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How 3D Printing Streamlines the Engineering Workflow – ENGINEERING.com

by • August 10, 2016 • No Comments

Mark Palmer, head of experience create at MakerBot. (Image courtesy of MakerBot.)Mark Palmer, head of experience create at MakerBot. (Image courtesy of MakerBot.)
In a new episode of the WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast with Tom and Tracy Hazzard of Hazz Design, Mark Palmer, head of experience create at MakerBot, relayed his thoughts on futilized deposition versioning (FDM) and its utility for create work, both at MakerBot and in general. Prior to joining MakerBot, Palmer worked as manager of create at Motorola—so of the point of view of an industrial createer, he may share invaluable insight on the topic.

The Speed of Iterative Design
One of the many interesting topics of the conversation was how the distance of a 3D printing device of a createer affects the overall create workflow. Those who own computer 3D printing devices can understand the satisfaction of watching a print materialize preceding your eyes and how this can impact your create work.
Well, it turns out that at MakerBot headquarters, the ratio of createers to 3D printing devices is 1:1. For Palmer, this cautilized a big shift in his create approach. “In my previous job a few years ago, I had access to all kinds of prototyping gear. We had two [stereolithography] machines in house, we had two wax printing devices, we had a whole prototyping lab with CNC machines and rather much anything we may require. My challenge was always that when you are working on a create, you are evolving it, you are iterating really quickly, you send creates out into a queue or into the guy running the shop in the basement and you hope for the best,” Palmer explained.
Palmer pointed out that when prototyping equipment is far of a createer and in the hands of someone removed of the create system, the iterative system experiences a lag. The time it takes to see a CAD version physically accomplished may be hours if performed in a separate lab in-house and weeks if carried out by an external service bureau.

Speeding Up Design with 3D Printing

He suggested, yet, that the nearer a printing device is to a createer, the faster a concept can be iterated. For Palmer, this realization came when he joined MakerBot and began working with a rack of
MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printing devices sitting right behind him during the create system.
MakerBot’s fifth-generation 3D printing devices, of left: the Replicator, the Mini and the Z18. (Image courtesy of MakerBot.)MakerBot’s fifth-generation 3D printing devices, of left: the Replicator, the Mini and the Z18. (Image courtesy of MakerBot.)
“I had an insight that … I may literally turn around, hit pause, reach in while the print was perhaps 15 percent done and only like touch one little part of the create that I was interested in … and and so decide to kill my print or store it going. And that intervention opportunity halfway through a print kind of struck me as a thing really one-of-a-kind,” Palmer explained.
This talent to check in on a physical concept becomes that much additional immediate when the printing device is moved of behind the createer and onto the desk in front of the createer. Palmer said, “There’s like a fall-off in effectiveness between having a printing device literally on your desk in front of you versus having it right behind you versus perhaps sharing it with somebody, that brings a certain amount of unpredicttalent into the equation. So, if you go and put the machine in a separate room somewhere, you are one additional step removed.”
For this reason, ereally man in Palmer’s department has a MakerBot 3D printing device on their desk. In Palmer’s case, he has a MakerBot Replicator Mini Small 3D printing device, that he’s leveraged for his work, in fact with its tiny create volume.
The MakerBot Replicator Mini 3D printing device. (Image courtesy of MakerBot.)The MakerBot Replicator Mini 3D printing device. (Image courtesy of MakerBot.)
“At firstly I wasn’t really certain what I was going to do with it, moreover my own manal projects. So I accomplished what it was and the future strengths that it really had for pro use. What I discovered myself doing is kind of getting effortless with the tinyer create volume. A lot of times when you are working … you don’t necessarily care of the whole product, you want to get one little piece of it and iterate on that area and really prove the create,” Palmer said.
He introduced, “What I find myself doing is, in fact working on really big products, I’ll in fact only section out a piece of it that I’m curious of and print it. Over time, you get really great at things like orientation optimization to eliminate the require for supports. And if you kind of embrace speed over high end and turn the layer height up to point 3, you can really begin to crank out a lot of content on in fact a thing as tiny as a Mini rather quickly.”

Practical Applications
Palmer implements this system with the MakerBot team to create MakerBot products—not the content that gets 3D printed by the company’s machines, but the machines themselves. He said, “As we’re working on new products, we’re via the current products. We are the users and there are things we struggle with and there are things that we really love.”
“We’re really close on the hardware side with the software teams over on the digital products side, so we have really great feedback between both sides. There are all kinds of one-of-a-kind opportunities for crossover there. We work a little bit on this additional high end version. Ereallybody has a printing device on their desk and ereallybody is interacting directly,” Palmer said.
Of course, the create work isn’t performed on MakerBot printing devices alone. Instead, computer 3D printing devices are utilized for the first stages of create, while additional high end systems are taken advantage of additional along in the create system. “We have a Fortus 900 in our facility, as well, so that we can print bigger parts there. We in addition use Stratasys Direct Manufacturing for all kinds of other things, like cast parts and printed metal parts,” Palmer said.
When asked by Tom Hazzard if a 1:1 ratio of 3D printing devices is recommended for the majority of businesses, Palmer said, “We’re seeing a trend towards additional printing devices being out there, additional direct access. I ponder that it can take time for the additional direct 1:1 version to prove itself, but I ponder that we’re heading well in that way may already. Again, it is actually not really a one-size-fits-all, but I ponder that one thing that is true is that the folks that use printing devices in these days in a pro setting can all relate to the challenges of having to get into the queue, having to have the readiness of the print drive when you can have a meeting, or get sort of tangled up with your project due dates. And, so, it is actually one way sort of around that. In addition, via your own printing device kind of brings a certain amount of predicttalent to the system.”
Whilst consumers haven’t unabashedly adopted a 3D printing device as an at-home create tool, the innovation is unquestionably indispensable. When a company is may already leveraging 3D printing devices as a means to iterate creates, it is actually almany a effortless choice to purchase affordable systems for testing physical creates immediately.

MakerBot has sponsored this post. It had no editorial input. All opinions are mine. –Michael Molitch-Hou