POW :: Singer Lens

January 28th, 2013

Stereolithography - Fog Light Lens - GROWit 3D

Process: SLA

Material: Waterclear

Purpose: It’s a fog light lens (kind of important…)!


You drive it. We GROWit.

Have a need for custom parts? GROWit’s state-of-the-art additive manufacturing process can help make it happen. Visit the GROWit Upload Center for a free quote! Don’t have your idea completely fleshed out? GROWit can take any napkin sketch design and make it an actual product.

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Kickstarter Series: ChargeCard

December 17th, 2012

3D Printing and Kickstarter Series :: ChargeCard

Kickstarter and 3D Printing Series

By: Alicia Frye

GROWit prints magical, masterful, pure-awesomeful things every day. In this particular blog series, we highlight some of our Kickstarter customers: the leading innovators of consumer products. Today’s highlighted success? ChargeCard.


ChargeCard began in late 2011 with one simple idea: create a credit card sized USB charger/sync cable for the iPhone. Like most true great ideas in the hands of a solid team [Noah Dentzel, Adam Miller, and Brian Hahn], ChargeCard began its journey from concept to object.

The idea took form in early working prototyped versions made by the ChargeCard crew, but the models lacked essential design details (a nice way of saying they weren’t the prettiest of creations). In need of a beautiful, final form prototype for showcasing their product on Kickstarter, ChargeCard turned to 3D printing to help make a tangible product that would be sure to excite their potential backers.

Kickstarter - ChargeCard - Prototype Printed at GROWit 3D


With that, the 3D printing service bureau search began! ChargeCard wanted to both keep business local in California and work with top notch services for their project. GROWit was thrilled to be able to provide 1) parts made using Connex® 500 technology – a state-of-the-art, material jetting machine that allows two materials to be printed at once and be digitally blended, 2) the local factor, and 3) customer service from start to finish.

“When we got our first batch back from GROWit, we were really excited; they were better than we’d expected”, says Noah Dentzel. Within a matter of days, the prototypes made were delivered and ready for use to film ChargeCard’s Kickstarter video. The results? ChargeCard raised $161,000, exceeding their $50,000 goal by over 300%.

Kickstarter - ChargeCard - Prototype Printed at GROWit 3D

Made in California | for Micro USB and iPhone

“We’re already working on more designs for future products that we’ll have printed at GROWit…GROWit’s 3D printing capabilities have been an amazing resource for our company,” says Dentzel.

As a backer of ChargeCard, I get to experience the “backer side of things” as well as see the rapid prototyping / development side of their project in my current position at GROWit. There are several factors when one considers what defines a successful Kickstarter project. From all angles, ChargeCard not only offers a fantastic product, but also has an inherent understanding of how to create a brand that people can relate to and be proud of as a supporter.

Kickstarter - ChargeCard - Prototype Printed at GROWit 3D

ChargeCard is now in production (still local in Anaheim, CA) and the real ChargeCards will start coming off the line this month. You can reserve your microUSB and/or iPhone ChargeCard today on their website.

Way to go, ChargeCard! Can’t wait for delivery!


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A Vendor Driven World

March 26th, 2012

David G. - PresidentBy: David G. – President

Why would we say that 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) is a game changer for just-in-time manufacturing when a Mill or Lathe, which I will refer to as CNC even though additive technologies are also Computer Numerically Controlled, can cut all sorts of materials and can be a very versatile asset to an assembly line?  The first and probably most critical reason stems from the base definition of just-in time which we laid out in the Intro to “JIT” Additive Manufacturing.  Which said that it “is a strategy that strives to improve a business (any business, not just manufacturing) return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs. This is done by attaining the perfect quantity of raw material and producing the right quantities of product, in the right place, at the right time.”  If the just-in-time strategy is based on lowering this inventory and producing as close to the order date as possible, then how can a process that has to stock different size materials, or different materials for that matter, and rely on material providers getting materials into these specified sizes be considered the best for just-in-time?  Whether the raw material is in a block form or any other net shape, from my experience, there are typically still a lot of machining processes that need to be done by a vendor to get the part into its final assembly ready state.  Not to mention that this raw material usually can’t easily be used for a completely different product without a fairly lengthy reprocessing/reshaping procedure.

As a vendor, we adopted the mindset that additive manufacturing technologies were going to be more versatile for us than CNC equipment early on.  By doing this we have seen a tremendous efficiency increase in the number of customers we can service all at the same time, sometimes all on the same machine, something that is never really seen on a CNC machine.  We are able to do this based on three other fundamental reasons why Additive Manufacturing technologies are changing the way we think of Just-In-Time.  These include not having “tool paths” that we have to worry about crashing into other parts, the machine time is not typically increased linear when adding more parts onto a single build and we also have the capabilities on equipment like the Objet Connex to produce multiple material parts on the same build platform, something a CNC machine definitely can’t do.

Some CNC machines allow for quick replacement of the work piece via rotary or slide tables like that of the HAAS APC unit below.

Haas APC - Automatic Pallet Changer

But as you can see from the description, it still only allows for one part to be worked on and loaded at any single time.  With Additive Manufacturing Equipment, multiple parts can be loaded all at the same time.  The number of parts can differ, some machines are only efficient filling up “one layer” or in other terms not stacking parts on top of another, but still are able to fill up the full X and Y axis of the build envelope.  Other technologies such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) can efficiently “nest” parts overlapping each other as show below which can both increase the efficiency of each pass of the laser by allowing it to sinter multiple parts, but also allows the equipment to run in more of a Lights Out environment on more customer projects, a vendors dream manufacturing environment.


In being able to increase the efficiency of the Additive Manufacturing “solidification method”, i.e. the laser or print head etc. the effective time it takes to produce one part exponentially goes down, helping to get the product out the door Just-in-Time.

As CNC equipment continues to improve and become more efficient, the ability to “nest” parts becomes less of a competitive part of redefining Just-In-Time, but something that CNC machines will most likely never be able to compete with Additive Technologies on is the Material Inventory side.  All additive technologies work with base materials that can be used to create any shape, size or complexity part that the user wants.  It allows a vendor to stock much less material and not have to worry about getting a block of material at the minimal size just-in-time for producing the specified part.  Some Additive Technologies even allow for the recycling of unused material right back into the machine, chocking one more win up for Additive Manufacturing in the battle for Just-In-Time.

A great successful example of this ability to better control and use inventory more efficiently is the Objet Connex technology.  When first released in 2008, the technology was already revolutionary by being able to produce more material properties on separate parts than originated in the two cartridges loaded in the machine such as a shore 85 and 90 A from a shore 60 A and 83 D base material.  But then just by tweaking the way in which material was being deposited, a user can now produce up to 16 different materials with different properties just by using a shore 27 A and 83 D base material, seen below.

Multi Material Polyjet

One of these materials being a shore 60 A material that is stronger than the original 60 A base material, still available for single material machines.  This has allowed vendors such as us to completely remove the 60 A material from our inventory while still producing parts with improved material characteristics.  The true epitome of reducing inventory while increasing production and meeting the base definition of Just-In-Time, all at the same time.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our next insight on how Additive Manufacturing is changing Just-In-Time from the Manufacturers’ (O.E.M.) perspective.