CAD files have a myriad of formats and corresponding file extensions (example: filename.extension.) With all those formats out there, what is best for you to use? CAD files for 3D printing generally fall into two categories: parametric files (equation driven files that are fully defined - i.e. a circle is actually a circle) and mesh files (made of points and triangles - i.e. a circle is thousands of tiny triangles.) Here's a great guideline. to help you get started.
As you plan last-minute expenditures for 2016, please remember RapidMade can complete most projects in days, not weeks.
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.
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.
The University of Portland launched its inaugural OTM Symposium yesterday, and RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton, a former UP management instructor, happily returned to campus to participate. The evening event featured Fred Pond, a recently retired seasoned CIO, who spoke about emerging OTM trends and Jackie Baretta, current CIO at Willamette University, who shared insights on leveraging one's emotions to improve organizational performance.
An executive panel discussion on the value of and insights on Operations & Technology Management was another program highlight. RapidMade joined participants including Adidas Sr. Enterprise Architect Wilson Zorn, Cambia Health Solutions VP Deputy CIO Derek Weiss, Milwaukee Electronics COO Rick McClain, former Knowledge Universe CIO Greg Martin, Bank of America VP Senior Change Jimmy Godard, and CGD Solutions Executive Chris DeGallier.
Renee explained how RapidMade leverages advanced technologies in its 3D scanning, reverse engineering, product design, rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing projects. She also talked about cloud-based work flow solutions.
The forum was a great opportunity for UP's Pamplin School of Business to showcase its OTM major which has grown dramatically.
Capture the imagination of your Customers and Patrons with Unique Displays:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Color: with almost 400,000 colors to choose from, why skimp?
- Size: scale-down huge machines or buildings to hand-held or table-sized replicas
- Logistics: avoid lugging heavy machinery to trade shows
- Creativity: turn your BIM and CAD models into tangible marketing materials
- Carefree: leave the design and fabrication to us, just supply the ideas
RapidMade gets to work on many cool new product ideas. Given our love of dogs - we have a dog-friendly workplace, this project has been a favorite...
"OMDOG performance canine headgear started as a simple idea — to build a custom helmet for Charlie the Dog, who rides around Portland, Oregon in a cargo bicycle. When the decision was made to duplicate and improve the design, we contacted Rapid Made. They were responsive and excited about the project. They quickly 3D scanned our prototype, reverse engineered it, and made it easy for us to review and approve the CAD model before printing. Rapid Made helped us take an idea that started as a cardboard model made from a pizza box turn it into a viable product design. They're providing us with manufacturing options within our budget and well suited for our target market. We are extraordinarily grateful to have found Rapid Made!"
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.
My traditional cast for my broken right wrist
I am now 3 weeks into my cast-restricted convalescence. And yes, it is as annoying, smelly and uncomfortable as everyone says. So when my accident occurred (a large dog was desperate to greet Luke and I was in its way), I toyed with getting our team to scan and 3D print a cast. The doctors were not keen, and since traditional casts are reliable, cheap and quick, I didn't argue.
If I had gone that route, what would have been involved? Well, as in the traditional approach, we would have waited a week for the swelling to go down. Then I would have had a 3D scan to get an exact image of my arm. The resulting file would then be modified to 3D print the lattice-like open "exo-skeleton" cast which would snap into place. Oh, to be able to scratch and shower undeterred! But I'm under no illusions; it could have been a pricey and time-consuming project - the design would have to withstand use and be printed in a non-toxic material, so while I was in a traditional cast 1 week after my fracture, it would likely have taken longer for a high-tech alternative.
But there are times when I'd give almost anything to scratch that itch.
Iowans have 3D scanned the historic Dark Angel Statue in Council Bluff, IA in an effort to preserve this piece of art. The statue, officially a memorial to the wife of a local Civil War general, is 96 years old and was sculpted by Daniel Chester French, who is better known for another work of his-the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The people of Council Bluffs raised enough money to get the statue scanned so that if any parts break off or if it falls into disrepair, it can be easily replicated with the exact dimensions of the original design. The community is happy with its investment in the preservation of the local landmark and historic work of art.
