The Benefits of 3D CAD to the Entire Design Process

July 1, 2015
3D Innovations

Innovation has been a popular buzz word the last few years in technology and each new product promises to be more innovative than the last, but there are many steps between an initial product idea and a truly innovative new product. For most, the first step in the quest to produce the next big innovation is building a digital design of the product idea using 3D CAD (computer-aided drafting). 3D CAD is design software used to develop designs and models for 3D objects. Engineers use this type of software to visualize concepts, explore new design ideas and simulate how a design will perform in the real world. Whether you are designing a corporate building, automotive parts or an innovative consumer product, 3D CAD is beneficial and an early critical step of the design process.

For entrepreneurs and inventors, 3D digital designs of ideas and inventions saves both time and resources, since the digital design can initially test product design theories without the need of building an actual prototype. These visual designs provide you with the capability to understand all aspects of the design. Even though prototyping costs are decreasing, in part, due to additive manufacturing (3D printing), it is best to develop a 3D digital design before producing a prototype.

Demand for 3D Digital Designs is on the Rise

3D Digital Design is on the rise, driven by entrepreneurs with the need to communicate their product concept clearly to potential investors. Whether it is a renowned investment firm or a crowdfunding platform, digital designs allow stakeholders to visualize and provide feedback and modification ideas. This multi-platform collaboration extends to investors, suppliers and other team members, as these designs are used congruently to develop marketing material, packaging and demonstrations.

Prototype Development and Testing

Design validation is a critical step in the development process. Until tested, a virtual design is merely a theoretical assumption that must be validated. Using the 3D digital design throughout the design workflow has many advantages which include using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for virtual simulation/testing and in conjunction with using the same design data for physical prototyping. This CAD file can be exported into various formats that CNC machines and 3D Printers are able to utilize to produce the design. Within the enterprise system, a physical prototype has many advantages over CFD simulations and should not be replaced, but rather jointly integrated. In the testing phase, a prototype should serve to validate the product’s form, fit, and function which should include physical testing for mechanical and thermal properties. Existing workflows should incorporate prototyping into their development cycles and plan for multiple iterations of the design to get it to a manufacture ready state.

The Manufacturing Floor

Manufacturers around the world have adopted common practices and standards which rely on the use of digital design files for their manufacturing process. This adoption of using digital designs for their downstream applications eliminates operator error, increases productivity, and allows for more competitiveness in the marketplace. Digital design paired with design automation practices ultimately leads to higher efficiency and increased communication between the customer and manufacturer.

Product Commercialization

While direct focus is on product manufacturing, the marketing team will be using this same 3D digital design to create photo renderings behind-the-scenes to produce distinctive packaging designs, testing of packaging materials and design demonstrations for early investors. Speeding up the marketing development process is an additional way to reduce total development time and quickly get the product to market and, in turn, consumers. Working congruently in this manner, across departments, keeps the commercialization timeline on track.

Getting a project started out on the “right foot” with 3D digital designs will minimize challenges and complications later on in the design cycle. While the benefits of 3D CAD might seem obvious during the design phase of the product development lifecycle, the real benefits extend far beyond this, into prototyping, manufacturing and even into the commercialization phase.
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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: Drop Smart Pool Monitor

July 1, 2015
3D Innovations

DropIt’s summer time and that means more time outside in the pool. While spending time in the pool is a staple of the season, maintaining a pool can be a challenge. Drop, the smart pool monitor aims to simplify the care process for your pool. “With Drop, you can monitor all the relevant variables in our easy-to-use app: chlorine, pH, temperature, movement, and overall water quality. Watch the levels change in real time when you make adjustments to your pool.” The app also alerts you to any unexpected pool activity so you are constantly aware of what is happening in your pool. Drop is solar powered, so you will never have to worry about it losing its charge.

