Today we bring you a great infographic and video about 3D Printing. View both the video and inforgraphic below. from our friends over at Shapeways. Founded in 2007, Shapeways is led by folks who’ve spent most of their careers in startups, and combine serious technical chops with an inspiring vision of what the world could be. We’re bringing together a passionate, dynamic team of game changers. We’re having a great time working and playing harder than we ever have in our lives. It doesn’t hurt to know that what we do is changing the future as we know it.
Headquartered in New York, Shapeways has factories and offices in Eindhoven, Queens, and Seattle. Shapeways is a spin-out of the lifestyle incubator of Royal Philips Electronics.
If you have followed our blog previously, you have seen us blog about 3D Printing. You can view all the 3D Printing blog posts in the category here. Our goal is to stay abreast and keep readers abreast of all the latest trends which affect the manufacturing industry.
What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data. Construction of the part or assembly is usually done using 3D printing or “additive layer manufacturing” technology. Rapid prototyping is the speedy creation of a full-scale model. The word prototype comes from the Latin words proto (original) and typus (model).
In manufacturing, rapid prototyping is used to create a three-dimensional model of a part or product. In addition to providing 3-D visualization for digitally rendered items, rapid prototyping can be used to test the efficiency of a part or product design before it is manufactured in larger quantities. Testing may have more to do with the shape or size of a design, rather than its strength or durability, because the prototype may not be made of the same material as the final product. Today, prototypes are often created with additive layer manufacturing technology, also known as 3-D printing. Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) may also be used to create aluminum, stainless steel or titanium prototypes. This process uses laser beams to melt and fuse metal powders into solid parts.
In network design, rapid prototyping can be used to map the architecture for a new network. A rapid prototype tool called Mininet, for example, allows the user to quickly create, interact with, customize and share a software-defined network (SDN) prototype on a single computer which simulates a network topology that uses Openﬂow switches.
What is Additive Manufacturing?
Additive Manufacturing refers to a process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material. The term “3D printing” is increasingly used as a synonym for Additive Manufacturing.
Additive Manufacturing refers to a process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material. The term “3D printing” is increasingly used as a synonym for Additive Manufacturing. However, the latter is more accurate in that it describes a professional production technique which is clearly distinguished from conventional methods of material removal. Instead of milling a work piece from solid block, for example, Additive Manufacturing builds up components layer by layer using materials which are available in fine powder form. A range of different metals, plastics and composite materials may be used.
The technology has especially been applied in conjunction with Rapid Prototyping – the construction of illustrative and functional prototypes. Additive Manufacturing is now being used increasingly in Series Production. It gives Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the most varied sectors of industry the opportunity to create a distinctive profile for themselves based on new customer benefits, cost-saving potential and the ability to meet sustainability goals.
The strengths of Additive Manufacturing lie in those areas where conventional manufacturing reaches its limitations. The technology is of interest where a new approach to design and manufacturing is required so as to come up with solutions. It enables a design-driven manufacturing process – where design determines production and not the other way around. What is more, Additive Manufacturing allows for highly complex structures which can still be extremely light and stable. It provides a high degree of design freedom, the optimization and integration of functional features, the manufacture of small batch sizes at reasonable unit costs and a high degree of product customization even in serial production.
The system starts by applying a thin layer of the powder material to the building platform. A powerful laser beam then fuses the powder at exactly the points defined by the computer-generated component design data. The platform is then lowered and another layer of powder is applied. Once again the material is fused so as to bond with the layer below at the predefined points. Depending on the material used, components can be manufactured using stereolithography, laser sintering or 3D printing.
Our Favorite Shapeways Product
Because this Marketing Manager is an avid FitBitter, my favorite item from the Shapeways market is the Watchband Holder for Fitbit Flex – Pebble Version. It’s a pretty cool alternative to the Flex wristband that comes from the original purchase.