Tag: 3D printing

Laser Scanning Direct in Solidworks

Laser Scanning Direct in Solidworks

Sunday, January 8, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

Laser Scanning Direct in Solidworks

Reverse engineering has shown itself to be very noteworthy for most trades that require new or improved products.  Industry businesses were able to individually see the benefits of reverse engineering for digital correction and renew, restricted data acquisition, commercial product edit, military espionage, access restriction circumvention and educational purposes throughout the demonstration by ReverseEngineering.com of their newest products at SolidWorks World in San Antonio, Texas early this year.

The company offers savvy customers with reverse engineering add-ons, specifically the latest scanning direct in Solidworks product.  This application by ReverseEngineering.com is their initial product to be marketed with direct laser.

It might sound overly technical, but reverse engineering is actually being used by industries that are required to determine the exact geometry of a product, device or system, or how it works.  Simply told, the software provided by ReverseEngineering.com allows industries to analyze physical parts to comprehend its surface geometry.  After this is done, industries are able to modify or improve the design of such parts, or create a completely new piece with additional functionality.

Amid the trades that gain an advantage through ReverseEngineering.com’s scanning direct in Solidworks and other software include the Metal Fabrication, Aerospace, Military, Tool and Die and Automotive industries.†  Their new reverse engineering products in Solidworks were initially distributed at the convention and multiple prospective clients had an opportunity to test drive these products.

Reverse engineering has come a long way from the time since it was primarily utilized to provide military advantage to a certain sector.  New methods are seemingly being developed nowadays no longer just for military purposes but more importantly to provide documentation for parts that are incomplete or which would prove to be more helpful once updated.†

ReverseEngineering.com was founded in 1986 to answer the worldwide rising requirements for 3D engineering applications, Computer Aided Design software, systems for Computer Aided Manufacturing and other scanning devices.  Over the years, their product line has increased and improved, thanks to comments from clients and the modernization of the entire 3D capturing methodology.

Many engineers from all over the world receive assistance from reverse engineering and laser scanning.  For one, they are easily able to check on a model and resolve issues concerning assemblies and fitting.  These laser scanning machines permit engineers to obtain the dimensions of machine or any pieces extremely efficiently.

ReverseEngineering.com’s laser scanning application is highly in demand for utilization in part analyzing, tooling and mold certification and alignment in the Aerospace and Automotive industries.  The software is also highly used for prototype parts scanning and mold and die inspection in Metal Fabrication industry.

Companies that contain machines that have never been provided with 3D CAD drawings because they are legacy systems can also get assistance through reverse engineering software.  Even parts or models with complex surfaces can be efficiently studied with reverse engineering software.

The secret to upholding a business’ competitive edge is to have applications that will ensure business processes like overhaul, repair and maintenance are efficient and more streamlined.  By making use of reverse engineering software, companies achieve this and beyond.

This information was brought to you by Reverse Engineering, a worldwide premier resource offering several integrated solutions for turbo-charging your reverse engineering MicroScribe process while providing a “model as you go” environment.

Solidworks Yacht Tutorial

Solidworks Yacht Tutorial

Monday, December 12, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Solidworks Yacht Tutorial

Hello my readers, so I wanted to talk today about an incredible tutorial that I stumbled upon from searching the web for Solidworks tutorials.  This tutorial is the creation of a full sized yacht and a truck and trailer to transport your completed yacht to the high seas for your virtual adventures abroad.  This Solidworks yacht tutorial is incredible, and so is the designer.  His name is Jan-Willem Zuyderduyn and he is the Solidworks expert who posts his wonderful tutorials on a website called www.LearnSolidWorks.com for members to access.  But, in order to take part in his tutorials and community, you must become a member.  And, as I said once before, everything has a price….and so does becoming a member and accessing his yacht tutorial and other tutorials is absolutely not free, and for good reason!  I mean, would you offer free tutorials of your hard work that you spent countless hours toiling over and perfecting for anyone to use your creations to their benefit and gain your tricks of the trade when you could and should be making more money instead of them?  I didn’t think so….

The price of the yacht course is quite high, but if you are willing to fork out the $220 or possibly more, then you can gain a wealth of valuable information and skills in learning and using Solidworks from a certified Solidworks instructor who continually updates his website and forums.  For anyone wanting to learn and increase their skills and knowledge in Solidworks, this is absolutely one site that you should consider as an aid to upgrade your Solidworks design skills.  Jan is also available to e-mail and assist you if you ever have any questions for him as well.

There are a lot of tutorials out there claiming to give you the skills and expertise you need to become a better Solidworks designer, but only a very few really deliver.  LearnSolidWorks.com is one of those sites that is developed for a community of Solidworks designers in order to provide new or experienced Solidworks designers some advanced projects to develop the skills they need to increase their abilities with Solidworks.

3D Printed Architecture

3D Printed Architecture

Monday, June 13, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

3D Printed Architecture

3D printed architecture is quickly becoming a viable method of construction in the near future.  Teams of architects in London and Amsterdam are competing to produce the first habitable printed structure, using technology that could transform the way buildings are made.  Though they all have the same objective, the teams are investigating very different materials and fabrication methods.

