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Roland Introduces a 3D Printer for Rapid Prototyping

(November 2014) posted on Thu Dec 04, 2014

The new monoFab series of compact fabrication tools allows designers to test models in the initial stages of production.

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By Eileen Fritsch

At the 2014 SGIA Expo, Roland DGA showcased its first additive 3D printer (the ARM-10). Targeted to industrial designers, engineers, educators, students, and high-level makers and hobbyists, Roland’s ARM-10 uses a Digital Light Processing (DLP) layered projection system to build models by sequentially curing layers of resin from a resin tray.

The ARM-10 is part of Roland’s new monoFab series of compact fabrication tools for rapid prototyping. The other device in the series, the SRM-20, is a 3D subtractve milling machine that can mill a variety of prototyping materials, including acrylic, ABS, wood, and modeling wax. With the ARM-10, industrial designers can validate a design in the initial stages of production. Prototypes milled on the SRM-20 enable designers to check the feel and weight of materials that are similar to the final deliverables.

“The monoFab series desktop fabrication tools are the culmination of over 25 years of experience in 3D milling,” says Rachel Hammer, 3D product manager for Roland DGA. “By combining the capabilities of these advanced rapid prototyping machines, users can select the best method for their workflow, from concept to production.”

When asked whether 3D printers might someday be practical for printing awards, promotional products, and dimensional signage, Hammer says it’s possible, “But at present the size (print area) and cost of these devices, as well as the cost of the materials, limit their use for these types of applications. Other machines (such as Roland’s larger MDX-540 milling machine) offer larger workspaces, cost less, and are better suited for creating awards and dimensional signage.”

Even so, at least one creative agency has already considering the potential to use 3D printers for award printing. The Rethink creative agency posted a parody video on YouTube entitled “The Agency with the Most Awards in the World.” They point out that many creative agencies are wondering, “How can we be the first ones to win national and international awards for using 3D printing?” As the video demonstrates, the creative pros at Rethink skipped the part about trying to win awards for ideas using 3D printers, and just printed the awards themselves. Their office shelves are now full of 800+ hand-painted gold and silver statuettes from some of the world’s most prestigious creative competitions.

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