DLP printing has opened up a ton of usages for photopolymer-based 3D printing, providing highly accurate models and medical appliances. DLP, however, is only as good as the resolution on it’s light array or projector. This has led to a bit of an arms race in achieving the highest control per pixel on printers. As […]
While bioprinting is providing a lot of new capabilities to researchers, there are very few companies offering printed transplants. The field is relatively young, so organs are still complex parts to develop. Some even deemed it a distant dream, too young at this time. However, Israel-based Collplant have been developing novel approaches to bioinks for quite […]
One of the major advantages of 3D printing is in the ability to reduce part count. I’ve always felt that this advantage doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It is hardly mentioned in the media and its implications and advantages seem to not be understood. Therefore here is my attempt at a hopefully convincing article on reducing part count through 3D printing.
By reducing part count, we mean that a complex thing such as a rocket engine consists of a 100 parts when made with conventional manufacturing. When we redesign that rocket engine for 3D printing we can then perhaps reduce the total number of parts to three. NASA and other aerospace companies have already found this out by reducing parts from 115 to one or
How do we do that? In some cases, a very complex shape can only be made out of a lot of parts in conventional manufacturing. Think of the AEC ducting used on board Boeing passenger aircraft. Crinkly complex winding pipes. How would you manufacture these kinds of things conventionally? Out of lots of smaller parts. This complex geometry can be made out of one part through 3D printing, however. This is one significant benefit of the oft-touted “complexity is free” slogan for 3D printing. Another way to reduce part count is through integrating functionality. We can take a sprout, a connector and a valve and print all of these things in one go by designing a kind of mash-up sproutconnectorvalve part. Or a wall of something could also be a nozzle and also be a heatsink at the same time. Parts can do double or triple duty. So when we get excited about 3D printing batteries and conductive materials, this is not just because its cool. Importantly, it also not only so that we can then print the entire phone in one go. Crucially it will enable designers and engineers to think very differently about what a phone is and what happens when your battery can also be a housing that at the same time comes with holes for screws and places for chips. This kind of thing may all of a sudden mean that through design for manufacturing we can come up with a completely different form factor phone or a completely different way of making phones or completely different economics of making phones. So, in this case, the reduction of part count through ever cascading new technologies will see continual impacts by 3D printing on assembly and manufacturing technologies in some industries. Only those industries where low volume, customization or low weight will rise to adopt 3D printing because for them the benefits will outweigh higher costs. Once they have all of the same geometries however with the same materials can also be industrialized, eg if we print almost all of the In The Ear hearing aids, we should also eventually 3D print all of the custom headphones. Besides critical weight industries like aviation and cases such as orthopedic implants that work because of the texture, many will ultimately look to part count reduction as an adoption logic for 3D printing.
Now people are still thinking conventionally in terms of housings and connectors. Your engineer will think in screws and things that cover as separate things. Unless her thinking doesn’t change our technology will indeed be spielerei. Expensive spielerei as well because we meanwhile only target high margin things because we could make Happy Meal toys but that will hasten this race to the bottom thing we all fear. So once she, our mythical engineer, starts looking at a blender and instead of seeing this blender as a thing of screws, housings, motors and the like but sees it as a potentially fluid object then things will really change for 3D printing. Once she notices that 60% of the parts are redundant, then everything will turn for her and us. Once she sees that all the washers, nuts and bolts plus their holes are not needed while the form factor of the thing completely needs to be rethought then, we are going to be on a roll. Once she sees that she could increase the performance by making a hereto impossible blade shape and changing the texture of the jar while saving money by changing how the motor works then she can go to management to consider 3D printing. Not because it is cute and sexy and cool but because it reduces part count and improves the performance of everything.
Its been frustrating for me trying to explain 3D printing for so many years and not having people get it. We are the new way to make all things better. If you had to make all of your letters using a stencil and I showed you that you could also write freehand, then you wouldn’t shrug and say “we’ll wait until the costs come down.” I’m trying to lead you out of the cave, and all they want to do is sit in their allegories. No you dolt were selling ourselves for the highest amount per build for as long as we can because we know that low volume and a high margin is keeping the barbarians at the gate. The logical thing for us is to grab as much cash we can before we have to compete with Toyota. Jesus when all those OE guys pile in we’re in for a world of hurt. Best to group hug with the Business Development folks and stave them off a bit longer.
Anyway..so part count. All of the other 3D printing stuff is just hope or old hope in new jackets. Why part count works and is working as a decisive argument is because the cost savings can be easily quantified. There are real tangible benefits to part count reduction that have wide-reaching implications.
Weight reduction. Fewer parts can also mean less weight (additionally you can, of course, save weight through design as well). This adds up in transport and transport charges.
