Why Businesses Need to Get Ready for 3D Printing

3d-printing-technology

We’d like to thank Andy Bell for contributing this guest blog post!

3D printing has finally become an integral part of society and the manufacturing industry. Several years ago, 3D printing was just an idea, but it was a powerful idea. The thought of being able to print whatever you want in many sizes was exciting. People weren’t sure how that would work considering that it’s never been done before. The whole concept of 3D printing is astonishing: Pick a design, edit it and print it! You can even make your designs in 3D modeling computer programs which are great for people who want to have unique items around them. However, 3D printers aren’t cheap. My school’s 3D printer cost around $5.000 which is not affordable for regular people. However, some cheap, home variants cost around ~$500.

So how can businesses benefit from 3D printers? Well, imagine being able to 3D print anything you want and use it as promotional material. This is exactly how you can use 3D printers to your advantage. Let’s expand a bit.

Fast-growing market

When you look at the industry objectively, you’ll notice that 3D printing has made quite an advancement. Thanks to the way it works and the many possibilities that 3D printing offers, the market for it keep growing. And it’s growing extremely fast! Many businesses are now turning towards 3D printing to take care of specific needs. For example, game companies have started utilizing the flexibility of 3D printing to offer collector’s items to fans. You can find special editions of some games that contain a 3D printed item. In the end, this sort of thing is good for the industry as 3D printing will keep getting more and more popular and useful. Also, if you have an increased production of 3D printers, you also have lower prices for them.

Most affordable and easiest way to get started

In all honesty, you might want to consider starting small. Wasting a lot of money for a big, powerful printer can cause an effect opposite of what you wanted. Start out small! Smaller printers are fairly cheap when your business doesn’t have a lot of capital, and you’ll be able to pay off the cost relatively soon. Alternatively, you can rely on a 3D Print Service Bereau to get into the game, and see if 3D Printing works for you. Once you purchase the printer, don’t rush into it. Carefully learn how it works and what its capabilities are. Any wrong move may cause damage to the printer or yourself. Once it’s all set up, plan exactly what you want to print, how many times, and for what purpose. When you have the answer to all of these questions, you’ll be ready to start printing!

3D print promotional goods for creative advertising campaigns

This is where the power of 3D printing becomes most useful when it comes to businesses. With a 3D printer, you’ll be able to create amazing and creative advertising campaigns that will surely lead to customers becoming more interested in your business. You can gain this effect no matter what you come up with, as long as it’s creative, it’s helpful and useful! Think of how many things you’ll be able to make that are directly related to your business. No one likes lazy advertisements that make absolutely no sense, and lately, we haven’t been seeing a lot of good ones. Be different and consider 3D printing!

3D modeling and design service

Consider the following: You have a relatively large customer base. One day, a customer writes you an E-mail asking if you could 3D print something for them. You don’t specialize in 3D printing, and your business isn’t centred around it, but you still have a 3D printer for advertising. However, you are able to use this printer and charge a very small fee to the customer for 3D printing something they want. Hence, you make the customer happy, and you earn a bit more money. This is the reason why 3D printing is so popular! It’s versatile and can be used in many different situations.

-Andy Bell @ www.toronto3dprinting.com

Objex Unlimited 2016 Year-End Review!

First and foremost, on behalf of the entire Objex Unlimited team, we want to take this opportunity to thank you! 

We know without our supporters, customers, clients, and partners… we wouldn’t be here today. Thank you for making everything we do possible, and helping us to grow to better serve 3D Technologies to the Toronto area, and across Canada.

From all of us at Objex Unlimited, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

With 2016 coming to a close, it’s time to take a look at some of the amazing creations made possible by 3D Printing.


The Selftraits Booth at Ideacity! Along with a 3D Printing-centered talk by Steve Cory

Lots of Fossils, Paintings and Art made by Objex Unlimited’s very own Courtney Link and Kira Embree!

President Steve Cory showing off his badass new ride

Who could forget “the big finger”?

Objex Unlimited President, Steve Cory, Talks 3D Printing with Amber Mac

hubs.ly/H01LgFz0

Spotted creeping on a perch near you… the Objex Unlimited Lizard Army.

We saw Brendon McNaughton bring his art to life with the help  Objex Unlimited’s 3D Print capabilities

We saw the release of the amazingly powerful yet cost effective ProJet MJP 2500

Markforged Announces the New Mark X

Selftraits at the Canadian National Exhibition 2016!

