Congratulations to Innovarai and Madorra Medical who are among Portland Business Journal's 2017 Small Business & Innovation awardees!  Their achievements will be recognized and their products showcased on November 1st from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Portland Hilton Hotel.

Rapid prototyping and low-volume production, made possible through 3D printing (additive manufacturing), are lowering the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and start ups.  These advanced manufacturing technologies lower costs, reduce lead times, and optimize designs, making product launches more affordable and timely.

The truck is reserved; the boxes are being packed, and we are counting down the hours - not days - until our move this Friday.  Just a reminder to customers with pending quotes, orders and deliveries, we will be working through Thursday (tomorrow) and packing tomorrow night for Friday's move.  If necessary, we will continue to run rush orders at our old location to ensure delivery dates are met.  Otherwise, we plan to move and install all equipment this weekend with a rolling start up on Monday.

If you have a concern about a specific 3D printing or engineering and design job, please don't hesitate to call our office - or better yet, email us, and we will respond - assuming we are not driving a large truck on I5 South.

Wish us luck!

In a mere 66 hours (but who's counting), our HP Jet Fusion will be delivered to our new location. If you are as excited about our new 3D printer as we are, why not see what it can do for you?  Fill out the Quick Quote and get in the queue.  Try the latest breakthrough in Additive Manufacturing... the 

 

“commercial 3D printing system that delivers superior quality physical parts up to 10 times faster and at half the cost of current 3D print systems.”

Look for updates and pictures.

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."

RapidMade Accelerates Pace and Elevates Quality of Product Launch

Injection Molding Case Study

3D Printing, or Rapid Prototyping as it is also known, is a much faster and cost effective solution for testing and perfecting digital designs. Its ability to fabricate parts overnight without any direct labor, programming or tooling means 3D printing technologies carry many advantages over traditional technologies like injection molding for short turns and small-batch production.

 Sometimes 3D printing only goes so far when developing and manufacturing products in their early stages. In those instances, Rapid Injection Molding can take products to the finish line.

An American-made LED light bulb manufacturer engineered a version that was bigger and brighter than its competition.  The company quickly learned that RapidMade's injection molding expertise could test, validate and even manufacture its light bulbs in ways that 3D Printing simply could not match.

RapidMade accelerates the typical injection molding process by providing a short cut between prototyping and production tooling. After the rapid prototyping client finalizes its product for injection molding, RapidMade creates a cheaper and better solution by making pre-final tooling out of aluminum. This option allows customers get to market sooner than other injection mold processes and helps gain customer feedback to improve products. Getting a product to market sooner generates more revenue to invest in further product development and long-term tooling. 

 Material

Since the customer didn't know what the final material of the bulb should be, cutting the mold and testing multiple materials, including different grades of ABS and Polycarbonate, helped pinpoint the final material and even helped estimate eventual mass manufacturing costs. Additionally, electronics products must go through rigorous UL testing to ensure consumer safety before the product can be sold in stores.

Color and clarity are other traits vital to the lighting industry.  Because 3D printers must run manufacturing-grade material that is unadulterated, optimizing these characteristics can be difficult. With injection molding, however, one can custom blend different clear and opaque pigments with clear plastic to prototype different levels of clarity and color. So the company could test very specific color profiles to perfect its formula in the final product.

 Finish

Finish is extremely important when working with lighting, as well as other consumer products. A matte finish diffuses light at a very different rate than a polished one. Due to the layered nature, inherent in the 3D printing process, even the highest detail machines will have some level of surface striation. Additionally, most filament or powder technologies will have a very rough finish beyond the layer lines. Achieving custom finishes requires polishing, sanding, and painting of each individual unit, making it is extremely labor intensive and expensive.

Alternatively, injection molding shoots molten plastic into a cavity which picks up the texture of that cavity. That means one only needs to finish a mold once to get repetitive shots of that finish. And molds can be polished and textured to prototype a variety of finishes before settling on the desired one.

Volume

A light bulb is a relatively low-cost consumer good. These goods are meant to be sold in large volume at low cost. Tooling to produce those volumes inexpensively enough can take months to make and require high upfront investment. Many businesses are interested in small and medium-batch options that are more cost effective and higher quality than 3D printing to excite investors, test markets and stoke demand. 

 The company secured a prototyping option with relatively little upfront investment that served as a bridge tool to get actual product out into the marketplace. Aside from the aforementioned quality concerns, this could not have been cost effectively achieved with 3D printing; one cannot sell a light bulb where the housings cost $38 to the manufacturer. Creating large volumes of parts on a 3D Printer can also take much longer than injection molding, making it harder to fill orders. Injection Molding can really provide exceptional value to early-stage manufacturers when producing runs of hundreds or thousands of parts for low cost very quickly.

