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Monday, March 29, 2010

SolidWorks Chopper Tutorial

Learn How to Model, Assemble and Render your own Complete Chopper in SolidWorks

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3D Printing at Home

In a common scene on Star Trek: The Next Generation, captain Jean-Luc Picard would walk up to an impressive, high-tech-looking console set in the wall and sternly say to it: "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot."

The console would shimmer and sparkle and, after a few seconds, a piping hot serving of tea complete with cup and saucer would materialize, ready for drinking.

The technology was known as a "replicator" because it replicated real things out of thin air. But, as it eventually turns out with much of Star Trek 's gadgetry, the technology is not so fantastical after all.

"It's not Star Trek anymore," says Cathy Lewis, chief executive of Desktop Factory, a company that is making its own version of replicators. "It's reality."

Real-world replicators, also known as additive fabrication machines or "3D printers," have actually existed for 20 years and were first used by industries that traditionally hop on board new gadgetry early, such as the military, aerospace and health sectors.

While they can't create food and aren't quite instantaneous, they can make objects out of thin air. They are also on the verge of breaking out into the mass market.

Early 3D printers were hulking behemoths and were extraordinarily slow and expensive. Today, the devices are considerably cheaper and smaller, and virtually every industry that needs to create prototypes of product models — from toy and hairbrush makers to toaster and cellphone designers — is using them.

"There are some companies that don't have one, but you can't find an industry without it," says Joe Hiemenz, communications manager for 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys Inc.

A typical 3D printer is about the size of a filing cabinet or refrigerator. Lower-end models sell for around $20,000 while more advanced versions go for more than $1 million. The largest machines can create objects measuring three feet by two feet by three feet. A small item like a pen takes a few hours to print while the largest objects require closer to a day and a half.

The devices work similar to everyday inkjet printers in that they print from computer files. The printers take three-dimensional objects designed in a computer-aided design (CAD) program and slice them into hundreds of layers, each about the thickness of a hair, then print each layer out one at a time from the bottom up. Each layer is treated with heat and pressure and hardened into plastic, then the next layer is printed. The end result is a three-dimensional model made of solid plastic.

While the majority of 3D printers only produce grey or black models, some manufacturers are beginning to add different colours.

The main benefits of a 3D printer to a business, Hiemenz says, are efficiencies and cost savings. Manually creating a prototype out of wood, clay or even plastic generally takes days or even weeks and is more expensive because it usually means outsourcing the work to an expert. 3D printers allows businesses to keep their prototype making in-house.

"It eliminates all the artistic labour in making the model," he says.

Users tend to love the printers because they allow for the creation of prototype models earlier in the design stage than before. Brookhaven National Laboratory, a research facility in New York, has since September been using a 3D printer to make parts for various projects, including a telescope design.

"Having printed some of these models, we've reviewed some problems that we probably wouldn't have discovered until way down the line," says Paul O'Connor, a scientist in the lab's instrumentation division. "The problems that were lurking there would have been found at a later stage and then would have been much more expensive to correct."


While the price on the printers has come down, they are still out of the reach of the general public. Fewer than 30,000 have been shipped since their inception and the total worldwide industry is estimated to bring in just over $1 billion US a year in revenue.

About 40 manufacturers compete in the market, and all of them are small. Printing giants such as Xerox and HP are dabbling in the technology but have not yet released products.

The dynamics of the market could soon change, however, with at least one player aiming to broaden the appeal of 3D printers. Desktop Factory, a small company based in Pasadena, Calif., plans to release a compact $5,000 US printer in early 2009 with the small-business user in mind.

The unit, which is about as big as a microwave, prints hard nylon models up to five by five by five inches. So far, the company has logged more than 350 pre-orders, with the main interest coming from medical and dental practitioners as well as video game and animation programmers, Lewis says.