Check out lot’s more “Front Page” Stories on our Objex Unlimited Blog!

Here’s to another great year in 2017!

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged, Formlabs, Afinia and LMI Technologies.

3D Scanning Basics – A Primer for Turning Real Objects into Digital Files

This article was initially published in the July 2015 Issue of Graphic Arts Magazine.

Whatever your application may be, the one thing you will always need for ANY 3D print is a functional 3D design file. You can design the file from scratch using CAD (or any of the various 3D design software programs), but you’ll quickly discover that this process is labourious and requires a very advanced set of skills. One of the best ways to kick-start your design process is to utilize 3D scanning technologies. Additionally, there are a variety of applications where you can utilize 3D scans for modelling and visualizing in the digital realm. This column will cover some of the 3D Scanning Basics you need while entering this world.

3D scanning uses a device that analyzes a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape, texture and (in some cases) colour. Certain devices are handheld and hover around the object to obtain a collection of snapshots that are stitched together to create a full three-dimensional model. Other devices affix the scanner to a tripod and use a turntable to rotate the object. Some devices are in the form of a chamber or booth, with the object or person positioned in the center as they’re scanned from multiple angles. Finally, there are scanners that can be attached to an aircraft or vehicle to capture entire landscapes. No matter what form a 3D scanner takes, it will give you a huge leg up on developing your design.

LMI 3D HDI Scan

Why use 3D Scanning?

On the most basic level, 3D scanning is a quick and effective way to capture the geometry of an existing object, which will aid in the design of new items and fixtures, applying an extension or new part to an existing geometry, or in reverse engineering applications. If you’re designing a part to be used for some pre-existing device (for example a vehicle, tool or machine), you can quickly capture the dimensions and measurements of a physical object and be confident your parts will fit together on the first try. You can enhance or change an existing part you’ve created, or digitize parts that were built before CAD software became widely used. You’ll see 3D scanning in the field of biometrics, obtaining 3D data for the design of prosthetics and implants, and increasingly used in the field of graphics and VFX, providing digital assets in the creation of 3D animations. 3D scanning is also being used more and more as a means of historical preservation. In fact, many objects from our past which are starting to show the effects of time can be digitally stored and maintained, or replicated through 3D printing. There’s an endless list of possibilities for 3D scanning and new ones are popping up every day.

3D Scanning Technologies

As you’ll soon realize, as with many things in the realm of 3D, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to 3D scanners. So it’s best to figure out your particular needs and choose a scanner that suits your specific application.

Structured Light Scanning. These 3D scanners project a pattern of lights onto an object. The scanner then reads the reflections in the light to analyze curves and bends in the surface of the object. These scanners are flexible to use, good for many applications and safe on human eyes. These are generally a lower cost, but are not optimal on reflective or refractive surfaces.

Laser Scanning. These 3D scanners function similar to Structured Light, except they use lasers instead of a blanket of light. These can be great for precise engineering applications and capturing fine details, but are unsafe for human eyes. Thus they need to be used in a controlled environment.

Photogrammetry. This method uses multiple cameras to capture the object from different angles along with an algorithm that triangulates common points to analyze depth and create a 3D model. It gives you the best colour detail, however is not the most accurate for making precise measurements.

Objex Unlimited President and Founder Steve Cory inside the Selftraits Photogrammetry 3D Scanning Booth

Objex Unlimited President and Founder Steve Cory inside the Selftraits Photogrammetry 3D Scanning Booth

Also worth mentioning are MRI/CAT scans which are used in medical applications to scan inside an individual’s body. And CMM machines – though technically not 3D scanning – use a physical probe to get precise dimensions of an object.

The Artec Eva 3D Scanner

objex_unlimited_artec_eva_1

One of the 3D scanners we often recommend is the Artec Eva handheld Structured Light Scanner. While it won’t be the optimal scanner for every situation, it is certainly one of the most versatile and easy-to-use scanners on the market and is priced very competitively. The Eva doesn’t require markers or calibration. It captures objects quickly in high resolution and vibrant colour at up to 16 frames per second. These frames are aligned automatically in real time, which make scanning easy and fast. Please contact us at Objex Unlimited for a demonstration, or to answer any questions.

