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“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.
Engineers 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.
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.
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 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…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Referenced Source: 7 Ways 3D Printing Is Already Disrupting Global Manufacturing, Forbes
Traveling anymore is quite complicated, and to make matters worse, seat size and legroom is quickly diminishing to make room for additional rows of seats. Maximizing your amount of seat space is necessary for a comfortable journey. The Airhook is a small device that clips onto your locked tray table and holds both your tablet or phone at eye level as well as a drinking cup. This one device allows you to enjoy additional legroom by completely eliminating the need for a tray table.
“The Airhook is a patent-pending two part system: a stable drink holder and a secure hook to mount your electronic device. Travelers needs have changed since airplane tray tables were designed decades ago, and vertical use of the tray table allows for a more comfortable flying experience.”
The design of the Airhook is relatively simple, yet it is solving a major problem. Dare we say that this device could be solving the legroom problem once and for all? We can definitely see why this product has been wildly successful on Kickstarter. As an engineering firm we know that perfecting a design takes time, and on the Airhook Kickstarter page you can view the different prototypes they experimented with before landing on this final design.
This past Tuesday (June 7, 2015) Governor David Ige enacted two pieces of legislation aimed at supporting innovative small businesses and manufacturing here in Hawaii. Collin Kobayashi, our President & Chief 3D Officer, along with many other business owners and state agencies had been working behind the scenes to help provide testimony and garner support for these bills. Collin is the Co-Chair on the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s Light Industrial Manufacturing Group and provided support to boost the bills. “It was an honor to have the opportunity to be there while Governor Ige signed both bills into law.”
“State agencies responsible for promoting and improving innovation and technology in Hawaii received a $4 million boost at a bill-signing ceremony held in Governor Ige’s office Tuesday (KHON 2 News).
Below are summaries of each bill…
High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) executive director Robert Melton said “the actions of the governor and the Legislature will give us a big boost toward reaching our 80/80 goal announced this year, with the aim of creating 80,000 jobs earning $80,000 by 2030 in fields involving technology and innovation”.
It’s summer time and that means more time outside in the pool. While spending time in the pool is a staple of the season, maintaining a pool can be a challenge. Drop, the smart pool monitor aims to simplify the care process for your pool. “With Drop, you can monitor all the relevant variables in our easy-to-use app: chlorine, pH,temperature, movement, and overall water quality. Watch the levels change in real time when you make adjustments to your pool.” The app also alerts you to any unexpected pool activity so you are constantly aware of what is happening in your pool. Drop is solar powered, so you will never have to worry about it losing its charge.
As a design firm we are always interested in the process taken to achieve the final product, and on the Drop Kickstarter page you can view early sketches, prototypes and product testing. You can truly see the time and dedication devoted to perfecting the design. Drop is the perfect pool assistant.
Do you find yourself wanting to take your 3D prints to the next level? The Orbit1 is an efficient, easy-to-use electroplating device that coats your 3D print in metal. Not only does your print automatically look polished but the coating adds strength as well. The brilliance behind the Orbit1 is both in its ability to coat your product and its true ease of use; In just three simple steps you can be on your way to a truly one-of-a-kind product. This tabletop electroplater has made a once (very) complicated process easy. “Using Orbit1, you can coat your works in metal, even gold, in three steps. First, clean and polish your object, next spray the conductive paint, then click start. Orbit1 will metallize your design, empowering you with the Midas touch from your tabletop. Orbit1 is a step forward in the 3D printing world.”
The affordability of the Orbit1 makes it ideal for consumer 3D printing. “Makers, jewelers, engineers, designers, scientists, tinkerers, and artists have all been longing for a simple way to refine their 3D printed objects. Here comes the smart and speedy solution. Applicable to jewelry design, industrial design, rapid prototyping, mechanical parts, specialty electrical parts, molding/casting kits, and more.” Also, with the the Oribit1 app on your phone you can directly monitor the coating process and receive real time reminders. It is evident that the Orbit1 was designed to be truly innovative and user-friendly.
Design engineers are critical during the product development cycle for concept, planning, detailed design and prototyping, and are also increasing responsible for manufacturing methods analysis and production planning. These last two responsibilities are rapidly increasing because there is more pressure on businesses to offer a quick turnaround and speedy market delivery. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology is one way design engineers have been able to keep up with the demands.
