AZ Commerce Authority and Tech Council Announce Innovation Award Finalists

Governor's Celebration of Innovation (GCOI)The  Arizona Commerce Authority and Arizona Technology Council  named the winners and finalists today for the 11th annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) awards.  You can read about it at the Phoenix Business Journal

As always, a great list of finalists and winners. We were once again pleased to see a tow PADT customers in the list:

  • SynCardia Systems in Tucson is a finalist for the Innovator of the Year Award – Small Company
  • Securaplane Technologies, in Oro Valley, is a finalist for the Innovator of the Year Award – Large Business


These two outstanding companies, along with the other finalists, show the breadth and depth of technology companies in Arizona. From industry leading small business software providers to a start-up built around a better shovel, tech companies across the state are growing and making people around the world stand up and take notice. 

The educational Award winners and finalists were also great to see, showing the future of technology is also strong.  The Future Innovators of the Year are always our favorite, their projects making me feel like I really slacked in High School. 

As usual, PADT will be at this years Celebration where the awards, 3D Printed by PADT, will be handed out.  We hope to see many of you there.

3D Printing Stained Glass: A Flower Grows One Layer at a Time

3D-Printed-Stained-Glass-Rose-squareI never thought I would be making my own decorative stained glass object d’art.- I’m not a craft person.  Fortunately I do have access to great software and some awesome 3D Printers. That is why I should challenge myself when our team let me know that our Stratasys Object500 Connex3 system had been loaded with a new color pallet that included transparent material. We are filling our new demo room with industrial examples as well as more artistic examples of what the technology can do. So I thought this would be a great chance to explore making a stained glass window.  It turned out to be fairly easy, and the result was better than I expected.

Making a Digital Model

Stained glass consists of pieces of colored glass cut to shape, held together by lead. The lead is called the came. So to make my 3D Printed part, I needed a solid model assembly where each pain of glass was a solid, and the lead, or cane, was one or more separate solids I could assign a dark color to.

Like most tasks these days, I started with a Google search for “simple stained glass window.” The search brought up of nice examples, but I wanted something simple for my first try.  This simple flower stood out:

Rose-stained-glass

It is from a tutorial that shows how to make your own real stained glass.

I took the image and imported it in to my CAD tool, SolidEdge, as a background in the drafting package. Then I used the sketcher to place splines on top of the image sort of representing the shape. If I had an artistic bone in my body, I probably could have started with a blank page and done something, but my lack of talent is well documented and I opted for tracing. It worked in 3rd grade, and it still works today.  The resulting sketch looked like this, shown next to the original image:

Rose-Stained-Glass-sketch-1

It is kind of hard to see in the image, but the “lead” in the image consists of boundaries, not a single line, forming a continuous area for all of the “lead” geometry. Each empty areas in the sketch was extruded up in the solid modeler to form the glass pieces.   Here is what the solid looked like when I was done:

Rose-Stained-Glass-1

I assigned transparent colors in the CAD system to visualize it, show my preferred colors to the person setting up the 3D print, and because I figured it would look cool when I rendered it. Which it did:

Rose-Stained-Glass-rendered-1

The next step was to simply save the assembly as an STL file.  Our prototyping department took that file, massaged it a bit, and assigned colors from the available pallet. 

If you remember earlier articles on the Connex3, it uses four print heads: one for support material, and two for color, and one for a base material. In this case we used Veroclear as the base, magenta, and blue.  Here is a 3D Print of the pallet we were working with (I used my computer monitor as a poor man’s light table, which looks bad on the picture but works well with your eyes):

3D-Printed-Color-Pallet

The team assigned the colors we chose to the solids I created and next time the machine was not printing parts that actually generate income, the ran it.

Here are some images of the results:

3D-Printed-Stained-Glass-Rose-1

3D-Printed-Stained-Glass-Rose-2

Here the final product is shown in front of the machine that it was made on:

3D-Printed-Stained-Glass-Rose-Connex3

When I find some fishing line, I’ll hang it in front of the window, but here you can see it near where it will end up in front of the window to our Demo room.

