Change is Gonna Come – 3D Printing and On-Demand Manufacturing

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Change is Gonna Come – 3D Printing and On-Demand Manufacturing

In many ways, 3D Printing and On-Demand Manufacturing are one and the same. Both mark a shift in the way products are produced and, thanks to the advances in 3D printing, on-demand manufacturing is now poised to change the way we get our hands on the products we want.

I’m not sparking a new debate when I say in part that overproduction leads to overconsumption and it has a negative effect on the environment. Slowly but surely we continue to deplete our planet of non-renewable resources and polluting the fundamentals that we need to survive.

3D printing presents a more sustainable proposition and I’ve designed a product to test it. Loom Launcher is one of the first 3D printed products that can be custom-made on-demand and has been designed to be cost competitive compared to similar products made using the old industrial model of mass-producing and distributing products. It’s a virtual product from conception right through to production and entirely managed by digital systems up until it’s prepared for delivery.

In my article ‘Printing 3D Guns – Bringing 3D Printing to The Forefront’ I talk about how 3D printing is already changing the way products and components are made in many industries from healthcare to car manufacturing. Interestingly, automotive giant Ford, the legacy of Henry Ford who is considered the forefather of mass production, is now using 3D printing in the design of cars at its Technical Centre in the UK – a stark contrast to the methods of mass production his name has become synonymous with.

On-demand manufacturing decreases the lead time between concept and product and reduces the upfront costs for the designer or manufacturers. Plus, as products are only produced just in time for when a customer places an order there are minimal up-front risks. Dubbed as a “personal factory”, the technology is democratising digital life and this hasn’t escaped the attention of online marketplaces like Amazon. The e-commerce giant is said to be hoping to cash in on the advances in 3D printing technology to bring customers whatever they want as soon as they want it. According to a patent application Amazon have filed in the US they’re hoping to release trucks with on-board 3D printers that will take online orders and create the ordered product either on the way to or at the customer’s door! This could save them millions of dollars in storage facilities and, of course, stock.

In the eyes of the masses 3D printing is a very complex technology that is only accessible to computer geeks and product designers. Creating a three dimensional design? Getting access to a 3D printer? Choosing the right printing material? It’s actually far easier than it may appear. Even those with little to no experience in design or technology can now start printing objects in no time and 3D printing is more accessible than ever before.

The Loom Launcher is testament to this. It’s a 3D printed toy for kids and for the young-at-heart – but it’s also more than this. It’s a deliberate design attempt to make 3D printing more accessible to consumers and was done so by leveraging other digital democracies like crowdfunding and social networks.

3D printing and crowdfunding have a lot in common – both are innovations that are changing the way we look at the marketplace and both are vehicles for entrepreneurial freedom. They have bridged the gap between what people only ever dreamt of achieving and what they can now achieve – and all from the comfort of the cloud on their own computer.

So it’s no wonder that crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are behind lots of 3D printing projects – read my recent article ‘My story – of Passion, Printing and Prototypes’ where I share my journey going from frustrated designer to Kickstarter and crowdfunding advocate.

Advances in 3D printing have made the technology accessible to anyone who wants to turn an idea into something tangible, translating their vision into something that they can touch, play with and even sell. On-demand manufacturing is set to make production more sustainable. While we could expect to see more products created, the result is just the opposite as it creates a marketplace where products are produced to order – slashing lead times, with less risk and cost but with more choice and freedom for the consumer, with only products that are in demand produced to fulfill actual needs as they arise.

My Story – of Passion, Printing, and Prototypes.

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Here we share our work, thought pieces, and news.

Contrary to popular belief 3D printing isn’t actually the new kid on the block, with many still nervous of a future found in sci-fi novels. 3D printing processes have actually been around since the late 70’s with the first commercial 3D printer invented by Charles ‘Chuck’ Hull in 1984. That’s just 12 months after the first mobile phone became commercially available. Yet, today, over 90% of all Americans own a mobile phone but I can’t even find any statistics for the number of US citizens who owns a 3D printer for personal use. How many people do you know with one? Exactly.

I, on the other hand, bought my first 3D printer back in 2002 and have spent the last two decades or so running JDi Design – an industrial design and product development service provider. In a nutshell, I take an idea for a product and turn it into a reality for clients in a variety of sectors from medical to industrial and 3D printing has been an integral tool.

 This business is centered around my passion for design and environmental sustainability. I firmly believe that if we want to combat the negative effects of industrial production the environmental issues need to be addressed at the design stage. But this is expensive for the typical corporate client who is driven by their bottom line and is dependent on maintaining their existing investments instead of exploring more sustainable options.

