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.  

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.


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.

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.

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.