Posts Tagged "benefits"

New Cure for the Common Cold: 3D Print Your Own Medicine

April 19, 2012

When you have a cold most people run to the drugstore to buy an over the counter medicine, curl up under a blanket and sip on chicken noodle soup. 3D printing is in the process of changing the way in which we recover from colds. Imagine being able to just walk into your home office and fabricate a medicine of your own. A University of Glasgow research team  has made steps toward using 3D printers as home chemical fabricators.

The University of Glasgow team used a 3D printer and open source CAD software to create vessels for chemical reactions made from a polymer gel. The gel sets at room temperature, creating what the researchers have dubbed “reactionware.” By adding other chemicals to the gel as it is printed, the team is able to make the vessel part of the reaction process, something not usually seen outside of industrial chemical engineering. This could allow for the process to be replicated in small labs or even at home.

This is a very interesting use of 3D printing and though it is still in early development we can’t help but be a little cautious about the idea that people will one day be able to fabricate medicine at home.

What are your thoughts on this application of 3D printing?

To read the full article published by Desktop Engineering, please click here.

Hit Rewind…The History of 3D Printing

March 22, 2012

The term 3D Printing is being linked to numerous industries and new products daily. By now we have all heard about the benefits that 3D printing brings to the business community and how it is allowing people at home to print some fun and useful items; but when exactly was this technology developed and how did it come to be?

The History of 3D Printing:

  • 3D Printing was developed by Charles Hull in 1984.
  • Mr. Hull, born May 12, 1939, was an inventor of over 60 U.S. patents in the fields of ion optics and rapid prototyping.
  • Mr. Hull’s patent for the “Apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by stereo lithography”, issued on March 11, 1986, defined stereo lithography as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively “printing” thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other.
  • After obtaining the patent, In 1986 Mr. Hull founded 3D Systems and developed the first commercial 3D Printing machine. However the term “3D Printer” was not used by that time and the machine was called only as Stereolithography Apparatus.  *Watch Chuck Hull explain Stereolithography (video).
  • In 1988, 3D Systems delivered its first version of the machine, named SLA-250, to the public.
  • While Stereolithography systems had become popular by the end of 1980s, other similar technologies such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) were introduced.
  • FDM was invented in 1988 by Scott Crump who founded Stratasys in the next year to commercialize the technology.
  • In 1993, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) patented another technology, named “3 Dimensional Printing techniques” (3DP), which is similar to the inkjet technology used in 2D printers.
  • In 1995, Z Corporation obtained an exclusive license from MIT to use the technology and started developing 3D Printers based on 3DP technology.
  • In 1996, three major products, “Genisys” from Stratasys, “Actua 2100” from 3D Systems and “Z402” from Z Corporation, were introduced. It was only during this period, the term “3D Printer” was first used to refer rapid prototyping machines.
  • In 2005, the Spectrum Z510, was the first high definition color 3D Printer in the market, launched.
  • In 2006, a breakthrough open source printing project, named Reprap, was developed in England. The rep-rap was capable of manufacturing various plastic parts, roughly 50% of itself.
  • In 2008, the first version of the Reprap, the Darwin, was released. In continued development of Reprap printers the next model developed was the Mendel.
  • In 2010 the first 3D printer was introduced that could produce functional prototype parts.
As you can see, 3D printing technology is not very old and has progressed at a rapid speed. We believe that the options are endless with the continued advancement and improvement of this technology. Where do you see this technology going from here?

More Design Hobbyists & Entrepreneurs Use 3D Printing

February 24, 2012

We are starting to see 3D printing in the news more often and this week was no exception. USA Today published an article that goes in-depth into the industries that are harnessing the technology and what it means for the future of manufacturing. If you have not had a chance to read the article now you can by simply clicking here.

USA Today article preview:

Thanks to the Internet and declining hardware costs, 3D printing — once a specialized process used sparingly by industrial companies for prototyping — is becoming more common among design hobbyists and entrepreneurs such as Summit.

The consumer market’s embrace of the technology has been swift. Sales for all 3D printing products and services worldwide grew 24% to $1.33 billion in 2010, fueled in part by a fast-growing market of do-it-yourselfers, says industry research firm Wohlers Associates.

The firm also estimates sales will continue to post “strong double-digit growth” in the next several years, reaching about $3.1 billion by 2016 from an estimated $1.6 billion this year.

Here’s how 3D printing generally works: Once a product is designed on software, the file is sent to a special 3D printer that contains a spool (or cartridge) of a material — typically, plastic, metal or ceramics — in a fine powder or gel-like texture. Like printing on paper, the 3D printer lays down successive layers of the material and builds up until an object emerges. It’s then cleaned, painted or cooled.

The technology is already prevalent in industrial manufacturing. Boeing prints some air duct parts for its planes. Invisalign’s teeth aligners are printed, as are hearing aid shells by Starkey Laboratories in Minnesota.

“You have freedom of creation. You can do almost anything,” says Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates.

To read the full article please click here.

STEM Education: Get ‘Em While They’re Young

January 30, 2012

The latest efforts to shore up the nation’s engineering base start with instilling a love for math, science, and technology long before students reach college.


As you well know, 3D Academy is frequently in classrooms all over Hawaii teaching middle school students about CAD and 3D technology. Owner, Collin Kobayashi, loves having the opportunity to get out into the community and help foster students’ interest in STEM education. We have come across this STEM education article on the Cadalyst website and wanted to share it with you.

Once a tool that addressed a very specific professional need, CAD today is pervasive, touching just about everything that isn’t created by nature. Although most think of CAD and 3D modeling as technology that’s taught at the college or professional level, it is now trickling down to high-school and even middle-school classrooms. From software including Autodesk‘s TinkerBox app to in-school curricula such as Project Lead The Way, CAD increasingly is shaping the education of America’s youth in ways that far outstrip its original application as a drafting tool. Its use is helping to shore up the country’s supply of engineers by instilling a passion for technology use at a young age — and shoring up students’ confidence in their ability to succeed. The latest efforts to shore up the nation’s engineering base start with instilling a love for math, science, and technology long before students reach college.

CAD for the Young

When it comes to fostering students’ interest in a subject — or stated differently, averting a disinterest in it — current wisdom says the window of opportunity is closing by the time students finish middle school. That, together with an emphasis on the importance of teaching process and critical thinking, is what’s driving the push to introduce CAD technologies to students in the third through twelfth grades.

For the past couple of decades, the news media has loudly and repeatedly pronounced the decline of U.S. students’ literacy in math and science. That lack of training in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects has led to a shortage of qualified workers in numerous science and technology fields that is projected to grow. Last year, President Barack Obama announced the Educate to Innovate initiative, which aims to improve STEM literacy in children. It provides federal funding for STEM teaching but also relies on support from companies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and science and engineering societies.

One program that is improving STEM literacy in schools across the United States is Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a nonprofit organization that provides STEM curricula for middle and high schools that incorporates hands-on activities and project- and problem-based learning with an emphasis on developing critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills. Through its Gateway to Technology program, PLTW introduces sixth through eighth graders to technology in units that explore aerospace, energy, environmental studies, modeling, and robotics. High-school students have two PLTW tracks: Pathway to Engineering and Biomedical Sciences. Pathway to Engineering coursework explores the design process and uses STEM skills to solve real-world issues.

Supporting Students Is Good Business

Autodesk is an industry leader when it comes to putting software in the hands of students from elementary school through college. The company offers reduced-priced software bundles for education; free software downloads for students; instructor workshops that provide tools for engaging and inspiring students; and apps such as TinkerBox, which introduces engineering principles in a fun and interactive way. In its own words, Autodesk’s goal is “to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation to get them proficient and passionate about using our products.” The TinkerBox app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch incorporates science and engineering principles into a game for students.

Please click here to read the full article.

If you have any questions about CAD or 3D printing please feel free to email us at and we gladly answer them for you.

3D Printing Industry Accomplishments in 2011

December 31, 2011

As today is the last work day of 2011, we thought that it would be fun to take a moment and reflect on the accomplishments that 3D printing has made this year. We came across this article by Make Parts Fast and wanted to share the 2011 highlights that we found intriguing.

Noteworthy news events affecting the 3D printing industry:

1. Food
The printing of food was a popular story this year. CNN Money started the ball rolling by reporting that a group of Cornell University scientists and students built a 3D printer and used material made out of food as a test item.

2. New materials
The key obstacle to wider use of 3D printing technology continues to be materials—both in terms of costs (engineers and customers want them lower) and in variety (more materials that can be used in end-use applications).

