“Please continue dreaming, imagining, designing, and making new things.” – The Voodoo Manufacturing Company
Millions of lives have been affected as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world. Unfortunately, catastrophic health scares usually breed financial devastation too. As unemployment has wreaked havoc on millions of household budgets in just the US alone, businesses of every size are suffering as well.
The latest casualty within the 3D printing space is Voodoo Manufacturing. This may come as a huge surprise as they were considered to be a shining star in their niche, rising quickly to become one of the world’s largest high-volume 3D printing farms.
Here is an excerpt from their recent announcement upon closing:
“Dear Voodoo Manufacturing community,
It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that Voodoo Manufacturing has permanently closed its doors.
COVID-19 was challenging for everyone, but we tried to continue going. We repurposed our factory to make PPE in order to help fight the pandemic and through donations and individual purchases, we were able to distribute more than 15,000 protective face shields across the U.S. Unfortunately, without a clear end to the current health crisis, Voodoo Manufacturing couldn’t make it to the other side….”
Now, we come full circle in reporting on the Brooklyn, NY-based startup, from their opening in June of 2015 to their recent sign-off just a little over five years later. In that short amount of time, there was considerable news to share as the small but dynamic company—founded by a group of engineers who previously worked at MakerBot—ascended. From beginning to end, their intent was notable in terms of continually working to bring affordability and accessibility to potential users via a refreshing business model based on fast 3D printing services with low overhead—and low prices.
The past five years marked collaborations with other companies, both big and small. Right out of the gate, business was thriving. Numerous projects were highlighted; for example, they collaborated with Autodesk and e-NABLE Community Foundation, acting as the largest donor for 3D printed prosthetics sent to kids in developing countries. Industry leaders like Autodesk, Microsoft, and Mattel also served as customers. Upon receiving $1.4 million in seed funding from investment company KPCB Edge, they were able to expand further in terms of their facility, 3D printers on hand, and doubling their team from nine to eighteen.
Voodoo continued to grow rapidly, releasing Project Skywalker, a fully functional, robot-operated 3D printer cluster in 2017. The next year, their team launched Fulfilled by Voodoo (FBV), a 3D printing fulfillment service mean to encourage entrepreneurs to open online businesses. Overall, success continued for the service bureau while the industry continued to become more competitive.
Fast forward to 2020, however, and all bets were off (pretty much for everyone) as the COVID-19 pandemic halted lives—and businesses. The Voodoo team explains that they kicked into action 3D printing personal protective equipment (PPE), and distributing 15,000 face shields around the US. They re-designed their 3D printing service bureau factory and continued on due to donations and purchases, but quickly became apparent that they would not “make it to the other side.”
Small businesses within the US have been especially vulnerable during these strange and challenging financial times, but as they falter in the droves, the economy is affected substantially; in fact, as a whole, the US business sector and economy are reliant on small businesses as they are cumulatively the largest employer of workers.
For thousands of commercial endeavors, however, no matter how hard they work to keep up with new regulations after COVID or scramble into new directions to please existing or new customers, such enormous financial damage has occurred that closings have been and will continue to be inevitable.
Service bureaus offer the ability to have prototypes and parts fabricated on professional equipment (especially important as some designers may not have access to any 3D printing resources) and in most cases bring extensive expertise to the table to help with design and manufacturing plans.
The PrintSyst.ai, team, founded in 2017 and headquartered in Israel, understands the benefits and the challenges in offering 3D printing services as the founding brothers—Eitan and Itamar Yona—not only had a lot of work in their beginning stages, but a lot of questions from customers, too. As they began educating their customers further, they also gained a deeper understanding of the processes and continued to learn through their experiences and mistakes.
The 3DP AI-Perfecter dashboard
The results of their work and learning have evolved into an automated workflow system that, according to PrintSyst.ai, “turns 3D service bureaus and manufacturing engineers into instant 3D printing experts.” The 3DP AIPerfecter was developed over the last two years for industrial users involved in 3D printing applications like aerospace, defense, and automotive.
The company suggests that, with this new pre-printing evaluation tool, customers may see a considerable improvement in the quality and strength of their parts while also enjoying faster turnaround in production, greater affordability, and less need for labor. The AI system offers users the ability to analyze parts before printing—an element of the process that is becoming recognized as more critical—and especially in metal 3D printing.
“Analyzing parts before printing is a crucial step that requires a lot of time from highly skilled engineers and bears significant risks to a company’s reputation and ability to meet the desired lead times and regulations,” explained the PrintSyst.ai team in a recent press release.
Without automated analysis, far too many parts result in dysfunction. 3DP AI Perfecter is meant to offer relief for users with automated part analysis which the PrintSyst.ai team claims saves “more than 99 percent of the preparation time and cost.” It was developed with scalability, user-friendliness, and simplicity in mind for customers engaged in complex digital fabrication projects. The AI tool also provides a streamlined dashboard for monitoring the printing process—and can be used to “scale and optimize” operations further. Not only that, but it can also be modified according to the needs of the customer.
Users may save more than 99% of prep time with the 3DP AI-Perfecter
Today Origin will begin shipping their new Origin One, an industrial 3D printer which the San Francisco-headquartered company claims is already in high demand internationally. In fact, the developer of open platforms for additive mass production has already doubled their installed base.
Currently, Origin is working with customers in the US, Ireland, Germany, and Denmark, engaged in the following applications:
“Shipping our first production printer, Origin One, is a huge milestone for the company,” said Chris Prucha, co-founder, and CEO of Origin. “The tremendous customer growth and demand we’ve seen for the printer, as well as the positive reception from our open material network, is extremely gratifying and proof that we’ve created a platform that our customers need.”
In their recent press release to 3DPrint.com, Origin also announces that they are adding Avid and Interpro to their service bureau customer roster. They have had other major news too, aside from moving into a much larger space and adding a lab, as Jeffrey Lee has come on board as their chief operating officer, previously at DCM as a venture partner, and founder of Cost Cooperative, a member-based buying group for small businesses.
