Developing the best products and beating the competition to market requires fast and frequent iteration. For many customers, there is no such thing as “too fast.” 3D printing and additive manufacturing technology have reduced the traditional time to develop prototypes from weeks to days, but there are times when even that improvement is too slow.
The engineers at Boston Engineering, located in Waltham Massachusetts, have the benefit of an additive manufacturing lab, including post-processing equipment that removes 3D printed support material. Even though it typically takes two to three days to receive the prototype from the lab, for the engineers, that time delay can still be too long. John DePiano, Director of Product Development at Boston Engineering, kept looking for a way to speed prototyping.
After a visit to the Rize headquarters to see a demo of the Rize One zero-postprocessing industrial 3D printer, John knew he had found a solution that would complement Boston Engineering’s 3D printing capabilities.
Given its zero-post-processing capability, safe and environmentally friendly process and portable size, John placed Rize One in an office cubicle, right in the midst of the engineers who need to print parts, rather than in the additive manufacturing lab.
The engineers now get their parts the same day. That’s because Rize parts are usable almost immediately after printing. There is no waiting for supports to dissolve in a chemical bath and no bottlenecks. Engineers can easily remove the Rize part supports in seconds with their bare hands right at their desks. This capability enables them to build and evaluate parts the same day and iterate faster.
“It’s so convenient,” adds John, “Whenever we need to print a part, the printer is right here. We just print it and we have it. We don’t have to wait for the lab.”
With the Rize One, the engineers produce 10-12 prototypes per week, mainly components of larger systems for clients to help explain their designs. Many prototypes are for medical testing equipment, but they could be for anything, including functional parts for submersible vehicles because of Rize’s low water absorption uptake of <.01%. Rize One even enables Boston Engineering’s team to 3D print version numbers or client logos directly onto their isotropic thermoplastic parts.
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a 3D printed part is worth a million pictures. “Rize One helps us get the idea across,” said John. “It gives us a faster and more effective way to communicate and sell our designs to our clients. Recently, one of our clients took a Rize 3D printed part back to his office to show his team. It was far more useful than asking him to try to explain what he saw in a file.”
Boston Engineering is also realizing a significant cost savings with Rize. The purchase price of the Rize 3D printer is a fraction of the cost of a typical additive machine. Plus, the Rize material costs are less than half of typical additive material costs, and there are no labor, facilities, disposal and material costs associated with post-processing.
Rize One is quickly gaining popularity at Boston Engineering. John looks to add another Rize 3D printer upstairs to serve his second-floor engineers as the team expands.
John anticipates moving an increasing number of functional parts, fixtures and one-offs to the Rize One 3D printer, given the isotropic strength of its material, Rizium One. The Rize material is robust enough to actually fold a part from a flat into a unique shape. He also envisions taking advantage of Rize’s upcoming full CMYK color capability for enhanced detail design studies and even 3D printing finite element analyses (FEA) to easily describe and depict what needs to be enhanced to his clients.