Large Metal Casting Patterns Produced 33% Faster

Teignbridge Propellers International is a high-performance, marine engineering components company. Over 40 years old, Teignbridge produces its signature custom-designed and produced propellers, for tugs, luxury yachts, fishing trawlers and ferries.

Although the overall technique is well-established, companies in the industry must compete to preserve their reputation and further their position in the market. Teignbridge does this through delivering top-notch workmanship for a high-quality product, and by constantly innovating and investing in both an improved product and in more efficient production processes. This combination of unquestionable quality with an innovative streak has made the company a world-leading supplier of propellers and stern gear.

3D Printed Metal Casting Pattern Productzion Steps

“ WE PRODUCE HIGH-QUALITY ENGINEERED COMPONENTS. WE HAVE TO CONSTANTLY INNOVATE TO RETAIN OUR POSITION AS A LEADING FIRM IN OUR SECTOR.”

Large, Complex Metal Casting Patterns 3D Printed Fast on a BigRep ONE

In 2017, Teignbridge invested in a BigRep ONE large-scale industrial 3D printer for use in propeller production. The BigRep ONE workhorse 3D printer is used in the second stage of the process, to 3D print a full-size replica of the designed propeller to be the positive pattern for the cast mold.

Patterns are produced in 3 steps

  1. Engineers make a CAD model of the part, convert this to a G-code file, and load the file onto the BigRep ONE.
  2. The BigRep ONE 3D prints the pattern. The pattern-maker facilitates this by ensuring the machine has the correct BigRep 3D printer filament loaded.
  3. The pattern is then post-processed with the removal of the support structure, followed by the application of filler and a coat of mold release paint.

The process is straightforward. A typical pattern fits into a volume of 500 mm x 500 mm x 750 mm, meaning the BigRep ONE can comfortably print it in one go. Such patterns of around 4 kg take 40 hours to print, thus can be fully produced, including post-production, within just 48 hours. Short print times come in part from the BigRep ONE’s ability to print structurally sound patterns with hollow interior sections, which brings the added benefit of minimal material use.

large-metal-casting-molds-3d-printed

“IN PRODUCING OUR PROPELLER PATTERNS, CYCLE TIME IS NOW AROUND 33% LESS. TRADITIONALLY IT WOULD TAKE US OVER 3 DAYS TO PRODUCE A PATTERN. NOW IT TAKES LESS THAN 2 WORKING DAYS.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

3d-printing-metal-casting-patterns

“THE SIZE OF THE MACHINE WAS A CRITICAL FACTOR IN SELECTING BIGREP AS OUR 3D PRINTING PARTNER. THE FILAMENT MATERIAL IS CHEAPER, FASTER AND MORE PRACTICAL THAN MATERIALS FOUND ON ALTERNATIVES SUCH AS RESIN 3D PRINTERS.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

Three Key Benefits

Teignbridge’s early adoption of BigRep’s 3D printing technology brings three key benefits, which together add up to a transformed pattern-making process.

  1. REDUCED CYCLE TIME
    Teignbridge now achieves 33% shorter pattern production times. The 3D-printed approach takes just 48 hours, including post-processing. This compares to the three days Teignbridge used to spend producing patterns in wood or polystyrene with a milling machine. Some metal casting firms use traditional hand-production methods which take even longer.
    FASTER DELIVERY TO CUSTOMERS
  2. COST SAVINGS
    Major resource savings come from a 90% reduction in pattern maker labor required. The milling technique required 20 hours of skilled labor in CNC machine operation, section assembly, and post-processing. The 3D-printed method requires a maximum of two hours post-processing labor. The new approach also saves engineer time as one G-code file is required, rather than several.
    INCREASED COSTCOMPETITIVENESS
  3. REDUCED LABOR RELIANCE
    The reduced need for pattern maker labor insures Teignbridge against two kinds of risk. It brings reduced risk of being undercut by low-wage competitors. And, as skilled pattern-makers become scarce in traditional locations, it brings reduced risk of labor shortages which could make project completions impossible.
    INSURANCE AGAINST RISING WAGES & SKILLED LABOR SHORTAGES

It is worth highlighting three key features of the BigRep ONE which enable Teignbridge to get maximum benefit from its switch in production technique. The large format of the ONE delivers maximum time-savings by allowing pattern production in a single print; the low per-kilogram cost of BigRep’s PLA filament contributes significant cost savings; being able to print sound, hollow patterns allows further time and materials costs savings.

metal-casting-with-3d-printer-casting

“OUR TYPICAL PROPELLER PATTERN IS 500 X 500 X 750 mm. FOR THAT REASON, THE SIZE OF THE MACHINE WAS A CRITICAL FACTOR IN SELECTING BIGREP AS OUR 3D PRINTING PARTNER AS IT MEANS WE CAN PRODUCE PATTERNS WITH ONE QUICK AND SIMPLE PRINT.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

A STUDY OF EARLY ADOPTION IN INDUSTRY

Teignbridge has been proactive in introducing BigRep’s large-scale, fast, precise 3D printing technology to its industrial processes. It has done this because it can benefit from faster cycle times and lower costs in its metal
casting of large, complex performance components for its customers. A key factor in deciding which 3D printer to purchase was the large-format factor, as well as BigRep’s range of print materials.

