Product of the Week: mDrawBot

March 27, 2015
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This 4-in-1 robotics kit would be a great project for a robotics class or a weekend project at home. mDrawBot is a 4-in-1 drawing robot kit, that can be assembled into 4 different configuration drawing robots: mScara, mSpider, mEggBot and mCar. All four of these robots can draw on different surfaces and the best part is that build time is about an hour. This is one of those kits that can really spark a love for engineering in children because of its interactive nature.

makebot

  • mScara is a SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm) driven by stepper motors. If you install a pen on mScara, it can draw pictures on a flat surface. Replacing the pen with a laser diode, it can turn into a desktop laser engraver.
  • mSpider is a drawing robot which can draw pictures on a wall or a white board.
  • Just in time for Easter, the mEggBot is designed to draw on things that are improbable to print on, such as eggs. It can be used to write letters or to draw expressions on eggs.
  • mCar is a three-wheel robot car. It contains two stepper motor drive wheels and a ball caster wheel. It can draw its own movement tracks on the surface. If you install a chalk instead of a pen, it can draw on the floor.

Learn more about the mDrawBot robotics kit on Kickstarter or the Makeblock website. You can also connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Emergence of the Maker Movement

March 26, 2015
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The maker movement is made up of some 135 million adults in the U.S., however, it’s more than just a U.S. movement. Maker faires that celebrate the movement have popped up in Japan, Italy, Norway, and Chile. Makers use their skills to craft items such as clothing, baked goods, jewelry, and art; contributing $29 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

From 3D printers to laser cutters—makers employ various tools to create their goods. Many gather at makerspaces where they share these resources. Makerspaces are havens for techies, artists, and entrepreneurs.

Learn more about the maker movement below and how it’s influencing the way we craft.

(A big thank you to CustomMade for this fantastic infographic!)

Click to Enlarge Image

A Movement in the Making

A Movement in the Making
Infographic by CustomMade

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Product of the Week: Fogo Adventure Gadget

March 20, 2015
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If you are an active outdoorsman, or aspire to become one, the Fogo is one tool you will want to add to your backpack. We are amazed at all of the technology inside this compact gadget. From the outside you might think this is just a high-tech flashlight, but in reality it’s so much more than that. The Fogo is the ultimate outdoor companion. A quick glance at the Fogo features summary and you quickly realize the extent of technology in this device…

fogoFogo Feature Summary:

  • GPS Receiver
  • Flashlight
  • USB Backup Battery
  • App Based OS
  • Bluetooth LE (aka Bluetooth Smart)
  • Motion Tracker/Pedometer (Accelerometer)
  • Backlit LCD Screen
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Digital Compass (Magnetometer)
  • Bicycle Computer (Speed, Elevation, Odometer, Bluetooth Sensors)
  • Rechargeable, Field-Replaceable Batteries
  • SmartCap Interface (USB/UART/5V Power)
  • Clock/Calendar/Alarm
  • 128MB built-in Flash storage

Digital Walkie Talkie SmartCap Feature Summary:

  • Send/Receive Text Messages
  • Real-time Voice Communications
  • Digital Voice Messaging
  • Built-in Microphone and Speaker

This innovate take on a traditional flashlight encompasses a range of fantastic product design. Whether you want this all-in-one outdoor gadget to lighten your carrying load or want to give it as a gift, one thing is sure, the Fogo will not disappoint.

Learn more about Fogo on Kickstarter or the company website. There are only four days left to back this project! You can also follow Fogo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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The Evolution of Education

March 19, 2015
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Lately there has been quite a bit of news about the uncertain future facing traditional four-year colleges. Most recently, Sweet Briar College, a 114-year-old private women’s college in Virginia announced that it would be closing its doors for good at the end of this semester. Many people believe that Sweet Briar College shutting down is just the beginning of what’s to come. Politicians and well-known public figures have been speaking out about the trouble with the current education system and the need for immediate reform.

