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Aug 12

3D Printed Goggles - A Rapid Ride from Design to Production

UK design consultancy and Stratasys customer DesignReality put their Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer to the test recently by 3D printing two pairs of full-color goggles, rugged enough for field testing.



DesignReality got its start in 2000, with small design projects and CAD software training. The firm’s first big moment came when they were awarded a contract for Scott Safety, which helped launch them into an international design consultancy. Despite this, the firm used 3D printing from the start, having purchased a Stratasys 3D printer in 2001.

“We realized the power of having the technology in house and the impact it gave during the design process”
-Troy Baker, Managing Director, DesignReality


A look inside the Objet 500 Connex3 during the goggle print cycle.



Having a 3D printer in house allowed the company to move from concept to 3D printed goggles for field testing in only three days. Once converted into a CAD file, the goggle frames were 3D printed, and the build time for two pairs of goggles was just under 12 hours. A laser-cut visor, strap and lining were added to complete the prototype. When completed, the goggles were used by team members when mountain biking for their initial test.

The 3D Printed goggles during their initial field test. captionalign=



“Our in-house machines have always been treated like a staff member; it’s a piece of kit with a specialist skill that needs to be performed and is called upon throughout the design cycle as and when designers need to use it. Companies without the technology in house normally have to design to a point and then send out the file and wait for its return. My staff can print at any stage to prove the design, delivering a quicker, more streamlined approach to design. We can find and design out bad ideas early on.”


Speed is only one advantage – costs are also easier to control with an in-house prototype that’s available quickly.

“3D printing means a more focused design process. Being able to print an object and get it in hand earlier reduces redesign when functions don’t interact as expected. Although you may produce more models, you effectively spend less time on design avenues that have a flaw early on and will inevitably cause issues when trying to design them out.”



 

 



While the team is using the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer by Stratasys, Baker said the multi-color availability was initially secondary to the importance of Digital ABS and Tango (rubber-like) materials availability. Since introducing color, he said the team now sees how color advances their work with the changes it brings to the technology.

“We have used it for marking areas of design change within the part so customers can see what has been done. As final models, the 3D printed models work straight off the machine in representations of colors and over molds. And the best use we have found so far is in medical scans, as we can now mark scans in multi-color for areas of bone removal, as guides for surgeons.”


While DesignReality has already fully embraced 3D printing, Baker said he’s eager to see what the future holds for rapid prototyping and what new features 3D printing will bring.

“Today we use the Objet500 Connex3 for concept models, design prototypes, both functional and form, final finished models, short run production components and jigs & fixtures to name a few, so it is fully embedded at every stage for us. Where we see potential growth is in more production-ready parts that could offer a cheaper alternatives to the production process.”


- Stratasys Blog



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