Mar 13, 2017 | By Benedict

Using a Rize One 3D printer, Massachusetts-based company Boston Engineering has been able to speed up its prototyping process. The company used the Rize 3D printer in its office, rather than a dedicated lab, since the printer requires no post-processing equipment or chemicals.

Consumer-level 3D printers can be used just about anywhere. You might even have one set up in your bedroom or lounge. At a certain level, however, 3D printing requires its own space. In professional settings, post-processing equipment is often needed to make 3D printed objects usable, presentable, or marketable. This post-processing equipment not only takes up extra space, it can also necessitate much more stringent safety measures. In other words, you don’t want to work an eight-hour day next to a chemical bath.

Boston Engineering, founded in 1995, is a company that encountered this problem when scaling up its 3D printing operations. In order to safely operate its post-processing chemical bath without risking the heath of its employees, it had to open a dedicated additive manufacturing laboratory separate from its offices. And while the company was able to produce high-quality prints with this setup, it started to encounter difficulties. The cost of running two locations was high, while the time required to send 3D printed parts back and forth was also hampering the company’s productivity.

3D printed part with printed text, produced by the Rize One 3D printer

By now, you might already know a bit about the Rize One, a high-end 3D printer that claims to largely eliminate the need for lengthy post-processing steps. Rize, the company behind that machine, recently teamed up with Boston Engineering to see if its 3D printer could help the Massachusetts-based company tackle its production problems. According to a case study written up by Rize, Boston Engineering’s John DePiano visited Rize HQ to see the 3D printer in action, quickly realizing that the printer’s compact size and office-friendly operation could help dig his company out of a rut.

The Rize One now sits in one of Boston Engineering’s office cubicles, “right in the midst” of the company’s engineers. Using the new 3D printer, these engineers can now reel off around 10-12 prototypes per week, serving clients from a diverse range of industries—think medical device manufacturers, submarine engineers, and everything in between. “Rize One helps us get the idea across,” DePiano said. “It gives us a faster and more effective way to communicate and sell our designs to our clients. Recently, one of our clients took a Rize 3D printed part back to his office to show his team. It was far more useful than asking him to try to explain what he saw in a file.”

More 3D printed parts made by Boston Engineering with the Rize One

Boston Engineering says that the Rize One 3D printer not only cost less to buy than its previous FDM 3D printing system did, it has also provided other significant knock-on savings, such as lower materials costs, lower labor costs, and—of course—there is now little need for that separate 3D printing facility, since the entire post-processing-free printing process can be safely carried out at the office. “It’s so convenient,” DePiano added. “Whenever we need to print a part, the printer is right here. We just print it and we have it. We don’t have to wait for the lab.”

The Rize One 3D printer has reportedly provided Boston Engineering with other benefits too. These include the ability to print version numbers or client logos directly onto 3D printed isotropic thermoplastic parts, not to mention a much faster turnaround time: less than a day per part. Previously, it would take two or three days to have a 3D printed prototype ready.

Finally, a note on the nature of this story: of course, Rize may not be the most objective source for finding out how its own 3D printers are helping out businesses. And if your business doesn’t use a chemical bath for post-processing (or just happens to have lots of space), many of these benefits don’t really apply.

The Rize One prints 10-12 prototypes a week at Boston Engineering's office

Nonetheless, the Rize One is pretty unique, and its advantages, as enjoyed by Boston Engineering, are tangible. The 3D printer’s inkjet-style printing process (dubbed “Augmented Polymer Deposition” by the company) sprays out two separate materials: the printing material, called Rizium One, and another substance, Release One. An extremely thin layer of Release One is applied between the 3D printed object and its support structure, which stops the object sticking to the support structure. When printing is done, the support structure can be removed easily by hand.

This simple manual removal of supports is what eliminates the need for other post-processing steps—such as the chemical bath once used by Boston Engineering—and is why the Rize One can be such a valuable tool.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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