Desktop Factory aims to get the price down to under $1,000 US over the next three to five years and add different printable inks, such as those that produce flexible or transparent models. That would open up the market to everyday consumers, who could use 3D printers to fabricate household items, such as bendable toys or iPod covers, Lewis says.

"People will be able to disrupt the manufacturing chain and print replacement parts rather than having to drive to Home Depot for something that was manufactured in China," she says. "We haven't begun to tap into the users who really need the technology."

Ink refills an obstacle

One of the potential obstacles to mainstream adoption of the printers, however, is a problem also found with their inkjet cousins — the continuing need for ink refills. Larger printers, such as those produced by Stratasys, are expensive to maintain, with a spool that can produce 50 models selling for $350 US. Desktop Factory is targeting a price of $1 US per cubic inch of ink.

While the continuing investment may deter some users, others say handling their own prototype creation cuts down on overall costs.

"It's not a big factor," Brookhaven's O'Connor says. "We're saving a good deal of money this way."

Another factor that could affect widespread adoption of the technology is the public's unfamiliarity with 3D CAD software. The average home computer user has never encountered software such as Maya, Rhinocerous, SolidWorks which are used to create 3D models.

The solution, Lewis says, is the creation of an online database where users can download pre-built CAD files for printing on their home units. Printer companies or users themselves could create their own files and upload them to share with other people.

Three-dimensional home printers have a way to go before they are adopted in the home, but the day when the average person can make a cup of tea out of thin air may not be so far off.

Posted via web from SolidWild's posterous

SpaceClaim MultiTouch

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Social Media Revolution

Rapid prototyping allows designers to create things ranging from biomedical devices to multi-purpose household objects

Joint replacements, like artificial knees and hips, are increasingly common. They're a boon for people with failing joints, but the replacement parts aren't as durable as the originals. Usually made of metal and plastic and often cemented to the bone, they can deteriorate and come loose, and usually need replacing after 20 to 25 years.

But what if implants were made from materials that would actually allow bone and cartilage to grow into them and eventually replace them? A University of Waterloo research lab, with Toronto's Mount Sinai hospital and University of Toronto, is working on it.

It's one example of the innovative things Canadian researchers are doing with rapid prototyping, also sometimes referred to as three-dimensional printing.

Printers work by depositing toner or ink on the surface of paper. Three-dimensional printing doesn't stop at one layer. These machines lay down layer after layer of material — it may be in liquid or solid form — to build up an object.

As the name rapid prototyping implies, 3D printing has mostly been thought of as a relatively quick way to make models of products in the design stage. But 3D printing is good for more than prototyping, says Dr. Ehsan Toyserkani, a Waterloo associate professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, director of Waterloo's Rapid Prototyping Laboratory and one of the researchers in the artificial implant project.

For an artificial implant to really become part of the body, it must be made of material that the body can absorb without harm and be porous enough that tissue can grow slowly into tiny cavities in the artificial part.

It's one thing to machine the outer shape of a part out of suitable material, says Mr. Toyserkani, but "we cannot actually control internal structures." That's where 3D printing comes in. Because it builds up the part in layers rather than carving it out of a block of material, this process can easily leave openings, or pores, throughout the part.

Implants produced this way have been tested in animals, Mr. Toyserkani says, and the researchers hope to move on to human trials soon, with clinical use possible in three to five years.

Researchers in Montreal have put 3D printing to an entirely different use.

Philippe Lalande and Martin Racine are associated with Hexagram, the Institute for Research/Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, which is supported by Concordia, Université du Quebec à Montreal, Université de Montreal, McGill and commercial sponsors. Mr. Lalande says he was interested in rapid prototyping, while Mr. Racine was exploring sustainable design.

So they embarked together on a series of projects linking rapid prototyping and sustainable design.

The first was PRéco, which explored the idea of making consumer products last longer by using 3D printers to make replacement parts on demand. Too many household gadgets are thrown away because replacement parts are hard to find, Mr. Lalande explains. If there were 3D printing machines in hardware stores and parts carried code numbers allowing a store employee to download the design for a part, people could get replacement parts at local stores much as they get keys copied today.

