Posts Tagged "technology"

Three Areas Where 3D Printing Shines

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is one of the most buzzed about technologies of the past five years. The hype around the technology has certainly diminished since its fever pitch in 2014, in which Forbes published, “3-D Printing Is About To Change The World Forever”—and now the genuine potential of the technology is emerging. Certain industries have taken to the technology quicker than others and have been able to successfully implement it into their supply chain. Below we discuss three areas in which 3D printing technology really shines.

Customer Customization

3D printingIt’s no secret that customers are evolving and their preferences are changing. Where once customers were happy with the “Big Box” store approach, this mentality is starting to shift and customers are looking for more customizable products that meet their specific needs and preferences.

Customization is one of the major benefits of 3D printing. Companies are able to print one-of-a-kind products. One industry that has had great success implementing 3D printing for customization purposes is the designing of prosthetics. Companies and patients have found that they are able to create custom prosthetics at a fraction of the cost with the use of 3D modeling and 3D printing technology.

Designing New Structures

Like anything, traditional manufacturing has its limitations. Until recently certain designs could not be manufactured simply because they were deemed “not possible” or the expense was too exorbitant to be justifiable. However, 3D printing allows for greater design flexibility.

Biomimicry has grown in popularity among product designers and architects, however, these designs are usually manufacturing headaches. “The purpose of biomimicry is to learn from the way nature has optimized structures, designs and objects for maximum performance so that we can use them to create better solutions.” The curvature and delicate nature of the designs are very organic, which poses a challenge when it comes time for production. 3D printing has enabled designers to step out of the traditional way of designing and focus more on what makes the most sense for the product.

Specialty Manufacturing

High variability, low demand products cannot be effectively served by traditional manufacturing methods. If you are a collector of any type of vintage item, then you understand the issues that arise if something breaks or you need to restore a piece. “3-D printing readily solves the challenge of manufacturing rare replacement parts, while also overcoming the obstacle of distribution: a plant exists wherever a printer does.”

Certain components cannot simply be bought, and this is where 3D printing comes into play. With a 3D digital design and a 3D printer, a piece that once was impossible to find can now be produced and put into use in record time.

3D printing technology has found its place in the business landscape. With the continued developments of the technology, it is poised to continue to grow and become even more valuable to businesses.

 

References:

Lessons Engineers and Architects Should Learn from Nature and Topology Optimization

Four Areas Where 3-D Printing Could Flourish

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

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How to Prepare for Your First Patent Attorney Meeting

Most hardware startups find themselves thinking about intellectual property early-on and wondering if it is truly necessary for their invention. If you are planning to manufacture your product abroad, considering a crowdfunding campaign, wanting to speak with potential investors or find yourself constantly worrying about someone copying your invention, then meeting with a patent attorney is a great idea. In many cases, having a design or utility patent will be beneficial for your startup in the long-run.

Below are a few tips on how to prepare for your initial meeting with a patent attorney. Keep in mind that the first meeting can be free—being adequately prepared means that you will be able to glean as much knowledge as possible from this meeting.

Prepare a brief description of your invention.

The key to this description is to be concise. What does your invention do? What are the main functionalities of your invention? This written summary if often called an “invention disclosure statement”, however it doesn’t need to be formal and can be written in any form. Keep it to a page or less in length, and even a paragraph or two will be sufficient.

Write your description so that someone unfamiliar with the product can get an idea of what it does and the technology behind it. Patent attorneys deal with a variety of technology, but don’t always have an extensive technical background, so you want to be able to bring them up to speed quickly on your specific invention.

Bring drawings or a prototype.

Seeing your invention is a quick and efficient way of describing your product to the patent attorney. A prototype allows the patent attorney to assess the product and understand the exact intricacies behind your invention. Depending on the exact nature of your product, a functional prototype might be just what you need for the meeting. However, line drawings or sketches of your product will also work for your initial meeting. These drawings don’t have to be formal, but they should be thorough.

Conduct your own patent search.

This can sound slightly counter-intuitive since you are meeting with a patent attorney, however you should to conduct your own patent search beforehand. Search patent databases such as www.google.com/patents or www.uspto.gov using keywords from your “invention disclosure statement”.

