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Archive for October, 2014

6 Most Unusual Prototype Requests. Part II of II

Posted on: October 31st, 2014 by The Technology House

In this second of two blog series, we will discuss some of the more interesting and outside the box thinking prototype requests we have ever received.  Each one of these projects utilized different processes and materials to meet their specific objectives.


Outer Space Smoke Detector
Smoke produced in a reduced gravity environment does not exhibit the same characteristics as smoke produced on Earth.  As such, the smoke detection and suppression systems on a space craft has to be designed accordingly.  The Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME) was a highly successful experiment in which valuable data of smoke particle was collected and analyzed to assist in the development of future fire detection and suppression systems for space craft.

3D printed parts for the Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME)

The red arrows indicate some of the components that were 3D printed.

Many of the pieces that went into building SAME were 3D printed and rapid prototyped. The 3D printed parts were fabricated in the 5530 high heat SLA material.  Traditionally, flight hardware mainily consists of metal and other non-flammable components  As a result the SLA’s were coated with nickel in order to make them less flammable and improve structural rigidity.

3D printed parts in use on the International Space Station

Fully assembled and in use on the International Space Station.

A customer required replicas of a 1714 Stradivarius Violin in order to show the shape and contour of the violin.  Since this type of violin is so rare, prototypes needed to be produced.  We used an actual 1714 Stradivarius Violin as a master to make a silicone mold, and then mold cast urethanes in an ABS plastic. These prototypes are accurate renditions in the look and feel of the original violin.

Lemonade Stand
A customer needed a trade show model of their new product, a children’s lemonade stand.  The product needed to be fabricated and fully finished and painted in a short amount of time.  Components were 3D printed and CNC machined from plastic and foam.  Once all the parts were made, the parts were then finished and painted to replicate the production model.  The customer heavily relied on us for process and material recommendations.  The prototype was completed on-time, and under budget.

3D model of lemonade stand


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6 Most Unusual Prototype Requests. Part I of II

Posted on: October 22nd, 2014 by The Technology House

In this new two part blog series, we will review the 6 most unusual prototype requests we have ever received. The first part will cover 3 requests that misunderstood 3D printing, and the second part will cover 3 unusual requests that pushed the boundaries of 3D printing.

The objective of this first blog is to help properly educate our readers on the proper steps to inquire about 3D printing and rapid prototyping . While the second part will help open up your eyes to show what can be accomplished with 3D printing.

1) Printing off a Homemade Video
We were once asked to quote and build a part off a YouTube video. Despite the great production quality, 3D printing is done off CAD files. Specifically 3D printers read CAD files in an .stl format.  Although the video is a good reference of how the product functions, this can only be used as a reference.

2) Printing off Hand Drawn Sketches
A customer once mailed via the post office a hand written request for quote with hand written sketches. Although the sketches were a good starting point on what was needed, it was not adequate information to build a part to.  Any images, whether hand drawn or professional 2D prints, will help show how the product functions.  The product needs to be properly designed in CAD software for it to be made.

3) Printing Fully Assembled Production Parts
A customer once asked us to 3D print couches. But the customer was expecting life-size, fully functional couches with all the same fabrics as the couch in one’s living room to be printed. This is a misunderstanding of the capabilities of 3D printing. 3D printing fabricates parts in plastic, rubber, or metal, not materials like wood and fabric. In addition 3D printing primarily prints components and not fully functional products. One must also be aware of the interaction of the mating parts and the assembly of the product as it is being designed and printed.

If you are interested in learning more about the applications and history of 3D printing, then here is a link to our website.

Next week we will discuss certain projects that have pushed the boundaries of 3D printing……..even all the way to outer space.

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What Modern Manufacturing Really Looks Like

Posted on: October 8th, 2014 by The Technology House

On Friday October 3rd, we attended the [M]Power Manufacturing Assembly presented by Magnet (The Manufacturing Advocacy  & Growth Network) and Crain’s Cleveland Business. This event celebrated National Manufacturing Day and emphasized the vital role of digital manufacturing in Northeast Ohio.

The event was well attended, and the topics discussed ranged from digital marketing to shop floor sustainability. Attendees were even able to try Lincoln Electric’s virtual welding machine.  Some people who tried the virtual welding may have found a second career calling…

Keynote speakers included Christopher Mapes, President and CEO of Lincoln Electric, and Joe Quinn, senior director of issue management and strategic outreach of Wal-Mat.

Christopher spoke about how he initially wanted to be a lawyer after college.  He became involved in a program at General Motors that made him passionate about digital manufacturing. He highlighted that today’s digital manufacturing world is different than previous generations.  Today’s digital manufacturing world requires highly skilled labor in an environment that is clean, very efficient, and technologically advanced.

Joe highlighted that Wal-Mart is making great strides to re-shore products to be made and/or assembled in the United States. Wal-Mart is taking action to support digital manufacturing in the U.S., and job growth.

This was [M]Power’s inaugural event, and based off the motivation and commitment to progressing manufacturing in this area, it won’t be its last.

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