Posts Tagged "Collin Kobayashi"

A Warm ‘Thank You’ to Our Clients

November 22, 2017

thank you“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” ― John F. Kennedy

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, our 3D Innovations team would like to send a big ‘thank you’ to our valued clients. Our clients are the driving motivation and the reason we do what we do. Each and every project we work on is unique, just like each client. Seeing the excitement build as we assist in the development of taking an idea and turning it into a real-world product never gets old, and fuels our desire to keep helping entrepreneurs launch their dreams. With that, we would like to say…

Thank you to the clients that have helped us grow.

Thank you to the clients that have provided us with feedback and suggestions.

Thank you to the clients that referred us to friends.

Thank you to the clients that have supported our dream from the beginning.

Thank you for helping make 3D Innovations what it is today.

We also couldn’t miss a chance to shower our family and friends with a warm ‘mahalo’. These are the people that have helped us as we navigated complex business decisions, listened when we asked for advice and stood by as we followed our dream of building this business.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

-The 3D Innovations Team


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

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Production Manufacturing Trip to China (Part 2)

FOG_Safe grease catchmentQuick recap: Our President, Collin Kobayashi, accompanied a client, FOG Safe, on a production manufacturing trip to China. They have returned to Hawaii, and are now discussing their recent trip to find the right manufacturing partner for the FOG Safe product, as well as the expectations of the trip versus what happened in this “Part 2” production manufacturing blog post. (View ‘Part 1’ here.)

Factory Visits and Deciding on a Production Manufacturing Partner
Let’s start off with, how was the trip?

[C. Kobayashi]: Traveling to the various factories was an exciting adventure for both myself and our client. Meeting factory management and touring the different factories is always exciting—no two factories are identical, so really getting to dive in and see the different manufacturing methodologies is a great experience.

[Client]: Seeing each of the factory’s capabilities really made a difference in deciding which factory is most capable of producing our product. Each had pros and cons, but at the end of the day, the one selected was based on 3D Innovations’ recommendation and my own impression of the visit.

What type of factories did you visit?

[C. Kobayashi]: We had the opportunity to visit with a handful of factories, both for product manufacturing as well as packaging manufacturing facilities.

What surprised you during this trip?

 [C. Kobayashi]: Improvements in manufacturing have come a long way. It was quite evident that manufacturing companies need to constantly upgrade their technologies to be efficient and competitive. During a few of the visits, we saw some advanced manufacturing systems that made them not only efficient, but able to handle large scale projects and track every stage of the process until the items were shipped out.

[Client]: I haven’t been to a factory before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. It was an entirely new experience for me. Visiting the various factories gave me a real comparison and I was able to see the differences, strengths, and weaknesses between each.

When you selected a final manufacturer, how did they stand out from the other factories?

 [C. Kobayashi]: Pricing will always affect the bottom line, but other factors are equally as important. All of these factors were taken into account when the final manufacturing partners were selected.

[Client]: A face-to-face meeting with these potential manufacturing partners really opened my eyes to see what goes on with the manufacturing process and what happens behind the scenes. Without these meetings taking place, it would have been a shot in the dark and hoping that the right manufacturer was selected.

What were the main takeaways from the trip to China?

[C. Kobayashi]: A few takeaways from this trip for me were seeing the various departments and logistics that handle the production process from start to finish. Being able to observe the entire process from machinery to quality assurance was an amazing conclusion to the project and development cycle.

[Client]: Trying to do this process without the assistance of manufacturing experts is impossible.  If doing this on my own, it would have been not only difficult, but there is a chance that I could have made the wrong decisions and ultimately sacrificed, time, money, and quality. I was fortunate enough to have 3D Innovations support the project from start to finish, and continually advising on the best way to bring our product to market.

What is the next step for the FOG Safe product?

[Client & C. Kobayashi]: Once molds are made, we will await the first samples and start full production quantities.


Have questions related to manufacturing a product internationally or locally? We are happy to help! Please send your questions to


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

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Production Manufacturing Trip to China (Part 1)

FOG_Safe grease catchmentOur President, Collin Kobayashi, will be accompanying a client, FOG Safe, on a production manufacturing trip to China later this week. We are often asked about the process of researching and procuring a manufacturing partner, so we have decided to delve deeper into the topic of “manufacturing partnerships” in a two-part post here on our blog.

