As 3D Printing matures it is impacting a larger area within manufacturing companies. Supply chain management is a key part of any organization that makes physical parts, and 3D Printing has a big, and sometimes ignored, impact there. The Institute for Supply Chain Management made the topic their cover article for the March issue of their magazine: Inside Supply Management. The article does a good job of pointing out the realities of 3D Printing in a real manufacturing environment.
The article featured input from PADT and other experts in the area. Even if you are not directly involved in the supply chain side of things, it is worth a read to understand how the technology impacts things. The section on building a business case for 3D Printing is especially useful.
There is a nice sidebar that covered some of the lessons we have learned here at PADT:
Don't Cheap Out – get a commercial quality 3D Printer that doesn't cut corners
It's not for everyone – make sure that 3D Printing has a real benefit for your company
Understand quality needs – quality is different with 3D Printed parts, know this and work with it
Set traceability standards – you need to know where your material came from and where the parts you make end up
If you have any questions about 3D Printing and supply chain, or any other impact of the technology, don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to talk about it.
Not long ago the sages in the additive manufacturing world said "Someday in the future we will be able to print a complete Turbine Engine." That someday is now, much sooner than many of us predicted. Researchers at Monash University in Australia recently created a modified version of a Safron Microturbo Auxiliary Power Unit using 3D Printing. The whole thing. Milestone Achieved.
Turbine Engines are really the peak of machine design. They contain every nasty thing you might run into in other machines, but spin faster and run hotter. It's hard stuff. The geometry is difficult, lots of small features and holes, and significant assembly and tolerance constraints. Getting a demonstrator built like this is a huge deal. As a former turbine engine engineer and a long time user of additive manufacturing, I'm amazed.
Check out their video:
The "3d Printer" they used was a huge Concept Laser Direct Laser Melting system. The technology uses a laser to draw on the top of a bed of powder medal, melting the medal in small pools the bind and create a fully dense part with cast like properties. They used three different metals: nickel alloy, titanium, and aluminum.
PADT has chosen to partner with Concept Laser for our metal 3D Printing strategy, which gives us additional excitement for this sucessful project.
Now that someone has achieved this milestone, the industry can move forward with confidence that even more can be done with metal 3D Printing. Much was learned in the creation of this advanced device that we can build on and apply to other industries and applications.
Much is said in the twittersphere and press about printing food or custom dog tags, but this sort of high value industrial application is where the real impact of 3D Printing will be felt. It shows that companies can develop new more efficient products in less time and that are not constrained by traditional manufacturing methods.
A lot is going on in the various sales groups at PADT after having such a strong 2014. We are very pleased to announce that the latest result of outstanding efforts across the board is PADT's new status as a Stratasys Platinum Commercial Partner. Stratasys, Ltd (SSYS), the leading provider of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) systems, designates only the best of their reseller channel as Platinum Partners. To obtain this highest level, PADT not only had to meet aggressive sales goals, we also had to make significant investments in resources and people. In 2014 we exceeded those sales goals by 25% and we opened up a fourth sales and support office, located just south of Salt Lake City in Murray, Utah.
Here is a pixture of our Additive Manufacturing Sales Manager, Mario Vargas, with one of PADT's principals, Ward Rand, pointing out our latest addition to our "wall o' awards."
You can read more about this on our press release here.
PADT has been selling Stratasys equipment for over a decade, and we have been using their systems for over fifteen years. We have seen them go from a few basic systems to a full offering of solutions from desktop hobby solutions to full production manufacturing centers. This year the team was able to help more customers find the right Additive Manufacturing system for their specific needs. In fact, many of the systems we sold in 2015 were additional machines or upgrades to current machines, showing strong customer satisfaction with Stratasys solutions.
We could never have achieved last years success and Platinum status without a fantastic team. Our sales professionals, application engineers, field service engineers, and support staff all strive to provide the highly technical win-win sales experience that PADT has become known for. They truly believe in this technology and are truly enthusiastic about finding new and better ways for our customers to apply it.
Those customers also deserve a heartfelt thank you for being such a pleasure to work with. Every day we get to interact with the full spectrum of users, from the preverbal garage startup to major aerospace corporations; and everything between. They teach us something new every day and we are always proud of the value that Stratasys and PADT are able to deliver to their product development efforts.
If you want to learn more about 3D Printing and why Stratasys systems have continued to outsell the closest competitors for years, please contact Kathryn Pesta at 480.813.4884 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She will put you in touch with one of our sales people located in your local area. Or you can visit www.padtinc.com/stratasys to learn more about the technology.
