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Huntsman join the Direct Manufacturing set

Published 10 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: rapid prototyping, direct manufacturing, hunstman digitalis

Huntsman Advanced Materials, a long time supplier of materials to the prototyping industry (it has the RenShape and Aralidite brands) is going to launch a rapid manufacturing machine which “significantly reduces production times and costs.” In a press release that says a lot, but gives away very little indeed, Huntsman claims to have “this new technology with pinpoint accuracy and speed which will make mass customisation a reality.” There’s also very little sight of the press release actually online either.

The machine is to be branded as the Araldite Digitalis and is based on a new polymeric additive fabrication system capable of manufacturing “at speed large numbers of parts simultaneously with previously unattainable accuracy.” The only details that are made available are that the system is based on entirely “new” micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS).

The release also claims that the system is “different from the light reflecting MEMS technology used in 3D printers. At the heart of Araldite Digitalis is the MLS MicroLightSwitch, a radical new exposure system operating via a computer controlled micro-mechanical shutter system which enables a large surface area of radiation curable resin to be selectively exposed in a single step. There is fast uniform exposure with high accuracy.”

While Huntsman provides very few additional details, reading between the lines, it sounds like the system is similar to that found in the Envisiontec machines, which are based on consumer level DLP micro light switching/reflecting devices. Huntsman expects Araldite Digitalis to be in commercial use later in 2009. If you want to have a look, wait for them to update the web-site or check ‘em out at Stand No J164, Hall 8.0 at EuroMold 2008.

I am puzzled about why they would choose to name a product that’s “easy to use and maintain” after a plant that’s pretty much entirely poisonous.

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Autodesk post Fluid for Jesus Phone

Published 10 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: autodesk, multi-touch, ipod touch iphone, autodesk fluid

Everyone except me has an iPhone it seems (yup, I love my blackberry to death. its own death usually) and I’ve finally got an excuse to get one, or at least an iPod Touch. Autodesk has just released its first (as far as I’m aware) foray into the world of the multi-touch device. Yes, it has been demoing all manner of large scale multitouch goodness for some times, but this is the first demo that’s available for a decent, consumer level product. If you’ve got an enabled device, look here or more details are here.

This technology has been around for some time, but this is still very very cool. Its a fluid simulate, activated and interacted with by multi-touch. What I really want is a motion and multi-touch senstive version of the Chameleon.

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Bass breaks the bad news

Published 06 November 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: autodesk, carl bass

Carl Bass, president and CEO of Autodesk has admitted they are feeling the pinch of the global financial crisis, as demand for products fell throughout October.

“The sharp downturn of the global economy is substantially impacting our business. Demand for our products fell dramatically in October in all geographies as the financial crisis worsened,” said Bass, blaming the downturn in the global economy for customers delaying projects.

Profits for the financial quarter ending in October were in the range of $604 million to $607 million, having previously been forecasted in the region of $625 million to $635 million. As a result, forecasts for the next financial quarter have been greatly decreased.

“Our third quarter net income will include the benefit of some reductions to previous cost estimates. In addition we have begun to take actions to reduce our cost structure,” added Bass, without elaborating on what these would include.

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Chair made from WEEE

Published 05 November 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: solidworks

A chair made the recycled plastics of redundant video game consoles is helping reduce the amount of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) from our nations gaming habit heading to landfills.

The design of Sprout Design, the REEE chair incorporates the plastic from 9 Playstation2 consoles, each chair preventing 2.4Kg of plastic entering our already crammed landfill sites. Using Solidworks to tweak individual components and construct the final design, the team at Sprout expect to ship 3,000 chairs (equivalent to 7.5 tonnes of recycled plastic) in the next year.

Engineer Guy Robinson, said “The final design is quite complex, though each component by itself is fairly simple. There were a lot of details to get the geometry and ergonomics right, such as how the stiffness and flex of the ribs responded to the body, and how to make the clips tamperproof yet easy to disassemble, etc. Solidworks allowed us to tweak the design of the individual components while showing how this affected the whole product to get it right. We would have abandoned this concept early on if we didn’t have that flexibility.”

The chair is the brainchild of Christopher Pett, founder of sustainable product development company Pli Design Ltd. Sprout used SolidWorks SimulationXpress to ensure the chair would be strong enough to support sitters without over-engineering the amount of plastic in the seat’s ribs, reinforcing the sustainable design theme. Both Pett and Robinson hope the Reee Chair sets a precedent for electronics manufacturers around the world.

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