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How the Alien Suit in Colony Was 3D Printed on a MakerBot Replicator Z18

How the Alien Suit in Colony Was 3D Printed on a MakerBot Replicator Z18

 

Colony-Blog-1

We’re all under the rule of extra-terrestrial invaders in USA Networks’ new sci-fi drama,Colony. Mysteriously unseen, they’ve surrounded cities across the globe with giant walls and employ a military regime of humans to brutally govern mankind. As the plot unfolds in Los Angeles within the near future, you’re left wondering who or what is behind it.

For the finale of the first season, we moved one step closer to finding out. What we saw seemed almost too real: a chiseled, tech-smart exoskeleton, a helmet fit for an oblong head, a menacing pitch-black visor, and underneath, the alien itself.

What you didn’t see —or would ever suspect— is that most of the exoskeleton was 3D printed on a MakerBot Replicator Z18 at Legacy Effects Studios.

Behind the Special Effects

Known for work on blockbusters like The Revenant, Iron Man 2, and Avatar, Legacy Effects is a live-action, practical special effects company capable of making the unbelievable believable. Through a unique combination of artistry and leading technologies, Legacy Effects create everything from animatronics to puppets to futuristic suits to robots to costumes and more.

The producers from Colony came to Legacy Effects about doing an exoskeleton in July of 2015 on a tight budget. For suits, 3D printing can remove the costly, time-consuming steps of casting and molding done in the past. Creating 3D models on a computer also ensures a design is precisely symmetrical and will move properly.

Even though the company has industrial 3D printers, printing the suit with these would cost tens of thousands of dollars in materials. That’s where the company’s Lead System Engineer, MakerBot power-user, and 3D-printing whiz, Jason Lopes could help.

He needed a reliable solution with a large build volume, sturdy affordable filament, and remote monitoring. Since the Z18 prints with PLA, it costs much less and is sturdy. If it wasn’t sturdy, the suit could break in transport or on the set, which could cost more time and money during a shoot.

Once Lopes chose the Z18, he printed all the pieces of the exoskeleton in less than two weeks. He sums it up with, “I didn’t have one failed build on that entire suit and the end result was exactly what we needed”. In fact, a few of the pieces took more than sixty hours to print.

For Lopes, remote monitoring with the MakerBot Mobile app is actually very important. There are so many 3D printing projects at Legacy that it’s cost-effective to keep all 3D printers going. So, if he’s away and the Makerbot Z18 finishes, he needs to know. Once it’s done, he can have a colleague clear the build plate for the next print.

After the Makerbot Z18, the talented crew of artists at Legacy Effects then painted, polished, and touched-up the suit. They also installed electronics, added in the visor, and attached any fabric.

Colony-Blog-secondary

Continuing a Legacy

Lopes and Legacy Effects do plenty with their two MakerBot Z18 printers and one Replicator 2. Lopes introduces new designers to 3D printing with Makerbot Z18, since they’re designed for accessibility.

The company also gives clients like directors or producers inexpensive 3D-printed maquettes. These mini-models give clients a feel for how the full-scale end-product of a creature or suit will look in light from different angles for filming. Additionally, they can speed-up the client approval process as an idea goes from 3D design to maquette to production-ready piece.

With savvy technologists like Lopes and an arsenal of artists, Legacy Effects are constantly pushing past what’s possible. On the topic of 3D printing, co-founder Alan Scott sees this process going full-circle: “We’re on the cutting edge of what’s happening. You get to showcase the technology to people and it inspires them to used it in ways we wouldn’t have thought of.”

3D Printed Mass Customization for Daihatsu’s Copen Cars

Customers Will be Able to Customize Their Daihatsu Copen Convertibles with Stratasys 3D Printed Effect Skins

Daihatsu Motor Company, known for manufacturing compact, lightweight cars, will offer customers customized design elements for car exteriors. Stratasys FDM 3D printing technology was used to “build” these three-dimensional patterns, called Effect Skins, for the front and rear bumpers of Daihatsu’s Copen 2-door convertible. “Using Stratasys 3D Printing technology to customize and supply parts to customers and to allow self-expression within a single car is, I believe, a first,” said Osamu Fujishita, General Manager, Corporate Planning Department, Brand DNA Office, Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.

