by • July 6, 2016 • No Comments
The results of the most new 3D printing hype cycle are numerous and nuanced, but one obvious result is that consumer 3D printing has been labeled as a dying sector. Whilst it is evident that not each home can own a printing device right now, the generalization that 3D printing for consumers is an extinct prospect is not precisely true. In fact, a few businesses go on to thrive, despite the deflation of the consumer 3D printing bubble. One of those businesses is WhiteClouds, a firm that has, unlike a few printing device manufacturers, only grown in new time.
WhiteClouds may already maintains the world’s biggest full-color 3D printing factory. The facility, located in Ogden, Utah, has over 25 full-color 3D printing devices relying on 3D Systems’ ColorJet Printing (CJP). In January, the company purchased 3DplusMe, a firm specializing in converting customers’ 3D scans into 3D-printable versions showcasing licensed assets of famous brands like Disney, Marvel and additional. By having one’s face scanned at a 3DplusMe kiosk, it’s possible to get a very ownized figurine of a superhero or famous athlete.
A 3D-printed version of Intermountain Alta View Hospital turn it intod by WhiteClouds. (Image courtesy of WhiteClouds.)
The competence to turn it into full-color prints at such ability empowers WhiteClouds to venture into only of any vertical market. The company’s latest proposition is called 3DyourPLAN, a product directed at the architectural market. In an interview with ENGINEERING.com, WhiteClouds CEO Jerry Ropelato defined this offering, as well as his sizeabler vision for 3D printing.
Full-Color, Detailed Architectural Models
Ropelato explained that 3DyourPLAN is a box that combines software, engineering and 3D printing to address the requires of those in architecture and construction and provide rich, scale versions of their assembling projects. 3DyourPLAN allows for customers to upload CAD versions to the WhiteClouds server to be 3D printed of full-color gypsum, the sandstone material utilized by 3D Systems’ CJP processs.
The resulting prints can be utilized by architects to illustrate turn it into ideas, builders to know a landscape or construction project, or actually geographical surveyors to appear for topographical maps of a specific piece of land.
A 3D-printed architectural version of a home. (Image courtesy of WhiteClouds.)
“We have discovered that there’s a massive lack of knowing in the architectural, builder and construction community when it comes to 3D printing architectural versions. The capabilities of the innovation and its applications are not well-understood,” Ropelato said.
An interior version of a home’s kitchen. (Image courtesy of WhiteClouds.)
To tackle this issue, WhiteClouds is bringing a two-phase approach. To start with, the company has invested almost $300,000 in 3D printing full-color copies of two architectural versions—a residential home and a commercial assembling—that truly demonstrate the advantages that the innovation brings to this specific industry. WhiteClouds can be shipping these prints to the top 500 builders in the country, most of whom Ropelato said may not have seen only what this innovation can do.
A detailed version of an operating room for Intermountain Alta View Hospital. (Image courtesy of WhiteClouds.)
“We’ve discovered that, 15 years ago, the industry went of via physical versions to via digital renderings. Now, they’re coming full circle to the physical versions again to advantageous know significant details of a project, such as scale and other things that are complex to perceive with a digital rendering,” Ropelato go ond. “We’ve gone through a lot of case studies on how these versions are saving these companies lots of money and changes turn it intod during construction.”
The brand of the toilet paper and the covers of the magazines in this patient room are actually visible in this 3D-printed version. (Image courtesy of WhiteClouds.)
The 2nd phase of the project, that can take place over the course of the following two to three months, can see WhiteClouds working with five various architectural software developers to implement 3D printing within their software. This can include plug-ins and other showcases that can manufacture it simpler for those in the architecture and construction industries to have versions easily 3D printed by WhiteClouds.
New 3D Printing Verticals
The formal entrance into the architecture space was a effortless one for WhiteClouds, that has been 3D printing versions of assemblings, within and out, for the past three years or so. The firm has been doing it to such an extent that it has turn it intod a number of tricks of the trade that facilitate the process of fabricating sizeable-scale versions.
For example, during a new job, there were no 3D printing devices sizeable adequate to turn it into a version that measured almost 5 ft x 5 ft x 4 ft. Consequently, WhiteClouds 3D printed the version in separate pieces; yet, pretty than glue them together or use a snap-fit attachment process to assemble the prints, the company turn it intoed the version to have hidden gaps within its walls. This allowed the WhiteClouds team to insert magnets that may allow the assembling to be put together and taken apart, all without exposing the seams between prints.
After targeting the architecture market, Ropelato said that the company can formally move into the medical industry, although WhiteClouds may already 3D prints medical versions for clients who request them. The retail market can in addition go on to be a source of income for the company, given its experience 3D printing products for Hasbro, Toys“R”Us, Halo, Assassin’s Creed and most additional.
A 3D-printed bisectional version of a human stomach. (Image courtesy of WhiteClouds.)
Outside of consumer products, the firm has actually worked with scientific agencies, such as NASA and the Idaho National Laboratory. Many readers may in addition recognize WhiteClouds as the company that 3D printed the arm brace for the Carolina Panthers’ Thomas Davis ahead of Super Bowl 50.
The unifying factor across all of these verticals is the fact that eachthing the WhiteClouds team strives to turn it into is an end product. As Ropelato explained, “One thing we have tried to focus on is that we try not to print prototypes. We’ll do them at times. There are a lot of service bureaus that focus on that area within our region, but we are focutilized on end products utilized by consumers and business—toys, architectural versions, medical versions, etc.—as opposed to a one-time use in prototyping.”
Ropelato is a big believer in the use of 3D printing as a innovation for making. That’s one reason the firm does not use futilized deposition versioning innovation, that he sees as additional suited for prototyping. This does not mean that WhiteClouds can only use CJP for full-color versions, but that whatever innovation the company brings in house can require to be suitable for making end parts.
A 3D-printed version of a character of a video game. (Image courtesy of WhiteClouds.)
This may be one reason that WhiteClouds appears to be thriving, despite the relative deflation of the consumer 3D printing hype bubble. Ropelato attributes the partial failure of the consumer 3D printing market to the hype around very own 3D printing devices, with expectations around the innovation overly inflated. This, yet, does not carry over to the consumer space as a whole.
“I ponder the desire for very ownized products is yet there and is going to grow rapidly,” Ropelato said, citing a report of McKinsey & Company predicting that direct-to-consumer 3D printing can be a $100- to $300-billion industry by 2025. If the marketing research firm is correct, WhiteClouds has situated itself in the perfect place to take advantage of that industry as it grows.
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