If only ancient Egyptians had had the technology, we would know what the Sphinx’s nose looked like.
In yet another example of surgeons using 3D printing to plan complex surgeries, Chinese researchers have begun creating personalized models of patients' hearts. These models are based off of ultrasound scans of the organs which are then rendered precisely so that doctors can see exactly the size and detail of each unique heart. This helps in the planning and execution of surgeries, which can be prolonged and risky without apt preparation. These medical models will be helpful not just to doctors but also to medical students.
Given the resulting health and cost benefits, this application of additive manufacturing is expected to see explosive growth.
Brendon McNaughton, a 26-year-old artist from Canada, has printed a gold heart using 3D printing technology. McNaughton was inspired by gold miners in Australia and their working conditions there. The workers risk their lives for low wages despite the highly valued goal. In order to publicize this issue, McNaughton designed and created a 3D printed heart of gold. The heart of an anonymous donor was scanned with an MRI. Once printed, it was cast in bronze and then given a layer of gold leaf applied by hand. McNaughton will continue printing hearts on a commission basis of $30,000 with proceeds being donated to cardiac research.
We've written before about using 3D printing to create artwork and artifacts. These stories are especially interesting to us given that RapidMade has been privileged to 3D print both originals and replicas. And apparently we are in good company...
In another brilliant example of this approach, Cambridge University is 3D scanning and printing reproductions of Ox bones. During the Shang Dynasty in China, roughly 1339 BCE-1112 BCE, oracles would inscribe their writings on Ox bones which are being recreated for research and educational purposes. These bones provide insight into the way of life during the Shang Dynasty. Archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians alike can now safely continue to learn from the information contained in these bones while ensuring their preservation. The university’s collection contains over 600 bones (that is a lot of scanning and printing) which will now be more readily available for study due to these replicas.
If you're a regular reader of our blog posts, you know that we have an adorable three-legged rescue affectionately named Luke Triwalker. We continue to debate if and when it will make sense to create a prosthesis using 3D scanning and printing, so anytime I come across a similar situation, I enjoy learning more about the whys and hows associated with each case. One success story involves an Australian pup named Ziggy. Like Luke, this rescue had a mangled leg that couldn't be saved. Unfortunately, it became apparent to his owners, both veterinarian students, that Ziggy's remaining leg was not developing correctly. They
Despite corrective surgery, Ziggy ultimately developed arthritis which further hindered his mobility. It was then that they turned to 3D scanning and printing:
After recuperation, Ziggy is back up on all threes...
A new 3D printed robotic hand, which is able to match human motion and dexterity, is being created from scans of human hands and motion sensor technology. Thanks to research being conducted at the University of Washington, a hand has been built of durable plastics and uses ten motors for movement. Video shows a researcher wearing a motion-sensor glove that detects his movements and sends a signal to the robotic hand to make the same movements. The problem with biomimetic robots in the past has been an inability to accurately simulate the complexities of human motion. By scanning a skeleton hand, researchers were able to 3D print their robotic parts accurately to mimic the motions a human hand is capable of making. This will lead to developments both in medical practices for amputees as well as motion-sensor robotics.
We've posted before about artists using 3D Scanning and Printing to recreate antiquities damaged by ISIS and to digitally catalog priceless exhibits. Another effort is being undertaken by an Iranian artist in Mosul, Iraq.
Morrehshin Allhyari is working on an exhibition of 3D printed replicas of artifacts destroyed at the Nineveh Museum in Mosul, Iraq by ISIS. Taking images and 3D scans of the museum’s collection, Morrehshin is able to replicate the lost artifacts with 3D printers: “The more files that are saved on people's computers, even if they’re never printed, the number of PDF files that are read or kept, the more that history that was initially removed by ISIS will be saved.” The exhibition is titled “Material Speculation” and is widely seen as an act of historic preservation, political activism, and art, simultaneously. It also makes a great point of the pragmatism of using 3D scanning and printing technology for museum collections and historic exhibitions.