“Although additive-based rapid prototyping technologies are ever more established, from producing concept models to detailed engineering prototypes, engineers must not lose sight of how to go from prototyping and the final design stage to manufacturing production in the most efficient and effective way.” This is where design for manufacturability and assembly plays a critical role. When determining how to design and assemble in the most efficient manner possible organizations also have evaluate whether to use internal business resources or develop an external partnership.
No matter whether an organization looks internally or externally, the goal to get prototypes and production ready-parts into engineers hands in a matter of days instead of weeks remains the same. “There is now a plethora of 3D printing methods at companies’ disposal, from stereolithography to inkjet printing to direct metal laser sintering, just to name three. But quick-turn production is method-agnostic at its heart, where companies and their product development partners should keep all 3D printing options open and make their choices based on a balance of prioritized needs. These include lead time, cost, surface finish, detail and resolution, strength and material properties, and functional behavior for form and fit checks and engineering evaluation.”
Read more about design for manufacturability on the Design News website, How Do You Make Quick-Turn Design & Production a Reality?
Crowdfunding websites have become a mecca for 3D printing technology. While most of the 3D printers we see have a single feature that makes them standout from the competition it is a rarity to find a 3D printer that is efficient, versatile and compact. Our featured Product of the Week, MoonRay, meets all of these and more. The engineers behind the MoonRay Desktop 3D Printer set out to bridge the gap between quality and price, and from their Kickstarter page it looks like this has been successfully accomplished.
“The desktop 3D printers on the market today fall into two groups: expensive and high resolution or less expensive but with sub-standard printing quality. We designed the MoonRay to bridge this gap and bring high-quality printing capabilities to an affordable desktop 3D printing unit.” The phenomenal printing quality of the MoonRay means that your finished product will be accurate and the ultra-fine details won’t be lost. We have seen this type of accuracy in large commercial sized 3D printers but never before in a compact desktop printer at this price point.
The overall design of the MoonRay is simple and intuitive. “The MoonRay has no moving parts that aren’t essential to the printing process. This simplicity allows the MoonRay to keep running smoothly over time.” To get started with MoonRay all your have to do is plug it in (seriously)! No assembly required means that you can start printing right away. The sleek outward appearance of MoonRay coupled with the internal technology makes this 3D printer truly one-of-a-kind.
In recent weeks there has been chatter about the new 3MF file format and what it means for the 3D printing industry. “3MF is a new 3D printing format that will allow design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models to a mix of other applications, platforms, services and printers” (3MF Consortium). The aim of 3MF is to close the design loop, which means that from design to print only a single file is required. Current STL files can be frustrating for designers as they find themselves spending more and more time fixing technology issues, which takes time away from actually developing innovative designs. We asked Collin Kobayashi, President & Chief 3D Officer of 3D Innovations, to weigh in on what he sees as the benefits and drawbacks of 3MF…
This new file format is revolutionary for the 3D design and printing industry, but as always, time will tell if it has actual sticking power with designers. Please let us know what you think of the new file format and the consortium by leaving a comment on this post.
Did you know… Americans use more than 29 billion plastic water bottles each year and only 1 in 6 is recycled, (National Geographic)? Our planet is being polluted with water bottles that take hundreds of years to disintegrate and create a tremendous burden on the environment. Many of these plastic bottles end up in landfills, streams and oceans. When we make the conscious effort to stop purchasing single serve bottles and invest in reusable bottles, we can start to combat this environmental issue and make our world a better place.
Our featured “Product of the Week”, WELLY Bottle, is a sustainable, filtered and sleek reusable bottle. WELLY is designed to be “an easy-to-carry, reusable, BPA-free water bottle with a built-in filter made from activated and carbonized coconut shells that purifies your water as you drink it”. The thoughtful design of WELLY is what captured our attention. From the shape of the bottle to the design of the cap, each piece was carefully crafted to be convenient and functional. Below are just a few features that make the design of WELLY standout…
The company goes one step further and places emphasis on creating not only a superior bottle but one rooted in sustainability. “WELLY considers all three pillars of sustainability (environmental, economic, social) in every decision that we make. From our materials that we source to our packaging used to ship WELLY to your doorstep, we aim to minimize our carbon footprint while reducing the demand for oil and plastic from our world.”