Daihatsu Copen owners will be able to choose from 10 Stratasys ASA 3D printing material colors and 15 base patterns to create their own signature designs
Daihatsu Copen owners will be able to choose from 10 Stratasys ASA 3D printing material colors and 15 base patterns to create their own signature designs

The auto experts at Daihatsu collaborated with designer Kota Nezu and 3D modeling artist Sun Junjie. Nezu’s firm, Znug Design, manages planning and design for industrial products, such as cars and motorcycles. Junjie has had extensive experience in fashion, as well as a deep understanding of what Stratasys 3D printing solutions have to offer, but had never worked with the automotive industry. The pair developed more than a dozen base patterns of Effect Skins in 10 different colors; customers can tweak the geometric patterns for truly unique signature designs for their car’s exterior.

Click here to keep up to date with the latest 3D printing breakthroughs for the automotive industry.

Examining an Effect Skins 3D Printed on the Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer
Examining an Effect Skins 3D Printed on the Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer

Nezu and Junjie explained that there were many benefits of working with Stratasys beyond the technology itself. Stratasys application engineers made suggestions throughout the development process and provided expertise on both the technology and material capabilities. “It’s much more than Stratasys producing something that we requested. We think of ideas together to make things work better to reach the final goal,” Nezu said. “We can form that sort of a team with them. That’s one of the biggest benefits.”

Designer Kota Nezu (on right) and 3D modeling artist Sun Junjie
Designer Kota Nezu (on right) and 3D modeling artist Sun Junjie

Bringing customers into the design process is a great draw for Nezu. “What really interests me is making cars even better, more enjoyable products for their customers,” he said. “That’s where I sense a lot of possibility—cars could become more open-source products where the customer or a third party can come in and help make the automobile industry more customizable.”

Watch the Daihatsu video case study

Daihatsu 3D printed the Effect Skins in ASA thermoplastic, which is durable and enables thin, sturdy walls. The ability to quickly 3D print and test design concepts and iterations allowed Junjie to experiment with many different designs and try and test numerous styles quickly.

Mass production of parts, a traditional manufacturing method of reducing costs, takes advantage of economies of scale. But Stratasys’ participation in the Effect Skins project means that certain parts can be personalized on-demand while remaining cost-effective. “We believe on-demand production with 3D printing offers definite benefits to supply chain efficiencies and allows easy access for customers,” Fujishita said. “So we see it as essential in growing the market for these products and that’s how we are moving forward.”

source : blog.stratasys.com

3D scanning in cosmetics

3D scanning in cosmetics

Assessment and planning for beauty and cosmetic treatments have traditionally involved extensive manual processes; often requiring the full involvement of specialist staff like dermatologists and beauticians. Increasingly, technology is being used to support the beauty industry, and 3D imaging is one area of technology that has huge potential to transform the sector.

Fuel3D technology

Fuel3D develops cost-effective 3D scanning technologies that rapidly capture high-resolution, color 3D models of the human form. The company’s market-leading handheld 3D scanner, SCANIFY, is well-suited to applications relating to the beauty industry, including:
  • In-store facial skin assessment: Capture incredibly accurate, color facial models to enable in-depth analysis (texture, spot control, firmness, and wrinkle control) for customized skincare.

In addition, Fuel3D can develop custom 3D scanning solutions for specific or more complex scenarios, such as:

  • Digital preview: Allow customers to see virtual makeup and eyebrow details overlaid on their face scan.
  • Foundation color matching: Use the scanner’s accurate color capture to match foundations.
  • Permanent eyebrow stencil: Capture facial data to plan and then create custom stencil masks for each customer.