3D-Printed-Stained-Glass-Rose-Demo-room

Practical Applications

I have to say I’m pretty proud of my little side trip in to the artistic world, even if I did just trace someone’s design.  And I am a big backer of Art for Art’s sake.  However, that does not change the fact that we are an engineering company and I did do this to learn more about the technology so that we could apply it for customers.

Many parts that our customers make involve injection molding of different colored plastics, including transparent materials.  This project illustrated who easy it is to replicate those components for prototyping, as an assembly.  In addition to the clear material, we can run white, black, or even a soft rubber like material to replicate overmolding. 

The simple 3D printed stained glass window shows the power of Stratasys’ PolyJet technology for creating robust and accurate prototypes of a huge range of parts, reducing development time, and giving engineers and creatives both a better tool to produce a better final product. 

If you would like to learn more about this technology or to have PADT print parts for you, please feel free to contact us today.

Scanning Helps Pediatric Heart Surgeon Make Implant Choices

heart-assist-deviceThe week we had the opportunity to help a surgeon make better decisions for their pediatric heart patient.  Dr Stephen Paphal from the Phoenix Children’s Heart Center had a young patient that needed a ventricular assist device. He could implant a device that they knew would fit in the patient, but they also had an alternative, larger device that performs better. The question they needed to answer was: will the larger device fit in the patient?

This surgeon’s team has previously done work using mechanical engineering technology to help them make better decisions, you may have read about their use of 3D Printing to evaluate different treatment options.  They often work with computer models of patients and devices n collaboration with spinal surgeon Dr. Sandro LaRocca in New Jersey, so they had almost all the tools they needed to help this patient.

For this case, they had a computer model of the smaller assist device, and a computer model of the patient’s heart area that they extracted from a CAT scan. Using those two models and visualization software they were able to insert the device model into the body model to verify that the smaller device would fit.

The issue they faced was that they had no computer model for the larger device.  Creating a model the traditional way would take to long. So they called PADT and asked if we could scan the actual object and give them a computer model that they could use.

Just in Time Scanning

One of PADT’s engineer, Johnathon Wright, took the device to our Geomagic Capture blue light scanner to extract a surface model from the real part.  In this image you can see the device being scanned:

heart-assist-scan-on-tableBecause the device is reflective, we covered it with a white powder to get a better scan. That is all the preparation needed.  The part was placed on a very sophisticated rotational displacement device (a $10 Lazy Susan from WalMart) and the scanner is turned on.  The  little reflective dots you can see on the Lazy Susan are used by the scanning software to determine the position of the objects relative to the scanner.

In this image you can see what the part looks like to the scanner:heart-assist-blue-light-scan-1A rectangular pattern of blue light is projected on to the part being scanned, and the included software measures the distortion in the grid to calculate the shape of the object. As you rotate the object (or the scanner) more data is gathered and an accurate point cloud of the external surface is created.

Here is what the point cloud looks like when the scan is completed:

heart-assist-scan-data

In about an hour, Johnathon was able to go from “can you do this” to a water-tight solid that the Doctor could use with his computer model of the patient to see if this larger, better part fit in the patient’s chest.

Here is what the whole setup looks like:

heart-assist-scan-2

Johnathon used Geomagic’s scanning tools running on a PADT CUBE computer that is specifically optimized for scanning to make the process faster and more accurate. In the past, a task like this would have required an expensive and temperamental laser scanner, a dedicated lab, and probably four to eight hours of engineering time to clean up the resulting scan data. As you can see, the device sits on a desktop and requires very little infrastructure or special equipment.

Disruptive Technology

Any day we can help a physician strive for a better surgical outcome is a good day. Beyond that this is also a great example of how three important aspects of the technology enabled us to deliver useful information quickly, making desktop scanning a disruptive technology.

The first key technology is the blue-light scanning itself.  A form of structure-light 3D scanning, this approach uses a blue light because it contrasts the object better. The breakthrough with this technology is that it does not require expensive lasers or complex optics.  Faster computing allows for the complex algorithms used to be quickly and accurately applied.  The approach does not require any special equipment beyond the scanner itself. This results in an affordable device that is easily deployed and operated.  How easy, the 3D motion capture device on the Microsoft Xbox Kinect is a structure-light 3D scanner – using infrared light instead of blue.

