PolyJet

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polyjet 3daddfab

Source: 3daddfab

PolyJet 3D printing works by jetting layers of curable liquid photopolymer onto a build tray, similar to how an inkjet printer jets ink onto paper. UV curing bulbs are located next to the jetting heads to cure each layer as the material is applied.  PolyJet is capable of applying multiple colors and durometers of material in the same build, which makes it unique. This technology can produce exceptional detail, surface smoothness, and precision.  PolyJet printing is ideal for cosmetic and aesthetic applications.  It is not quite as rigid as SLA or FDM, however, and thus not always an appropriate choice for models that need good structural strength.

 

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Fused Deposition Modeling

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Source: 3D Systems Corporation / cubify.com

Source: 3D Systems Corporation / cubify.com

Like the previous two prototyping methods discussed, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is also an additive process. It creates the models layer by layer using a thermoplastic extrusion process.

The surface finish when using FDM is more rough than when using SLA, but the product is more robust, so it is ideal to use when functionality is more important than the visual surfaces. Parts with complex geometries are possible with FDM, and they are strong enough for functional testing.  On the down side, FDM accuracy is lower than what it is for SLA.

Let us help you decide which prototyping method is best for you!

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Selective Laser Sintering

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SLS

Another option for rapid prototyping is SLS, or Selective Laser Sintering. In SLS, prototypes are made by fusing (or “sintering”) powdered materials together with an infrared laser.

SLS produces a less smooth finish on a prototype than SLA does (which uses liquid resin instead of powder), but it is very durable. Because it is so durable, it is often easier to machine prototypes created using SLS than those created using SLA. Selective Laser Sintering can also be used with a wider variety of materials than SLA, including glass and some metals – anything from a flexible plastic to a food-grade ceramic. During the printing process, no additional supports are required to hold the object up, so SLS is one of the faster methods of 3D printing.

Contact us to get started on your prototype! We can help you figure out what printing method is best for your product.

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Stereolithography

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Source: www.emeraldinsight.com

Source: www.emeraldinsight.com

One of the rapid prototyping processes that we use is Stereolithography. SLA (stereolithography apparatus) printers convert liquid plastic into solid objects. SLA uses lasers to cure layers of the liquid plastic that build up to create a solid object. There are many different types of resin that can be used with SLA, which allows a wide variety of textures and finishes on products.

SLA is a fairly quick process, so functional parts can be manufactured in a matter of a few hours to a day, depending on the design. SLA is very good with precision and accuracy and smooth finishes. It can also be used to create detailed casting patterns for injection molding and casting.

Contact us now to get started!

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Choosing the Best Prototyping Process

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There are many different methods of prototyping, and each method has unique characteristics. Not every prototyping method will be ideal for your product development needs.  There are many aspects that go into deciding which process to use, including what you intend to do with the prototype part and how closely you want the prototype to replicate the final production process.

Using the right prototyping process is key to getting a product design from a CAD image to a functioning prototype. So how do you know which process is best for your specific design? We can help you! Our team of engineers knows these processes and can work with you and your design to get it to a working prototype just how you want it.

Here is a general overview of the different processes that we can employ while helping develop your product.

Source: phillipsmedisize

Source: phillipsmedisize

 

Source: phillipsmedisize

Source: phillipsmedisize

Contact us to get started!

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Hands-free Device Stands

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Source: Ridge Design

Source: Ridge Design

A seemingly simple device can make a world of difference in your daily life. We slouch in front of computers, we hold our phones while laying down, we prop laptops in our laps and hunch over them to see them better. Day in and day out, your posture is being compromised by trying to view devices in the easiest and most comfortable way possible. A device stand, such as these ones developed by Ridge Design, allow you to prop up your devices in a way that is more ergonomically correct. You can position your devices to an angle that is comfortable for you and helpful to your posture and workflow.

Our team of engineers has worked with another company, Smart Tray International, to integrate their proprietary device holder into seat trays on airplanes, cars, buses and trains. This integration allows hands-free use of portable electronic devices and a more pleasant passenger experience while flying at 39,000 feet. You can learn more about Pipeline’s engineering & design accomplishments for this project here.

 

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3D Printing for Medical Advancements

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Source: REUTERS/Jason Lee

Source: REUTERS/Jason Lee

With the constant evolution of 3D printing technology, and the ability to print with materials other than just plastic, options are nearly limitless. In one case in India, a 3D-printed vertebrae was successfully implanted in a woman with spinal tuberculosis, allowing her to walk again. Another 3D-printed vertebrae was implanted into a 12-year-old boy in China after finding he had bone cancer and a vertebrae needed to be removed.

These are not the only cases of 3D printing being used in the medical field. There are so many possible medical applications for 3D printing, including replacement bones, prosthetics, medical equipment, dentistry, and more. Medical uses for 3D printing are being researched and advancements are being made every day.

Have a product idea in mind that you want to make a reality? Send us a message to see how we can help!

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Intricate chair made with 3D printing pen

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3D printed chair

3D printing has evolved a lot in the last number of years. In 2013, a pen was introduced that allows people to “write” with melted plastic filaments that solidify in the air, creating their own designs. After an upgraded release of this pen in 2016, someone took it upon herself to create a full size chair for a project for a furniture design course in college. With repetitive drawing patterns, she created a lattice-like design in this chair that is stable and strong enough to take your weight. This pen gives artists a whole new method of creation.

While we might not use 3D printing pens, Pipeline Design & Engineering does use 3D printing technologies and rapid prototyping to provide accurate physical parts to meet your product development prototyping needs.

Click here to learn more about our 3D printing capabilities.

 

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Apple’s Liam Recycling Robot

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liam

Image: Apple

In March of last year, Apple announced they had created a robot named Liam. With 29 robotic arms, all having different functions, Liam works in a sort of assembly line system to disassemble returned and damaged iPhones in order to make the recycling process easier and to help cut down on electronics waste. This invention is super efficient and can complete an iPhone disassembly every 11 seconds. Apple created this robot with the desire to create a recycling revolution, and is  hopeful that other companies will catch on and follow suit.

While Liam currently only disassembles the iPhone 6S, Apple’s engineers are working to create more robots to disassemble other Apple products as well.

This robot is quite the engineering feat, and Pipeline has developed automated systems to accomplish similar tasks. If you have a project for which specific controls are needed, contact us now to learn more about how we can help you!

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