The 3D printed periscope case manufactured by the HP Multi Jet Fusion.

Additive Manufacturing Magazine recently published an article about one of RapidMade’s clients, Defox, LLC, a startup based right here in Oregon. We’ve been helping Defox develop and launch its Periscope Case, an innovative phone case which allows users to take photos and videos from the top of their phone.

True to its name, the Periscope Case uses a mirror alongside the phone’s built-in camera to operate just like a periscope on a submarine. By reflecting the image into the camera, the phone can be mounted or held flat while still being able to take photos and videos along its length.

The article explains that Defox’s founder, Trevor deVos, came up with the idea when he needed to investigate his crawl space, but understandably did not want to venture in himself because it was filled with spiders. He made the first prototype of the Periscope Case with molded clay, mounted his phone to an RC car, and streamed the video to himself on Facebook. Problem solved!

3D printing: affordable small-scale manufacturing

DeVos quickly realized that he wasn’t the only do-it-yourselfer or handyman who would be able to benefit from the ability to shoot photos and videos in tight spaces with his phone. Additionally, sports enthusiasts and parents might also be interested in what he called “a poor man’s GoPro.”

At the same time, the Periscope Case’s market did not have a guaranteed size, and deVos wanted a way to move forward with the product without risking a large investment or committing to a final design too early. 3D printing was an obvious choice, since it produces durable, high-quality plastic products but does not require the expensive tooling, molds, or setup time associated with injection molding or machining.

To that end, RapidMade worked with Defox to begin manufacturing its Periscope Cases in batches of just 10 to 25 units using the HP Multi Jet Fusion, which allowed a ramp up of initial sales while continuing to modify the design without a large initial investment. Because of this, Defox has been able to research the market and refine its product. Now, they plan to continue to expand their manufacturing operation, both with the Periscope Case and other products using the same knowledge and supply chain.

New business models for new manufacturing technologies

Products like Defox’s Periscope Case illustrate the unprecedented benefit that 3D printing can offer to small businesses or other low-volume productions with affordable, flexible manufacturing solutions. Because of their low initial investment, customizability, and high quality, 3D printed products allow businesses to offer competitive value under constraints that would make traditional manufacturing prohibitively expensive, opening up new opportunities in under-served markets. Innovators like Defox are at the forefront of exploring new business models using additive manufacturing, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!

Source: https://www.additivemanufacturing.media/ar...
Posted
AuthorMicah Chaban
Categories3D Printing

Visit Johnson Controls with WiM Oregon!

Join WiM Oregon for a plant tour and networking event at Johnson Controls on Thursday, March 21! Johnson Controls has more than 100 years of experience delivering vehicle batteries to meet customers’ evolving needs. They provide batteries to global automakers and aftermarket distributors and retailers, and their global footprint, manufacturing capabilities, and value added services to deliver high quality products to customers in support of their growth, wherever they are located.  

We'll enjoy at plant tour of the Johnson Controls Canby facility, a light lunch, and networking with the Portland Workforce Alliance organization. We hope to see you there!

Date:
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Time:
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location:
Johnson Controls 
800 NW 3rd Ave
Canby, OR 97013
United States 

Pricing:
Student: $10
Member: $15
Nonmember: $20

REGISTER HERE

When it comes to manufacturing technologies, it can be tempting to want to find one perfect solution that works for every situation. In practice, however, choosing the right technology for a given project is dependent upon the project’s particular demands.

In the cases of injection molding and 3D printing, both offer unique strengths. Rather than one being superior to the other, their differences actually compliment each other and can be used in conjunction during the development and manufacturing of the same project.

Injection molding is a cost-effective option for producing large volumes of plastic products.

Injection Molding: High-Volume Plastic Manufacturing

Injection molding is one of the oldest industrial technologies for high-volume plastic manufacturing, and there’s a reason it’s been at the top for so long. It produces high-quality parts with tight tolerances and offers excellent value for larger quantities of units.

