Sign & Digital Graphics

September '14

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70 • September 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S SPECIALTY IMAGING DIGITAL GRAPHICS prototyping, modeling and production applications," he adds. Martinez explains that traditional manufacturing models of the past are being disrupted by digital fabrication and mass customization. "Never before have we seen a technology where we can so freely translate our ideas into a tangible object with little regard to the machinery or skills available. As digital manufactur- ing tools become available to everyone, the main differentiator among products increasingly will be great design. Using computer-aided design ( CAD) software, 3D printers and other digital fabrica- tion tools, designers can now imagine a unique object, even a complex device with moving parts, and turn it into physi- cal reality in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional manufacturing pro- cesses." Overall he feels the technology will establish itself as the process for complex, low-volume, high-value, and highly cus- tomizable products. "It will definitively continue its penetration into final pro- duction (as opposed to just prototyping), and probably become economically for larger batches than today, just not in mass (in the hundreds of thousands)." Subtractive Rapid Prototyping Rachel Hammer, product manager, rotary devices, Roland D G A , Irvine, Calif., also reports the popularity of 3D milling devices is growing rapidly within a variety of industries. "Today, you can find these machines everywhere from medical companies and research facilities to a wide range of manufacturing firms. Basically, just about anywhere there is new product design and development, you'll see 3 D prototyping devices." Hammer says that at present, Roland offers Subtractive Rapid Prototyping (SRP) machines, such as the advanced MDX-540 and the MDX-40A benchtop milling machines. Unlike 3D printers, which are "additive" devices, Roland's SRP milling machines start out with a solid object, removing unwanted materi- als to create precise, functional parts and prototypes. The high-speed ProX 950 is equipped with the company's newest PolyRay print head tech- nology is said to manufacture real parts at up to 10 times the speed of other 3D printers. (Image courtesy of 3D Systems) Beam me up Scotty! The personalization of 3D printing also allows users to rep- licate themselves as their favorite celebrity or character including star fleet crewmem- ber. (Image courtesy of 3D Systems) Martinez says the company will introduce an Autodesk 3D printer built on the Spark platform. Autodesk develops design soft- ware that enables 3D printing for a plethora of industries. (Images courtesy of Autodesk)

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