Modern software used to convert the scan data into useful information is the second technology deployed for this solution.  In the past the process of calculating the points on a scanned surface, cleaning up spurious data, and converting it to a form that could be easily used was tedious and difficult.  The Geomagic software suite has a modern, intuitive user interface that sits on top of very sophisticated tools that automate many of the steps that used to take us hours to carry out.

The final key technology that makes desktop scanning so disruptive is one that we take for grated today: standards. We were able to produce an STL file from the scan data and the Doctor’s team was able to read that directly in to their visualization software. It is a simple thing, but without standard file formats, transferring so much data would also involve translators which introduce errors and time.

Engineering Better Outcomes

Here at PADT we truly enjoy applying technology developed in the Aerospace or electronics space to other industries, especially medical applications.  This is another great example of how useful engineering tools can be, improving someones life directly.

Signs of Building Momentum Underscore 2014 AZ Tech Council CEO Retreat

ceo-retreatWhen you get an invite for a “CEO Retreat” the word boondoggle tends to come to mind.  But this is Arizona and we like to have fun here, but we are also a very practical and hard working people, so even a retreat in Sedona is a value added experience.  Hosted by the great staff of the Arizona Technology Council, the 2014 CEO Retreat was a useful and enjoyable event. 

This year the full event was held at L’Auberge de Sedona, truly one of the nicest spots in Sedona, what may be one of the coolest places in the state.  The reception Monday night was a great chance to catch up with everyone, meet some new people, and touch base on what happened in the previous year.  It was also the first time I noticed what would become a common theme – there is a growing momentum  in the Arizona technology community.  During the seminar the following day, that same theme grew louder and stronger.

For a long time the technology business community in Arizona has been fragmented and focused outside of the state.  Housing and real estate are huge business here and it is sometime forgotten there is a diverse and significant number of high technology businesses here.  

Sedona has so many incredible views, you find yourself staring out the window with your jaw dropped a lot.
Sedona has so many incredible views, you find yourself staring out the window with your jaw dropped a lot.
After talking with other business owners or C-level people, it became obvious that business large and small are seeing good steady growth. Larger companies are doing more and more of their work here in state, and moving more of their operations to the state.  I learned how one of Arizona’s most successfully tech companies has quietly added significant services offerings to their long term business model that is allowing them to grow beyond their traditional business.  I also chatted with several small software companies that are making that transition from start-up to growth company, adding jobs and talent.  And the impact of data centers and providing services and infrastructure for “the cloud” was obvious and significant on the overall community. One of our favorite segments, Aerospace was a bit underrepresented. So I used every opportunity to point out how well Orbital Sciences is doing with its rocket programs, Honeywell is creating an Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Center of Excellence here in the valley, and a handful of smaller companies are making significant strides in UAV technology.  I didn’t really have time to talk about all the great Cleantech companies we know about.

This growing momentum was best expressed when a Silicon Valley insider and a guest from San Diego both commented on how something important and significant is going on with the Arizona technology community. 

In between such discussions we had a great sessions  learning about funding opportunities and strategies for capital, suggestions for finding great employees, resources for start-ups, tips for digital marketing, and much more. We finished with a great workshop on creating meaningful content to establish your company as domain experts.  

There was golf the first day, but I decided to not drag the PADT name down in shame.  Instead I enjoyed sitting on the hotel patio and watch the rain come down.  It has been a hot summer here in Phoenix and enjoying nature air conditioner was much better than loosing little white balls in the cactus.

Rain falling on Oak Creek from the Hotel Patio.  The Temp dropped to around 65F and then the sun came out.
Rain falling on Oak Creek from the Hotel Patio. The Temp dropped to around 65F and then the sun came out.

All-in-all a great event, at a great location, with great people.

3D Printed Quill Pen for GISHWHES 2014 Scavenger Hunt

quill-pen-2Sometimes you get strange messages on Facebook.  This weekend I heard a beep and checked my phone “Can you 3D Print a Quill Pen?”  Most messages involve asking me why I posted something stupid or annoying, so this one caught my attention.  Turns out my friend Chelsea is taking part in the 2014 “GREATEST INTERNATIONAL SCAVENGER HUNT THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN” or GISHWHES.  One of the items in the scavenger hunt is to print out an ink quill pen on a 3D Printer and write “We need to buy more Toner” on a sheet of paper with the pen.  