In this first post we discuss the benefits of traveling to the factory and getting acquainted with both factory management and factory processes. In our second post, we will dig into the details of the expectations verses experience of our client.

Finding a Production Manufacturing Partner

This is our client’s first time manufacturing a product and they are eager to dive right into the manufacturing phase of product development. They have asked Collin to accompany them on this trip to assist in visiting and selecting a manufacturing partner. 3D Innovations has developed strong supply chains and manufacturing channels, both locally and internationally, over the years and is well versed in manufacturing partner selection. For many entrepreneurs, visiting a factory for the very first time can be overwhelming and intimidating, so having a partner present to help guide and explain the process is greatly beneficial.

Visiting the manufacturing facility has many benefits, the primary benefit is that the client gets to physically see where their product will be manufactured. Seeing the parts being molded in front of their eyes, gives them a deeper appreciation of the entire design process and practices that went into getting their product developed. Also, there is no substitute to a face-to-face meeting with the individuals that will be building the product and directly seeing the process in which it will be manufactured. At the end of a factory visit, such as this one, we find that clients often feel confident in their decision to begin the manufacturing phase of product development, accompanied with a huge sense of relief to have finally decided on and secured a manufacturing partner.

Depending on your individual product and the complexity of the design, factory visits are not mandatory or always necessary. However, after a visit you will have a better sense of what your product will look like in the end.

Do you have questions related to manufacturing a product, send us an email at, we are happy to help!


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

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We Pause, Reflect & Give Thanks

Hawaii and Las Vegas have a special bond, in fact it is often fondly referred to as the “ninth island”. There is a closeness, a friendship. The senseless tragedy that took place last Sunday has hit close to home for many of us. A heartbreaking event such as this really makes you stop, reflect and give thanks for everything you have.

In the wake of this tragedy I wanted to personally reach out to our family, friends and customers to say, ‘Thank You’.

Thank you to the customers that have become friends. Thank you to the friends that have become family. Thank you for entrusting us to help develop your idea and launch your business. Thank you for your role in helping our business succeed.

While we are thankful every single day, it is easy to get caught up in routine and not express our gratitude nearly enough.

We are very fortunate to call Hawaii home and are thankful every day for our supportive community. We are part of a community that rallies around one another and works hard to help others succeed. The guidance, support, mentorship and generosity we have received throughout the years is humbling—and for all of it, my warmest mahalo.

 “Always remember people who have helped you along the way, and don’t forget to lift someone up.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


Collin Kobayashi, President & Chief 3D Officer of 3D Innovations


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, or give us a call at 1.808.722.8667.


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

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3D CAD: Exploration & Iteration

At its most simple level, the engineering discipline is about exploration and iteration—which are the two principles computer-aided design (CAD) is built upon. CAD has come a long way from the time when its primary use was to document finalized drawings. Where once CAD was a final step in the design process—today, it is a valuable first step. If you are not using CAD from the initial design stage, you are missing out on some of the most helpful aspects of the program.

Design Iterations

When it comes to designing, iterations are both helpful and inevitable. How often does our first design actually become the final design? Many inventors have an idea of what they want their final product to look like, but often times this initial design idea has to be modified to account for usability and manufacturing. With 3D CAD you can explore a seemingly endless array of design options without the need of “starting from scratch” for each iteration.

Explore the Design Possibilities

Coming up with the best possible design of a product is a trial-and-error process. You try one approach, when it fails, you try a different approach, and so forth until you come up with the best possible design. The features many CAD programs have today allow you to quickly navigate this trial and error stage while honing in on a final design that will meet all needed specifications.

By using a 3D digital design process, we are able to create designs and validate them with up to 95% certainty that they will work before even building a prototype. -Collin Kobayashi, President & Chief 3D Officer of 3D Innovations

Two valuable CAD features are parametric design and direct modeling, as detailed below by Autodesk:

“Parametric modeling allows users to build intelligent and reactive sequences of geometries in which engineers gradually capture their design intent. In this case, intelligent and reactive means the capability to create geometric objects that react to each other and behave as they would in the real world, rather than just on a computer. So as you iterate and change your model, the software’s parametric modeling capability maintains consistent relationships between elements.”

“With direct modeling, you manipulate a model’s geometry by pushing, pulling or twisting it. This allows you to focus initially on creating geometry rather than thinking about building features, constraints and design intent into models. You add features and constraints when editing the model, so you don’t have to edit the interim model stages.”

