SME Rapid Prototyping Show - RC Groups
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May 25, 2011, 11:36 PM
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SME Rapid Prototyping Show

I'm finishing up the week over here in Minneapolis, MN at the SME Rapid Prototyping Show featuring "additive manufacturing" (a fancy way to say 3D printers).

Tons of cool parts and technology. This is the cutting edge of product development from a wide variety of industries including medical implant breakthroughs and the latest engineering marvels. I'll grab some more photos of eye candy and post. Feel free to post comments or questions.

**be sure to see the added pics below in the comments thread**
Last edited by Troy; Jun 01, 2011 at 07:59 PM.
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May 26, 2011, 11:56 PM
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Finished out the week. I got a chance to run around and grab some more shots of my favorite parts today. Some amazing pieces that any modeler can appreciate. The Hot Rod is 100% 3D printed with some of the "chrome" achieved by vacuum metalized process.

I got a chance to further explore Minneapolis and it is a great city with fantastic restaurants and very friendly people. I would be happy to come back any time outside of tornado season or dead of winter.
Last edited by Troy; May 27, 2011 at 12:03 AM.
May 27, 2011, 04:42 PM
Registered User
Maaaan! You get to play with all the FUN stuff Troy! I'd give my left *you-know-what* to work in that industry

So being a hardcore, moldy savvy RC kinda guy... whats your opinion of the viablity for that technology for RC plugs & molds? Can the required gloss surface finish be achieved directly off the machine to the degree we can acheive with more conventional methods? I don't know much about various material choices, but from just surfing vendor pages & youtube, they seem to vary widely. Some look rougher or sugary texture, others look slick & smooth. Is that a function of type of machine or resolution like stepover on cnc mills? Can teh stuff be post-treated liek sprayed & polished? How much would say an F5D plug cost? Do you get ethe impression there many 3rd party printers that accept cad files & ship parts, or is it still vendor's amking their own stuff with in-house machines?

May 28, 2011, 11:55 AM
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Peter, I do love working in this industry. It fits in with so many aspects of modeling.

You've asked some good questions that many people are looking for answers. There are a few different types of processes to produce parts. At this point any of these systems would require post processing to produce a high gloss surface. Some parts can be smoothed with acetone then primed/painted and some need more sanding based on resolution and steps (or knit lines). The powder based systems often require infiltration of an epoxy to harden, stabilize, and give more impact resistance. I know that Stratasys has a high temperature material some people are looking to use to actually print a tool for pre-preg. The surface still needs to be sealed with something because of micro porosity but this is the real deal and will make for some faster R&D in the aerospace industry.

For larger parts, CNC may still be a faster and more efficient way too approach it but creativity will prove where 3D printing can be used effectively. I honestly don't have a good sense for the cost of various sizes. You can dial in the resolution to a degree and some large parts can literally takes days and sometimes weeks. So it becomes a question of hourly cost and what the service bureau who has the machine will charge. The push these days is to bring the cost of machines down so that companies will just purchase one for their own in-house R&D. In the not so distant future, they will become more consumer grade. The Maker-Bot phenomenon is growing rapidly and will only help the technology come closer to home.
Last edited by Troy; May 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM.
May 31, 2011, 07:36 PM
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wow, some of this stuff has come a long way in a short time. just a few years ago when it was all new, the models were not of the caliber your showing here. many were as stated earlier, low resolution and rough finished.

there is a company, Shapeways, that will let you upload CAD files and buy as many of a part as you like, i think they charge by volume and setup time. most small parts are cheap, Kevins micro EDFs come out to a few dollars each. some of the larger items get expensive, there are some puzzles that are over a hundred dollars and up. you can either sell the item through their store, or keep exclusive rights and just have them make the parts for you.
May 31, 2011, 11:14 PM
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I saw the micro edf housings that Pdawg is using are 3D printed. Pretty cool use of that. If only we could print props that would handle the RPMs we need. Making molds or masters would be fine for now. You can find some tri-copters files at:
Jun 22, 2011, 10:33 AM
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I would encourage anyone interested in this technology to look at the recent project at some interesting stuff coming from there
Jun 22, 2011, 12:01 PM
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I looked but don't know what you are referring to other than their standard Phlat "cutters"? Are they adding a Z axis and dispense gun-head for printing layers?
Aug 05, 2011, 02:11 PM
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Herb's Avatar
Very impressive Troy ! I like the P-38

I've also seen people use some sort of sophisticated 3-d scanners. Have you seen those?

Specifically they took a Revell model, in Germany, of a jet (Panther?), did a 3-d scan, and out came the data to make a much larger, but very scale, EDF mold ...
Aug 05, 2011, 08:11 PM
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Thanks, the P-38 is better in person. Apparently there are thousands of hours in the file development. Same folks who made the Hot Rod.

The scanners are quite cool and are also being used heavily in the movie CGI and gaming world. I am always amazed at how many modelers I run into in this business so it's just a matter of time before we see more of this as standard practice. I'm already seeing it pop up folks radar and stories like this help as well:
World First: 3D Printing - First Flight of Fully Printed Aeroplane (UAV/drone by Laser Sintering) (2 min 26 sec)

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