“I’ve worked with this team for almost two years, and I’ve never been so convinced that Origin is poised to finally bring additive to mass manufacturing,” said Jeffrey Lee, COO, Origin. “I’m excited to join the team and help Origin realize this vision.”
Origin will also offer Origin One parts to many of their customers through their new service bureau, passing on the benefits of 3D printing to their client base as they are able to get the components they need without having to invest in all the hardware, software, and materials—although that may be something they decide to do later as additive manufacturing continues to take hold for so many applications around the world.
“We’re thrilled to expand our additive capabilities and offer Origin’s P3 technology to customers,” said Doug Collins, Owner of Avid Product Development. “Origin’s throughput, material selection, and part quality will help us serve many more production applications today and in the future.
“We’re excited to offer Origin’s P3 technology to our wide range of customers in the automotive, aerospace and medical industries,” said Dan Straka, General Manager of InterPro. “Origin One will enable us to produce end-use parts with excellent surface quality and dimensional accuracy. Plus, the parts will be made of production-grade materials from the Origin Open Material Network.”
The company has also continued to refine their offerings, making significant improvements to Origin One with software, increasing:
Useable build area
“Equipped with a true 4k lithography engine and a native resolution of 50μm, Origin One has the highest resolution and most flexible polymer process available in additive manufacturing today,” said Prucha.
The company was founded in 2015 and is led by alumni from Google and Apple. Investors include Floodgate, DCM, Mandra Capital, Haystack, Stanford University, and Joe Montana.
Origin has continually been moving forward with new projects to include the development of new materials, forays into areas like footwear, and ongoing hardware development. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
For this edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting off with a celebration – Scansite created 3D printed replicas of the spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Moving on to business and metals, 3D Hubs has hired a new Managing Director for the US, and DigiFabster published a case study. IAM 3D HUB’s newest technological partner is ArcelorMittal, and finally, SmarTech Publishing released some new research on metal powder bed fusion.
Scansite Creates 3D Printed Replicas of Famous Spacesuit
“Baseball parks are the perfect venues for new generations to learn more about that summer night on July 20, 1969. The spacesuit replicas allow us to bring a piece of Apollo to Americans everywhere,” said Ellen Stofan, director of the National Air and Space Museum.
Scansite conducted high resolution 3D scanning of the original spacesuit, which was tricky because it features many details and different materials. The company used both a Breuckmann structured light scanner and a Faro touch probe to acquire the scan data, which resulted in a file with over 5.3 gigabytes of data. The data was edited, using surrounding topology of each hole in the information as a guide to fill everything in, and Scansite created a full-scale 3D print of the spacesuit, in 16 separate panels, on a Voxeljet 3D printer out of porous acrylic material. The sections were glued together to create the master model, which was then used to make a mold; finally, each replica was hand-sanded and painted, finished with a tough, autobody clear coat, and mounted on an engraved granite base.
3D Hubs Names Robert Schouwenburg as US Managing Director
Online manufacturing marketplace 3D Hubs announced that Robert Schouwenburg, the former COO & CTO of Shapeways, will be joining the company as its Managing Director for the USA. The company recently announced an $18 million funding round, which it’s been using to expand its team in the US, including opening a new North American headquarters at Chicago’s mHUB. Schouwenburg has over 20 years of experience in the industry, and will be working with the Chicago team to better service the company’s North American customer base, in addition to expanding 3D Hubs’ CNC machining services offering in Chicago.
“We’re at the start of ‘industry 4.0,’ an era when automation and data exchange will accelerate manufacturing technologies, and 3D Hubs is uniquely positioned to become a leader in this upcoming industrial revolution,” stated Schouwenburg.
DigiFabster Helps MakeItQuick Lower Costs and Increase Revenue
3D printing software and services provider DigiFabster recently released a case study about its customer MakeItQuick, a UK 3D printing service bureau. DigiFabster helps machine shops and service bureaus like MakeItQuick generate more new revenue, while lowering the cost of labor-intensive activities such as order entry, project management, and quoting. MakeItQuick teamed up with DigiFabster not long after it launched, and quickly started seeing results – the company was able to reduce quoting costs by up to 95% and order transaction costs by up to 85%. This allowed MakeItQuick to scale quickly and grow their revenues by 25% a month.
“The software handles 90% of our quotes without the need to manually review every part that is submitted. The time savings were immediately evident,” said Marco Massi, the owner of MakeItQuick.
“We save even more once a quote is confirmed. All the order details are at hand, giving us the opportunity to analyze the data and decide on the best way forward.
“In less than a year with DigiFabster, our revenue has grown steadily. We’re now experiencing a 25% monthly revenue increase, paving the way for our future success.”
IAM 3D HUB’s New Technological Partner
The latest technological partner of AM technology incubator IAM 3D HUB is ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s top steel and mining companies. The company, which has a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18, will support the Barcelona-based hub with its technologies, materials, and knowledge to allow for new applications of and metal materials for 3D printing. The two share similar objectives, but ArcelorMittal hopes to use its experiences to contribute a new point of view.
ArcelorMittal’s membership in IAM 3D HUB will allow it to develop new metal 3D printing materials, as well as leverage the hub’s end-to-end solutions platform and work with stakeholders. By incorporating this company, the hub is welcoming a new member in the value chain of 3D printing “as a material developer.” It joins technological developers like HP, Renishaw, and Wacker Chemie, strategic partner Fira de Barcelona, and post-processing specialist Abrast by Coniex.
SmarTech Publishing: New Research Note on Metal Powder Bed Fusion
“Despite what headlines, technologists, and marketing executives would have you believe, the metal 3D printing “race” is a marathon, not a sprint. To continue with the metaphor, we’re probably in about mile 10 of the race today –certainly not at the beginning anymore, but also quite a long way from the end. We are now about twenty three years since the first commercial metal powder bed fusion (PBF) systems came into view,” Dunham wrote.
