3 min read

Struggling to improve your innovation around manufacturing and 3D printing?

By Barbara Miller-Webb on Dec 16, 2020 9:47:53 AM

"The pain of Change could be LESS than the pain of NOT changing"

It's often not easy to change − whether it is a personal change or business change. I work with customers and often the path of least resistance is to stay status quo − not implement any changes or new processes because often it's perceived as the path of least resistance. I hear "We have done it this way for years and it works" but does it?  Often if you step back and analyze your areas of PAIN, the steps to address those challenges are often times easier than not changing. You can relate to this concept on a personal level if you think of eating healthy − or at least I can relate.  Often the initial change in diet is challenging − you don't like the food options − you miss eating past favorite foods and often the easiest thing to do is NOT change.  So often we are not determined to see the change through and give up.  The end result, we gain a few pounds and are not as healthy.  As opposed to going through the pain − changing our diet − and in the end having a healthier self!  The change seemed hard but easier than the bad habits leading up to issues later that are even more difficult to address than the current situation.

So how does this relate to 3D Print/Additive Manufacturing?  Often I work with clients that have a difficult time stepping back and looking at their overall processes and addressing the changes needed to avoid larger pains in the future.  Like eating right − they hear 3D printing is the future but think it does not apply to them.  I can tell you first hand the organizations that challenge themselves to be more innovative and focus in process change become class leading.  This ability to take on short term pain for long term gain makes them industry leaders − they look at any and all technologies to sustain continual improvements.  Needless to say their commitment to process change makes them industry leaders.  Ever look around and wonder how your competitors have implemented a change that you know gave them an advantage? Commitment to process improvement no matter how disruptive it may initially have been.

Let me get back to how you should look to see if 3D print may address some of your current or long term pains.  It starts internally to truly understand your current challenges and be honest within your organization.  The next step is to find a trusted partner you can be vulnerable with and work to outline/map a future to address those pains.  This of course is easier said than done − need I bring up dieting again?

As an example on how I personally work to be a trusted partner, I work with customers to understand their specific pains within their existing manufacturing process and then determine (together) if additive manufacturing or 3D printing can bring value to addressing their challenges.  I need to be candid often when there is no solution available − thus you need trust that a partner isn't just trying to sell you things.  My clients also need to trust in the process and be candid with themselves on the changes they need to make.  Many companies fail to recognize that change is a process that makes improvements to the organization, instead they ignore the problems/pains and continue to do the same thing over and over again.

If together we can't find a compelling reason/need to change the current process, or a personal impact, the change will not happen in the company.  We are conditioned to avoid pain and discomfort.  There's always adversity, fear, uncomfortable sensations, problems, distractions and so on.  We need to address the pain together...

How can trusted partners help customers discover the compelling reason?  The following are a few questions that I ask to help discover their compelling reason and you should make sure your vendor is asking you:

  1. What are your current biggest challenges in your manufacturing processes?
  2. Can you be more specific? Give me an example?
  3. How long has that been a problem?
  4. What have you tried to do about that?
  5. How much do you think that has cost you?
  6. How do you feel about that?
  7. Have you given up trying to deal with the problem?

Will the change you are considering:

  1. Speed up your time to market with your products?
  2. Cut costs in you manufacturing?
  3. Reduce your manufacturing downtime with on demand production?

Change will only happen when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.  I encourage you to take a step back from the whirlwind and really look at what current pains that are worth addressing.

My last note, check out Mark Blumreiter's blog 22 Ways Manufacturers are using 3D print to see if his outline sparks any ideas on areas 3D print can address your pains.

Even if we can't help you I am always up for great business discussions so don't hesitate to reach out if you want to chat on pain.

Topics: 3D Printing
3 min read

Affordable and effective way to dye HP 3D MJF Parts

By Kevin Carr on Nov 20, 2020 11:42:40 AM

Are you struggling to produce consistent results on parts dyed from HP’s Multi Jet Fusion printer? The last step in many users of HP 3D’s technology is to dye the parts so the final result is a deep black – well colored part.   Often, we see various set ups such as crock pots or large pots on burners to dye parts black from the various HP 3D printers. We see this system also in place for dyeing SLS parts. A typical example is below. Over time this process gets messy, time consuming, and provides inconsistent results.

pot dye part

Until recently, the current option for automated dyeing was DyeMansion’s DM60. This unit is the Rolls-Royce of dyeing. We have sold this technology for the last few years and truly has been game changing when you talk true Additive Manufacturing being implemented with high standards and measurable output. The DM60 uses a scientific process teamed with a unique dye system to produce unmatched final parts with repeatable and exact dye results – including color. The DyeMansion has a fit.

