Look around the house and select materials that you can use to test to see if your idea works.

Your product could also be made from any number of materials, ranging from metals to chemicals to textiles. When using any material, try to be open to alternatives you may not have originally considered. For example, you may be convinced that you want to use cotton. If this is the case, challenge yourself by asking “Why?” Perhaps another material might work better, such as a stretch material like Lycra. Or how about using mesh, canvas, nylon or leather? What about taking a leap and trying Neoprene? This is the time to say “What if” and allow yourself the freedom to explore. Put aside your original thoughts–you may end up coming back to them, but at least then you’ll know you’ve made the best decision.

 Bringing It to the Pros

Once you’ve developed your prototype as far as you reasonably can, it’s time to consider hiring a professional to help you with the next steps.

You should do your research and consider new and emerging technologies. For example, when prototyping my own plastic products, I discovered a relatively new method of prototype production that has saved me thousands of dollars. It’s a process called rapid prototyping, which uses a technology called stereolithography. It enables me to have plastic prototypes made quickly from computer-aided drawings (CAD) by a large tooling machine, rather than from an expensive injection mold. Rapid prototypes can cost as little as a few hundred dollars each (depending on complexity), but they’re often a bargain considering the alternatives. For example, creating an injection mold for a product in the Unites States can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000.

The prototyping stage is a great time to use all your untapped creative ability and to explore all the possibilities that are on the market. Don’t limit yourself to any preconceived notions–whether it comes to material use or the types of professionals you can consult–and explore as much as you can as you begin bringing your product idea to life.

To read the full article on click here.

Popular 3D Printing & STEM Education News (October 15th – October 19th)

October 19, 2012

Wow what a great week! Most of this week’s news focused around the themes of sustainability and the future of 3D printing.  Take a glance Robert Schouwenburg, Co-Founder of Shapeways, blog about Value Creation in 3D Printing because he highlights some very interesting aspects that many people tend to overlook.

Also, the “3D Print Show London 2012” takes place this weekend and we can’t wait to see all of the cool stuff that people will be sharing from the event! We will share updates with you as we get them on our Facebook and Twitter pages…so be sure to follow us there as well.

3D Printing News

STEM Education News

U.S. Military Joins the 3D Printing Revolution

October 4, 2012

The U.S. military has caught the additive manufacturing fever and is embracing the technology like many hobbyists and corporations have already done. The military is taking the 3D printing technology and really pushing the boundaries of innovation with the development of bomb detectors and prototype limbs. The Army has even gone so far as to deploy a helicopter-borne 3D-printing laboratory to Afghanistan.

Earlier this week Wired posted an article outlining the use of 3D printing in the military and it gives you an idea of how far reaching this technology goes. Below are some of their examples:

  • For the Army, additive manufacturing work has been taken up by the Research, Development and Engineering Command as well as the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), the Army’s center for research on defending against a toxic attack. At Edgewood, researchers work in a lab with a number of high-end printers, where they are designing printable holders for the military’s Minehound bomb detectors. The Army also recently revealed the center is preparing to produce thousands of the holders — which are designed to take weight off soldiers’ backs — and do so relatively quickly.
  • The Army also touted the idea of using the printers to scan soldiers into a 3-D model before they deploy to a battlefield. The plan is to make it easier for the Army to build a prosthesis for a missing limb that’s “exactly how the soldier used to look — instead of sculpting it and scanning it.”
  • The Army deployed its first mobile 3-D printing laboratory to Afghanistan inside a shipping container capable of being carried by helicopter. The Army plans to deploy another lab to Afghanistan this fall while a third lab stays stateside.
  • The Army Medical Command announced a solicitation that sought to buy a 3-D printer for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The purpose was to use a printer to “fabricate pre-surgical physical models” as well as “guides, templates, custom implants, rehabilitation devices, anatomical models with segmented anatomical features,” among other uses. Another recent solicitation sought a printer to be used for Army dentistry. The Army didn’t go into details, but the printers are likely to be used for making dental prosthetics, an already common practice in medical offices.
  • The Navy has fielded interest in developing swarms of micro-robots to print and assemble objects on their own.
  • At Sheppard Air Force base 3D printers are used to make training mock-ups of drones.

It is no surprise that the military is flocking to the world of 3D printing. Relatively speaking, 3D printers are cost-efficient and save (precious) time during the development and manufacturing stages of product development. As the article states, “Time is money in manufacturing, and being able to build a prototype within hours as opposed to days — or a piece of equipment in days as opposed to weeks — saves on both.”

To read the entire Wired article click here.

Popular 3D Printing & STEM Education News (September 17th – September 21st)

September 21, 2012

This was definitely a busy week in the 3D printing world! The first consumer based 3D printing retail store opened its doors on a busy Manhattan street and great strides were made on the CAD software side of the industry. We hope this momentum keeps up!

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Innovation Has No Boundaries

September 13, 2012

Technology and innovation go hand-in-hand, and there is a video making its way around the internet, Beauty and the Beak, confirming that technology has no boundaries. In this video you will witness the beauty of determination, compassion and ingenuity as a mechanical engineer comes to the rescue of a critically injured bald eagle.


Original Vimeo post of Beauty and the Beak


Popular 3D Printing & STEM Education News (July 30th – August 3rd)

August 3, 2012

Wow what a week it has been for the 3D printing community! We have seen designers embrace the Olympics, new materials and share a heartwarming article about a brave little girl with “magic arms”.

If you have an article that you would like to share, please leave it as a comment. Thanks!

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