I can’t resist a challenge like that, so I told her no problem.  And it worked like a charm. 

The process we used was very straightforward:

First I went into a CAD program, SolidEdge in this case, and build a solid model of a quill pen.  Not being quill pen designer I found some web sites on how to cut a pen tip from a real feather, and tried to mimic the resulting geometry:

Quill-Cad-Model Pen-Tip-Quill-Pen
We then wrote an STL file out and sent that to our RP team.  They read that into our preparation software and separated the feathers from the stem, designating a rubber like material for the feather area for artistic purposes, and a hard white plastic for the stem and the tip.

That file was then sent to our Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 and printed in about 30 minutes.  

This video shows the printing process:

Once it was done, we just needed to wash out the support material and it was ready to go.

The moment of truth was then here.  Our intreped Scavenger Hunter took out her handy-dandy pot of India Ink and dipped the quill in, the she wrote out the requested message:
quill-pen-2

I worked like a charm, our handwriting was the biggest issue.

Wanting to see if it enhanced my artistic skills, I used it to sketch the following masterpiece:
quill-pen-face

This is why I use CAD systems.

Here is an image of the final part. The tip is stained black from the ink.
quill-pen-4

All and all a fun project, and I guess the team gets 80 points for doing this task, so we were glad to help.

You can learn more about 3D Printing by visiting here. Our contact us for more information on 3D Printing, Simulation, or Rapid Prototyping.

Talking About 3D Printing on Talk Radio

radio-microphone-on-the-airWith the increase of interest in 3D Printing from the general public, PADT has been asked to speak about the technology over several different forms of media. The local Phoenix TV stations were kind enough to come in and learn about the technology, including a great interview on the local PBS station.  We have been asked to give presentations to schools, inventor groups, and even a conference on traditional digital printing. Last week we crossed over into a new area for us, talk radio.

Don’t worry, this was not political talk radio… we are still waiting for Rush Limbaugh’s call.  A local financial station, Money Radio, wanted to talk about 3D Printing. Renee Palacios and your truly were interviewed by John Barnabas, host  for “Happiness, Opportunity and Technology.”

You can listen to the full broadcast here:

You can always learn more about 3D Printing on our Rapid Prototyping Page  or contact us.

If you need someone to talk about 3D Printing to your organization or if you are in the media and need recognized experts who can explain the technology, contact us and we would be happy to work with you.

Throwback Thursday: 3D Printing on “Good Morning America” in 1989

3dprinting-1989

Note: This post is not displaying correctly, here is a link to the video:
http://youtu.be/NpRDuJ5YgoQ

Take a look at this science segment that Jeff Strain found on Stereolithography from 1989.  If you ignore the hair styles (Joan Lunden rocked that helmet hair) the report isn’t that much different from news coverage that 3D Printing is getting today. But the technology has sure progressed.

To add some additional perspective, according to the 2014 Wohlers Report, 104 systems were sold in 1989. 94 SLA machines from 3D Systems and 10 systems from now defunct Japanese SLA providers. 

The same report estimates that for 2013 9,823 commercial systems were sold by over 33 different suppliers.  This does not include the personal printer (low cost desktop) systems, which was estimated at over 72,000 units!.  That is 9,345% growth over 24 years for commercial systems.. 66,702 systems have been tracked as old.  

Take a look at the video. It is truly fascinating how the message still resonates and how predictions for replacing traditional manufacturing were maybe a bit optimistic.  But even in the early days, this report captured the promise of the technology. 

It has been an incredible ride, and it is not over yet.

Flownex and PADT Sponsor University of Houston’s Rankin Rollers Team

rankin-rollers-logoA group of enthusiastic students at the University of Houston are doing their part at solving that age old academia problem: not enough hand’s on experience.  They are designing and building a working steam turbine for the schools Thermodynamics lab so students can experiment with a Rankin cycle, learn how to take meaningful measurements, and study how to control a real thermodynamic system.

rankin-rollers-facebook
Look! Flownex and PADT on Social Media! Thanks for the plug guys.
After meeting a team member at the 2014 Houston ANSYS User conference, PADT saw a great opportunity to help the team by providing them with access to a full seat of Flownex SE so that they can create a virtual prototype of their steam turbine and the control system they are developing. 

