Benefits & Drawbacks of the New 3MF File Format

May 20, 2015
3D Innovations

In recent weeks there has been chatter about the new 3MF file format and what it means for the 3D printing industry. “3MF is a new 3D printing format that will allow design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models to a mix of other applications, platforms, services and printers” (3MF Consortium). The aim of 3MF is to close the design loop, which means that from design to print only a single file is required. Current STL files can be frustrating for designers as they find themselves spending more and more time fixing technology issues, which takes time away from actually developing innovative designs. We asked Collin Kobayashi, President & Chief 3D Officer of 3D Innovations, to weigh in on what he sees as the benefits and drawbacks of 3MF…

The benefits of 3MF…
  • Increased scalability and usage across all software platforms;
  • Will lead to further adoption of ASTM standards;
  • Bridges the gap between multi-platform design programs;
  • Updates the old .STL format which was originally developed when 3D Printing was first introduced over 20 years ago;
  • Creates an open source field for further collaboration between companies and industries;
  • Opens up opportunities for further development and adoption by smaller companies;
  • With the spike in growth in Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing, a new format is needed to keep up with the advancements in this technology;
  • May introduce a new method to print with multi-materials and/or multi-colored format;
  • Potential for smaller sized files with more data.
The drawbacks of 3MF…
  • Needs to be managed by a consortium of companies to avoid monopolization by Microsoft;
  • Skeptics will challenge this new format because of Microsoft’s past products;
  • Still too early to tell, but has many added benefits over current .stl process.

This new file format is revolutionary for the 3D design and printing industry, but as always, time will tell if it has actual sticking power with designers. Please let us know what you think of the new file format and the consortium by leaving a comment on this post.

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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: WELLY Reusable Bottle

May 15, 2015
3D Innovations

Did you know… Americans use more than 29 billion plastic water bottles each year and only 1 in 6 is recycled, (National Geographic)? Our planet is being polluted with water bottles that take hundreds of years to disintegrate and create a tremendous burden on the environment. Many of these plastic bottles end up in landfills, streams and oceans. When we make the conscious effort to stop purchasing single serve bottles and invest in reusable bottles, we can start to combat this environmental issue and make our world a better place.

Our featured “Product of the Week”, WELLY Bottle, is a sustainable, filtered and sleek reusable bottle. WELLY is designed to be “an easy-to-carry, reusable, BPA-free water bottle with a built-in filter made from activated and carbonized coconut shells that purifies your water as you drink it”. The thoughtful design of WELLY is what captured our attention. From the shape of the bottle to the design of the cap, each piece was carefully crafted to be convenient and functional. Below are just a few features that make the design of WELLY standout…

  • wellyA mouthpiece that is protected within the bottle’s cap, ensuring it stays clean, yet easily accessible by tapping the bottle’s trigger
  • Bamboo hand panels you can squeeze to accelerate water flow
  • A finger loop that makes carrying your bottle by hand or on a carabiner easy and secure
  • Feet on the bottle’s bottom for stability
  • An opening large enough to accommodate ice cubes
  • A slim profile to minimize the space required to carry the bottle in a bag or purse

The company goes one step further and places emphasis on creating not only a superior bottle but one rooted in sustainability. “WELLY considers all three pillars of sustainability (environmental, economic, social) in every decision that we make. From our materials that we source to our packaging used to ship WELLY to your doorstep, we aim to minimize our carbon footprint while reducing the demand for oil and plastic from our world.”

Learn more about Welly on Kickstarter and the official website.

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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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The 2nd Annual Honolulu Mini Maker Faire

May 12, 2015
3D Innovations

3D InnovationsThe 2nd Annual Honolulu Mini Maker Faire was this past Saturday at ‘Iolani School, and we must say that it was another fantastic event! The turnout was exceptional and there was a wide variety of technology on display. The hard-work and dedication by all of the volunteers was very evident.

There were makers from various industries and everyone was eager to learn. We were happy to impart our 3D printing knowledge on everyone that stopped by our booth. We answered many questions about 3D printing technology, applications for the technology and how it can be integrated with product design and prototyping. The community of makers in Hawaii is quickly expanding and we can’t wait to see what is in store for the 2016 Honolulu Mini Maker Faire.

You can check out photos from the event on Flickr and we shared a couple on our 3D Innovations Facebook page as well.