At the same time, injection molding requires molds which can cost thousands of dollars and take weeks or even months to produce. Once the molds are produced, individual parts cost very little to manufacture. As a result, injection molding is very cost-effective above certain volumes of parts but can be prohibitively expensive for smaller runs.

3D printed nylon part manufactured with the HP Multi Jet Fusion.

3D Printing: Fast, Inexpensive and Highly Customizable

Compared to injection molding, 3D printing is a much younger technology which was initially used chiefly for prototyping and product development. With modern advances, it has become an excellent option for many full-scale manufacturing projects as well.

Unlike injection molding, 3D printing does not require any tooling or additional setup costs. Because of this, it is substantially faster and less expensive than injection molding for small to medium volumes of parts. Furthermore, 3D printing is able to produce complex geometries, internal features and organic shapes in a way that would be impossible to achieve with injection molding.

When is 3D Printing Cheaper than Injection Molding?

When it comes to assessing whether 3D printing or injection molding is a better fit for a given project, the biggest factor is often the number of units being produced. The exact tipping point for cost per unit depends on the part itself, but typically, orders of smaller than 1,000 to 2,000 units will be cheaper to 3D print, while orders larger than 2,000 units will be more well-suited to injection molding.

Although injection molding is quite time-consuming and expensive to get started, it is very cheap once it is up and running. As production quantity increases, the initial setup costs are distributed across more units, leading to an lower cost per unit. With 3D printing, on the other hand, the cost per unit is constant no matter how many units are made. As the number of units increases, the cost per unit of injection molding will eventually become lower than the cost per unit of 3D printing.

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3D Printing and Injection Molding for Product Development

Fortunately for manufacturers everywhere, we don’t have to choose sides but can take advantage of the complementary nature of the two even within a single product cycle. Since injection molding requires expensive tooling that cannot be modified after the fact, it is not well-suited to product development and iterative prototyping. Instead, 3D printing offers excellent value and unmatched speed for rapid prototyping.

Printing a new prototype is as easy as changing a digital model, and modern 3D printers like the HP Multi Jet Fusion can imitate the mechanical strength, finish quality and tight tolerances of injection molded parts. 3D printing can even be used to create patterns and tooling for urethane casting as a fast alternative to injection molding for prototyping or medium-sized production runs.

Finding the Right Manufacturing Technology for Your Needs

When it comes to evaluating whether 3D printing or injection molding is right for your project, the main consideration is the volume of parts you’re looking to produce. Simply put, 3D printing offers better value for small to medium runs, while injection molding is most cost effective for larger runs. Additional considerations like the complexity or customizability of your design can tip the balance further in favor of 3D printing.

More than anything, however, it's important to realize that there may be room for both technologies in any given supply chain. By playing into the strengths of each technology, manufacturers can get the best of both worlds and maximize their competitive advantages.

At RapidMade in Portland, OR, we work hard to find the best technologies for our clients’ unique needs for custom product development and full-scale manufacturing. Our manufacturing and engineering services include 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, vacuum thermoforming and more. Click here to learn more about our services and get started on your custom manufacturing solution today.

Posted
AuthorMicah Chaban

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that RapidMade’s website has many informative resources on our custom manufacturing, engineering, and interactive marketing services. But did you also know that RapidMade has local sales representatives who assist our customers across the country? Our sales reps are ready to help your business start taking advantage of our rapid manufacturing solutions with dedicated local relationships.

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Now, we’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding our local services to the Midwest with the addition of our newest sales representative, Daniel Diekmann. Daniel will be available for customers in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee and Kentucky. If you live in the Midwest and would like to talk to Daniel about working with RapidMade, give him a call at 503-751-2131 or email him at daniel@matterformgroup.com. You can see information for all of our sales representatives by clicking here.