 

ArtecProcess


Matt BeloMatthew Belo is a Brand Manager and 3D Solution Specialist Working for Objex Unlimited Inc., Canada’s most diverse 3D Printing Solutions Provider. With a background in Marketing and Sales, Matthew has immersed himself in all things 3D. He focuses on looking for real opportunities that leverage 3D technologies while working to dispel myths and misconceptions associated with the equipment. Graduating from University of Waterloo, Matthew focused his studies on Rhetoric and Professional writing as well as Business and Marketing. Matt loves to discuss topics and issues related to Additive Manufacturing and will gladly answer questions, hear your opinions, and talk shop! He can be reached at matt@objexunlimited.com, or at 416-233-7165.

 

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.

Printing in Full-colour 3D using ColorJet 3D Printers (CJP)

This article was initially published in the June 2015 Issue of Graphic Arts Magazine.

In this first of several monthly features on 3D printing by Toronto’s Objex Unlimited 3D Print Studio, Brand Manager and Marketing Coordinator Matt Belo explores the fascinating world of 3D ColorJet Printing. These articles are initially written for a Graphics/2D Printing Audience.


ColorJet printing

ColorJet Printing (CJP) is an additive manufacturing process used to create full-colour, photo-realistic 3D models. The range of applications includes concept models, marketing materials, natural models (including humans, animals, geographic/nature images, 3D selfies, etc.), artistic projects and architectural designs, to name a few. These printers are the top choice to print 3D models with stunning realism.

Full Colour 3D Printed Selftrait

Full Colour 3D Printed Selftrait

Colour printing versus full-colour CJP

Many traditional colour 3D Printers operate using multiple print cartridges, each containing a single-colour material. With these printers, the number of cartridges your printer can utilize limits the number of colours in your print. In other words, if you have 5 colour cartridges, your model can contain only 5 different colours. With ColorJet printing, because the colours are mixed in the printer, you can get very complex colouring – including gradients, textures, patterns and skin tones. You can print in full CMYK, giving you millions of colours. The additional benefit is you can apply a ‘texture-map’ to your print, as opposed to breaking your design file into multiple sections and colouring each one manually. Basically, you’re taking a 2D picture and wrapping it around a 3D model. This is the only method to get photo-realistic coloured models.

 

The CJP process

ColorJet Printing Process

ColorJet Printing Process

The ColorJet Printing process involves two primary components: Core™ and Binder material. The Core material can either be a gypsum-based or plastic-based powder. For the first layer, the print bed starts at the highest position in the printer. A roller is used to spread a very thin layer of Core powder across the print bed. Once there is a thin layer powder across the print bed, the printer selectively jets coloured ‘Binder’ material in specific areas where the 3D model is being built to solidify the Core material. The different coloured Binder materials are mixed together to produce millions of colours – in the same way a 2D Printer combines ink. Once the Binder is applied, the process repeats, spreading across a new layer of Core material and using Binder to attach that material to the layer below. After several thousand layers (depending on the size of the model), the end result is a full-colour, three-dimensional model.

 

The finishing process

Due to the nature of the colour printing process, when your print is done you’ll have to extract the finished part from a bed of unused Core material powder. The benefit of this is that the models are self-supporting – the unused core material remains in the print bed supporting any overhangs within your print,

A part being sanded after coming off the ProJet 660Pro

A part being sanded after coming off the ProJet 660Pro

eliminating the need for any support material. In their unfinished state, the models are extremely fragile, therefore you must extract the part from the powder very carefully. Once you have extracted your part, you use air to blow away excess core material (which gets recycled back into the machine), sand your part to get a smooth finish, and then dip it in cyanoacrylate (superglue) to make it stronger.

 

File preparation

Your file needs to follow the general rules of a “Print-ready” 3D file. This means it needs to be completely closed (or watertight) and each of its edges needs to be shared with two polygons. Additionally, with ColorJet printing, it needs to be a certain thickness so that the model can actually support itself in the printer. To save on material costs, ColorJet models are generally hollowed. Most 3D printers use “.stl” files, but with CJP, you need to provide a colour 3D file – generally a .zpr or .wrl file. Anything else must be converted, along with a texture map file (usually .jpeg or other 2D formats) that contains all the complex colour data that will be applied to the 3D model. There is a bit of a learning curve to preparing these files, so I recommended you contact a ColorJet Printer operator to give you advice on preparing your files. Objex Unlimited is happy to share this type of information. Not to toot our own horn, but Objex Unlimited is known for producing some of the best colour models in the world.

