Astronomy isn’t just for research centers. There are thousands passionate amateur astronomers, who are looking for high quality stargazing equipment. That’s where Pierro Astro comes in. This France-based company offers and develops on demand products to simplify astronomy. Since most of their products meet very specific needs, 3D printing and Sculpteo’s services were the best solution to produce peculiar pieces. Discover their story.
Pierro Astro has been offering their products for about 10 years now. We got a chance to meet up with Pierre Franquet, CEO of Pierro Astro, who explained the company’s strategy, “We produce and sell telescopes, astronomic glasses and accessories that allow users to observe and take pictures of planets, stars, nebulas and galaxies”. They’re more than an astronomy shop, they’re an astronomy experience: they only offer products they personally have tested and enjoyed using. That means each of their products are quality assured. They then use those products to develop new and innovative equipment, generally based in IT solutions or electronics.
Pierro Astro was quickly taken with 3D printing and Sculpteo’s services: “The first time we used additive manufacturing, we were working on a high precision focus Cassegrain reflector. The quality of the 3D printed components was perfect for our product”.
3D Printing is the best solution to produce small batches of pieces, that are both functional and affordable. In fact, it’s easy to manufacture just one unit while using additive manufacturing, whereas plastic molding requires to produce a large quantity of units to become financially attractive.
Sculpteo’s Batch Control tool is exactly what companies such as Pierro Astro need. Above all, it is the best way to reduce the unit price; with a reduction range up to 80% when the Batch Control tool is activated. That’s what allowed Pierro Astro’s to make affordable solutions for amateurs.
Sculpteo’s Batch Control tool even unlocks additional options when it comes to your 3D prints : you can choose more precise printing definition, and also polished finishes.
Therefore, it’s easy to conceive, prototype, and test the product in a really effective way. It takes a few weeks to develop a new solution with 3D Printing, whereas traditional manufacturing requires months, and far bigger expenses.
The materials and finishing options available through Sculpteo played another important rome for Pierro Astro when they were deciding which 3D printing service to choose. Our plastic material, was the best option for their particular needs. With faster production times, a cheaper price tag, great mechanical qualities, and a beautiful surface look, polyamide proved to be the best option for their project.
For some further specifics on the material, polyamide is made from a nylon powder, which is sintered together layer by layer in a process called Selective Laser Sintering or SLS. Our 3D printers, EOS Formiga P100, P110, P395, and P730, are extremely accurate with a layer precision of between 100 or 60 μm. The 60μm option becomes available when Batch Control is activated.
As Pierro Astro explains, once you have tried it, it’s hard to go back to traditional manufacturing. “It’s our first try with 3D Printing, but we have many more projects to come using this revolutionary producing method”.
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