Thursday, 29 November 2012

Inspiring Young Engineers through 3D Printing

A recent story by Juho Vesanto on the 3D Printing Industry blog highlights how 3D printing can inspire students to consider a career in engineering.  The latest news from 3DPI reports on Loughborough University in the UK, where the university has launched an initiative that is designed to give primary school children a glimpse into the world of 3D printing with a specific purpose – to get children more interested and involved in engineering from an early age. What could be a better way to do that than with inspiring demonstration and use of 3D printing technologies. Read the full story by clicking here.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

CSIRO ARCAM EBM Open Day 5 December 2012

CSIRO is pleased to announce a new titanium additive manufacturing facility at their largest site in Clayton, Victoria.

The facility, which will host the southern hemisphere’s first Arcam Electron Beam Melting (EBM) facility, will be showcased at an open house event on December 5, offering a rare opportunity to see inside this cutting edge centre.

Additive manufacturing is not a new concept and there are several bureaus within Australia, such as RapidPro, however the CSIRO ARCAM facilty will offer complementary technologies to those already provided by RapidPro - specifically Electron Beam Melting (EBM).

Arcam Electron Beam Melting (EBM) is an additive manufacturing technology that uses an e-beam to melt and fuse metal powders, layer-by-layer, into 3D parts. The resulting quality of these metal parts is high, as the process is conducted in a vacuum and held at high temperatures during the entire build.

“Additive manufacturing is an emerging technology capable of changing the future of manufacturing in Australia and we are keen to facilitate the adoption of new technologies which will benefit Australian businesses,” said Swee Mak, director of the CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing Flagship.

Friday, 23 November 2012

New Black ULTEM 9085 at RapidPro!

RapidPro, inc Redeye Australasia, is pleased to announce the arrival of ULTEM 9085 Black!

Adding to the already extensive list of medical and food grade thermoplastics on offer at RedEye Australasia, Black ULTEM 9085 brings all the benefits of traditional ULTEM: being lightweight, flame-retardant and suitable for aircraft apparatus, automotive components and military application for :
  • End Use Parts
  • Form, Fit and Function Testing
  • Jigs & Fixtures
ULTEM is an ideal material for designers seeking strong, lightweight materials for their digital manufacturing projects, and being available in black, eliminated unsightly staininga nd discolouartyion presne tin teh cream version of ULTEM 9085.

ULTEM carries a variety of exceptional thermoplastic propertie including its strength to weight ratio, V-Ø rating for flame, smoke and toxicity (FST), flight certification, and high heat deflection temperature (320° F / 160° C. 

ULTEM 9085 is certified for use on commercial aircrafts** and has proven success for electric / electrical components, microwave applications, pump and valve parts, marine and automotive manufacturers.

With Black ULTEM 9085 it is even easier to build tough realistic tooling prototypes and attractive functional parts, without having to paint. Minimizer, a USA truck fender manufacturer tested black ULTEM and were very pleased with the results. Read the full case study here.

Stratasys' black ULTEM thermoplastic is used for functional prototyping by truck fender maker, Minim ...
Functional fender in Black ULTEM 9085. Photo Courtesy of Minimizer

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Aussie F1 students take on the world .. and Win!

We are again proud to be associated with the  F1 in Schools™ Technology Challenge.

What is the F1 in Schools™ Technology Challenge? 

It is the world’s largest secondary school technology program which involves over nine million students from 17,000 schools in 31 nations.

Each year the world championship team is presented with the solid crystal Bernie Ecclestone F1 in Schools™ World Trophy. 

REA Foundation has been involved in the development of the program since its inception and manages the the program in Australia and New Zealand. Each year the program engages more than 40,000 high school students in Australia and delivers industry-standard technology into schools which is made available to a further 300,000 students outside the program.

Students as young as 10 are designing, testing and making miniature F1™ cars capable of 80km/h.
But it is not about fast cars. F1 in Schools™ is a holistic action learning program which focuses on developing long term employability skills. Students learn leadership, team building, project management, business planning, public speaking, marketing, collaboration, writing and presentation skills.

The students collaborate with many organisations, industry and higher education facilities to source knowledge and resources during the project, and we are proud to have been involved for our fifth consecutive year.

This year's winners were recently announced and we would like to congratulate all who won, as well as those who partcipated in this amazing program. 

The F1 in Schools World Finals were held in Abu Dhabi and the following images are of the three Australian entires. 

While the students have used the same set of underlying Bernoullian mathematics in calculating aerodynamic performance, each of the teams has ended up with a completely different outcome.

1st -  World Champions - Cold Fusion - Brighton Secondary School, Adelaide SA.