 I was convinced that there had to be a better way. I took on some high risk projects with some high risk clients but after a series of unpaid invoices, and unforeseen circumstances, it cost me my life savings and with it somefaith in the corporate world.

 But all was not lost, still convinced that there had to be a better way to do business and the chance to, as Benjamin Franklin said, ‘do well by doing good’, I started analyzing crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to leverage design and help grow decentralized digital democracies.

I must also mention the time I sat around a campfire with my brother-in-law and he started talking about how cool the ‘ultimate cooler’ would be. We threw out ideas whilst we drank beers, everything from speakers and lights, even dry ice puffing out in a cool, dramatic cloud as you open it to the sound of heavenly angels singing – pretty much everything but brewing the beer itself ( this would make a good Kickstarter perhaps?!) Then one day, months after our fireside brainstorming session I noticed that a guy had indeed come up with the ‘Coolest Cooler’ and was raising funds for it on Kickstarter. Kitted out with speakers, lights, the ability to charge your iPhone, and many more ideas above and beyond our own fantasy cooler. Low and behold, Ryan Grepper, the brainchild behind the ‘Coolest Cooler’ , has now raised over $13 million in funding on Kickstarter – $13 million!

 Ryan’s story just showed me the true power of the people. Sat around a boardroom in the corporate world, the idea, and many like it, would probably have been dismissed quicker than you can actually say ‘Coolest Cooler’. But sometimes the craziest ideas are the coolest (literally in this case) and capture the imagination of the public in a way that not even the most experienced market analysts can predict.

 And it’s no secret that sometimes the best ideas are the simplest too. Another Kickstarter campaign to produce a bluetooth controller for a paper aeroplane managed to raise over $1 million – a few bucks of which was my own donation and I went on to buy a few as gifts which were well received to say the least.

 I was more than suitably impressed and inspired so embarked on my own 3D printing Kickstarter journey. My kids were playing with a wooden rubber band toy and it got me to thinking. How would this look if made with 21st century technology? And, what do you know — 27 prototypes and many handcrafted mouse-clicks later, the Loom Launcher was born.

 The Loom Launcher is now the world’s first 3D printed, mechanical, multi-shot, self-priming, rubber-band launcher, printed in one go. I’ve created 6 different designs so far including: “The Princess”, the wand-like “Wizard”, the “Dirty Harry”, and the sleek “Spy”.

 It also has the added bonus of making use of all those loom bands left lying around the house that only last year kids just HAD to have. They adorned the shelves of stores across the country only for its fickle audience to move on to the next must-have craze, leaving the loom bands in the lurch. So in the spirit of sustainability, the Loom Launcher revitalises your leftover loom bands. It’s made on-demand, never over produced, only made for those who want them and, being 100% Nylon, it is recyclable.

 The Loom Launcher, whilst hours of fun and bringing a new lease of life to the much-loved elastic band launcher, is more than just the product or even the idea. It’s my homage to a new era of on-demand production and pushing the limits of additive manufacture, it’s an attempt at dipping my toe into the power and potential of crowdfunding.

 I plan to write more about 3D printing and the power of crowdfunding in my upcoming article ‘Change is Gonna Come, 3D Printing and On-Demand Manufacturing’.

JDi Design Wins an IDEA Award

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JDi Design Wins an IDEA Award

The TazzyTotes™ Produce Bag received the  Bronze IDEA Eco Design Award for its eco-chic solution for the instore produce bags.  JDi Design’s winning design embodies ecological principles at every stage of its lifecycle.  It also features a unique bin label and an erasable marker for writing names or bulk bin numbers with a non-toxic dry erase pen, eliminating the need for instore sealing and tagging.

Vancouver, Canada, JDi Design Inc., a design firm pioneering eco. product development has been recognised for it’s commitment to design excellence with the award of the prestigious International Design Excellence Award from the IDSA. (Industrial Designers Society of America)

The produce bag is part of a modular system designed around everyday shopping needs, from the moment you go shopping until you finally reach home.

The design team, Adrian van Wijk, Sandy Lam, Sam Richards and Jamie McDonald from Vancouver, British Columbia, focused on identifying gaps in the emerging trend to use reusable bags. The result is an international ecological and economic success. “It is very satisfying to see the thought and care we put into a seemly simple product receiving international recognition as well as market place success.” says Adrian van Wijk, Design Director at JDi Design. The tazzyTotes products have been on the market since June 2009.

About the JDi Design Inc.

JDi Design is a group of design professionals incorporated in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. JDi Design is distinguished by applying creative thinking to the user-focused design of products and services. JDi Design provides eco. product design and development services taking ideas from concept to production in a variety of industries.