Teignbridge’s proactivity reflects the company’s general approach to maintaining its competitive position, by seeking and embracing opportunities to invest in value-adding technologies. And it reflects its trust in BigRep’s printer technology to reliably provide the kind of precision and performance required by the industry. Given the ingenious heritage, vital function, and exacting standards of the marine industry, this is a strong vote of confidence in BigRep technology.

“ANOTHER PROBLEM THE BIGREP ONE SOLVED WAS THE LACK OF AVAILABLE SKILLED PATTERN MAKERS. THE 3D PRINTING SOLUTION ALSO PROTECTS US AGAINST OVERSEAS COMPETITION FROM LOW-COST ECONOMIES.”
Ian Moss
CEO, Teignbridge

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

1M³ BUILD VOLUME. BIG POSSIBILITIES. SMALL PRICE.

The BigRep ONE is an affordable entry into large-format 3D printing. With proven dependability to work around the clock, the ONE brings your designs to life in full-scale.

Learn More

PLA vs. ABS and More – Choose the Right Filament

PLA and ABS are the most commonly used filaments out there.

But which one should you pick? And are there other filament options for your application?

The power of 3D printing is the ability to produce impossible designs that lead to enhanced functionality and performance. While it’s important to evaluate different technologies and processes, never underestimate material selection and capabilities.

With so many different 3D printing options in the marketplace and countless material options available, what makes the most sense for you? In this post we will compare several FDM materials and how these thermoplastics can be augmented to service a wider range of manufacturing applications. PLA vs. ABS, ASA, PLX, PRO HT, HI-TEMP, Carbon Fiber, Bio-ABS, and more.

ABS Filament

The most commonly used 3D printed material is ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). ABS variations are used in every industry imaginable (transportation, consumer products, electronics, etc.). For example, plastic components make up 50 percent of a vehicle’s volume, but only about 10 percent of its weight. Therefore, prototypers, product developers, and production engineers feel comfortable printing materials that mimic the end-use product or purpose. Printing with ABS is an acceptable and easy solution for many manufacturers.

  • Excellent mechanical strength and durability properties
  • Cost effective & recyclable
  • Better heat performance compared to PLA
  • Great for 3D printing prototypes that require multiple iterations or low volume production requests
PLA vs ABS Filament: ABS

PLA Filament & PLX

Second only to ABS, PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a highly preferred 3D printing material because it is inexpensive, easy to use, and accessible on many platforms. Compared to ABS, PLA has slightly better tensile strength properties but generally doesn’t have enough flex strength. Both materials are comparable when it comes to pricing. However, under the right conditions, PLA is biodegradable and oftentimes used for food and packaging products making it rather attractive for many consumer product industries. In many instances, PLA is the preferred material choice. PLX, a PLA derivative, was recently introduced by BigRep and available on all platforms. PLX prints up to 80% faster and produces excellent surface features, eliminating the need for post processing.

  • Biodegradable
  • Up to 80% faster extrusion throughput
  • Tensile strength (ISO 527) | 48 MPa
  • Key industries: Consumer products, food packaging, prototyping, form, fit, and function
PLA vs ABS Filament: PLA
PLA vs ABS Filament: PLX

ASA Filament

ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) is an ABS alternative material with improved weather resistance properties that make it ideal for many outdoor applications. Compared to ABS, ASA has better mechanical properties, superior aesthetics, and it’s UV resistant. Printing with ASA is advantageous for industrial and end-use parts, oftentimes used for automotive, sporting goods, and consumer appliances. The downside is that ASA is slightly more expensive than ABS and produces toxic smoke when burned. Many UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) developers will prototype with ASA material and even consider using it in the final product due to its UV stability and weather resistance.

  • Enhanced UV stability
  • Ideal for outdoor applications
  • Improved aesthetics compared to ABS and PLA
  • Key industries: Consumer products, defense applications, automotive, and aviation
PLA vs ABS Filament: ASA

PRO HT: High Temperature Filament

PRO HT, BigRep’s flagship material, is the most popular filament amongst BigRep customers and users. With a softening resistance up to 115 °C, it has significant increase in temperature resistance compared to the average PLA, making it ideal for practical, end-use applications. In addition, PRO HT is FDA compliant for food safety and meets all requirements of EU Directives for food contact. Derived from organic compounds, PRO HT is biodegradable under the correct conditions and has a much lower ecological impact than other plastics derived from fossil fuels. Most common applications include consumer products, packaging, general prototyping, manufacturing and low production tooling.