 

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

  

Our friends at Direct Dimensions in Owings Mills, Maryland, will be "creating a 3D CAD model" of the Roberto Clemente Bridge in our hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The resulting files will then be used to create 3D prints of the bridge for an upcoming RAPID + TCT show being held in Pittsburgh in May.

Pittsburgh, long recognized for its sports accomplishments, is becoming well known as a Center of Excellence in Additive Manufacturing as well.



 

On Thursday, October 20, the University of Portland will be hosting its Operations & Tech Management Symposium from 4 - 7 PM in Shiley Atrium.

Join us for thought-provoking discussion led by industry leaders followed by networking reception. Meet the speakers and connect with movers and shakers in the operations and technology management field.
Don’t miss this inaugural event!

  • KEYNOTE SPEAKER – Fred Pond, former CIO Columbia Sportswear
  • PANELISTS –
    Chris DeGallier, CGD Owner; Greg Martin, Knowledge Universe CIO; Jimmy Godard, Bank of America VP Senior Change; Renee Eaton, Rapidmade CEO; Rick McClain, Milwaukee Electronics COO, Derek Weiss, VP, Deputy CIO Cambia Health Solutions and Wilson Zorn, Adidas Sr. Enterprise Architect.

Agenda:

  • Registration/Welcome
  • Keynote Speaker – Fred Pond, CIO Columbia Sportswear
  • Guest Speaker – Jackie Baretta, CIO Willamette University
  • Panel Discussion Moderated by: Lisa McCaffrey (see “Speakers” for panel bios)
  • Networking Reception

Event Details:

  • When: Thursday, October 20th 2016, 4-7PM
  • Where:  University of Portland – Shiley Hall (Atrium)
  • Parking: FREE (main campus parking lot)
  • General Admission: $35 (includes “Primal Teams” book by Jackie Baretta, reception appetizers and drink)
  • Student Admission: $15 (includes “Primal Teams” book by Jackie Baretta, reception appetizers and drink)

Years ago, I remember buying a toy cowboy gun for my son while in Texas.  This was long before 9/11, so I was annoyed (being several months pregnant with my second child) when I had to waddle a great distance back to check my bag to avoid having it confiscated. 

Nowadays, while we may resent the added security, we don't question its necessity.  Last week reinforced the idea that longer airport security lines are not always a bad thing as Reno TSA screeeners found a 3D printed gun.  Printed from a plastic resin, the replica was not a functional gun as it lacked a trigger.  But for some unknown reason, the passenger also had five live .22-caliber bullets in his possession.

Of the reported 68 guns confiscated by TSA officials last week, the 3D printed copy is speculated to be the first uncovered to date.

 

 
Click image to read case study.

Click image to read case study.

One of the juicier projects we've had involved 3D scanning real 10-lb crabs to recreate life-like replicas for Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour.  The captain and his crew take tourists out on the high seas in the summer to watch them work.  Unfortunately, they were losing much of their inventory recreating their catches - this was both costly and unsustainable.

Once we 3D scanned the real thing, we 3D printed a master pattern which was used to create a mold.  The mold allowed RapidMade to cast the crab look alikes in urethane rubber.  See the results here.

RapidMade's founders were recently interviewed by U.S. News and World for an article explaining how 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has helped entrepreneurs innovate.

Here's an excerpt from the story which was published on line this week:

Renee and Mark Eaton, with their son Micah Chaban, founded RapidMade, a 3-D printing, manufacturing and engineering company, based in Portland, Oregon, in 2011. About to graduate from the University of Oregon, Chaban told his parents he was contemplating job searching in Germany. Living in England at the time, the Eatons had read an article in “The Economist” on 3-D printing and the idea for RapidMade was born.

’We had both worked in manufacturing for years and were disheartened that so many kids were gravitating to lower-paying service jobs because high-tech manufacturing jobs either weren’t well known or readily available,’ Renee Eaton, chief executive officer of RapidMade, wrote in an email.

’During our careers, we had both been forced to close or downsize plants and relocate production, so we wanted very much to bring back manufacturing. We thought Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) was a great local and sustainable way to do that.’

She explained that entrepreneurs can develop and evaluate a design in little time with rapid prototyping and that by using 3-D printing to create tools, they can decrease lead times and cost. Most of RapidMade’s customers are new to 3-D printing, and the company’s engineers can help determine the best technology to create a product from a design, she wrote.