Browsing articles from "July, 2011"
Jul 15, 2011
Comments Off on Automotive giant fast tracks fuel efficiency with Rapid Prototyping

Automotive giant fast tracks fuel efficiency with Rapid Prototyping

Deep within the American automotive giant, General Motors design building lies a high security Rapid Prototyping lab. It is here future products for brands such as Chevrolet, Buik and Cadillac take shape thanks to a team of highly trained technicians, and two Rapid Prototyping processes – Stereolithography and Selective Laser Sintering

Both technologies have been used on a number of innovative vehicles such as the pre-production Chevrolet Volt, with Rapid Prototyping used to streamline the aesthetic design, and facilitate early stage testing and validation of under bonnet system design.  The Rapid Manufacture of components,  intricate sub assemblies and even scale model cats has allowed for General Motors to benefit from considerable savings in time and money as a result of  significant gains in creativity, flexibility and accuracy.

The 2001 Chevrolet Volt

General Motors pre-production electric Chevrolet Volt - designed with the help of Rapid Prototyping technology

In a recent interview General Motors Director of Design Fabrication Operations, Dave Bolognino said “thanks to the rapid pace of production from the Rapid Prototyping laboratory, General Motors aerodynamics lab has been able to double its capacity of testing scale models over the past two years, contributing to improved fuel efficiency on future GM vehicles. He continued by adding “Its a great way to reduce product development time, save costs, and give designers more options. I don’t see any end sight for General Motors use of this technology”

Jul 8, 2011
Comments Off on Rapid Prototyping Webinar

Rapid Prototyping Webinar

Laser Prototypes today announced a free live webinar on rapid prototyping processes on Thursday, July 14th, 2011 from 14:00 pm to 14:35 pm. This webinar will provide an overview of the main Rapid Prototyping processes and the factors which should be considered when choosing the right process for your individual project requirements. Anyone interested in learning about the Rapid Prototyping processes is invited to the informative session. To register for this webinar please click here.

Campbell Evans, Sales Director at Laser Prototypes with over 15 years experience in Rapid Prototyping, will present the session. During the 25 minute webinar. This session will outline the main prototyping techniques available today, including Stereolithography, Selective Laser Sintering, Vacuum Casting and 3D printing.

A live question and answer session will follow the presentation.

About Laser Prototypes

Laser Prototypes are the longest esablished Rapid Prototyping bureau in the UK and Ireland. Since opening its doors in 1991 Laser Prototypes have built a reputation for both quality and reliability, offering high quality prototype models to a wide range of customers, across all industry sectors, on time and on budget.

Jul 6, 2011
Comments Off on The 3D chocolate printer has arrived

The 3D chocolate printer has arrived

Researchers are University of Exeter develop 3D Chocolate Printer

Researchers are University of Exeter develop 3D Chocolate Printer

Thanks to the work of researchers at the University of Exeter, chocolate lovers are even closer to printing their own chocolate creations.

The research team lead by Dr. Liang Hao believe that what makes this technology special is that it will enable users to design and “print” their own products. In the long term it is anticipated that this technology will allow for the custom design of products in a range of different material, with chocolate initially chosen as it was readily available, low cost and non-hazardous.


3D Chocolate Printer

Source: The UK Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council

The project is currently at prototype stage, with several retailers having already expressed an interest in the 3d printing device. While future applications for this device appear promising, getting to the prototype stage has not been easy as getting a device to flawlessly print objects that taste good required the careful control of key parameters including temperature and cooling cycles. Since 2006 the team have been working on specially made temperature and heating control systems, which ensure the chocolate is maintained at the correct consistency to print.

Having developed the working prototype Dr. Hao and his team and in the process of designing an customer friendly interface for the design of chocolate objects along with a website where customers can upload their chocolate designs for 3d printing and delivery.

Hopefully this website will be up and running soon, as all this talk of chocolate is making me hungry…


Jul 1, 2011
Comments Off on 3D printing takes on Hollywood!

3D printing takes on Hollywood!

While traditionally considered the tool of product designers, 3d printers are making their mark on Hollywood blockbusters such as Coraline and Iron Man 2.

Henry Selick has set the bar high for all future stop motion animations in his 2009 film Coraline. Never before has a hands-on medium been able match the smooth facial transitions of CG animation, within the project budget and time lines.  To achieve the level of detail required by Selick, some 15,300 different faces were produced for the 21 characters along with thousands of props, the production of which would have taken roughly four years using traditional model making techniques – the use of 3d printers allowed for the completion of these parts within eighteen months.


The use of 3d printing has not however been confined to the world of animation as evident in its role in Iron Man 2.  Through the use of 3d printers it was possible to produce custom-fitted pieces that fit the wearer like a second skin, allowing greater flexibility and longer wear times. Armour for Iron Man 2 was design and built based on scans taken from the actors with the Repulsor 3-in-1 glove worn by Robert Downey Jr produced from a scan of the actors hand. The use of 3d printing technology allowed for objects such as Stark’s Iron Man suit and Whiplashes body armour to be produced within hours all at the touch of a button,  with all that remains prior to shooting a simple painting job.

Iron Man Glove produced on 3d printer

Iron Man Glove produced on 3d printer