  • Simple to print and easy post processing
  • Low warping and shrinkage
  • Biodegradable
  • Heat resistance up to 115 °C
PLA vs ABS Filament: PRO-HT
PRO HT - High Temperature 3D Printing Filament

HI-TEMP CF: Carbon Fiber Filament

Carbon fiber materials are unique and fairly new to the 3D printing industry. Highly stiff and incredibly durable, HI-TEMP CF is heat resistant up to 115 °C and perfect for many tooling applications. For example, thermoforming, pattern and mold making will use HI-TEMP CF for class A surface finish and low moisture absorption.

Compared to many other thermoplastics, the carbon fiber attributes provide significant strength capabilities (>65 MPa) and is recommended as a superior alternative to ASA for functional prototyping or production. HI-TEMP CF is robust and resilient to withstand harsh manufacturing environments.

  • Jigs, Fixtures, and Tooling
  • Automotive prototyping and production
  • Assembly line, manufacturing, and production
  • Tensile strength (ISO 527) | 65 MPa
PLA vs ABS Filament: HI-TEMP CF Carbon Fiber Filament
Production Tool From Carbon Fiber Filament
Positioning jig for car production 3D printed with HI-TEMP CF

Conclusion

How to truly maximize the right filament for your application? When it comes to general prototyping, all of these materials can be considered and will most likely yield positive results for your product development. However, prototyping goes beyond just form, fit and function so we recommend taking a deeper dive into specific material characteristics to determine which makes the most sense for you. When it comes to production, it’s very important to consider the mechanical properties of your chosen material and how it will perform. Tooling or end-use products are required to meet certain standards and more often than not, sacrifices cannot be made.

To simplify, we recommend:

  • PLA and ABS for simple prototype development.
  • If you own BigRep 3D printer equipment, reach out to us to learn about PLX and the time savings it can provide.
  • If you’re looking for UV stability or slightly better strength performance for prototyping or production, we recommend ASA.
  • Finally, PRO HT and HI-TEMP CF are the most robust materials for low volume production, tooling or any other application that requires parts to perform in harsh environments.

Check out our wide range of 3D printing filaments and find the right material for your application:

3D Printed Auto Interior Design and Manufacturing

3D Printed Car Interior

Passion and Vision

Jeremy Katz, owner of JK Automotive Designs in Stoneham, Massachusetts, is one of the many American entrepreneurs that has built a business from the ground-up. With a lifetime of experience working with automotive suppliers, businesses and enthusiasts, Katz saw an opportunity to make his passion profitable.

JK Automotive Designs  is an automobile interior designer and manufacturer that builds custom upholstered interiors from scratch that consist of dashboards, consoles, door panels and more with integrated audio and visual systems to improve the vehicle’s aesthetics and functionality. From personal restoration projects to high-performance customization requests, JK Automotive Designs is willing to take on the most challenging tasks. With a 5,000 square foot facility filled with state-of-the-art technology, Katz and his team believe they are ahead of the curve and defining the future of automotive customization.

3D Printed Car Interior Rendering
Car Center Console in Large 3D Printer

“For this ‘73 Bronco console, we 3D printed with our in-house BigRep 3D printer. This is by far the largest print we have tried and couldn’t have been happier with the results. The console consists of 6 main printed parts that bolt and magnetize together to create this massive console that we could not have made by hand.”

“We take a different approach and stay ahead of the curve,” Katz humbly responds when asked about his business. “By embracing different technologies, we can offer more to our clients and continue exceeding expectations.” Equipped with 3D scanning, CNC, multiple laser machines and several 3D printers, Katz and crew are able to do more, with less. Most notably, the BigRep STUDIO G2 enables the team to 3D print large trim panels and frames that are directly mounted to the vehicle.

Most 3D printing technologies are used as a tool for rapid prototyping purposes (quick iterations, form, fit and function testing). However, JK Automotive Designs saw an opportunity and decided to take advantage of the BigRep STUDIO G2’s size benefits and material capabilities.

Engineering Made Easy

“We have been 3D scanning, designing in CAD, and building parts for quite some time,” says Katz. “But we needed something bigger that would give us more flexibility and be compatible with stronger materials. The BigRep STUDIO G2 and Pro HT materials did exactly that.” Believe it or not, Katz and his team are self taught CAD designers, machinists, and installation specialists. The BigRep STUDIO G2 is specifically designed to be a simple piece of machinery for users but Katz and his team are pushing the limits and developing hybrid manufacturing solutions that are actively changing the game for automobile customization.

“Our team is hyperfocused on productivity and quality. The expertise in this shop is second-to-none and together, we complement each other's strengths to maximize our output.” Katz expresses gratitude for his team and makes it clear that his employees and their capabilities are what sets them apart in the industry. Adding the BigRep STUDIO G2 to the facility is like adding another professional and Katz relies on the same productivity and quality.

