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Have you ever wondered how wind turbine blades are made? I have. Luckily, I was a part of a special tour initiated by SME Chapter 354 that gave a good view into the manufacturing process. I was one of 27 that toured the Vestas blade factory in Windsor, Colorado earlier this week. The blades produced at the impressive facility are 54 meters (178 feet) in length, weigh seven tons, and amazingly complex. When a blade is at work, the speed at its tip is an astounding 251 kph (156 mph).
Denmark-based Vestas began to make wind turbines in 1979 and leads in the production and worldwide sales, with more than 16% of the market. GE, Siemens, and many relatively small companies are also in the business. Vestas has factories in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, India, and Colorado. The Windsor and Brighton, Colorado factories produce a significant number of all blades from the company. Windsor, alone, produces about 2,000 annually.
The visit began with an excellent presentation by Hans Jespersen, vice president and general manager of the Vestas blade factory in Windsor. Six other employees were on hand to answer questions and serve as our tour guides. Molds used to produce the blades are the largest—and definitely the longest—I have seen in 30+ years of visiting manufacturing facilities worldwide. The molds are made of a composite material, and the blades, themselves, are made predominantly of fiberglass and epoxy. On the surface, it may sound relatively straightforward, but sophisticated methods, intellectual property, and decades of experience go into the production of the blades.
Thanks to SME Chapter 354 for setting up the tour, and special thanks to the people at Vestas for sharing their time and expertise. Our tour guide, Phil McCarthy, senior production manager at the company, did an outstanding job in showing and explaining the many manufacturing steps and processes at the company. The tour was among the best I have taken in recent years. Vestas rolled out the “red carpet,” spent a lot of time with us, and answered many questions. I now have an even greater appreciation for wind turbines and their contribution to clean energy.
All that glitters is not gold…because today we’re focusing on silver! This is one of the materials you can use to 3D print your ideas, and is one of the most beloved metals for jewelry designs. And from now on, you can bring your design to life in silver at an even better price, especially on high-volume orders for 3D printing in silver.
With this better reduction, the more copies you order of the same model, the lower the price per unit will be. This is not a temporary discount, but a permanent price drop that’s even more remarkable for orders of 10 prints or more of the same model.
Ideal for jewelry designers
The exact reduction will vary for each model, according to its finish, size and weight. While all orders might receive a discount, bigger orders of the same model, especially small pieces, might benefit more. That’s why this new price is a great opportunity for jewelry designers and business owners who want to 3D print their creations.
To know exactly how much your order will cost, upload your model to our platform and choose how many you want to print. It’s that easy!
Let’s test this out with a ring that we would like to print with a high-gloss finish.
The price for one ring is €45.90, but the price per ring drops to €41.80when we print 10.
Let’s see what happens if we want to print even more rings.
The unit price decreases even more if we print 100 pieces. So, the more pieces you order, the higher will be the discount.
As you can see on the next screenshot, ordering more than 100 pieces is where the discount really kicks in, with a 16% reduction from the original price per unit.
One metal, five finishes
In case you need even more reasons to love silver, we can tell you that it is the perfect metal to get creative. We have five different finishes available for silver, which means you have lots of options to get the look you want for your 3D designs.
This price reduction is a good reason to start using 3D printing for your jewelry business, a smart option for jewelry artists and designers. Check out these outstanding silver 3D prints to get inspiration for your designs.
If you’re new to 3D printing jewelry, carefully read our Design Guides to get the best print possible.
We also shared some ideas about the best software for 3D modeling jewelry designs for those looking for the perfect match for their creative process.
When your designs are ready, all you need to do is upload your models to get an excellent price for 3D-printed jewelry.
Featured image: Running Rabbit Ring by Vulcan Jewelry. High gloss finish. © Agnes Fong
You can buy 3D models on many marketplaces. Those marke […]
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In the September 7, 2017 issue of Medtech Insight, Scott Rader, founder and leader of the Healthcare Solutions team at Stratasys, along with Clemens Moeller and Christophe Durand of the Boston Consulting Group, explores the benefits of 3D-printed devices and how they are driving the adoption of the technology. They also assess how fast this evolution is happening and evaluate how – and in which biomedical applications and device markets – 3D printing could best enhance products and allow medtech manufacturers to grow their businesses.
Medical applications for 3D printing are expanding rapidly and are gradually revolutionizing the delivery of health care. 3D printing is emerging as an efficient and cost effective manufacturing option for customized medical devices such as dental implants, hearing aids, knee implants, surgical instruments, prosthesis and many more. It is poised to disrupt the medical device market by encouraging new entrants, enabling precision planning for surgeries, optimizing device design and development, increasing productivity, reducing cost, and ultimately revolutionizing the standard of care.
