The Digital Manufacturing Blog

Bringing you the latest trends and best practices in 3D printing and additive manufacturing, injection molding and CNC machining.

6 Most Unusual Prototype Requests. Part I of II

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.

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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