As the pandemic continues to drag on, we are seeing more and more depression partially from the imposition of current masks. They are uncomfortable, and they really hinder interaction. But the team at TrueContour lead by Jonathan Swartz are looking to change that.
The TrueContour Mask is a fully custom and transparent protective facemask. So it fits to your face perfectly and allows other people to still see you. This not only improves protection from the better fit, but it also improves interaction and human connection, something that seems to be waning with current masks and work at home trends.
The TrueContour is manufactured through a number of steps. First the customer scans their face using the TrueContour app on a iPhone. This scan is then converted into a 3D model that is used as a mold for the mask.
Slant 3D has partnered with TrueContour to produce these molds on demand as orders come in. Our 3D Printing farms, composed of hundreds of 3D Printers, ensure that demand will never outstrip production capacity.
Once the molds are 3D Printed, then the masks are vacuum-formed and final processing produces the final mask.
This design and method of manufacturing is brilliant. True contour is fixing many of the primary problems with current masks by improving the seal and just allowing people to not look like a bank robber everywhere they go.
They are also taking advantage of a perfectly flexible supply chain brought on by Production 3D Printing and lean manufacturing principles. They will never have excess inventory and will be able to produce perfectly custom items quickly and on demand. We are very excited to be working with such a great and forward thinking company.
Over the last week 3D Printing Stocks got a boost based on a job posting from Tesla looking for an additive Manufacturing Technician. The 3D printing community was abuzz about the idea of one of the most prominent manufacturers in the United States making a push into 3D Printing. Just one problem. This is not new and means nothing.
Tesla has always utilized 3D Printing, both in a prototyping and a production context to make final parts for its cars. The Model Y was shipped with FDM parts modifying its components. Tesla and SpaceX both heavily utilize metal 3D Printing. Musk is not one to shy away from trying to utilize new technology, and never has been.
Now Tesla is certainly a growing opportunity for additive manufacturing. Both through its continued product development and the continuous additions of new plants which could all utilize custom tooling and emergency production. That is why company, including Slant 3D, are expanding operations near Tesla locations.
Overall, this job posting and the rumors around it are indicative of nothing and certainly don't justify a significant change in 3D Printing stock prices.. But we do applaud Tesla on continuing to add to their 3D Printing team. Best of luck to the person that gets the position.
Each year the season comes around. Prime Day, Black Friday, Christmas, New Years. The quarter most consumer companies, big and small, look forward to. Sales spike across, Etsy, eBay, and Amazon.
3D Printing companies this time of year often end up expanding their printing capacity by buying a few more machines. An investment of hundreds or thousands of dollars. The trouble is that after the season passes the machines are left idle. So the investment is not fully utilized. Certainly the machines may be "paid off" but profits are often reduced. And Christmas sales don't often correlate directly with business growth.
This problem is where services are valuable. They are able to bridge the production gap through the season. Clients are able to ramp up their production capacity using Slant 3D printing farms to complement their own. The benefit is there is no cash outlay for equipment that may go unused. The production is perfectly flexible. And the system is profitable on the first part since larger printer farms are often able to access greater economies than smaller 3D printing operations.
This is an especially a good system for small businesses such as Etsy stores. But applies equally well to the industrial sector where sales can spike and production rates need to increase.
Out of Darts is a Slant 3D client that utilized this resource in 2019. Normally Out of Darts manufactured Nerf mods that are 3D Printed on their Prusa Farm in Washington, but with spiking demand from the holiday season they did not have the ability to scale up production quickly enough to meet all of the orders.
Out of Darts reached out to Slant 3D to produce Nerf Dart Hoppers, a large part that absorbs a large amount of Print Time. Slant 3D was able to produce hundreds of the parts over a 2 week period in order to help them meet demand until they could scale up.
But there were challenges. Matching the same output as that associated with Out of Darts was difficult in the time allowed. Since they were using Prusa's and Slant 3D uses our internal Mason there was a conversion process that could've delay the production schedule. Not to mention color matching and other challenges. This is why it is important to prepare the the spike ahead of the need.
Slant 3D can accept quotes today for the christmas season and accept contracts based on need. Sampling and verification can all be completed as well to ensure that everything is ready when it is needed. This helps to prevent delays during the sales spike.
Slant 3D operates the largest 3D Printing farm in north america. We have a scale that allows any 3D Printed product company to scale up quickly in order to meet the short term demand.
Reach out to us for a quote for your 3D Printed product. And get great for the 4th quarter fun.
The Value of 3D Printed Architectural Models
It is hard to sell houses. It is a not a decision made quickly. When the customer leaves all they have is a flat floorplan to mull over. And you can't keep a version of every house available for walkthroughs. Combine that with the fact that some people just are not able to visualize 3D spaces very well, and you realize the need for a 3D model of what you are selling.