By making products that cannot be manufactured in any other way, 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the standard of care by addressing previously unmet needs. 3D printing has already had a transformative effect on hearing aid manufacturing. Today, 99% of hearing aids that fit into the ear are custom-made using 3D printing. Everyone’s ear canal is shaped differently, and the use of 3D printing allows custom-shaped devices to be produced efficiently and cost-effectively.
With 3D printing we will see more products being made directly at the point-of-care, possibly accelerating treatment and reducing the number of visits for patients. 3D printing can also offer less costly alternatives to standard treatments, making advanced medical treatment more widely accessible. For example, patients who have multiple chronic diseases could have their medications printed in one multi–dose form that is fabricated at the point of care. Providing patients with an accurate, personalized dose of multiple medications in a single tablet could potentially improve patient compliance.
As a patient-customized, on-demand solution, 3D-printed medical models can lead to mutual benefits for patients, providers and payers. Patient-specific models created through 3D printing have enormous potential to assist clinicians in planning successful surgeries. They can help surgeons make the right decisions up front by determining the feasibility of a procedure, selecting the appropriate surgical approach, and practicing the procedure in a risk-free environment. From a patient perspective, this can translate into a faster recovery and better outcome. Providers benefit from cost savings through reduced operating room time and hospital bed utilization, directly impacting profit margins where reimbursement rates are fixed for a given procedure. A recent study shows that patients who experience surgical complications have 119% higher hospital costs than patients without complications, and payers’ reimbursement costs are 106% higher. The benefits of improved surgical planning are clear.
The medical advances that have been made using 3D printing are already significant and exciting. As 3D-printing technologies become more sophisticated and new materials become available, the authors project that we will see even more novel applications emerge such as bio-printed assays for research and drug testing, complex implantable organs, and 3D-printed drugs and drug delivery devices. The authors conclude, “3D printing has the potential to dramatically change the future of medicine in the long term.” To read more, click here.
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For entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to predict if a good idea for a product will be accepted in the market, but a good design is often the key to success. The story behind Fellow is a good example of that. This start-up based in San Francisco has created some exceptionally beautiful and functional coffee brewers, and they use 3D technologies to bring their ideas to life.
What started as a class project has grown into a small company devoted to good coffee and product design. In 2013, Fellow founder Jake Miller launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for the first company’s product: the Duo Coffee Steeper. Eight months and countless prototypes were needed to create this product.
Since then, this “handful of nerds in love with coffee”, as they call themselves, haven’t stopped creating functional objects that allow them to achieve a clear goal: a ridiculously good cup of coffee.
Fellow is inspired by their customers and what they can do to make the user experience easier and more approachable. On the aesthetically, they draw a lot of inspiration from Scandinavian and Mid-Century Modern industrial design.
Every member of this small start-up, from sales to marketing to engineering, is a maker in some way or has a creative mind. All of them are involved in the creative process in Fellow.
“This aspect of our company helps us gain a unique perspective on special features and helps us understand the user experience better because we have more heads combining to tackle a problem or product”, explains Hannah McPhee, brand manager for Fellow.
The ideation sessions they hold every Friday are open for anyone to attend in the company. This is where they can present a new product idea they have floating around in their brain or present input on how one of the current products can be improved.
3D printing coffee dreams
3D printing is used in multiple points of the design process in Fellow, where they are constantly making new prototypes. According to the start-up, they never follow the same prototyping process with each new product they make. They use different 3D design tools when they are working back and forth between industrial designers and engineers.
Hannah sees it as a learning process: “We learn something new in the design process of every product, so no two 3D printing and modeling program recipes have ever stayed the same product to product.”
Fellow doesn’t hesitate in stating that 3D printing is vital to the company because it makes it possible to see products to scale, hold them and feel their diameter and height. “To see how our product takes up space in kitchens is incredibly helpful to figure out if we are on the right track for form and function.”
3D printing will definitely be part of future products designed by Fellow as they create iterations of the same product with 3D printing during the design and engineering process. “We’d be shocked if we created a product without the use of 3D printing in the future.”
“We’d be shocked if we created a product without the use of 3D printing in the future.”
Encouraging new business ideas
Fellow gives a crucial piece of advice to start-ups and creatives with business ideas: prototype as much as possible with customers and users using 3D printing or other high-end prototyping.
This will help the business understand as closely as possible how customers will interact with their products. Hannah adds some more tips: “Observational research is key. Hold user testing focus groups with surveys. Try to get as close as possible to that natural interaction between the final product and the user’s home for the product.”