The four team members have the following goals for their project:

    1. Create a fully automated system control
    2. Create system with rolling frame for ease of transport
    3. Create system with dimensions of 4x2x3.5 ft
    4. Deliver pre-made lab experiments
    5.  Produce an aesthetically pleasing product

    Flownex should be a great tool for them, allowing the team to simulate the thermodynamics and flow in the system as well as the system controls before committing to hardware. 

    You can learn more about the team on their Facebook page here, or on their website here

    We hope to share their models and what they have learned when their project is complete. If you are interested in using Flownex for your work or school project, contact PADT.

    steam-turbine-table-setup
    This is the Team’s proposed configuration for the final test bench.
    flow-schematic
    We can’t wait to see this flow diagram translated into Flownex.

    Integrating ANSYS Fluent and Mechanical with Flownex

    Component boundaries generated in Flownex are useful in CFD simulation (inlet velocities, pressures, temperatures, mass flow). Generation of fluid and surface temperature distribution results from Flownex can also be useful in many FEA simulations. For this reason the latest release of Flownex SE was enhance to include several levels of integration with ANSYS.  

    ANF Import

    By simply clicking on an Import ANF icon on the Flownex Ribbon bar users can select the file that they want to import. The user will be requested to select whether the file must be imported as 3D Geometry which conserves the coordinates system or as an isometric drawing.

    The user can also select the type of component which should be imported in the Flownex library. Since the import only supports lines and line related items this will typically be a pipe component.

    Following a similar procedure, a DXF importer allows users to import files from AutoCAD.

    This rapid model construction gives Flownex users the ability to create and simulate networks quicker. With faster model construction, users can easily get to results and spend less time constructing models.

    p1

    ANSYS Flow Solver Coupling and Generic Interface

    The Flownex library was extended to include components for co-simulation with ANSYS Fluent and ANSYS Mechanical.
    p2

    These include a flow solver coupling checks, combined convergence and exchanges data on each iteration, and a generic coupling that can be used for cases when convergence between the two software programs is not necessary.

    The general procedure for both the Fluent and Mechanical co-simulation is the same:

    1. By identifying specified named selections, Flownex will replace values in a Fluent journal file or ds.dat file in the case of Mechanical.
    2. From Flownex, Fluent/Mechanical will then be run in batch mode
    3. The ANSYS results are then written into text files that are used inputs into Flownex.
    4. When applicable, specified convergence criteria will be checked and the procedure repeated if necessary.

    p3

    Learn More

    To learn more about Flownex or how Flownex and ANSYS Mechanical contact PADT at 480.813.4884 or roy.haynie@padtinc.com.  You can also learn more about Flownex at www.flownex.com.

    FDA Opening to Simulation Supported Verification and Validation for Medical Devices

    FDA-CDRH-Medical-Devices-SimulationBringing new medical device products to market requires verification and validation (V&V) of the product’s safety and efficacy. V&V is required by the FDA as part of their submission/approval process. The overall product development process is illustrated in the chart below and phases 4 and 5 show where verification is used to prove the device meets the design inputs (requirements) and where validation is used to prove the device’s efficacy. Historically, the V&V processes have required extensive and expensive testing. However, recently, the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) has issued a guidance document that helps companies uses computational modeling (e.g FEA and CFD) to support the medical device submission/approval process.

    FDA-Medical-Device-Design-Process-Verification-Validation
    Phases and Controls of Medical Device Development Process, Including Verification and Validation
     The document called, “Reporting of Computational Modeling Studies in Medical Device Submissions”, is a draft guidance document that was issued on January 17th, 2014. The guidance document specifically addresses the use of computation in the following areas for verification and/or validation:

    1. Computational Fluid Dynamics and Mass Transport
    2. Computation Solid Mechanics
    3. Computational Electromagnetics and Optics
    4. Computational Ultrasound
    5. Computational Heat Transfer

    The guidance specifically outlines what form reports need to take if a device developer is going to use simulation for V&V.  By following the guidance, a device sponsor can be assured that all the information required by the FDA is included. The FDA can also work with a consistent set of input from various applicants. 

