All posts filed under: Technology

Medical Applications of Rapid Prototyping

There comes a time in humanity’s time-line, when a dent is created in the universe. This dent, allows us to live in excitement and curiosity of what the future will hold. In this time of our life, we can now use rapid prototyping in the medical field. There have been plenty of movies showcasing a human with robotic parts, a cyborg. With rapid prototyping coming into the medical field, we are getting closer to the day when we are half human and half robot. In this article, we will discuss the ways in which rapid prototyping is revolutionizing the medical industry. Prosthetics In the past, prosthetic and implants were provided to patients with a standard measurement scale. We know that one size does not fit all, and though some people may have a similar body-type and can wear the same length of jeans or size of shirt, it is completely different when it comes to a body part. Rapid prototyping has changed this and can now provide a very accurate measurement of a prosthetic product …

What is the difference between an RP machine and a 3D printer?

In the past decade, we’ve come across some amazing discoveries and inventions in technology, which have allowed our society to create, test, and understand new methods of production. Arguably the biggest break-through has been that of the 3D printer, which had the whole world speaking about it after it was showcased at the annual CES convention. Rapid prototyping has been around for much longer. Used as a way to quickly test a new product or process, it has allowed entrepreneurs to get their ideas out and pivot with speed. 3D printing, however, is a revolution of its own. In this article, we will discuss the differences between rapid prototyping machines (RP Machines) and 3D printing. Rapid Prototyping So what is RP, or “rapid prototyping”? Just like the name implies, it is a method of rapidly creating a prototype of an idea that may work in theory, but may not work as perfect, in reality. In order to know whether or not the idea or product will work, one must create the prototype (preliminary model). Most …

Additive Technologies in Injection Molds

Injection molds can be produced faster and at lower costs using additive technologies rather than subtractive technology. In addition, additively produced tools can be used to indicate the performance of a final hardened tool. The use of additively-fabricated molds can create plastic components by the dozens, and in some cases, the millions, to be used for prototypes or testing. Subtractive CNC or spark erosion drawbacks: Methods are slow and expensive. Skilled workers for these methods are in short supply. Product complexity is high, product cycles are short. More precise tools are needed from declining supply of toolmakers. Benefits of Additive Technology The benefits of the process of additive technology in injection molds include saving time and labor. In addition, additive technologies can provide the option of improving mold performance that supersedes subtractive technologies. It provides the ability to build conformal cooling channels which assist with increased thermal performance. It also allows for the use of multiple or gradient materials which optimizes the performance of molds. These benefits decrease cost and may be a revolutionary development …

Metal Castings – Investment Castings

Additive technologies involve the use of injection molds which can produce components faster and at lower costs than the traditional use of subtractive technology. Additive technologies can be utilized as investment casting patterns. Casting methods are one of the first industrial processes developed by humans and have been utilized for thousands of years. The results can yield detailed and intricate results. One of the first materials used for the casting process was bees wax. This process is so adaptable that the forms of the bees have been used as patterns for producing detailed and stunning gold jewelry. One of the modern applications for additive casting patterns is creating environmentally friendly and socially conscious jewelry. On the other end of the spectrum, applications for casting patterns have produced products that contain a variety of metals and can weigh several hundred pounds. Additive casting patterns involve a thick coating or investing, which is a pattern that melts or burns out quickly as opposed to a material like ceramic, which doesn’t. A gate can be built into the …

3D Printing Stores and Labs in Berlin

The idea of accessibility is being used in Berlin because it is believed that everyone should have the ability to become a maker and have access to 3D files, 3D printers, and 3D modeling software. Platforms, such as Thingivers; software, such as Meshmixer; and 3D printers are now available for affordable prices. As a matter of fact, there have been a growth spurt in this accessibility over the previous years. Places like universities have this technology available within their facilities, so that students can develop and research in their fields. Recently, the Technical University of Berlin (TU), for instance, has taken it a step further by making the accessibility of additive manufacturing by opening a student run “3D Printing Repair Café”. This past April, the 3D Printing Repair Café celebrated its opening by providing students and even non-students with a space to try out the 3D printing technology. They can do this whether need a creative design model, a spare bicycle part, or just a custom made gift. Also, the space consists of Ultimaker brand …

Functional Parts and Tools by Additive Fabrication – Direct Fabrication and Indirect or Secondary Processes