Drop Specifications:

  • Solar powered with lithium-ion battery back-up.
  • Measures temperature, pH and ORP (Oxydo-Reduction Potential) as a proxy for chlorine levels.
  • 3-axis accelerometer for movement detection Compatible with chlorine, mineral and salt pools.
  • App for iOS and Android.
  • Connects wirelessly to the Drop Cloud (wifi connection required).
  • Provides a custom maintenance plan designed to help you maintain a perfect balance without over-use of chemicals in your pool.
  • Adapts and learns about your pool – recommendations and accuracy will improve over time.

As a design firm we are always interested in the process taken to achieve the final product, and on the Drop Kickstarter page you can view early sketches, prototypes and product testing. You can truly see the time and dedication devoted to perfecting the design. Drop is the perfect pool assistant.

Learn more about Drop 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: Aumi Night Light

June 26, 2015
3D Innovations

Night lights are a staple in many children’s rooms and throughout the entire house. The Aumi is a completely redesigned and re-imagined night light. “Aumi is the smartest Night Light you’ll ever own. It’s a Bluetooth enabled, portable, multi-colored nightlight that you control with your smart phone or tablet.” The simplicity of its design along with features make Amui truly innovative.

aumiAumi at a glance…

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth LE/Smart (iOS & Android)
  • Automatic: Sensor can be use to turn light on automatically when dark, or off when it’s daylight.
  • Timers: Use timers to turn off or dim light, set reminders.
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lipo battery, up to 8 -10  hours of light per charge. Stays on when power goes out.
  • Lighting: High quality RGB LED’s – allow over 16 million color choices. Light brightness is fully adjustable.
  • Responsive: Manually adjust the brightness or turn the unit on and off with simple intuitive controls.

Aumi is a night light but also serves as portable lighting, since it is equipped with a rechargeable battery. This feature makes it ideal for children and anyone who might require extra light around the house after dark. The low profile design of Aumi (0.8 inch width) also means that when it is plugged in, it’s not obtrusive and less likely to accidentally get knocked out of the wall. We know that we say it time and again, but some of the most innovative products out there are simply upgraded and redesigned products we all use on a daily basis, the Aumi included.

Learn more about Aumi on Kickstarter or 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 Correlation Between Patents & Innovation

June 24, 2015
3D Innovations

With increasing litigation sparked by patent trolls, patents and the entire patent system have come under scrutiny. Many are calling for patent system reform while others are saying that the entire system should be abolished. Getting rid of the entire patent system would “strip away much of the incentive to create, impeding investment in new technologies, slowing the production of new creative content and harming economic growth”. In short, it would be a disaster.

“Just because today’s technologies can sometimes make it easier to invent more quickly and at less cost doesn’t mean the resulting inventions are less valuable to society or less worthy of protection.” Without the protection of the patent system many entrepreneurs would be at risk of having their innovations simply stolen by larger competitors. The Patent Act of 1790 was the first federal patent statute in the United States and it was created because there was a need to safeguard inventors. While patent laws have transformed over the years, the principle that entrepreneurs and inventions need safeguards remains true.

The current patent system in place does have its flaws and standards should be tighter to ensure that only inventions truly worthy of protection receive intellectual property rights. Reforming the patent system should be the next step, not abolishing it. “The fast pace of innovation and the increasingly international flow of goods and content can create challenges for traditional patent and copyright systems. But those systems, despite their flaws, remain vital to economic prosperity. The correct approach is to update them, not dismantle them.”

Have further questions about patents, the patent process or prototyping for a patent application? Please contact us at info@3d-innovations.com

Works cited: The Scientific American – Why Patents and Copyright Protections Are More Important Than Ever

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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: FOVE Virtual Reality Headset

June 19, 2015
3D Innovations

foveVirtual reality headsets once seemed like a thing of fiction, however the technology for them is quickly advancing and they are now part of today’s reality. The FOVE Virtual Reality Headset on Kickstarter has made quite a splash and was funded in a mere 72 hours! FOVE is the first eye tracking virtual reality headset, which means that it tracks a user’s gaze and calculates where in 3D space a user is looking. This enables the graphics engine to adjust focus and allocate rendering resources accordingly.