Benefits

  • Improved cosmetic recommendations: Accurate 3D scanning captures intricate details related to skin tone and facial structure, which help enhance recommendations on cosmetic use.
  • Customer satisfaction: By using previous scans to conduct improvement analysis, customers can see evidence of their cosmetic improvements, giving them confidence that treatments are working.
  • Save time: Creation of bespoke eyebrow stencils can save the customer time each time they do their eyebrows.
3D Scanning

A 3D render of a face as seen in Fuel3D Studio software.

3D Scanning

A close-up of a face 3D wireframe clearly shows the level of detail in the model.

MET Fashion Features 3D Printed Dresses by Noa Raviv & Stratasys

Stratasys 3D printed fashion piece, designed by Noa Raviv, produced on Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex Multi- material 3D Printer. Photo credit: Ron Kedmi
Stratasys 3D printed fashion piece, designed by Noa Raviv, produced on Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex Multi- material 3D Printer. Photo credit: Ron Kedmi

 

MET Fashion Features 3D Printed Dresses by Noa Raviv & Stratasys

The highly anticipated “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) kicked off this week with a star-studded gala, featuring fashion crossed with tech of all kinds. “Manus x Machina” is an exploration of the intersection of hand-crafted fashion pieces with machine-made ones. Among the designers featured in the exhibition, which runs through August 14, is Noa Raviv, who created dresses for her “Hard Copy” collection with elements 3D printed by Stratasys.

Opening Doors, Feathering Ruffles

Raviv’s “Hard Copy” collection debuted in 2014. The dresses selected to be a part of “Manus x Machina” feature a series of eye-popping, three-dimensional, 3D printed pieces that serve as ruffles and other decorative elements. The 3D printed parts were hand-sewn onto dresses that were 2D laser cut.

Created on an Objet500 Connex3 Color, Multi-material 3D Printer from Stratasys, the 3D printed pieces have unusual geometries and a trompe l’oeil feel, displayed in black and white and gradient shades.

“The technological capabilities of 3D printing open new doors to areas of design previously not possible with hand-crafted fashion,” Raviv said. “Through my collection, I’ve been able to explore the tension between the real and the virtual, between 2D and 3D, and this inspired me to create imperfect digital images and distorted grid patterns that are impossible to produce using conventional methods.”

Naomi Kaempfer, Creative Director, Art Fashion Design, Stratasys, added: “We are very excited to be part of ‘Manus x Machina’ through our collaboration with Noa Raviv. The exhibition explores the contrast between hand-crafted and machine-made design, and her work is a prime example of how aspiring designers turn some of the most challenging design concepts into reality.”

source : blog.stratasys.com

J750 3D PRINTER TAKES ARTISTIC VISIONS FROM SCREEN TO SCULPTURE

WOLFKIAM by Nick Ervnick is inspired by Mayan and Incan design. The intricacies in color and geometry in the sculpture were made possible by the new Stratasys J750 3D Printer. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef
WOLFKIAM by Nick Ervnick is inspired by Mayan and Incan design. The intricacies in color and geometry in the sculpture were made possible by the new Stratasys J750 3D Printer. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

 

 

J750 3D PRINTER TAKES ARTISTIC VISIONS FROM SCREEN TO SCULPTURE

Art and design works have benefited from 3D printing’s liberating capabilities for many years. From the creative endeavors of artists with 3D printers, we have seen unique geometries, seemingly “impossible” shapes and unprecedented combinations of color and materials. Continuing our exploration of the abilities of the recently announced Stratasys J750 full-color, multi-material 3D Printer, we are showcasing two groundbreaking artists.

“Polyomino” is the final stage of a two-year professional collaboration between Stratasys and Jose Sanchez, an architect, programmer and video game designer. This shape-shifting 3D printed structure can be reconfigured using magnets and recalls the building ethos of classic video games like Tetris. With more than 360,000 colors available for use on the Stratasys J750 3D Printer, Sanchez was able to allow the color to be the lead element of the piece.

