Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Telstra Option City uses 3D printing services

Telstra Option City built entirely from 3D printing and
Additive Manufacturing Technology at RapidPro
Things have been pretty hectic at RapidPro of late, especially with the evolution of Telstra Option City, designed by The Face and built by RapidPro utilising all the technologies we have in-house including our engineers expertise and skill to deliver a complex model that sits on a large plinth, rotates and has all the lights and whistles ... literally!

The buildings were made using RedEye Australasia's Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) build centre, the signage was built using Objet's polyjet technology, the fine detail including satellite dishes etc utilise ZCorp and EOS SLS parts for fine feature detail and the entire project was painted to precise specifications by our team of painting and finishing experts.

To read the full case study, visit our website by clicking here

Check out the video to see how this complex model of architectural buildings came together.

RapidPro specialises in 3D Services and Solutions - Making your ideas a 3D reality!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Rise of the Printing Bureau

"Within the next decade, additive manufacturing could make our complicated global supply chain obsolete, replacing it with a new economy based on a high-tech system of local, connected suppliers."
Travis Hessman, Associate Editor, IndustryWeek, Jul. 11, 2013

A recent story for MHLNews, highlights 3D printing and the need for 3D printing Service bureaus. Read the articles by following the link below:

RedEye bureau - able to print on demand in various
locations around the world including Australia

Friday, 26 July 2013

3D Printing - From New York to Melbourne

Today I noticed an interesting article on Quartz regarding 3D printing patents expiring and how that will impact the market.The article describes how with patents for Laser Sintering expiring in 2014, there will be an influx of cheaper machines making the technology more accessible to everybody. Much like what happened with Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), originally patented by Stratasys before expiring and MakerBot making it's mark. 

Several key points were raised and I would like to take this opportunity to explain things from a local Australian perspective.

POINT 1: With the end of patents comes an influx of low end machines to the market making home 3D printing more accessible, in this case for laser sintering. 

At this point it is important to note that that not all 3D printers are the same. A 3D printer, like those used by bureaus, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The resulting part will be of a much higher standard and quality than something produced at home on a machine that costs $500. Of course, being able to 3D print at home would be more than adequate for some people, it really depends on what is required from the resulting model.

POINT 2: In the article it mentions how Shapeways, based in New York, has a backlog which means waiting a couple of weeks to receive parts, an irony when 3D printing is supposed to make turnarounds faster than ever. This has been attributed to their bureau being unable to keep up with the high demand they receive for parts, and the wait they have on new 3D printers. 

There is no need to wait a couple of weeks if you are willing to look at other options. For example, at RapidPro, a totally Australian based and owned Additive manufacturing service bureau, parts are still able to be turned around within days ... yes, RapidPro may not always be able to compete with Shapeways on price, but the quality and turnaround times certainly warrants rethinking what is an acceptable price to pay for parts.

SUMMARY:  It is an interesting article which brings up many valid points pertaining to the future of 3D printing systems and the possible dispersal of this technology to all levels of the market. 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing are certainly gaining the fame and credit they deserve, both overseas and in Australia, but I feel that there will always be a place for the humble bureau service with it's high end machines, expert staff and professional finishing services.

By Marcelle Nankervis, Freelance Writer

Friday, 19 July 2013

SLS 3D printed parts cheaper in Australia

China is not always cheaper, especially when it comes to SLS printed parts and prototypes. To test this theory we sent out a CAD file to be quoted by 3 companies in China. We also quoted the CAD file ourselves using RapidPro’s quoting system. The results were surprising …

There is a common misconception that if you want something cheap, go straight to China. And while there are undoubtedly many things that are cheaper in China, SLS prototyping is not one of them.  

Let me explain … 

With so much hype about China being cheaper, we decided to test this theory by getting several Chinese companies to quote on printing a single file in SLS. We looked at time to respond, lead time (excluding freight) and cost.
*Click to enlarge

So how did we compare….

*Click to enlarge

Not only were our costs comparable or cheaper, our turnaround and lead times were much faster, ensuring the customer receives their parts faster and cheaper than if they had gone direct to China.

Differences in SLS 3D Printing

Firstly, it is important to understand that not all SLS machines or powders are the same. There are currently two main manufacturers of SLS machines:  EOS and 3D Systems. In addition to these manufactures, there is also several material suppliers who manufacture the raw materials used in SLS machines. Some powders are more expensive than others, and aside from this, the individual operator chooses the ratio of new to old powder in the build chamber which ultimately affects the quality of the finished product.

At RapidPro we use EOS SLS technology and powders under strict EOS guidelines. EOS were responsible for bringing additive manufacturing technologies to Europe, and were the world’s first provider of Stereolithography (SLA) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) systems. 

To speak to us about 3D printing your next project with SLS, call RapidPro on 1300 559 454 or email your CAD files for a quote to

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Meet The RapidPro Experts

Have you ever wondered who the Engineers are behind RapidPro?

Check them out at our Meet the Experts page on our website.

For example:
  • Did you know that Simon is a Six Sigma Black Belt?

  • Did you know that Hugh can craft guitars using CNC? 

  • Did you know that Daniel is an SLS innovator?

Read about our expert team by clicking here