“With so many closely comparable suppliers of metal PBF equipment now vying for market share, this begs the question, who has what it takes to make it? Everyone in the race today is working toward similar visions of an “Industry 4.0” future that hinges on metalworking going fully digital and highly automated from end to end, from prototyping all the way up to scaled production, with varying levels of customization capabilities based on industry needs along the way.”
Dunham goes on to list some of the technology’s “standout traits,” and names the company’s predictions on how the metal PBF race will turn out: which companies will be the front runners (EOS, GE Additive, Trumpf).
We’re talking partnerships and materials in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. The Alfa Romeo F1 team and Additive Industries are strengthening their technology partnership, while Beam-IT and SLM Solutions are expanding their own cooperation. Metallum3D just opened a new beta testing program for its stainless steel filament, while Zortrax and CRP Technology are both introducing new materials.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team and Additive Industries Strengthen Partnership
“Our installed base is growing fast, not only with new customers in our core markets like aerospace and the automotive industry but also through existing customers like Sauber Engineering, who are advancing to become one of the leading companies in industrial 3D printing in Europe, ramping up production,” stated Daan Kersten, the CEO of Additive Industries. “Although most users of metal additive manufacturing are still applying prototyping systems, we see an increasing number of companies concluding they need dedicated systems for series production. Our modular MetalFAB1 family is the only proven system on the market today designed for this use. We are grateful and proud to be technology partner to Sauber Engineering and the F1 team of Alfa Romeo Racing.”
Beam-IT and SLM Solutions Sign Expanded Agreement
M.Sc.Eng. Martina Riccio, AM Process Leader of Beam-IT and technical team
Italian 3D printing service bureau Beam-IT and metal 3D printing provider SLM Solutions have signed an agreement, which will expand their current long-term cooperation. Together in a joint venture project, the two will work to develop more material parameters – focusing on certain material properties – for the nickel-based alloys IN939 and IN718; this process will help create a less lengthy timeframe in terms of parameter testing. Additionally, Beam-IT has added two new SLM 3D printers to its product portfolio: an SLM 280 and an SLM 500.
“We are pleased to announce our cooperation agreement with SLM Solutions and the two additional machines,” said Michele Antolotti, the General Manager of Beam-IT. “We regularly produce high-quality parts for our customers using selective laser melting because the SLM ® technology works efficiently, quickly and, above all, safely. With the expanded capacity of our new multi-laser systems we can also increase our productivity and react to the increased interest in SLM ® technology from our customers.”
Metallum3D Opens Stainless Steel Filament Beta Testing Program
Virginia-based company Metallum3D announced that it has opened a beta test program for its stainless steel 316L 3D printing filament. This new program will support the company in its development of an affordable and accessible on-demand metal 3D platform for FFF 3D printers. The Filament Beta Test Program is open until July 31st, 2019, and a limited run of 150 0.5 kg spools of Metallum3D’s stainless steel 316L filament will be offered for a discounted price on a first come, first serve basis.
Nelson Zambrana, the CEO of Metallum3D, said, “Our 1.75mm Stainless Steel 316L filament material has a metal content of 91.7% by weight or 61.5% by volume, while maintaining enough flexibility for a minimum bend diameter of 95 mm (3.75 in.). The combination of high metal loading and filament flexibility was a tough material development challenge that took us over a year to solve.”
Zortrax Introducing Biocompatible Resins for Inkspire 3D Printer
Last year, Polish 3D printing solutions provider Zortrax developed the Inkspire, its first resin 3D printer. The Inkspire uses UV LCD technology to create small and precise models for the architecture, jewelry, and medical industries. With this in mind, the company is now introducing its specialized biocompatible resins that have been optimized for the Inkspire to make end use models in dentistry and prosthetics.
The new class IIa biocompatible Raydent Crown & Bridge resin is used for 3D printing temporary crowns and bridges, and is available in in an A2 shade (beige), with high abrasion resistance for permanent smooth surfaces. Class I biocompatible Raydent Surgical Guide resin for precise prosthetic surgical guides is safe for transient contact with human tissue, and offers translucency and high dimensional accuracy. With these new materials, the Zortrax Inkspire can now be used by prosthetic laboratories for prototyping and final intraoral product fabrication.
CRP Technology Welcomes New Flame Retardant Material
Functional air conditioning piping made with LS technology and Windform FR1
In April, Italy-based CRP Technology introduced its Windform P-LINE material for for high-speed, production-grade 3D printing. Now, it’s officially welcoming another new material to its polyamide composite family – Windform FR1, the first carbon-filled flame-retardant laser sintering material to be rated V-0. The material is from the Windform TOP-LINE family, and passed the FAR 25.853 12-second vertical, the 15-second horizontal flammability tests, and the 45° Bunsen burner test. The lightweight, halogen-free material combines excellent stiffness with superior mechanical properties, and is a great choice for applications in aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, and electronics.
“Only a few days from the launch of a new range of Windform® materials, the P-LINE for HSS technology, I’m very proud to launch a new revolutionary composite material from the Windform® TOP-LINE family of materials for Laser Sintering technology,” said Franco Cevolini, VP and CTO at CRP Technology. “Our aim is to constantly produce technological breakthroughs. With Windform® FR1 we can steer you toward the proper solution for your projects.
“We will not stop here, we will continue our work on renewal and technological expansion in the field of Additive Manufacturing. Stay tuned!”
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Starting with a little business in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, Materialise has signed an MoU with Sigma Labs, and Carpenter Technology Corporation launched an additive manufacturing business unit, while Ampower just released a metal 3D printing technology map. Moving on to news about 3D printers, 3D Potter has introduced a compact version of its Scara clay 3D printer, and a UK service bureau installed an HP Jet Fusion 4200 system.