3D Systems ProJet 660Pro

3D Systems ProJet 660Pro

ProJet 660Pro

While there are a range of 3D Printers in the ColorJet Printer line, the 660Pro is one of the printers that includes many key features – full CMYK colour, attached model finishing chamber, a faster-than-average print speed, and a larger-sized print bed. It’s also quite affordable when compared to other professional-level 3D printers. However, there is a full range of ColorJet Printers that make up the ProJet x60 series, from the more budget-friendly ProJet 260C, to the large-build area of the ProJet 860Pro. They also have the ProJet 4500, which can print CMY plastic powder, for a more robust model when accurate colour is less of a concern.

 

If you have any further questions on anything 3D related, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Or come visit the studio—at Objex Unlimited, the doors are always open.

 

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.


Matt BeloMatthew Belo is a Brand Manager and 3D Solution Specialist Working for Objex Unlimited Inc., Canada’s most diverse 3D Printing Solutions Provider. With a background in Marketing and Sales, Matthew has immersed himself in all things 3D. He focuses on looking for real opportunities that leverage 3D technologies while working to dispel myths and misconceptions associated with the equipment. Graduating from University of Waterloo, Matthew focused his studies on Rhetoric and Professional writing as well as Business and Marketing. Matt loves to discuss topics and issues related to Additive Manufacturing and will gladly answer questions, hear your opinions, and talk shop! He can be reached at matt@objexunlimited.com, or at 416-233-7165.

Artec Spider named the best hardware exhibited at SolidWorks 2015

Originally posted on Artec3d.com

Great news! If you’re looking for a 3D scanner for design, QA or engineering jobs, you now have another good reason to go for Artec Spider, and if you already own a Spider, here’s a fact confirming you made the right choice – the world’s #1 web portal for mechanical computer aided design, MCADCafé, has named Spider the best hardware showcased at SolidWorks World 2015 in Phoenix, AZ. The competition was really tough, with over 100 exhibitors bringing their products to the show, and this makes the award especially valuable.

 

Here’s what the editor-in-chief of MCADCafé, Jeff Rowe, who has over 35 years of experience in industrial design and engineering, has to say about Spider: “Although about a year old, we’d never seen this 3D scanner up close until this week at SolidWorks World. What impressed us most was the unit’s capture speed and quality, as well as its portability.”

To find out what else impressed Rowe about Spider and which product was chosen the best software, read Rowe’s review.

3D Scanning in Toronto Projected to Play Vital Role in the Future

Technology moves at an exhilarating pace as various experts continue to discover new ways to bring groundbreaking concepts and solutions to fruition. The field of medicine is one of the primary beneficiaries of modern technological advancements, particularly tools and gadgets that enable faster delivery of medical solutions to various injuries and ailments. A story posted on Marlin Finance shares that 3D printers and scanners are starting to make promising strides in the medical field.
Read more

Finish a Mississauga 3D Printing Project Successfully with these Tips

finish-a-mississauga-3d-printing-project-successfully-with-these-tipsIf you need to customize a design for a project in the shortest time possible, 3D printing is the way to go. It is the creation of a real, solid object from a digital model using an additive process of layering thin slices of material (like plastic, ceramic, or metal) on top of the other until the object is formed. Unlike manual drawing or sculpting, making a design model only takes a few seconds or minutes, helping you save a considerable amount of time.

Although the cost of 3D printers has decreased significantly in recent years, the technology has remained unachievable for most people. While there are few individuals who like to DIY, most do not have enough the time, skills, or budget to personally create 3D designs. If you are one of those with limited resources, it is better for to seek the help of 3D printing professionals than risk ruining your project entirely. A LifeHacker.com article explains why: Read more

Mississauga Model Making, Printing Can Be Used in Various Applications

mississauga-model-making-printing-can-be-used-in-various-applicationsAlthough industry professionals consider it as old technology, 3D printing is slowly gaining recognition from the public in light of new developments that have made 3D printers more affordable in recent years. These printers use powder, resin, polymers or other materials instead of ink to create a tangible object from a 3D image by piling the materials layer by layer and solidifying it. As the printers have become more accessible, companies like Objex Unlimited began specializing in 3D printing and model making in Mississauga and other places. Read more

Using a 3D Prototype in Toronto: An Innovation in Product Development

using-a-3d-prototype-in-toronto-an-innovation-in-product-developmentCompanies are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to improve their production and performance, either to control expenditure or to satisfy their clients in a more efficient way. These goals have led to the improvement and use of different kinds of technology. 3D printing, for instance, is an old method that has become available to more users for the past few years. The technology has been developed and refined only recently, making it more affordable for companies to apply it in their production processes. Read more