Whether you are looking for 3D printing, thermoforming, machining or other services, RapidMade can help your business get the most from its products by providing faster manufacturing solutions at less cost. To get started with your project, get a custom quote in 24 hours or less with our easy-to-use quote tool.

Posted
AuthorMicah Chaban

Starting a new business presents many unique challenges. When it comes to product development and manufacturing, small businesses especially can face difficult restraints in time, budget, and scale. In these situations, 3D printing can offer an excellent opportunity to save time and expense over traditional technologies.

We recently published a case study about our work with Hoyt St Electric Skateboards, a Portland-based company that produces high-quality electric skateboards. As the Hoyt St team was developing their product, they initially sought to produce certain parts for their skateboards using metal stamping. However, they found the process to be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, in part because of the tooling requirements for metal stamping. Additionally, they likely would have needed to produce these parts offshore, adding additional time to their development process.

With RapidMade, Hoyt St Electric Skateboards was able to save tens of thousands of dollars and months of development time by using 3D printed plastic parts manufactured with the HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer to produce their parts right here in Portland. 3D printed parts require no setup time or tooling and are ideal for quickly and inexpensively iterating designs. We were even able to help them produce designs that would have been impossible with traditional technologies like metal stamping or injection molding.

Once the Hoyt St team was ready to start manufacturing, we were able to help them seamlessly transition into full production runs at a scale that made sense for their business. The 3D printed nylon parts produced by the Multi Jet Fusion are durable enough to hold up to the performance demands of Hoyt St’s excellent products. To read more about our work with Hoyt St Electric Skateboards, check out the full case study here.

If you’d like to learn about how 3D printing could help your business, send us an email at info@rapidmade.com or give us a call at 503-943-2781. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted
AuthorMicah Chaban

At RapidMade, we love challenging ourselves to make cool stuff. Which is why we were blown away when we recently came across a truly inspiring series of videos from YouTuber Estefannie Explains It All about making her own 3D printed and vacuum thermoformed Daft Punk helmet, complete with programmable LED displays.

Not only did Estefannie have just 30 days to complete the project, she also had to teach herself how to 3D print and vacuum thermoform in that time. To make things even more challenging, she did it all in a home workshop she set up in her apartment. She even made her own thermoforming rig, for which she heated up the thermoplastic sheets in her oven!

Thermoforming gave Estefannie quite a bit of difficulty, at one point leading to melted plastic getting stuck to her oven rack. As an aside, it is important to note that many thermoplastics give off toxic fumes when heated and should not be thermoformed without proper ventilation.

We posted the thermoforming section below, but be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 3 to see the whole thing!

Estefannie does a great job leaning into the unique strengths of both technologies, even as she compensates for limitations of her DIY setup. Notably, she uses her 3D printer to create a thermoforming mold. As we’ve mentioned before, 3D printed rapid tooling is a great way to quickly create vacuum thermoformed or urethane cast parts at less cost.

The end result is simply awesome: all of Estefannie’s hard work and skilled finishing pays off with an extremely polished looking replica of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s iconic Daft Punk helmet. The custom LED sequences are particularly cool. Congratulations to Estefannie Explains It All for tackling such an impressive challenge and making something great!

If you’d like to have your own custom thermoformed and 3D printed products but don’t want to accidentally melt thermoplastic all over your oven, we can help! Check out our engineering and manufacturing services to learn more.

Posted
AuthorMicah Chaban

Last week, TheFabricator.com reported a 3D printing success story about VIBA, a French motorcycle manufacturer. VIBA wanted to make a limited-edition mini bike in homage to the iconic Honda Monkey, which they decided to call “Jane.”

The team faced one problem, however; they wanted to make the Jane in a run of just 23 bikes. Such a small manufacturing volume meant that the machined metal parts typically used in motorcycle manufacturing would be prohibitively expensive.

