Pivot and Innovate during the Covid-Era

Use cases to help your business be inspired to stay relevant and active in this rapidly changing landscape.

Technology Use Case

24/7 3D Printing with Automatic Material Reload

Project Brief: Using the Ultimaker S5 Pro Complete System, we were able to print all night without fear of filament running out midprint and stopping our progress. The MHS automatically loads the next filament once a spool is empty. With Cura Connect, we queued up jobs for a few days allowing us to simply remove the build plate, insert the next one, and continue the next job with virtually no downtime. We ended up being 99% efficient with each spool as it gets used up until the very end, reducing part and set up cost.

Deployment Process:

  • Load up to 6 filaments in the Material Handling Station that much the job queue
  • Use Cura Connect software to queue up multiple jobs
  • Remove glass plate once print finishes and put in another plate
  • Resume Printing once reset is confirmed by the user

Equipment Used: Ultimaker S5, Air Manager, Material Handling Station

Technology Use Case

Formlabs Nasal Swab Prototyping / Production

Project Brief: The shortage of test kits has been a major problem worldwide. Retooling costs for injection molding has been met with resistance in the industry so 3D printing has become the perfect stopgap solution to the shortage. With no retooling costs, 3D printers can create the swabs on mass in proven Bio-compatible resins. They can be produced at a rate of 230-320 units per machine per day. The swabs can be autoclaved, and have been tested in Hospitals in the US.

Deployment Process:

  • 5-10 x printers
  • Running 24 hour cycles
  • Spare buildplate will be swapped once a print finishes and restarted immediately
  • 1 wash and 2 cure units per 10 machines to post process swabs
  • Wash freshly printed parts for 10 mintues, air dry for 50
  • Cure for 1 hour
  • Stagger 24 hour productions in 1 hour incriments for full use of curing machines
  • Store swabs in Autoclave bag

Equipment Used: Formlabs Form 3B, Formlabs Surgical Guide Resin, Form Wash, Form Cure

Technology Use Case

Raise3D SuperStacking

Project Brief: We leveraged the power of the direct drive system and superior part cooling of the Pro2 to stack face shields up to 12 inches high. Stacking is a tough ask for any 3D printer and we found that the Pro2 was most reliable and allowed us to have a convenient cycle time of 24 hours. This method saved a ton of time cleaning build plates and resetting the printer for the next run. With the help of Raise3D cloud, we were also able to monitor print progress and stop the print if we saw issues from the comfort of our cellphone or laptop.

Deployment Process:

  • Create a stackable STL file using Fusion360
  • Running 24 hour cycles
  • Set up a slightly modified PLA print profile in IdeaMaker to slow down the interface layers, to create a good bond that's easy to break off.
  • We then hit print and enjoyed seeing a beautiful stacked tower of face shields every morning

Equipment Used: Raise3D Pro2 Plus, Ultimaker S5, BASF Ultrafuse PLA Filament, Ultrafuse BVOH Water Soluble Support Filament, Ultimaker Breakaway Support Filament

Technology Use Case

LC40 Face shield Prototyping

Project Brief: the LC40 allowed us to prototype different PET face shield designs quickly and accurately. Within 10 minutes of lasering, we had five different versions of the shield to test for fit and function. Each iteration told us something different about the user experience and the final manufacturing process.

The LC40 makes even the slightest design changes real within minutes and facilitates rapid product development. We've arrived at the final product in under five days.

Deployment Process:

  • We've created our design in Fusion360, keeping in mind the key variables like shield thickness, face size, retaining methods, and minimum and recommened health standards.
  • We've saved a few different options to a DXF file and generated an SVG file with the correct layer colours to make sure the cutting order makes sense.
  • We did a few test runs as this was the first time cutting PET with the LC40. We've had to adjust power, depth, and speed. We realized that we could blast through the sheet at 100% speed and power and still get an accurate prototype.
  • Once we had the correct settings, we created a whole bunch of different prototypes until arriving at something easy to assemble, comfortable, useful, and manufacturable.

Equipment Used: Dremel LC40 Laser Cutter, Bofa AD350 Fume Extractor, PETG Sheets

Technology Use Case

Einscan Face-scanning customization (respirators)

Project Brief: The demand for N95 masks continue to be a problem. For industries unable to source masks, some have turned to scanning and 3D printing to create a better longer term solution in response to the shortage.