But…..what if your budget or process does not call for such an exact dye and your main goal is to replace that large pot dying process? Enter OmegaSonics…they are known for their ultrasonic cleaners but have developed a dye tank specifically to dye parts from HP MJF’s technology. The HP 1818 Dye Tank. The biggest advantage of the Omegasonics solutions? The unit starts at $ 14,995! The time saving and part quality improvements make the ROI on the system less than 12 months – in my opinion of course.

We had a client test the beta unit and have used it for over 5 months with great success. They had previously used a messy pot set up and now have an automated dye process with better results. You can view a video we created of the beta unit using the link below. I want to make sure to note that the final production unit has black outer panels (yes some dye will still cause a mess😊) and the mesh basket shipping with the unit has a finer mesh to hold smaller parts than the beta unit. You can view our video here:

 

Lastly, let me outline some of the key features:

  • Price – I had to mention that again because at 15K the unit is very affordable.
  • Adjustable Heat - Heat up to 200°F with simple – easy to use controls

  • Robust pump - The key feature of the unit (besides the heated vat) is the circulation of the dye.  This is accomplished with a durable Ryton pump.
  • Large volume capable - Basket is 14" x14" x 15"
  • Overall Build Quality of Unit - Not only is the unit built with high quality, strong materials, it is on casters for portability.
  • Dyed Parts Results - One of the challenges typical pot dying has is under sides of parts are not dyed as well as the side.  Envision the part sitting on the bottom of the pot.  With the circulation of the dye, the final parts have consistent dyed surface on all sides.
  • Throughput - The HP1818 Dye Tank increase the number of parts you can dye in a given time.

HP1818

As many of you know, the hidden challenge of 3D printing is finishing processes. We are excited to see manufacturers such as OmegaSonics entering the 3D post processing equipment game. I believe this system will be sold with a majority of HP’s 4200 and 5200 series printers.

If you want more information on the unit, feel free to visit us at www.mastergraphics.com or contact me directly at kevin.carr@mastergraphics.com

 

Topics: 3D Printing
2 min read

Overview of 3D Systems MJP Materials Families

By Barbara Miller-Webb on Nov 18, 2020 3:15:18 PM

My work involves working with customers and their application specific needs and trying to determine which materials on the 2500Plus Multi-jet printer are best for specific use cases.  Many once-valid opinions about additive materials are now myths.

The MJP 2500Plus now expands to 10 materials: five rigid class, two engineering grade, two elastomeric and one specialty for high temps.  VisiJet® M2 MultiJet Printing materials are for functional precision plastic and elastomeric parts. The rigid materials offer watertightness for evaluation of fluid flow performance.  Following are highlights and use cases for some of the materials:

VisiJet Armor is a tough, ABS-like impact resistant material.

  • Impact-resistant
  • ABS-like for snaps & drilling, jigs and fixtures, patterns and molds
  • World-class clear finish

VisiJet Rigid Grey

  • Primer Gray finish = exceptional feature detail viewing
  • Simple visual modeling applications
  • Medical Applications

VisiJet ProFlex

  • Durable, Polypropylene-like, High Impact Material
  • Capable of creating living hinge parts with multiple full actuations
  • Exceptional clarity
  • Ideal for applications requiring deformable plastic

VisiJet Rigid M2R-CL and WT; VisiJet CR-CL and WT materials are bio-compatible

USP Class VI - Rigid materials for the ProJet MJP 2500 and 5600 have passed USP Class VI biocompatibility certification.

  • Short term contact with human skin (30 days)
  • Mucosal-membrane (24 hrs)

ISO 10993 - Rigid materials for the ProJet MJP 2500 have passed the following testing criteria:

  • ISO 10993-5 - Cytotoxicity
  • ISO 10993-10 Sensitization Maximization Irritation
  • ISO 10993-10 Intracutaneous Reactivity

VisiJet M2S-HT90

  • Heat resistance with high heat deflection temperature at 90°C
  • Excellent humidity/moisture resistance
  • Rigid and transparent
  • Biocompatible
  • Molds and dies for rapid tooling applications

  -Under-the-hood components
  -Heated fluids and gasses flow analysis
  -Electronics enclosures/cases

  • Medical applications

For a quick look, 3D Systems also created an eBook that provides an overview of the 2500Plus materials portfolio.  In addition to features and material properties, the eBook (http://info.mastergraphics.com/3d-systems-rapid-prototyping-ebook) provides guidance on how to assess additive materials, and what you should be looking for.  
Download the eBook to learn:

  • When to prototype, why and how to achieve faster time to market
  • How to reduce development cycles, lead-time and engineering effort
  • Prototyping for agile manufacturing, and key questions to ask before getting started 
  • How to use CAD data for design verification and types of prototyping
  • 3D printing technologies for rapid prototyping and choosing the best solution
Topics: 3D Printing
1 min read

How much could my business save?