Print the patent search results.

From your patent research, print and bring the patents that are most similar to your idea. You can either print out the patent references or compose a list of them, so that they can be easily retrieved. This will provide a research starting point for the attorney as they conduct a more formal patent search.

We also suggest organizing the above information into a single file folder and include a business card. This way the attorney will have all of your invention information and contact information in one place.

Adequate preparation for this meeting ensures that you will get the most out of your initial meeting and hopefully gain a better understanding as to whether this route makes the most sense for your invention and stage of business.

Have additional questions about patents, prototypes or line drawings? Please send us an e-mail, info@3d-innovations.com

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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, info@3d-innovations.com or give us a call at 1.808.722.8667.

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

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Three Technologies Transforming the Hardware Startup Landscape

Over the last five years hardware startups have found it easier to find their footing, reach customers and develop a product without “breaking the bank”. The transforming business landscape for hardware startups can be attributed to advances in technology. Where it once took thousands of dollars for a digital design and prototyping alone, today it can be completed at a fraction of the cost. Below are three technologies that have increased in usability and popularity, and in doing so, transformed the way startups are built.

Digital Designs

3D digital designs are allowing startups the freedom of testing and design validation before building a prototype. While designing a product is a trial-and-error process, digital designs allow you to quickly navigate this stage and settle on a final design that meets both your customers’ needs and manufacturing requirements.

Digital designs speed up the product design process, and ensure a smooth transition into the manufacturing phase. With DFM (design for manufacturability) in mind you can design a product that will increase your manufacturing efficiency while saving you both time and money.

Additive Manufacturing

3D printingNo list related to technology would be complete without the mention of 3D printing. This technology is the “golden boy” of engineering and product design at the moment—and rightfully so. This single technology has shifted supply chains, disrupted the traditional manufacturing process and has allowed startups the freedom of iteration at a reasonable cost.

What exactly is 3D printing? It is defined as, “the action or process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession.” As the material selection continues to expand, so does the application use for additive manufacturing. 3D printing at one time was used specifically for prototyping, and while this is still where it is the most popular, it is moving into the manufacturing domain with short-run production.

Crowdfunding

Starting a business once required bootstrapping or venture capital investment; however, crowdfunding has changed all of this. A well designed product, coupled with a carefully curated crowdfunding campaign, can garnish unprecedented funding to launch your business. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have helped launch some of the most innovative startups.

Crowdfunding might not be the right fit for every startup or every product, but if your idea is a nice fit for this type of funding support, you could be looking at significant help in manufacturing and commercializing your product idea.

The cost prohibitive nature of starting a business has been on the decline and now more than ever, people with an innovative idea can make their product dream a reality.

“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” — Josh James, Omniture CEO and co-founder

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3D Academy: Design & Engineering Enrichment Camps

Last week, 3D Academy had the privilege of participating in two student STEM enrichment camps. Below are short overviews of the camps and links to photos on our Facebook page from each event.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

              –Nelson Mandela

Excite Camp

Hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board & Women in Technology, the goal of Excite Camp is to excite, educate as well as expose middle school students to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. Excite Camp focuses on giving under-represented demographics priorities for their camps, such as: Native Hawaiians, girls and other minorities. This year we focused on design, 3D modeling and 3D printing with camp participants.

View Photos from Excite Camp

3D Academy STEM Education Enrichment Camp3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO

We partnered with Play-Well TEKnologies for this hands-on design-focused engineering camp. Students were introduced to CAD design, Spatial Environments and 3D printing in order to create their own custom and one-of-a-kind LEGO component.

View Photos from 3D Printing and CAD Design using LEGO Camp

About 3D Academy

3D Academy, a Division of 3D Innovations, specializes in developing and integrating industry technologies with STEM Education. 3D Academy promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs that integrate 3D Technology into K–12, as well as university classrooms. Using hands-on and project-based learning strategies, we have been effective in providing students with opportunities to excel in the areas of STEM and to integrate industry applications into their learning experiences. Learn more about 3D Academy on our website.