Note: We have scheduled an encore Lunch & Learn and companion Webinar for March 23, 2015. Please register here to attend in person at CEI in Phoenix or here to attend via the web.
People are interested in how to better do design and simulation for products they manufacture using 3D Printing. When the AZ Tech council let us know they had a cancelation for their monthly manufacturing Lunch and Learn, we figured why not do something on this topic, a few people might show up. We had over 105 people register, so we had to close registration. In the end around 95 total people made it to the seminar, which is more than expected so we had to add chairs. Who would have thought that many people would come for such a nerdy topic?.
For an hour and fifteen minutes they sat and listned to us talk about the ins and outs of using this growing technology to make end use parts. Here is a copy of the PowerPoint as a PDF.
We did add one bullet item in the design suggestions area based on a question. Someone pointed out that the machine instructions, what the AM machine uses to make the parts, should be a controlled document. They are exactly right and that is a very important process that needs to be put in place to get traceability and repeatability.
As always, do not hesitate to contact us for more information or with any questions.
If you missed this presentation, don't worry, we are looking to schedule a live/web version of this talk with some enhancements sometime in March. Watch the usual channels for time, place, and registration information. We will also be publishing detailed blog posts on many of the topics covered today, diving deeper into areas of interest.
Thank you to the AZ Tech Council, ASU SkySong, and everyone that attended for making this our best attended non-web seminar ever.
We have been using SpaceClaim with ANSYS Workbench for about four years now, and we always liked it. Then it came as part of the Geomagic Spark tool and we got more excited. This was a powerful geometry creation, editing, and reapir tool that was saving us time all across PADT. The, when ANSYS, Inc. purchased the company SpaceClaim we got realy excited. So excited that we decided to become a reseller of the full product, and not just the ANSYS or Geomagic tools. The addition of a module for working with STL files sealed the deal and as of the begining of the year we are offering all flavors of SpaceClaim to our customers.
The official press release can be found here. You can learn a lot about the product by visiting the web page.
To get started learning about why we love this program so much, check out this video showing the new features in the latest version:
Then go visit their YouTube channel and watch videos that may be of special interest to you.
Or, contact us here at PADT and we would be happy to share with your our enthusiasm for this tool.
In honor of the big game this weekend the folks at Stratasys scored big time with a 3D printed football. Stratasys has had a history of using 3D printing to improve on a variety of sports; however this time they out did themselves by possibly solving the infamous issue of deflategate. Since the Ideal Gas Law doesn't exactly explain it, maybe 3D printing could help prevent it from interfering in the big game until an answer is found. I’m not sure the NFL will be too keen on using these balls but it’s a thought
The football was created on the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-Material 3D Production System and was printed in three materials. VeroMagenta and VeroYellow was used for the bulk of the design however they were also able to replicate the true texture and feel of a real football using the rubber-like TangoPlus material and all in one print job. It is heavier than a game ball but can still be tossed around. Of course they wouldn’t print a football and not test it. Check out their video below.
Reading through my email this morning I saw an update from the "maker" site Instructables and I glanced at it quickly: "floating bed, how to make a sword, that's cool, 3D printable printer, folding chair charcoal forge, what?, parachord hammer holder, just buy one, duh, blah, blah, blah how do people have time for this… wait, 3D printable printer?" CLICK.
So this 17 year old kid used his 3D Printer, an arduino board and parts he scrounged from old DVD drives to make a 3D Printer. Read about it here. This kid, wootin24, designed and built an X, Y, Z positioning device that could be fited with a dremel tool to be a CNC machine, or an extruder to be a 3D Printer. No CAD experience, no formal engineering training, just a smart person. And the ad that popped up on the side of the how-to this kid wrote was for a Dremel 3D Printer, available at Home Depot. Not some kickstarter funded rehash of an opensource printer, Dremel. The big guys. As I was feeling bad about how I spent my time when I was 17 (I'm not going to go there but I never did become a the backup bass player for Rush nor did I get a second date from T—–) and starting to worry about how systems from very capable companies like Dremel will impact our sales of Stratasys equipment, I realized that the true revolution in 3D printing happened and most of us involved day-to-day in the industry didn't even notice.
3D Printing is Now Normal
When a revolutionary technology comes out there is a lot of hoopla and press. Tons of people start jumping on the bandwagon and your Aunt's friend in Topeka is sending you links on Facebook about 3D Printing and how it is "going to change everything." Do not get me started on how 3D Printing is not new, we've been doing it at PADT for over 20 years, and certainly do not ask about the "3D printed gun. The false-newness and fear-mongering stories are what the mainstream press picked up on. The good news is that the hype got the word out. And then smart people like this kid and the engineers at Dremel said "hmmm, that is useful. I can do something with this" and boom, the real revolution happened.