How is it Done
OK, so the value is pretty clear. 3D Printed Architectural Models improve communication and connection with the buyer. But how are they made?
We first off Slant 3D would need a 3D Model. Ideally your builder or architect can provide 3D models of a building in .STL, .OBJ, or .STEP. Not all architects or architecture software can provide the files for 3D Printing. That is why Slant 3D has an inhouse design team that can take your floorplans and drawings and convert them to a perfectly printable 3D Model.
If your inhouse folks have the ability they can see this article on creating Architectural 3D models for some tips. But do also contact your Slant 3D engineer for more specific information.
Once Slant 3D receives the 3D model then we will prepare it for printing. Our 3D Printing machine are limited in size. So for larger models the building will need to be broken into several pieces, that are printed individually and then slotted together later.
We may also edit some features so that they are manufacturable. This can include tweaking windows and the thickness of the walls.
Lastly if necessary we will work with you to create an removable roof so the inside can be viewed. Though it is perfectly alright to create an exterior-only architectural model. We can 3D Print either one.
That's all there is too it. Send us a 3D model and we can start printing.
Once the model is sent over and finalized we will quote production for you. Whether it be a single large model or thousands of showroom giveaways. Both are equally feasible.
Hopefully this has cleared up some of the challenges with 3D Printed architectural models. Let us know if you have any questions.
Just the Headband and the transparent shield. That is all that is needed to create a fully functional face shield. This will allow the parts to be produced and assembled more quickly and at a larger scale.
If you would like to secure the mask through more than "spring action" then velcro can easily be adhered to the 3D Printed straps to cinch it down firmly.
This updated design is compatible with the Prusa FaceShield parts as well.
If you would like to 3D Print and assemble this face mask yourself for your local community feel free. Please be sure to exercise precautions such as a mask and glove to ensure that you do not contaminate healthcare personnel.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, 3D Printing can help to mitigate supply shortages of parts and devices needed to help. Slant 3D is comitting a large portion of our production 3D Printing capacity of several hundred printers to help as needed. But there are thousands of other printers in the world that can also contribute.
Here are several 3D printing files that can be printed to help deal with the Coronavirus epidemic.
We would like to take this moment to say that masks are largely ineffective. It is assumed at this point that is Covid-19 is tranmitted predominantly through direct contact with body fluids. This makes a mask useless unless you are in a crowded area among those who are infected and symptomatic. This means that masks are mainly needed in hospitals.
But if you or a person you know becomes symptomatic you can protect the people around you by wearing a mask because droplets can be spewed around an area through coughing and sneezing. So a mask does help but mainly as a catcher. You do not need to have a HEPA filter simple fabric like a handkerchief in the mask helps a huge amount.
Another interesting mask for holding a cloth cover in place. This mask is printed flat with PLA and then heated with a hairdryer or in boiling water to then form to the face. It will create a more comfortable fit and likely a better seal.
Since the COVID-19 seems to be transfered through direct contact door handles and other common touch-points can be contaminated. Materialize has created a design to be a used with round handled doors which can be easily printed and installed. These fixtures make is easy to open the door with an elbow.
Helping with more general tasks this device allows you to interact with commonly touched surfaces in order to avoid contact. A Simple hook lets you open doors and you can also use it to turn on lights and maybe even the knob in the bathroom.
We will update this list with new posts as more designs are created. We are aslo comitting capacity to the production of such devices. We hope that we can help in some way limit the supply shortages that are arising. If you a have a part that needs to be produced please submit it to us and we will do our best to help.
Most of all we would like to say "Please stay calm." Supply chains are functioning. Infrastructure is fine. It is the burst of panic that has limited toilet paper in the stores. Please only take what you need and plan food and consumables for a potential 2 weeks shutdown. Please do not do more as you will add to a vicious cycle of hoarding. We will come through this epidemic.
3D Printing offers a great resource for quickly and affordably creating end of arm tooling for the many tasks that collaborative robots take on.
Collaborative robots are a great resource for smaller companies looking to automate. They are a flexible resource for completing repetitive tasks in assembly and sorting because of their flexibility and ease of training. The trouble is that robot grippers are not very versatile. Often each task needs its own specialty gripper to be created to grasp the objects in that task.
Creating these grippers is both expensive and difficult due to CAD requirements and machining costs. 3D Printing makes the creation of EOAT much easier and flexible.
End of Arm Tooling Created with 3D Printing
3D Printing is a very flexible means of manufacturing EOAT. It allows users to very quickly create custom fingers or parts nests without many machining concerns or time input. That is why Schunk has started providing resources to create custom 3D Printed end effectors. EMI has also started selling 3D Printed EOAT solutions. And there is the Slant 3D Part Mason Project that provides customisable Grippers for Collaborative robots.