The mission behind the MoU is, according to MarketScreener, “to create an integrated product solution composed of sophisticated control technology enhanced with in-situ process monitoring for metal additive manufacturing.” Materialise and Sigma Labs have a shared vision to ultimately set up a formal licensing agreement, or a formal joint marketing collaboration, for a truly integrated product.
“From powder production to manufacturing and finishing parts, the full spectrum of our capabilities is what differentiates Carpenter Additive from the rest of the AM industry. We are revolutionizing how customers approach this disruptive technology by offering end-to-end solutions through an array of technical expertise, powder production, parts production, and material lifecycle management,” said Carpenter’s President and CEO Tony R. Thene. “Carpenter Additive is working with our customers and driving industry-wide change.”
Ampower Releases New Technology Map
Metal 3D printing consultancy Ampower is working to prepare for its metal additive manufacturing report, which will be released at formnext in Germany this fall. While compiling the report, Ampower closely studied all of the available metal AM technologies and counted them up, arriving at a total of 18 falling into seven different categories, including powder, wire, and granulate. In addition, Ampower analyzed the supply chain and counted up nearly 90 different metal AM machine vendors. Now, the consultancy has put all of its findings together in a high-resolution metal AM technology map, which can be downloaded from Ampower’s website.
“In our Technology Map for Metal Additive Manufacturing, we subdivide the procedures based on the ASTM / ISO 52900,” Ampower wrote on its website. “However, methods are now known that elude a known classification. Systems from vendors such as Vader and Fabrisonic use completely new approaches to energy input and raw materials. However, these technologies still have a relatively young degree of maturity. In addition, it should be noted that even with the same classification, the procedures may still differ. For example, the technology of 3DEO can only be classified as binder jetting as it incorporates a milling process at the same time.”
To learn more, download the metal AM technology map today.
3D Potter Launches Compact Version of Scara V3 3D Printer
Florida-based company 3D Potter, formerly known as DeltaBots, makes low-pressure, high-powered 3D ceramic printers. These delta-style printers are completely dedicated to 3D printing ceramics and pottery, and the company is now the 3D printer manufacturer for over 200 aerospace and defense entities, research facilities, and universities. Recently, 3D Potter introduced a lightweight, compact version of its Scara V3 – the 3D Potterbot Scara Mini V1, which has no air compressor and features a single joint Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm (SCARA), which operates on a rotational x and y-axis. The printer’s 200 ml extruder is easy to clean, and there’s no weight limit for final 3D printed products, which achieve high accuracy and even consistency with no air bubbles. The Scara Mini V1 is fully capable of 360° multiple object printing.
“The other advantage for universities and architectural departments is that it can do architectural objects. It can actually print inside an object,” explained 3D Potter president Danny Defelici.
To see the new Scara Mini V1 in action, take a look at the video below.
Design Reality Service Bureau Installs HP Jet Fusion 4200
UK industrial design consultancy and service bureau Design Reality, headquartered in Wales, is made up of design and electronics experts who work to create products for clients in the medical, industrial, and consumer industries. Recently, the company made the decision to install an HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 3D printer in order lower outsourcing requirements and improve upon its design and production capabilities, which will in turn provide its customers with a consistent, end-to-end solution and faster turnarounds. Since the system was installed, Design Reality has already attracted some new customers.
“Our ambition is to make lives healthier and safer with the products that we design. We want to leverage any advantage we can to improve product development quality, performance and speed of delivery,” said Graham Wilson, the Owner and Design Director at Design Reality. “The technology offered in the HP Multi jet Fusion HP 3D 4200 enables reliable prototyping and additive manufacturing, providing quality products into the hands of our clients, faster and at a lower cost. Our clients no longer have to wait for conventional tooling and manufacturing processes, and the investment that is associated with it.”
Design Reality is mainly sticking with HP’s Nylon 12 material in order to lower waste, and is using HP’s subscription pricing, which is the first pay-per-use subscription model in the industry, for its materials.
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Justin Finesilver is the owner of the 3D Printing Store in Denver, Colorado. They are a 3D printing service bureau that helps various organizations and individuals with their 3D printing needs in Denver. From the consumer toy, to even the highly private aerospace solution, the 3D Printing Store has your needs covered. Justin helps to manage the day to day retail aspect of the store, as well as the social media marketing of the organization.
Give us some background when it comes to education and life experiences that have gotten you to this point?
I went to Colorado State. I went for an English degree. I used to manage retail. I got into 3D printing when my mom started the store. I kind of jumped in and did it on the side. I came on full time in 2015 and bought an ownership into the organization.
What was the first thing you 3D Printed?
The flexible bracelet was on Makerbot. It was a clever design. I showed it to other people and they were amazed. It was my light bulb moment. This all sparked everything.
All of these companies are pushing the envelope. They all started off as makers. These are all garage companies. It is the most important thing in our industry. People are pushing and doing so much innovation.
A contest entry in the store’s Additive For Coloradans competition.
What are the coolest products you’ve seen in Colorado?
We do a lot of industrial stuff. We do parts for satellites. There is a huge aerospace community in Colorado. We will have 10 products that have launched out of our store that will go to the market. We help to invent different aspects of toys. We have a lot of stuff in the golf industry. We have our green vertical as well. There are so many people with interesting products in this space. We have done a lot of scientific and industrial models. We have even done stuff for an ancient tomb for researchers. We run the gambit. We are a catch all place and it allows us to interact with creative.
What industry you think could benefit the most?
I think people are aware and smart. I think the custom footwear and dental industry are really cool. The personalization of the world is big. I am really excited about bioprinting actually. We were the first service bureau to buy Allevi’s bioprinter.
What are your thoughts on the industry in five years?
I think we are going to see a lot more known commodities. There will be a lot more production based technologies that are able to do 5,000 to 10,000 parts. The ease of use will be ideally better. Machines that do not have a lot of materials will need a larger amount of offerings. Companies like Origin are now looking for experts in materials to work with them as an open source platform. I want the industry to have the expertise in different fields create within their sectors. This includes hardware, materials, and software. 3D printing is democratizing manufacturing. We are not able to educate our workforce with actual skills.
