3D Printing for CAD users
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CAD modelling today
CAD software is known as a standard tool for development and design. In the early days of its creation, these kind of programs were considered difficult to understand, which delayed the creation process of a model. However, the developments in software and hardware have transformed this in a user-friendly tool, allowing users to pre-render virtual models instantly.
Nevertheless, these advancements are still somewhat meaningless compared to a physical model. For example: The poster of that favourite car above your bed is entirely different than driving that car. This example of feedback and fulfilment given by a physical model works the same for design and development. Moreover, it can present completely new issues you might not expect, keeping you ahead of your game. In overall, the more insight a physical model provides, the easier it gets to recognize issues in the design.
“There is nothing better than the real thing”. This concept also counts for exploring different options and solutions to a problem. With the creation of new products and new structures, unknown issues might also come along seeking for solutions. In this scenario, design validation helps you with staying on the right track by testing your design and verifying if it fulfils its purpose under the predetermined circumstances. Widely used in all engineering industries, this process of design validation is considered as a valuable proof of concept. Finally, having a physical model is crucial to refine the process of design validation: it results in greater improvements per iteration, speeding up the creation process of a design or model.
Design validation with the Leapfrog Bolt
Similar to CAD software, 3D printers have considerably improved over the years. Now, it is possible to buy a 3D printer ready to use, without extensive knowledge or operational experience. Therefore, combining CAD software with 3D printers is the perfect step to achieve a quick and in-depth design validation of virtual models.
When it comes to development and progress, the best example given by the market of 3D printers is the Leapfrog Bolt. The revolutionary Independent Duel Extruder system of this machine provides clean dual material prints and an increase of production of 200%. With a hardware composed by a sturdy frame and high grade parts, the Bolt is a stable and reliable machine that can be used via wifi connection or through its large touchscreen. As result, this 3D printer becomes a useful and essential tool for an optimized workflow.
Using Leapfrog 3D Printers for design
Most issues experienced in general 3D printing could be avoided by focusing on one critical part of the machine: the print heads. With that in mind, Leapfrog 3D Printers with the use of Solidworks developed a new and one-of-a-kind print head system: An Independent Dual Extrusion, able to withstand countless hours of intensive labour, printability with over 12 different materials for 3D printing and flawless dual material capability. In other words, the Leapfrog Bolt.
The Bolt 3D printer was built by Leapfrog 3D Printers with a larger focus on the professional user. The goal was to keep the qualities of its predecessors, but also to incorporate innovative ideas and features. Together, these corner stones are what makes the Bolt the most suitable 3D printer for designers, engineers and, most of all, CAD users.
Make new design viable through iterative faster validation
The first design of the unique print heads where ready to be validated. Since the virtual model was not able to show any issues in de design, a physical model was 3D printed for further inspection. The piece displayed clearly both the strength and the weak points in the design. Moreover, it also showed us how the design would look and feel in size and weight.
The next step was to optimize the current design with the feedback provided by our first physical prototype. With the use of this tangible 3D print, the required alterations could be targeted with ease. This meant that the re-design of the print head assembly was ready to be 3D printed again.
Validating design through 3D printed parts
For the decisive validation round, all the other necessary parts where 3D printed resulting in the entire head carriage assembly. Consequently, this operational prototype could actually start printing test prints. These test prints gave the final feedback we needed for concluding alterations for the end-product.
With the end-product validated in quick succession, the final production could be started sooner than anticipated. Now, the final result is displayed in every Leapfrog Bolt 3D printer.
Develop revolutionary design at lower costs
In retrospect, prototyping for design validation is not something entirely new. However, before 3D printing, making a prototype used to be time consuming and expensive. Now, the 3D technology has allowed us to speed up with a structured and easy creating process. Moreover, small things that could be missed or neglected using only your eyes and mind are no longer a major issue while completing a design.
In a world which is moving at an increasingly faster pace, the room for errors gets smaller and the need for quick solutions grows bigger. 3D printing can help with improving design at a faster pace for lower costs, and providing much more feedback to help you with making your decisions. So, we conclude that validation should be done using your head, eyes and hands, and that this complete experience will prevent mistakes in your end-product and can create phenomenal results. Prototyping with Leapfrog Bolt 3D printer will certainly be quicker, cheaper and better compared to conventional production methods.