Since there are so few design constraints on 3D printed parts you also don't have to worry about high costs of engineering and design bottlenecks.
How to get 3D Printed EOAT
Get a Model
At Slant 3D we maintains a team of 3D modelers that can help you design a gripper for your application within hours or days. You can also access pre-made 3D models for gripper fingers and pads at Part Mason. The models are ready immediately to be printed by a service or on your in-house 3D printer.
One other option is to use online resources such as eGrip by Schunk which can generate .STEP files that can be 3D Printed very affordably.
Print the Part
Once you have the model you can print it on your In-house 3D printed, such as the Mason. If you need higher volumes of the part to outfit an assembly line, or if you need specific material properties you can submit the design for a quote. Generally it only requires 2-4 days to turn around 100 pieces at Slant 3D.
Use Your Robot
When the parts arrive they can immediately be mounted onto your collaborative robot and put to work. If you ever need more pieces they can be ordered instantly without redesign or setup.
Reduce the Cost of International Shipping by Teleporting Parts Via 3D Printing
The internet has allowed the sale of products to anyone in the world. Whether those be consumer or industrial products. But that access is ruined when the products have to cross borders or oceans. Shipping a crate overseas then paying tariff and warehousing fees significantly increases the cost of a product to the end-user. Wouldn't it be great if Parts and products could be "teleported" to the destination country with just an e-mail to save those shipping costs. With Production 3D printing that is possible.
3D Printing allows 3D models to be emailed and manufactured anywhere in the world. The trouble has always been there has never been a formal entity that can print your parts in the country where they are to be sold and ensure they are shipped to customers. 3D Printing services like Slant 3D allow products designed in one country to be produced and fulfilled in another country without the cost of shipping. And Slant 3D can hold your model in our digital inventory and produce it only when it is needed.
How it Works
By using Slant 3D you can take your product international and not have to deal with international shipping costs. And you have the huge production scale of Slant 3D. So you know that when demand rises we are able to back you up. This is a great resources of companies and entrepreneurs outside of the United States to send their production to the US without the high cost of shipping.
3D Printing is quickly becoming a best option for production of plastic parts. You have little-no inventory. You can send your parts anywhere in the world for free, and you are able to grow without any high up-front investments.
Who is Doing It.
Slant 3D already doing this with dozens of companies and entrepreneurs. They include companies like Uncommon, a project call Part Mason, and Etsy stores such as BakersStreetCuters. All of these products are manufactured and fulfilled from Slant 3D. But most of them are designed outside of the United States
Production 3D Printing is a new technology. And not everyone has interacted with it or understands what kind of pieces and features can be made with it. That is why we designed the Slant 3D Sample Brick. This 3D Printed part demonstrates many of the key features and capabilities of the additive manufacturing process. Everything from complex internal geometries to complex surface textures.
The sample Brick can be ordered for free with the form below. Just let us know where to send it and we will get it to you.
Clients may use the 3d printed sample brick as a reference for proper design of 3D printed parts. As well as a way to evaluate our high volume 3D printing processes.
Features on the Brick
3D Printing is increasingly being used by businesses. And it is not just being used for prototyping. The ability to iterate on products and create complex geometries are both enticing to create parts at production scales. And with technologies such as our Production 3D printing Farm, large scales are feasible. But during the design and prototyping stage sampling, verfication, and design can increase up-front costs to create a 3D printed product. That is why we created the Mason 3D printer for businesses
The Mason is a 3D printer derived from the production 3D printers used in our large scale 3D printing farm. Because of that, any part made on the Mason will be identical to the parts coming out of the Slant 3D Printing Factory. This means sampling is no longer necessary. Clients only need to make a prototype on the Mason that is up to Spec, and then thousands more can immediately be produced with identical settings and characteristics on the Slant 3D farm. Prototype to production with no steps in between.
There only leaves the problem of getting those settings right on your prototype. Design for production 3D printing is an entire discipline, and very few truly understand how to optimize a part for large volumes. And while the machines may be identical from prototype to production, materials could vary if the client is using a spool of filament off of Amazon.
So to standardize the workflow completely. We created OnSite. Onsite is program that connects a Mason 3D printer directly into Slant 3D. An Onsite Subscription provides stardaized materials and access to profession file preparations and optimization. So every variable is eliminated in the prototype stage. Mason+Onsite gives you completely final production-ready prototypes. Not to mention machine insurance, discounted setup, zero sampling costs, and low cost high quality filament.
With the Mason 3D printer combined with an Onsite subscription we have made is possible for businesses to create, and quickly scale 3D printed products as easily as a software company might make an app.