3d Printing and Traditional Manufacturing

Filmmakers have always been a creative bunch.  If you look at almost all the equipment used in the film industry it was made by a fellow filmmaker who had a problem and invented something to get the shot.  Standard equipment like C-Stands were made by guys in the industry that wanted a better tool.  So they made it themselves and it was good.  Check out the story of Matthews Studio Equipment here:  http://www.msegrip.com/about

The same goes for us.  I love my gear but sometimes we run into a situation where the thing we need does not exist.  So I have been prototyping two products which actually have merged into one product.  I’m not ready to share exactly what it is yet, but I will be offering it to a small group of beta testers to help me fine tune the design.

Here I thought I would share a little bit on what I have learned in this process.

3d printing is the future.

It is mind-blowing what it can do.  Check out this video from a professional 3d printing company.

Basically, if you can imagine something, you can can make it a physical object in a few hours.  Think about that for a moment.

Makerbot Thing-O-Matic – image from Makerbot’s Blog

My friend, Andrew, is currently off-island for an extended stay and loaned me his Makerbot Thing-O-Matic.  This is one of the earlier 3d printers for home use.  The Thing-O-Matic prints in plastic.

Soon there will be a 3d printer in every classroom.

When I was a little kid, our school had one computer for the whole school.  We would have one class a week where we would play Oregon Trail.  That small exposure to computers was the seed that helped me be tech savvy today.  The kids of today will have access to this technology and it will be amazing what they come up with.

You can 3d print in plastic, ceramic, metal, and even in human tissue.  Wood products can be made with laser cutting or cnc.  3d printing for my small product is more cost effective than the traditional manufacturing method of injection molding up to about 100-200 units.  Once it gets past 100-200 units, injection molding and other traditional manufacturing methods become more cost effective.  This article was very useful in helping me determine the costs and benefits of 3d printing versus traditional manufacturing:  http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/1933-comparing-apples-and-oranges-mass-produced-vs-3d-printing.html?%2Farchives%2F1933-comparing-apples-and-oranges-mass-produced-vs-3d-printing_html=

I use a free program from Autodesk called 123D Design.  I use the desktop version though they have an online version that works right in your browser.  I have tried tinkercad.com, Google Sketchup, and OpenSCAD but 123D Design was the best fit for me.  It has .01mm precision and is very easy to use.

Image of 123D Design from www.123dapp.com/design

Stay tuned to learn more about the product we are developing to help filmmakers.  Plus, hit me up with any questions you might have.

P.S.  I have no idea why I am writing in very simple sentences today.  Sorry about that if it was annoying.  Maybe I’m dehydrated and not thinking clearly.

Leave a Reply