It has been awhile since we have written an article and as such we have so much to talk about. It has been exciting hearing about all the new 3D printing related Kickstarters, including the introduction of new 3D printing materials, and we can’t wait for what we have to show off too. We have been working non-stop this year between printing and consulting, increasing our printing and scanning capabilities, appearing at events as well as releasing the beta to our flagship product, ABE.
Like everyone else, we here at SD3D Printing have had a busy and eventful 2014! We recently made an appearance at San DiegoStateUniversity’s Entrepreneurial Fair where we showed off two of our printers along with various printed models and material types. We weren’t sure where the time went because WOW was our booth jam packed! People were constantly flocking to the moving printer and colorful objects we had on display. We absolutely loved talking with everyone there, from teachers and engineering students to anyone else who wanted to learn more about 3D printing. We had great conversations with Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers who have senior projects coming up and are looking into 3D printing as a main tool for their project. SDSU has responded to their students’ needs by recently making a 3D printer available at their Zahn Center to all students who attend an instructional class on how to use the printer. Not only did we attend the event with our products and services, we also showed up with our awesome 3D printing pen, the 3D Doodler. We had it up and running and let anyone come up and draw whatever came to mind. Even though it is hard to draw an abstract object in such a limited time, people loved the pen and many asked where to purchase it for themselves. All in all, we had a blast at our booth and look forward to working with many of the people we had the opportunity to speak with.
While we have been continuously 3D printing for individuals and small businesses, we also have been working hard on releasing a beta of our first product, ABE. ABE stands for Adaptive Build Environment and does pretty much exactly what it sounds like, except a whole lot more! While talking with a couple of people from the SDSU event who have or currently use a 3D printer, we could all agree that 3D printing is not quite as simple and reliable as it should be. There are many obstacles that come in between the printer and that 100% perfectly flawless print. That is where SD3D Printing and ABE come in. By building an adaptive build environment, we are aiming to bridge the gap between the expensive 3D printers being run by highly paid experts and the less expensive Rep Rap style printers being run by hobbyist all around the world.
A main problem we currently see in the 3D printing industry is that it is difficult for the majority of people to make high quality and acceptable parts without putting in a ton of hours experimenting and accruing wasted filament due to failed prints. Reasons that attribute to these imperfections include unsteady build temperatures, the print bed not being completely level, external wind drafts entering the build area and various other environmental causes. This is how our Adaptive Build Environment is going to be a huge game changer. Through our research and first-hand experience with early ABE prototypes, we have found that properly controlling the build environment cuts down the amount of lost filament and time wasted on bad prints by over 80%. Furthermore, it allows you to have repeatable results regardless of where you are printing; so outdoor printing in malls, tradeshows and other events is no longer a problem. Our goal for the production ABE is to develop a smart build environment that is stable enough to optimize material settings for repeatable high quality results while being simple enough for your average hobbyist to assemble and use.
Another huge problem with 3D printing is the fumes that 3D printers release while extruding their plastic filament. Tests showed that 200 billion particles per minute are released while printing in ABS plastic and 20 billion particles per minute are released while printing with PLA. While it sounds like printing in PLA is not as bad for you as printing in ABS, they are both inducing serious long term health risks. Just think how bad it is for your while inhaling melted plastic particles in your body while printing indoors over a period of 1 year. Now think about those particles over 10 years, and then 20 years… Some researchers say this pollution could be worse than inhaling cigarette smoke and we all know the issues smoking cigarettes can cause both in the short and long term. Once again, this is where our Adaptive Build Environment comes in. We integrate a UFP Filtration system into each unit which greatly reduces the fumes released due to printing indoors. This is the single most important and exciting part of ABE since many people enjoy having 3D printers sitting on their desk at home or in the office, and many might not know the health risks involved. By developing ABE, we are solving multiple issues with one product and couldn’t be happier!
While we are just about done with our first production prototype of ABE, we are looking for partnership opportunities in this space and are readying ourselves to launch a Kickstarter campaign in the next few months. If you are interested in the Kickstarter campaign, sign up to receive emails on our website as we will be sending an email leading up to the campaign. If you are interested in a partnership opportunity, please reach out to us by sending an email to email@example.com.
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