Archive for March, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy…Check Out Some of Our Current Projects

We might be located in the vacation capital of the United States, but here at 3D Innovations we are hard at work on some great projects! We are so excited about them that we wanted to share a few with you.

Project 1: Pupu Cooler

Spending a long day at the beach is fun, but with all the swimming and playing in the sand you are bound to get hungry. Thanks to this great product you are able to keep your food cold and also have a convenient table. The Pupu Cooler is currently in the manufacturing phase and will be available to the market in late April or early May.

While developing this product we utilized 3D Design, 3D Printing to validate the design and to produce a functional prototype, and injection molding for mass production/ manufacturing of items for commercialization.

Project 2: SquareWrap

This project was based around the easy to use Square Credit Card reader and their free application that allows just about anyone to start accepting credit cards.The only downfall with this device is that the small compact size of the Square Credit Card reader makes it prone to becoming misplaced, lost or damaged. This is where we came in to help develop a solution for this vulnerable device. 

The SquareWRAP is a carrying case solution for the Square Credit Card reader that allows you to safely and securely carry it with you at all times on your key ring, attached to your bag, a belt loop, on a neck lanyard or any number of carry configurations. The SquareWRAP also protects the Square Credit Card reader from being damaged by the day-to-day exposure to the contaminants and environmental elements you may encounter on a daily basis.

We utilized 3D Design and Injection Molding during the manufacturing processes for this project.

Additional Projects

Confidential projects we are working on are all focused around 3D Design, 3D Printing (SLS, FDM process) for validating design and producing prototypes, and design for injection molding manufacturing processes. We will share more information with you when we can!

If you are interested in learning about how we can help with your product design and development please e-mail

Hit Rewind…The History of 3D Printing

The term 3D Printing is being linked to numerous industries and new products daily. By now we have all heard about the benefits that 3D printing brings to the business community and how it is allowing people at home to print some fun and useful items; but when exactly was this technology developed and how did it come to be?

The History of 3D Printing:

  • 3D Printing was developed by Charles Hull in 1984.
  • Mr. Hull, born May 12, 1939, was an inventor of over 60 U.S. patents in the fields of ion optics and rapid prototyping.
  • Mr. Hull’s patent for the “Apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by stereo lithography”, issued on March 11, 1986, defined stereo lithography as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively “printing” thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other.
  • After obtaining the patent, In 1986 Mr. Hull founded 3D Systems and developed the first commercial 3D Printing machine. However the term “3D Printer” was not used by that time and the machine was called only as Stereolithography Apparatus.  *Watch Chuck Hull explain Stereolithography (video).
  • In 1988, 3D Systems delivered its first version of the machine, named SLA-250, to the public.
  • While Stereolithography systems had become popular by the end of 1980s, other similar technologies such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) were introduced.
  • FDM was invented in 1988 by Scott Crump who founded Stratasys in the next year to commercialize the technology.
  • In 1993, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) patented another technology, named “3 Dimensional Printing techniques” (3DP), which is similar to the inkjet technology used in 2D printers.
  • In 1995, Z Corporation obtained an exclusive license from MIT to use the technology and started developing 3D Printers based on 3DP technology.
  • In 1996, three major products, “Genisys” from Stratasys, “Actua 2100″ from 3D Systems and “Z402″ from Z Corporation, were introduced. It was only during this period, the term “3D Printer” was first used to refer rapid prototyping machines.
  • In 2005, the Spectrum Z510, was the first high definition color 3D Printer in the market, launched.
  • In 2006, a breakthrough open source printing project, named Reprap, was developed in England. The rep-rap was capable of manufacturing various plastic parts, roughly 50% of itself.
  • In 2008, the first version of the Reprap, the Darwin, was released. In continued development of Reprap printers the next model developed was the Mendel.
  • In 2010 the first 3D printer was introduced that could produce functional prototype parts.
As you can see, 3D printing technology is not very old and has progressed at a rapid speed. We believe that the options are endless with the continued advancement and improvement of this technology. Where do you see this technology going from here?

2012 Hawaii STEM Conference

The 2012 Hawaii STEM Conference is right around the corner, March 30 & 31, 2012.

