The power of a physical representation of your product is in the tangible communication of your idea to collaborators, stakeholders and clients. A concept model is your vision made real that evokes excitement and facilitates feedback. There is no better way to evaluate the merits of a new product design than to bring it to life as a physical concept model.
Often low cost and quick to produce, 3D printed concept models can look and feel like the final product. With accurate finishing that elevates your part’s aesthetics, a 3D printed model is an ideal solution for presenting new product offerings to the marketplace. Early in the design process or right before market introduction, concept models serve marketing programs like photoshoots for ad creative or promotional samples for tradeshows and sales efforts.
Product development has improved greatly with 3D printing. Product teams can prove out their next designs in full-detail by utilizing 3D printing for rapid prototyping. 3D printing allows designers to filter through ideas and incorporate design changes swiftly as the product is developed. The benefit of rapid prototyping with 3D printing is the fast turnarounds, with some parts building in a few hours. There is also unparalleled design freedom with 3D printing, which allows for a consolidation of multi-part assemblies; with 3D printing, a concept model can be built as one piece, saving time and money on assembly processes.
Stratasys Direct offers several 3D printing technologies ideal for concept models.
PolyJet technology has the unique advantage of multi-material builds that combines rigid and flexible materials for true-to-product cosmetics and feel. PolyJet also prints in full color, removing the need for post-build dying, painting or decaling. Parts can be built with PolyJet at a very fine resolution (at minimum .0006 microns), creating cosmetic parts right off the machine. The incredible aesthetics possible with PolyJet makes it an ideal technology for photoshoot models and displays.
FDM is an ideal technology for larger concept models that need additional durability. The process utilizes robust thermoplastics and builds on the largest build platform available in 3D printing, making it a great choice for large concept models that may be handled frequently, like on a tradeshow floor.
At Stratasys Direct, we offer a unique near-hollow build method, known as ID-light or sparse-fill, with both FDM and Stereolithography (SL). Building parts with this method allows for printing of large, rigid and accurate geometries at only 1/12th the weight and in much less time than it would take to make a solid version of the part. SL components built with this method have an ideal paint surface for cosmetic finishing. FDM sparse-filled parts have a thin shell that encases an inner scaffolding-life structure for strong, lightweight models. These large concept models can be moved and shipped with ease, making marketing logistics simpler.
Olympia Entertainment needed to drum more attention and positive momentum on their ambitious project – The District Detroit, a 50-block revitalization of downtown Detroit. To gain more support, Olympia Entertainment and their architectural design agency Zoyes Creative Group utilized Stratasys Direct to build the centerpiece of their The District Detroit Preview Center. The multi-media demonstration needed two large 3D printed scale models – the upcoming Little Caesar’s Arena and the surrounding district.
The detailed, intricate models were created with FDM, and included light columns, more than 20,000 individual people in their seats at the arena and huge sections of the arena up to 40 inches in length. The overall scale model of the District turned out to be an incredible sales tool. With a goal to sell all of the arena’s suites in six months, they superseded expectations by selling out in 40 days.
Tom Wilson, the CEO of Olympia Entertainment, said about the successful model: “You can always look at a rendering and you kind of get a feeling for how it is going to look, but it really doesn’t have the chance to come alive until you can put yourself and your clients in it. There’s telling the story, and then there’s being part of the story. When you see the model and the detail, the city comes to life.”