Friday, 24 February 2012

The Basics Of 3D Printing

3D printing is a very fascinating form of manufacturing technology in my opinion. This technology allows for the creation of virtually anything! This form of manufacturing revolves around CAM, or computer aided manufacturing. This means that if a design can be created on a computer, it can be carried out and manufactured through the system within a 3D printer. Quite a few intricate parts can be designed through 3D software. Very organic curves, shapes, and hollow spaces can come about through this technology. Unlike machining, mold manufacturing, and other traditional forms of manufacturing, 3D printing creates products and pieces layer by layer - one small section at a time. These layers can be as small as 12 microns in some situations. The diameter of a human hair is around the size of 40 microns. That is pretty small!

The levels of detail are huge throughout 3D printing. Sure, there is quite a bit of variation, but some seriously detailed products can come about through 3d printing. Like I mentioned earlier, computer aided manufacturing systems within 3D printers can create models from computer designs, and computer designs can include a wide variety of intricate shapes.

Remember how I mentioned that 3D printing creates products layer by layer? This layer by layer process allows for the creation of super intricate, curved, and organic pieces. Hollow spaces, functional parts, and phenomenal pieces like a ball within a ball can come into existence through the technology known as 3D printing.

What does this mean in the manufacturing world? Well, we can produce virtually anything through 3D printing. If it can be designed on a computer, it can likely be produced. These productions can be made in seriously high levels of details.

Another interesting aspect of 3D printing would be the variety of materials that exist within this technology. There are quite a few material types to choose from; in fact, there are over 60! There is usually a specific material or two offered for almost every need in the manufacturing world. For mechanical parts, materials such as stainless steel, titanium, or Inconel exist to help. These metals can hold their own when withstanding heart, and offer great strength. Materials such as full color sandstone offers full color (believe it or not). Some artists have created intricate designs of character models. These models can feature an actual face! 3D scanning has been used to intercept the dimensions of faces and body parts, and 3D printing has been used to replicate these parts. Pretty serious right?

Precious metals also exist throughout 3D printing. Materials such as gold, platinum, sterling silver, and fine silver exist in this manufacturing world. Wax casting is also used quite a bit throughout the world of 3D printing. This technology essentially involves the creation of highly detailed wax pieces, and these pieces are then used within casting to create jewelry, and small detailed pieces.

Overall, there is quite a bit that 3D printing can do within the manufacturing world. There are tons of possibilities! Like I mentioned earlier, if a model can be created on a computer, it likely can be created on a 3D printer - out of one of over 60 materials!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Surviving Economic Crisis in Yacht Building

Yacht building industry is struggling with economic crisis all over the world. Every related business is trying cost cutting ass a happy medium to avert decrease of profit and keep adequate financial results.

The main question arising is how to do that? Decreasing workers salary is out of question as in effect company could lose most skilful employees, which would probably lead to worsening product quality, losing clients and market share. Moreover the biggest competition being far east industry European minimal wage laws would not make it possible to get salaries low enough to compete with them.

A lot of western yards try to outsource production to less developed countries. In the beginning difference in salaries and worse labor environment allow to produce cheaper thus generating more profit. Unfortunately with time product quality is dropping significantly or workshops demand more money, as life expectancies start equaling between both countries. What is even more dangerous company can loose clients who wish to cut off the middleman and buy directly from the yard.

So how to survive? Technology seems to be the only reasonable option. As cutting salaries is not the best idea, replacing workers with machines seems to work pretty well. The quality is as high as we planned, tolerances can be smaller allowing to decrease material wastage, they are never tired or sick and the speed of production is increased. As always there are some drawbacks. Better educated thus more expensive staff will be required, however in lower quantity. Initial capital is also much higher so the investment risk rises. And there must be production going on - without constant sales upkeep can become a serious problem.

Time for some practical solutions. Lets start with design/naval architecture/engineering office.

First of all a good project management program is essential. It will allow to plan and execute complicated projects while still having control over amount of work already done and keeping the deadlines. It will cut cost by allowing just in time production management, estimating labor-consumption and checking if workers speed is adequate. Easy workers accounting is a positive side effect. There is a lot of free applications ( such as Navalplan) as well as paid ones available on the internet - only open mind of the board is required.