The solution to their problem came in the form of 3D printed metal. Not only did the 3D printed metal parts cost substantially less per unit than their traditionally manufactured alternatives, but they also did not require any tooling, molds or lead times. The combined cost and time benefits of 3D metal printing allowed VIBA to produce a fun and innovative homage to a cult favorite that would otherwise have been impossible to manufacture.

In addition, the versatility offered by 3D printing allowed the VIBA team to take a novel approach to designing the Jane. Because 3D printers can create complex geometries that would not be possible to machine, designers were able to combine multi-piece assemblies into single parts, like the Jane’s combination mudguard/headlight support. They were also able to create hollow levers which allow wiring for signal lights to pass through.

Perhaps the most exciting part of VIBA’s Jane is the 3D printed aluminum gas tank, which has a unique internal honeycomb design  To begin with, this lightweight design is printed in a single piece and eliminates the welding required by traditional gas tanks.

But it’s the functional benefits to riders that really set this gas tank apart. By breaking up the interior space of the gas tank, the honeycomb structure prevents gas from sloshing back and forth as the bike jostles around, keeping the bike more balanced and creating a smoother ride.

VIBA’s story is a great example of how 3D printing can provide businesses with cost-effective and innovative design solutions. At RapidMade, we are dedicated to helping our customers achieve their manufacturing goals using the most advanced technologies on the market. Click here to learn more about our 3D printing services.

Congratulations to VIBA on making such an exciting product!

The folks at 3DPrint.com recently reported that BMW Group used the HP Multi Jet Fusion to print their millionth 3D printed car part. According to the article, BMW Group has been using additive manufacturing technologies for the last 25 years. The number of 3D printed parts in their manufacturing operations has risen sharply, with an estimated 200,000 parts to be printed in 2018—a 42% increase since last year.

So what was the millionth part? A 3D printed window guide rail for the BMW i8 roadster. According to 3DPrint.com, the guide rail was developed in just five days and is part of the first wave of parts being printed by the Multi Jet Fusion for BMW. It’s far from the only part BMW produces using additive manufacturing, however. They also use SLS and other technologies to produce plastic and metal parts for many of their vehicles, including made-to-order custom parts for their customers. Per the article, Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW Group, currently uses 10 different 3D printed parts for their cars.

While many car manufacturers use additive manufacturing to produce tooling, BMW Group has been a pioneer in using 3D print technologies to create the parts themselves. They first started using 3D printers to make parts in 2010. In 2012, they began using SLS to manufacture parts for the Rolls-Royce Phantom. And it doesn’t look like they have any plans to slow down. This year, they built an entire Additive Manufacturing Campus, so keep an eye on more 3D printing innovations to come.

Here at RapidMade, we know firsthand how effective the HP Multi Jet Fusion is at manufacturing high-performance 3D printed parts faster and at less cost than any other 3D printer on the market. Still, it’s exciting to see world-class engineers like those at BMW Group taking advantage of such a promising technology.

If you’d like to see how Multi Jet Fusion printing or any of our manufacturing services could help your business, get started today by filling out our quote form. We’ll get back to you with a quote in 24 hours or less!

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton

Kudos to Oregon Business Magazine for its feature, Women’s Work, which details the chronic gender gap that continues in manufacturing. The article is based on interviews with female professionals in trade organizations, manufacturing firms, and higher education.

Together they show how improving gender representation requires a concerted approach from across the industry to reshape an institutionalized culture of gender-based segregation and redefine archaic norms of what work women can and cannot do.

Strategies proposed include:

  • Advising businesses that diversity will ease the labor shortage and improve the bottom line.

  • Promoting manufacturing careers to female students and professionals.

  • Providing supportive networks, like Women in Manufacturing and Oregon Tradeswomen, to help women secure employment and businesses find and retain female employees.

  • Breaking down the “bro culture” prevalent in manufacturing.

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton, a Women in Manufacturing chair of its Oregon chapter was among the women featured in the article. RapidMade is a Portland-based additive manufacturing (3D printing) and engineering services firm.