Their new product, the Stagg EKG electric pour-over kettle, is a good example of this design process. “We 3D printed a ton of different bases for this kettle to help us understand our users’ needs better,” explains McPhee. Faithful to their origins, the launch of this kettle started as a successful Kickstarter campaign. “We are shipping our first Kickstarter batch this month, and we’re incredibly excited to share our creation with our backers.”
We hope Fellow’s story was inspiring and useful for all the companies who want to start using 3D printing in their business and projects.
What is your creative business project?
Like Fellow, it is good to know all 3D printing software options available before choosing the right one for your needs.
Once you’ve chosen your software, upload your model to i.materialise to get an instant quote on prototypes or parts for your product.
Creating a 3D modeling software that is easy to use is […]
Stratasys has just released 3 ground-breaking material enhancements to its flagship J750 full-color, multi-material rapid prototyping solution.
In this short hands-on video below, we take a dive into the incredible prototyping versatility that these materials now open up to professional designers and engineers.
First up is an example of tough engineering parts in the new Digital ABS Plus material. The ball valve design in the film is a rework of the traditional 3 piece ball valve that can be disassembled for easy cleaning and maintenance. Traditionally this type of valve would have been secured with 4 nuts and bolts. This design, created by our very own Stratasys Application Engineer, Naftali Eder, utilizes a quick release, tool-free mechanism, which is secure yet easy to operate.
Next up are some consumer goods/electronics packaging prototypes featuring Agilus30 rubber-like material for enhanced tear resistance and rubber-like texture. And then some amazing earphone case covers in smooth, glossy color textures including marble, wood-grain, carbon-fiber and more.
Also a first, Stratasys takes the J750 into the world of eyewear, with the new dedicated VeroFlex solution, offering advanced design verification and functional performance capabilities tuned to the needs of eyewear design and manufacturing companies. We delved into detail on this in a previous post, here.
The post Striking the Balance between Prototype Realism & Functional Performance appeared first on Stratasys Blog.
The Makerhood showcase at Diverse, the independent gift shop in Brixton, will run again this Christmas, from 2 December to 6 January.
Anita Thorpe, who owns Diverse, has always been a great supporter of local makers, giving many of them their first experience of selling through a retailer. So if you have never sold through a retailer, this is a great opportunity to dip your toe in the water. (Previous sellers are welcome back too!) Anita is very patient and gives useful feedback about your work and how the process works.
Items are taken on a sale or return basis, with 35% commission. If you are selected to take part you will also need to pay £10 donation towards the cost of marketing and drinks for the preview event.
To apply, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with sample images or a link to your website/social media. Include retail price details. State MAKERHOOD FESTIVE SHOWCASE in subject box.
Closing date for applications: midnight on Tuesday 31 October.
Invention, innovation and adaptation are said to all be creative processes that that apply exiting solutions, techniques or products to new scenarios or changed conditions. Innovative creativity however, refers to thinking that results in new solutions and the ability to do things differently than they’ve ever been done before. These thinkers and artists often challenge our existing paradigms to uncover and question the status quo. This might be the category of creativity that drives Brian McLean, Head of Rapid Prototyping at LAIKA to think differently about the ways to make an animated film, incorporating 3D printing technologies to bring their ideas to life.A scene from Kubo and the Two Strings, and a 3D printed Giant Undersea Eyeball character on display at the Portland Art Museum.
The team at LAIKA offers visionary thinking and innovative creativity in the art of animation, and will be displaying a look inside their unique and wonderfully crafted world at the Portland Art Museum with “Animating Life: The Art, Science and Magic of LAIKA”. Some of LAIKA’s award winning films include Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings. The films use characters crafted using the polyjet-based technologies of the J750 and Connex3, which offer life-like qualities enhancing the ability to grab and hold the viewers’ attention, helping to tell stories that will endear for generations to come. “Bringing inanimate objects to life is one of the oldest forms of movie magic.” said Brian – who won a Scientific and Engineering Oscar in 2016 for pioneering Rapid Prototyping in character animation. “By harnessing the power of 3D printers, we are able to create emotions and subtle facial performances never before seen in stop-motion animation. It is this technology – combined with the amazing talents of so many different creative disciplines within LAIKA – that allow us to tell really complex and enduring stories.”
As a proud sponsor of the retrospective at the Portland Art Museum, we were on hand yesterday for a behind the scenes look at what visitors can expect as the show opens October 14, 2017 and runs through May 20, 2018. Rich Garrity, President of Americas, at Stratasys shared some of his thoughts on the ways in which LAIKA Studios uses 3D printing to bring form and life to their animated characters. “LAIKA’s advanced use of our 3D printing technology is not only breaking new barriers in film-making, but expanding what’s now possible across 3D printing in general to encourage use across a diverse range of businesses. We consider LAIKA a valued and collaborative partner, opening new doors for what our customers can achieve.”