"We found that basically it was a practical scenario," Mr. Lalande says, "but to be really effective, products would have to be designed from the outset with the idea of their being replaced with rapid prototyping."

So In their Metamorphose project the researchers moved on to designing products that could easily be repaired and adapted to other purposes. Using rapid prototyping, they created a series of light fixtures able to be altered to fit different locations and lighting needs, or even turned into other objects — a lamp shade becoming a fruit bowl, for example.

After seeing how difficult these adaptable designs were, Mr. Lalande and Mr. Racine decided to launch an adaptable design contest. Their year-old Metacycle contest has brought more than 130 entries, some produced using rapid prototyping.

Rapid prototyping plays a role in other research work. At University of Calgary, Dr. Simon Park of the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering department uses it to create larger-scale models of nano-scale designs such as tiny pumps. Carleton University set up a rapid prototyping lab several years ago with machines available for student and researcher use.

The Waterloo lab is also exploring the use of 3D printing to manufacture tools with embedded sensors that can measure factors like heat and impact. Today such sensors are usually placed on the surface of the tool, Dr. Toyserkani says. Readings would be more accurate with the sensor built in, but that's hard to do with traditional manufacturing methods. Three-dimensional printing could be the answer.

Grant Buckler

March 08, 2010 02:12 PM EDT

Special to The Globe and Mail

Posted via web from SolidWild's posterous

Laval Virtual; April 7-11 2010

Virtual reality, everybody’s talking ’bout it!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

How to create .STL files from your CAD software

Use these easy-to-follow instructions to create a quality .STL file from the most popular CAD software products. 

NOTE: Your design must be a 3D solid object to output an .STL file. Export your .STL file as a binary file to save time and minimize file size for transfer. 

Set chord height to 0. The field will be replaced by a minimum acceptable value.
Set angle control to 1.

FILE > SAVE AS > Set SAVE AS type to .STL
STL OPTIONS > Set quality to FINE.

Set facetres to 10.
Use the "STLOUT" command to export your .STL file.
Select the part to be prototyped.


Mechanical Desktop
Use the AMSTLOUT COMMAND to export your .STL file.
The following command line options affect the quality of the .STL and should be adjusted to produce an acceptable file:
Angular tolerance: This command limits the angle between the normals of adjacent triangles. The default setting is 15 degrees. Reducing the angle will increase the resolution of the .STL file.
Aspect ratio: This setting controls the height/width ratio of the facets. A setting of 1 means the height of the facet is no greater than its width. The default setting is 0, ignored.
Surface tolerance: This setting controls the greatest distance between the edge of a facet and the actual geometry. A setting of 0.0000 causes this option to be ignored.
Vertex spacing: This option controls the length of the edge of a facet. The default setting is 0.0000, ignored.

Solid Designer
Select part.
Enter filename.
Enter maximum deviation distance of .01 MM.


3D Print; From design to product marketing, use a rapid manufacturing Solid provider that can handle the whole process, from prototype to final production. SolidWild