Existing 3D printers are only able to produce homogeneous materials that have the same properties throughout. But graded materials would be useful for printing architectural elements such as beams or façades that mimic bone, which is hard on the outside but spongy on the inside.  But gradients are hard to produce with the current generation of 3D printers, which rely on armatures or gantries that can only move on three axes such as back and forward, side to side, and up and down, and which must lay down material in layers, one atop the other.  They also require complex support structures to be printed at the same time to prevent the printed objects collapsing under their own weight.

In traditional 3D printing, the gantry size poses an obvious limitation for the designer who wishes to print in larger scales and achieve structural and material complexity.  Research is being done in investigating ways of printing with additional axes of movement, by replacing the gantry with a six-axis robotic arm.  This will allow “free-form” printing at a larger scale and without the need for support structures.

Today’s material limitations can be overcome by printing with responsive materials.  Gantry limitations can be overcome by printing with multiple interactive robot-printers.  Process limitations can be overcome by moving from layering to weaving in 3D space, using a robotic arm.  Robotic arms can be used to print in traditional materials, such as plastic, concrete or composites, or employed to weave or knit three-dimensional fibre structures.  Researchers are also exploring how the high-performance fibres excreted by silkworms and spiders could be produced artificially.  In the future, buildings may be constructed by swarms of tiny robots that use a combination of printing and weaving techniques, called “swarm” construction.

Making an Iron Man Suit

Making an Iron Man Suit

Saturday, April 30, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Making an Iron Man Suit

Cosplay and semi-cosplay costumes can sometimes take a large amount of creative processes in order to achieve the desired end results of the designer.  3D printing is the favored process, since it is usually the most inexpensive and quickest way to create custom designed pieces.  Other processes, such as molding and casting can get to be somewhat pricey and time consuming, but they may also be necessary depending on the level of detail and expectations of the cosplayer.

The more complicated the costume is, the more detail and planning is necessary to create the costume in its entirity.  This often involves sketching the costume out to get a visualization of how the costume will look in different views on paper as well as creating scaled models of the completed costume design using a variety of materials such as wire frames, sculpting clay, manequins, plastics and many other materials to create your models.

If the costume involves moving parts or electrical configurations, then the designer must consider doing engineering tests and electrical layouts and testing as well.  Proper materials should be tested and used for different weight ratios and strength and durability depending on where each piece will be placed and the functionality of the piece.

These are just a couple of considerations to think about when creating a highly detailed and complicated costume.  Among those who create these cosplay costumes is James Bruton, a sci-fi and superhero fan who uses his Lulzbot TAZ dual-extruder 3D printer to create some very complex costumes ranging from an Iron Man suit to Android bipedal legs and even Star Wars replica parts.

In his free time, Bruton helps run the Southampton Makerspace and shares his builds on his website XRobots.  While he builds his complicated costumes using a variety of material types ranging from wood to plastic, the majority of the 3D printed parts used in his designs consist of ABS plastic and Ninjaflex.

The video above shows the processes involved in making an Iron Man suit with lighted configurations and engineered parts.  Many of the designer’s other costumes have much more complicated and technologically advanced components.

I hope this video gives you some inspiration on designing your own cosplay costume.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Making Casted Helmet Designs

Making Casted Helmet Designs

Monday, April 25, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Making Casted Helmet Designs

Well hello again my super-stupendously, out-of-this-world cosplayers and cosplayerettes.  I have returned to talk about casting your helmet design out of the molding that I know you all read over and followed closely before viewing this post on your next steps, right?  Of course you did!  So, get your bat heads out of your bat caves and let’s make something to protect your batty noggins from the next batty, bang-up job.

The process we will use to create our casted helmet is called either slush casting or rotocasting and it involves using the molded design we created in the previous post and video.  Smooth Cast 65D is the type of plastic that is used in the video, and it is a very good plastic that is impact resistant, very durable, and is made specifically for rotocasting.  Other plastics that can also be used are Smooth Cast 300 or 320, which also work well too.  The purpose of this type of casting is that the helmet needs to be hollow in the middle and be able to fit on your head, so you can’t just make an entire block of plastic out of a mold.

So, the first steps are to make sure your silicon jackets for the inner portion of the mold where the plastic will be poured into are immaculately clean, so that no dirt or grime will transfer into the casting and ruin it.

The next step is to assemble the mold shell and insert the jackets inside the mold shell and make sure the registration keys on the jackets and shell align.  Take time to line up the silicon jackets and shells accurately so the seam line between them almost disappears.

Next, it is time to mix your plastic resins to prepare for pouring.  Pour equal amounts of the resin materials into plastic disposable cups and then combine those into one large cup.  Add liquid dyes to the resin material to add color to the final product.