This week Design News published an article that delves into the heart of the matter, Q&A with David Goldberg: Universities Must Change to Keep Up with ‘Era of Design’, in which Mr. Goldberg discusses disruptive innovation in regards to public and non-profit universities. He also talks about for-profit universities and how they are taking a business style approach to education to attract and retain students, and so far this model seems to be catching on. In regards to STEM education, retention is a major challenge for schools, but this for-profit model might be one way to keep students on track until graduation. Let us know what you think!

You can read the Q&A session with David Goldberg in its entirety on the Design News website.

Product of the Week: Buhel SOUNDglasses

March 13, 2015
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These sunglasses are like nothing we have seen before! The Buhel SOUNDglasses enable hands-free communication without wires or an ear piece. At first glance you cannot even tell that they are so high-tech, but that is part of the beauty of them. SOUNDglasses “allow you to listen to music or audio from a multitude of sources thanks to the innovative Bone Conduction Technology (BCT)”. These sunglasses keep your ears free of any device, which means you are still completely aware of your surroundings. As we know, traditional earbud technology cuts down on your awareness and increases your chance for an accident.

buhel“With this amazing product you can easily make and receive phone calls via bluetooth, listen to music without earphones or earbuds, communicate with GPS systems and other electronic devices and be able to hear surroundings sounds like voices traffic, alarms etc.”

Within 48 hours on Kickstarter the $80,000 goal for the Buhel SOUNDglasses was met (we aren’t the only ones impressed with them and this technology)!

Learn more about the Buhel SOUNDglasses on Kickstarter or the official Atellani website. You can also follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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3D Innovations: Upcoming Events

March 12, 2015
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Spring is almost here and, it’s a busy time around our office. We have a few upcoming events that we are very excited about and wanted to share with you!

The first event is next week, March 18-20th, and it’s a free 3 Day AutoCAD Workshop for Students in grades 7 to 12. This event is in partnership with STEMworks and will be held on Oahu at the Manoa Innovation Center from 9 am – 3 pm. You can learn more about the workshop on the STEMworks Facebook page and can quickly register on Survey Monkey.

On March 26th our President & Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, will be speaking at the Hawaii Pacific Export Council monthly seminar, “Emerging Global Trade Trends: Where Are the Future Profit Pools?” discussing how Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) is making a global impact on business.

April 17 & 18th we will be at the annual Hawaii STEM Conference on Maui. We look forward to this event each year because the students are so excited and inspiring!

This May 9th is the Honolulu Mini-Makerfaire 2015 at Iolani School and we will be participating again this year. It is always fun connecting with local makers and the entrepreneurship community. Learn more about the Maker Faire on the official website and register for a FREE early bird ticket!

We will be sharing event updates and photos from each event on our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages so be sure to check them out!

If you are in town, we would love to see you at an event, please stop by and say hello!

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Product of the Week: Voltera

March 6, 2015
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At 3D Innovations we specialize in prototyping all types of consumer related products and commercial parts. We are always looking for ways to streamline the prototyping  process and reduce turn-around time to clients. On Kickstarter today we came across the Voltera, a circuit board prototyping machine and automatically knew we had to make this our featured Product of the Week. If you are a hardware developer you are going to really appreciate the speed in which you can fabricate a custom circuit board prototype with Voltera. The developers behind this machine have spent countless hours perfecting the design of Voltera and it shows through their product and immensely successful Kickstarter campaign.

voltera“The Voltera V-One can create a prototype board right from your work bench. Gerber files go in; FR4 boards come out. The magic happens in the middle… the printer lays down a conductive ink to create the traces and an insulating ink as a mask between layers.”

The Voltera drastically cuts down on turn-around times for your circuit board prototypes; Imagine being able to have your circuit board ready for testing in 1.5 hours compared to 5-21 days.