After all these years this tool that was really a special tool used when needed, has become just another screwdriver in the toolbox. A standard part of the process it is something most engineers understand well, and a majority of non-engineers are aware of. When we first started showing people our SLA machine back in the 90's they would either not understand what they were looking at or become flabergasted and amazed, treating it more like a magic box than a fairly simple additive curing system. Now when we give tours we hear "that one looks like the one we have in our office" or "oh yea, an Objet, I'd love to trade my older system in for one of those." And the dreaded "oh, we have three of these in our robotics lab at school, do you have anything interesting?"
There is a lot of power in 3D Printing. That is the real reason why the technology has blossomed as it has. The power of 3D Printing is that it lets you make physical objects without special equipment or knowledge, the laser printer of manufacturing. However, as long as the tool is treated as something to be used in special cases or as a mystical new magic bullet, it will not be used correctly. Now that it is mainstream, the use of additive manufacturing becomes mainstream and the power it brings to the table can be fully realized. We see this every day at PADT. Product managers have "3D Printed Prototypes" as a standard line item in their budget templates. Customers are increasingly talking about going back to their current product lines and identifying parts that are machined, injection molded, or cast and determining which can be replaced by 3D printed parts. And most importantly, the supply chain and quality people are sniffing around and starting to make paperwork to control and manage 3D Printed components.
As proponents of the technology since the early days, we could not be happier than when we see a check box for "Created with additive manufacturing" on a quality form. When it becomes part of the bureaucracy, the revolution has truly happened.
Every year in November the Arizona technology community gathers to celebrate innovation in the state. The 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) was a great event for the state and for PADT. This years winners ranged from high school students to legislators to internationally recognized leaders in the software industry. And, unlike most tech events in the state, everyone was dressed up all fancy. The gala is put on by our friends at the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority.
This is a special event for PADT for a variety of reasons. We have been a sponsor of the GCOI for several years, hauling out our equipment and samples for a booth to show off Mechanical Engineering in the state. This year we were also honored to provided a judge to help choose the winners and we also made the trophies for those who won. In addition, PADT was the winner of the 2011 Pioneering Award. Every year we add more good memories to this event which puts an exclamation point on the year.
Congratulations to the Winners
This years nominees was a great indication of the strength of technology companies and educators in the state. As always, the students who received recognition were the most inspiring. It is truly amazing what they have achieved while still in High School.
It was especially nice to see PADT customers Syncardia and Securaplane receive awards. Both companies are based in Tucson and are leading the way in their industries. Syncardia produces the only FDA approved total artificial heart, truly saving lives on a daily basis. Securaplane provides the aviation industry with a variety of security and power sub-systems.
We were also pleased to see Pat Sullivan take home a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Pat started ACT! in the early days of personal computing, and many of us at PADT have been users of his software, and we still use it today at PADT. In addition, we are an investor in Pat’s new company, Contatta, through the Arizona Tech Investors.
This year the judges decided to add a special award, the Judges Award, for outstanding contributions to the technology community. The first ever winner was the Society of Women Engineers. This group is a big favorite of PADT because of their hard work to diversify the field and support many in school and in their careers.
Check out the article in the Phoenix Business Journal to see a full list of winners.
3D Printed Awards
Once again, PADT provided the awards for the winners. It is one thing to see people you know and admire win an award, it is even more meaningful when you see them holding an award that you designed and made. Seeing Governor Brewer pose with her special award was kind of cool.
In the past, we have used a combination of 3D Printing and traditional methods to make the awards, but this year we were able to produce everything using additive manufacturing technologies.
The top portion of the awards was created on our Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 polyjet machine. This device uses inkjet heads to deposit layers of photo-curable polymers. It has four heads, allowing us to lay down support material, a base material, and two colors. We used a transparent material for the base, and mixed yellow and magenta to get the different colors that “float” inside the transparent oval.
The base was created on our FORTUS 400 fused deposition modeling machine using ABS plastic. Both of the parts were generated in CAD and printed directly. This application shows the power of 3D Printing. We were able to create 11 unique trophies without the need for tooling, special equipment, or expertise in any given process. We simply visualized what we wanted on the computer, then sent the resulting custom designs to the printers. Specifically, the unique text for each award was extruded as a solid inside the main body, floating above the state of Arizona.
Last Thursday (10/30/2014) PADT was honored to host the closing event for this years “Arizona Manufacturing Month” The event was well attended with almost 300 people stopping for networking, food, beer, and some examples of the future of Manufacturing in the state.
