Australian company Centor achieves 99% cost savings with Markforged

Considering the usage rates that we were seeing from Centor, I approached Markforged and Centor to see if they would like to write a case study and they were happy to oblige.

Case Study: Functional Rapid Prototyping

Challenge
To validate components and assembly designs that had high machining costs and unreliable outsourcing results.

Solution
Consistently high-quality, robust 3D printed parts to provide a more efficient method of producing functional prototypes.

Results
Lightening-fast iterations on product designs and validation checks of form, fit and basic function by 3D printing prototypes in-house.

Background

Centor has a marvellous product range, including custom integrated doors for residential and commercial buildings. Every unique design requires a proof of concept to be built. Three in-house machinists used to spend all their time fabricating components in low volumes, with additional components being outsourced. This approach led to inconsistent quality, lengthy production times, and excess costs. Seeking an alternative, Group Manager of Product and Engineering David Chappell took a chance on Markforged and was immediately impressed: “It’s the first time I’ve ever actually seen a 3D printer do what it promised in a real-life design studio factory like ours. It just runs.”

While his team of experienced manufacturers initially expressed doubt about integrating 3D printing in their workflow, they now run the printer almost 24/7. It enabled them to redirect machining bandwidth, iterate on designs, learn quickly from printed parts, and present compelling proofs of concepts to customers. This in-house efficiency “takes out one blockage to innovation”. Centor further optimised their production by printing jigs and weatherproof end-use parts. They will soon have a Markforged printer in each of their four factories across Australia, China, Poland, and the US.

Benefits

  • Form and Function
    Tight tolerances ensure that multiple components fit together perfectly and enable the prototype folding doors to function reliably.
  • Production On Demand
    Markforged’s cloud software allows Centor to easily translate their CAD designs into printed parts, with accurate time and cost estimates.
  • Complex Geometries
    Free from the constraints of subtractive machining, 3D printed parts can be designed with complex geometries that improve product function.

 

Fliteboard turns to 3DSL and Markforged for eFoil components

Fliteboard

Designed, developed and built in Australia under the leadership of company Founder and CEO David Trewern, the Fliteboard eFoil is an innovative creation from an innovative company, so it’s no surprise to find them using innovative methods of design and manufacturing in its construction.

Critical amongst these technologies is 3D printing, and Fliteboard has worked exclusively with the Markforged Onyx Pro 3D printer over the past 12 months with the support of 3DSL to swiftly and economically create essential components for the eFoil.

Fliteboard’s eFoil launch film

The Markforged Onyx has the capability to print in strong carbon fibre-filled Nylon and, if necessary, continuous fibreglass strands for extra strength, Fliteboard has been so impressed with the tolerances and dimensional stability of the 3D prints that they have used them in critical sealing applications with large o-rings and to couple critical components such as the electric motor and gearhead.

Fliteboard - propulsion exploded

Fliteboard’s eFoil assembly, 3D printed on the Markforged Onyx Pro 3D printer

Using 3D printing technology has saved the company both time and money – parts would otherwise need to be fabricated from metal or expensive composites with high cost and long lead times. In total, there are more than 100 unique parts in Fliteboard’s Markforged Eiger software library that have been 3D printed, tested, refined, and used. The company has 3D printed parts, both small and large, now going into production in either machined Aluminium, machined plastic, injection moulded plastic, or composite.

A glimspe of Fliteboard’s Markforged Eiger 3D content library

The Markforged Onyx Pro has allowed Fliteboard to:

  1. Rapidly prototype and test-fit parts with a very high-quality finish. These parts have been used for photography, trials and trade show purposes.
  2. Create functional working parts which are strong, flexible and survive well in a harsh marine environment.
  3. Create strong and stiff parts with continuous fibreglass, including working propellers that are subject to significant forces (via a 10 HP equivalent motor).

3D printing is now a well-proven technology, used by major manufacturers in industries as diverse as automotive and health. For smaller, nimble businesses looking to move quickly into a market the opportunities offered by the technology are clear, as is having the support and assistance of industry experts such as 3DSL.

3DSL have provided fantastic support to us,” said Mr Trewern. “They are always responsive in sending out new materials, providing advice, and in some cases providing express printing services using their own Markforged 3D printers when 3D printing needs go beyond what we can achieve in-house.

Find out more about the eFoil by visiting the Fliteboard website and watch some stunning videos on their YouTube channel.