Stratasys introduced a new material that can be used to fabricate assembly aids for electronic products. Stratasys also introduced easier support material removal for polycarbonate. High temperature materials, which are suitable for military and aerospace applications emerged this year. Objet also introduced its high-impact, high temperature ABS-like Digital Material (RGD5160-DM) material for simulating engineering plastics, clear transparent material (Objet VeroClear) and rigid white (Objet VeroWhitePlus) material for all-round application use.

And in the world of unusual materials, there are plenty with more on the way. This year we saw clay, wood, ceramic, potatoes, baker’s icing and dough used in 3D printers to make various objects. One of the more interesting odd materials was cement.

3. 3D printers print parts in space
Yep, 3D printers went into space and worked just fine. The BfB™ 3000 3D printer from 3D Systems completed two zero gravity test flights in partnership with MADE IN SPACE, a start-up dedicated to providing solutions for manufacturing in outer space.

4. 3D printing in Medical                                                                                                      The medical industry has become a big user of 3D printing, and not just for hearing aids or dental appliances. Researchers have printed bone or bone like materials. EOS has been printing metal parts that can be used in surgery to attach to bone for certain surgical procedures far a couple of years. And researchers have been working on printing organs (so far, none of them working or FDA approved).

5. CAD programs for novices                                                                                          Another interesting development was the emergence of easy to use CAD programs for those with little engineering CAD experience. Among them are 3DTin, TinkerCAD, Sketch Up, 3D Via, and Autodesk, which entered into this part of the market with its Autodesk 123D. These programs tap a market of artists and others who may not want to learn CAD but who do want to design. Expect this trend to continue. In fact, some industry experts anticipate that the function of CAD design will shift from making designs to creating easier to use CAD software.

Click here to view the full article.

The 3D Innovations family would like to wish you a Happy Aloha Friday and Happy New Year!

3D Innovations Assists With Design Of Shark Deterrent Device

November 15, 2011

The challenge: Finding an effective way to design and prototype the enclosure for a Shark Deterrent device. From here 3D Innovations needed to develop a functional design for the enclosure that can be massed produced for manufacturing and market readiness.

Our Solution: We utilized 3D Technologies to create digital designs and functional prototypes for testing and verification of the enclosure.  Final designs were used to produce tooling needed for mass production manufacturing of the final enclosure design.

3D Innovations has helped one of their customers develop an enclosure for a Shark Deterrent system, a small device that repels sharks from your area while in the ocean.

The enclosure needed to be designed to be mass produced using Injection Molding Manufacturing.  Design challenges included miniaturizing the design to keep a small and compact form factor while ensuring the design could be molded.  Another challenge was to add style to the overall design and appeal of the product.  The product needed to blend in with the ocean environment and have an attractive appeal to the consumer.  Using a finishing process, the product mimics a carbon fiber coating as well as blue or brown camouflage patterns.


  • Reduced prototyping costs by as much as 350%
  • Shortened time to market by 60%
  • Produced a manufacturable product at a low cost

Throughout the design process, 3D Innovations helped to go From Concept to Prototype to Product.


3D Innovations featured as one of Aloha Connects ‘Hawaii Connections’

October 5, 2011

“Aloha Connects is a collaborative project designed to connect Hawai’i businesses with their counterparts in the APEC member economies resulting in increased trade, business expansion, capital investment and job creation.”

3D Innovations has been featured on the Aloha Connects website!


3D Innovations has helped many of their customers develop concepts and move from the R&D phase to Production and Manufacturing phases by utilizing 3D Printing and DDM Technologies. On average, customers can save 80% – 200% over traditional subtractive fabrication/manufacturing methods. This does not include any re-work or scrapped parts that would typically result in additional project overruns of 300% or more if this prototyping process was not integrated into the R&D phase. In certain applications, DDM Technologies can be used as end use parts, saving thousands of dollars in tooling and fixtures that are required for the Injection Molding process… Visit: to view the article in its entirety.

3D Innovations Background

September 30, 2011

Who we are and what we do…

3D Innovations provides Engineering/Product Design, 3D CAD, Design Documentation, System/Sub System Design, System Integration, and 3D Printing/Rapid Prototyping services to support all of your design and prototyping projects. We support various Commercial and Government industries that include Industrial, Military, Construction, Dental, Medical, Marine, Manufacturing, Automotive, R&D, Inventors, and many more.

Experience the benefits of 3D Design and see what 3D Innovations can do for you. Contact us today at to see a demonstration or to discuss your project needs.

3D Innovations Services (Video)

*3D Innovations is accredited with the Hawaii Better Business Bureau and is also a certified Hawaii DOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) company.