If you have an upcoming camp and would like to inquire about the educational resources and hands-on activities we provide, please send an e-mail to info@3d-innovations.com

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Additive Manufacturing is Bending the Rules

Additive manufacturing (commonly referred to as 3D printing) technology is altering the business landscape and changing the way products are made. Before additive manufacturing was available to the masses, designing, prototyping and manufacturing a product took time and was considerably expensive—the cost prohibitive nature of the product development process left many startups in the dust. However, this technology has reduced both product development timelines and expenses, which means that kicking a hardware startup into high gear is not as challenging as it once was. Below are three ways 3D printing technology is bending traditional business rules—and helping startups succeed.

Product Design

Ideas and products that were once seemingly impossible to produce, due to design constraints, are now finding life with 3D printing. New designs are taking on geometric shapes that have never been produced before and the possibilities are endless. Product designers now have the ability to design a product in the most efficient way possible, instead of focusing solely on meeting manufacturing constraints.  Limitless design is now at your fingertips.

The Hardware Startup Scene

While additive manufacturing is changing many facets of business, prototyping is still where the technology is used most frequently. Entrepreneurs with a great product idea are now able to prototype their design in mere hours and at a low-cost. With the ability to build and validate an idea within such a short time period, the world of hardware startups is shifting. Hardware startups are gaining momentum and major investors are starting to take notice.

Innovation

Additive manufacturing is pushing the boundaries of innovative product design, but the technology in itself is undergoing major innovations. Where plastics once dominated the 3D printing scene – ceramics, metals, bio materials and even food are now viable options. New desktop 3D printers with customized capabilities are being designed at a rapid rate, and many can even be found on crowdfunding sites. The at-home consumer 3D printing market has not lived up to the hype that surrounded it a few years back, but industrial scale additive manufacturing technology is taking off.

Entrepreneurs and hardware startups are finding that designing a product has never been as easy as it is today—thanks in part to 3D printing. With 3D printing poised to disrupt manufacturing in a big way, we can only imagine how it will continue to revolutionize the entire business landscape in the coming years.

Ready to prototype your product idea? Contact us at info@3d-innovations.com to get started.

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

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3D Printing Technology: What Does The Future Hold?

August 10, 2016
3D Innovations

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional model, typically by laying down many successive thin layers of a material. This manufacturing process has been around for over 30 years, and in the last 5 years it has risen in popularity. While there is definitely “hype” surrounding the technology, there is also a lot that this technology is capable of—it is a driving force in hardware product development and the maker movement.

Below are two TED Talk videos that explain 3D printing and what the future may hold for this technology.

What is 3D Printing was 100x Faster? By Joseph DeSimone

In this TED Talk Joseph DeSimone talks about his inspiration for a new 3D printing method that was inspired by Hollywood, or more specifically Terminator 2.

“Now, we were inspired by the “Terminator 2” scene for T-1000, and we thought, why couldn’t a 3D printer operate in this fashion, where you have an object arise out of a puddle in essentially real time with essentially no waste to make a great object? Could we be inspired by Hollywood and come up with ways to actually try to get this to work? And that was our challenge. And our approach would be, if we could do this, then we could fundamentally address the three issues holding back 3D printing from being a manufacturing process.”

What’s Next in 3D Printing? By Avi Reichental

3D printing technology is changing the face of medicine—personalized medical devices are transforming an industry. “3D printing is changing personalized medical devices as we know them, from new, beautiful, ventilated scoliosis braces to millions of dental restorations and to beautiful braces for amputees, another opportunity to emotionally reconnect with your symmetry.”

With the elimination of complexity restraints, 3D printing is opening the doors to designs that have just not been possible before with other manufacturing methods. While 3D printing will not be the end of manufacturing as we know it, it is shaping the industry to meet today’s demands.

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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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Additive Manufacturing Industry Insight From The 2016 Wohlers Report

April 27, 2016
3D Innovations

The highly anticipated Wohlers Report 2016  has been released and is full of insightful data into the additive manufacturing (3D printing) industry. This annual state-of-the-industry report is sought-after by industry insiders and outside industry observes alike. The analysis is based on more than 20 years of data from companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

“For Wohlers Report 2016, input was collected 98 service providers, 51 system manufacturers, 15 third-party material producers, and the valuable contributions of 80 co-authors in 33 countries.” This network has allowed the Wohlers Report access to an unparalleled window into the additive manufacturing  industry.