    drug-delivery-1-large
    CFD Simulation of a Drug Delivery System. Used to Verify Uniform Distribution of Drug

    Computational Modeling & Simulation, or what we usually call simulation, has always been an ideal tool for reducing the cost of V&V by allowing virtual testing on the computer before physical testing. This reduces the number of iterations on physical testing and avoids the discovery of design problems during testing, which is usually late in the development process and when making changes is the most expensive. But in the past, you had to still conduct the physical testing. With these new guidelines, you may now be able to submit simulation results to reduce the amount of required testing.
    mm_model_stresses
    Simulation to Identify Stresses and Loads on Critical Components While Manipulating a Surgical Device

    Validation and verification using simulation has been part of the product development process in the aerospace industry for decades and has been very successful in increasing product performance and safety while reducing development costs.  It has proven to be a very effective tool, when applied properly.  Just as with physical testing, it is important that the virtual test be designed to verify and validate specific items in the design, and that the simulation makes the right assumptions and that the results are meaningful and accurate.

    PADT is somewhat unique because we have broad experience with product development, various types of computational modeling and simulation, and the process of submission/approval with the FDA. In addition, we are ISO 13485 certified. We can provide the testing that is needed for the V&V process and employ simulation to accelerate and support that testing to help our medical device customers get their products to market faster and with less testing cost.  We can also work with customers to help them understand the proper application of simulation in their product development process while operating within their quality system.

    Flownex 2014 Released and Webinars Announced

    987786-flownex_simulation_environment-11_12_13The June release of Flownex SE software includes numerous updates for companies that model thermal fluid systems; videos and webinars are available to showcase the impact of these enhancements.

    Flownex SE has increased the ability of engineers to accurately model their fluid-thermal with the release of version of Flownex 2014 on June 19th, 2014. The program is known for its in ease of use, breadth of capability, and depth of functionality.  With enhancements in turbomachinery modeling, support for 3D networks, GIS data import, heat transfer and a myriad of additional new features impacting efficiency, integration, and automation, this release expands the industries that can take advantage of it, and will help current users model their systems more accurately with greater ease.

    7271351-Flownex2014-GIS

    To help the user community understand the impact of these significant enhancements, PADT is offering two webinars. Both webinars will include a brief introduction to the tool, so if you are new to Flownex SE you will have a good foundation to get started.

    Webinar Sign-Up:

    Overview webinar: July 24, 2014, 1:00-2:00 PM MST

    This webinar will focus all of the new features in Flownex SE 8.3.6.  
    Register here

    7271351-Flownex2014-Rotating_ComponentsTurbomachinery webinar: August 7, 2014, 1:00-2:00 PM MST

    This webinar will be a deep dive into the extensive turbomachinery capabilities added in this release, and will be of interest to anyone simulating turbine engines, pumps, blowers, or other rotating machinery that involves fluids.
    Register here

    All registrants will be sent links to recordings so they can view the presentation even if they cannot attend them live.

    Video Resources:

    A video is also available that hits the important new capabilities: 

    If you are new to Flownex SE, visit PADT’s Flownex page to learn more:  

    Key Features:

    The key features introduced in Flownex 2014 (Flownex SE 8.3.6) are:  

    1. Rotating components, Swirl Boundary, and General Turbine and Compressor Models
    2. Importing and Geometries
    3. GIS File Support
    4. Connections to ANSYS Products
    5. Link to Mathcad
    6. Graphical Script Generation Tool
    7. New Designer Tools to Quickly Model Common Systems.
    8. Five Additional Convection Models
    9. Exit Thrust Nozzle Added
    10. Additional Enhancements ranging from 3D Graphs to Support for Miter Bends in Piping

    7271351-Flownex2014-Pipe-Results

    Visit here to see a detailed list of these key features, or download the complete release notes here.

    These additional features reflect the growing diversity of industries that are using Flownex SE to model their systems.  Users in oil and gas, mining, chemical processing, and turbomachinery will all see additional accuracy, functionality, and efficiency from this release. Built on an existing strong foundation that offers un-paralleled capability with  intuitive ease of use, a short look at Flownex SE will show you why so many users around the world are choosing it as their thermo-fluid modeling tool.

