Benefits of 3D Printing:
– Rapid prototyping
– Low development costs
The greatest thing about 3D printing, for someone who likes to dabble in creating their own products, is the ability to conceptualise digital drawings. The ability to print a model, review its characteristics, make changes in software and then send that new design to print is uncanny.
When you also factor in its efficiency, it becomes a thing of beauty. The process highlighted above is fulfilled very quickly. Altering a design in software digitally takes minutes and printing it just a few hours (depending on its complexity). So, in the real-world, it’s possible to print multiple design variations in a day.
3D printing a fully customised loudspeaker
The capabilities of 3D printing are perfectly highlighted by a Zortrax designer, who needed a portable loudspeaker for his flat and car. He couldn’t find the right product online or in-store, so he decided to make his own with 3D printing. For this, he used the Zortrax M200 (now succeeded by the M200 Plus and M300).
The designer (who goes unnamed) started by creating his model in a CAD program. He played around with a few different geometries and shapes before deciding on the above design – a flat box with cut-out detailing. The box shape is perfect for reproducing sound and the holes allow sound to escape evenly, for an immersive sound experience wherever you’re listening from. Once the design was finished, he sent it to Z-SUITE, a slicing software.
In the slicing software, he set the correct infill, layer thickness, support angles and other parameters that would determine the quality output. Z-SUITE then displayed the estimated print time and how much filament was needed. The design was then saved onto an SD card, inserted into the printer, and sent to print. Printing the parts took just a few hours.
It was decided that the case would be printed using Z-HIPS, while the semi-transparent elements would be printed with Z-GLASS. Z-ULTRAT was used in high-wear areas to improve durability.
With the model printed, the support material was removed. The box was ready for assembly. Foam was used to insulate the electrical elements inside the box, to reduce unwanted resonance and booming. All the printed elements were screwed together once this process was completed. Here’s the final design:
The finished product was a huge success. It not only looks great, but serves its purpose as a durable, high-quality loudspeaker. The design, perfected using CAD software, optimises sound to improve its quality at every level.
3D Printer: Zortrax M200 (now succeeded by the M200 Plus and M300)
Material(s) used: Z-HIPS, Z-GLASS, Z-ULTRAT
This information was first published on the Zortrax website.