It Seems Like Only Yesterday
The last 10 months have gone by at a furious pace. I’ve accomplished much, but that’s all background stuff. It’s still 16 hour days, up by 9 a.m. and down by 2 a.m. I’m working on the real meat and potatoes now and here are a couple of snaps for you. A success and a failure.
The holidays really slowed us down, and the loss of a full work week starting with the Thanksgiving holiday put a real kink in our routine. This week’s blog will be short and sweet, since I’m taking a short break to do this before I go back to the shop in a half hour to finish the day’s schedule.
I want to wish all of you, whom have stuck with me throughout the year, reading this blog and observing our fits and starts and having the patience to come this far, a very Happy and prosperous New Year. My resolution is to apply myself as hard as I can to provide the best product possible and the best customer service I can provide. I hope 2017 brings all of you peace, happiness and prosperity.
Happy New Year from advanc3Design.
Owner and Designer
Quote of the week:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”
I’ve seen and learned so much since I decided to start this business in mid-February. From initiating the state permitting to the current casting tests, everything in between has provided so very many new observations, skills, research, collections and results. I know I’ve only scratched the surface. All is still so new and shiny I can only guess, with a modest sprinkling of hope, where this all might lead to.
Honestly, I thought I would be further along at this point in time. My initial estimate gave me the idea that I could open the doors for business after six months of hard, steady work. I was proven wrong by events out of my control, and some within my control. Realization then kicked in and the target opening date then became the end of October, but I slowly realize that it could take a year to start a business from scratch. There are not very many business models out there to develop a 3D printing business, based on individual implementation. Most such businesses currently in operation rely on a consortium of professionals with various skill sets.
I’m close. As I write this, I’m finally at the production phase, getting everything “on the shelf” for distribution. After this first stock of items, and with the addition of much needed in-house support, I can concentrate on my original intent of providing 3D modeling to the individual and business communities. Attention to marketing, web site upgrade and development, and a return to the organic modeling software will be addressed in short order, with hope that there will be no more interruptions in business flow from outside sources.
The holidays are here and to those of you who celebrate the season, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with your favorite memories and the closeness of family and friends.
Quote of the week:
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!… Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!” ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
This weeks blog includes a picture of the first three completed test castings that have had a reasonable outcome. Although they are still not up to my expectations, they are indicative of the general output of test subjects. Keep in mind that these are three individual castings. Most castings are done in multiples of the same design, with the understanding that a percentage of them will not achieve perfection. In this way one or two will have a strong chance of being superior enough to continue with post processing.
The picture itself doesn’t completely capture the detail and shine of the pure silver, although it’s the best I can do at the moment with a small pocket camera. I submit the photo only to show the progress I’ve made so far with the first test castings. The next castings will incorporate two to three different materials. Silver, gold, brass or copper. This requires post-production soldering in fine detail, to combine the pieces into one design. I think the Aztec Xochipilli ring and the Steamray will be subject to those efforts and may be included in pictures on next week’s blog. Once these individual, and assembly, castings are completed, the real work of sale-able production can commence in earnest.
January brings some much needed help with temporary addition of two technicians/ artists, that should help resolve some of the backlog and bottleneck of our other business needs. They will help with their time in the application of art design and technique and also some office organization and information consolidation. I hope to have one or both of them for six months, which should help tremendously in strengthening other aspects of our business sectors.
Quote of the week:
“My success was due to good luck, hard work, and support and advice from friends and mentors. But most importantly, it depended on me to keep trying after I had failed.”
The best laid plans…
I’ve had a couple of minor setbacks with the results of the equipment and output thereof. I’m not satisfied with the results of the 3D printer “waxes”. Compiling the results of all the initial tests and the wax models for casting, I see about a 40% failure of some sort with the completed prints. Deformation is the biggest drawback. Most of the problems involve underside surfaces, where the layers are not completely deposited. It necessarily causes additional hours of filling with casting wax and delicate hand filing to bring the model to a castable point. I expected more, and certainly a better quality output, from the printer based on the developer’s website promotional photos. Needless to say, it’s delayed our expected output, as I’m still working the kinks out of the production process. So, rather than this week’s expected inclusion of finished pieces, I’m now working to have them completed this coming week. Although, not to completely blame the printer, some of my own designs were flawed with too much material in places, although this can’t be discovered until the piece is finally cast. I’ve since tweaked the affected designs, with the result that they are much more ergonomic and give a better fit or presentation.
Along other fronts, I received very good news from The Redd School. The Science and Robotics class was presented a first place award out of seven schools in the competition. I hope to add a picture of their project soon, to this blogs future admissions.
Quote of the week:
“It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results – just do the ordinary.”
It’s been a tough week with many challenges. In the forefront, preparation and synchronization played a big part in streamlining the many operations needed to cast our first pieces. Counting backwards from the casting process alone yields two full days of preparation, which has to be scheduled to the precise hour. Going backwards from the end process, it takes 1/2 hour to prepare and cast the model in metal. Prior to that, add 13 1/2 hours of wax burnout of the model from the casting mold, 4 to 6 hours of curing the wax investment mold, 1/2 hour of preparing the ingredients for the investment mixture, 4 to 6 hours of curing the 3D printed model resin, and 2 to 4 hours of printing the piece in 3D resin. This does not include the hours of modeling the original 3D design that will be converted to a format used by the 3D printer. The model must then be invested at 6 p.m. to be ready for casting in metal by following midday. This is followed by pickling the cast in a warm acid bath to remove casting tarnish, followed by tumbling in a burnishing medium of steel shot to remove burrs and sharp edges and add luster, followed by any soldering of additional metals and the final burnishing and polishing phase to bring a high shine to the final product.
Needless to say, my first two attempts were not up to my high standards. I hope, as they say, the third time is the charm, since I now have the timing and scheduling down to a finely meshed process. I hope to have two, and possibly three, finished pieces ready to be photographed and uploaded to the website in the next week.
Other preparations included 6 hours spent with the fine young minds at the Redd School. The robotics class is preparing for their first regional competition, and final tweaks were stumping the modeling designer. I was given three problems that couldn’t be solved in the time frame allotted at the school. I brought the problems home with me and spent another four hours developing solutions, training videos, and with accompanying detailed notes for the designer. Let’s hope they do well and wish them good luck in their first competition.
Quote of the week:
“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”