  Environmental Statement

JDi Design is committed to environmental sustainability and strives to harmonize its clients’ business objectives with consumer needs in balance with nature.

About the IDEA.

The International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) is a yearly award partly sponsored by Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), and is dedicated to fostering business and public understanding of the importance of industrial design excellence to the quality of life and economy.

About the TazzyTotes

The TazzyTotes™ distribute an eco-chic range of modular shopping tote solutions designed around your everyday shopping needs, the core product idea was born from a desire to do the right thing while at the same time, getting rid of all the plastic bags!

 

JDi Design Awarded the Prestigious “red dot” Award

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Here we share our work, thought pieces, and news.

JDi Design Awarded the Prestigious “red dot” Award

The Orgafile filing cabinet is a first in the industry to provide typical fixed-unit cabinet features including: an anti tilt mechanism, a general cabinet lock and a single module safety catch in a contemporary post consumer extruded wooden filing module. This unique modular filing system brings a breath of “clean” air with its style, feasibility and modularity to an established market.

JDi Design Inc., a design firm pioneering eco product development has received the prestigious red dot Design Award for their innovative “Eco, grow-as-you-go” Orgafile Modular Filing System designed for OrgaFile (Pty) Ltd. The red dot Awards are the largest and most renowned design competition in the world, presented annually by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Germany.JDi Design’s innovation in the Orgafile Modular Filing System proves that eco effective design for mass production is both sustainable and makes for good business. The jury of international renowned design experts awarded the Orgafile product with the red dot quality seal for design excellence. This recognition is received by a select few chosen from over 4,200 entries coming from 57countries.

The design team, Adrian van Wijk and Jamie McDonald from Vancouver, British Columbia, focused the early design research on sustainable production techniques.  Later working with Orgafile’s unique market insight the team sought to develop a design to solve the business problems of minimizing production infrastructure, providing value to the end user and leaving noticeably less of an environmental impact than competitive products.  “I am very satisfied with our design effort,” says Adrian van Wijk, Design Director at JDi Design. “Our green design solution has been recognized with best in class product design awards now, in both North America, Europe, and Africa.”   

About the JDi Design Inc.

JDi Design is a group of design professionals incorporated in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. JDi Design is distinguished by applying creative thinking to the user-focused design of products and services. JDi Design provides green product design and development services taking ideas from concept to production in a variety of industries.

Environmental Statement

JDi Design is committed to environmental sustainability and strives to harmonize its clients’ business objectives with consumer needs in balance with nature.

About Orgafile

Orgafile is in the business of offering the best solution for customers wanting to access their offline data/information effortlessly. Suitable for every home, suitable for every small or large office.

About red dot

With more than 12,000 submissions from more than 60 countries, the international “red dot design award” is the largest and most renowned design competition in the world.

JDi Design wins a “Best in Canada” Award.

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Here we share our work, thought pieces, and news.

JDi Design wins a “Best in Canada” Award.

Orgafile, an eco friendly modular filing cabinet designed by JDi Design of Vancouver BC,  has won the Best in Canada Design Award for product design.  The Best in Canada Design Competition is an annual award acknowledging outstanding achievements by Canadian designers.

 The Orgafile design challenge was to create a high quality, low cost, easy-to-use filing system.  The foundation of Orgafile is a modular, easily expandable, 2-drawer cabinet.  Customers buy the storage they need and then add more drawers as their filing needs grow.  By choosing a modular approach to the problem the consumers’ initial investment is minimized allowing them to ‘grow as they go’.

At the heart of the Orgafile design are 3 key patented features,  LinkFit, DrawerLock and TouchFit, all designed and developed by JDi Design.

LinkFit is a tool-free stack and click system that allows drawers to be added to a cabinet and secured by simply sliding them into position. 2 drawers becomes 3, 4 or more and a 5 drawer cabinet can be split into separate 2 and 3 drawer units. 

DrawerLock prevents the drawers of individual cabinet modules from opening until the cabinet has been fully assembled.

TouchFit is and anti-tilt locking system, which ensures that only one drawer can be opened at a time preventing the cabinet from tilting or toppling. 

Design for the environment was considered at every stage of the development process and Orgafile is proud to be a market leader in sustainable office furniture.  Drawer fronts and side panels are made from extruded wood, a product that requires no post-finishing like painting or varnishing and is available in variety of colors. It is made from 90% recycled post consumer wood fiber and 10% polyolefin and can be easily recycled. The product contains no harmful chemicals, VOC’s or urea formaldehyde.  The filing system is based on a standard German Alpha Numeric system which was optimized by JDi design to be more space efficient. in order to minimize the material needed for the cabinet and save valuable office space.   Steel components have been minimised.   All of these features help minimizes the product’s environmental impact.