Posts Tagged "rapid prototyping"

3D Printing is Shaking Up the Manufacturing Industry

August 7, 2015
3D Innovations

prototype-3d-printing-innovations-1003D 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…

  1. True Rapid Prototyping. The product development cycle has been shortened from months or weeks to mere days. Multiple design updates no longer hinder the development timeline, but instead can be accommodated for in a short period of time, thus delivering the final product to market faster.
  2. Rapid Design Iteration (A/B testing of physical products). 3D printing has gone beyond prototyping and into first-run production, allowing for market testing and rapid design iteration. Engineers are able to explore and test a variety of designs before finalizing for manufacturing.
  3. Low volume production. Companies are no longer burdened with high costs when they are producing small amounts of a product. For production runs of less than 1,000, many companies are considering 3D production as a cost-effective alternative.
  4. Mass Customization. Customers want customization and 3D printing can provide it. The days of “one-size-fits-all” is quickly fading away, and making room for personal product customization.
  5. Virtual Inventory. With 3D printing production, a company only makes what it needs at a given time, thus eliminating warehousing and other costs associated with storing large product quantities. Virtual inventory improves the efficiency of every business that uses anything manufactured. Inventories around the world will soon shrink dramatically as virtual inventory goes mainstream.
  6. The Long Tail of Parts. 3D printing is changing the way designers and engineers plan for the end of a product’s life cycle. With 3D production, you now have the long tail of parts. Hold on to the digital design files, and you can print any part for as long as it is needed.
  7. Product Innovation Renaissance. 3D printing’s lower barriers to entry and ability to produce radically more complex objects is changing the way we think and design products. The door of innovation is wide open. Harvard Business Review recently published a piece, 3D Printing Is Changing the Way We Think, and we could not agree more. A new realm of design possibilities is going to eventually make companies rethink the design of nearly all of their products.

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 info@3d-innovations.com

Referenced Source: 7 Ways 3D Printing Is Already Disrupting Global Manufacturing, Forbes

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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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Product of the Week: FOVE Virtual Reality Headset

June 19, 2015
3D Innovations

foveVirtual reality headsets once seemed like a thing of fiction, however the technology for them is quickly advancing and they are now part of today’s reality. The FOVE Virtual Reality Headset on Kickstarter has made quite a splash and was funded in a mere 72 hours! FOVE is the first eye tracking virtual reality headset, which means that it tracks a user’s gaze and calculates where in 3D space a user is looking. This enables the graphics engine to adjust focus and allocate rendering resources accordingly.

With FOVE you can…

  • Aim With Your Eyes. Simply target, aim and shoot with true line-of-sight targeting.
  • Make Eye Contact. Look, laugh and communicate with virtual characters just like in the real world.
  • Focus Your Vision. View realistic scenery that blurs and sharpens, reacting to where you are focusing.
  • Move Naturally. Tilt your head to reduce simulation sickness by reducing the need for unnatural head movements.

“FOVE enables eye-tracking by incorporating custom small form-factor infrared sensors inside the headset. These sensors bounce light off the retina to register how the eyes are angled. Our unique algorithms can calculate the parallax between the eyes to track and measure depth-of-field focus.” The technology behind this virtual reality headset make is great for gaming but the technology goes far beyond that as well… “Eye Play the Piano is a collaborative project between the University of Tsukuba’s Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged and FOVE. FOVE recognizes eye movement and blinks to trigger the selected chord, which is then conveyed to the piano.” (You can view a video of the children in action playing the piano on the FOVE Kickstarter page.)

Virtual reality is the future of storytelling and this technology has far reaching capabilities. If you are interested in learning more about the technology behind FOVE, check out the Kickstarter page; It is full of videos, renderings and fascinating VR technology information. You can also visit the official company website.

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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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Product of the Week: The Orbit1 Tabletop Electroplater

June 12, 2015
3D Innovations

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.”

orbit1The 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.

Learn more about the Orbit1 on Kickstarter and the official website.

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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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Optimizing Design for 3D Printing (CADSpeed Interview)

February 1, 2015
3D Innovations

Recently Collin Kobayashi, President & Chief 3D Officer of 3D Innovations, was interviewed by CADSpeed. The CADSpeed blog is the brainchild of Cadalyst magazine and is “devoted to helping CAD users, CAD managers, and IT personnel optimize hardware for 3D CAD applications”. In the interview Collin discusses the emergence of 3D printing and the challenges facing a CAD designer when they design for 3D prints and production. Below are a few excerpts from the interview but we encourage you to read the interview in its entirety on the CADSpeed blog.

3D Printing Services | Rapid Prototyping Services | 3D-innovationsIn what ways do you predict that 3D printing will revolutionize industry?