Other awards included:    

Best Engineered Car
Fastest Car
Grand Prix Race Award
The Ashes Trophy ... again beating the POMS


4th - Rapid Motion - Collaboration between Engadine High School, Sydney NSW; Sachsenwaldschule Gymnasium Reinbeck, Germany

Other awards:

    Best International Collaboration


 5th - SPECTRA - Collaboration between Trinity Grammar Kew, Melbourne Vic; Kyabram P-12 College, Kyabram Vic.


If you are keen to give it a go and compare yourself against the students you could come along to the next F1inSchools National Final which is being held at the Avalon Airshow in February 2013 and race-off against the students.

For more information visit:

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Surfing the Market with the help of FDM

Slide fins are set to revolutionise small wave surfing

Slide fins are the newest innovation to hit surfing, and they are proudly Australian!

Scott Peberdy from Outereef at Phillip Island came up with the idea that it would be easier to carry out slides on a surfboard if there was no fin resistance to the slide, while still maintaining the directional advantages of a traditional fin setup. The result is Slide Fins - spring loaded fins available for either left or right breaking waves.

To read the entire story, click here.

To watch the slide fin video, click on the link below: 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Prototyping for packaging success

"RapidPro’s quick response and quality finish are the primary drivers for regularly selecting Simon and his team for these packaging projects. With timing and pressure so tight on this launch, we still undertook his advice on the FDM Beta model and it more than paid back its investment with the client." Michael Grima, Outerspace Design Group.

This innovative juice bottle design for the Heinz Golden Circle brand of chilled juice recently won a WorldStar packaging award - Beverage at the gala presentation ceremony in Croatia.

Submitted by Outerspace Design on the heels of the bottle’s commercial success; PCA, AIDA awards and Powerhouse Museum Collection piece,  this is the first entry, on behalf of the Australian Institute of Packaging, to achieve a WorldStar distinction in 44 years of the event history.

So how did this new innovative packaging come to fruition? 

Heinz wanted to grab consumers’ attention at the grocery store. In order to achieve this, Heinz Australia approached Outerspace Design to evolve their new Golden Circle (GC) chilled juice bottle range. And, of course, part of this redesign involved rapid prototyping technologies to test the new design for manufacturability and brand awareness, helping to streamline time to production.

The Project

The Outerspace team recognised this as an unusual opportunity to do something truly unique in a food category dominated by a sea of established brands competing largely on price.Of course the design had to be realistic – as a high volume product delivering good value to the consumer, any new bottle design must be sensitive to production costs including manufacturing, filling and capping as well as supply chain efficiencies, including packing and palletisation.


Better products require deeper insights. Outerspace has developed and refined a series of Strategic Innovation Tools to help get to the heart of a brand. Some of the tools utilised in the early research for the GC packaging project included:
  • Role Playing - Usage audit where the researcher and designer puts themselves in the consumer’s shoes to experience the entire product interaction process.
  • Direct Observation - a form of primary research where typical users are observed to discover how different consumers experience the product from start to finish.
  •  Behavioral Mapping - Documentation, analysis and explanation of the process to identify diverse interactions and behavioral adjustments surrounding the consumer experience. 

 GC Behavioural Mapping

Armed with these consumer interaction insights, the design team at Outerspace set out to develop concepts for a package design that would innovate in all these areas, while providing a strong visual shelf presence and branding opportunities.Using the information gathered through the trials, a diverse set of concepts were quickly drawn up and presented to the Heinz team. From these, a design was chosen and rapid prototypes were ordered.

Prototyping prior to tooling

Before entering into tooling which is a costly and precise part of manufacturing, two key prototypes were created to test aesthetics, functionality, manufacturability and tooling considerations.

Plaster prototype on right
The first prototype was primarily to establish the overall aesthetic of the bottle from the CAD. The timing was extremely tight and by choosing a plaster/epoxy prototype built using ZCorp technology, a quick form model was produced which was hollow, and capped to resemble the finished product. 

"We chose to move with Rapid Pro’s Plaster/Epoxy finish due to its durability and quick turnaround," says Michael Grima, Design Director - Structural Packaging at Outerspace. "This model assisted us in validating the form against the competitive set in real proportions but more importantly determine if the handle concept was functional. We used it for grip and handling tests and found that the handle required some level of modification to make it more comfortable in the hand. This model led to us altering the geometry on this area and opened discussion with both the manufacturer of the bottle as well as the filling plant."

After several rounds of refinement, a second prototype was requested, this time, a hollow model was needed to conduct filling and pouring tests. For these requirements FDM was the most suitable process. 

