Recently Javelin Technologies was asked to present recently Golden Horseshoe Manufacturing Network – Innovation Breakfast held at the Ron Joyce Centre, part of the the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. The event, sponsored by Ontario Centres of Excellence, brought together business owners, educators, financial partners and other stakeholders who want to see the Ontario economy grow.
photo by Dave Gurggen http://www.gruggenphotography.com/
We talked about 3D printers, the history, the technology and the capabilities, but, mostly we talked about the value of 3D printing as a tool for innovation.
As part of the design process, 3D printing encourages more creativity and allow decisions to made more quickly. There are lots of examples of companies reducing their design cycles by more than 50% by implementing in-house rapid prototyping solutions. These companies have a competitive advantage and benefit by getting products to market months earlier.
As 3D printing matures, it is also having a profound impact on manufacturing and this impact will continue to grow and help to re-shore manufacturing jobs. By removing the expensive labour component from complex manufacturing, 3D printing allows parts to be made locally for the same cost as in China or other inexpensive labour markets. This is already happening for custom manufacturing jobs and low run production, and as the technology develops, larger volumes will start to make sense.
Recently the Gartner Group released a report focused on the huge impact 3D printing is likely to have on the economy. In that report they specify that “early adopters of 3D printing technology could gain an innovation advantage over rivals“.
The time for innovation is now. Canadian companies need to innovate more creatively and quicker than their competitors here and abroad. It is by innovating that we will grow our economy and create jobs. Who’s with me?
Doug Angus-Lee is Rapid Prototype and Additive Manufacturing Product Specialist at Javelin Technologies. If you have an idea for The Buildup or want more information about our product and service offerings contact Doug at email@example.com or by phone at 905-815-1906 x214.
Twitter @DougAngusLee LinkedIn http://ca.linkedin.com/in/douganguslee/
3D Printed Part
Source photo visible against the light
The typical source content for a 3D printer is an STL file, it comes from two main sources, a new design modeled with 3D CAD software or 3D digital information captured from a real part using a 3D scanner.
Here at Javelin we tried an alternative method – convert a 2D photo into 3D printable material! To achieve this SolidWorks Certified Expert Dr. Irfan Zardadkhhan wrote a program in C++ that reads a PGM (Pixel Gray Map) file and translates the data into an X, Y, Z table. In the table, X and Y represent the location of the point and Z represents height, which equates to the gray intensity value of a pixel (when 0 is black and 255 is white).
Once the XYZ file is generated as a plain ASCII file, using the ScanTo3D SolidWorks Add-in product the file is converted into a surface. Then SolidWorks modeling tools are used to finish the 3D model data.
The model is then generated using a Stratasys Objet 30 3D printer and the results are amazing. As you can see in the images the printed part contains a textured 3D face, the depth of the surface blocks provides the detail; and when you hold the part in front of a light source the original picture will show through.
As a result of the Stratasys / Objet merger, Javelin now offers a broader 3D Printing portfolio. The Polyjet line of products is now complemented with FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printing systems from Stratasys. With this enhanced portfolio, Javelin is now able to cover most rapid prototyping requirements.
Dimension and uPrint SE 3D printers from Stratasys.
We just received a sample kit from Stratasys, with very good plastic parts that show the benefits and strengths of the FDM technology:
- Strong and durable parts.
- Great for functional testing.
- Perfectly suitable for real life use.
- Available in 9 bright colors.
- Made out of real ABS plastic.
- Suitable for post processes such as sanding, drilling, taping, gluing, painting and metal coating.
With 3D printers starting at just $9,900, Javelin is now able to provide professional grade 3D printing solutions to designers, engineers, teachers, in fact anyone that needs to take their ideas from concept to reality.
3D Printed Speaker Wall Mount with lock.