I was very impressed with Ken Burns’ presentation at Additive Manufacturing Strategies in Boston. Ken is the technical sales director of the 3D printing services and manufacturing company Forecast3D. Originally set up to do urethane casting, the company now deploys HP MJF, FDM, DMLS, SLA, and Polyjet 3D printing technologies as well as casting. Focusing on bridge manufacturing and short-run production the company recently has bet big on MJF as a manufacturing technology. Many bureaus are continually under threat and expanding because of renewed interest in 3D printing. On the one hand, 3D printing news brings in new customers but some of these then switch to desktop and in house 3D printing. Can service bureaus cross the chasm and play a role in manufacturing millions of products with 3D printing? Or will they succumb to pressures from much larger firms? In different verticals we see that companies are taking very different approaches to adopt 3D Printing while in some industries there is a sharp division between the outsourcers and companies that do in house 3D printing. In medical device, for example, some companies are making huge investments in doing in house production while others immediately outsource. Millions of hearing aids are made in house while only car companies have significantly invested in taking prototyping in house. It is a very exciting time to be a pioneering 3D printing service so we asked Ken to tell us more.
How did Forecast3D get started?
Forecast 3D started with two brothers: Corey & Donovan Weber when they were in their early 20’s. They started in their garage and eventually purchased a single SLA machine (with the help of a loan from their grandfather). Corey developed an innovative method for urethane casting, which helped establish them and differentiate them from other service providers.
How did you go from a regional player to a national one?
Having a strong, reliable, and passionate team that gave our early customer base a unique customer experience and dedicated customer service – this helped us to grow our technology offerings and be able to afford to adopt the latest equipment. It sounds cliché but we listened to what customers needed and answered by creating a national team. Whether it is a phone call or a face-to-face meeting we were committed to the resources to engage with our customers however the needed us. We have also never been complacent with our technology, processes and business systems.
You seem to have always been at the forefront of adopting new technologies. In hindsight, it all looks beautiful but surely you’ve also gotten bitten by adopting new technologies?
We wouldn’t say any of the technologies “bit us” but we have certainly had more success with some over others. The technologies all promise something “ground-breaking”; which is true to an extent, but it doesn’t mean they are the right fit for our business model. We have target customers and industries so we focus on technologies that can help us be successful with that lens. So if we miss the mark, it is usually a small miss.
Do you still do a lot of casting?
Absolutely. Like most traditional processes, they are not going away. In fact, 3D printing has helped improve some of these services like casting. We can do hybrid processes with casting and 3D printing. Casting is and remains a long term focus for us.
What do your customers use Polyjet for?
Fast prototypes – attractive show models. When they want full color parts, or parts with multiple materials and durometers in a single piece. Often used in the entertainment industry.
Robust parts – used in aerospace and automotive mostly, often when demanding environments (high heat resistance, chemical resistance, UV stability) are present. When part strength (and not so much aesthetics) is a priority.
What do you use DMLS for?
Prototype and end-use parts. Often times when a smaller quantity of metal parts is needed, and the geometry would be impossible or too difficult to machine.
SLA Chrome plated award part.
What was it like buying an SLA machine in 1996?
Exciting. It is still exciting to buy new 3D printing equipment in 2019. To be on the forefront of the 3D printing industry in the 90s was an incredible opportunity.
A ProCast Part.
What is ProCast?
Our proprietary urethane casting process, used for producing a short-run (4 to 400) quantity of parts. Often times the next step after a single prototype, and used when only low volume production is needed (product lines that don’t require thousands of parts). We typically start by 3D printing a master model using SLA, FDM, or PolyJet. Then the master model is sanded and finished to the customer’s desired surface finish/texture, and then that part is encapsulated into a silicone mold (which is the soft tool). And from that mold, we produce 20-30 parts at a time. We can cast in any color or texture.
What new technologies are you excited about?
There is a lot to be excited about these days. On the metals side you have a lot of movement with HP’s Metal Jet, DesktopMetal’s Production System, GE Additive and a few others. In the plastics space we are watching a lot of the OEMs looking at solving new problems…HP MJF’s color printer, Carbon, Evolve and Titan Robotics are a few that seem to be doing something different. We are also looking at a lot of technologies surrounding the printer ecosystem from software to automation equipment.
What advice would you give me if I were a company new to 3D printing?
Be realistic with what you are going to do with 3D printing. It’s not the silver bullet that solves all problems. It can be an amazing tool for prototyping or production if you have a good approach. Working with a service provider to test and qualify which technology is always a great start as you can assess lots of technologies.
What about if my firm wanted to use 3D printing for manufacturing?
Yes, there are several technologies now capable of manufacturing. We primarily use the HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and SLM (metals) technologies for manufacturing. Our 3D Manufacturing center has 24 of the HP MJF systems so we have the capacity to print tens of thousands of production parts a day. Industries like Aerospace and Healthcare have been taken advantage of FDM and SLM processes in production.
Is lack of automation in post processing holding 3D printing back?
Yes. Until recently there wasn’t a big demand for this type of equipment because there wasn’t a lot of production in high volumes happening in 3D printing; outside of a few niche applications. We have surveyed the market and while some equipment works we have spent a lot of our time developing these tools.
You seem to have taken a big bet on MJF?
Oh yes. We believe in the technology, and its ability to take 3D printing to the next level (beyond being used primarily for prototyping).
One word. Production. We want to go after high volume production opportunities in manufacturing. We firmly believe this technology is solving new problems and creating new opportunities for our customers. We have already seen it utilized in many great applications and expect that it grows exponentially over the next several years.
What do you use the MJF machines for?
Production. We also do a lot of prototyping with them. There are certainly applications and industries it is better suited for as we are limited by materials, part size, surface finish and a few other constraints.
