3D Printing

Easy and Cool: 3D Printed Things You Can Really Use

Cool Ideas to 3D Print

3D print your ideas! Colorful, sturdy, and certainly useful for personal use, at home, school or office. Great, personalized gifts for special occasions.

Consider a digital sundial. It’s innovative and really works. The shape of the sundial has been designed to only let through the right sun rays at the right time and angle, so it can display the actual time at 20 minute intervals.

How about a survival whistle? You can make your own original design. Design it rugged, easy to make, easy to carry, of neon color and as loud as 118 decibels! It’s perfect for emergency situations.

Consider a soap dish, a toothpaste tube squeezer, a coaster, a sliding bag clip, a bottle cap opener, jar handles snap-on portal book stand, shopping bag handles, piggy banks, a modular, articulated lamp, a shower head, or a car windshield ice scraper.

For handy tools and aids around the house, you’ll find these helpful when you need them: a fully assembled platform jack with adjustable height for objects you need to prop up (like a camera), a set of customizable sanding sticks of different widths and lengths, hand-screw clamps for low-intensity woodworking, customizable parametric u-hooks to hang loads as heavy as 40 kilos, plastic wrench for general use, door stoppers, and even a plastic hammer.

For your electronic devices, these items will keep your stuff in order, safe, and ready to use. Consider an earbud holder, stackable hexagonal drawers for cables, a wall outlet shelf for your phone or tablet, a passive sound amplifier with tiny speakers, a headphone stand, a modular mounting system for phones, tablets and lightweight cameras, or a micro SD card holder.

These are just a few of simple, everyday items you can 3D print and, what’s best is, you can customize them. They are only ideas but have seen print already. Many, many other ideas are out there, like toys, other kitchen gadgets, decor, and even fancy jewelry. Only your mind can limit the possibilities.

Printing Useful Ideas at 3D Composites

If you can imagine it, we might be able to print it. Choose from a wide variety of colors and materials that are capable of fitting different strength requirements and specifications. Contact 3D Composites Seattle if you’ve got an idea and let us help.

3D Printing: The Answer to Cranium Fracture?

New Emergency Technology Possible

In the event of cranium fractures, such as traumatic injuries sustained from vehicular accidents or from acts of violence, treatment and healing are going to be huge challenges. There may be instances of large missing bone volume and that to customize a fit requires a long time. Further to that, there might be improper healing which in turn may lead to revision surgeries.

While typically, metal or plastic implants are used as replacements, customization time should be reduced and the implantable bone scaffolds must have improved accuracies. Also, the scaffolding used must have the properties of enhancing tissue regeneration and growth. All these factors must come together for proper healing.

From the International & American Associations for Dental Research comes a study where 3D printed replacement scaffolds are seen to overcome the aforementioned challenges. The goal is to heal the defect or fracture site rapidly. In their laboratory, several nanobiosilica-based 3D scaffolds with adequate 3D printing properties were tested. A human periosteum cell culture model and a rat cranial defect animal model were used to illustrate the efficacy of the scaffold. The biopolymer scaffold and the printing ink were prepared, a cross-linking agent was used. The scaffold was 3D-printed directly into the bone defects, using concentrations for optimal bone density and chemical structure.

Four weeks later, scans showed nearly 55% of bone defect healing observed, which was the higher healing specimen because it had more biopolymer than the other which had lower concentrations. For controls that were empty, only 11% of the defect filled with bone after four weeks. Histologically observed, the scaffolds recruited cells into their structure to regenerate the intra-bony layers needed to initiate the healing process.

Concluding now, 3D in-situ printing of bone-regenerating scaffolds improve the delivery of biomedical devices for the proper and rapid healing of bone fractures. This method made possible the absorption of blood and growth factors into the scaffold, incorporating well into the printed structural support that stimulates healing. The method also potentially improves implantability and rapid bone healing capability. In the future, these methods can become outpatient procedures with reduced medical expenses owed to extended hospital stays.

3D Printing Anytime in Seattle

Do you have a 3D printing idea or project? For your ideas and prototype models, contact us at 3D Composites.


Designed for Excellence with Sara Abramowicz

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

3D printed parts can be built to almost any dimension but sometimes those measurements out-scale the machines. That’s where Engineer Sara Abramowicz comes in. Since starting at 3D Composites Sara has taken on the task of making sure that each part, even the extra large ones, are printed to the correct specifications with care.

“I help with managing what’s going on the machines, making sure the parts are ready to go and if they are bigger parts that need to be split up into smaller pieces, setting up those joints.”

3D Composites uses Fortus printers with build envelopes that are up to 16”x14”x16”. When 3D printed pieces are too large to fit within the given dimensions it is up to Sara to section the CAD file into segments to make sure that it is precisely divided with appropriate joints that can be bonded.

“Working with the bond joints is fun because it’s like how do I make this go together, how do I split this up so that it still works together as its intended as a full part?”

