Re: Universities etc "A Modest Proposal"

From: Brad Fox (
Date: Thu Mar 12 1998 - 21:52:35 EET


Since your response is getting some additional 'thread-time' I'd like to
respond to the entire group as I did to you personally:

You wrote:
>I find it a bit ironic that while many of you are complaining about
university >based services undercutting the market price for RP, my students
and I are >unable to afford RP. My students have been producing solids
models and STL >files. I would very much like to have their project's
produced, however we do >not have access to suitable RP equipment. We have
need of stereolithography, >fused deposition modeling, selective laser
sintering and Sanders models.

I then responded:
 As one who has followed, purchased, used and recommeded RP for 10 years
now, I desparately want to see it integrated into the Universities. I'd like
to see students having the opportunity to print out MOST of their solid
models they create. It's the ultimate "hand-in" of their assignments.

However, I think I'm looking at it a little differently. I want to see
students using "concept modeling" rather than what we traditionally call
'RP.' Not to say that higher end (RP) research should be halted (please!).
I am just hoping that some of you out there see the bigger picture. By this
I mean:

I fear we may be focusing too much on the higher end of RP (all the
discussion about the new CIBA resin). As it moves more toward 'Rapid
Manufacturer' we are forgeting about all the time designers/engineers spend
designing on CAD LEADING UP to the point where we say - "run a rapid
prototype." My reasearch shows that a majority of designer/engineers are NOT
accessing any RP until they are 70 to 90 percent complete with the project.
If we hope to dramatically reduce the time to market, then lets start
utilizing concept models in the first 70%. Gunther Kruse was right when he
said, "Too many companies have a blind spot to the strategic dimension of RP
technologies." Concept modeling is strategic.

To truely integrate this, it means a culteral change at companies. This is
the biggest battle - and this is where you Universities come in. It was the
Universities that played a crucial role in training students in CAD. These
young eager beavers graduated and changed the current thought toward CAD at
the companies they worked for. LIKEWISE, THEY NEED TO DO THE SAME WITH

Which is why I would encourage every University to change their own focus
abit. Keep up the hard core research in 'high end' RP, but start pumping
out engineers where concept modeling is like going to the bathroom - the
urge is there and you better act upon it!

Although Concept Modeling is fairly new, there are some good products out
there. 3D's Actua is fully networked and is VERY cost effective in running
thousands of parts. ZCorps' is very fast. Most of these machines can be
leased and operated (with material) for around $2,500 to $ 3,500 per month.
While that may seem like a lot, I believe that "lab fees" could cover most
or all of the cost. I would hope that you could garner industry to support
the remaining (just like industry has support the CAD training).

Well, that's my 'two cents' on this whole industry vs university thing. Does
any of this make sense?

Warmest Regards to All,

Brad Fox
Rapid Design Technologies

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