What is the market like now for a service bureau?
The service bureau market has certainly changed over the last few years. There are several companies focusing on the software component and it some ways attempting to commoditize the space while others have differentiated with specific technologies. We have been position Forecast 3D as a Digital Manufacturing company. Going beyond typical service bureau capabilities to meet the requirements for production. With so many service bureaus we think it is important to focus on what you do best and execute that with laser focus.
Buckle your seat belts, because we’ve got a of news to share with you in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, starting with more event announcements and moving on to several new partnerships, a workshop, and a 3D printing project. Nanogrande introduced its new 3D printer for nanometer metallic particles at Fabtech this week, while Sartomer and Nanoe are launching new 3D printing innovations at formnext. Creatz3D is working to accelerate ceramics 3D printing in Singapore, while partnerships were announced between Valuechain and Clad Korea, PostProcess and Rösler, and Additive Manufacturing Technologies and Mitsubishi Electric. Finally, two Fraunhofer Institutes are hosting an AM materials workshop, and a maker from YouTube channel Potent Printables is sharing a new project.
Nanogrande Introduced First 3D Printer for Nanometer Metallic Particles
At FABTECH 2018 in Atlanta this week, Nanogrande officially introduced its new 3D printer. The MPL-1, enabled with the company’s Power Layering Technology, is actually the first nanoscale 3D printer for metallic particles in the world, and could successfully open up new 3D printing horizons. Nanogrande has spent years working to develop the new 3D printer.
“Power Layering, while maximizing particle compaction, allows MPL-1 to use particles of all shapes, sizes and types. With this approach, we can easily print with particles as small as a nanometer, but also particles of 5 microns, what the industrial sector is currently seeking. At this size, the particles stick to each other, virtually eliminating the need for support structures typical to 3D printing. In this way, there is a considerable reduction in post- printing costs,” said Juan Schneider, the President and Founder of Nanogrande.
“Today we are witnessing the culmination of a long process of research and development that has given us the chance to set up a team that generates many innovative ideas. Alone, it is possible to have excellent ideas; but, as a team, we can bring these ideas to life. I am very pleased to highlight the success of the efforts of the people who work for Nanogrande.”
Sartomer Europe Introducing New UV-Curable Resins
At formnext in Frankfurt next week, the European division of specialty chemical supplier Sartomer, a business unit of Arkema, will be launching new products in its N3xtDimension line of UV-curable engineered resins as part of its new commercial 3D printing-dedicated platform. The new materials will help companies fulfill performance and regulatory requirements for multiple industrial applications, thanks to their excellent tunability and mechanical properties. At its booth H58 in Hall 3.1 at formnext, Sartomer will introduce N3D I-2105, with impact resistance for manufacturing functional parts; N3D-F2115, which can achieve varying levels of flexibility depending on post treatment; and N3D P-2125, which is perfect for prototyping with its homogeneous network and limited evolution of mechanical properties after post-curing is complete.
“We are addressing the needs of demanding and innovative 3D printing markets by partnering with global leaders to deliver custom material solutions for end-use applications. Through our range of products and services dedicated to additive manufacturing, we are supporting the 3D printing sector as it grows and continues to develop new applications,” said Sumeet Jain, the Global Director for 3D Printing Business at Sartomer.
Nanoe Launches Ceramic and Metal 3D Printer
In other formnext news, French company Nanoe, which is a leader in high-tech raw materials and also specializes in ceramics 3D printing, will be introducing its new Zetaprint system for desktop 3D printing of ceramic and metal materials. The team will perform a live demonstration of the 3D printer at the event, and explain the full 3D printing, debinding, and sintering process.
Additionally, the company will be launching its new stainless steel 16L Zetamix filament. These filaments, made up of a ceramic or metal powder and a polymer matrix, can be used to make high density parts in any FDM 3D printer. Nanoe, which is also developing materials in Inconel and titanium, will also soon be launching a complete line of adapted FDM 3D printers. Visit the company at booth A74 in Hall 3.0 next week at formnext to see a live Zetaprint demonstration and 3D printed parts in various Zetamix materials.
Creatz3D Accelerating Ceramics 3D Printing in Singapore
Speaking of ceramics, Creatz3D Ceramics Service Bureau is dedicated to 3D printing ceramics parts. Founded last year, its parent company is Singapore-based 3D printer and AM software solutions seller Creatz3D, which partnered with 3DCeram Sinto in Limoges to create the service. This partnership, signed in 2016, facilitated the first installation in Singapore of 3DCeram Sinto’s Ceramaker 900 Ceramic 3D printer, at the Advanced Remanufacturing Technology Centre. The Creatz3D Ceramics Service Bureau, which offers diverse material options and a hassle-free experience, is the first, and only, ceramics-focused 3D printing service in the country, and is helping to increase awareness and adoption of ceramics for 3D printing.
“The addition of ceramics to Creatz3D’s portfolio ensures that they stay ahead of the pack in the competitive 3D printing landscape, and their expertise can demonstrate the game-changing capabilities that the technology has to offer to help advance design, engineering, and manufacturing,” said Sean Looi, the General Manager of Creatz3D.
Valuechain Signs Strategic Partnership with Clad Korea
British technology company Valuechain reports that it has signed a strategic partnership with manufacturing company Clad Korea, in order to digitalize 3D printing in East Asia. Both companies will be able to grow their association together in the initial agreement, in addition to bringing Valuechain’s solutions, including its flagship DNA am production control software, to the East Asian AM marketplace. This software addresses 3D printing production process niche requirements, like powder traceability and managing AM build plans.
“Valuechain’s DNA am technology is a unique offering to the market, with great potential to enable rapid and mass production of additive manufactured parts. As we look to enter the additive manufacturing market ourselves, we believe this product will give us a competitive advantage in the industry, and we’re excited to be able to contribute to the growth of this technology in Asia by helping to deliver this solution throughout South Korea,” said Brandon Lee, the CEO of Clad Korea Co. Ltd.
