Exploring RAPID 2018 in Fort Worth, TX

Waking up at 3 A.M. isn’t something I like to do often. However, for this conference I was about to attend, it was worth the early rise! Caffeine is a must to get through a long day of walking around and being educated by all the different new and old manufacturers of 3D printers. If you have been around 3D printing, you know there are really two conferences that are above the rest; AMUG and RAPID. Here are some of the things that were announced that I believe are the most significant at RAPID.

Stratasys:

Stratasys didn’t disappoint this year in introducing a new carbon fiber 3D printer, material, and metal technology that will be coming in a year+. We are very familiar with the Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber reinforced material that Stratasys has. It is THE best Nylon 12 carbon fiber material on the market and there are a few factors as to why that is the case. One is that they are using longer strands of Carbon Fiber than the competitor along with 35% carbon fiber filled parts compared to 15%. Soluble support is huge for this material as well, along with 2 to 5 times faster printer speeds. Check out how One Wheel is using this printer to help with manufacturing their cool skateboard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOojDgd7KVE

ANTERO 800 is the new material that Stratasys released recently. This material is being used in many amazing ways. Lockheed Martin/NASA/Stratasys/PADT collaborated in a very successful task to get flight approved hardware for one of the next missions to space. Below is the full story on this new and exciting ESD version of Antero 800 FDM material. Could your company also benefit from using this type of material? We would like to help!

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20180418-lockheed-martin-padt-stratasys-to-3d-print-over-100-parts-for-nasas-orion-capsule.html

Vero Magenta V and Vero Yellow V are the new Polyjet materials to help with getting more vibrant colors along with deeper red and brighter yellow. 500,000 color combinations can be achieved now with these 2 materials that have been improved upon. Absolutely beautiful parts can be made with a Stratasys J750 or J735.

Metal We have been asking (and have been asked) for metal for the longest time! When is Stratasys going to jump into the metal game? One of the main reasons why I went to RAPID this year was to see Stratasys Metal parts. They did not disappoint. As far as what density these metal parts are, the process for printing, and when a machine will be available, that is still the big unknown. One thing mentioned at the conference is that they are wanting to make metal 3D printing affordable to all with the ability to 3D print metal 80% cheaper than anything available right now. How this compares to what Desktop Metal, Mark Forged, HP, and others who proclaim to make metal parts cheaper than the Laser or Electron Beam options is yet to be known. Stratasys wants to be able to provide value to the metal market by focusing on areas that are lacking, which is Aluminum. Always good to have competition against the large companies of metal as it makes everyone get better at what they are doing. Read more about this machine and what Phil Reeves (VP of Strategic Consulting from Stratasys) has to say in an exclusive interview with TCT. Also below are a few pictures I took in the Stratasys booth of their metal parts that were on display.

www.tctmagazine.com/tct-events/3d-printing-at-rapid-tct/stratasys-metal-3d-printing/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Software was featured big time at RAPID because it unlocks the ability to 3D print amazing parts like this that was featured in the EOS booth. Lattice structures and topology optimized parts!

There were a lot of companies present at RAPID that highlighted where the industry is headed. Materials with vibrant color capabilities was one such area receiving a lot of attention. While competitors have introduced machines that are capable of printing in a wide variety of colors, they still fall short when compared to the Stratasys Polyjet offerings. Machines such as the J750 and J735 both offer a similar range of color compared to other companies on the market, but surpass them when it comes to material options, applications, and overall usability.

I enjoyed talking with all the major 3D printer manufactures at RAPID. One questions I would ask each of them is, what makes your system better than the competitors? I loved hearing the sales pitch about their machines and there was some great insight gained by asking this.At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you are wanting to use the 3D printer. At PADT we have many different 3D printers, and while we see and understand the appeal of the various different offerings on the market today, there is a reason why we continue to resell and support the brands we do. Let us know how we can help you out and any questions that you have with 3D printing.

