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!

Before starting RapidMade, Renee Eaton worked in higher education teaching management classes and career counseling at Oregon universities for almost a decade.  While she loves the world of 3D printing, engineering, product design and additive manufacturing, she sometimes misses working with college students.

Last week, she had an opportunity to return to the classroom.  Each year, at her youngest daughter's school, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Renee presents an Interviewing Skills Workshop to its Senior class.  In addition to giving back to the community, Renee gets  to practice her own interviewing skills - which she put to good use this past year.  An added bonus was the event's timing which coincided with the horrendous Portland snow and ice storms.  She's calling it Karma.

 

 

Braving the ice and rain, RapidMade joined other manufacturers and suppliers at this week's Northwest Food and Beverage Manufacturers Expo and Conference.  The Expo is a familiar event for RapidMade's management team which has more than 40 years of experience in food processing and material handling as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), engineer, manufacturer and 3D printer.

OEMs turn to RapidMade for our engineering design services.  Once equipment is operational, using our engineering staff and additive manufacturing allows food processors to 3D scan, reverse engineer and produce components - either using 3D printing or traditional manufacturing.

Held annually, the Expo offers "leading-edge educational sessions with the largest regional trade show in the industry."

As you plan last-minute expenditures for 2016, please remember RapidMade can complete most projects in days, not weeks.  

We offer: 

  • Rapid prototyping & design engineering services

  • Low-volume production: 3D-printed parts, tools, patterns & molds

  • Reproduced obsolete parts with reverse engineering & 3D scanning as needed

  • To-scale architectural, sales & training models; cutaways showing internal components are optional

  • Promotional items including customized ornaments, awards & business card holders

Just in time for the Holidays, we are introducing our new Thermoforming technology for your Prototyping & finished product needs.

Then let us help you ring in the New Year!  We've expanded our Engineering Services to include:

  • Product design & integration

  • Standard equipment customization

  • Training & user manual development

  • On-site installation & training

  • Specialized tooling & part design/manufacture

It's been a great year, and we have our wonderful customers to thank for it.

Happy Holidays! 

The RapidMade Team

  

3D Printing, Manufacturing and Engineering

RapidMade's services now include:


Product Design and Engineering

  • Simple static part design to fully automated mechanical and electrical equipment
  • Design for prototyping and manufacture
  • In-house prototyping capabilities for faster iterations and overnight customer feedback
  • 2D and 3D drawings, tolerance and other manufacturing specifications, technology transfer and patent application documentation, equipment manuals, FDA and other compliance as well as other specialized engineering work

Rapid Prototyping

  • 3D printing, quick-turn machining, traditional metal and plastic forming, short-run castings
  • Thermoset and thermoplastic manufacturing, hard and soft metals, composites available
  • Full-color concept models, functional prototypes, assembly and embedded electronics
  • Quotes generally in under 24 hours, parts in days

Contract Manufacturing

  • Production quantities ranging from one to tens of thousands
  • A multitude of available manufacturing processes 
  • Expertise in selecting the right manufacturing process for you
  • Personalized attention to detail and top quality customer service
  • Tooling and part library for easy re-orders

3D Scanning and Reverse Engineering

  • Extremely high accuracy 3D digitization of parts as a reproducible STL file
  • Available reverse engineering to create fully defined parametric files and 2D dimensioned drawings
  • Inspection of manufactured goods to identify deviation from the original design
  • Full-color scans also available

Industrial Pattern and Toolmaking

  • Highly accurate tools in days, not months - at a lower cost
  • Patterns and tools available for all standard manufacturing processes: Injection molding, urethane casting, sand and investment casting, sheet metal stamping, plastic forming and much more
  • Additional finishing capabilities available

Displays, Exhibits and Promotions

  • Full color 3D printing can be done as quickly as under 24 hours
  • Print directly from renderings in CAD or BIM modeling software
  • Great for architecture, store display and marketing customers
  • Very fine feature detail and beautiful aesthetic quality

Finishing and Coating

  • A wide range of finish options including paint, powder coat, plating, media blast, tumbling and much more
  • Clear coat and dyed plastic available for cost effective finishing of prototypes and manufactured goods

Sometimes it feels like a full-time job trying to stay abreast of technological breakthroughs in additive manufacturing.  According to Extremetech.com, Princeton University researchers have successfully 3D printed a unique type of  "quantum dot LEDs composed of five different materials." 

LED.jpg

Photo credit:  Extremetech.com

 

The bottom layer of each quantum dot LED is composed of silver nanoparticles, which are perfect for connecting the LED to an electronic circuit. On top of that are two polymer layers that push electrical current up toward the next layer. This is where the real ‘quantum dots’ are - they’re nanoscale semiconductor crystals, in this case cadmium selenide nanoparticles wrapped in a zince sulfide shell. Each time an electron hits these nanoparticles, they emit orange or gree light. The color can be controlled by changing the size of the particles. The top layer is a comparatively ordinary gallium indium that directs the electrons away from the LED.”

Frankly, none of this sounds ordinary to me, especially the idea that these quantum dot LED displays aren't subject to the oxidation and humidity issues of current versions.  Unfortunately, the 3D printed components don't yet rival the quality of these mass-produced LEDs either.   I'm also guessing the cost to manufacture them isn't yet competitive either.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted
AuthorRenee Eaton