Annual Formlabs User Summit Kicks Off October 26e and 27e. The online event highlights power users who use Formlabs printers at many companies and organizations, including Peloton, OXO, Hasbro, Nasa, across a variety of sectors and industries, ranging from dental and consumer goods consumption to health care, and more. Whether you’re a Formlabs veteran or new to technology, you’ll likely benefit from Formlabs University, which offers live videos on how to use various Formlabs products and materials. Additionally, the 3D printer manufacturer announced its new post-processing kit, Formlabs Finishing Tools. As an experienced Formlabs user who has been using Formlabs Form 2, 3, 3+ and 3L printers for over half a decade, I was thrilled to tune in to this year’s event.
Custom action figures with 3D printing Formlabs
Following the keynote, featuring Formlabs CEO Max Lobovsky and former Formlabs employee Shane Wighton, of the popular Youtube channel Stuff Made Here, was a highlight of the User Summit: the panel “Hasbro Mass Customization is Here: Become Your Own Superhero with Hasbro”. Recently, Formlabs and Hasbro collaborated to create Hasbro’s Selfie series, in which users can scan themselves using a smartphone to get a personalized figurine with their own face, 3D printed using technology. Formlabs.
The Hasbro team emphasized that they wanted a very diverse range of skin and hair colors in order to be inclusive and representative of their customers. Personally, as someone who grew up unable to find figures and dolls that looked like me, I was impressed and happy with Hasbro’s focus on these initiatives. I was also very impressed with the quality and detail of the 3D prints. To see custom action figures 3D printed ten years ago shark tank seeing this new product, it was obvious that the quality of 3D printed action figures had come a long way.
Accelerate Design with Formlabs 3D Printers
A common theme throughout the Summit was that many Formlabs printers were used for rapid prototyping of products for consumer goods. Formlabs Partnerships + Community Lead Diana interviewed Mack Mor, Principal Engineer at OXO, and Grant Chapman, CEO of Glassboard Product Development. Chapman explained how 3D printing has been central to reducing iteration time to create prototyping tools in a wide variety of materials and shapes.
Mor explained how OXO relies on 3D printing to realize the company’s designs as soon as possible. The company uses Formlabs across different industries, either quickly iterating, comparing, and refining designs, or as a way to explore future adjustments to products once they’ve already hit the market.
Women in 3D printing
Another highlight of the event was the Women in 3D Printing panel, hosted by Verdugo and featuring Women in 3D Printing Ambassadors Kat Ermant, Lead Prototype Tech at Peloton, and Lindsey Zindroski, CEO of SNL Creative. The panel discussed the disparity of women in the additive manufacturing industry, who make up only 13% of the industry and own only 11% of companies.
When asked why it is important to have different points of view in a professional setting, Ermant explained: “We live a life with our only point of view with this set of experiences, and on the other side is everyone else, and their circle of thoughts, experiences and stories. What to tell them. If you’ve never experienced their stories, then you never know what they know. So it’s important to share a crossover, because then you can double the experiences you have.
Zindroski shared how she works hard to provide opportunities for women in her business and to create an environment where women feel empowered and important. She believes it is an accomplishment to say hers is a woman-owned business where anyone can succeed and thrive in the industry.
3D printing in extreme environments
The “3D Printing in Extreme Environments” panel included NASA Aerospace Engineer Sheri Thorn; Ross Embleton, Research and Development Manager at Heliguy; and Matthias Maehler, CEO of XSPECTER; moderated by Chris Crowley of Formlabs. When asked what considerations there are for space applications, Thorn explained that NASA engineers have to take into account effects such as the breaking of gravity to get to space, vibrations of the craft space, extreme temperatures, gamma rays, etc. She noted that NASA uses Formlabs Rigid 10K resin and then galvanizes it. After performing a compression test, the non-electroplated counterpart broke at 160 pounds, while the electroplated versions withstood up to 2,500 pounds of pressure.
For his part, Maehler must consider a wide range of outdoor environments, including rain and snow, and the vibrations that occur, which require the parts to be as stable as possible. To deal with this, Maehler uses Formlabs’ durable resin to create gears.
Embleton explained that 3D printing is imperative in the drone industry, and if you’re not using it, you’re already behind. He uses Formlabs Fuse 1 with Nylon 12.
Medical 3D printing with Formlabs
One of the highlights from the main healthcare stage was a panel titled “Planning and Considerations for Building a Medical 3D Printing Lab,” which included Amy Alexander from the Mayo Clinic, Brian Albers from St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Summer Decker of USF/Tampa General Hospital; moderated by Gaurav Manchanda of Formlabs.
Albers discussed some of the use cases for 3D printing in a hospital lab, explaining that doctors use the technology to better understand what they’re working with. He explained that adopting Formlabs’ Fuse 1 had lowered prices and created stronger parts compared to the PolyJet prints previously used by the hospital. Albers pointed out considerations that must be made when building these labs, such as keeping IPA and other chemicals in cabinets that must be fireproof, maintaining ventilation for safety, and more.
Decker mentioned the importance of funding, spending wisely, and standing up for your estate. She explained how a lab could use PolyJet prints, but printing the same models on a Formlabs printer and painting them was extremely economical. It also helped his team be much more successful in a variety of endeavors because they were able to get creative when they didn’t have the funding.
Alexander discussed the different areas of use of 3D printing at the Mayo Clinic, including patient education, surgical planning, trainee training, and virtual reality task training. Outlining the key elements of success, Alexander mentioned building and maintaining relationships with members of management and the importance of not giving up.
Formlabs Finishing Tools
Along with a number of informative panels, Formlabs has announced its new post-processing kit, Formlabs Finishing Tools. Primarily for Formlabs SLA printers, the collection comes with tools to ease and streamline the post-processing workflow, including heavy-duty cutters, hobby knife with interchangeable blade, rotary tool with bit kit , including polishing tips, silicone mat and microfiber cloth.
From my experience working in the fashion industry as a 3D printer and technical 3D designer, I think this is a great addition to the Formlabs accessory library. I use Formlabs printers to deliver realistic prototypes, many of which need to be modeled. I often had to use external equipment and sanding tools to make sure the prototypes were wearable, which meant spending more time sanding out remaining support marks and dents. Using the new kit from Formlabs would ultimately reduce the need for expensive external tools. Also, it’s nice to have all the post-processing tools in one place.
This year’s Summit was a blast. I liked that for the most part you didn’t need a background in 3D printing to follow, which is great if you’re new to Formlabs or 3D printing. It was also nice that many of the panels discussed external factors that might not be known in the additive manufacturing industry, from starting a 3D printing lab to how 3D printing is used in the education, etc As a Formlabs user for over five years, I have enjoyed learning how 3D printing was used in the aerospace industry and how Formlabs prints came to the International Space Station. I think it’s worth checking out the replays for industry insight and to find your next use case if you’re considering investing in a Formlabs printer.
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