To our mind, the difference between consulting and supporting is a matter of where you are at in your decision making process. Consulting is proactive, a process undertaken while considering a decision. Support is more reactive, an ongoing process to bolster a decision once made.
Additive manufacturing boasts a very wide – sometimes confusing – array of technologies, printers, software and materials. Decisions about what will work best for your needs can be daunting when time and resources are at a premium. i3D focuses on providing information to guide decision making, and we’ve put together some things you’ll definitely want to consider on our AM Basics page.
But we also offer consulting services to help answer these questions:
Where can additive technologies fit into your current organizational structure and methodology, and what technologies will best suit your needs?
Why don’t you put our experience and knowledge to work for you? We’ll work with you through a multi-step process of assessing where additive manufacturing can be optimized within your school or business and help you map out your plans for it so you can realize maximum results. You’re results-oriented and so are we.
How about we set up a phone meeting to discuss your needs and questions?
DESIGN AND PROTOTYPING
Creating physical models of a product concept has never been more affordable. You could say that Additive Manufacturing has ‘democratized’ the production process. Of course it all starts with a digitally produced design. But not everybody has the time or inclination to design. Moreover, even skilled CAD designers need to learn specific design skills for certain 3D prints.
We can help you take your project from paper to CAD. If your intention is to 3D print your design, we will make design suggestions so you will achieve the best print results. Of course we will ensure that your project stays as confidential as you want it to be.
We are also available to prototype. Why should your creation be held hostage by high shop costs associated with “one-offs” or molding? We can print your model cost-efficiently.
ON DEMAND, LOW VOLUME PRODUCTION
Additive manufacturing flatlines the cost of production so that it is now only a matter of materials and time required. This means it is great for prototyping but low-volume production runs are also now affordable and consistent. You get high quality components but bypass the high set-up fees — not to mention shop and inventory costs — associated with traditional forms of production. Hey! Now you have more time and money to do what you do best. Can we talk?
Most of the projects we have worked on have required Non-Disclosure Agreements to be put in place, but we do have some we can share with you along with an analysis of how additive manufacturing was able to help.
CASE 1 – ECO LOOP
i3D was approached by a client who indicated that a key component on the Eco Loop was not functioning as required. The Eco-Loop is a spill-proof nozzle designed to fit most fluid container sizes. However when i3D was approached, the 4l/750ml specialty fitting was not threading and sealing correctly. In addition, the Chinese company used to produce the Eco Loop molds and products were unable to provide usable CAD files. Worse, the client had invested capital in the production – and taken reception of – 10,000 Eco Loop units, none of which could be sold.
Being able to accommodate a 4l and 750 ml container, AND being able to screw back onto the Eco Loop body meant that i3D had to design and test a three thread nozzle fitting essentially from scratch, The design and refinement process was achieved within a day, and the prototyping was able to confirm proper seating and seal.
Within a week, i3D provided the client with a number of functioning prototypes that could be used to market the product, and provided a CAD file to help the Chinese mold maker reproduce new fittings to correct the original error.
CASE 2 – RETAIL STORE FIXTURE REHAB
A retailer had a number of brackets to be used in a hockey stick display. The brackets were of three different types, many of which were bent and unprofessional. Obtaining new brackets from an existing supplier would cost on average $5/bracket with a wait time over 6-8 weeks minimum. The brackets once ordered would have a minimal post season.
The retailer had a substantial number of standard fixtures used to fit into pegboard. i3D worked to design a fitting that would allow the standard pegboard peg to be fit onto a steel crossbar, allowing the retailer to standardize the fixturing and respond to the need in matter of days rather than weeks.