After preparing the resin liquid, pour the liquid into your mold and rotate the mold to make sure all surfaces are evenly coated.  The liquid hardens quickly, so you want to continually rotate the mold so the liquid coats and dries evenly.  The drying time depends on the amount of liquid used and the liquid changes shades of color as it dries in order to tell if it is complete.  Continue adding layers in order to increase the thickness of the helmet or finished product.

After adding the desired amount of plastic layers and allowing a substantial amount of time to cure the casting, it is time to demold your casting.  Be careful when removing the silicon jackets from the casting, so they don’t rip or get destroyed in the process.  Most molds produce flashing and lips around the casting which can be removed with your hands, a Dremel tool, and sandpaper or sanding materials.

With the right amount of detail, your end product should be astounding enough to make even Batman proud.  Evil-doers beware!

CNC 3D Printing for Parts

CNC 3D Printing for Parts

Thursday, April 14, 2016 | By | Add a Comment
A CNC Turning Center in the FAME Lab in the Le...

A CNC Turning Center in the FAME Lab in the Leonhard Building at Penn State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nederlands: Presentatie van de 3D printer op d...

Nederlands: Presentatie van de 3D printer op de Wikimedia Conferentie 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CNC 3D Printing for Parts

When learning about what manufacturing machines suit your needs as a parts designer or creator, there seems to be a universe of factors to consider when finding the best machines to meet your needs.  For those of my fellow readers that have relatively little or no knowledge on these machines, I would like to briefly describe the functionality as well as the fundamental differences and highs and lows of CNC/3D printing for parts.

CNC mills can work on a huge variety of materials: metal alloys (e.g. aluminum, steel alloys, brass, copper), softwoods and hardwoods, thermoplastics, acrylic, modeling foams, machining wax (for creating a positive model for casting).  You may need different cutting tools for different materials, but the tool-to-machine interfaces are usually standardized – so the tools can easily be exchanged.  This way, you can utilize a CNC mill to manufacture prototypes in the same material that will be used for the final product – so you can immediately start testing.

Desktop 3D printers are usually restricted to a few materials, typically thermoplastics (PLA, ABS, sometimes nylon) or resins. Thermoplastics can be mixed with other materials such as ceramics, wood, metal, but the workpieces produced on a 3D printer will not be as robust as workpieces cut from a block of metal or wood.  As thermoplastics and resin 3D printers use completely different methods, a resin printer cannot handle thermoplastics and vice versa.  These machines are far from perfect and the ability to create precision parts depends on a variety of factors.  In practice, dull or damaged cutting tools, worn mills or faulty data delivered by the CAM software may result in inaccurate workpieces.  Precision in 3D printing is far from perfect and many parts can have many flaws and errors in their creation.  Some 3D printers promise very high precision but fail to deliver it from time to time.  Precision also relies on the capabilities and skills of the programmer/user, and there is a lot of learning and trial and error that goes along with using these machines.

Comparing speed is difficult as CNC mills and 3D printers are typically used for different workpieces and materials.  However, 3D printing jobs often take hours to complete, whereas CNC milling jobs with comparable size and complexity normally do not take more than an hour.  CNC mills are typically faster when chipping away material from a solid block than 3D printers that build objects layer by layer and occasionally have to slow down to avoid printing problems.

Depending on the material used, CNC milling can get extremely noisy.  Cutting metal or wood using a large-diameter tool (to quickly remove large parts) can be ear-deafening.  The rattling noise from a desktop 3D printer without casing is like a gentle waft in comparison.  When cutting wax models, the noise from a CNC mill is hardly perceptible, however.  When working on a metal or wood block, a CNC mill also vibrates heavily and you wouldn’t want to have it on the desktop near you (even if you wore ear defenders to block of the noise).  Vibration normally is no issue when 3D printing.

CNC milling means cutting away material using a rotating tool.  So, as a result there is a lot of material spurting away, and that may be quite sharp (e.g., splinters of wood or metal).  Not all CNC mills are fully enclosed when working on a block of material, so things can get quite messy.  And with enclosed mills, you have to clean up the mess inside, once the workpiece is finished.  3D printing is not messy by design.  When something goes wrong, however, you may need to remove thermoplastics from your printbed.  But that is nothing compared to cleaning up after CNC milling.  By design, there is less waste in 3D printing as this technology only requires the material needed for building the workpiece.  In CNC milling you need a block of material that has at minimum the size of the workpiece and a lot of material has to be removed and often cannot be recycled.

CNC milling is the better solution when manufacturing workpieces that need to be extremely robust and precise and/or heat-resistant.  3D printing has more exotic fields of application: It can be used for bioprinting, for printing food, for building purposes, and it can be used in space (e.g. on the ISS or in future space missions).

Pricewise, getting started is less costly with 3D printing: You can get decent 3D printers for about $500, while the CNC mills featured on Kickstarter recently start at $2,000.  Technology in these machines however is rapidly advancing and new developments are continually being rolled out including a machine that has the functionality of a CNC machine, 3D printer and laser cutter/engraver combined.  So, if you want the best of all worlds, you may want to wait a little while to purchase a machine to cater to all your needs.