“The artwork uses color as a guideline to construction,” Sanchez said. “Consisting of only two different geometries, we explored the use of color as a form of differentiating the connecting pieces. With the limitless colors available on the J750, we were able to explore the way in which different colors affect perception of the piece, mimicking areas of lightness and shade and facilitating an almost infinite number of unique mixes and blends. These options connect 3D printing with gaming strategies, allowing users to explore and interact with an artwork in an entirely new way.”

 

Get your eBook on the J750 – “Design with Brilliance – Game-changing versatility and realism with the world’s only full-color, multi-material 3D printer.”

 

WOLFKIAM by Nick Ervnick is inspired by Mayan and Incan design. The intricacies in color and geometry in the sculpture were made possible by the new Stratasys J750 3D Printer. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef
WOLFKIAM by Nick Ervnick is inspired by Mayan and Incan design. The intricacies in color and geometry in the sculpture were made possible by the new Stratasys J750 3D Printer. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

Nick Ervnick has been engaged with 3D printing for many years, using the technology to shape his intricate sculptural pieces. His newest collaboration with Stratasys will be part of a larger collection of art and design pieces, which will be launched later this year and will include work from Neri Oxman, Daniel Widrig, Dov Ganchrow, Luc Merx and Zaha Hadid Architects. The new Stratasys collection, called “The New Ancient,” will explore the shared interactions between ancient cultural crafts and modern technologies. Ervnick’s contribution is a sculpture, “Wolfkiam,” that draws on the design aesthetic from the Americas’ Mayan and Incan traditions.

“The nature of 3D printing has allowed me to redefine traditional design methods, facilitating the creation of complex, futuristic forms in which the empty space is equally as meaningful as the vibrant patterns and fluid shapes.” Running his ideas through the Stratasys J750 3D Printer, Ervnick said, he was able to “design a piece that combines an organic, biomorphic shape with a very technical play of lines and colors, and bring this to life from screen to sculpture with unmatched precision and quality – all at the click of a button.”

What was new for Ervnick, who has worked with Stratasys’ PolyJet technology in the past? “The vibrant colors and intricate details of the piece, such as the central lines representing the figure’s veins, were integral to the sculpture, both in creating a sense of movement and fluidity and in reflecting the traditional cultural styles that inspired the work,” he said. “It would have been impossible to manually transfer this texture onto the sculpture in any other way – it is only with the new Stratasys J750 3D Printer that this first-of-its kind artwork has been made possible.”

POLYOMINO, by Jose Sanchez, draws on classic game design spiced up with the full color capabilities of the Stratasys J750 3D Printer.
POLYOMINO, by Jose Sanchez, draws on classic game design spiced up with the full color capabilities of the Stratasys J750 3D Printer.

One production detail that both “Polyomino” and “Wolfkian” share is ultra-smooth surfaces; the Stratasys J750 3D Printer is capable of producing layer thickness as fine as 0.014 mm – around half the width of a human skin cell. According to Naomi Kaempfer, Creative Director, Art Fashion Design, Stratasys, Sanchez’s and Ervnick’s new works mark a milestone for digital art and design. “Wolfkiam” in particular heralds the upcoming Stratasys collection: “The New Ancient is a tribute to ancient wisdoms and lost crafts,” Kaempfer said. “The collection focuses on revisiting timeless design concepts from different cultures and antique eras and exploring the way in which these are interpreted with our modern tools, technologies and contemporary visions. Merging these historical design elements with our new breakthrough 3D printing technology is the perfect way to celebrate this transformation of art, design and manufacture.”

Find out how the J750’s one stop realism and multi-purpose versatility can impact your business.

How MakerBot is Helping Scrub Daddy Accelerate Innovation

How MakerBot is Helping Scrub Daddy Accelerate Innovation

Accelerate Innovation

What do the following have in common?

• The most successful product on the reality TV show Shark Tank.
• One of the highest grossing campaigns on Kickstarter.
• The most innovative electric car company in the past decade.
• One of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
• A computer company with a valuation larger than the GDP of most countries.

You probably guessed it. They’re all winning with MakerBot.