Car Door Panel in Large 3D Printer
3D Printed Car Door Panel

For example, JK Automotive Designs was tasked to develop a full interior for a 33 Ford Roadster. One of the components designed was a custom door panel that required an unconventional approach. The door itself had an odd contour and complex design that made it challenging to machine or fabricate with traditional processes. Not to mention, expensive and time consuming. Instead, the team digitized the existing frame with their Creaform 3D scanner, reverse engineered it, and brought it into CAD. Then designed the panel and sent it directly to the BigRep STUDIO G2.

The STUDIO 3D printer requires no additional user operation so while it’s printing, the team is able to work on other aspects of the job. 56 hours later the part was bonded to a flat panel, previously machined on the 3-axis CNC, and ready for fit and finish. JK Automotive Designs added a new arm rest also printed on the BigRep STUDIO G2, upgraded the electronics, and eventually placed the hybrid (half machine/ half printed) door panel to the vehicle.

“The conventional way to produce something like this is highly manual,'' Katz says. “You would need to heat plastic and bend it to get it to fit close, then use body fillers to achieve perfect fitment. With the BigRep and 3D printing, it fits perfectly the first time which really helps us stay on project timelines.”

Process Time Cost
CNC Machining 4+ days $ 3,000+
BigRep STUDIO G2 3D Printer 56 hours $ 896
Savings ~80% Time Savings $ 2,000+ per part Savings

Thinking BIG

“Technology is just another tool for us to solve problems. Our mindset is to redefine next generation trends and that is what differentiates us from anyone else in our industry.” Katz postulates as he rotates a design on his computer and passionately shares the future of his business. Dedicated to the craft, the JK Automotive Designs team is constantly educating themselves and doing whatever it takes to stay ahead of the curve. The automotive aftermarket is incredibly unique and ultra competitive so it’s important to embrace innovation. “We want to be trend setters,” says Katz. “To that end, we only use the best techniques and equipment available in the industry.”

For more information on BigRep 3D Printers, check out our full line up of industrial 3D printers. Let us help you THINK BIG!

Request Pricing or Talk to a 3D Printing Expert

Design for Industrial Additive Manufacturing: Eliminating Support Structures

Design for Additive Manufacturing

Optimizing designs is a crucial skill to create manufacturing efficiencies. To get the most out of your additive manufacturing system, or the least in terms of time and material, you need to understand the nuances of your 3D printer and how design for additive manufacturing differs from design for other manufacturing technologies. Once you do, it’s easy to tweak designs in a way that helps meet your productivity goals.

If you’re working on increasing efficiency in your manufacturing processes you probably already have a goal in mind. It’s likely a high-level goal like total productivity or operational costs. Here we’re going to help save you time and money to meet those high-level goals with a few design tips to print faster, save material, and reduce post-processing by eliminating support structures from your designs.

We often use designs that were originally created for traditional manufacturing technologies, like injection moulding, and apply them to newer technologies. If you instead consider the strengths and weaknesses of additive manufacturing and redesign accordingly, it’s easy to optimize your production.

How to 3D Print: Design for Large-Format - Saving Material on Big 3D Prints - BigRep Academy

Orientation

If you’re trying to reduce the support materials for your part, overhangs will probably be your first concern. Overhangs can often be reduced or eliminated by simply reorienting a design in your slicer. If you can’t just turn the design as it is, consider whether you can redesign your part so its base structure will support its overhangs more effectively.

Take this hand jig designed by BigRep, for example. It’s an alignment tool for automotive manufacturing processes that doesn’t require significant force. Ordinarily, the handle for this kind of fixture would have three faces with the two that are protruding from the base at 90-degree angles. Since an especially firm grip isn’t required, we limited the handle to two faces and protruded them at 45-degree angles – an overhang angle favorable to most FFF materials. In doing this, we sacrificed some of the handle’s empty space but saved significantly on material – both in terms of support material and the part itself.

If such an acute angle won’t work for your design’s overhang, consider changing the material you use. While BigRep’s PLA and PRO HT both work best with 45-degree overhangs, our engineering-grade materials are often suitable for harsher angles - like HI TEMP which can effectively print overhangs at angles of up to 65-degrees.

Chamfering

Sometimes reducing the faces on your design isn’t possible, so you can always try chamfering between the overhang’s outmost edge and base object. A “chamfering” is the transitional edge between two sides of an object, usually a 45-degree angle between two right-angle surfaces. It’s an easy process that most CAD software provides automated tools to accomplish. By chamfering your design, you can remove sharp angled overhangs, reducing them to manageable angles that your printer and material process can handle.

Structural Support

If you can’t change the angles on your design, or need to apply more than one design strategy, you can forgo wasteful slicer-generated support structures and design them yourself. In our hand jig we added “fins” as structural supports for the overhangs needed to form a handle.

Support fins are thin overhang tracings used to reinforce your design. You can see in our hand jig that we completely outlined the gap for our handle – even on the object’s base – to ensure it prints successfully without adding support structures. Fins trade some of what would be empty space in your design, so it’s important to make sure that enough room is left for the part’s intended use, but can save lots of support material and serve to strengthen your part’s extremities.

Internal Channels

Small internal channels won’t usually need additional support since FFF printers can easily handle a circular gap. However, there are some use cases where internal channels are too large to print without added support – especially in industrial applications where air or liquid flow might be important to your design. In the unusual case that an internal channel requires supports, they can be very difficult to remove without a water-soluble support material used on a dual-extrusion 3D printer, if not impossible.

To solve this tricky problem, don’t limit yourself to circular internal channels. The common circular shape for internal channels seems like common sense, but it’s just one of those holdovers from traditional manufacturing when drilling was the easiest way to form a channel. To design for additive manufacturing, you can easily change your channel’s shape to print better. Usually a teardrop shape, with the point at the top, is preferred to keep all angles at 45-degrees and easily printable. Don’t limit yourself, though. If you’re still finding supports necessary in your internal channels take a closer look at the weak points and experiment with the channel’s shape to find one that suits your needs.

Conclusion

There are a lot of different ways you can optimize your designs to reduce or entirely remove support structures. By doing so, you can minimize post-processing, save material, and print your parts faster. Don’t be afraid to redesign features that we might take for granted. Remember that design lags behind production technology, so question the necessity of any inefficiencies in your designs and consider how they might be optimized with the advanced tools now at your disposal.

You can always find some inspiration by seeing how the experts tackle this change. Check out our free case study, How Airbus Manufactures Shipping Cases In-House with Large-Format Additive, to learn how Airbus, SAS reinvented shipping case design with additive manufacturing.



Find out how industry leaders are using BigRep 3D printers to create affordable and secure investment shipping containers on demand for sensitive aerospace equipment in our case study with Airbus:
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Integrating CAD and Additive Learning into General Education

Digital design and manufacturing has become increasingly relevant in a, sometimes surprisingly, eclectic mix of industries. In dentistry, fashion, manufacturing itself or any other of the plethora of industries that have evolved with the integration of 3D printing, it’s apparent that an understanding of additive manufacturing and the skills to create 3D printable designs in CAD software are now a necessity.

It's important, then, as industries increasingly depend on digital design that students are given the opportunity to learn this crucial aspect of many industries as they study.


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Enterprising educators are already getting ahead of the curve. At TH Wildau – Wildau, Germany’s Technical University of Applied Sciences – instructors have developed structures to teach non-technical students the fundamentals of CAD and additive manufacturing. They secure students’ understanding of what has become a cornerstone in many industries at a crucial time in their education. Under the instruction of teachers like Dr. Dana Mietzner, students from disciplines as broad as business management, law, and business informatics learn about CAD and additive manufacturing processes in detail.

“Students start to think about future fields of application of 3D technology,” Mietzner said. “They try to figure out what the status of the technology is today and what could be future fields of application. For that purpose, it’s very important for the students to understand the technology – how it works and what is behind the concept of 3D printing.”

3D Printing Education - the Vinn:Lab at TH Wildau

Understanding 3D printing as a physical process is incredibly important to learning CAD software. Designers using CAD need to understand what the various kinds of 3D printers are physically capable of to ensure that even the complex geometries, achievable only with additive, are designed with best practices in mind for an optimal outcome. This kind of understanding can inform designers about which method of additive manufacturing they should use for an application, like deciding between FFF and SLA technologies for an application, or when it might be better to opt for traditional reductive methods like CNC instead.

Not only will understanding the best production method for a CAD model help in designing processes, creating a design that’s conducive to successful printing, but it will help future business leaders in the disciplines Dr. Mietzner teaches understand when a process can be done with more cost and time efficiency. For example, introducing additive in favor of traditional supply chains can drastically alter how a business chooses to source parts. As more businesses move to additive manufacturing to produce end-use parts, this is increasingly important.

There’s a wealth of other disruptions additive manufacturing is causing to traditional business models and it’s vital for future leaders to understand these implications to make choices for their success. Accessible manufacturing is enabling businesses with smaller financial backing to enter production without massive investment, highly personalized products can enter the market without prohibitive price tags, and traditional workflows are being optimized with 3D printed tooling.

Clearly, it’s paramount to the future of successful businesses that there is a healthy understanding of the additive process, and therefore CAD, in a wealth of disciplines.


Learn the benefits of Large-Format Additive with our
Guide to Integrate Large-Format Additive Manufacturing.

Read the Guide


As industries continue to evolve additive manufacturing is becoming more pervasive, making many niche applications require very specific expertise. The boom of 3d printing within the medical field serves as an excellent example of this. The medical industry was an early adopter of additive manufacturing, leveraging SLA long before it was an accessible technology. Today, a plethora of companies are racing to develop 3D printable replacement body parts as intricate as organs. To achieve such a novel goal, the initial model’s designer would not only need extensive practice with CAD software but also with anatomical design, likely benefitting from a background as a medical practitioner or as a medical illustrator.

While less demanding artistically than the design of anatomically correct organs, a common use of mainstream FFF additive technology is the design and creation of highly customizable orthopedics. Here, an extensive background in kinesiology is a must-have for any designer creating the model. For a brace to be effective, extensive knowledge of the part of the body being mended is completely necessary – form the position that best aids the healing process to the potential risks of an incorrect placement.

Without experience in additive manufacturing and CAD software, the design of these products would require extensive extra steps and risks design instructions being lost in translation.

A plethora of prominent institutions have developed prototyping-focus’ within their courses, with classes and labs being used as an accessible space for learners to transform their ideas into reality. The most effective utilize technologies that allow for broad applications – a goal that large-format additive is uniquely positioned to address. For future-ready institutions that prepare learners for careers of dynamic change with relevant knowledge and life-long skills, additive manufacturing has proven to be an effective investment for those taking aim at superior teaching and experimentation, for a variety of disciplines.

Find out how prominent institutions like TH Wildau, targeting additive learnings beyond engineering students, and other are using BigRep’s additive technology to prepare their students in BigRep’s Guide to Large-Format for Education and Research.

About BigRep
BigRep develops the world’s largest serial production 3D printers, creating the industry benchmark for large-scale printing with the aim to reshape manufacturing. Its award-winning, German-engineered machines are establishing new standards in speed, reliability and efficiency. BigRep’s printers are the preferred choice of engineers, designers and manufacturers at leading companies in the industrial, automotive and aerospace sectors. Through collaborations with its strategic partners – including Bosch Rexroth, Etihad Airways and Deutsche Bahn – and key investors – including BASF, Koehler, Klöckner and Körber – BigRep continues to develop complete solutions for integrated additive manufacturing systems, as well as a wide range of printing materials on an open-choice source. Founded in 2014, BigRep is headquartered in Berlin with offices in Boston and Singapore. Leading the way in one of the world’s key technologies, our multinational engineering teams are highly trained, interdisciplinary and customer-focused.

For additional information, please contact:
To arrange an interview with BigRep’s executive management or NOWLAB team, and for more information on BigRep and its solutions, please contact:
Jürgen Scheunemann
PR & Communications BigRep GmbH
T: +49 30 9487 1430
E: [email protected]

HOW TO: 3 Steps to Hide the Seams and Become Design Leader

Hiding the seams with Marco

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Why is it important?

If one has a good knowledge of slicing software, they can reach a higher quality of the printed object. That naturally influences the general outlook of the one. Important aspect of the final print are the seams. They might spoil the effect of the design. The continuity of the print can be lost at start and end points of every layer. Hiding the seams is important in case of creating a prototype that is true to the final product as possible. Furthermore, it’s especially meaningful if you want to print the ready-to-use objects with important details.

In 3D models a slicing program transforms the model into G-code. The code includes any preferred optimizations and parameter changes. Thanks to that, the person printing the object has much more control of the quality and final outlook of the print. If the software is not set up properly, it automatically generates random starting points in different locations. That can affect the quality of the print. However, when the settings can be changed. It means that user can also change the whole project into one united object. That includes hiding the seams or unwanted curves.

In BigRep we understand the need for the best possible finish effect of the project. That is why we try different slicing methods, to find the perfect one and apply it for the full print height. In our case it is very important due to the large-scale printable quantity.

The tutorial

How To 3D Print: Hiding The Seams

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The tutorial explains how to avoid this problem and how to, using Simplify3D slicing software, step-by-step generate optimal start points. Marco Mattia Cristofori, the Architect and 3D Printing Specialist at BigRep, explains that a few additional modifications of the start and end location of the layers can make it sure that the seam is created in an optimal spot on the print. Often there is a natural groove or corner in a print that is a hiding spot for the seam. For example, on the manifold pictured and printed on Bigrep STUDIO, the curve on the right-hand side covers up the seam nicely. “We can make the seams follow the exact path we want them to follow,” said Cristofori. “So, instead, we can optimize this when we generate the G-code”.

hiding the seams

3 STEPS TO HIDE THE SEAMS

You can hide the seams on your print in 3 easy steps:

1) Import your model on Simplify3D and figure out how many processes you need to split the part in. Make sure the seams follow the path you want.

2) Edit singularly each process on the LAYER section changing the X & Y setting where the seams should be set up closer to.

3) Slice the part generating the G-code and check for possible improvements. Try different variation of the X & Y settings until you achieve the result you need.

However, Siplify3D is not the only possible tool. The list and description of popular slicing software can be found here.

DISCOVER OUR 3D PRINTERS

A Sense for Structure: NOWlab’s World-First ‘Smart Concrete Wall’

Construction with 3D Printing - A smart concrete wall

We were thrilled to announce news of the world's first 'smart concrete wall' via a recent article on designboom. Developed by NOWlab, the innovation department at BigRep, the smart concrete wall involved the production of large-scale 3D-printed formwork, enabling an adaptive surface through embedded capacitive sensors.

Jörg Petri, co-founder of NOWlab and lead on this cutting-edge project, said, “This functionalization of a concrete surface is the first of its kind, opening the possibility for any imaginable concrete surface to become a switch.”

The capacitive sensors are activated by the touch of a hand on the outer surface of the concrete wall, turning on and off the functional 3D-printed hexagonal light fixtures in the grid. A video by BigRep on the smart concrete wall visually demonstrates how the structure works, and how it is envisioned to be used in a larger format, such as for wall dividers, facades and interior screens. The smart concrete wall was created to be 2 m in height, 1 m wide, and 10-30 cm in depth.

Concrete Casting with 3D Printed Formwork

3D-printed formwork for the wall was printed on a BigRep ONE large-scale 3D printer at Immensa Labs in Dubai, in cooperation with project partner Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC). Ready to be used without additional certification, Petri says 3D-printed formwork enables resolutions that cannot be achieved by direct 3D printing of concrete. With large-scale 3D printing technology such as that of BigRep, companies now have the tools to produce required parts on a grand scale.

Petri and his team developed their know-how in the realm of 3D-printed formwork concrete casting in 2015 and, as 3D Printing Industry published in an article, BigRep was granted an international patent for the technology in April 2018.

As outlined in the designboom story, NOWlab believes that 3D printing can help architects reassert themselves as the master builders of the 21st century, enabling them to have direct control of the development of their designs. Techniques that once belonged to skilled craftsman, and have all but vanished from current building sites, can be reinstated thanks to 3D printing.

Well done to the whole team involved in bringing this world-first idea to fruition! NOWlab continues to work on numerous state-of-the-art applications using large-format 3D printing by BigRep, so stay tuned in the coming months for more exciting announcements and world-first projects.

Discover th BigRep ONE 3D Printer

Webinar Recap: Revolutionizing Architecture and Construction with 3D Printed Formwork

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Last week, we aired our very first webinar on 3D printing and its emerging role in construction and architecture. We were thrilled to have so many people joining from around the world – many people tuned in from across Europe, the US and Asia Pacific! If you missed it, never fear – you can watch a recording of the webinar here and read on for a recap of the topics explored and the ideas shaping the industry.

After a brief introduction from Abbey Delaney, BigRep America’s Marketing Manager, NOWlab’s co-founder Jörg Petri began the webinar, joined by Prof. Tobias Wallisser, co-founder of LAVA and professor of innovation construction and spatial concepts. Together they explored their vision of a unified construction process and make a strong case for the current and future uses of 3D printing in the industry. Petri and Wallisser presented various fascinating use cases, including the never-before seen sensor integration project. Below is a very brief summary of the webinar, but we do encourage you to watch it yourself for the full effect, including slides, images and videos!

Construction with 3D Printing - A smart concrete wall

New Digital Craft

The construction industry is demanding a shift towards more automation and robotic tools, which opens up the chance for architects and engineers to address and solve new topics that were traditionally addressed only by highly skilled and experienced craftsmen. The problem is that these craftsmen do not exist anymore or are too cost intensive for the average project. In this context, we coined the word ‘digital craftsmanship’, which means that the current technology in the context of Industry 4.0 has the potential to bring back the advanced skills of former craftsmen in a digital context. At the forefront for innovation in the construction industry are the materials. One user case is presented in the webinar of a 3D printed model, where the water-soluble PVA filament is used as support and is embedded in cement. The example shows the new possibilities for designing structures and molds with complex geometries, enabled by the soluble filament.

Innovative Building Construction

The first example given in this topic was the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi (Barcelona, Spain), which has been developed and built using the first notes of ‘parametric’ thinking in the form of physical models – a design method based on rules and parameters to develop the shapes and the processes behind the design (that of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, in the 1880s).

The next example Petri and Wallisser reference is the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, which was inaugurated in 2006 and was the first project successfully built through the use of CAD CAM technology directly linked to fabrication processes.

Process Chains Automotive vs Construction

Compared to construction, the automotive industry has the whole process from design and planning to assembly in-house. This is not the case for the construction industry, which utilizes an outdated linear process, meaning the demand for new digital tools is great. Industry 4.0 enables now the linking of digital fabrication to the design and CAD CAM processes.

The full process chain can be viewed in the webinar, but essentially the result is that facades and new buildings can work with 3D-printed casts, allowing for a more advanced design, increased building speed and improved building efficiency. One core example is a project conducted by NOWlab in cooperation with Geiger, to restore the facade of a monument using 3D printing. The cast models were printed, and the concrete pieces were installed on the building.

Construction with 3D Printing

Sustainability

Since the 1990s, advancements in graphic design has reached architecture, as people began designing free forms with complex geometrical structures. The only way of achieving this was with huge styrofoam blocks which were milled with CNC machines.

