Posts Tagged ‘Rapid Prototyping’

Eliminate guesswork in your next design project with Rapid Prototyping

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

If you’re a design engineer the last concern you want to have when your product is going into production is, “Will it work they way in which it was intended?” While oversights in design can be rectified post-production, it’s costly and timely – not to mention a lost opportunity for your company.

No company wants to lose market share due to a delayed product release, which could have been avoid had they chosen to elect rapid prototyping services to improve the design process.

The benefits of rapid prototyping services is quite simple: Design engineers can improve the accuracy of their products’ design by creating a 3D prototype model that will allow the various concepts to be tested before it’s manufactured and introduced to the marketplace.

But despite its growing popularity Rapid Prototyping technologies is underutilized by many industries that could otherwise benefit from its use. The biggest benefit of creating rapid prototype models is that it can produce a prototype model quickly, and at a low cost.

Wonder how quick the turn-around actually is for creating a rapid prototype?
More often times than not, manufacturers who offer rapid prototyping services can produce a model in hours, where it use to take days or weeks. Because of the expediency and efficiency of this service, it can decrease the typical time it takes to get a product to the marketplace up to 80%.

When you’re ready to minimize the risk and time delays in your next product design, consider contracting a rapid prototyping manufacturer—they are quickly becoming a valuable resource that design engineers can’t live without.

Taking a bite out of 3D Scanning

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Most people fear going to the dentist—well, fear the dentist no more, thanks to 3D Scanning.
At one time or another, the majority of people have had dental impressions made to replace a tooth. But before the introduction of 3D scanning, the process was invasive, time-consuming, and expensive for the patient—for sure; but it also put dentists in the precarious position of relying upon traditional methods used by dental technicians to make a bridge, crown or inlay that was precise, durable, and aesthetically accurate.

Thanks to innovations in 3D Scanning technology the dental industry can deliver better services to its customers (the dentists) and the end-user (the patients).

Due to the quality and precision of 3D scanning, the technicians no longer have to estimate calculations of a dental piece. A 3D scan provides the dental technicians with precise calculations which now guarantee that the patient will receive a perfect fit of their dental piece down to a millimeter. This in turn improves the productivity for the dentist, as they can be provided with a dental piece created by 3D model scanning that does not need to go through further adjustments to accurately fit the patient.

3D scanning technology also allows for highly advanced materials to be used which previously were limited by conventional methods which relied upon manual casting and finishing. Because of the speed and elimination of “human error” in the production, dental pieces, such as a titanium framework or glass ceramic full crown can now be made in less than half the time, at a lower cost; and because of its inherent properties of strength and durability, it provides for better long-term results for the patient.

Built Tough with ABS 3D Printing

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Few manufacturing techniques can offer companies with boundless opportunities to perfect a product or piece of equipment such that ABS 3D printing provides.

And while industries ranging from medical devices to consumer products have benefitted from advancements in ABS 3D Printing technology, its use in the automotive industry has enhanced innovations in design.

In one such instance, General Motors turned to AMP Research, a tier-one supplier to the automotive industry, to develop concepts for an alloy fuel door for its Hummer H2 sport utility vehicle.

According to a report, due to the design flexibility of ABS 3D Printing, AMP Research engineers could quickly provide GM with a variety of physical models of the fuel door that were easily produced with the aid of ABS 3D printing. Getting prototypes in front of GM faster for review and approval allowed AMP to move through the design process of the fuel door for testing and evaluation much faster.

Wonder how 3D ABS printing helped?

By creating an ABS prototype, engineers could refine designs and cut time from development schedule as it now how the time to test form, fit and functions, while also exploring as many design options as they needed to meet performance specifications. The benefit is that they could readily detect flaws and take corrective steps to deliver excellence to their customer before a costly error was made. So ABS 3D Printing helped to keep the project ahead of schedule and improved the overall product development process.

3D Printing is an automatic “Hole-in-One”

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

What does 3D printing and golf have in common?

If you’re TaylorMade and pro golfer Mark O’Meara you can equate it with success — affecting both game performance and sales performance.

When TaylorMade was looking to produce a new set of irons, they turned to O’Meara and 3D printing. While the story is not recent, it is relevant as to the beneficial use of 3D printing.

O’Meara was getting ready for the 1998 Skins Game and asked TaylorMade to have the irons ready in time for him to use during the tournament. TaylorMade had limited time to test and develop its new set of clubs, but because of the availability and expediency of 3D printing, they were able to create 50 wax patterns on a 3D printer, which were then sent to a foundry for casting and finishing.

The end result: The prototype of the Firesole Tour Irons were developed on time using 3D printing, which also provided for tremendous cost-savings—and of course, O’Meara won the Skins Game.

