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I recently had the chance to spend some time at RAPID Technology's offices in the Executive Center. Prior to my visit I knew very little about the world of 3D printing. I'd heard of it, but assumed 3D printers were still in laboratories at MIT. I was amazed to learn 3D printing is being used today by businesses for everything from product prototypes and prosthetics to costume armor for movies. It can even be used to print working mechanical devices with moving parts. The model above was printed as one piece with moving gears. No assembly required!



The material used to print the models can be infused with infiltrants that give the objects radically different properties and appearances. Some feel like rubber while others look and feel like solid metal. Today's 3D printers are capable of producing very intricate models with a painted appearance. The vase below sports delicate flowers on its exterior and Chinese characters on the interior.



Many thanks to RAPID COO Russ Ogi for providing us with a tour of the RAPID facility and educating us about the world of 3D printing. If you want to learn more, give Russ a call at (808) 781-1617.

Company Profile

RAPID Technology LLC (RAPID) is a Honolulu-based, Minority, Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in the use of technology to reduce cost and increase efficiency. Our specialized solutions include 3D Printing equipment sales, 3D design and on demand production services. 3D Printing is a technology that converts 3D computer data layer by layer into a physical model you can hold in your hand. RAPID focuses on process and system based solutions. We analyze the overall client needs and goals to streamline project communication, reduce delivery time and create more efficient business processes.

Our solutions have included product prototypes, 3D models for design analysis, virtual walkthroughs for client presentations, educational lesson plans for learning 3D applications, and consultation on automated digital processes to streamline and replace traditional practices.

RAPID currently services industries from engineering and architecture to entertainment, forensics and education. We are listed on the Central Contractor Register (CCR) and are a registered vendor with SuperQuote and the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE). As Hawaii's certified Z Corporation dealer for 3D Printing and scanning solutions, RAPID provides all technical support and training locally.

Description of Images

Braingears: The braingears are an interlocking set of gears that rotate together when any one of the gears are turned. The most interesting aspect of this model is that it is not assembled and despite the moving parts it actually prints out in one piece.

HWC_inside: This is a model of the proposed Hawaii Wildlife Center created by former Kealakehe High School Senior, Jonny Hasselmann. Hasselmann created the CAD model that generated this 3D print originally as a student project. This model was used by the Hawaii Wildlife Center organization to secure funding and receive final approval for its construction.

Samurai: This Samurai helmet is an original artwork created by RAPID's Chief Operating Officer, Russ Ogi. The inspiration behind the piece is the question, "If the Samurai had continued into modern times, what would their armor have evolved into?"

Vase: This model is an example of the color capability of the 3D printer. The design and the vase itself are created at the same time, layer by layer in the 3D printer. This unique process allows for the design to even be printed on the inside of the vase. Ikayzo - Design • Build • Localize | Web • Desktop • Mobile

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Comment by Ken Berkun on July 2, 2009 at 6:14pm
I think we all wish we had time, but let me know when I can move into one of your homes!
Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 2, 2009 at 6:14pm
Nice work Christopher! Thank you for sharing.
Comment by Ken Berkun on July 2, 2009 at 3:58pm
Home page for contour crafting: http://www.contourcrafting.org/
Comment by Ken Berkun on July 2, 2009 at 3:54pm
Speaking of building houses, did you see this?

http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=57
Contour Crafting: 3D House Printer

And an update:
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=900
Comment by Collin Kobayashi on July 2, 2009 at 2:01pm
I use 3D Printing as well. It works out well with the educational training program I have with students. They get to design objects in CAD and I have it printed out for them. They love it!
Comment by Alyssa K on June 12, 2009 at 2:16pm
Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P3ijLiqOKo
These guys made a 3D printer that prints sugar (sugar cubes, sugar spheres)
Comment by Kurt Sussman on June 9, 2009 at 6:26am
You know you can build your own, right? Check out the RepRap project. I don't think it can build a system with working gears in one pass, but it'd be fun to try!
Comment by Truman Leung on June 8, 2009 at 7:42pm
Interesting, Mitchel! Do you have pictures of ship models that you printed out?
Comment by Truman Leung on June 8, 2009 at 9:00am
It is exciting!

At one time font design was a "black art", with only elite designers privileged to create a font that "defined" visual culture (case in point: Helvetica). Now almost anyone can create a font.

Probably in the future, any person would be able to design their own furniture, cell phone or clothing using online software and print it out. I wonder how much a consumer 3D printer would cost? Can you imagine high schoolers showing up to school every week or so with a new cell phone they designed themselves and printed at home?

What if one day we had replicators ala Star Trek? Well, we'd have to have a virtually limitless supply of power to be able to willy-nilly convert energy into matter. Probably not in our lifetime. But exciting to think about!
Comment by Alyssa K on June 8, 2009 at 8:48am
I think so too Truman!
I kept thinking about this 3D printing technology all weekend. All the possibilities! The future of online shopping.. one 3D printer per household!

Imagine being able to print out IKEA furniture assembly parts at home.. I get so excited thinking about it! Makes me want to go into 3D design or product engineering or something.

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