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Sculpteo Studio Interview: The Design for Additive Manufacturing challenges & benefits

Introduction

Building on freedom of geometries and flexibility, 3D printing opens up a substantial design potential. By exploiting Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) and by integrating it into products, their potential can be maximized through their geometry, weight, and functionality. We interviewed Head of Sculpteo Studio, Alexandre d’Orsetti, who breaks down the ins and outs of this approach to design.

What design possibilities does 3D printing come with?

No retooling

The advantages of 3D Printing for product creation are twofold. On the first hand, it comes down to the absence of retooling, that’s to say intermediate tooling or molds. With this technology, parts are directly produced in the machine, which brings more design freedom and the possibility to model objects as it would be once 3D printed. This specificity allows for faster iterating and enables to change design properties without further tooling investment. As the project goes on, this flexibility gives the ability to produce better product versions, to develop it further within different product ranges, and to customize it at any scale. 

 

Freedom of shapes

On the other hand, Additive Manufacturing brings greater freedom of geometries, which allows us to design objects under a new logic. This freedom of geometry is key to making more complex parts, in which many functions can be integrated. A complex part isn’t more expensive to produce, as volume and material quantity is what drives costs up. These geometry capabilities also allow us to print innovative parts, with hollowed, lattice structures, or with inner channels. We hence have access to complex shapes one wouldn’t achieve otherwise.

What are the advantages across industries?

All industries can use Additive Manufacturing as an asset. The flexibility and the ease of design it brings can address needs all professionals have. Of course, we can identify industries with a particular interest in 3D Printing and its design advantages:

  • In the Luxury industry, in which product renewal paces are intense and are oriented towards small series.
  • In the Medical sector, where there is a strong customization need for products like orthosis and prosthesis.
  • We can also mention the Automotive Industry, which must constantly address a weight optimization challenge. We look to save every gram possible to optimize vehicles, also, using 3D printing polymers allows to make light parts.
  • In the Events industry as well, where the possibility of making complex parts quickly and without retooling investment is interesting.

In the end, the advantages that Design for Additive Manufacturing lends to are transversal. The key stake of its proper use comes down to the understanding one has of its potential, thus to implement it at the product design stage.

What is the core challenge of integrating Additive Manufacturing at the design stage?

The potential of this technology is still misunderstood and for many, the idea that this technology only fits for prototyping purposes persists. 3D printing allows us to achieve things other technologies can’t, but to take advantage of it, one has to draw differently. To draw the way Additive Manufacturing works, it takes the skills we developed. 

In other words, to utilize Design for Additive Manufacturing well, one must comprehend its logic. In order to do so, involving experts who can leverage this potential is important. First to be advised, but also to make recommendations and find solutions early on.

What is Sculpteo Studio?

Sculpteo Studio is a Design for Additive Manufacturing office. We are here to support customers in exploring and using the potential of 3D printing. Along with them, we create the 3D files that best apply to ensure their success.

For who and for what projects is Sculpteo Studio relevant?

We tackle a large range of projects. Among our design works, we can mention: lightweight structures, where weight reduction is sought, innovative systems for all industries (such as robotics), where we develop mechanical systems with Additive Manufacturing, sports and consumer goods, housings and electronics products, for which we make use of the possibility of making small and complex parts (cable management solutions, electronic item fixations). Unique models for prototyping or full-scale models, as well as sculptures and other unique items. Tooling parts, jigs and other production aids for industry or handcraft.

 

To a general extent, our partners resort to us because they must answer a technical challenge and because they underlined the solutions that 3D printing could provide to innovate. Other customers also need us because they need parts quickly, and because they want to launch high production volumes with speed.

We also share our Design for Additive Manufacturing expertise through training and consulting. This allow us to spread the 3D printing culture and the potential it has to offer.

Have you also identified solutions or strengths that 3D printing could bring to your parts? Whether that is the case or not, Sculpteo Studio is here to help you identify or integrate them into your project. If design for 3D printing is a topic you already master, you can rely on our 3D printing service and upload your 3D file onto it and get your parts printed.

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