What we Learned at the Geomagic Conference about Design X and Control X

On September 11th and 12th Mario Vargas (Hardware Manager for PADT Inc.) and I (James Barker, Application Engineer for PADT Inc.) attended Convergence 2017 in Los Angeles, CA.  This event is held by 3D Systems and is the America’s Software Partner Meeting.  Many strategic partners were in attendance from all across the USA, Canada, and Latin America.  We were able to learn about some new enhancements to Geomagic that will help you with Inspection or Reverse Engineering BIG time!  The first day of meetings we heard from Vyomesh Joshi (CEO of 3D Systems referred to as VJ).  He mentioned that 3D Systems has committed 17% to R&D and after going to this event it is apparent!  VJ briefly talked about each of their software options.  The 1st being Control X and how Polyworks currently has the edge for inspection software but after this next software release, he and other 3D Systems employees seemed confident that they could surpass Polyworks.  The 2nd software he talked about was Freeform which allows users to freely design parts by using a haptic device.  This software would be great for creating custom shapes on a whim.  If you haven’t tried a haptic device, you need to!  It will blow your mind as a designer with the freedom you get by using the haptic device and this Freeform Software.  The 3rd software he talked about was Cimatron which aids in the design of mold and die design.  Of the top 10 largest USA mold makers, 7 of them use Cimatron Software.  The 4th software is something new that will be released later this month.  I would love to tell you more about it but can’t….  sorry!

A little about why Mario and I attended this convention, PADT Inc. offers 3D Scanning as both a service and also as hardware or software you can buy.  We use both Geomagic Design X and Geomagic Control X and have experts that are scanning parts for customers for either inspection results or for reverse engineering purposes at our Tempe, AZ office.  The scanner that we use is a CMM quality scanner from Zeiss.  This scanner is capable of scanning 5 million points per scan!  We also offer 3D Systems Capture and Capture Mini scanners which are great tools for reverse engineering.  Each time they scan a part they are capturing about 1 million points per scan.  I am located in the Salt Lake City, Utah office and have a Capture Mini scanner that anyone wanting to see and demo, can come look at and evaluate at our office.  Same holds true for the Capture scanner and Zeiss scanner in our Tempe, AZ Headquarters.  Since we offer these services, we love knowing what new tools are available with these product releases.

Jumping back to the conference, on September 12th, there were breakout sessions.  We chose to go to the Geomagic Design X session to see what enhancements have been made.  This software is the preferred software in all of the industry for reverse engineering parts.  There were many different vendors/partners in the room we were at.  There was even a rep from Faro who prefers to sell Geomagic Design X software with each Faro Arm that he sells because this software is so powerful.  The neat thing about this software is all of the improvements that have been made to it.  If you are accustomed to designing parts with Solidworks, Solidedge, NX, Catia, Pro-E or any of the other CAD software, you will be able to use this software with ease.  Every command that you execute within Design X is editable just like the major CAD software.  You have the ability to create sketches on planes or to make life even easier, there are wizards that automatically create sketches and perform a command like an extrusion or revolve that is editable after completing the wizard.  After you have finished reverse engineering your parts within Design X, you can live transfer your new CAD data over to the above-mentioned CAD software.  Once you have imported this data into NX or Solidworks, you can again edit any of the sketches that were created within Design X but now in your software of choice!  I would love to show you how powerful this software is.  There is a reason why it is the preferred reverse engineering software in the industry.

Geomagic Control X session was next.  It also happened to be the last session of the day.  To be honest, I have only used Design X so I was looking forward to learning more about this software.  From all the demo’s that I have seen in the past from this software, it appeared really hard to use.  That is all changing with this new software release and is the reason why VJ is confident that it will compete and could exceed Polyworks as the preferred software for inspection.  The biggest thing that stuck out to me was the ability to set up a workflow for scanned data for inspection so that you can create your inspection reports.  The idea is that if you have a part that needs to be inspected for quality, you 3D scan the part and then import the CAD file.  By overlaying the scanned data over the CAD data you can show the deviation within the 2 parts and you are able to have different views in a 3D PDF to share with others the actual quality of the part.  As you are assigning your GD&T to this first inspection file, you are creating the first steps of the workflow.  There are many options for the workflow that you can create and 3D Systems has made it easy to create the workflow.  I feel that the power of this software is when you can open up the results of the first inspection report and do a split screen on your monitor to show the 100th or 1,000th part side by side and see how that part deviates from the first.

I had a great time in California at this event even though all of our time was spent at the hotel.  The streets looked nice from the window on the 11th floor.  Maybe next time we will venture out!  If anyone from 3D Systems is reading this, let’s go out to eat next time instead of eating at the hotel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  Although the view from the dining room was nice!

If you have any questions about 3D scanning whether it is for Inspection or for Reverse Engineering, let us know at PADT Inc.  We look forward to helping you.