    PADT is the distributor of Flownex SE in the United States.  Our experienced staff is eager to discuss your system modeling needs and is ready to show you how Flownex SE can start delivering value almost immediately. Contact us today to meet with our experts.

    3D Printing and PADT hit the Airwaves

    money_radioLocal station Money Radio – 1510AM  99.3FM – is broadcasting a show on 3D Printing from PADT.  Technology, Opportunity and Happiness, hosted by John Barnabas, will be broadcasting live from PADT on July 29th from 12 noon till 1:00 pm.  The show includes a studio audience and will focus on how 3D printing is impacting business and the markets.  

    There is room in the audience for about 30 people, so register now to reserve your seat.  We will cover the basics of the technology, but the real discussion will be about how this technology has and is transforming the way people innovate, and the way companies manufacture products. Lunch will be served and we will keep the discussion going and giving tours after the broadcast for anyone that wants to learn more.

    If you can’t attend, you can listen live in Arizona on 1510 AM or 99.3 FM.  And you can always listen from anywhere over the web hereStratasy-Mojo-3D-Printer-in-Shopping-Cart_thumb.jpg

    Top 10 New Thermal Fluid Modeling Capabilities in Flownex 2014

    3D graphWe are pleased to announce the release of Flownex SE 2014.  This is a very exciting release for all of us involved in Flownex because it introduces a mix of advanced features and usability enhancements – we love better and easier.  We will be publishing more information about this release, as well as videos and webinars. While we set all of that up, we wanted to whet everyone’s appetite and give you a list of what we feel are the 10 most important enhancements.

    1. Rotating components, Swirl Boundary, and General Turbine and Compressor Models 
      A new library has been added which models rotating flow on a system level. Focusing on secondary flow and heat transfer in turbine engines, it includes all the components needed including compressors, turbines, seals, gaps, nozzles, and cavities. A complete library for Steam Turbine modeling was also added. 
    2. Importing and Geometries
      Users can read in 2D and 3D layout files in common formats and directly create Flownex models from the geometry. The model and results can then be visualized with the 3D geometry.
    3. GIS File Support
      When modeling systems that cover a large area, such as water or gas pipelines, the geographical data can be imported for display and to automatically include altitude into the model. 
    4. Connections to ANSYS Products
      Users can import 3D Pipe geometry as an ANF file, and connect to ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Fluent for co-simulation.
    5. Link to Mathcad
      Users can transfer parametric data to and from Mathcad worksheets
    6. Graphical Script Generation Tool
      Users can use Quick Script to create complex scripts to customize their processes or models without having to learn the full scripting language
    7. New Designer Tools to Quickly Model Common Systems.
      Designer tools atomically iterate on a user’s model to calculate unknown values for them. This release includes tools for calculating mass flow when only pressure is known at a boundary, automatically calculating steady state conditions in a two-phase tank, and a component designer that calculates input parameters for common components so that those components deliver the users requested mass flow.
    8. Five Additional Convection Models 
      Based on user input, five new models were added to the Dittus-Boelter correlation for calculating heat transfer coefficients: tube, shell-side single phase, shell-side horizontal tube condensation, ribbed wall channel, and channel with pedestals. 
    9. Exit Thrust Nozzle Added
      New model in subsonic and supersonic flow at the outlet of a flow network with gasses and superheated fluids
    10. Additional Enhancements:
      Support for miter bends in piping
      3D graphs
      Radiation supports multiple surface enclosures
      The range of methane two phase fluid was increased
      Support for 64 bit 
      Several more values can be changed during a transient solution

    The best way to learn more about these additions, or anything about Flownex, is to contact Roy Haynie at roy.haynie@padtinc.com or 480-813-4884.  
    There is also some more detailed material here:

     

    3D Color Printing the 2014 Arizona SciTech Festival Awards

    photo 2The best way to promote and celebrate science and technology is with science and technology.  And this year PADT was able to do just that by using 3D Color Printing to make the recognition awards for the 2014 sponsors of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

    The Arizona SciTech Festival is a new but growing player in the Arizona STEM landscape.  After three short years it has become the preferred way for science and technology companies and educators to engage with the public.  This year’s festival, held in February and March, was a huge success.  And none of it would be possible without the support of sponsors. PADT was honored to once again the awards that are given to these sponsors in recognition of their contributions. 