Second thing a good CAD system is required uniform throughout the company. And good does not necessary mean expensive. A lot of very expensive software is bought because some years ago there was no real alternative. But this changed now. You can have a reasonable 2D/3D software for about 1000EUR/license with many available plugins ( for example Rhinoceros 3D) including specialized marine plugins and workshop support software. Some of them are of course paid, some are free. Why CAD system is so important? Because on the shop floor nobody should have to think. Documentation should show every information that is needed, everything should be in its place and within tolerance. 3D design helps to avoid many mistakes and errors and in fact speed the design process making it cheaper as well. The necessary thing is design process automation. Automatic generation of 2D drawing from 3D model is essential. Many programs support makros or even scripting ( for example IronPython scripting in Rhino) providing a tool to make easy, repetitive and time consuming processes take several seconds requiring only several input values (for example linesplan creating script for Rhinoceros can save multiple working hours executing in less than a minute). Creating models and details database while from first look appearing as a waste of time saves significant amounts of work an time. Automation has another advantage - less errors.

Third thing calculations software. If company is making designs from scratch it is essential. It saves hundreds of manhours and nobody is going to deny that. Hydrostatics, stability, strength, stress analysis, EU certification all require a lot of time that can be saved if proper software is used. Standalone or plugin does not matter as long as it gives reliable results.

There is a lot of places on the shop floor where money can be saved.

First of all is keeping tolerances and guarding consistency with design. Changes on this stage are rather costly and require wide check with design drawings and corrections. The best practice is to make everything well in the design stage and then just execute the plan. Giving information about changes and feedback to design office if absolutely essential. A lot of time and cash can be lost if changes are made only on the shop floor, mainly because further design details will need to be corrected or prohibit the intended change to be carried out thus requiring reversing of the works already done.

Tolerances. Very often builders forget about tolerances, especially in early building stages when keeping them is most important. If there are big inadequacies made in beginning nothing will fit in later. Big structure dimensions tolerances cause using CNC machines obsolete. There is no sens to make a 0.1mm tolerated ply cut when someone will have to fit it with angle grinder. So tolerances should be kept low from the beginning.

Using machines better then mentioned before angle grinder is also very important. First of all quality. There is no way superior quality can be achieved using hand-held tools. This is 21st century CNC milling machines are nothing fancy. If company cannot afford one yet the job should be outsourced. A lot of carpentry workshops have one so finding a supplier shouldn't be a problem. It won't be much more expensive, and it will allow to keep the tolerances low and give a good finish effect. If you are working with steel - laser cut or waterjet is an answer. It would be grate to make molds with CNC machines but it gets quit costly for now.

For composite boats vacuum bagging is minimum, infusion is right. Better quality, higher strength, lower weight, lower time required, lower emissions, better working environment and good marketing possibilities makes it worth. Significant amount of time and funds must be put in to it to make it work.

Measurement techniques were always a problem in yachtbuildng due to small enclosed spaces and a lot of curvatures. Regular tape measure wont make the job as not many edges are straight. Total station can be quite effective in early stages of construction, however later it will become obsolete. Photogrametry is promising in conjunction with right CAD system.

To sum up there is a lot of techniques to keep your production costs low on every stage, so if company is open minded and willing to invest in new technology it can survive even with low labor cost far east competition.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Master Clock's Occupation - Provide Accuracy and Organization

The word master clock insinuates many things for an individual who has never heard of the device. For one, the fact that there is a "master" clock suggests that there is a clock more superior than the clock we all know that hangs on the walls of our building. The word master also suggests control, meaning it plays a necessary part in an elaborate system. Many will gather this much about the master clock from just hearing its name, but what does the master clock actually do?

The master clock only cares about one thing-providing accuracy and organization for the facility in which it's installed. Take schools for example. The organization required to get students in and out of class, back and forth from busses, and to and from sports events and standardized testing procedures is highly dependent on the school's master clock. Without the master, the school's wall clocks would not stay synchronized and accurate, the bells would not ring on schedule, and many other functions strictly reliant on accurate time would not be properly executed.

Hospitals function in a similar way with the master clock. If accurate and consistent time displays are not present on every single clock in the facility, disarray can occur. Nurses may distribute medication at the wrong time. Doctors could show up late to surgery. When these professionals receive the wrong time from a clock they've preconceived to be correct, accidents happen and mistakes are made. The master's main function in the hospital is to make sure those time displays are consistent and employees within the building are not under false pretenses of which clocks are correct and which are not.

The corporate offices of America operate in a similar fashion as well. Here in the States, business is fast-paced and on-point. Professionals are always on the move, especially when in a sales or marketing position. Meetings are scheduled and expected to occur on-time, which is even more important when traveling to meet with other professionals external from the company. When incorrect time displays are scattered among the office, business men and women are put at risk for showing up late to these meetings. They might not get out the door fast enough to meet with some clients in the next town over. Meetings internal to the company don't start on-time due to the late stragglers that show up five minutes late-all because the clock in the lunch room said they had an extra five minutes available before the meeting. In this case, the master clock's ability to synchronize all those clocks in the office is of unparalleled importance.