3D CAD lets you get a real sense for the product you are developing. Not only does it speed up product development, but it brings ideas to life at the fraction of the cost of what it takes to prototype. By shifting CAD to the start of the design process, you are opening the door to an array of design possibilities.

Need assistance creating a 3D Digital Design for your product idea? Contact us! Email us at or give us a call at 808.722.8667. We look forward to talking with you!


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

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2016 Hawaii STEM Conference

May 5, 2016
3D Innovations

UPDATE (5/7/2016): Photos from the 2016 Hawaii STEM Conference can now be viewed on our Facebook page, here.

We are thrilled to share that 3D Innovations will be in attendance at the 7th Annual Hawaii STEM Conference presented by the Maui Economic Development Board and Women in Technology. This is an event that we look forward to each year. This year the conference is on May 6th &  7th, and we will be hosting two different events, one each day.

conferenceFriday, May 6th: We will be hosting a design and pitch competition. Students will be given a set of requirements and then allowed to develop their own product, devise a business plan, a marketing plan, and a final pitch to a panel of judges. With this hands-on approach, students will learn about design, manufacturing, business, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Saturday, May 7th: We will be conducting a drone design and building workshop for teachers. This workshop will cover the basics of drones—how to design and build them, and how to integrate the curriculum into their classrooms.

While drones are finding a place in many industries, academia is also an area where they are thriving. This is another hands-on tool that is relatively low-cost and allows teachers to bring lessons to life for students.

If you are planning on being in attendance at the conference, please take a moment to stop by and introduce yourself. We love meeting new people and sharing our passion for STEM education with new friends.


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 Single Most Important Piece Of Advice A Startup Needs To Hear

January 21, 2016
3D Innovations

Starting a business is hard and each business comes with its own unique set of challenges; however, there are universal pieces of advice that span industry, geography, and demographics. We recently sat down with 3D Innovations Founder, Collin Kobayashi, to discuss startups and the best piece of advice entrepreneurs need to hear. While Collin has vast experience starting and managing 3D Innovations, he has recently embarked on another venture, co-founding Startup Connector, a manufacturing accelerator here in Honolulu, Hawaii. With both companies he has had the privilege of working with visionary entrepreneurs and assisting them in the launch of their startups. Through his many meetings and time around entrepreneurs, like himself, he has found one piece of advice to be crucial for success, “Never underestimate the power of persistence”.

goalThis piece of advice reaches into every single aspect of starting a business, from market research to funding. In terms of market research, whether you are developing software or hardware, understanding the market you are creating a product for is critical. Be persistent in your research of the market and take the time to meet with various experts in the field. Validating your product is critical, and validation is best when it comes from both your target market and other technical experts. Have meetingslots of meetingswith potential mentors, experienced entrepreneurs and development experts in your industry.

Funding is another hurdle almost every startup faces, and here persistence will also serve you well. Whether it is gaining the attention of VCs or applying for funding, you need to be steadfast, determined and persistent. It might take some time to get meetings with the right people in place, but keep pushing forward until you get a response. Always remember, that if one door closes, seek to open others.

What is the single best piece of business advice you have been given?


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

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New Adventures with Startup Connector

November 6, 2015
3D Innovations

startupconnectorWe are thrilled to announce a new venture for 3D Innovations today! Collin Kobayashi, our President and Chief 3D Officer, has teamed up with Bob Nakata, Startup Guru and Serial Entrepreneur, to launch Startup Connector here in Honolulu.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator that supports hardware startups. Accelerator programs are time-specific, mentorship-driven programs designed to connect startups with critical early-stage product development resources. The complementary skill sets of both entrepreneurs will help local hardware startups gain valuable insight into the entire product development process and set them up for a successful product launch.

“Our main objective is to prepare teams for full scale manufacturing and connect them with distributors and partners to develop sales channel strategies” says Mr. Kobayashi.

With an increase in statewide manufacturing initiatives, Startup Connector strives to maintain and enhance technology commercialization activities to support the growing markets of the Pacific Rim. As the number of accelerator programs in Hawaii grows, Startup Connector plans to work with other local startups to “complement their existing programs” says Mr. Nakata.

If you have a product that you would like to launch, keep your eye out for the Startup Connector application release in December.

For additional information about Startup Connector, please visit the website:


3D Innovations is a Product Development 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.


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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