    In the past we mixed traditional manufacturing and 3D Printing to make the awards. But this year we were able to use our new Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 to make the bulk of this years awards, and our Stratasys FORTUS 400 to make the stands.  The resulting awards are better than we had hoped for. 

    The Process

    The way the color printer works is you have to create a separate STL file for each color you want to print. So I needed to take a 2D vector art file and convert it into a collection of 3D STL files that represent the part I want printed.

    I started by taking an Adobe Illustrator file of the AZ SciTech Festival logo, cleaning it up, and exporting it as a *.DWG file.
    azstf-award-illustrator
    I then imported it into my CAD tool. I happen to use SolidEdge, but the process should work with any modern CAD tool. I had to clean up the lines a lot.  In a graphic art image you can have small gaps, little line segments, and even polygons that self intersect. But in CAD you have to clean that all up. Plus some features were just too small to see in the 3D Printed object, so I simplified those. This was the most difficult part of the process.
    azstf-award-solidedge-sketch

    Once everything is clean you simply go through and extrude each polygon that you want printed, using the cleaned up sketch as your geometry.  Here is the first solid, and the simplest, the tail:
    azstf-award-solidedge-extrude1

    Once all the polygons are extruded, I assigned colors so I could visualize what the final part would look like. I also put a round on all the top edges, knowing from experience that even putting a small round on a part like this will increase the final parts attractiveness.
    azstf-award-solidedge-extruded

    The base needed to be a separate solid, because I needed it to be a different color. So I just made a new part for that and made an assembly. This keeps all of the solids separate. The letters were made just like the lizard logo, I went in to Adobe Illustrator and created the text outline, following the circle that defines the award. I exported that as DWG, imported it into SolidEdge, then extruded each letter.  
    azstf-award-solidedge-medalian

    The next step was to export the assembly as an STL file.  This file contained all the solids.  This was read in to the software that comes with the Objet500 Connex3. The operator then had to click on each object and assign a color from the chosen pallet.  It turns out that the official ScitTech Festival colors match one of the pallets closely, so we were able to get all the colors in the print. 

    Once this was done, we simply printed 28 at a 3″ diameter, and 9 at 2″. Here is a video showing the printing process.

    The resolution and brightness of the colors was very nice. Here are some images. Color parts just look better.
    p7

    For the base, I just came up with something that was thin and easy to build in using FDM because I wanted a strong part that was inexpensive that would also take a decal with the recipients name on the front, and information about the award on the back.  
    azstf-award-solidedge-base

    Here is a stack of the printed bases.
    photo 1

    And the final awards, ready to go to all those sponsors.
    p12

    Why Does it Matter

    This effort is great example of the power of 3D Printing to a create a smaller number of custom objects. Standard awards form an awards shop are cheaper, but they are generic.  Using traditional methods to make custom awards is expensive and often labor intensive.  By making the whole award using a 3D Printer we were able to reduce the cost and the time for these unique objects, and were able to use advanced technology to highlight the sponsorship of an event that celebrates just that.  Kind of cool.

    It is also a great example of the long term power of 3D Printing.  As was covered in a recent blog post, the real power of this technology is that it lets people without manufacturing or craftsman skills to create real objects, without a collection of equipment they don’t need or don’t know how to use. The applications of this power are endless. 

    If you want to learn more about how you can do your own 3D Printing or how PADT can provide it to you as a service, contact us today.

    Ulthera Purchased by Merz

    Ulthera-Hand-Piece-SmallWe love to see our customers succeed – everyone here that has worked with Ulthera knew it would only be a matter of time before a large player recognized the value of this company. And, we just learned today that the German pharmaceutical company Merz is buying Ulthera for $600,000,000.  

    Here is a link to an article on the sale, and here is a link to the press release

    PADT worked with Ulthera to help them redesign their hand-piece design.  The process, called Ultherapy, is a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure for the face that uses high density, focused, ultrasound and the body’s own natural healing process to lift, tone, and tighten loose skin. Some of our employees also volunteered to test the device and pose for marketing material.  

    Read about the work we did in a case study we published a while back.

    Congratulations to everyone at Ulthera and we can’t wait to work with them again to help improve and grow this device and others in the future.