In previous posts I wrote about the recommended clearances and tolerances for modeling parts intended to be Printed in 3D with an Objet machine. In order to verify these recommendations I have modeled a wall mount for a small speaker consumer product, consisting of an assembly of two interacting components joined by an internal rail (this part can’t be manufactured using a conventional method), and a lock with 15 degree tilt constrains. My design intent is to:
- Print the product in a single job with no assembly required.
- Create moving parts that have a tight fit.
Read More »
Objet and Stratasys officially announced their merger today, December 3, 2012, resulting in the creation of a $3 billion multi-solution company. Stratasys now carries a broad portfolio of digital manufacturing and rapid prototyping solutions, including FDM, Polyjet, and Drop On Demand technologies. The new company will trade on the NASDAQ stock exchange as Stratasys Ltd (SSYS). Read the Objet Stratasys Merger press release for more information.
Digital mold in place in the support plates.
Objet is continuously developing new materials. One of the materials that they recently launched was the ABS like (RGD5160-DM). A unique digital material that combines the best of its components: toughness, heat resistance and flexibility. If you add those great features to a 3D printer able to deliver smooth surfaces and high detail, you are in front of a new world of applications.
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The common questions that come to most people’s minds when considering the purchase of a 3D printer are:
- How much money am I spending in outsourcing prototypes?
- How many prototypes am I building every month, every year?
- What is the cost of having an in house 3D printing solution?
- Does it make sense to buy a 3D printer based on those numbers?
Unfortunately you are probably overlooking other factors that need to be taken into consideration:
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Multi part assembly printed in an Objet 3D printer. All parts were painted independenlty and then assembled
When you create a part with a 3D printer, you may need a specific colour. Getting it directly from the printer is not always possible, but there is an easy way to obtain it – just paint the part.
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Objet Braingear model printed in a single print job! No assembly was required.
In any assembly that involves mechanical interaction between components, defining the right tolerances according to the model material and the manufacturing process is a key factor for success. Designing a part for rapid prototyping is not an exception.
There are two methods of prototyping assemblies with an Objet 3D printer – either print individual components to be assembled later, or print the whole assembly in one single print job. The method you choose will depend on the type of assembly you require…
Individual components for subsequent assembly: use this method for the following circumstances:
- If you don’t have a multi material printer (such as an Objet Connex), and need to use different materials due to mechanical properties or colour specifications.
- When, due to the complexity of the assembly, the support removal is a challenging process (intricate channels or hard to reach inner gaps).
A tolerance of 0.3 mm (12 thou) between touching surfaces will let you assemble the components once they are finished and allow the parts to move and interact freely.
3D printing the assembly in one transaction: this is the preferred method if you don’t need to use different materials / colours in a moving model and assembly is not required; this method is also a time saver.
You will need to allow a 0.3 mm (12 thou) tolerance between touching surfaces to allow the support material to fill the gaps between parts and prevent the moving components to be bonded together.
Take a look at the example, this was created in a single print job without the need for assembly and the individual gears move as required!
Purchasing a 3D printer, like any capital investment decision, involves a careful analysis, as it will have a strong impact in your organization. There are several elements to consider: internal needs, current and future applications, industry trends, available technologies and, of course, budget.
Don’t rush the decision, but don’t postpone it forever. Making a decision without gathering and analyzing all the information can lead to a wrong and deceiving purchase. Postponing it may mean missing savings, delays in your R&D process and being behind your competition.
You will be overwhelmed by the huge amount of information available, sales people from several vendors trying to influence your decision, lack of awareness of new applications within your company, and a confusing threshold in price and machine capabilities.
In the next few posts I will review in detail each and every item to be considered through the purchase decision. Stay tuned for the next chapters:
- It is about you.
- What is the best technology for me?
- Is my budget in line with my needs?
- How to present the project to the management.
- Benchmarking: don’t buy before you try.
- Hidden needs: you may not know everything you can do.
- ROI: Losing money and have not realized it?
- I have a 3D printer in house, what is next?
If you are currently outsourcing the prototyping process, and are considering the purchase of an in-house solution, this white paper is for you: