The S.T.E.M. event at North Shore Middle

The S.T.E.M. event at North Shore Middle School a few weeks ago was fantastic! We had a lot of interested participants, and some great designs that we scanned in! ADC’s very excited about the turnout.
We brought with us to North Shore one of our scanners, a bunch of lego rings that we had printed out in advance, and a LOT of play-doh! The kids (and adults!) got to use the play-doh to design their own lego ring attachment, or whatever else they wanted! After they finished sculpting, we scanned them in to show everyone how the process works, and had the file to distribute to the creator!
http://ow.ly/i/5AbYe http://ow.ly/i/5AbYV
In the photo below, you can see our employee, Jim Marschalek, showing everyone how the scanning process works. We always seemed to have an interested audience!
http://ow.ly/i/5Ac08
The kids designed attachments for the lego rings using other lego pieces ( and sometimes play-doh), as shown below.
http://ow.ly/i/5Ac1R http://ow.ly/i/5Ac1W http://ow.ly/i/5Ac1Y
We also brought in some great 3D printed pieces to show exactly how precise and complex 3D manufacturing can be. Jim Marschalek designed an incredible replica of the Golden Snitch (from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series) and printed a few out.
http://ow.ly/i/5Ac35 http://ow.ly/i/5Ac37
All in all, we had a great time, and we hope our eager audience did too! We’re so glad we got this wonderful chance to share what we do at ADC with such an interested group, and hope we can come again soon!

3D Printing for iPhone 5 Cases

Needless to say, all of us at Advanced Design Concepts love to hear about new technology. This is why we were very excited when Apple® presented the iPhone® 5 at an event in San Francisco on September 12, 2012. The newest iPhone featuring a new 4-inch Retina™ display, a thinner and lighter body, a new Apple-designed A6 chip for much faster performance, and most importantly – better battery life. However, as a engineering services firm, we’re more interested in the manufacturing technology that comes along with the new iPhone.

A model of Apple’s new iPhone 5. The phone will be released on September 21, 2012

Only a day after Apple’s iPhone 5 display – September 13, 2012 – 3D Systems Corporation announced that it has released its Freshfiber™ line of 3D printed cases for the new  iPhone 5. The cases feature  intricate designs and double-layers for cushioning for cushioning and shock absorption. As an authorized reseller for 3D Systems, ADC and its employees are amazed to see how two different types of technology can work together.

Samples of 3D Systems’ FreshFiber Line for 3D printed iPhone 5 cases.

Now despite the fact that the iPhone 5 doesn’t hit the shelves until September 21, you can find unique 3D print designs for other major smartphones at the Freshfiber website. Additionally, if you are looking for a custom design for your iPhone, Blackberry®, Samsung Galaxy®, iPad®, or other smart device – be sure to contact a representative from ADC. We would be more than happy to work with you to design a case to fit your personal needs!

3D Systems Corporation Displays Emerging Technology at IMTS 2012

In a press release on September 6, 3D Systems Corporation® announced that it will be showcasing its comprehensive 3D content-to-print portfolio at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) this week. The event will be held from September 10 – 15, and the 3D Systems display can be found in the Emerging Technology Center at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Known as the premier manufacturing technology show in the Americas, IMTS exhibits the latest advances in manufacturing, and provides opportunities to meet some of the biggest names in the industry. As a major influence in the rapid prototyping market, 3D Systems will be showing multiple products, including the ProJet 3500 printer that offers high definition precision and durability in the creation of prototypes and models. In addition to the ProJet 3500, the 3D printing corporation will be showcasing its line of ZPrinters, which are the only full color 3D printers on the market to combine a speedy process with an affordable price.

Not only will the additive manufacturing company be displaying its line of 3d printers, but 3D Systems also is hoping to spark an interest in our youth. The corporation’s CAD design and 3D printing tools to both middle and high school students from the Chicago area.

As an authorized reseller of 3D Systems, we are excited to hear this news. We hope that you will also share our excitement in new technology, and encourage those in the Greater Chicago Area to visit the 3D Systems Corp. display in the Emerging Technology Center at McCormick Place.

For more information on 3D System’s role in IMTS Chicago, be sure to read its full press release. Also, if you would like to learn more about 3D Systems products, or 3D printing in general, feel free to contact any of our employees. We always enjoy speaking with others that are interested in engineering technology!

P2P Foundation Conducts First Survey of 3D Printing Community

Peerproduction.net, a P2P Foundation website, has spiked the interest of Advanced Design Concepts by conducting the first survey of the 3D Printing community. The survey itself, which can be found here, took a sample of 358 participants in total.  They surveyors asked each of the volunteers multiple questions to find out exactly where they fit in the community, to  understand what they used 3D Printers for, and to learn what types of hardware and programs they had used.

One interesting question from the survey that spiked our interest asked participants which year they first used a 3D Printer:

Bar graph showing when participants first used a 3D Printer.
Credit: Journal of Peer Production

The data shows that the spike in 3D Printing started in 2005, and hit its peak in 2011. Using this data, we at ADC can call ourselves early adopters of rapid prototyping, as we first started 3D Printing in 2007.

Another interesting section of the study asks the volunteers which brand of printers they had used:

Pie Chart showing what brand of 3d printer each volunteer had used
Credit: Journal of Peer Production

The data shows that the top three manufacturers of 3D Printing – for this survey sample – was RapRap project, MakerBot, and Objet respectively. At ADC, we use 3D Systems, which has acquired ZCorp. If you take this into account, it can be said that 3D Systems is the third most popular maker of printers in this survey.

But enough about our take. If you’d like to get a more rounded idea of the data that doesn’t take up too much of your time, check out this video that Stephen Murphey made of the survey results:

If you’d like to learn more about the 3D Printing services that we provide, or about the 3D Systems printers that we sell, please feel free to visit the 3D Printing page of our website here. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on this post, or contact us at ADC.

3D Printed Running Shoes to Improve Olympic Athlete Performance

Olympic athletes are constantly trying to better themselves. Weightlifters want to be stronger, high jumpers want to get more elevation, and gymnasts want to improve their balance. Even Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, is constantly looking to maximize his own speed – especially after his recent loss to Yohan Blake.

Luckily for the Jamaican with two world records, 3D Printing could prove to help Bolt – among other runners – to increase his own potential. Luc Fusaro, a French engineer and designer is working to develop a 3D Printed running shoe specifically designed for elite Olympic athletes.

Luc Fusaro’s “Designed To Win” running shoe prototype

The shoes, which are called “Designed To Win” feature spikes to improve traction, a flashy gold color, and most importantly a lightweight, custom-fit design. Fusaro begins his production process with a scan of the athlete’s foot. He then uses that scan to build the shoe itself using an additive manufacturing process called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The final result is a shoe that not only gives its owner a competitive advantage on the track, but also a sprint shoe with a unique fit.

For all of us at Advanced Design Concepts, it’s exciting to see how innovative 3D Printing technologies can be. Whether its something as simple as a model of a cupcake, or as ground-breaking as Fusaro’s “Designed To Win” shoes, rapid prototyping consistently shows that it always has something new to bring to the table.

Advanced Design Concepts Expands Injection Molding Services

When our viewers look at our blog, it’s easy to pick out the service that we post the most about. Without a doubt it’s Advanced Design Concepts’ 3D Printing capabilities. However, 3D Printing isn’t our only method of producing physical prototypes. One of the other services that ADC provides is injection molding and machining. Just like rapid prototyping, injection molding can help to reduce the time spent in the product development cycle. ADC’s model makers implement this process by combining in-house scanning, Pro/ENGINEER™ and SolidWorks modeling, Raindrop Geomagic surfacing and 3 and 4-axis CNC machines. In more simple terms, through injection molding, we help our clients take their preliminary designs and produce sophisticated electronic models and physical prototypes in a shorter amount of time.

We at ADC have a number of different tools at our disposal for injection molding projects, including the Hurco VM2 High Speed Vertical Machining Center – (40 x 18 x 18), Viper High Speed 3-axis Vertical Machining Center, Tree 1060 Vertical Machining Center with full 4th axis – (40 x 24 x 25) travel, HAAS CNC Lathe, Printex Pad Printing Machine, Branson Ultrasonic Welder, and a few other tools that you can find at the injection molding page on our website. We have also served an extremely diverse customer base through developing medical devices, power tools, toys, lawn and garden equipment, and parts for INDY racers, motorcycles and automobiles.

Through both our wide array of tools and quality service to our various customers, we at ADC are continually enhancing our manufacturing capabilities. This is why we are proud to announce that we have expanded our injection molding arsenal to include a new weapon, the JSW 200 Ton Servo-Electric Injection Molding Machine.

ADC’s new JSW 200 Ton Servo-Electric Injection Molding Machine!

Another angle of the new JSW 200 Ton Servo-Electric Injection Molding Machine

With this new piece of equipment in our machine shop, ADC will have the capacity to handle a larger volume of projects. We hope that through our expansion we can better help our clients to reduce production time, and to quickly prepare products to be market ready. If you would like to know more about our engineering capabilities, feel free to visit our website. Any questions about injection molding or any of ADC’s other services can be posted in the comments section, and we will answer it as best as we can. If you would like a more specific answer, or have a project you think we can help with, feel free to contact one of us.

3D Printed Leaf

It’s been awhile since we last talked about some of the 3D Printed objects that we’ve made at ADC, but we have a great new story for you all. This story should help to shed a little more light on not only the wide variety of objects that can be produced with rapid prototyping, but also the intricate details of the printed object as well.

We started with a leaf that one of our employees took from a tree in front of their home, and took a three dimensional scan of the leaf.  The scan was then imported into a software called Geomagic Studio.  Below are some photos that illustrate the process.

The original leaf that we scanned

Point cloud of the leaf

The final STL file sent from Geomagic Studio

Next, all missing data is filled in appropriately to give the leaf one constant polygonal surface. To finish our process the leaf was then turned into an IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification) Surface to create a solid CAD model. Below are pictures of the final 3D Printed leaf.

Final 3D Printed leaf

Bottom of the printed leaf

Top side of the final printed leaf

When you look at the final 3D printed leaf, we can see the preciseness of the rapid prototyping process. The final product has a rough texture on the top side, a smooth bottom side, and a very flexible body (much like the original leaf!). Knowing this, it’s easy to see that 3D Printing is a very versatile technology. Let us show you how versatile our machines can be! Check out our website for more information, or contact us with your design ideas today.

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