Leveraging 3D Technology in the Product Development Lifecycle

In previous blogs I introduced you to our new product, the Creaform hand-held scanners. I want to share a presentation in which we used our 3D technology to produce a part in production material.

On a Wednesday morning we had a customer provide us with the following requirements for their legacy part…

  • Customer didn't have CAD or paper drawings
  • Is it possible to scan for electronic data?
  • Add another outlet
  • Incorporate LED lights
  • 3D print for verification
  • Produce in Delrin/Acetal


Legacy part

What we decide to do was the following…

  • 3D scan the legacy part for data acquisition
  • Edit the mesh and transfer into SOLIDWORKS
  • Reverse engineer in SOLIDWORKS then send the model to our polyjet printer
  • Evaluate print/ design mold

The rest of Wednesday we worked on scanning, reverse engineering and sent our new design with the second outlet and window for the LED lights to the polyjet printer to build during the night.


Reversed engineered printed part

The customer approved the printed design. Thursday afternoon we used our new design to create and print the mold in the polyjet digital abs material (DABS) and shoot the mold late Friday afternoon.


Revision 1 Time and Material – DABS

  • 2896 grams model material    $1013.60
  • 280 grams support material    $35.00
  • Total            $1048.60
  • Build Time        26:07 hours
  • Connex 350

We used our benchtop injection molding machine to shoot delrin into our mold. We did have success however, our design took everything we had to fill the tool so we decided to make some adjustments to the part size and mold design. I have to admit we got a bit excited on Monday and re-designed the tool and were confident that the mold will work. Look closely at the picture below and you'll be able to see we placed the sprue on the cosmetic side of the part but nonetheless we were able to print our revised mold overnight and were ready to shoot Tuesday morning. Also, noticed we designed separate holes for each LED.


Revision 2 Time and Material – Verowhite

  • 2173 grams model material    $651.90
  • 66 grams support material    $8.25
  • Total            $660.15
  • Build Time        11:07 hours
  • Connex500-3

So after a few laughs we revised our tool once again in SOLIDWORKS and printed another tool. We were ready to shoot the mold once again on Wednesday (hopefully correct this time) but once again built the tool in the evening while we were at home.


Revision 3 Time and Material – Verogray

  • 2234 grams model material    $670.20
  • 69 grams support material    $8.63
  • Total            $678.83
  • Build Time        11:07 hours
  • Connex500-3

As you can see, we shot the mold Thursday, the sprue was on the correct side of the tool and our LED light locations were correct. Below you can see our finished design which met the customer requirements for design and produced in delrin which was their intended production material.



So to recap, we scanned the part and reversed engineered the part to print. Designed our initial tool, a revised tool (the whoops), and finally a third tool that was correct and produced in the production material all within a total of seven days. True, we would not get the same volume as an aluminum or steel tool but the time and cost savings provided the customer the opportunity to now use these parts for marketing, sales, UL, CE or bio testing while the production tool was machined.

Thank you

Derek Ellis, Application Engineer

Computer Aided Technology, Inc


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