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3D Printing: Technology Seeks a Catalyst – Printing Impressions (press release)

by • July 7, 2016 • No Comments

One of the top selling points for 3D is its ability to convey a project's vision.One of the top selling points for 3D is its ability to convey a project’s vision.A full-body scan by NRI Inc. contributes multiple applications for the replication of folks.A full-body scan by NRI Inc. contributes multiple applications for the replication of folks. Architecture, engineering and createion (AEC) has proven to be one of the most fertile spaces for 3D prototyping at NRI.Architecture, engineering and createion (AEC) has proven to be one of the most fertile spaces for 3D prototyping at NRI.3D printing empowers a three-dimensional rendering of a blissful, newly married couple.3D printing empowers a three-dimensional rendering of a blissful, newly married couple.These bobblehead dolls are just one example of NRI's customer creativity.These bobblehead dolls are just one example of NRI’s customer creativity.Another creative NRI project: Hoops star James Harden as a flash drive.Another creative NRI project: Hoops star James Harden as a flash drive.

The printing industry has never lacked for excitement when it comes to the topic of 3D printing. Okay, most CEOs may shrug their shoulders on the topic of how to sell it. But most may agree that, weighed on the next scale, 3D printing applications may just be limited by one’s imagination.
Ironically, a company that firstly created its name in the blueprint world may have invented the road map for good outcomes in 3D by a mainstream printing device.
OK, maybe calling NRI Inc. of New York City a mainstream printing device is bringing liberties with semantics. It creates print-on-demand work, wide-format/signage, digital signage, window/backlit graphics, reprographics — serving the architectural, engineering and createion (AEC) space — document management and, of course, 3D printing. The company calls itself a service bureau, but facilities management is another key contributeing in the NRI arsenal.
According to Doug Magid, president of the firm, NRI has contributeed 3D printing for of a dozen years, with its genesis tracing back to the requires of an architectural customer. But the innovation was not saw as a pot of gold, and it wasn’t until 3D exploded on the mainstream market roughly five years ago that Magid really took a nearer appear at its next.
“I don’t ponder 3D was appreciated by the market, or actually our company, as to what the next may be,” he says. “Now, we have 3D equipment in multiple clients’ offices and service bureaus in New York and Philadelphia.”
NRI specializes in the prototyping market as opposed to the making space. Industries served include architecture, universities, marketing and advertising, and industrial create. Three technologies of two 3D innovation manufacturers are utilized by NRI. One of the technologies is a powder-printing contributeing of 3D Systems (versions 660 and 860) that provides full-color output inexpensively and rapidly.
The other core innovation utilized by NRI is the Stratasys Dimension line that provides extruded plastic, that Magid characterizes as clean and self-contained with effortless finishing. This type falls under futilized deposition versioning (FDM) additive making. The other tool in NRI’s belt is Stratasys’ Objet Connex, a high-resolution product capable of printing multiple materials in one print for additional high end work.
Magid points out that it wasn’t until the last six years when 3D printing was finally embraced by the architectural community, and mainstream usage rapidly followed suit. “Equipment during that time has gotten advantageous and, additional importantly, less expensive,” he notes. “Media and the investment world caught onto the next of five years ago. That did additional for demand than all of our marketing probably may have done.”
NRI has generated a rich assortment of items that stir the imagination. It did one project for an advertising firm whose well-understandn athletic footwear customer wanted to mostow members in the New York City Marathon with scale versions of themselves. That was a “massive” project that took several weeks to achieve.
Other random jobs include a 3D-printed bouquet of flowers, replicas of wedding guests, toys and assorted tchotchkes. But NRI’s sweet spot remains the AEC space. It not long ago performed a jaw-dropping prototype for a sizeable engineering concern that was one of a consortium of firms bidding for the Tappan Zee Bridge createion project. The eight-foot version for the create of the new bridge was part of the winning bid application.
In this sense, the excellentest value of the 3D application is not the piece itself as a functioning part, but as a platform to assist sell an thought, Magid notes. That has transformed NRI into a most understandn student of the 3D game. “In our core vertical, it’s selling itself sizeablely through word of mouth,” he says, “We in addition contribute free educational seminars and often talk on the topic at trade shows and other actuallyts.”