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Friday, March 5, 2010

GeekFest; The Day B4

Today was a big and busy day / Grosse Journée

It all started with a coffee cup then I went to look up the demos I printed out last night. checked out the cleaning station for RemX skin application logo for his BodyPainting gig for Next Sunday at the Geek Fest and it looked good, nice details and flexible so i think he'll be able to apply my 3d Printing technology with his BodyPainting Art. We will be able to use rapid Prototyping for customizing and pimping is work with My High-Tech gear. Nice projects are on the way starting with the GeekFest.
I then Looked up the next 2 logo i also did For RemX the job was done at about 2am last night but i crashed on the coach and when i woke up at 4am, i walked straight to bed but coulnt even fall back to sleep. i tossed and turned for about 2 hours and that brought me closer to the wake up call from Zak at 8 am, so i didnt get alot of sleep for my pre GeekFest Start up.
Got up at 9 am and Zak was already awake and eager to start the day and drive up with dad to Montreal to bring the 3D printer at the GeekFest.
After i looked at RemX's Logo i Grab the first Logo I did last night for Ztélé in the cleaning station and it Pretty good, I cant wait to give it to them on Saturday.
I learned that they where going to be there yesterday afternoon from Twitter and they confirmed that they will pass by at my boot for a little surprise.
After getting my gear set up i shut down my 3d Printer for it to cool down before the road trip to Montreal.
I had to shuffle off quite a bit of snow for us to be able to access the stairs for us to bring it to the vehicle for transportation.
So then i jumped in the shower and go ready for this wonderful sun shinny day!
My friend Yves got here and we got the printer in his van and headed up to the printer store to pick up the Solidwild t-shirts and they looked pretty good !
Got on the highway 15 Montreal bound, pit stop aux portes du Nord at McDonald for a quick drive thru meal and headed up to meet up with Ray form Impression VIP and met up at Laval Mercedez Dealership to pick up the SolidWild Banner, wow i didnt expect it to look that Great, Really nice work they did for me VIP and really good service.
After that pick up the pressure went down quite a bit because by then we had every thing we needed to set up the GeekFest Boot, wow what a relief.
This day was looking to be one of the best i had so far in a long time ! ! !
We got the GPS set up for the SUPINFO and followed "GEORGETTE"s direction, i call my GPS Georgette, its a long story !
When we got a the SUPINFO i when in the Building and me up with the GeekFest coordinators and they where quite a nice team, it made me feel secure to see those guys working on the last minute stretch for the events with real professionalism.
The people there where really nice and worked pretty good under that first start up event. i am sure that next year is going to be even bigger with a good team like that.
So after meeting with all the guys we got the 3d printer from the underground parking to the elevator and on the Festival floor and brought it to the boot for the Brainstorming of the set up. We stayed a while talked to all of the people out there and everybody seems to be really sociable and friendly, they made me feel at home.
I could not wait for the next day to set everything up in the morning before the door opening. I am sure its gonna be a Solid Event!
We got out of there around 5pm and drove back North for the last night before the GeekFest, when up at the grocery store with Zak to get diner, went home for a quite and healthy meal and got on The web to check messages and updated my Facebook and Twitter account for tomorrow event updates and then got on my Blog to tell my story about this nice and beautiful day.
So now ill just have to sleep a good night for i am sure i will because i am so tired and relax in front of one of my TV best program "NUMB3BERS" with the new Moslon-M, mmh its a pretty darn good beer! its been a while for i dont drink that often but it goes down preety good!
On that last note i wish all the GeekFest fans and GeekFest logistic team a good night befor this WILD week-end and sweet dream to all ! (S)ee ya all at the GeekFest tomorrow and Sunday and for those who cant be there check out my fb/Twitter/YouTube and at last follow this Blog for news of this first GEEKFEST. nite nite! ;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rapid prototyping

*** 3 Dimension Printing *** 

So Many Applications, So Many Advantages 

Lead time: Normally 1-3 business days depending on the capacity of the printers when we receive payment. Local customers are welcomed to pick up models from our facility 

DDM Layer thickness: Horizontal build layers can be built in three options fine (.007"), standard (.010"), and rough draft (.013") 

Minimum Wall Thickness: .020" 

Dimensional Tolerances: ABS models maintain tolerances of +/- .005" for the first inch, and +/- 0.002" for each additional inch. In the z height (vertical), standard tolerances of +/- 0.010" for the first inch, +/- 0.002” on every inch thereafter. 

Build size: for a single piece is 8" x 8" x 12". Models that are larger than the build envelope can be divided, printed as separate pieces, & assembled. 

= Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a solid-based rapid prototyping method that extrudes material, layer-by-layer.

Posted via web from SolidWild's posterous