Food was provided by Teakwoods Tavern and Grill (the barbecue beef went fast!) and samples of beer were provided by Arizona Manufacturer, Four Peaks Brewing.
In addition to all of the companies and customers who attended, we were pleased to have a great group of High School Robotics teams that showed up to share their robots with us and take part in a brief awards ceremony for PADT’s “2014 FIRST Robotics Grant” competition. Read more about that here.
All and all a great event and our staff wants to thank everyone for making it an enjoyable and value added gathering. We hope to see more of you here next year as momentum grows and more and more people learn about the Revolution in Manufacturing that is taking place in Arizona.
——————————————————————————————————– Here are some snapshots from the event:
The state of Arizona has a vibrant and robust manufacturing community, something that most people do not know. To highlight this strong part of the state’s economy, the month of October has been designated as Manufacturing Month. Learn more at the ACA website.
PADT has been busy participating in a variety of events throughout the month of October. We are excited to celebrate the culmination of this amazing month.
Everyone is welcome!
What: Celebrating Arizona Manufacturing – The Special Closing Event of the 2014 Arizona Manufacturer’s Month
When: October 30th, 4-7pm
Where: PADT – 7755 S. Research Drive, Tempe, AZ 85284
We love art at PADT. We especially love it when the tools we use, sell, and support for high-end engineering are used to create art. Last week we were able to participate in an event at the Shemer Art Center that did just that. “MATERIALIZE: 3D Printing & Rapid Prototyping” is an exhibition that strives to educate artists and the public about new digital tools used to create art. The museum challenged artists to create original works using the capabilities of 3D printers. PADT attended the opening on October 16th and showed off some of our own parts.
Here is a picture of PADT’s Mario Vargas explaining the technology behind 3D Printing to attendees:
The artwork created varied greatly, but all showed the power of 3D Printing to take ideas visualized on a computer, and convert them directly to physical parts. We highly recommend that anyone interested in art or 3D Printing, attend the exhibit which closes on November 27th, 2014.
Here is a very nice cow piece:
And this is a collection of images from the website:
If you make visit, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
PADT Colorado is excited to be partnering again with Alignex for a 3D printer demo/happy hour at their upcoming networking event.
The event is from 10 am to 6pm and will feature guest speakers discussing the latest in engineering and design productivity. PADT will be on site to discuss 3D printing during their happy hour from 5 to 6pm.
For more details and to register for the event please click here.
Last week, on September 17th, the Arizona Bio Technology community gathered for the 20144 AZBioAwards. This year PADT was once again privileged to not only attend, but to again 3D Print the awards themselves. PADT also had a both, which gave us an opportunity to talk with many of our customers who were attending.
This event honors some of the leaders in industry and is a chance for everyone involved to get together and celebrate all the progress that is made each year in this area.
PADT was also pleased to receive recognition for our 20th Anniversary from AZBIO.
You can view a press release about the whole AZBio Week, including the awards, here.
You can see pictures from the event on Facebook, here.
Here is a picture of the awards we made:
And here is our both with Ward Rand, Josh Heaps, and Andrew Miller interacting with a customer:
PADT just released a line of computer workstations specifically designed for use with a variety of optical scanners: geoCUBE Scanning Workstations.
Scanning technology has come a long way. It is relatively easy to scan a real physical part with a variety of different scanning technologies and capture the geometry for use in inspection, design, reverse engineering, or to directly replicate a part with 3D Printing. The problem is that a good scanner produces a huge number of data points and a standard office computer, laptop, or even most CAD workstations bog down and perhaps even crash when you try to view or manipulate that much data.
When we ran into that exact problem here at PADT when we were doing scanning services for customers. On a nice CAD workstation it was taking almost a whole day to clean up and process a full scan or a large part. Our manufacturing team asked if they could power one of the CUBE Simulation Computers we use for CFD. If you know CFD people you know they said “No, but can I also run on your box if you are not using it?” So they went to our IT staff, the people who design CUBE systems and asked for a custom built machine for scanning.
The result was a breakthrough. That 20 hour job was finishing in about two hours and we were able to spin the points and the resulting triangle file around on the screen in real time. We liked it so much we decided to come up with four systems spanning the needs of scanning users, and offer them along with the scanner we sell, or to anyone that might need one.
Below is a screen shot of the table showing the four systems, from a basic small box that you can use to drive your scanner, to the power system that we use. You can download the brochure here, or visit the web page here.
As always, feel free to contact us to get more information and see how we can help you find the right scanner and the perfect computer to go with it.