Valuable insights from the report include:

  • For the second year in a row, the 3D printing industry has grown by $1 billion to a total of $5+ billion.
  • The additive manufacturing (AM) industry, consisting of all AM products and services worldwide, grew 25.9% (CAGR – Corporate Annual Growth Rate) to $5.165 billion in 2015. The CAGR for the previous three years was 33.8%. Over the past 27 years, the CAGR for the industry is an impressive 26.2%.
  • In 2014, the 3D printing industry grew 34.9%, the highest growth rate in 17 years.
  • High growth was experienced in two seemingly distinct and opposite sectors: industrial metal additive manufacturing and desktop 3D printers.

In the coming year we expect to see continued growth in the industry. While public interest in 3D printing has seemingly cooled, those within the industry know that the technology is moving forward with leaps and bounds.

This industry leading report has really become the gold standard for computing growth, analyzing trends, and forecasting the future of the industry.  If you are interested in learning more about the additive manufacturing industry this report is a great place to start.

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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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“Aspire to Inspire” — Guest Bloggers Welcome

February 12, 2016
3D Innovations

aspireAre you a startup business expert? An entrepreneur looking to inspire others? Interested in all things 3D printing related? An intellectual property wiz?

We would love to extend an invitation for you to become a guest post author on our blog! Our 3D Innovations blog covers a range of topics—everything from advanced manufacturing and product development to the world of startups. If you have an idea for a blog post and would like to share it with our community, please send your idea our way at info@3d-innovations.com. We can chat about your idea and work together to get it published on here.

Once you post is published on our blog, we will share it with our extensive (and active) social media communities and keep the conversation going! We look forward to chatting with you…

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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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3D Printing Trends to Track in the New Year

January 14, 2016
3D Innovations

From the looks of things, 2016 is going to be a breakout year for additive manufacturing (3D printing)in terms of industrial applications and global supply-chain disruptions. New materials and 3D printer advancements have accelerated the industrial applications for 3D printing (think GE and Ford). Simultaneously, these advancements have shifted the business landscape—supply chains are quickly transforming to meet new demands. In 2016 executives will be compelled to pay very close attention to 3D printing technology and emerging opportunities to inject it into their business to speed up product development cycles.

In relation to the consumer market, personal 3D printers will most likely see a decline, the short-term consumer market is inundated with inexpensive consumer models. However, the CAD technology that enables 3D printing will continue to become more user friendly. With advancements in 3D scanning and 3D modeling, the design technology behind 3D printing is poised to become more accessible.

Forbes recently published 8 Hot 3D Printing Trends to Watch In 2016 and while we agree with all eight points outlined, we feel that there are three, in particular, on the verge of major breakthroughs with significant business implications.

  1. Pushing the limits of technology. While 3D printing technology is decades old, notable recent advancements have propelled the technology into the mainstream. In the coming year, expect to see advancements in 3D printing materialsglass, recycled materials and metal, just to name a few. In addition, 3D printers are getting bigger (much bigger), as engineers as developers envision themselves ‘printing’ homes and large industrial parts in a single print.
  2. Outsourced 3D printing gains share. This is something we have seen in our line of business. More and more businesses are finding it beneficial to use a external providers to design and print prototypes. With 3D printer advances, external providers are able to quickly validate designs and print high-quality prototypes in hours, thus eliminating the headaches and hassles of printing internally.
  3. Virtual inventory becomes real. Producing parts on-demand is a game changer for businesses. Storing large quantities of a product is costly, and with technology today, it’s becoming obsolete. The cost savings associated with virtual inventory is sure to grab the attention of executives. Cloud-based virtual inventory is one way the supply-chain is shifting and moving more towards a supply-network.

3D printing technology is fundamentally changing the business landscape and 2016 is sure to be another exciting year.

Cheers to 2016!

Have questions about 3D printing technology? Send them our way, info@3d-innovations.com

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