While not every manufacturer has a pro golfer at their disposal to test new products, it does have access to 3D printing technology that can assist its design engineers throughout the product development process.

3D Printing has provided innovative solutions to companies like TaylorMade, but also has been utilized for manufacturers who develop medical equipment for people with disabilities, and 3D printing has also assisted EOIR technologies with the development of a camera mount for the M1 tank and Bradley fighting vehicle.

From the frontline to the golf course, 3D printing technology takes the guesswork out of prototype development to ensure a product’s performance under all “stressful” conditions.

Make two-dimensional ideas, into 3D prototyping reality!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

If you can dream it and draw it, it can be built – well, as long as you’re not looking for a ball park in a cornfield.

But if you’re daring to do the seemingly impossible in your parts design, remember this: Dreams fuel innovation and innovation supports progress, and rapid prototyping works to take your idea and move it from the two-dimensional paper world into a 3D rapid prototype reality.

The late 1980’s introduced 3D Rapid Prototyping and since then it has been used by sculptors to R & D engineering because of the scope of capabilities it offers the designer.

But what exactly is rapid prototyping and why would you need it?
In the simplest of terms: rapid prototyping development is recognized as a means to improve the overall design process.

To take it one step further—rapid prototyping helps to streamline the manufacturing process by reducing the overall time spent on a design project. It accomplishes this by allowing for flexibility in the design process of a prototype model—in that it provides R & D engineering the time to evaluate the results of a prototype more immediately, make necessary design adjustments, and test the part before putting it into production.

In the end, rapid prototyping development speeds up the time to bring a product to market, which reduces total designs costs.

Essentially, rapid prototype manufacturing cuts out unnecessary steps that previously slowed down production, and eliminates design flaws that might otherwise have been overlooked, thereby making rapid prototyping a means to reap immediate rewards.
So when should you choose to take your next design to the inexpensive rapid prototyping solution? —The next time your R & D team wants to fully explore their creative ideas and generate a final product that will bring your company to the next level of success.

Will wonders never cease?: 3D Model Printing helping Soldiers heal

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Despite all the hardship news facing our country today, between economic downturns, corporate scandal, and government mistrust, there is a light of hope, and it comes in the form of 3D model printing.

It’s innovative, readily available and people from doctors to architects to manufacturers have taken a closer look at the many benefits that 3D model printing and rapid prototyping provides. 3D model printing has been in use since the 1990’s, but advances in technology have catapulted into new arenas.

According to a 2008 report in BusinessWeek, surgeons at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who treat soldiers wounded in Iraq, recognized that 3D model printing would assist them in preparing for surgical procedures. And it may surprise you as to the reasons why.

By having the opportunity to practice complex surgery on plastic casts of the actual patient’s injured body part produced by 3D model printing, it helped to minimize complications surgeons may face during the operation, such as causing damage to arteries and nerves precariously located near the surgery location.

Other medical facilities are also benefitting from 3D model printing, particular those that specialize in reconstructive plastic surgery that involves facial prosthetics.
With the aid of 3D camera and the proper software that converts the image into a map of a person’s face, a doctor can transfer the image to create a mask using 3D model printing that they use as a guide to help with the surgery.

Although the future can’t be predicted, it’s evident that 3D model printing will continue to open up other doors of opportunity–and hope–for various industries and professions.

Surgical Innovations provided by 3D rapid prototyping technologies

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Due to advances in 3d Rapid Prototyping technologies, doctors are now making house calls, but not to a patient’s home. Rather they are visiting 3d rapid prototyping labs where they can see their new medical instruments become prototypes before it’s used during a surgical procedure.

Over the past few years, 3D rapid prototyping technologies have made a tremendous impact in the medical community, more specifically on surgical techniques.
Because doctors are becoming more involved in the rapid prototyping process, it improves the quality of the design of the medical instruments often used for complicated and sensitive surgical procedures.

How the prototyping process works is straight-forward.
The 3d rapid prototyping technology allows for the extrusion of a thermoplastic material and deposits it layer-by-layer to form a 3D model. It then undergoes evaluation by the doctor (surgeon), onsite, who can evaluate the medical instrument first-hand, testing its working properties, such as grip, movement, flexibility, etc. During this phase the medical instruments can be refined more readily by the engineers to meet the demanding specifications that the doctors require.

With surgeons now being part of the development process, it eliminates the costly back-and-forth communication between the medical instrument manufacturer and the end-user. This practical approach of involving the end-user during 3D rapid prototyping facilities the development process, as it has helped engineers in delivering medical instruments with the surgical precisions required to ensure a successful outcome.

The results are undeniably more rewarding for both sides, as all the revisions of the medical instruments are completed during the schematic process, which results in a higher-quality end product and offers financial advantages for the manufacturer.