3D Academy is committed to bringing CAD and 3D technology into the classroom and expanding STEM education for middle school students. We strongly believe in the benefits of STEM education and the impact it has on our future generations.

The 2012 Hawaii STEM Conference is sponsored by the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology project. It will be held at the beautiful Wailea Marriott on Maui. The conference will be attended by over 200 STEM/Service Learning students, teachers, parents, community and business leaders. The conference will celebrate their work over the past year, share their stories and meet other STEM/Service Learning students from different islands.

Over the two days, software training sessions will be held in the following areas — 3D CAD, Photoshop, Web Design, Game Design, Videography, GIS/GPS, Leadership, Science/Adaptive Optics, and Green Technologies.

If you are interested in attending please visit the official website for more information.

Could Crash Modeling Have Saved the Costa Concordia?

Event simulation helps automobile manufacturers design safer vehicles — and it can do the same for shipbuilders.

The Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster has generated many questions, but one in particular haunts survivors and onlookers alike: Could this disaster have been prevented?

The Costa Concordia tragedy has been a major headline on newsstands in recent months, and today Cadalyst posted a viewpoint article, by Mr. Robert Yancey, discussing ways in which shipbuilders should start modeling their event simulation programs after that of the automotive industry, to help prevent future accidents. Advancements in simulation modeling has allowed the automotive industry to build safer and more reliant vehicles, and the shipbuilding industry should adopt the same design and testing processes to keep passengers safe.

In simulation modeling, engineers use a digital design of a vehicle to generate a simulation model that represents all of the key elements of the design, including material properties, mass properties, occupant models, and the impact event (e.g., side impact, frontal offset, etc.). The accuracy of these models is now so high that most automotive companies do extensive virtual testing of their vehicle designs before ever building prototypes, and the physical testing is really just a final verification of the crashworthiness of the design. In most cases, there are no surprises during the physical test. 

Land to Sea

Could ship designers follow the automotive industry’s example? Could we employ simulation modeling to create more advanced designs that can better respond to the type of event that destroyed the Concordia? The answer is yes.

Engineers could use much of the technology developed for automotive crash modeling to model a ship’s impact on rocks, icebergs, sandbars, and other hazards. We cannot always prevent these events from happening, but if we can develop ship designs that more effectively respond to these impacts — especially to provide sufficient time to safely evacuate the passengers — we could improve passenger safety and confidence.

In the case of the Concordia, the ship’s hull was divided into several watertight compartments; one or two sections of the hull could flood without sinking the entire ship. The ship had longitudinal bulkheads, intended to keep it from listing when flooded. During the recent disaster, however, the ship came to rest on a rock ledge; this caused the vessel to become unstable on the uneven bottom and roll on its side. This position complicated the rescue operation, because many of the lifeboats could not be deployed with the ship listing to one side.

Collision of Costa Concordia 5
Disaster simulations could help ship designers prepare for uncommon scenarios, such as having a ship run aground and roll onto its side. Image courtesy of Roberto Vongher, via Wikimedia Commons.

This occurrence, and many other unusual situations, could be simulated on a computer. Just as a car-crash simulation varies according to speed, direction, impact zone, and other elements, a good simulation model of a ship could replicate many of the conditions that the vessel might encounter. Armed with the results of these simulations, engineers can adapt the ship design to better respond to each of these situations.

Can simulation modeling help with the design of cruise ships?

To read the full Cadalyst article, please click here.

3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing IS Changing the Manufacturing Industry

How will 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing change the way conventional manufacturing methods are utilized?

Is 3D Printing just a cool process or are there added benefits and value gained to using this additive fabrication process over conventional machining methods? 3D Printing is cool, but the manner in which it is being used has greatly added to its appeal. 3D Printing is now moving beyond the prototyping and design validation stages and into production applications.

If you’re manufacturing low volumes of a product, using Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) might be a more cost effective method for producing end-use production parts. Of course one off prototypes or even production parts can benefit from DDM, but did you know it is now being adopted and used as implants in medical applications? Another emerging industry that has begun to utilize 3D Printing are the many food manufacturing sectors.  3D Printers can now produce parts using chocolate!

With these new technologies emerging, how will 3D Printing be used and will it be available for the home/consumer markets at an affordable price while providing similar quality as higher end production 3D Printing machines?


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