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.

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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.

Top 3 Free and Fee-Based CAD Model Websites

3D Printing is a huge focus for business at Advanced Design Concepts. In order to begin the rapid prototyping process, designers must first begin with a model of the object to be replicated. Typically, these models are scanned in three dimensions in order to provide the 3D Printing software with the information needed to make an exact replica. However, when time constraints (or the lack of a good 3D model) get in the way, designers may not be able to follow the traditional method of 3D Printing.

Thankfully, there are multiple solutions to this problem. These solutions, or websites, provide three dimensional CAD models for direct download that can be used with 3D Printing technology to produce the object that you may be missing. Simply put, these websites are, in a sense, like the iTunes store. The only difference is that instead of downloading music, videos or applications, users can download digital designs. At ADC, we have taken the time to list our favorite free and fee-based sources for CAD models.


Free CAD Model Sites

  1. Thingiverse

    Thingiverse, a website hosted by MakerBot Industries, is a place where individuals can not only download, but also share digital designs without having to pay a penny out of pocket. Thingiverse is one of the largest CAD model websites with thousands of different designs, including mechanical parts, useful tools, toys, and other knick-knacks.

     

  1. GrabCAD

    GrabCAD is an independent website founded by mechanical engineers. Much like Thingiverse, designers can both download and share designs. What makes it different from Thingiverse is that GrabCAD’s designs focus specifically on mechanical parts or models.

     

  1. Google 3D Warehouse

    This website, which is a part of Google SketchUp, hosts many free 3D CAD models for share and download as well. Designs hosted in the warehouse range from models of buildings, cars, furniture, statues, and even weapons.

     

Fee-Based CAD Model Sites

  1. The 3D Studio

    This website, hosted by our friends at 3D Systems, is a place where individuals can post their design files. The difference between this website and the three mentioned previously is that these files are meant to be purchased by others. This website gives designers a great channel to provide their services to others.

     

  2. TurboSquid

    Known as the largest library of 3D products for sale in the world, TurboSquid is another outlet for 3D professionals and digital artists to make money through sharing their ideas and content. TurboSquid also offers a few free designs as well, but its main strength is its for-profit forum.

     

  3. 3D Export

    Finally, 3D Export (a very similar website to TurboSquid) is an online store to buy and sell 3D models, textures, plugins, and digital prints. It is one of the largest hosts of 3D content, including models of cars and furniture, architectural designs, and many other miscellaneous categories.

     

So, whether you are looking to get a simple 3D design for free or looking to sell your designs online, we hope that this list of websites points you in the right direction.

On the other hand, if your project calls for a more complex or original design, ADC also provides 3D scanning and designing services to fit your personal needs. For more information on our services, you can check out ADC’s website here.

Also, if you have any questions or thoughts about these websites or the services that ADC provides, please feel free to post a comment on this blog or contact any of us at ADC. We will be more than happy to help!

IKEA Uses 3D Printing

For all of us at Advanced Design Concepts, it’s very exciting to see large companies using 3D Printing to streamline the manufacturing process. Needless to say, we were thrilled to see that IKEA uses a 3D Printer to make some of its plastic eating utensils. The original video, which we found from a blog post on a website called “3D Printing is the Future”, illustrates the process of rapid prototyping very well. Taken straight from YouTube, the video that was included in the blog post is a five-part clip from a National Geographic program. The program takes you behind the scenes of IKEA factories, showing exactly how they produce their products.

The most awesome part of the YouTube clip that we found illustrates how IKEA engineers use 3D Printers to make plastic knives, forks and spoons. Unfortunately the clip is a bit long, and the portion of the video that shows the rapid prototyping process is only around a minute and thirty seconds. This is why we have taken the initiative to cut the clip from the original YouTube video and produce a video of our own. Check it out on our new Vimeo account!

Screenshot of the video on ADC's Vimeo account

3D Printed Pictures

At Advanced Design Concepts, we normally talk about how the line of 3D Printing machines that we have in our offices can help to offer a fast and efficient solution for manufacturers and industrial designers looking to reduce the amount of time it takes to develop and produce a product. However, 3D Printing technologies can be used for more than just making a prototype of an engine part. In one of our earlier blog posts, we showed how photographs (specifically our own Holiday Card) can be reproduced by 3D Printers in three-dimensional detail.

Just to give a quick refresher on how the 3D Printing process works, we took our holiday card picture outside of our offices

Original photo for ADC's Holiday Card

Next, we used Geomagic Studio Software to take a negative of the original photo, embossed it on a Polygon Surface.

Negative of original image.

After that,  we made a picture frame in Pro-Engineer and combined the two to create the final product. The final design was then taken from Geomagic Studio and loaded onto the 3D Printer.

Final Geomagic Studio file

Finally, the design was printed on our 3D Systems ProJet 3000 Printer. This is what the final product looked like. When held up to the light, you can see the picture in three dimensions!

3D Printed Holiday Card

While this story was published back in January, we have a new sample of a 3D Printed picture.

This is a picture of Elle Schaefer, the daughter of our Marketing and Communications director Debbie Schaefer. We used the same Geomagic Software to take a negative of this photo, and loaded onto the 3D Printer. The final 3D Printed product looked like this:

3D Printed picture of Elle

As you can see, this picture shows the accurate detail of the reproduction when held up to the light. It’s amazing what 3D Printers can do!