We came across this very cool application that uses a Stratasys Connex 500 spreading like wildfire across the blog-sphere. We thought we would put our own technical spin on it since we have that same system. Evan Atherton from Autodesk did the model working with a company called LumiGeek to do the lighting.
Here is a good video that explains the project:
As you can see, Evan built a very cool 3D model of the speakers then printed them on the Connex 500. That particular system uses an inkjet technology called polyjet to print out a photocurable resin (a plastic that hardens when you expose it to ultraviolet light) in layers. What is special about this application of the polyjet technology is that the machine can print two different materials at the same time. So you can mix those materials as you build a part to change properties. This allowed him to get a mixture of rubber-like and semi-transparent plastic parts to fit into his design.
Once printed they assembled the parts with a programmable LED strip from LumiGeek. And presto – they now have their own custom speakers that blink and shimmy in time with the music they are playing.
Endgadget has a pretty good slide show and a video that shows some of the details.
As most of the blogers/vlogers point out this is not a way to mass produce speakers. The material and labor costs are extensive. But it does show how a truly unique idea for a whole new type of product can be quickly and easily visualized using 3D Printing technology. Within a week a full working prototype of a complex product can be produced.
It also shows the power of custom product development. There is a significant market out there for custom applications where people need a unique application like this. Although the cost of producing these was not small, it is much less than any traditional manufacturing process when you only need one or two copies. This is another example of how someone can create a new service around taking peoples unique design requirements and creating a stand-out solution in relatively little time.
Plus, they just look cool. That is “what” enough for us.
If you have an idea you want to realize using 3D Printing, contact PADT. We have the skill, the experience, and the equipment to make it happen.