Capture your customers' imagination with creative, one-of-a-kind displays and models.

Pump cutaway model shows off internal components of Cornell Pumps

Pump cutaway model shows off internal components of Cornell Pumps

Marketing

  • Get your products in front of customers where it would otherwise be difficult or impossible.
  • Customize marketing materials with logos and designs.
  • Infinite customization to achieve the exact effects you desire.
  • Get concept models in front of customers early in the product development cycle to get feedback before spending too much money on the wrong track.
  • Get tangible products in your customers hands instead of a 2D computer image.
Custom promotional giveaway for "Red Bull Guest House" party in Florida

Custom promotional giveaway for "Red Bull Guest House" party in Florida

Promotions

  • Pens and magnets are boring and forgettable. Make a promotional giveaway your customer has never before seen.
  • Come to us with nothing but an idea for a promotional product and we can take care of the rest.
  • Personalize your giveaways to the exact customer you are handing it to with custom messaging.
  • Many promotional products require expensive tooling and long lead times to accomplish - RapidMade can make your promotional products in a week or less.
Colored graphic blocks used by Amazon Web Services to explain its cloud services to prospective customers

Colored graphic blocks used by Amazon Web Services to explain its cloud services to prospective customers

Displays

  • Drive traffic to your stores at the window and sales with custom retail displays.
  • Stand out and get attention at your next trade show with eye catching models.
  • Capture your customers' attention and make them remember your brand
  • Lean on our design team to come up with a creative solution that will satisfy your customers and be flexible for your budget.
Reproduction of 3D scanned priceless Native American mask printed for Seattle Art Museum

Reproduction of 3D scanned priceless Native American mask printed for Seattle Art Museum

Exhibits

  • Store geometric and color data for priceless artifacts and works of art permanently with 3D scanning technology.
  • Use digital object data to engage visitors online with interactive web exhibits.
  • Create to-scale or re-scale replicas that let your visitors safely interact with models of priceless artifacts without endangering the original piece.
  • Create complimentary pieces for your exhibit from object data scanned by other museums around the world.
Development model shown to Portland City Council for project approval

Development model shown to Portland City Council for project approval

Architecture

  • Turn around in as little as 24 hours means more time to perfect your designs.
  • Embedded textures lets you simulate the colors of building materials like brick, stone and wood.
  • Small features lets you design realistic windows, doors, beams, facades and other important visual design elements.
  • Prints come directly from your BIM models.

How can we help you?

RapidMade has expanded its manufacturing staff this summer.  Please join us in welcoming:

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Drew Christensen

All the way from the distant land of Wisconsin is our new Shop Technician, Drew Christensen. He's been a mold maker, fab tech, model maker, and everything in between. You can find Drew kayaking, fishing, or camping when he's not doing side woodworking projects. His ideal job would be what he's doing now, working with his hands. We're happy to have  Drew join the team.

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Max Poroj

Max Poroj, a specialist in CNC programming, machining, and manual programming, is our new Mill & Machining Operator. When he's not taking wrestling with his 5 kids, he loves to go camping with them to enjoy the outdoors. He's a big fan of dark science fiction, 3D modeling, and listening to audio books and podcasts in his free time. Welcome to RapidMade, Max!

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Cameron York 

Our newest 3D Print Tech, Cameron York, is an Oregon-native packaging manager and 3D modeler. He spends his off hours playing Frisbee golf, camping, and skateboarding. His dream job would be to own a 3D modeling studio. We're excited to see what you can create, Cameron!

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Ryan Colindres

Ryan was recently promoted to the position of Shop Supervisor. He grew up cage-free, Oregon-raised in Eugene and is an Industrial Designer. When he's not running the shop, he's creating, modeling, and designing; he craves adventures. You can find Ryan biking, swimming, hiking, and "camping, baby". Ryan hopes some day to be a serial entrepreneur. Congratulions, Ryan!