Category Archives: Design

3D Typography “Steady As She Goes”

Typography can be described as the art and technique of making language visible.  Words are powerful enough, but digitization has opened up typography to new generations of visual designers and lay users.

3D printing of typography brings a whole new level of creativity and imagination.  For graphic designer and typographer, Luca Ionescu, inspiration comes from the need to make things better or try something new.  That’s why he approached 3D Systems Asia-Pacific to push the boundaries of technology to 3D print his “Steady As She Goes” (see below image) piece.

To produce the art piece, our Prototyping Technician recommended 3D Systems SLS technology and DuraForm ® PA plastic material for the following reasons:
- Unlimited geometric complexity
- Durability (longevity of art piece)
- SLS requires no extra finish
- SLS finish was akin to coral and bone structures of design

Our technician points out that re-work of CAD data by an expert is an essential part of any complex geometry piece to optimize the CAD for SLS build.  Dimensions: 339mm X 492mm

Luca runs Like Minded Studio where he has attracted the attention of Australia’s most creative agencies and high-profile clients from Coke to MTV.  Luca predicts that typography pieces will be made from a variety of both physical and digital methods, including rapid prototyping.

“The possibilities of using 3D printing break the conventions of typography wide open to a new realm of expression through sculptural typographic pieces.  I think as creative’s in design, art and advertising start using different technology to communicate to the audience, type will become more dynamic and interactive,” Luca explained.

Testimonial SLS model

click here for more images of the art piece.

Printing a Bike using SLS Technology

EADS, the European aerospace and defense group, has unveiled the world’s first bike “grown” from powder, allowing complete sections to be built as one piece.

Known as the “Airbike,” it is made of nylon but strong enough to replace steel and requires no conventional maintenance or assembly. It can be tailoured made by modifiying the 3D CAD file and manufactured in days.

6 Design For Manufacture Rules

Attention to the following main design-for-manufacture rules, will aid to reduce cost and time:


1.  Wall thickness:  The most important design requirement for getting good moulded parts is maintaining constant wall thickness.  A consistant wall thickness minimises the potential for warped or distorted parts.  Wall thickness needs to also be considered when creating screw bosses.  Thick sections can cause sink and voids in your part.


2.  Core Parts:  Core out parts, eliminates thick walls.  If wall sections are thick it can throw off part dimensions, reduce strength and require post machining, adding to higher costs.


3.  Sink Marks – Ribs/Bosses:  To prevent sink marks in the part, ribs or bosses should be no more than 60% of the wall’s thickness.


4.  Warping:  Eliminate details that may cause moulded stress, such as sharp transitions, or areas that dont support themselves.  Adding ribs or curved angles will prevent this.


5.  Texture:  CAD must be adjusted to accommodate for surface variance.  If texture is on a surface that is angled away from the mould opening then no draft changes are necessary.  If the texture is parallel, then increased draft is required.  Rule of thumb, 1.5 degrees of draft for each 0.03mm of texture.


6.  Drafting:  Creating sloped walls and curved angles makes it easier to eject parts without causing cosmetic defects.  Use 1 degree of draft or more.  A rough rule of thumb is 1 degree of draft for each of the first 50mm of depth.  And approx. 3 degrees of draft for 50mm to 100mm of depth.

Fashionable prosthesis manufactured in SLS technology

Scott Summit and Chris Campbell of Bespoke Innovations create prosthesis that allow for individual expression, while delivering essential functionality for the wearer. 

Current mass-produced prosthesis are harsh in context to the human form, Summit says “I saw an opportunity to use design and technology tools to not only return symmetry and individuality to the body of an amputee, but also to offer design, personality and uniqueness”.  Due to the individualised nature of using additive manufacture (3d printing) technology, the fairings that are created alter a person’s life from the moment  they begin wearing them in ways that a mass-produced item cannot.

The parts are 3D printed using selective laser sintering, which fabricates in Polyamide 6 and 12 (Nylon).  “We prefer this material, since it’s strong, accurate, lightweight and even dishwasher safe.  And it’s about the greenest way to create a product, since there is little energy used in fabrication, and generates almost no waste.”

CyberQuad manufactured using Additive Manufacturing technology



“The company credits 3D Systems as a major contributor to their productivity and product-to-market speed.”

The CyberQuad is an Australian designed unmanned, electric vertical take-off and landing system (Quadrotor).  It is also a great example of the power of 3D printing, for the production of end-use-parts and assemblies made directly from 3D CAD data – without tooling. 

 A true direct manufacturing application, the CyberQuad, is produced in 3D Systems next generation SLS Production 3D Printers.  Using a unique material called DuraForm, parts are capable of withstanding harsh conditions and used for direct low-volume manufacturing, providing the flexibility to modify, optimise and evolve designs on-the-fly. 

CyberQuad credits 3D Systems as a major contributor to their productivity and product-to-market speed. Prior to using SLS additive manufacture technology, the company relied on traditional fibre type materials for produc­tion, which was time consuming and costly.

The 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry has been gathering pace for a number of years.  3D Systems has developed a range of 3D printing systems to support broad consumer adoption, by being affordable and easy to use.  For OEM’s who can’t justify bringing the technology in-house, 3D Systems has acquired service bureaus, such as Formero, to support this industry and allow designers and engineers, like CyberQuad, to have the freedom to create and design for function.    

This is vital step for the aerospace industry.  Some of the best ideas in history have involved designs that push the boundaries of manufacture.  The Airbus A380, for example, contains hydraulic valve housing in the wings which are a nightmare to produce, requiring complex machining.  With 3D printing the part was designed on achieving the best strength and performance, and not restricted to design-for-manufacture principles. 

For the CyberQuad, this was a perfect match to create a low noise, agile quadrotor, with a safe, compact and efficient design containing only a camera, batteries and four moving parts that is easily transport­able and rapidly deployable.  With such a compact footprint, low BVI noise and no exposed rotors, CyberQuad is ideal for stealth applications and can safely operate near people and throughout urban environments.

A sneak peak inside the design hot-house of Apple.

THE design studio where Jony Ive reigns, on the ground floor of Two Infinite Loop on the Apple campus, is shielded by tinted windows and a heavy locked door. Just inside is a glass-booth reception desk where two assistants guard access. Even high-level Apple employees are not allowed in without special permission.  Click here to find out what’s behind the doors and why a model is worth more than an image.

Read full article from The AGE 25th October 2011