Product of the Week: Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil

January 23, 2015
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We know what you might be thinking, really a mechanical pencil for the Product of the Week, but with a motto like “A Mechanical Pencil That Will Last You A Lifetime” we had to stop and take notice. Many of us, especially engineers, use a mechanical pencil every day and don’t give much thought to it. When our pencil breaks we just reach in the desk drawer and pull out a new one while tossing the old one right into the trash can. The engineer behind the Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil got to thinking about all of the plastic and waste filling up our planet because of the high turnover of mechanical pencils and he knew there had to be a better way.

modern fuel mechanical pencil“The project started when I noticed I was using packs and packs of mechanical pencils at work as disposable items. I set out to design a mechanical pencil that would reduce the waste, be a testament to U.S. manufacturing and design, and not break the bank. Having a single mechanical pencil that replaces the endless packs of plastic that end up sitting it landfills and floating in our oceans has to be a good thing.”

The Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil is made from a single piece of metal and has been re-engineered so that there are less parts (thus reducing the chance for breaks). The design behind this pencil is spectacular; the clean lines and sleek design really make it stand out.

Learn more about the Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil on Kickstarter, the official website and Twitter!

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Crowdfunding Success

January 22, 2015
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The concept of crowdfunding is something that many are familiar with now and it’s hard to believe that this concept has only been around for roughly five years. The JOBS Act of 2012 really helped set the platform for crowdfunding to expand and that it has. “According to the Crowdfunding Industry Report by Massolution, in 2012 there was $2.7 Billion raised online via crowdfunding. In 2013 an estimated $5.1 Billion was crowdfunded online.” When entrepreneurs see these types of numbers and hear about wildly successful campaigns (such as the Coolest Cooler on Kickstarter, which raised $13M) it is no surprise that they are turning to crowdfunding for support.

goalWith so many crowdfunding platforms out there the landscape is packed and it is hard to know where to begin. We have put together the following list of crowdfunding websites sites, with brief descriptions on what types of projects they host, to help narrow your search to the community that is the best suit for your goals and needs.

  1. Kickstarter: “Bring your creative project to life” is the motto. This donation-based platform hosts creative projects ranging from art instillations to 3D printing technology. It is one of the earlier platforms and is very well-known. It has gained momentum in recent years with numerous product break-out campaigns raising wild amounts of funding.
  2. Indiegogo: This donation-based platform can help raise funds for a variety of projects. You will see things from consumer products to personal projects hosted here. With this kind of project variety and flexibility, Indiegogo has experienced more international growth than many of the other platforms.
  3. Quirky: If you’re an inventor, maker, or tinkerer then Quirky is a place to collaborate and crowdfund for donation-based funding with a community of other like-minded folks. Their site digs deeper into helping the process of bringing an invention or product to life, allowing community participation in the process.
  4. Go Fund Me: This donation-based platform is similar to Indiegogo in that there is quite a variety of projects on this site. Anything from personal goal projects to consumer product ideas can be found here.
  5. Crowdfunder: This is an investment-based platform, and has a one of the largest and fastest growing network of investors. This platform has quickly become the “Step #2″ in crowdfunding for businesses — After successfully completing a donation-based funding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, companies are often turning to Crowdfunder to give the the crowd the opportunity to invest and raise more formal Seed & Series A rounds.
  6. AngelList: This is the place to go if you are looking for Silicon Valley momentum. Crowdfunding is relatively new for AngelList but the accredited investors and institutions on AngelList have been funding a growing number of top tech startups.
  7. CircleUp: This is a investment-based crowdfunding platform focuses on connecting accredited investors with innovative consumer and retail companies.

You will see in the brief descriptions above we mentioned either donation-based or investment-based. Donation or rewards based is the traditional type of crowdfunding platform in which you invest funds in return for a product if the campaign is successfully funded. Investment-based means that you are becoming a shareholder and are offered shares from the company in return for your investment.

We know there are hundreds of crowdfunding platforms out there, but we feel that these are the top places for entrepreneurs to get a product successfully funded and on its way to manufacturing and ultimately consumers.

We invite you to learn more about crowdfunding on the following websites:

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Product of the Week: The UFO Turntable Strobe

January 16, 2015
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This week we are featuring the UFO Turntable Strobe, a past Kickstarter project that we had the honor of working on, as our “Product of the Week”. Jim Hagerman, the entrepreneur behind the UFO Turntable Strobe, founded Hagerman Audio Labs in 1994 and his company focuses on the design and manufacturing of audiophile-grade electronics. In 2013 we teamed up with Jim on his wildly successful Bugle2: A DIY Phono Preamp. Unfortunately later that year the UFO Turntable Strobe did not meet its Kickstarter funding goal, but that does not mean Jim has given up the dream of bring this product to life. We are still working with Jim to help reduce the manufacturing costs and raise awareness about this fantastic turntable accessory.

The UFO Turntable Strobe lets you know if your turntable is accurate or if a speed adjustment is needed. For the same cost as a two piece pattern disc and strobe light, you can have all of the functionality in one well-designed product. Not only will it greatly reduce distortion in your music, the UFO Turntable Strobe will set you apart. This hovering UFO above your turntable looks fantastic in a dark room or club setting.

If you are a DJ or just a lover of vinyl you should watch the Kickstarter video below to see how the UFO Turntable Strobe can work for you…

If you would like to learn more about the UFO Turntable Strobe or chat with Jim, please send us an e-mail at info@3d-innovations.com

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A CES 2015 Technology Recap

January 12, 2015
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CES 2015 came to an end on Friday but the buzz surrounding the event lives on. We have rounded up a few of our favorite news articles from the event to share with you (with an emphasis on 3D printing technology of course)…  Enjoy!

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Product of the Week: Polyes Q1 3D Printing Pen

January 9, 2015
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futuremakeHappy 2015! We thought we would kick off 2015 with an extremely innovative product of the week, the Polyes Q1 3D Printing Pen by Future Make. In the past two years we have seen a few other 3D printing pens hit the market but the Polyes pen really stands out in this niche segment. Polyes is not only convenient but the technology behind this pen makes it safe for children to use. Polyes uses photo-polymer as ink, which solidifies under the LED light and thus reduces odor and high temperatures. If you are a very visual person who wants to bring an idea to life or are looking for a fantastic tool for your children the Polyes could be your solution.

“Polyes has all the capabilities of 3D printing pens without the pitfalls. From the totally safe and cool nozzle to sleek, optimally-proportioned white body, the pen is as easy to use as it is versatile. Are you the sort of person who likes to think big? Are you a fan of architecture maybe? You can build anything from a small house outline to the Medieval Castle!”

Learn more about the Polyes Q1 3D Printing Pen on Kickstarter or the official Future Make website. You can also follow the company and their Kickstarter campaign on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter!

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Happy Holidays

December 23, 2014
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Our 3D Innovations team would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.”

– Charles Kettering, American inventor and engineer.

HappyHolidays

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

3D Academy, A Division of 3D Innovations, LLC provides training services specializing in 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D Printing Technology.

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Product of the Week: MeArm

December 19, 2014
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We always have our eye out for activities that make STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education fun and accessible. On Kickstarter we came across MeArm, a pock sized industrial robot arm, that is built and programmed by the user. The developers have made this kit simple enough to be put together with a screwdriver but with its open source design files you can also move into more advanced levels of robotics. This is a terrific way to introduce children to engineering and robotics!

MmearmeArm would be a fantastic product to introduce robotics in a home or school setting. “Apart from being something that’s small, cool and attractive the MeArm is a miniature version of an industrial robot arm. So while it’s simple enough to build and use with a child on a rainy Sunday afternoon – it can also be used at more advanced levels of education to teach real robotics.”

You can follow the MeArm campaign on Kickstarter, the official website and Facebook!

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

3D Academy, A Division of 3D Innovations, LLC provides training services specializing in 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D Printing Technology.

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Harnessing the Power of Additive Manufacturing Technologies

December 17, 2014
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By now most businesses understand that there is value in additive manufacturing (a/k/a 3D printing) technologies but still might be puzzled as to how this technology can have an immediate impact on their business. The book, Fabricated by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, takes a look at a broad range of industries and how these businesses have harnessed the power of 3D printing to reduce costs, time and design complexity challenges. These authors found that across an array of diverse industries there were ten distinct “rules” pertaining to additive manufacturing technologies that kept reoccurring.

Below are the 10 Principals shared in Fabricated that can help businesses take full advantage of 3D printing technologies. While some of these principals can be seen today others are still in infancy.