A graduate of Gonzaga University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Sara had only a little exposure to 3D printing when she started with the company. “In my junior year we were just getting in a couple of little MakerBots for the students to use, so we learned some basics from that. [When I started with 3DC] I did not know much about any of the materials at all, it was really interesting to see what we could do, like with the vacuum former so that we can print our own tooling instead of having to get it manufactured externally.”

She is right. There is a lot more to additive manufacturing than first meets the eye. Being able to design a part that not only is made from durable and production-grade materials, but is also manufactured to precise custom measurements is a feature that the 3DC staff take pride in.

Our Women of 3DC series has come to an end but we have more awesome staff and great services for you to explore. Be sure to keep up with us on facebook and twitter for the latest with the 3DC crew!

Rhonda Gustafson in customer service

Outstanding Customer Service with Rhonda Gustafson

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

There’s no business like small business when it comes to customer service. Especially when you have the experience, drive, and processes to back it up. Rhonda and her husband Kim started 3D Composites in the fall of 2013 after visiting an additive manufacturing convention that peaked their interest in the business. By December they had purchased their first printer and by 2015 had already opened a second location.

“I worked in the medical field for 30 years, CAT scanning works with sliced layers and 3D printing lays down in slice type layers too.” Rhonda’s past experience has given her a unique perspective on the aerospace additive manufacturing industry. “Being a pilot I’ve worked on our airplanes, we’ve done our own maintenance and I’ve gotten familiar with the parts.” She has taken these skills and expanded them into a company that has a proven record of quality and service.

Her favorite part of the job is customer service, “Quoting jobs, getting the parts made to their specifications and hearing back that it works…that’s really rewarding for me,” and it shows through the commitment to the company’s Quality Objectives. “We document those daily. The on-time delivery is tracked on our production schedule and the error-free product is tracked through our (paperwork)”.

Rhonda has also made sure that the attention to keeping the quality goals is also reflected in the employees of 3DC. By bringing on folks like Kim M., Mary Lee, and Sara to manage part production she is leading a team of a majority women to keep the company on track. “We mainly look at the best person for the job really and as it happens most recommended applicants have been female.” As industry standards go they seem to be in good company. “Engineering is definitely weighted heavily male, but management is actually more female…almost all of my buyers are female.”

But for now the future holds growth. Expanding the services 3DC provides in the shape of processes like vacuum thermoforming and CNC machining has been just the next step for a company that has more than doubled since its start a few years ago, and you can expect to see the same commitment to quality service throughout.

Click here to learn more about Rhonda and the quality standards for 3D Composites and check back next month to learn more about quality and service with the women of 3DC.

clear aligners

Orthodontists Are Getting Help from 3D Printing

Making Teeth Aligners More Affordable

The cost of braces and invisible aligners is not a joke. Their hefty price tags are stumbling blocks to most average Americans who would otherwise have them if they were just within reach. Even orthodontists, specialists who offer these teeth-straightening appliances, are only too willing to make them more accessible because crooked teeth is a widely prevalent condition in dentistry. Still and all, braces and invisible aligners are the preeminent treatment modality for the condition they were made.

An article appeared on TechCrunch about a game-changing trend. A startup software company, a clear-teeth-aligner player in the market, ArchForm, based in San Jose, California, is going to make their software available to orthodontists for designing, creating, and 3D-printing aligners within their own dental offices. The idea is to provide these specialists the edge over some direct-to-consumer teeth-aligner startups and cut down on the cost of Invisalign, the number one provider of clear aligners in the US. According to research, the orthodontics market saw $11 billion in revenue in 2017.

In 2013, orthodontic treatments can range from $4,685 to $6,500 for adolescents, and adult treatments can cost up to $7,135. Orthodontists currently pay about $1,700 per patient to Invisalign, and to make money, orthodontists sometimes charge patients upwards of $7,000. ArchForm charges orthodontists just $50 per patient. Todate, the company has a current customer base composed of 75% of orthodontists who have signed up and using their own 3D printers.

There have been a few startups in the last two years that were also in the business of teeth-aligners, such as SmileDirectClub and Uniform Teeth. They want to reduce the cost of clear aligners and also lessen orthodontist visits. ArchForm, though, is targeting orthodontists simply to enhance their existing businesses.

How can 3D-printed clear aligners help the specialists?

Orthodontists can do a better job of treating most patients when they can physically be there to treat them. At ArchForm, its aligner software automates scan preparation and exports print-ready models, hence, treatments can be planned easily. With a few clicks, 3D scans can be prepared. Attachments automatically appear when and where needed. Each tooth is moved at its own optimal rate of movement and the number of stages are also automatically calculated. This is so made-easy for the orthodontist with his/her own 3D printer. And for those who don’t have their own 3D printer, they can send the design to orthodontic laboratories that are equipped with 3D printers and powered by ArchForm’s software.

3D Printing in the Greater Seattle

If you have an idea or need prototyping, contact us today! Send us your ideas in a 2D drawing or 3D file and our technical staff will create a 3D model to your satisfaction.