The example given in the webinar is the case of Frank Gehry Zollhafer in Düsseldorf, for which the formwork was milled for pre-casted elements one at a time. The problem with this method is that the milling produces a lot of styrofoam waste.

The advantages of 3D printing in this context are that you only print the material that is needed to form the concrete, and you can print high-quality polymers that are recyclable. If the strength is sufficient, you can even print PLA as biopolymer, which you do not need to recycle – you can give it back to the natural material flow.

To sum it all up, the webinar was an exciting experience for us at BigRep, as it gave us the opportunity to interact with our audience, answer their questions, and inspire new ideas and designs for construction and architecture. We can say with confidence that we will be looking forward to more webinars in the very near future. Save the date: September 6th we will be hosting the next webinar, so stayed tuned for registration details!

Many thanks to everybody who made the webinar possible, especially our illustrious hosts:

Jörg Petri / Co-founder of NOWlab Innovation Department of BigRep

Tobias Wallisser / Professor of Innovation Construction and Spatial Concepts – Co-founder of LAVA- Laboratory of Visionary Architecture in Berlin

Abbey Delaney / Marketing Manager, BigRep America

Watch the webinar

June Webinar Approaching! 3D Printing in Architecture and Construction

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BigRep is coming to your very own computer screen – we’re pleased to invite individuals and companies with an interest in 3D printing, architecture or construction to join our free expert webinar on June 26 2018, at 2PM EDT (Boston, Toronto) and 2PM CET (Berlin, Paris).

The international architecture and construction industries are increasingly replacing traditional methods of designing, model-making (see here a user case on 3D-printed architectural models) and building with advanced technologies.

Architect Jörg Petri, Co-Founder of NOWlab @ BigRep, is an innovator at the forefront of integration of technology into architecture. With NOWlab and BigRep, Petri works on innovative ways of utilizing 3D printing, with the aim of saving companies time, money and improving functionality. One such example is the work Petri and his colleagues did with Geiger GmbH on producing 3D-printed concrete casting molds for a heritage building project.

Cocrete-casting-1

Attendees at the webinar will learn about integrated sensors, molding, complex geometries, and more, exploring what is around the corner for additive manufacturing in construction and architecture. A range of use cases – including one never-before-published sensor integration project – will be front and center of the webinar to illustrate exactly how some forward-thinking companies are using 3D printing technology.

The webinar is free and open to anybody with an interest in the aforementioned fields, and Petri says he is looking forward to helping attendees discover approaches to designing and building that could work for their businesses and specific applications.

The NOWlab and BigRep teams are excited to welcome attendees to the webinar and encourage interested parties to register as soon as possible – spots are limited, so hop to it and register!

Register for the Webinar

Lean on PVA, When You Need Support

PVA - 3D printing support material

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Many of us wish our worldly worries could just dissolve away, but it never seems to work that way. Though if it’s about support structures for large-scale 3D objects, then BigRep’s PVA is the cure for all concerns.

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is commonly used in industrial 3D printers with dual-extruders, like the BigRep ONE, to provide support for an object with overhang issues. Some complex prints involving multiple extended overhangs (of over 45°) can only be performed by printing such a support structure. Otherwise, the printed structure would warp or simply collapse – nobody likes that.

BigRep PVA is unlike any other 3D printing filament on the market. It is non-toxic, odorless and easy to extrude, as well as being water soluble. The warmer the water, the faster it dissolves, so users can spend more time creating those tortuous prints and less time refining the results. Moreover, it has been optimized for improved melt flow characteristics, meaning users need not spend their precious time unclogging the hot end. A new video by BigRep shows how easy the process can be, as well as the quality prints resulting from PVA integration.

Wheel Rim

For complex geometries, PVA can be the ideal support structure to enable printing of angles over 45 degrees. Designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori, this 3D-printed wheel rim challenges aesthetic norms for such vehicle parts. The intertwining braces are designed such that they would not be possible with CNC and other traditional methods of milling a wheel rim. Furthermore, for Cristofori’s design, there was no need for manual post-printing curing, sanding, or grinding, thanks to the PVA support – it melts right off the final print.

3D Printed wheel rim

BigRep Longboard

3D printed on the BigRep STUDIO, this BigRep bionic longboard is a model of structural integrity and fascinating aesthetics. It was printed using BigRep PLA with PVA support and integrated carbon pipe, as designed by Beatrice Müller. Once the print had been soaked in water for 20 minutes, BigRep’s team was able to use a soft spatula-type implement to begin scraping the residue off the print.

Longboard

While BigRep already sells a range of high-quality, meticulously engineered 3D printing filaments through its online shop, there is always room for consultation on additional materials. When customers are looking for a specific kind of filament for a custom application, BigRep’s team is pleased to take on the challenge – read more about collaborations between BigRep and Deutsche Bahn, Etihad Airways Engineering and BASF.

Discover our Industrial Use Cases


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