Initial 3D printers and processes were limited to various types of plastic such as ABS, nylon, and other polymers. With the introduction of metal 3D printing several years ago, it has opened up other industries and applications to adopt 3D printing as a standard, not an option. Large aerospace companies are beginning to integrate 3D printed parts into their products. Development of new materials and technology to build parts is evolving and a fast pace. These new, revolutionary developments will drive the 3D printing/additive manufacturing industry into areas that will change the market. Such industries are medical, food, and biotechnology, to name a few. By using 3D printing over conventional manufacturing methods, designs can be more complex while increasing their functionality.

You talk about rapid prototyping being one of the advantages of 3D printing. Can you give a couple of real-world examples of this, and why it’s helpful?

In most applications, having the ability to 3D print a prototype for testing form, fit, and function is extremely critical. When tolerances are not crucial, 3D printing is a far more cost-effective and efficient option than having the parts CNC machined. For one particular project, we needed to build a prototype of a miniature cooler design. This product was unique and had multiple parts with some complex features and details. It was designed to be injection molded and to have a set or several sets of these prototypes made would have cost well over $10,000 to produce. By using 3D printing to build the parts, the cost and lead time was reduced significantly, allowing the customer to receive the parts in a shorter amount of time. Because the project only required several prototypes, it wasn’t cost effective to even make “soft tooling” to produce the low amount of prototypes needed, so 3D printing really made the most sense.

To take advantage of 3D printing, you have to start with 3D models. Can you talk about some other ways that 3D CAD differs from traditional CAD drawing?

Traditional drawings, sometimes referred to in our industry as “shop drawings,” have been mostly superseded by 3D design solutions. CAD/CAM was the first set of methods to adopt this practice, translating 3D digital design data directly into the manufacturing machine’s software more efficiently than manual translation. 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. Integrating other processes such as FEA (finite-element analysis) and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) tools with the digital design process will help to predict the functionality. This would not be achievable from 2D drawings, as no computational data exists. In addition to these design tools, having a 3D digital design will enable us and the client to see the product fully assembled, view it from all angles and visualize the entire design digitally.

…Read more from this interview on CADSpeed.

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Harnessing the Power of Additive Manufacturing Technologies

December 17, 2014
3D Innovations

By now most businesses understand that there is value in additive manufacturing (a/k/a 3D printing) technologies but still might be puzzled as to how this technology can have an immediate impact on their business. The book, Fabricated by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, takes a look at a broad range of industries and how these businesses have harnessed the power of 3D printing to reduce costs, time and design complexity challenges. These authors found that across an array of diverse industries there were ten distinct “rules” pertaining to additive manufacturing technologies that kept reoccurring.

Below are the 10 Principals shared in Fabricated that can help businesses take full advantage of 3D printing technologies. While some of these principals can be seen today others are still in infancy.

  1. Manufacturing complexity is free. On a 3D printer, complexity costs the same as simplicity.
  2. Variety is free. A single 3D printer can make many shapes with minimal human intervention.
  3. No assembly required. Interlocking parts can be created with a 3D printer, thus reducing assembly time.
  4. Zero lead time. A 3D printer can print on demand when an object is needed.
  5. Unlimited design space. A printer can fabricate shapes that until now have been possible only in nature.
  6. Zero skill manufacturing. A 3D printer gets most of its guidance from a design file. To make an object of equal complexity, a 3D printer requires less operator skill than does an injection molding machine.
  7. Compact, portable manufacturing. Per volume of production space, a 3D printer has more manufacturing capacity than a traditional manufacturing machine.
  8. Less waste by-product. Less material waste ends up on the factory floor.
  9. Infinite shades of materials. As multi-material 3D printing develops, we will gain the capacity to blend and mix different raw materials.
  10. Precise physical replication. We will scan, edit, and duplicate physical objects to create exact replicas or to improve on the original.

We invite you to delve deeper into each of these principals in the Ten Principles of 3-D Printing article found on Industry Week.

Source:

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A Manufacturing Success Story

November 26, 2014
3D Innovations

NIST MEPWe are extremely excited and honored to be considered a “success story” in Hawaii by the national Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). There are over 940 state success stories shared on the MEP website and 12 of those are from Hawaii.

What is the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)? “MEP is a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. Department of Commerce agency. MEP been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing, continually evolving to meet the changing needs of manufacturers since 1988. Through its services and partnerships it has had a profound impact on the growth of well-paying jobs, the development of dynamic manufacturing communities, and the enhancement of American innovation and global competitiveness.” (Learn more about MEP on the official website.)