"In the past we would have considered the more fragile SLA process," says Michael; "However, RapidPro had made huge advancements in the finish they could achieve with FDM, so we were willing to test it on this model. The finish was far smooth and proved to be highly durable."

FDM prototype
The FDM prototype was then used for a dummy line trials to help determine change parts and impact on line speed. The manufacturer used the bottle for reference on troubleshooting potential issues in the blowing aspects of the form. From here the client was able to move far more confidentially as a group to pilot tooling.

The Result

Results speak for themselves: An award winning bottle that is beautifully sculpted unlike anything on the market.

design and develop medical, electronic and consumer products and structural packaging solutions from initial concept to reality using industrial design, product development and strategic planning. For more information or to contact Outerspace, click on their logo below. To read the full Outerspace design process case study, click here.

For information or advice on your next prototyping project, contact RapidPro, Australasian based solutions to all your prototyping needs. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Thermoforming at RapidPro

Just a reminder that RapidPro has thermoforming (vacuum forming) capabilities in-house!

We have noticed a recent influx in the use of this service and thought we should remind all our customers that this is a quick, affordable solution to packaging trials prior to full production tooling. 

RapidPro utilises the Redeye Australasia build centre to produce inexpensive thermoforming tools which are then instantly available for short run production. These tools can be used repeatedly to produce hundreds of short run packaging containers or parts.

For a quote email RapidPro at or call RapidPro on 1300 559 454 to speak to one of our experienced engineers regarding your requirements.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

New Bio-Med Objet material available at RapidPro


For Skin and Mucosal-Membrane Contact

Objet Bio-Compatible material (MED610™) is a rigid material featuring great dimensional stability and colorless transparency. The material is ideal for applications requiring prolonged skin contact of over 30 days and short term mucosal-membrane contact of up to 24 hours. Objet Bio-Compatible material has 5 medical approvals including Cytotoxicity, Genotoxicity, Delayed Type Hypersensitivity, Irritation and USP Plastic Class VI*

Suitable for
* Medical and Dental applications
* 3D printing of dental and orthopedic surgical guides
* Checking the customized fit of surgical guides and delivery trays in the mouth
* Monitoring oral soft tissue during surgical guide procedures

*Biological Testing: Parts printed by Objet according to Objet MED610 Use and Maintenance Terms (DOC-08242) were evaluated for biocompatibility in accordance with standard DIN EN ISO 10993-1: 2009, Biological evaluation of medical devices-Part 1: Evaluation and Testing within a risk management process. This addresses cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, delayed hypersensitivity, and USP plastic Class VI which includes the test for irritation, acute systemic toxicity and implantation.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

NASA's New Rover utilises FDM printed parts

NASA Trusts 3D Printing in Space

When you're developing highly customized space vehicles that must sustain human life, stock parts and traditional machining simply won't fly. So NASA engineers put around 70 3D printed FDM parts on their new rover. A new video shows the rover enduring desert tests with ABS and polycarbonate parts built using FDM technology and materials.

The rover, about the size of a Hummer uses about 70 3D-printed parts made from thermoplastic materials including ABS, PC/ABS and PC using FDM technology and materials created by Stratasys, parent company to RedEye On Demand Australasia. The printed parts include flame-retardant vents, pod doors and many custom fixtures. One ear-shaped exterior housing is deep and contorted, and would be nearly impossible to build without 3D printing.

Watch the video below to see how NASA harnessed the design flexibility and durable materials of Redeye On Demand's FDM technology.

Friday, 3 August 2012

FDM Magic Arms Change a Little Girls Life


The moment Megan Lavelle saw the device, she knew it would change her daughter’s life. Lavelle is an energetic, unstoppable mom whose youngest daughter, Emma, was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). At a Philadelphia conference for AMC families, Lavelle learned about the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), an assistive device made of hinged metal bars and resistance bands. It enables kids with underdeveloped arms to play, feed themselves and hug.
AMC is a non-progressive condition that causes stiff joints and very underdeveloped muscles. Emma was born with her legs folded up by her ears, her shoulders turned in. “She could only move her thumb,” says Lavelle. Doctors immediately performed surgery and casted Emma’s legs. The baby girl went home with parents determined to provide the best care.
Medical experts warned that AMC would prevent Emma from ever experiencing any sort of normalcy. She developed more slowly than an average child and spent much of her first two years in casts or undergoing surgery. Unable to see Emma play and interact with her environment in ways her older daughter had, Lavelle privately wondered whether Emma’s cognitive ability would be hampered as well.

