Exhibiting at tradeshows, while rewarding, can be very expensive and stressful: transporting and staging large equipment can consume a large portion of a company’s marketing budget. But it doesn’t have to. Using 3D printing techniques, firms can get to-scale, full-color prototypes and models of their equipment that can easily be carried and displayed on site.
FlatHED, Inc. is an industrial design company which specializes in designing appealing and sleek consumer goods that are also cost effective to manufacture.
Not all cost-effective designs for manufacture are cost-effective in small quantities for tests and tradeshows. FlatHED designed an all-in-one computer that would house electronics that their customer wanted to show off at a trade show. To CNC machine the design out of aluminum would have cost over $10,000 for just one unit and then they would have been left with an unfinished, heavy part covered in tool marks. They needed two working devices and had only $8,000 to budget for both, so they turned to RapidMade™.
Working with FlatHED to modify the design for a special mix of manufacturing methods, RapidMade™ was able to create a finished product out of ABS plastic, ceramic, and sheet metal. The final part was indistinguishable from the metal design and finished with high quality automotive gloss and matte finish paint, contained all the electronic components, held the weight of a heavy computer monitor, and (most importantly) cost slightly over half the original $8,000 budget.
Cornell Pump Company produces some of the best pumps in the business and attends over a dozen trade shows every year for food processing, mining, agriculture, and other industries that require pumping.
Cornell has had great success shipping and displaying their actual pumps for view at these shows, but they wanted a way to show potential customers the inner mechanics of the pumps in an attention-getting way.
Cornell asked RapidMade™ to produce tabletop models of their large pumps with color coding and cutaways. Customers can see the inner components and compare the colors with a labeled legend near the pump. Having a tool that helps to explain the mechanics of the pumps is a valuable sales tool; it helps customers connect the dots for application. Seeing the 3D printed colored replica also draws the attention of browsing show attendees. On top of all of that, the ceramic model can be easily carried under the arm of a tradeshow representative, eliminating the need for expensive shipping.