By Barbara Miller-Webb on Nov 16, 2020 9:20:10 AM

Here's a question we're often asked:

"How much could my business save with 3D printing?"

That can vary depending on the application/need your company would be using 3D printing.  But a great place to start is by looking at other companies and how they have successfully achieved large ROI's with additive manufacturing.

  • Figure 4 Standalone enables contract manufacturer to exceed customer expectations with injection-molded quality 3D printed parts. Click here to read case study.

  • True-to-CAD accuracy and quick 3D printing speeds of 3D Systems ProJet® MJP 2500 fast track product development at Bushnell. To read Bushnell case study click here.
Topics: 3D Printing
1 min read

Eggshell Molding with Additive Manufacturing

By Barbara Miller-Webb on Oct 23, 2020 11:23:16 AM

Eggshell molding is 3D printings hidden gem application.  Eggshell molding is a sacrificial technique where a thin mold is printed and then material is injected into the mold.  The resulting mold is then broken away.  

Creating the eggshell mold is relatively simple; a CAD user creates a positive 0 set on the external surface of the model, then removes the original CAD to leave a hollow shell.  The resulting shell is, typically in the 3D Systems Figure 4's case, 0.3 mm thick.  The CAD designer will then add features to allow the injection of the material and some vents to prevent air pockets.

The shell is then printed using Figure 4 standalone and the specific eggshell molding resin 3D Systems has developed, "Eggshell-AMB 10."  The Figure 4 EGGSHELL-AMB 10 material is specifically engineered for the eggshell molding process.  A material like silicone can then be injected in using a syringe and the shell is then broken out with ease by hand because of the elastomeric properties of the usual end-use material.  

- For casting silicone parts in any durometer
     - Elongation at break: 5%
     - Tensile modulus: 2765 MPa
     - Impact strength (notched Izod): 15 J/m
     - Heat Deflection Temperature @ 0.455 MPa: 89°C 


For a quick look at the Eggshell -AMB 10 material properties, review the link:http://infocenter.3dsystems.com/materials/material-library/figure-4/figure-4-eggshell-amb-10

Topics: 3D Printing
1 min read

HP Changing Additive Manufacture with New Materials

By Gene Call on Aug 14, 2020 2:56:52 PM

HP is committed to partnering with 3rd party companies to bring new materials to the additive manufacture industry.  

BASF a partner with HP, recently introduced a new Polypropylene material (HP 3D High Reusability PP). 

Polypropylene is among the most used plastics in manufacturing today, it is one of the strongest plastics on the market and has a high heat tolerance. The Polypropylene used in the HP Jet Fusion will give you similar properties of polypropylene used in the injection molding process. The new material not only delivers high productivity but also reduces waste by enabling up to 100% re-usability of the surplus powder.

You can find Polypropylene used by manufactures in the medical, automotive and industrial areas to name a few. In the automotive industry, the PP can be used in a vehicle’s interior and exterior finishes, not only for prototyping but also for production of final parts.

I was excited to find the article below from Develop 3D, it shows HP’s commitment to bringing new material to the AM world. As well as to learn of HP helping customers with new and expanded 3D Professional Services to continue moving forward in digital manufacturing.

https://develop3d.com/3d-printing/hp-polypropylene-3d-printing-material-expands-applications/

Topics: 3D Printing
3 min read

What is the number one reason to leverage 3D printing?

By Kevin Carr on Aug 10, 2020 12:21:53 PM

What is the number one reason to leverage 3D printing?  My new answer.....Innovation.

Having been involved in the 3D print industry for over a decade, many people ask me the reasons for implementing 3D print.  My standard answer is usually it's not just one reason but it's the desire for a company to reduce time to market, produce goods not possible before, reduce costs, and be more innovative.  The last item innovation being the one that very rarely people asked me to expand on.  In reading a recent article from Kathleen Gallagher from the BizTimes in Milwaukee I had an aha moment.  We should all focus on innovation!