Without a doubt, the master clock's occupation to keep accuracy and organization in the aforementioned facilities is beyond important. The professionals that move in and out of these facilities every day, expecting to be able to perform their job correctly and professionally are significantly hindered when the clocks don't match. So, when hearing the word "master clock", the information gathered from just the name, while providing an idea of its function, shows only a fraction of the overall description and meaning as described above.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

How Smart Glass Works

Technology has changed the way that we function. We see this in our daily lives with the use of cellular and solar technology. We can see this in our architecture as well. With the use of smart glass we can create new multi-functional spaces. There has always been a high value on space; what is this new technology and how can it help you maximize your world?

Smart Glass: more than a pane of glass this is a structure in which liquid crystal molecules are surrounded by electroconductive foil and suspended between two thin glass panes. The foil controls how the crystal molecules are arranged. The crystal molecules can be set so that they either let light pass through the two panes of glass or they appear opaque.

Not only is this new glass amazing to look at, it is functional in your home or office. This technology can be used in many ways to increase your quality of life.

    * In windows to eliminate the use of curtains and lower the dust mite count in your home leaving you with cleaner air.
    * Electrically switchable for ease of different settings.
    * Low-maintenance so you can spend more time enjoying your home than cleaning it.
    * Maximize space while maintaining the ability to make a public space private.

In an Office: You can have the look of an open office while still being able to have private meetings. Utilize smart glass technology as walls for cubicles which can remain transparent when not in use and quickly turn opaque when the need for discretion is called for.

At Home: Use smart glass walls to frame a dining room. You can look out at your backyard on nice evenings. However, if you are looking to add privacy from the neighbors you can do so with the touch of a button. In a family room a smart glass wall can create a window when translucent or projection screen when opaque.

For Special Collections: If you have a favorite collection house it in a case made of glass. You will be able to see your treasured items when the glass is transparent and protect them from deterioration by the sun by making the glass opaque. In this application your collection and the glass become art.

Smart glass technology is part of the new era of architecture, chosen for both the efficiency of its use and its design aesthetic.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Computer Experts Expose Security Flaws But Experience Backlash

Computer experts have long known that poor digital security can result in identity theft, credit card fraud, and a number of other crimes. The news that a person or organization needs to make changes to the way computer security is handled isn't always met with a good reception, however.

While these experts offer good quality advice, many people simply aren't interested in taking it. Here's a look at some of the things technology experts say that individuals and companies should do to protect their information, plus a little of the backlash they experience for giving that advice.

Protective Programs

Individual users who protect their computers with anti-malware programs are about 50 percent less likely to suffer from identity or credit card theft. The protective effect is greatest for people who are running anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware programs on their PCs, with protection levels falling for people who ran only one or two of these programs, according to criminologists at Michigan State University.

About 15 percent of the people in this study had experienced identity theft related to computer security in the year before the survey. Protective programs aren't just for individual users, either. Small businesses and organizations put their information at risk if they don't bother to install protective software on every computer.

Safe Online Behavior

Downloading movies and music comes with a risk of being sued for copyright, but it could also expose a person's private information to unscrupulous users. In the MSU study, people who were more likely to download pornographic images or pirated material also had a much higher risk of identity theft. This is because the "deviant sites" that host this material are more likely to carry malicious software. By avoiding these practices, users can protect themselves.

Examining "Convenience" Measures

The same programs and features that make logging into websites and performing other simple actions much easier could also be dangerous to user identities. In 2010, for instance, a group of computer experts exposed a flaw in the AT&T website. Originally designed to make it easier to log into the site via the iPad, this problem also made it easy to get the email addresses of AT&T site users.

Both large companies and individual users should take a hard look at the convenience features they use to ensure that they're not risking valuable information. Individuals who are concerned about this problem can avoid using these convenience features or install script blockers and similar protective browser add-ons.


Computer professionals who point out these basic facts don't always get a warm reception. In the AT&T case, the independent expert group that pointed out the iPad login flaw were actually accused of criminal behavior. The Federal Bureau of Investigation even opened its own case on the incident, while AT&T accused the group of maliciously hacking and exploiting their site. While disclosing vulnerabilities is standard practice in the computer industry, the people responsible for the vulnerabilities don't always take it well.

This holds true for individuals, too. Private users who are told that they're putting their information at risk by refusing to run anti-malware programs are often resistant to the extra cost or inconvenience of this software. That's despite the strong evidence that loss of personal data could cost them a lot more. The embarrassment of having done something wrong is often strong enough that people, whether they're personal users or representatives of a corporation, blame the messenger.

Listening to technology experts on the subject of security is still a smart choice, however. By taking a few simple precautions, businesses, organizations and private citizens can all help protect personal information and reduce the risk of identity theft and financial loss.