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Modo is a 3D modeling, animation and rendering program which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux computer systems. This software by Foundry is a 3D printing design tool suitable for every field: games design, arts or science, but it is designed for 3D artists in particular.
Modo stands out for its interface and tool set, which provide a very intuitive workflow. It can work with existing pipelines and it supports a wide variety of industry-standard files and image formats, allowing a bi-directional exchange of data.
Modo is a great tool for 3D professionals and advanced users thanks to its integration functions. It is considered one of the most popular design software programs for 3D printing.
Modo offers many advantages for 3D designers and we want to highlight some of its main features.
This the most remarkable feature of this 3D design software. The big amount of modeling tools and options available on Modo can be overwhelming at first but they are grouped by function. Understanding the use of every group will help you when working with each individual tool. This software features MeshFusion Boolean tools for a smoother experience.
Modo is a polygon modeling software and most of its tools are a combination of building blocks, transforms, action centers and fall offs. These can be combined to get more powerful tools: a default toolset with a potential for limitless numbers of variations. If you find a variation that you like, you can save it as a tool preset and use it again whenever you want.
The work plane is a 2D plane upon which all tools operate and it’s adaptive: it will predict which plane you want to work on depending on how you are looking at your model. Tools will always work across this active plane. You can align the work plane to any part of your model and the whole tool system will adapt that change, allowing you to work locally in any part of your scene. These costume planes can also be saved to be used later on.
Models here can exist in any combination of 3D polygon types which you can choose depending on what you are making, so you can use it for a wide variety of tasks.
Selection in Modo is very easy as components can be paint selected, loop selected, pattern selected, moved, expanded, contracted or inverted. You can even select components based on their geometric properties and the intuitive polygon tools allow you to slice, slide, bridge, extend and extrude geometry with them.
Modo has many different modeling approaches, so you can decide which one is better for you at any time.
If you need to work on repetitive tasks while modeling, it can be useful because you can use a macro to record your actions, save them to your configuration and rerun them when needed, speeding your workflow considerably.
Another important feature with Modo is that it offers the possibility to model and sculpt a basic texture and then go back to model again, making the workflow very pleasant. Modo also integrates 2D and 3D painting techniques.
It is advisable to use a pressure-sensitive tablet for greater precision when modeling and texturing with Modo.
The software has three types of sculpting and each one has its own requirements.
– Mesh: Great for building rough forms. It uses raw geometry and is not recommended for fine details
– Image-Based: Uses image maps for accurate details
– Multi-Res: A mix of the other two types. It offers the flexibility of mesh sculpting with the fine detailing of image-based sculpting. The drawback of this kind of sculpting is the big amount of resources needed to calculate multi-resolution meshes
By combining a basic tool with different brushes and inks you will be able to generate a great number of costumed tools and save those as presets. You can even control and preview the shape of a brush and apply it with a variety of tools, as well as creating masks to control the surface of the models. There are many different solutions depending on your approach to sculpting.
Modo is a great tool for visualizing 3D design projects at any point during the creative process. You can import many formats to program and, once on the software, you will have access to all the texturing and rendering tools. The UV tools will help you reach every part of your object to work on it.
With the drag and drop workflow you can manipulate images and place them in context, and the renders preview allows you to see your changes in real life.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless and the great thing about it is that you can personalize your workflow and adapt it to every design and project. It might not be the best option for beginners in 3D design but its versatility turns it into a very good solution for experienced 3D artists.
You can get started on Modo with a 30-day free trial and become an expert with their learning packages and tutorials.
To print your 3D design created on Modo, you can export your files to STL format and the export will triangulate or freeze the mesh for you. Before that, you should make sure that all units are in millimeters, to avoid incompatibilities.
Is your Modo design ready for 3D printing? You can upload your model to our website and we will print it in high quality with the material of your choice.
If you are interested in 3D sculpting, you should also check out these other 3D sculpting programs: you’ll be sure to find the program you need.
Featured image © Foundry
Introduction Twist Drills are the most common cutter type in the CNC arsenal, and they’re most commonly held in the machine tool via a drill chuck. They can also be held in an ER collet chuck and by various other methods. In this article, we’ll go through all this and show you how to get […]
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One of the great advantages of CNC over manual machining is the ability to create holes of almost arbitrary size using an end mill that follows a helical path: Why don’t we make all holes via helical interpolation? Typically, twist drills are faster, and unless care is exercised they can also be more accurate. Interpolated […]