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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: Stikey Portable Smartphone Stand

May 8, 2015
3D Innovations

In today’s world many of us rely on our smartphone on a daily basis. Whether we use it for scheduling, directions or to keep in touch with loved ones, our phone is never far from our hands. This week our featured Product of the Week, Stikey aims to simplify the way we all use our smartphone while enhancing the overall experience. This small, portable and discreet device works as a smartphone stand as well as a cable tidy. Also, the magnetic mount for the Stikey means that you can place your smartphone on any surface where it would be convenient to have it at eye level.

stickey“Stikey is a portable, magnetic stand for smartphones (android, iOS & windows) that works equally well on portrait and landscape orientation. Stikey also works with iPad mini and other similar tablets on landscape orientation. Ideal for typing and watching movies!” This product is clever and very practical for our everyday life.

The designers went a step further with their product design and developed a package for Stikey that is both functional and sustainable. “We believe that product packaging should not be an afterthought and treated as potential waste.” We really appreciate the way in which this design team created both an innovative product and well-thought-out packaging for it.

Learn more about Stikey on Kickstarter and the official website!

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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 BevPod Slim Cooler

May 1, 2015
3D Innovations

Lately traditional coolers have undergone a major redesign to fit our active lifestyles. We have witnessed the Coolest Cooler find enormous Kickstarter success through a completely re-imagined design and, here at 3D Innovations, we have assisted Sachi Kitchenware’s development of the Pupu Cooler, which is compact and great for transporting snacks. There is no denying that coolers are rapidly transforming.

bevpodThis week we decided to feature another innovative cooler, the BevPod. This cooler is extremely thin and easy to transport, which are two uncommon characteristics of most other coolers. Measuring in at just 3 inches wide and weighing only 3 lbs. means this cooler can easily fit into a backpack or tote. The BevPod  would be great for a trip to the beach, an afternoon at the park or the day at a sporting event. “The slim cooler leverages insulating materials that are rigid and hold form so that your drinks don’t roll around and the custom ice pack is designed to complement the cooler and slip right into place. A water-resistant lining inside BevPod makes for quick cleanup after a day of fun!”

Learn more about the BevPod on Kickstarter! You can also follow the company on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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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 Captures the Imagination

April 21, 2015
3D Innovations

Design_News_LOGOAdditive manufacturing (a/k/a 3D printing) has captured the attention of not only tech enthusiasts but almost every single industry out there. This technology is quickly expanding and moving beyond its initial prototyping function. “Although analyst predictions differ, all are in agreement that the 3D printing industry is growing and likely will continue to grow at a notable pace. Wohlers Report 2014, for example, puts the worldwide 3D printing industry at $3.07 billion in 2013 and anticipates that figure will reach $12.8 billion by 2018 and over $21 billion by 2020.” These are astonishing figures considering that just 10 years ago this technology was no where near this popular.

Another interesting way to analyze the 3D printing market is by looking at how wildly popular the technology is on crowdfunding websites, such as Kickstarter. Design News posted an article today, Top 10 3D Printing Projects, in which you garner a clear understanding of where the technology is and where it is going through Kickstarter statistics. “Without fail, the most popular of these projects are funded at seven or 10 times the amount the originator hoped to raise. Most received funding within a thirty day funding window and some were funded in minutes.” 3D printing is one of those technologies that piques your curiosity and captures your imagination.

Read the full Design News article and view the slideshow here.

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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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2015 Hawaii STEM Conference: CAD Competition

April 20, 2015
3D Innovations

stemconfThe 6th Annual Hawaii STEM Conference concluded this past weekend and we had the honor of being part of it once again. This year 3D Innovations held a CAD competition that was focused on having teams develop a design solution based on an existing problem presented to them. The challenge was to design a custom bike light that will easily mount to the handle bars on a child size bike. The students utilized Solidworks to produce their digital designs. The challenging part for the teams involved taking the requirements they were given and simultaneously addressing all of the design specifications.

Once the students had completed the task, they then presented their design outcome, photo renderings, anticipated material costs and packaging designs/options to a panel of expert judges. Maui High School presented an outstanding design solution and came in first place! This team was cohesive and had great communication which helped them take the lead. It was great to see that all of the student participants in the competition showed determination and strong problem solving skills.

We would be remiss without mentioning the keynote speaker at the conference, Titan Gilroy of Titan America Manufacturing. Titan grew up in Hawaii and fought an uphill battle for a good portion of his life and has come out on top. He is the proud owner of a CNC machining company and a major proponent of american manufacturing. His story really resonated with the audience and his charisma was inspiring. You can learn more about his company on the official Titan America MFG website and more about Titan himself on the Alliance for American Manufacturing website.