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

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Product of the Week: Girls Driving for a Difference (Design Studio on Wheels)

February 27, 2015
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We know that our “product” this week Girls Driving for a Difference (A Design Studio on Wheels) is not an actual product per se. In sticking with National Engineers Week, we have decided to feature a group of motivated young ladies wanting to make a difference by bringing the concept of “Design Thinking” to middle-school aged girls. This type of “out-of-the-box” critical thinking is a skill that future engineers will need to succeed. Our President and Chief 3D Printing Officer, Collin Kobayashi, has experience as a mentoring coach for the Design Thinking Hawaii Boot Camp and knows how important this kind of education can be.

design_thinkingThese four Stanford women have STEM education backgrounds and, just as important, a passion for empowering young women to find their voice and become leaders. This group plans on driving across the country this summer and hold two-hour long workshops that focus on design thinking and leadership skills in ten different cities and at least fifty communities but, have turned to Kickstarter to help with funding for supplies, preparation and travel expenses. We commend their passion and drive and, this is why we are featuring them as our “Product of the Week”.

“Our team of four Stanford students will be driving an RV across the United States for ten weeks, visiting young women’s communities (specifically camps and organizations for middle school girls), and coaching design thinking and leadership workshops! These workshops are crafted to give girls the tools, inspiration, and creative confidence to explore their purpose, enact social change in their communities, and envision their own dreams for someday changing the world.”

Learn more about Girls Driving for a Difference on Kickstarter or the official website. You can also follow the group on Facebook, Twitter 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.

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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3D Printing… A Tax Credit?

February 25, 2015
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Is your company currently using additive manufacturing (a/k/a 3D printing) for research and experimentation? If so, you may qualify for the federal R&D tax credit.

prototype-3d-printing-innovations-100Additive Manufacturing (AM) is used throughout the entire product development lifecycle. Today the technology is used to help company’s visualize product concepts, prototype, refine designs and manufacture final products. “Through quick and cheap cycles of trial and error, manufacturers can tackle a number of situations including: printing a widget just-in-time that solves a problem at hand, producing small batches of widgets, producing tools, showing an artifact to a potential customer or investor to demonstrate a product concept, and supporting the engineering of product usability or manufacture (NIST MEP).” The experimentation needed to refine designs in order to meet the criteria for the final product takes time and costs money.

Whether you are using additive manufacturing technology in-house or working with an engineering design firm, experimentation is being completed. This product experimentation could fulfill the four part test required for the federal R&D tax credit.

Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  1. New or improved products, processes, or software
  2. Technological in nature
  3. Elimination of uncertainty
  4. Process of experimentation

*Eligible costs include employee wages, cost of supplies, cost of testing, contract research expenses, and costs associated with developing a patent.

By tracking the expenses related to your research, while you are actually performing the R&D, means that these expenses may qualify for the federal tax credit. Labor costs are usually one of the largest expenses, so keep time sheets for anyone doing research with notations about what research they conducted and when it was done. A professional tax expert will be able to provide you with additional information about the R&D tax credit and assess whether your research qualifies.

If you are considering additive manufacturing for your business, this tax credit might be just the incentive to help get you started.

For additional information about the R&D Tax Credit:

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Product of the Week: Magnetic

February 20, 2015
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magneticOur featured product this week, Magnetic, is reinventing the post-it note to meet our modern day demands. Even through we live in a high tech world many of us still rely on traditional post-it notes on a daily basis. Whether you are writing reminders to yourself, messages for co-workers or tasks for your children these paper notes are still an important part of our daily lives. Tesla Amazing has invented Magnetic, a note that can stick to ANY surface without the use of pins, glue, buttons, or thumb tacks. Magnetic is also reusable and once you are done with them you can easily recycle them. It is true that most amazing products involve finding the solution (or a better solution) to a simple everyday issue such as this one.

“Meet the Magnetic family: Magnetic Notes, Magnetic Pads, Magnetic Boards, and Magnetic Sheets. All Magnetic products are based on stable static charge, which lets them stick to any dry surface. Magnetic has no glue, so it’s completely movable and replaceable. Enjoy visualizing your ideas, brainstorming in teams, and leaving messages. Now THAT’S a convenient and fun way to communicate!”

This campaign is quickly gaining popularity on Kickstarter and has already surpassed the initial funding goal.

Learn more about the Magnetic product family on Kickstarter or by following Tesla Amazing on 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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