  1. Manufacturing complexity is free. On a 3D printer, complexity costs the same as simplicity.
  2. Variety is free. A single 3D printer can make many shapes with minimal human intervention.
  3. No assembly required. Interlocking parts can be created with a 3D printer, thus reducing assembly time.
  4. Zero lead time. A 3D printer can print on demand when an object is needed.
  5. Unlimited design space. A printer can fabricate shapes that until now have been possible only in nature.
  6. Zero skill manufacturing. A 3D printer gets most of its guidance from a design file. To make an object of equal complexity, a 3D printer requires less operator skill than does an injection molding machine.
  7. Compact, portable manufacturing. Per volume of production space, a 3D printer has more manufacturing capacity than a traditional manufacturing machine.
  8. Less waste by-product. Less material waste ends up on the factory floor.
  9. Infinite shades of materials. As multi-material 3D printing develops, we will gain the capacity to blend and mix different raw materials.
  10. Precise physical replication. We will scan, edit, and duplicate physical objects to create exact replicas or to improve on the original.

We invite you to delve deeper into each of these principals in the Ten Principles of 3-D Printing article found on Industry Week.

Source:

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Product of the Week: Swiftpoint GT

December 12, 2014
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Swiftpoint GT is the world’s first mouse with natural touch gestures.” In our world full of touch screens and tablets it can often get frustrating when you are working on a project and need the versatility of a mouse — Swiftpoint GT combines intuitive touch gestures with the precision and convenience of a mouse. The ability to utilize touch gestures with a natural finger and wrist action without having to touch the screen makes this product truly innovative.

swiftpointIf you are stumped about what gift to buy for the techie in your life this holiday season, this portable mouse might be just the solution. The Swiftpoing GT was voted as a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Best of Innovation Honoree in the computer peripherals product category.

From the Swiftpoint GT Kickstarter page:

Touch devices are great for consuming content but when it comes to editing or creating content they fall short. The GT changes all that. It improves productivity in Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as other office and content creation applications. You can now flick and pan straight to where you want to be in a long document or a wide spreadsheet.

 

Switching between click mode and touch mode is seamless and a huge benefit for users who like the ease of scrolling and being able to place the cursor in a precise position.

 

The GT is 30%-40% more efficient and more accurate than a touchpad (based on an industry-standard Fitts’ Law test). This helps you complete your work faster, and without the frustration and ergonomic issues typical of poorly designed low cost mice.

Learn more about the Swiftpont GT on Kickstarter or the official website. You can also follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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3D Printing Predictions for 2015

December 10, 2014
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As 2014 is rapidly coming to a close, people are looking forward to 2015 and wondering what the new year will bring. Everyone seems to be gazing into a crystal ball and now the internet is buzzing with lists containing what products and technology will be hot in 2015.

prototype-3d-printing-innovations-100One technology that is sure to turn heads again in 2015 is 3D printing. As an engineering and design firm we are always interested in the manner in which 3D printing will become more mainstream. 3D printing is a fascinating technology that is currently able to assist businesses in a variety of ways but, we know that there is still so much more this technology can accomplish.

We have found two great lists that focus on 3D printing technology in 2015. One list from Tech AdvisorTech trends 2015: 3D printing grows up, focuses on the continued growth and innovations within the 3D printing (a/k/a additive manufacturing) industry. The other list was produced by GartnerGartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, and focuses on technology that will impact all aspects of business. Below are excerpts about the future of 3D printing from both articles…

3D Printing Insight from Tech Advisor: “Where the growth is really going to happen is in commercial manufacturing. This is an area where 3D printing is so well established that as a concept it hasn’t been exciting for a few years now. Here it’s new developments such as affordable multi-material printing that are going to get product, furniture, fashion and technology designers exciting – and we’ll all reap the rewards of their efforts.” Tech Advisor goes on to mention the expanded use of 3D printing in medicine. Advancements with prosthetic prototypes is sure increase and hopefully become mainstream to help keep medical costs low. (View more from Tech Advisor.)

Gartner’s 3D printing prediction: “3D Printing: Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 98 percent in 2015, followed by a doubling of unit shipments in 2016. 3D printing will reach a tipping point over the next three years as the market for relatively low-cost 3D printing devices continues to grow rapidly and industrial use expands significantly. New industrial, biomedical and consumer applications will continue to demonstrate that 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.” (View more from Gartner.)

What do you think about these predictions? Seem accurate or miss the mark for you? Please share your thoughts on the future of 3D printing with us!

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3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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