Form factor reduction also saves you transport costs and storage ones as well and may mean that you are able to radically change your product or category or have more products on a shelf.
Reducing part count means fewer parts and also fewer parts to store throughout the lifetime of the product. This is why some consumer electronics groups are excited about trying out spare parts now and then figuring out how to redesign for 3D printing later. They see that spare part storage and printing on demand can make sense especially in MRO, automotive and some high-end stuff because of the millions of parts total.
Reducing part count will make your company tie up less cash in warehousing and spare parts. How much money have automotive companies got that is tied up in spares? We’re talking about millions of parts some in transit, some waiting at a dock somewhere, some in a factory somewhere, some at further distribution waiting to go to dealers, some waiting years to be used. Reducing these counts ever so slightly will have huge impacts on the billions that automotive companies have tied up in spares in their supply chain. Wait ‘till the McExcel folks power point that out for someone.
Each spare part has tooling, molds, boxes, forms and many other components that support it. Reducing just a small number of parts can have a significant effect because of the many follow-on parts that are needed for this part.
Parts increase the upfront costs needed to get a new product, or a more original version of something started. More time and money is required to make a newer product with more parts. Reducing parts will tie up less capital and in and of itself make product development faster.
By integrating functionality radically different products can emerge to outcompete in a crowded space of products that all increasingly look the same and are made by the same people.
By integrating functionality, new patents can be explored that will perhaps carve out new monopolies on specific shapes of functionalities.
By integrating functionality companies can use engineering and design to create competitive advantage in products that are far too similar.
By reducing part count, one has less assembly risk because less assembly is required making this ideal for Six Sigma folks.
By reducing part count, there is less part risk overall because you eliminate fasteners, glues and separate steps that lead to bonding the part which could cause failures.
Instead, you are concentrating your manufacturing risk on an automated process that potentially in the future may lead to you making that part in a completely automated way which will dramatically reduce your costs.
The more you do this, the more you can scale a modular manufacturing technology that can produce variable amounts of whatever you need whenever it is required.
By reducing part count, you can radically reduce the capital tied up in your supply chain and product development process while becoming more agile in the design, development, and manufacturing of parts.
By not using the same Lego blocks as everyone else one can make more rapid and radical changes to designs and parts while also making standardized things that are highly customizable for niches.
In short, it is reducing part count that will be the holy grail of getting 3D printing adopted by many corporates.
Look at your product images: Do they reflect your 3D printing capabilities well? Are the pictures appealing to potential clients? Do they show customers an accurate representation of what they’re ordering? Stellar photography can make or break a sale. It’s simple: People love photos and Shapeways’ audience is no exception. Follow these tips to ensure your images are effectively helping you promote your designs.
Which Images Should You Use?
- Use photos of printed products. “Default renders” of unrealized products don’t give shoppers the confidence to make the purchase because they can’t visualize what the actual products will look like.
- Use images that show the material options so customers know exactly what to expect when they order the 3D model in a specific material and finish. For example, do you offer your products in both gold and bronze? Have photos that show the difference in the two options.
- Use images that are focused and can capture details on your 3D products. If you need help with this, we’ve created a simple tutorial just for you.
Photo Quality and Quantity
- In your images, show the actual size of your products. In the past, we’ve heard from confused shoppers who thought that the miniature chair they purchased is one they can actually sit on! Including dimensions in your images will help avoid similar problems.
- It’s best to show three types of images: close up, scale, and in-use (for a wearable object, show it on the body; for a toy, show it next to related items). In addition, you may also want to use photos to show how your products can be the perfect gift idea. For instance, if you’re selling jewelry for women, consider having photos of women modeling the products.
- Summer is long gone, so go ahead and update the background of your photos to fit the holiday theme. Change that photo you took in the park in the spring to one with snowflakes in the back.
- Be consistent with having great photos. If you have great photographs next to bad ones it erodes the overall integrity of the look of your shop.
In addition, adding a video alongside your images can help tremendously. Most of the top selling 3D products here at Shapeways include videos, so it’s clear that going the extra mile certainly pays off in the long run.
The post Holiday Planning Tips: #3 Attach the Best Images to Your Products appeared first on Shapeways Magazine.
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
A maker named Ali, who runs the Potent Printables YouTube channel, recently completed a neat design project – 3D printed linear actuators. Ali, who was partly inspired by a Hackaday post, said that the project has received a great response on both Twitter and Instagram. He designed the parts in SOLIDWORKS, and controls them with an Arduino Uno. The simple rack-and-pinion design, perfect for light loads, comes in two sizes for different space constraints and force outputs.
“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: