GT Prototypes is always looking at new 3D printing processes and materials with an eye on how they can be integrated into everyday life. Everyone should be ability to make their ideas go from concept to product. With advancement will come lower cost and easier access to the average person.
The first introduction to 3D printing came as result of not being able to find an obsolete part for a vehicle. Since there was no way to track the part down a decision was made to redesign the part and have it 3D printed.
First a CAD program (computer aided design) had to be downloaded so the part could be designed in 3 dimensions and saved as an electronic file. Since I didn’t have a 3D printer to begin with the file was sent to an associate that did the printing.
The first part was a success and more parts and produce designs followed. Once I had scratched the surface of what could be done with this technology and the many types of material available, the ideas and experimentation began.
The best part of 3D printing is that it is constantly changing.
In House Design and Printing was the next step.
There are many CAD programs available but most free or cheap programs don’t have the tools or precision to do quality designs. Since I have used CAD programs of all sorts over the last 25 years I had a good idea of what I was looking for and why. A number of quality programs have been added to address a variety of product designs that have been requested.
Next of course is a 3D printer to bring the designs from an idea on a computer to a product you can hold in your hand. A single extruder printer was purchased and the printing began.
There are so many materials available and more on the way that a lot of time is spent testing and fine tuning the printers to produce the cleanest quality prints possible.
New equipment has been added to increase the quality and variety of material that keeps on coming.
A Dual extruder 3D printer has been added. This printer allows the use of 2 different materials, different colors or material and support to be printed at the same time.
A vapor chamber has also been added. This machine smoothes the outer surface of a printed part and gives it a gloss finish. A number of new materials are being developed for this new process and they will be test as they become available.
Other areas of interest include Custom Sheet Metal panels and Custom Micro Lighting systems controlled by Android or MAC O/S devices.
At this time 3D scanning is also being looked at.