Determined to Grow
But Emma progressed, slow and steady. As she grew and became able to move about with the help of a walker, it became clear that her mind was sharp and her determination on par with her mom’s. At two years old, she still couldn’t lift her arms, and the smart little girl wanted more. “She would get really frustrated when she couldn’t play with things like blocks,” Lavelle says. And so the mom would be Emma’s arms for her; playing with blocks, eating, brushing teeth.
Then came the WREX, demonstrated at the conference by an 8-year-old AMC patient lifting his arms and moving them in all directions. Lavelle met with the presenters, Tariq Rahman, Ph.D, head of pediatric engineering and research, and Whitney Sample, research designer, both from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. Rahman and Sample had worked for years to make the device progressively smaller, serving younger and younger patients. Attached to a wheelchair,
the WREX worked for kids as young as six. But Emma was two, small for her age, and free to walk.
In Sample’s tool-and-toy filled workshop, the team strapped Emma’s little arms into a small but awkward trial WREX attached to a stationary support. “She just started throwing her hands around and playing,” Sample says. Megan brought Emma candy and toys and watched her lift her arms toward her mouth for the first time.

Tiny Rewards
For Emma to wear the WREX outside the workshop, Rahman and Sample needed to scale it down in size and weight. The parts would be too small and detailed for the workshop’s CNC system to fabricate. But just perfect for printing using FDM technology. So a 3D printed prototype WREX was created in ABS plastic.
The difference in weight allowed Sample to attach the Emma-sized WREX to a little plastic vest.
The 3D-printed WREX turned out to be durable enough for everyday use. Emma wears it at home, at preschool, and during occupational therapy. And the design flexibility of 3D printing lets Sample continually improve upon the assistive device, working out ideas in CAD and building them the same day.
Fifteen kids now use custom 3D-printed WREX devices. For these littlest patients, Rahman explains, the benefits may extend beyond the obvious. Prolonged disuse of the arms can sometimes condition children to limited development, affecting cognitive and emotional growth. Doctors and therapists are watching Emma closely for the benefits of earlier arm use.
Emma quickly grew to love the abilities WREX unlocked in her. “When she started to express herself, we would go upstairs [to Sample’s workshop] and we would say, ‘Emma, you know we’re going to put the WREX on.’ And she called them her magic arms,” Lavelle says.
The little girl’s approval is a fitting reward for her determined mom and dedicated researchers. Sample says: “To be a part of that little special moment for someone else, can’t help but tug at your heart strings.”

Monday, 23 July 2012

New Objet Movie

If the Objet Deskjet can make parts and prototypes from 7 different materials, imagine what RapidPro can do with our commercial sized Connex Machine and its 107 different digital materials and combinations including overmoulding!

Watch the new Objet movie here. It showcases just some of the materials available and the resolution you can achieve. Obviously your parts will not come to life and print their own family, but the individual components at the end are examples of the finish you can expect. Of course RapidPro's Connex Machine does have a higher Z resolution than the parts shown, so you can expect an even finer surface finish when you choose to build with us.

To discuss your next project call RapidPro on 1300 559 454 or Email us for a quote at:

Friday, 13 July 2012

A Hard Earned Prototype for VB

"At Buzz, we understand the importance of prototyping on products with mechanisms and movement. Within 2 weeks we had made 9 different rounds of prototypes, from a basic cardboard mockup to the sophisticated FDM model from RapidPro. This gave us confidence to push the button on over $300k in tooling, just days after receiving the part from RapidPro." Doug Buckle, Buzz Products

When Buzz Products were asked to work on last summer's VB promotion, nobody realised how popular the VB fridge would be!

The campaign involved buying 12 slabs of VB to get a free beer fridge which played the VB theme song every time a beer was requested. 3000 fridges were originally built, but these were sold out with 3 weeks, so more were ordered to cope with demand.

Buzz contacted RapidPro to assist in prototyping the internal mechanisms for the bottle dispenser utilising RedEye Australia's FDM build centre.

"The shelving inside the fridge needed to be strong enough to hold a slab of beer, and we needed the parts fast," says Doug Buckle, Creative Director at Buzz Products. "RapidPro always provides us with amazing service and a fast turnaround so we had no hesitation in taking the project to them for prototyping."

"We discussed the requirements of the project and Buzz's expectations," says Simon Bartlett, Engineering Manager at RapidPro. "From that information we tailored a solution to meet their tight timeline, as well as strength and durability concerns."

"ABS-M30 using FDM technology was the obvious choice and we were able to have finished parts delivered to Buzz within 36 hours."

In addition to the VB Vending machine, Buzz also developed a thermo-cooler bag and a VB ice alarm to notify would-be drinkers when their beer is getting too cold!

For more information on Buzz, click here.

To discuss your next prototyping or manufacturing project, call RapidPro on 1300 559 454 and speak to one of our engineers about your project requirements.