By Melissa Donovan
Part 3 of 4
Three-dimensional (3D) printing is useful during the research and development portion of manufacturing, as concepts only seen on paper or through 3D CAD programs can come to life. The prototyping process is often fraught with this back and forth, revision after revision. 3D printing offers a cost-effective way to go about it—whether working with a printer in house or outsourcing to a service bureau.
The Lupe Pure Cordless vacuum is one appliance that went through multiple design iterations during pre-production and its co-founders quickly realized the benefits of 3D printing during this part of the manufacturing process.
The Lupe Pure Cordless vacuum was launched on Kickstarter, with over 1,700 sold before hitting a single store shelf. Its co-founders needed to create accurate and functional pre-production concept models for its buying audience. To do this, it turned to 3D Systems’ On Demand services.
3D Systems On Demand has advanced manufacturing facilities worldwide with local support through a team of application engineers providing industry and manufacturing expertise. It offers a range of additive and traditional manufacturing technologies, materials, and processes, from 3D printing in metal and plastic, to CNC machining, injection molding, and investment casting patterns.
“3D Systems’ On Demand team had the capability and in-house expertise to make the prototypes we needed through vacuum casting. They could make them at a competitive cost, and make them to a high quality, so we entrusted our project to them,” says Lucas Horne, co-founder, Lupe.
Lupe hoped to achieve a pre-production prototype that resembled injection molded parts through a combination of 3D printed parts and vacuum cast parts. The company received five, full-sized pre-production prototypes. Not only were they realistic in appearance, the prototypes were functional—allowing Lupe to perform final testing before moving into tooling.
“3D Systems enabled us to present a finished article before we were actually in mass production, which was very beneficial,” adds Horne.
Additionally, with realistic prototypes Lupe mitigated the risk of having to redo steel tooling later on. “We needed processes that were as realistic as possible to ensure that all areas of our design would be sound once produced. The properties we achieved using 3D Systems’ materials enabled us to verify the design, confirm that it was good for tooling, and ensure that it met our strength and durability requirements,” shares Horne.
Its work with 3D Systems’ On Demand allowed Lupe to showcase realistic prototypes of the Lupe Pure Cordless vacuum to retail, trade, and investors.
Appliance manufacturers from all backgrounds and sizes benefit from 3D. The April issue of Industrial Print magazine includes a feature article on 3D printing of appliance parts. We also held a webinar in March on the topic. If you’d like to view the archived broadcast, 3D Printing for Prototypes and Spare Parts, click here to register.
Read part two of this series, Fused Filament Fabrication for Nozzles
Jun2021, Industrial Print Magazine