Through a colleague here at Z Corp. I was made aware of an innovative company here in the Boston area called Radlab Inc., a multidisciplinary design and fabrication consulting firm. Founder Matthew Trimble describes a process for using 3D printed parts in a vacuum forming process.
Matt writes, “As Radlab has been developing a new bilateral hand rehabilitation device for Novokinetics, we've been testing new techniques in vacuum forming with 3D printed molds. For this particular application we started with a 'positive' Z Corp. 3D printed mold. The impetus for our process came from a desire to design and produce workable prototypes of potential wrist cushion variations. As a patient engages with the device, our hope is that their wrist would be comfortably elevated to the necessary height. After the molds were printed they were coated with a release. This is an important step to ensure that the styrene can be separated from the 3D print without significant deformation. We used a 1/16” white styrene for thermoforming. Once we extracted our thermoformed 'negative' we could move to the final stage of casting clear liquid urethane to create the actual pad. The process worked out well for us and we plan to continue using Z Corp. 3D prints for mold making in the future.”
There is a nicely produced video that includes the vacuum forming steps on their site: http://vimeo.com/23161777
It is always great to see 3D printing used in interesting applications. Thanks Matthew for your contribution to this blog and stay innovative!
I am responsible for leading 3D Systems content creation and capture activities and, in partnership with business and functional leaders, developing new opportunities for the company. I have held a variety of leadership positions in marketing and business development and most recently ran a $150MM division of Church & Dwight, a leading consumer goods company. Prior to receiving my M.B.A from Harvard Business School, I was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal company commander for the U.S. Army. I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.
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