The small business community in Hawaii is continuously growing and thriving; we feel extremely fortunate to be surrounded by such dedicated entrepreneurs. We would also like to thank our local MEP center, INNOVATE Hawaii, for the continued guidance, assistance and access to both local and national resources that have helped 3D Innovations succeed.

Please click here to read the 3D Innovations MEP Success Story.

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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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3D Innovations – Developing Ideas from Concept to Product

October 1, 2014
3d-innovations.com

We have just released a new company video and are excited to share it with all of our followers. Please take a moment to view it and feel free to share any feedback you may have with us!

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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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What’s next in 3D printing (TED talk video)

September 25, 2014
3d-innovations.com

There is a TED video circulating the internet, What’s next in 3D printing, by Avi Reichental. If you have not yet had a chance to watch it, we highly recommend it! We are sharing it on our blog so that our friends all get a chance to see the powerful video about 3D printing and what the future holds for the technology.

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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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Gartner’s Hype Cycle For 3D Printing Predicts Continued Prototyping Acceleration

August 20, 2014
3d-innovations.com

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 3D Printing provides a keen insight into the current state of additive manufacturing and what the future may look like for the technology. According to the research collected and analyzed by Gartner, 3D printing for prototyping will continue to accelerate through all industries over the next two years. It is also predicting that the next major adoption of the technology will be in enterprise and medical applications over the next two to five years (we are already seeing the technology ramp up in both sectors).

hc-3d-printing

From Gartner’s report:

3D printing and its uses continue to evolve rapidly in response to hype, greater visibility and, more importantly, demand. Naturally, some technologies are maturing faster than others and will be widely available in just a few years. In fact, some are already in general use. An example is 3D printing for prototyping, which has been the mainstay of the 3D printing industry since its inception.

 
“3D prototyping enables organizations to reduce or mitigate the risks associated with the design, form and functionality of products in research and development programs. It may also be used to support new manufacturing processes, and can reduce new product development schedules,” said Mr. Basiliere.

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Turning Ideas into Prototypes

July 24, 2014
3d-innovations.com

We recently came across a white paper by National Instruments titled, “Six Good Reasons to Prototype” and wanted to share it with you. Nothing is more exciting and exhilarating than coming up with a brilliant idea. However turning that idea into an actual product can be more challenging than you might expect.

3D CADThe journey from concept to market is typically a long road riddled with hidden obstacles and unforeseen turns. Building a quick prototype of a design can help smooth that path as well as present some other benefits.

Why Prototype?

1. Fail early and inexpensively – Real innovation always includes a risk of failure. Thomas Edison once joked, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb.” By building a prototype, you can quickly weed out the approaches that don’t work to focus on the ones that do.

2. Gather more accurate requirements – Almost half of all project costs are attributed to rework due to inadequate requirements. Traditional requirements gathering techniques such as interviews and focus groups can fall short because many people find it difficult to conceptualize a product before they see it. By developing a working prototype, you can demonstrate the functionality to help solidify requirements for the final design.

3. Technically understand the problem – It is unfortunate that system architecture must come so early in the design process because time only enhances your understanding of the problems that you may encounter. Have you ever thought, “If I could go back in time, I would change … ”? By developing a functional prototype, you are forced to address both the foreseen and the unforeseen technical challenges of a device’s design. Then, you can apply those solutions to a more elegant system design when you move to the final deployed solution.

4. Resolve conflicts – The best engineers have strong opinions about how a given feature should be implemented. Inevitably, differences of opinion result in conflicts, and these conflicts can be difficult to resolve because both sides have only opinions, experience, and conjecture to refer to as evidence. By taking advantage of a prototyping platform, you can quickly conduct several different implementations of the feature and benchmark the resulting performance to analyze the trade-offs of each approach. This can save time, but it also ensures that you make the correct design decisions.

5. Rally financial support – In the years since the dot-com bubble burst, investors such as venture capitalists have grown more risk-adverse when investing in start-ups. Even within larger companies, internal projects face similar scrutiny from executives looking to maximize revenue. By developing a prototype to demonstrate the feasibility of your idea, you lower the risk of investment and therefore increase the probability that your idea will be funded.

6. File patents more easily – Before 1880, all inventors had to present working models or prototypes of their inventions to the patent office as part of the patent application process. Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office uses the “first to invent rule,” which grants a patent to the first inventor who conceives and reduces the technology or invention to practice. Though no longer required, a prototype is still the best and safest way to demonstrate “reduction to practice.” Furthermore, key components of a patent application, such as patent drawings and the inventor’s logbook.

The full white paper is available on the National Instruments website.

If you would like more information about prototyping or have questions, please feel free to e-mail us at info@3d-innovations.com

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