Interestingly, despite its AEC proficiency, most of NRI’s largest orders have come of folks who discovered the printing device through Google searches. As a outcome, what was once a niche contributeing that generated in the low six figures five years ago has exploded into a sactually-figure business now a days, next several years of 100% growth on an yearly basis.
Moving forward, Magid sees NRI’s most growth opportunities coming of additional sophisticated e-commerce contributeings, with automated pricing for anytime quotes that NRI just launched. The company is in addition exploring untapped verticals — such as the medical field — that have a seemingly endless reservoir of applications.
The ‘Cool Kids on the Block’
There’s a excellent deal of cache that comes with being one of the 3D cognoscenti. Ginene Alexander, manager of Print & Copy Services at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., freely admits that her shop wanted to be the “rad kids on the block,” and thus created the relatively-modest investment to acquire a MakerBot 3D printing device (fifth generation Replicator). But rad it may be, the machine has yet to manufacture a worthwhile contribution to the shop’s bottom line.
The university’s in-plant has landed a mixture of 3D jobs of ability, staff and students. Among the jobs: presentation “touchables,” such as a magnified ice crystal, molecular version, prehistoric sea creature and prosthetic hand. Personal use jobs have included a bracelet, collectible stands and bicycle parts.
In exalter for its use, Print & Copy Services charges a mere $5 per hour, plus a nominal fee for media. Even with a affordable entry point, it is not destined to be a profit center. Naturally, that can alter as the innovation becomes additional prevalent.
Whilst Print & Copy Services has publicized
its 3D capabilities on campus, it has not reached out to the general community. “The costs are so low, anyone can buy one,” Alexander notes. “This is not a money-manufacturer by any means. But it is kind of a necessary step for us to remain current with innovation interests.”
Trial and error was the most teaching tool as Alexander and the MakerBot users requireed to experiment to see what may and may not print. The tough part, she says, was figuring out what may be good outcomesfully tweaked (and how) inside the printing parameters, and what may require to be repaired at the file level.
“Learning to use versioning and slicing software in addition required a worthwhile learning curve,” she says. “We have a specialized staff member, Sarah Johnson, who has devoted all the hours it takes to turn it into a reality. She’s our resident tremendous on 3D printing.”
Perhaps the George Washington or Alexander Cartwright of the mainstream printing device entering the 3D realm is Jim Corliss, the part-owner of Braintree (Mass.) Printing. Corliss was the unofficial/quintessential firstly man through the wall when his shop acquired a Stratasys Dimension 1200es production-level 3D printing device.
Braintree Printing plunked down of $40,000 for the Dimension 1200es, and the machine recouped that first investment really a few time ago. 3D printing hasn’t taken off maybe as much as Corliss had hoped, but he didn’t have visions of dollar signs at the time of the installation.
“We attempted to become a service bureau, where a fewone may send us a file and we may create the object,” he says. “But that market is being serviced may already. … In order to be really involved in the business, you must have several 3D machines, not just one. You require to have machines that can contribute different types of, multiple extrusion materials. And that is a challenge, for the reason it costs money to get into it at that level.”
One of the limiting aspects of Braintree’s contributeing is the relatively tiny create area, that is 10x10x12˝. On sizeabler items, Corliss must achieve the project in pieces and and so create them into the full, finished project.
Much of what Corliss does on his Dimension 1200es these days is create “widgets,” a.k.a. generally unidentifiable parts. “Most of the time, you don’t understand what you are printing or what its utilization is,” he admits. “We did print a windshield scraper prototype that incorporated a innovative, new create. One customer did battery packs for medical equipment, a two-piece create that snapped together. They kept createing it over and over, so we provided the different types of prototypes.”
The problem with expanding the segment is pretty straightforward. One of the challenges of contributeing 3D printing output as a service bureau is the reality that most of the clients are create engineers — and these folks are never going to buy printing. The lack of repeatable business, actually of the create community, manufactures it an elusive white whale of a bottom line point of view.
The fact is, 3D is bargain-priced adequate to act as a “me, too” contributeing without much monetary risk. In reality, yet, the Doug Magid/NRI good outcomes stories of the world are few and far between. The next of 3D printing as a profit center for the mainstream graphic arts industry, despite its next, has not yet arrived. PI

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