From the Coolest Cooler to Pfizer to Apple, entrepreneurs and companies across industries are accelerating innovation for less with MakerBot. This past January, we got an update on the most successful product to so far appear on Shark Tank: the Scrub Daddy. To kick off the second season of Beyond the Tank, a follow-up, where-are-they-now show, we learned that the famous smiley-faced sponge has done more than $75 million in retail sales. That’s within a period of just four years. We also learned that Scrub Daddy Inc. is 3D printing with a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer (5th Gen).

Even with those sales numbers, founder and CEO Aaron Krause has plans to make his brand a household name. And that means competing with major brands like Brillo, 3M, and Lysol. He’s got the backing of celebrity inventor, Lori Greiner, and has already formed partnerships with major retailers like, Walmart, Home Depot, and QVC. To efficiently expand, Scrub Daddy is cutting costs and saving time developing products by rapidly prototyping on a reliable, easy-to-use MakerBot.

According to Krause, “We have been able to test concepts in hours and each new print gives us a better experience so that we save even more time on the next go around. If you are an inventor and have endless ideas, you are stuck in the mud without one of these incredible ‘dream to life’ machines!”

source : www.makerbot.com/blog

Stratasys 3D Printed Surgical Models Prepare Radiologists for Future of Patient Care

Over 600 medical professionals participated in a hands-on workshop to learn how to prepare patient imaging for 3D printing using Materialise software and Stratasys 3D printers.
Over 600 medical professionals participated in a hands-on workshop to learn how to prepare patient imaging for 3D printing using Materialise software and Stratasys 3D printers.

Stratasys 3D Printed Surgical Models Prepare Radiologists for Future of Patient Care

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting is widely recognized as the country’s largest medical imaging and technology conference. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the 2015 conference highlighted cutting-edge tools and technologies to aid the radiologist, including Stratasys 3D printing.

A medical application that continued to gain significant momentum at this year’s conference is the use of patient-specific scanning to create 3D printed medical models. Stratasys supported four sold-out workshops lead by Dr. Frank Rybicki of the Ottawa Hospital. The sessions provided hands-on training to over 600 medical professionals from around the world. Participants were trained on how to take patient specific MR and CT imaging, isolate the anatomy of interest, and prepare the files for production on Stratasys 3D printers.

“This is giving doctors powerful tools to take anatomical scans and turn them into 3D prints on Stratasys 3D Printers, so they can plan for success,” said Scott Rader, General Manager, Medical Solutions, Stratasys.

Stratasys Applications Engineer, David Dahl, fields questions about the Objet260 Connex3 3D Printer at the Vital Images booth.
Stratasys Applications Engineer, David Dahl, fields questions about the Objet260 Connex3 3D Printer at the Vital Images booth.

3D printed surgical models have revolutionized the way surgeons prepare for complex surgeries. Using Stratasys’ PolyJet multi-material, multi-color 3D printing technology, surgeons can hold a precise 3D printed replica from a patient scan to understand risks, examine unobstructed views of blood vessels, tumors, or tissues, and optimize surgical procedures to improve operating efficiency and patient outcomes.

The adoption of 3D printing applications across hospitals and institutions has led to collaboration with Stratasys and Vital Images to streamline hospital workflows. RSNA attendees witnessed first-hand how Vital Images’ software can be used to transform 3D images to STL files that can be 3D printed directly on Stratasys 3D Printers.

Dr. Frank Rybicki of the Ottawa Hospital addresses crowd at the '3D Printing? Ask the Experts' Cocktail Reception co-hosted by Stratasys and Materialise.
Dr. Frank Rybicki of the Ottawa Hospital addresses crowd at the ‘3D Printing? Ask the Experts’ Cocktail Reception co-hosted by Stratasys and Materialise.

Additionally, a range of 3D printed medical models derived from Vital Images’ software were presented at both the Vital Images and Stratasys booths and featured models to visualize liver cancer, heart valve calcification, and brain aneurysms.

At the 3D Printing Education Exhibit, attendees had the opportunity to watch a live printing demonstration of a live donor liver transplant model on the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer.

Guests were also welcome to network with the Stratasys Medical Solutions team and members of the medical community. Dr. Frank Rybicki of the Ottawa Hospital, Dr. Jonathan Morris of The Mayo Clinic and Dr. Justin Ryan of Phoenix Children’s Hospital addressed the current and growing trends of 3D printing medical applications.

source : blog.stratasys.com

3D scanning in forensics

3D scanning in forensics

Forensic tools and technologies including 2D photography, adhesive lifters, tape measures, and plaster-casting have been in use for decades. The arrival of new 3D scanning technology brings a new dimension to many of the tasks traditionally handled by these methods.

Currently laser scanning is commonly used for the large-scale collection of crime scene data, but the use of 3D scanning in more detailed areas of forensics represents an exciting opportunity for forensics professionals.

Fuel3D technology

Our technology rapidly captures high-resolution, color 3D data of objects and organic subjects. It is well-suited to a range of forensic applications:

Capture and store tyre prints and footprints in seconds

  • Document crime scene marks and damage to infrastructure
  • Scan faces or body parts for identification purposes
  • Capture and analyse data and reduce investigation time
  • Produce visually accurate replicas of evidence, without damaging the original

Our technology offers forensic teams a powerful option for crime scene data collection. It gives them the instant ability to collect permanent 3D images of crime scene details. For example, capturing an accurate footprint impression in sand can be completed in a matter of seconds, with the file stored securely on an officer’s laptop or tablet.

Benefits

  • Save time: Scan an impression and send the electronic 3D file to your lab in a matter of minutes.
  • Easy to use: Our point-and-shoot technology requires little to no training to use.
3D scanning in forensics

A side-by-side comparison of a shoe and the resulting 3D model that was generated from its impression.

forensicswireframe

A 3D wireframe of an impression left by a shoe in compound.

How Stratasys 3D Printing Completely Turned Around Stereo Speaker Acoustics

In the 3D printed Aleph1 speaker design, sound travels in a perpetual self-feeding loop, preventing it from interfering with the signal outputting to the front, for extraordinary acoustics
In the 3D printed Aleph1 speaker design, sound travels in a perpetual self-feeding loop, preventing it from interfering with the signal outputting to the front, for extraordinary acoustics

How Stratasys 3D Printing Completely Turned Around Stereo Speaker Acoustics

You can’t solve an 80-year-old problem with 80-year-old technology. Take stereo speakers, for example.  Conventionally designed and manufactured speakers almost universally suffer from some level of “back wave” distortion; this occurs when the audio signals fired to the back of the speaker bounce off the cabinet walls and interfere with the signals sent to the front of the speaker.

To solve the problem without using acoustic absorption, industrial designer Boaz Dekel, a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Designcame up with a truly unique solution:  Eliminate the speaker’s back wall. Dekel conceived of a circular speaker in which sound travels “in a perpetual self-feeding loop that prevents it from interfering with the signal outputting to the front,” as he explained to the Stratasys Blog.

Sounds like a great idea? Yes. But it also sounds impossible to manufacture using conventional tooling methods.  So Dekel turned to Stratasys 3D printing to prototype his design.

The Aleph1 speaker being 3D printed in one piece on the Objet500 Connex3 color, multi-material 3D printer
The Aleph1 speaker being 3D printed in one piece on the Objet500 Connex3 color, multi-material 3D printer

Using the Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer employingPolyJet multi-material capabilities, Dekel began turning his vision for the Aleph1 speaker into reality. After testing various Stratasys digital materials, he found the perfect combination of rigid and flexible material properties to achieve the right balance of design, aesthetics and acoustic properties.

“With 3D printing I was able to quickly study the acoustic response of the geometry and different material configurations and determine which was most applicable to speaker cabinets. Other manufacturing or modeling techniques would not allow such freedom, much less in the required time frame,” Dekel said.

The Aleph1’s unique self-feeding geometry preserves the acoustic energy of the back wave and allows this energy to participate in the process of sound reproduction, resulting in a clean, open and natural sound with high detail and great separation.

