Encounter with Connex the 3D Printer

By Kate

Everyone has a first time for everything, and today was my first encounter with a 3D printer. Keep in mind I’m neither a designer nor engineer, so thanks for indulging me in my excitement.

I must confess that I’ve been having a hard time wrapping my mind around what is a “3D printer”. I’m coming from a Xerox perspective where ink gets jetted onto paper to print out text, images and occasional gag items like your hands.

After having seen some “printed” things, I’d argue that this is rather about producing objects, or as the professionals would say, prototyping objects. Replace ink jets with resin-spewing nozzles (200 per material I’m told), connect your CATIA or other CAD data to a machine like the Connex by Object, and then you let Connex purr away until it spits out items like:

This elegant decorative bowl:


How about a translucent head containing an anatomically correct brain?


Or a jaw fully equipped with teeth (notice those gorgeous roots):

Why not a gear thing-a-ma-bob to keep your fidgety fingers busy?

I find it particularly cool that with a lot of resin dots, each approximately .04 mm in size (think hair follicles), 3D printers like Connex can spew out complex, mechanically functioning objects. It’s almost like the dots are cells, but without the intelligence.

What a great way to quickly test your design concept. See if the object in question does indeed fit into your pocket, is easy to manipulate, etc.

I was hoping the resin used is biodegradable, but we’re not there yet. Maybe next year?

Many thanks to Object and their reseller from MG2 Systems who took the time to answer my questions and let me cart his “printed objects” around Devcon until I found the right photo spot. I did feel a little odd toting around the head/brain.

More to come from Devcon soon. Check out #DSDEVCON09 on Twitter if you’d like to see what people are tweeting, and please jump in the comments section if you feel inspired.

Best,

Kate

P.S. Here’s a snazzy video of Connex herself.

YouTube Preview Image

Fit for Use Lead Design

By Vincent

Robert Burns

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…

Robert Burns’ poetic words ring as true today as they did when he penned them in 1785.

This is especially true if you’re in the business of bringing new consumer products to market. Even with a disciplined, phase-gate project methodology in place, often you end up with a design prototype just before launch that scantly resembles the winning concept(s) blessed further upstream.

Why? Because the prototype misses the mark on any number of consumer, technical, and/or financial success criteria defined for the project in the marketing and design briefs, when your “best laid plans” were formulated. And too frequently just before launch you find yourself scrambling to make the design work, often at a significant capital cost.

So what to do?

Product developers know and accept that design changes are imminent. Consumer preferences, market dynamics, global economic conditions, supply chain capabilities, and production technologies are a few variables that could justify modifications to the design of a product as it moves through the phase-gate continuum. So eliminating design modifications in the new product development and introduction (NPDI) process is not a realistic option nor advised.

This predicament is significant, not because change is happening in the design, but because there’s no visibility to the impact of those changes on the marketability, manufacturability, and financial viability of the design until much too late in the NPDI process.

This is exacerbated by fragmented internal IT systems for managing design elements and the common practice of outsourcing design to our supply chain partners who have their own isolated systems.

But what if there was a way to see in real-time how proposed product design changes will impact the success of your new product? Specifically, from the perspective of the elements that matter to you most: the consumer, technical, and financial success criteria you defined in the project charter. Further, what if you had such visibility even if the proposed changes are coming from your supply chain partners?

A way to accomplish this is with Dassault Systemes’ Fit-For-Use Design Engine. It gives you visibility to the impact of every product design change in real-time. You define the consumer, technical, and financial success criteria for the project through the marketing and design brief (including the acceptable variance for each criteria), and the Fit-For-Use Engine measures how each design stacks up against those criteria in real-time, displaying the results in an intuitive, dashboard format.

Learning early and often through the design phase of a project – and being nimble enough to adjust prior to final design – is the way to go.

Sounds like a fruitful way to embrace change to me. What do you think?

Best,

Vincent

Design Visualization Contest

By Xavier

RCcar

Post your visuals and …

 

… win an Apple iPod Touch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create and convince, the two obsessions of creative designers.

 

 

 

Yes, creation has always been the key mission and challenge for designers. It’s a difficult exercise to work on future products, trying to anticipate and visualize future consumer trends. And it is even more difficult to sell this vision to decide whether it will be developed or not.

Recently one of my designer friends told me that he has to spend almost half of his time to convince people about his design proposals. This means that any tool that can help him to present, explain and convince decision makers about his design intent is critical to his success.

 

 

As you know designers also have a strong visual culture and way of communication. This is the reason why industrial design software like CATIA for Design offers photorealistic real-time and rendering visualization tools. To help designers communicate their Designs.

ENSCI Minivan

Strate College - Concept Autolib

Not too long ago designers used to communicate their design intent with only sketches and sometimes with physical clay prototypes. Today’s new generation designers express and communicate their ideas and creations with sketches as do painters, but also with 3D visualization as do sculptors.

 

ENSCI – Agathe Fournis

ENSCI – Agathe Fournis

With this design visualization contest we would like to give you the opportunity to share your visuals and rendering made with Dassault Systèmes CATIA software solutions. To participate, just post in the comments section of this blog article your rendering or screen-shot of realtime visualization. Feel free to add any comments or details about your visuals and the story of the product or the image.

 

 

 

 

Share your passion, blow away the DS community,

and win an Apple iPod touch.

Post your visuals until the July 12, 2009. On July 25, 2009 a Dassault Systemes jury will publish the 5 best visuals on the Design Studio community website and the top 3 winners will receive an Apple iPod Touch.



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