Utilizing scanning technology, Staff faces can be 3D scanned, and masks can be customized and printed out for individuals in TPU. The masks are customized to each person ensuring a perfect fit, while being flexible enough to be comfortable to wear all day. Lastly, TPU is sterilizable in heat without deformation resulting in a perfect custom form fitted mask that's reusable and sterilzable. Early trials have passed individual N95 tests (but this must be done individually due to the custom nature of the design)

Deployment Process:

  • Ask the person being scanned to shave their beard as it interferes with the scan and proper fit of the respirator in general
  • Clean the scan using the ExScan and export to STL
  • Fire up Meshmixer with the STL of the scanned head and respirator
  • Align the two as best as possible and create a Boolean operation to substract the head scan from the respirator
  • Export the final part to STL, slice in Cura, and send over to file to the machine
  • Wait 5-8 hours for the print to finish for a custom made, tailored respirator with a perfect fit and seal.

Equipment Used: Einscan Pro2X Plus 3D Scanner, Ultimaker 3 3D Printer, Ulimaker Flexible TPU Filament

Technology Use Case

Mayku Vacuum Forming Respirator Prototype

Project Brief: Due to the limited supply of respirator masks, we've decided to give our small but powerful vacuum former a shot. We made a negative of the respirator design so that we could vacuum form over it multiple times. The forming sheet is white PET which is biocompatible, sanitizable and cheap. The negative is made out of ABS to withstand the heat from the heating forks so that it can be used multiple times. PLA or PETG wouldn't work for this application as their HDT temperature is too low.

PS. Don’t use clear sheets as faces look odd inside of respirators

Deployment Process:

  • Design the negative in 3DS Max
  • Print on the Ultimaker 2+ in ABS or PC filament
  • Clamp the PETG sheet into the Mayku
  • Start the heater
  • Wait 2-3 minutes for the sheet to heat up
  • Place the negative on the mesh bed
  • Lower the sheet unto the part and hold until the vacuum turns off
  • And done! After 30-60 seconds the vacuum formed part cools down and pops right off the 3D printed negative

Equipment Used: Mayku Vacuum Former, Mayku form Sheets, Ultimaker ABS (for the mold)

Technology Use Case

Double Production in Duplication Mode for IDEX Printers

Project Brief: Until now, we've had only a handful of applications for our dual head printers. Duplication mode was an option that wasn't used a lot until the COVIDSTOP.CA initiative. We have effectively used our Raise3D E2, BCN3D Sigmax R19, and BCN3D Epsilon as SIX different machines rather than only three. This means we were able to have double the throughput, making twice as many shields for the same amount of time.

Deployment Process:

  • Drop the face shield into Cura or IdeaMaker
  • Set a PLA print with the desired settings
  • Trigger "duplication mode"
  • Hit print!

Equipment Used: BCN3D Epsilon, Raise3D E2, BCN3D Sigmax R19, BCN3D Sigma R19

Technology Use Case

AstroPrint Slicing, Monitoring and Reprinting

Project Brief: We've gotten used to the luxury features of cloud printing on our Raise3D, and Ultimaker machines. It is fantastic to have the option to queue and monitor jobs from the computer and cellphone. Unfortunately, older generation printers work using a simple USB or SD card. Astroprint activates the Ultimaker 2+ machines and brings them online. Allowing us to slice, monitor, and queue prints all from the cloud; we used the computer, cellphone and touch interface interchangeably whenever one was more comfortable than the other.

Deployment Process:

  • Get an AstroPrint
  • Connect to the 3D printer
  • Set up an AstroPrint cloud account
  • Connect a webcam and mount on or near the printer
  • Upload the STL file to the AstroPrint cloud and slice with the familiar Cura engine right on your phone, computer, or touch interface
  • Hit print on any device!

Equipment Used: Astrobox Touch, AstroPrint, Ultimaker 2+ Extended

Technology Use Case

Surgical Mask Relief Straps (Earsavers)

Project Brief: Wearing a mask is mandatory to protect the people around you, but after a while our ears start to hurt... a lot! So we've decided to print ears savers for our selves and all the front line workers that want them. The great thing about this ear savers design is that it can be printed on any printer due to its small size and simple design. Most of our larger format printers were busy printing face shields, so we've used the Dremel and some of the Ultimaker 2+s instead.

Deployment Process:

  • Download files and print! This design is simple, so any printer can make these easily on defaults settings

Equipment Used: Dremel 3D45, Ultimaker 2+, LC40 Laser Cutter

Download the File: Surgical Strap .STL

Technology Use Case

Continuous Filament Splicing for Production

Project Brief: If you're a home user wanting to help produce face shields, sometimes changing spools and/or worrying about filament running out mid print can be stressful and cumbersome. Enter the Mosaic Palette! You're able to now put 4 spools into your system, start a job and whenever a spool runs out, the next one is automatically spliced and fed in. Perfect for stacking prints, and using up every bit of filament around the house.

Deployment Process:

  • Set up the palette with 4 spools
  • Enable multi-spool mode
  • Start print!

Equipment Used: Mosaic Palette 2S Pro, BASF Ultrafuse 1.75mm PLA

We can help with your pivot strategy.

From starting a print farm to creating a prototype, we're here to help your business adapt.