With FOVE you can…

  • Aim With Your Eyes. Simply target, aim and shoot with true line-of-sight targeting.
  • Make Eye Contact. Look, laugh and communicate with virtual characters just like in the real world.
  • Focus Your Vision. View realistic scenery that blurs and sharpens, reacting to where you are focusing.
  • Move Naturally. Tilt your head to reduce simulation sickness by reducing the need for unnatural head movements.

“FOVE enables eye-tracking by incorporating custom small form-factor infrared sensors inside the headset. These sensors bounce light off the retina to register how the eyes are angled. Our unique algorithms can calculate the parallax between the eyes to track and measure depth-of-field focus.” The technology behind this virtual reality headset make is great for gaming but the technology goes far beyond that as well… “Eye Play the Piano is a collaborative project between the University of Tsukuba’s Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged and FOVE. FOVE recognizes eye movement and blinks to trigger the selected chord, which is then conveyed to the piano.” (You can view a video of the children in action playing the piano on the FOVE Kickstarter page.)

Virtual reality is the future of storytelling and this technology has far reaching capabilities. If you are interested in learning more about the technology behind FOVE, check out the Kickstarter page; It is full of videos, renderings and fascinating VR technology information. You can also visit the official company 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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Impressive 3D Printing Products at RAPID 2015

June 18, 2015
3D Innovations

The RAPID 2015 Conference & Exposition in Long Beach, CA displayed numerous new 3D printing products and hosted an array of industry leaders speaking extensively about the technology. We unfortunately did not get the chance to attend the conference this year but have been keeping up with the technology exhibited through various news outlets. Design News recently posted a slideshow, 12 New & Notable 3D Printing Products from RAPID 2015, which gives great examples of the additive manufacturing technology showcased and where the technology is heading. 3D printing technology continues to mature and applications for the technology are rapidly expanding.

“Among the notable but not new we’ve already reported, ExOne exhibited its two most recent machines, the Innovent for educational and lab applications and the Exerial for making industrial-scale finished products. Concept Laser showcased its M2 Cusing selective laser melting (SLM) system we told you about, which debuted at Euromold last fall. Also there was Sciaky, showing off its Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) systems for making very high-quality, very large-scale metal parts.”

We invite you to view the slideshow in its entirety on the Design News website.

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Product of the Week: The Orbit1 Tabletop Electroplater

June 12, 2015
3D Innovations

Do you find yourself wanting to take your 3D prints to the next level? The Orbit1 is an efficient, easy-to-use electroplating device that coats your 3D print in metal. Not only does your print automatically look polished but the coating adds strength as well. The brilliance behind the Orbit1 is both in its ability to coat your product and its true ease of use; In just three simple steps you can be on your way to a truly one-of-a-kind product. This tabletop electroplater has made a once (very) complicated process easy. “Using Orbit1, you can coat your works in metal, even gold, in three steps. First, clean and polish your object, next spray the conductive paint, then click start. Orbit1 will metallize your design, empowering you with the Midas touch from your tabletop. Orbit1 is a step forward in the 3D printing world.”

orbit1The affordability of the Orbit1 makes it ideal for consumer 3D printing. “Makers, jewelers, engineers, designers, scientists, tinkerers, and artists have all been longing for a simple way to refine their 3D printed objects. Here comes the smart and speedy solution. Applicable to jewelry design, industrial design, rapid prototyping, mechanical parts, specialty electrical parts, molding/casting kits, and more.” Also, with the the Oribit1 app on your phone you can directly monitor the coating process and receive real time reminders. It is evident that the Orbit1 was designed to be truly innovative and user-friendly.

Learn more about the Orbit1 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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Design for Manufacturability

June 4, 2015
3D Innovations

Design engineers are critical during the product development cycle for concept, planning, detailed design and prototyping, and are also increasing responsible for manufacturing methods analysis and production planning. These last two responsibilities are rapidly increasing because there is more pressure on businesses to offer a quick turnaround and speedy market delivery. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology is one way design engineers have been able to keep up with the demands.