Additive fabrication is a class of manufacturing procedures where a part is built by adding material layers upon one another. This process has been evolutionary in different manufacturing applications. And as a result, it is now an accepted solution in fabricating customized, geometrically complex, or low volume parts, and it’s recognizable in producing tools and parts that are not possible to combine and form into various materials. Though many applications are hidden from the public and are still in development, their ranges are potentially vast. Even some of the technology’s liabilities are transformed into advantages. Also, additive technology is utilized by directly fabricating items, such as molds and parts, or it is utilized through secondary or indirect purposes. Direct Fabrication Plastic and metal parts are often directly fabricated. With plastic parts, stereolithography, thermoplastic extrusion methods, and laser sintering (LS) are currently the most important forms used in direct fabrication. Stereolithography is a process in creating objects that are three dimensional with using a laser beam controlled by a computer that builds the required structure from …

Additional Organizations

There are additional companies that produced 3D printing systems. Formlabs, PP3DP Company (China), Ultimaking Ltd. (Netherlands), and Solidoodle just to name a few. Formlabs, based in Massachusetts, was founded in 2011 was well known for raising close to $3 million in a Kickstarter campaign, and for also creating the Form 1 and Form 2 3D printers. Formlabs and PP3DP Company Formlabs was founded by Maxin Lobovsky, Natan Linder, and David Cranor. The three students met while students at MIT, in the Media Lab. They used their experiences at MIT, as well as Lobovsky using his experience with the Fab@Home project at Cornell University to create FormLabs. FormLabs was developed to create an easy-to-use and affordable desktop stereolithography 3D printer, while receiving early investing from Mitch Kapor, Joi Ito, and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavor. FormLabs had been featured in a documentary, titled Print the Legend, which documented the stories of several leading companies in the 3D desktop industry. FormLabs was a leader in the 3D printing world. PP3DP Company (China), also known as Personal Portable 3D …

3D Systems

3D systems, a comprehensive set of products and services, that included 3D printers, print materials, on-demand parts services, and digital tools. The 3D ecosystem helped support advanced applications from the product design shop to the operating room. 3D systems had the ability to simulate, do virtual surgical planning, and print medical and dental devices, as well as, provided patient-specific surgical instruments. The 3D system was the original 3D printer and shaper of future 3D solutions, allowing companies and professionals to optimize their designs, bring to life their workflows, be innovative in their products and deliver new business models. The Early Beginnings 3D systems was founded in Valencia, California, by Chuck Hull, the patent-holder and inventor of the first stereolithography (SLA) rapid prototyping system. Before the SLA rapid prototyping was introduced, prior models were expensive and took time to create. With the introduction of solid-state lasers in 1996, Hull and his 3D team were allowed to reformulate their materials. Hull was replaced by Avi Reichental in 2013, while Hull remained an active member of3D systems’ board …

Rep Rap Organization Project

The RepRap Printer, also called the Replicating Rapid Prototyper, was created as a starting point for the British to develop a 3D printer. This 3D printer would be able to make a copy of its own items, at a low cost. With the RepRap able to make copies of its own items, the makers envisioned the possibility of the RepRap units being cheap, allowing the manufacture of more complex products without having to use complex industrial infrastructure to make them. An initial study done on the RepRap supported the claim that by using RepRap to print common products, there were major economic savings. These saving were also more cost efficient since the RepRap printers was able to clone themselves. Making the savings even greater. RepRap, started by Dr. Adrian Bowyer in 2005, a mechanical engineering lecturer at the University of Bath, UK, was first prototyped in September 2006. Adrian Bowyer, a British engineer and mathematician, after spending twenty-two years as a lecturer, then retired from academic life. The first model of the RepRap successfully printed …

Fab@Home Organization

Fab@Home, the first multi-material 3D printer made available to the public, was also one of the first two open-source do-it-yourself 3D printers. The other printer was the RepRap. The goal of the Fab@Home project was to change the high cost and closed nature of the 3D printing industry by creating a low-cost, versatile, open printer. Since the Fab@Home release in 2006, there had been hundreds of Fab@Home 3D printers built across the world. The design elements of Fab@Home could be found in many do-it-yourself printers, more often in the MakerBot Replicator. The Fab@Home project was closed in 2012 once the project’s goal was achieved and distribution of do-it-yourself printers were outpaced by the sales of industrial printers for the first time. Creating a Fabrication System with Low Costs Fab@Home was started in 2006 by Professor Hod Lipson and Evan Malone of the Cornell Computational Synthesis Lab. While attempting to design a robot that could reprogram itself and produce its own hardware, Lipson discovered the need for a rapid-prototyping fabrication machine. The technology for the rapid-prototyping, …