PostProcess Technologies Partnering with Rösler
Moving on with strategic partnerships in the 3D printing world, PostProcess Technologies Inc., a pioneer of software-drive 3D post-processing solutions, is working with Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH, which sells finishing systems for traditional manufacturing, to bring automated, intelligent post-print solutions to Europe. Rösler will provide PostProcess’ data-driven support removal and surface finishing solutions for 3D printing to the European market, making it the only surface finishing supplier that will be providing solutions tailored to the needs of both traditional and additive manufacturing. The two companies will debut their partnership next week at formnext, with PostProcess’ technology on display in its booth H68, as well as Rösler’s booth E20, both of which are in Hall 3.0.
“The additive space is rapidly growing, especially in Europe, and as such, the demand for an automated post-printing solution is accelerating. Rösler is a unique partner for PostProcess, bringing expertise in finishing systems with a broad European footprint, thousands of existing customers, and a strong presence across a range of industries that will greatly benefit from PostProcess’ proprietary and integrated software, hardware, and chemistry solution,” said Bruno Bourguet, the Managing Director for PostProcess Technologies.
Additive Manufacturing Technologies Announces Partnership with Mitsubishi Electric
Sheffield-based Additive Manufacturing Technologies Ltd (AMT) has entered into a partnership with Mitsubishi Electric in order to further develop its PostPro3D system with an integrated automation solution, which could provide a major productivity boost for 3D print post-processing. This new solution is based on Mitsubishi Electric’s MELSEC iQ-F Series compact PLC, HMIs, SCADA and MELFA articulated arm robots. While PostPro3D is already pretty impressive, with its ability to automatically smooth an object’s surface to 1μm precision, AMT wanted to further develop the system with certified automation products so it would be suitable for Industry 4.0. Now, PostPro3D is equipped with a Mitsubishi Electric power supply and low voltage switchgear, servo drives and motors, FR-D700 frequency inverters and the optional six-axis robot arm.
“To realise our concept, we needed an automation partner that could provide the whole range of machine control systems, as well as the actual robotics. This is fundamental to truly integrate our machine into the production line of the future as well as to benefit from a lean, single vendor distribution model,” explained Joseph Crabtree, CEO at AMT.
“Mitsubishi Electric was the clear choice because it offers a one stop shop for state-of-the-art automation solutions. In this way, we can be sure that the different components are compatible and can share data. Overall, the company can offer us products that adhere to UL, CE as well as Industry 4.0 requirements.”
Fraunhofer AM Materials Workshop
On November 29 and 30 in Dresden, Germany, Fraunhofer IKTS and Fraunhofer IWS are holding a workshop called “Hybrid materials and additive manufacturing processes.” The two institutes are working together to organize the workshop, which will be held in English and discuss innovative technologies for 3D printing metallic and ceramic components, in addition to application-specific manufacturing of material hybrids. Participants in the workshop’s practical insight sessions will be able to see diverse AM devices for multimaterial approaches live and in action.
“Why is that interesting? Additive manufacturing technologies for material hybrids open up new possibilities in production for diverse industrial branches,” Annika Ballin, Press and Public Relations for Fraunhofer IKTS, told 3DPrint.com. “It is not only possible to realize complex geometries, but also to functionalize components (sensors, heaters), to individualize production (labeling, inscriptions) and to combine different materials properties in one component (conductive/insulating, dense/porous etc.).”
The workshop, which costs €750, will be held at Fraunhofer Institute Center Dresden, and registration will continue until November 22.
DIY 3D Printed Linear Servo Actuators by Potent Printables
“Each design has a pinion that has to be glued to a servo horn, and a selection of rack lengths to suit your needs,” Dan Maloney wrote in a new Hackaday post about Ali’s project. “The printed parts are nothing fancy, but seem to have material in the right places to bear the loads these actuators will encounter.”
Check out the video below to see the 3D printed linear actuators for yourself:
Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.
We’re bringing you the latest 3D printing business news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, plus a little 3D printed art to round things out. FATHOM is partnering with SOLIDWORKS software reseller GoEngineer, while L’Oréal is working with INITIAL, a Prodways Group company. Kickstarter and Autodesk are releasing a new open source 3D printing test, and 3D LifePrints has renewed its collaboration with the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Fargo 3D Printing has formed a new spin-off business, a metal 3D printed parts bureau has purchased an EBAM system from Sciaky, and 3D Systems’ SLA technology is being used to deliver customized dental solutions. Finally, we take a look at some fun and creative 3D printed artwork.
FATHOM and GoEngineer Announce Strategic Partnership
SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software and Stratasys 3D printer reseller GoEngineer has announced a new strategic agreement with 3D printing company FATHOM. GoEngineer has purchased FATHOM’s 3D printing equipment reseller business, so that FATHOM can focus solely on its digital manufacturing services. Thanks to the agreement, the two partners will be able to scale their respective businesses in different, but significant ways, leveraging their strengths in order to create a large product development ecosystem of hardware, software, engineering, design, manufacturing, and training solutions that customers can use to drive innovation.
Michelle Mihevc, the Co-founder and Principal at FATHOM, said, “It’s exciting for our industry because both FATHOM and GoEngineer are uniquely positioned to meet the ever-increasing demand for advanced tools and services that enhance and accelerate a company’s product development and production processes.”
L’Oréal and INITIAL Increasing Development of 3D Printed Thermoplastic Parts
The cosmetics industry has a constant challenge in quickly marketing new products to meet the many specific demands of customers. That’s why L’Oréal is teaming up with INITIAL, a Prodways Group subsidiary – the two are ramping up development of 3D printed thermoplastic parts. More specifically, INITIAL’s new solution, 3D Molding, uses 3D printing to make plastic injection molds for “final material” parts at less cost and in record time. Recently, L’Oréal needed 14 resin test molds, along with 20 injection molding test runs and several hundred molded parts. By using Prodways’ patented MOVINGLight 3D printing technology and PLASTCure Rigid 10500 resin, the company was able to achieve accurate 3D prints in just two weeks.