Please visit our Facebook page to view the photos we snapped at the conference in our 2015 Hawaii STEM Conference album.

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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: HYDAWAY

April 17, 2015
3D Innovations

We know that staying hydrated is just one small step we can make to living a healthy lifestyle. Many of us try our best to stay hydrated throughout the day, but it can be quite a challenge if you are not reaching for a convenient disposable water bottle. HYDAWAY is a handy alternative to disposable plastic water bottles.

hydaway“HYDAWAY is an easy-to-use, reusable water bottle designed for people with active lifestyles who are searching for an alternative way to carry water that’s just as convenient as buying bottled water.” With 50 billion plastic water bottles being thrown away each year, and less than 25% being recycled, HYDAWAY is offering an environmentally friendly alternative. The compact design of HYDAWAY makes it truly innovative and an ideal companion for an active lifestyle.

“Whether you’re a frequent flier, a mile-a-minute mom, a weekend warrior or just someone who thirsts for thoughtful design, HYDAWAY fits the life you live. No more lugging around bulky ’empties’, no more disposables in landfills, no more hard to clean bottles. HYDAWAY is flat out ready to go, whenever and wherever.”

From a design perspective, we love seeing the stages of development on the HYDAWAY project timeline!

Learn more about the HYDAWAY 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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Kick-start Your Crowdfunding Campaign

April 14, 2015
3D Innovations

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. ~Walt Disney

Concept 3D PrintingSo you have an idea that you believe it viable and would be a crowdfunding success but are unsure where to begin. At this stage in the game you probably have thousands of questions running through your mind. What would be my crowdfunding goal? How do I find a manufacturer? Is a prototype necessary? Where do I turn for packaging design?

While setting up your crowdfunding campaign is exhilarating, it is critical that you are well prepared. Below are points to consider as you are preparing to launch your campaign.

1. Don’t Underestimate Product Costs. One major issue facing new inventors is how easy it can be to underestimate the actual cost of bringing a product to market. Crowdfunding is typically an all or nothing funding approach, so depressing the funding goal is a common error. Without a proper funding target you are creating future issues and doing a major disservice to you and your investors. A way to combat this is by having a professional analyze your designs and provide you with an estimate on the actual manufacturing costs. This proactive approach not only helps with your campaign, but it also proves to investors that you are serious and well prepared.

2. Prototype. Your product should be prototyped. This stage lets you work out any design challenges and ensures that your product is in fact viable and able to be manufactured. It also helps define product costs, create marketing material, file a patent and gain customer feedback before manufacturing begins.

3. Details, Details, Details. Really put time and effort into the information you share with potential investors. Show them your initial development timeline and prototype changes. Explain how you have overcome certain challenges and how this has prepared you for the journey that is ahead.

4. Invest in Marketing. A video on our crowdfunding page is a must-have. You don’t need to invest in a big marketing firm but you do need a quality video and product images. Check around with friends and colleagues to see if they know someone that can help or reach out to freelance marketers for assistance.

5. Patent Protection. It is always a good idea to think about some form of intellectual property protection before placing your idea on a crowdfunding website. Most potential investors want you to succeed but there are those few that may want to steal your idea. Research patent protection through the USPTO and/or take some time to chat with a licensed patent attorney.

Have additional questions about launching your crowdfunding campaign? Please feel free to send your questions our way at info@3d-innovations.com

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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: Zero Waste Cap

April 10, 2015
3D Innovations

Many innovative products are solutions to problems that we experience every day; Zero Waste Cap is one of these solutions. How many times have you caught yourself throwing away a bottle of lotion because the pump has quit working? You know there is more lotion inside but the hassle it takes to retrieve the lotion usually doesn’t seem worth it, so you recycle the lotion bottle and head out to buy a new one. The Zero Waste cap is an adaptable cap that solves this problem completely.

zerowaste“Zero Waste Cap is designed to easily thread on the necks of lotion bottles you find at local stores. Zero Waste Cap transforms a lotion pump bottle into one with a flip top cap that can be balanced upside down on the cap. Once sitting upside down gravity pulls the lotion toward the cap so it’s easy to remove.”

This adaptability design of the Zero Waste Cap makes this product truly unique.

Learn more about Zero Waste Cap on Kickstarter and the official website.

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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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