She wrote a great article on the recent struggles of Briggs and Stratton and their lack of innovation.  You can read her article here:   BizTime Viewpoints: Lack of innovation explains collapse of Briggs & Stratton

I do realize the challenges Briggs and Stratton faced went well beyond innovation but it put it in perspective when I try to work with clients to help explain how best in class companies are leveraging 3D print.  Most people look to 3D printing for prototypes or to replace existing processes directly but what we need to look at is how to be innovative in leveraging game changing technology whether 3D print or something else.  With 3D print technologies from HP and Carbon, now is the time to really look at not only your current challenges but future opportunities.  Look to be innovative.  It won't be fast or simple but look to be a game changer to ensure your future success. 

When I look at the typical design process I break it into 4 basic steps.  

  1. Sales/Marketing - Develop an idea
  2. Design & Engineering - Create the actual design
  3. Test & Validation - The process to produce the good is developed
  4. Manufacturing & Production - Goods are actually produced

This design wheel represents my view.wheel

To me – if you apply “innovative” thinking to each step and how 3D printing can move your company forward – this is the future we desire. Of course we will still have the standard applications where prototypes improve time to market or decrease errors but real innovation will come when you look at additive manufacturing differently. You will need to change old processes, put new standards in place, think differently, etc… This needs to start at a management level so that employees are encouraged to challenge old ways and look at new markets. Often we see the end engineers using 3D print to solve current pains – not develop new applications or markets.

Getting back to Kathleen’s article, it’s tough for any company to survive 100+ years and the only way to do so is evolve and innovate. You can’t be the same company over time. Think of Apple and Microsoft for how they have evolved and innovated. Even MasterGraphics as a smaller company has only been able to survive 70+ years because we have evolved and re-innovated ourselves to be completely different than we were from our origins. Yes, we serve the same industries, but with different solutions.

I encourage you to really step back, to view 3D print anew and how it may be able to move your business forward. At the beginning the end goal is usually a “pipe” dream but as we all have experienced, it does not take long for innovation to deliver on future dreams. Hello self driving cars!

I look forward to any thoughts about what I wrote – even challenges to my thinking. You can take a closer look at the latest 3D print technologies here http://www.mastergraphics.com/3d-printers/ but most importantly if you want to have a discussion around innovation – don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

 

Topics: 3D Printing

Learn how HP's MJF Technology works via Individual Webcast

By Lynn Milbrath on Aug 6, 2020 12:08:39 PM

With the pandemic limiting in-person visits, we have set up a Digital Manufacturing Lab featuring HP's Multi Jet Fusion technology.  We have the ability to remotely demo both the production 5200 series and the Prototype-Lite Production 500 series printers.

To schedule your pre-demo call and lock in your date and time please contact Gene Call at 608-210-2735 or email gene.call@mastergraphics.com.  

 

Topics: 3D Printing
1 min read

This is what the HP MJF technology is designed to do

By Jim Hill on Jun 15, 2020 4:04:45 PM

One of MasterGraphics' most recent HP 3D customers is graco logo in Minneapolis, MN.  We worked with Graco to add MJF 3D print technology to their arsenal of CNC and machining applications.  They did have 1 large FDM machine but it could not even come close to the capability of their new HP 4210 3D printer.  Kurt Sjodin of Graco is overjoyed at the types of parts being produced on Graco's new addition. 

graco1

Here are some recent Linkedin posts that show just some of the applications Graco found for their newest addition to the already state of the art manufacturing plant.  As someone once said "A picture can say a thousand words." Gracolinkedinposts



We have been in the Additive Manufacturing space for 12 years and help our clients understand and effectively implement 3D print.  We look to address the following challenges:

  • Improve Innovation
  • Accelerate Product Development
  • Reduce Costs

Not sure if any of those challenges exist for you? We realize most of the people we talk to don't have an immediate application - however, I believe it's critical to be aware of groundbreaking technology and plan for its impact.

We specialize in HP 3D print technology but also know when different technologies are a better fit and are not afraid to say that we don't have an equipment fit.

Check out two of our previous blogs to understand how we see the market and how HP technology works. 

MG: How HP MJF 3D Printing Works
MG: Why Additive Manufacturing is Unstoppable

Let's setup a call, I promise to keep the conversation short, to the point and worthwhile. Let me know what is a good time and date to connect and I will schedule a call.

Thank you,

Jim Hill 
3D Account Manager


Topics: 3D Printing