“We produce the 3D Printing mould and the final material parts are then directly injection-moulded,” said Yvon Gallet, INITIAL’s Chairman. “With our 3D printing and injection expertise, we were best placed to develop this unique solution. It is aimed at designers in the development phase and complements our traditional machining and injection solutions. It is an innovative alternative that meets the needs of manufacturers, like L’Oréal, that could benefit from this technological advance to reduce their time to market.”
Kickstarter and Autodesk Releasing Open Source 3D Printing Calibration Test
Prints of the test file from Cubibot and Robo printers.
The evidence speaks for itself – Kickstarter is a great place for 3D printing. The popular crowdfunding site requires that 3D printer creators demonstrate the functionality of their systems through various means, but it can be hard to compare the performance of different machines, because not everyone shows off the same test prints, like the 3D Benchy. So Kickstarter is working at Autodesk to address this lack of a common standard for assessing FDM 3D printer performance, and will soon be releasing a new open source 3D printer test for Kickstarter creators, developed by Autodesk research scientist Andreas Bastian.
“We believe this test procedure will support greater transparency in our community,” Zach Dunham wrote in a Kickstarter blog post. “We started with FDM printers because they’re the most common model on Kickstarter. Our goal over time is to expand this calibration test to other printing technologies like stereolithography. Though this test is optional for creators to share on their project pages, electing to do so opens a frank conversation about quality. And backers of any 3D printer project can share images of their own tests by posting them with the hashtag #FDMtest.”
Creators can download the single, consolidated STL file and instructions to test their 3D printers’ alignment, dimensional accuracy, and resolution on Github.
3D LifePrints and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Renew Collaboration
The Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has signed a long-term collaboration agreement with 3D LifePrints, a UK-based medical 3D printing company and a founding member of the hospital’s Innovation Hub. The company has had an embedded 3D printing facility at the 1,000 square meter underground co-creation space since 2015, and was supported by the hospital for its first two years there, showcasing the impact of its work and establishing its unique 3D printed offerings. Under the agreement, the company will continue supplying the hospital with its specialized 3D printing services.
“I am really proud of this milestone in our ongoing partnership. Incubating a start-up company in a hospital, to the point where they have series A funding, a multi-year contract with the NHS and diffusion to other medical centres around the country is an enormous vindication of what the Innovation hub was set up for,” said Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director and a paediatric surgeon at Alder Hey. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see 3DLP help integrate this emerging technology into clinical practice.”
Fargo 3D Printing Forms 3D Printer Repair Business
North Dakota-based Fargo 3D Printing has formed a new business out of its 3D printer repair segment, called Fargo 3D Printer Repair. While its parent company continues to focus on multiple aspects of the industry, the five-person repair team at the new Fargo 3D Printer Repair can devote 100% of its time to providing 3D printer repair and service to individuals, schools, OEMs, and businesses. The new spin-off company currently provides production-scale warranty servicing, maintenance, and repair services for multiple OEM 3D printing companies across North America; service and repair requests can be made through an intuitive form on its website.
“We don’t sell any 3D printers ourselves, so we are able to remain brand impartial when recommending and performing 3D printer repairs,” said John Olhoft, the CEO of Fargo 3D Printer Repair, who started working in the original shop as a repair technician. “Original Equipment Manufacturers like that they can trust us to provide high quality repairs with a quick turnaround, and not push a competing brand on their customers.”
Sciaky Providing EBAM System to Metal 3D Printing Bureau
Metal 3D printing solutions provider Sciaky will provide one of its Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) systems to Michigan-based FAMAero (Future Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace), a privately-owned metal 3D printed parts bureau. According to Sciaky, this custom EBAM system will be the largest production metal 3D printer in the world, with a 146″ x 62″ 62″ nominal part envelope that will be able to produce metal parts over 12 feet in length. FAMAero will use the massive new EBAM system to provide metal 3D printing services to customers in the aerospace, defense, oil & gas, and sea exploration industries.
Don Doyle, President of FAMAero, said, “FAMAero is entering the market as the first private, dedicated parts bureau in North America for large-scale 3D printed metal parts. Our Factory as a Service concept, combined with Sciaky’s industry-leading EBAM® technology, will provide manufacturers a new avenue to significantly slash time and cost on the production of critical parts, while offering the largest build platform and selection of exotic metals to choose from in the 3D parts service market.”
Creating Customized Dental Solutions with 3D Systems’ SLA 3D Printing
In order to make over 320,000 invisible dental aligners in a single day, Align Technology uses SLA 3D printing from 3D Systems. The company’s technology allows Align to create the unique aligner forms so that they are customized to each individual patient’s dental data. So far, Align has treated nearly 6 million patients, but using 3D printing technology is helping the growth of its business accelerate.
“What makes Align’s mass customization so unique is not only are we producing millions of parts every month, but each one of these parts that we produce is unique,” said Srini Kaza, the Vice President of Advanced Technology for Align Technology. “And this is really, as far as I know, the only true example of mass production using 3D printing.”
Ben Fearnley Uses SLA 3D Printing to Bring Artwork to Life
SLA 3D printing isn’t just good for use in dental applications, however. Ben Fearnley, a designer, illustrator, and 3D artist based out of New York City, uses the technology to, as he told 3DPrint.com, “bring my work to life from the 3D world to the real world.”
One interesting piece of 3D printed art Fearnley creates is Good Vibes Only Typography – script style typography lettering sculptures modeled in Cinema 4D and 3D printed on his Form 2. But my personal favorite are his Sculptmojis, which look pretty much exactly how they sound. These pieces, which are a combination of traditional sculpture art forms and modern emojis, originally began as a digital art project, and have now been brought to amusing, quirky life through 3D printing. You can purchase Fearnley’s unique 3D printed artwork here.
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