The functional prototype of the Aleph1 speaker was produced using Stratasys’ PolyJet multi-material 3D printing (no assembly required) and demonstrated at the Stratasys booth at Formnext 2015
The functional prototype of the Aleph1 speaker was produced using Stratasys’ PolyJet multi-material 3D printing (no assembly required) and demonstrated at the Stratasys booth at Formnext 2015

Dekel told the Stratasys Blog:  “The model is 3D printed in a single piece to allow complex internal geometries while maintaining structural integrity. Having a physical model was instrumental to studying the theoretic principles behind the product and assessing its feasibility.”

With this never-before-seen (or heard) design, Dekel hopes that this opportunity to combine his passions for audio and design will have commercial possibilities. Stratasys was proud to play a part in smoothing the way for this fresh take on a consumer product. Keep your ears open for more news!

The intellectual property regarding the Aleph1 concept is managed by SNE, contact avi@sne-ip.co.il for inquiries.

source : blog.stratasys.com

Stratasys 3D Printing Turned Around Speaker Acoustics

How Stratasys 3D Printing Completely Turned Around Stereo Speaker Acoustics

You can’t solve an 80-year-old problem with 80-year-old technology. Take stereo speakers, for example.  Conventionally designed and manufactured speakers almost universally suffer from some level of “back wave” distortion; this occurs when the audio signals fired to the back of the speaker bounce off the cabinet walls and interfere with the signals sent to the front of the speaker.

To solve the problem without using acoustic absorption, industrial designer Boaz Dekel, a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design came up with a truly unique solution:  Eliminate the speaker’s back wall. Dekel conceived of a circular speaker in which sound travels “in a perpetual self-feeding loop that prevents it from interfering with the signal outputting to the front,” as he explained to the Stratasys Blog.

Sounds like a great idea? Yes. But it also sounds impossible to manufacture using conventional tooling methods.  So Dekel turned to Stratasys 3D printing to prototype his design.

The Aleph1 speaker being 3D printed in one piece on the Objet500 Connex3 color, multi-material 3D printer

The Aleph1 speaker being 3D printed in one piece on the Objet500 Connex3 color, multi-material 3D printer

Using the Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer employing PolyJetmulti-material capabilities, Dekel began turning his vision for the Aleph1 speaker into reality. After testing various Stratasys digital materials, he found the perfect combination of rigid and flexible material properties to achieve the right balance of design, aesthetics and acoustic properties.

“With 3D printing I was able to quickly study the acoustic response of the geometry and different material configurations and determine which was most applicable to speaker cabinets. Other manufacturing or modeling techniques would not allow such freedom, much less in the required time frame,” Dekel said.

The Aleph1’s unique self-feeding geometry preserves the acoustic energy of the back wave and allows this energy to participate in the process of sound reproduction, resulting in a clean, open and natural sound with high detail and great separation.

The functional prototype of the Aleph1 speaker was produced using Stratasys’ PolyJet multi-material 3D printing (no assembly required) and demonstrated at the Stratasys booth at Formnext 2015

The functional prototype of the Aleph1 speaker was produced using Stratasys’ PolyJet multi-material 3D printing (no assembly required) and demonstrated at the Stratasys booth at Formnext 2015

Dekel told the Stratasys Blog:  “The model is 3D printed in a single piece to allow complex internal geometries while maintaining structural integrity. Having a physical model was instrumental to studying the theoretic principles behind the product and assessing its feasibility.”

With this never-before-seen (or heard) design, Dekel hopes that this opportunity to combine his passions for audio and design will have commercial possibilities. Stratasys was proud to play a part in smoothing the way for this fresh take on a consumer product. Keep your ears open for more news!

Find out how you can use Stratasys 3D printing to solve design challenges with unique product ideas  and click here to contact a Stratasys representative.

The intellectual property regarding the Aleph1 concept is managed by SNE, contact avi@sne-ip.co.il for inquiries.