One popular application of 3D printing is creating exact reproductions of antiquities. As is often the case, museums want to display artifacts but face challenges making priceless objects available to the public. The latest example of this technique is the recreation of the Iceman.
Ötzi - the Iceman, the oldest European mummy, was replicated by Additive Manufacturing. Two 3D replicas have been made for display at the South Tyrol Museum in Italy. Using CAT scans taken of Ötzi, the models were rendered and printed using 3D engineering and manufacturing techniques. Once printed and assembled, a rubber mold was applied to the replicas, which were then sculpted and painted. Because Ötzi needs to be preserved, he will be stored in stable conditions while visitors of the museum can see these identical models.
Cardiologist Wilson King, who works at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis has been using 3D printing to make models of patients’ actual hearts. By using medical images generated from techniques like Heart CT scans and Ultrasounds, King is able to render 3D models of his patients’ actual hearts. This ability enables doctors’ and surgeons’ to anticipate and prepare for diagnoses and surgeries. Additionally by making a model, doctors are able to physically practice placing devices into each individual’s heart. When patients have unique anatomy or particular heart conditions, 3D printing can be used to more comprehensively understand each case.
As RapidMade has reported before, another benefit is patient and physician education - explaining complex medical procedures is much easier when one can see and touch a replica - and what could be cooler than seeing and touching an exact copy of your own organ.
This case is jut another great example of why 3D scanning and printing have become so widely adopted in medicine.
Thomas Davis, linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, may be playing with a 3D printed brace on his recently broken arm during the Super Bowl today. Davis, who is having one of the best seasons of his career, still wanted to play in the game, and his team wanted him too. After doctors surgically installed a plate and a dozen screws in his arm, the question was how to further protect his healing arm from additional damage. The answer came in the form of a 3D printed arm brace. His arm was 3D scanned which was then sent to engineers to develop the brace. It had to be comfortable, light, breathable, and abide by standards set by the NFL for braces. Since receiving his brace, Davis has been spotted utilizing it in practice and testing its durability. It is still not guaranteed that he will play but if he does then 3D printing may affect the outcome of the Super Bowl this year. 3D printing is revolutionizing the way we approach sports medicine in addition to the myriad other medical applications it has already proven to have.
If you want to reproduce an obsolete part, which 3D scanning hardware should you use? Would it be the same if you needed to model a bigger object? What about mapping out a large space? There are a variety of 3D scanners available to use, and as is often the case, each one has its advantages and disadvantages:
Scanner Application Resolution/Accuracy
Capture3D Parts, Components High
Artec Larger Items Medium
Lidar Mapping, Buildings Low
The Capture3D is ideal for industrial applications such as reverse engineering, image cataloging (digitization), product inspection or reproduction. Consider these impressive numbers:
Data Capture Rate 985,000 points/scan (0.3 sec per scan)
Resolution 0.110 mm
Accuracy 0.060 mm
Max Scan Size 2'x2'x2'
Interested? Learn how 3D Scanning can improve your business.
Artists and fashion designers have been some of the most enthusiastic early adopters of 3D scanning and printing. Some have used these to preserve or repair ancient artifacts, others to help the visually impaired "see" works of art. Many have pushed boundaries of their respective mediums by recognizing the technology's ability to digitize, manipulate and recreate existing objects, thus liberating them from the constraints of more traditional artistic techniques.
One such artist, Tabitha Nikolai, approached RapidMade to help her produce Dynamic Horizons, an art installation "billed as a pop-up show of wearable technology."
Willamette Week described the exhibition:
While we scan and reverse engineer a wide variety of objects,obsolete or replacement parts are popular, we especially enjoy working with artists and designers to produce unique and novel art work.