Big Ass Fans in Lexington Kentucky is utilizing cutting-edge additive manufacturing technology to design, test, and produce their overhead ceiling fans. Thanks to 3D printing, they are able to research the performance of their product and iterate on multiple designs to produce better quality parts at a faster pace than ever before.
Designer Michael Smith with the workhorse Pro2 Plus printers.
Accelerate Product Development
Each printer puts in about 2,000 hours of work per year—equivalent to the hours worked by a full-time human employee.”
During the design phase, the team uses their spacious Pro2 Plus 3D printers to print various parts such as: jigs & fixtures, mold masters, functional prototypes, and occasional end-use parts. In traditional production, these types of R&D parts would require machining our outsourcing from 3rd party suppliers.
With the Raise3D Pro2 Plus, the speed, material compatibility, and large build volume allows for production and testing in-house.
“The company has found that testing early with 3D-printed prototypes has improved designs and helps expedite time to market for new products.”
On-site production allows for greater control and detailed precision in the final product. Once the designs have been tested and become prototypes, they have already seen several variations made through the data that was gathered. Additionally, producing on-site significantly decreases the cost and timeframe associated with traditional outsourcing.
It’s from here that the R&D department will forward the final design to be 3D printed to validate the model for its production run.
Utilizing additive manufacturing tools like the Raise3D Pro2 Plus has allowed manufacturers like Big Ass Fans to refine their manufacturing process.
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3D-Printed Prototypes at Big Ass Fans: Iterate and Validate