SONY DSC“Although additive-based rapid prototyping technologies are ever more established, from producing concept models to detailed engineering prototypes, engineers must not lose sight of how to go from prototyping and the final design stage to manufacturing production in the most efficient and effective way.” This is where design for manufacturability and assembly plays a critical role. When determining how to design and assemble in the most efficient manner possible organizations also have evaluate whether to use internal business resources or develop an external partnership.

No matter whether an organization looks internally or externally, the goal to get prototypes and production ready-parts into engineers hands in a matter of days instead of weeks remains the same. “There is now a plethora of 3D printing methods at companies’ disposal, from stereolithography to inkjet printing to direct metal laser sintering, just to name three. But quick-turn production is method-agnostic at its heart, where companies and their product development partners should keep all 3D printing options open and make their choices based on a balance of prioritized needs. These include lead time, cost, surface finish, detail and resolution, strength and material properties, and functional behavior for form and fit checks and engineering evaluation.”

Read more about design for manufacturability on the Design News website, How Do You Make Quick-Turn Design & Production a Reality?

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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 MoonRay Desktop 3D Printer

June 3, 2015
3D Innovations

Crowdfunding websites have become a mecca for 3D printing technology. While most of the 3D printers we see have a single feature that makes them standout from the competition it is a rarity to find a 3D printer that is efficient, versatile and compact. Our featured Product of the Week, MoonRay, meets all of these and more. The engineers behind the MoonRay Desktop 3D Printer set out to bridge the gap between quality and price, and from their Kickstarter page it looks like this has been successfully accomplished.

MoonRay“The desktop 3D printers on the market today fall into two groups: expensive and high resolution or less expensive but with sub-standard printing quality. We designed the MoonRay to bridge this gap and bring high-quality printing capabilities to an affordable desktop 3D printing unit.” The phenomenal printing quality of the MoonRay means that your finished product will be accurate and the ultra-fine details won’t be lost. We have seen this type of accuracy in large commercial sized 3D printers but never before in a compact desktop printer at this price point.

The overall design of the MoonRay is simple and intuitive. “The MoonRay has no moving parts that aren’t essential to the printing process. This simplicity allows the MoonRay to keep running smoothly over time.” To get started with MoonRay all your have to do is plug it in (seriously)! No assembly required means that you can start printing right away. The sleek outward appearance of MoonRay coupled with the internal technology makes this 3D printer truly one-of-a-kind.

Learn more about MoonRay 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: Hub+ for MacBook

May 29, 2015
3D Innovations

The new MacBook laptops are sleek and stylish but a distinct problem arises when you go to plug-in multiple devices and realize there is only one USB-C port. If you have multiple monitors or simply want to charge a device while you work, you have a frustrating issue on your hands. Our featured “Product of the Week”, Hub+, solves this problem! With Hub+ you get all of the essential ports that you need in one compact and portable device:

  • 2 USB-C ports
  • 1 SDXC card reader
  • 1 mini DisplayPort (mDP 1.2 video output, 4k displays at 60Hz refresh rate)
  • 3 USB-A 3.0 \ charging ports
  • Built-in lithium ion battery to charge ANY phone

nonda_hub“The Hub+ is not just a hub. It serves as a charging bridge for the new MacBook and makes it possible to plug in all your gear and charge your MacBook at the same time. We resisted building in a fixed cable that limits the usability of the hub in order to give the user the freedom that he deserves.”

The compact size of the Hub+ along with its stylish design captured our interest. The attention to detail is impeccable and it looks as though it could be an official Apple product in its own right. “The small footprint saves desk space and the sleek design matches your laptop.”

Hub+ is wildly popular on Kickstarter and we can definitely see why… This one innovative product is solving an issue that thousands of people struggle with daily.

Learn more about the Hub+ on Kickstarter or 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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