Here on the iDesign Blog, we promote and often discuss the use of building information modeling (BIM) and parametric modeling. We’ve talked about architecture, and the advance of 3D animation using various Autodesk applications for films and video games. Today, I’d like to delve into a topic that has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. Dare I say that 3D print may just be the most important innovation technologically speaking since the Internet? I think I do.
In its infancy, 3D print was intended for manufacturing as a solution to mitigate the costs of prototyping, thus the alternative term ‘rapid prototyping’. This new form of prototyping not only protected manufacturers from having their ideas stolen, it also allowed them to bring their products to market quicker and saved them money. Not only is the process quicker in that you can take your concept from CAD to prototype in a matter of minutes or hours, using 3D print allows one to make the adjustments necessary to the design earlier because testing can actually be done with the printed model. Commonly, when something is used successfully in one area, innovators begin to ask whether it would be as useful to them, and so 3D print has exploded in its application and development.
Now that it has been adopted in many industries such as manufacturing and architectural design; dentistry and medical applications have been explored to the point where human veins and artificial jaws have been printed. Jewelers and artists use this additive process to hone their crafts and create beautiful objects. Even in space exploration, the idea has been put forth that if a 3D printer was sent into space with the adequate materials, any further instruments required could be printed and put to use as opposed shipping these more expensive payloads into orbit pre-manufactured. Maybe you’re already convinced, but if you like fashion or food, there’s something here for you too; as even fabrics and meals can be made with this technology.
iDesign Solutions has recently partnered with one of the world’s leading manufacturers of 3D printers, Objet. Based in Israel and holding many patents, Objet is the only 3D printer manufacturer to provide a solution that can print multiple materials in one run, as well as mixing materials with their Connex series printers to emulate end product material properties such as rigidity, flexibility, and tensile strength. Objet printers also provide the freedom of printing in various colours like blue, green, ivory, white and black and various shades of gray. Your printed model also need not be opaque if you don’t want it that way, as Objet’s TangoPlus is completely transparent.
As the technology has advanced, it has become more accurate and even the finest level of detail can be considered. Anybody wanting to leverage their 3D models in the architectural field can now get a level of detail of up to .6mm thick. This means that a curtain wall mullion, modeled at 2 inches or 50 mm wide, can be visibily depicted in a scale model at 1/8” : 1’ or 1:200. I would say this beats cutting veneer and foam core board to illustrate a massing concept.
The last thing I’ll mention before giving you more links to peruse; is that these solutions are affordable and easily fit into an office space. The Desktop series are a compact 32 x 24 x 23 inches. There are no harmful chemicals or by products and although the printer isn’t silent, it’s quiet enough behind a closed door. If you’ve considered how much impact 3D printing will have in our future, you may want to consider having a 3D printer in your lab or classroom. As always, we’re available to answer any questions you may have in regards to 3D printers from Objet, and if you’d like to hear more about a solution we can provide for you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 1.877.730.4770.
Once, again, thanks for reading.