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WIM-Sara

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!

old building

3D Printing May Save Old Architecture

Capabilities To Restore The Past

Restoration work on historical landmarks, as buildings, houses, among others, is a very tedious job, at the same time, extremely expensive. To protect historical buildings at a reasonable cost is becoming harder and traditional facade design is towards a dying art. Many modern cities have lost the architectural charm of the past; glass and steel have replaced intricate facades and ornamental classics.

However, new technology exists that can bring the craft of ornate architecture into the modern age, and at a cost that could save buildings from demolition. Digital tools are now the medium towards artistic expressions. One of them is 3D printing technology, with the capacity to restore and recreate historic urban architecture that can be lost.

EDG New York, an architecture, engineering and consulting firm, is inspired to formulate a financially viable process to help restore buildings under threat. With 3D printing, architectural sculpture can be digitized and render them into printable objects. In other words, modern technology meets traditional craft.

Even then, in spite of 3D printing technology, the main drawback in restoration was the cost. Solid 3D-printed parts remained expensive. EDG went for plastic moulds that can produce intricate copies on site, within a day. Laser scanning software allows EDG to recreate anything with ease, from colonnades and cornices to a whole building. Architects anywhere could reprint the same mould from their digital catalogue of parts. There is now the freedom to create captivating, engaging and unique facades. EDP says that even with costly projects, with their method of construction, ornamentation can be designed and incorporated into the facade without exceeding the budget.

Since 3D printing in architecture has been growing in the last decade, what other structures have been 3D printing-inspired? Well, whole 3D printed house have been built. Some were in Russia and China, and a micro-house was recently built in Amsterdam. The first 3D-printed room in 2013, the Digital Grotesque in Zurich, 11 tonnes and 11-feet tall, boasted beautiful baroque detail with millions of micro-textures. There are also plans to 3D print a one-bedroom house at this year’s Milan Design Week. Also 3D -printed were some remains of the siege of Palmyra in Syria after the ISIS destroyed much of its priceless treasures. 3D printing has indeed set a permanent foothold in the realm of architecture and even in archeology.

Printing Complex Parts Quickly and Accurately

For your ideas and prototype models, contact us at 3D Composites. At 3D Composites we are able to turn your ideas into reality through 3D printing. With our professional line of Stratasys 3D printers including the Fortus 450, and strong production-grade thermoplastics, we are able to print complex parts quickly and accurately, creating functional parts from the design phase through to production.

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.

Committing to the Date with Mary Lee Larson

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

A major part of the success of any company is organization, especially for a small business that is starting to establish itself in a competitive industry. Fortunately for 3D Composites we have Mary Lee Larson keeping the production process in-line for maximum service.

Mary Lee is the Production Manager for 3DC, meaning she has her hands on each part as it moves down the line. “I track production – as parts come off the printer I check them in and make sure that they’re documented, update purchase orders, check parts into shipping and ship everything out.” She makes it sound simple, but with additive manufacturing there are a lot of moving parts. Orders for small and large production runs means keeping tabs on each and every part over an extended period of time which can be a handful, but Mary Lee has the manufacturing experience to back it up.

“I come from a timber industry background, I was there for 28 years, 13 years as an environmental safety manager and 15 years as an inspector for all the product before it was shipped out.” Company dynamics were a little different for Mary Lee back in the timber industry, “There were only three women and forty men, but when I moved into management it became a little easier…the other two women moved up ranks as well, starting at the bottom with me and moving up to an engineer and a machine operator.”

Since starting at 3D Composites in the beginning of 2016 the workplace has changed for her. “I think it’s great [working with majority women at 3DC], you see it in the news everyday now, [women] are starting to move into the forefront.”

Part of the assurance of working with 3D Composites is the 100% on-time delivery record. Mary Lee manages the production tracking and shipping schedule, making sure that each and every part gets out the door and in the hands of the customer as scheduled.

Click here to contact us for more information about how we can help you take the next step towards printing your design, and check back next month to learn more about quality and service with the women of 3DC.

Kim Brooks-Mathieson

Precise Quality with Kim Brooks-Mathieson

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

For 3D Composites “precise quality” means taking the time to ensure that each part not only passes the quality inspections guided by industry standards, but also is something the we can be proud of.

Quality Manager Kim Brooks-Mathieson has worked in quality control for 25 years and now she is bringing her expertise to 3DC. Kim has worked at 3DC since April of 2016 writing procedures to regulate production and inspecting parts to certify that they are up to the standards of our customers’ expectations.

Since her start in the industry in 1991, Kim has seen a lot of change in her field. “In the quality department there were usually 2 women and the rest were men. I think that women have come a long way in the aerospace industry…when I go out and network I see a lot of women now, as opposed to 25 years ago when I started, I was one of the only (in the Snohomish county area) woman in quality at the time.”

When I asked Kim about working for a company that is predominantly women she said, “I love it, I think we get a lot accomplished. And I like that fact that age wise there is a mixture of us… it’s nice to see the diversity.”

She is currently working on updating the company to meet the new AS9100 Rev D certification standards for 2018. “My day is taken up with audits and writing procedures. By staying on top of up and coming stuff, keeping us on track quality wise – our documents, keeping on top of paperwork, that’s how I help to ensure our quality and service.”

“I’m proud of what we do, I’m proud of what we send out. If I can help it we’ll always aim for the best in quality parts.”

Click here to learn more about the different services offered by 3D Composites and check back next month to learn more about quality and service with the women of 3DC.