While 3D manufacture from CAD files are now becoming a widespread and dependable means of creating components or parts for complex assemblies, the technological principle has existed since 1986. That was when a Engineer named Chuck W. Hull raised a Patent in the United States entitled “apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by Stereolithography”, which went on to describe a process whereby a focused ultraviolet light source was concentrated on specific areas of a vat filled with liquid photopolymer. This caused rapid polymerisation of the material and allowed the manufacture of shapes within the medium.
Engineers are, by definition, inventive people, and from that initial design, others realized the possibilities and developed a slew of similar processes. However, regardless of whether they were being created from liquids or powder build up, models remained delicate against handling and dimensionally poor. 3D printing was seen as a quirky side-line to true manufacturing processes. Fun, but not much use in the real world. Step forward a couple of decades and 3D manufacture seems not only limitless in possibilities, but is a reliable, and cost-effective means of creating almost anything we want!
Prepare.zone recognizes that both 3D models are an essential part of a project and, in line with the use of units, they allow everyone on the project to understand exactly what is being referred to. Prepare.zone is able to take STL files, which are supported by many CAD and software viewer packages and represents the outside surfaces of the part using the standard three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system (X, Y, & Z) in terms of positive numbers, using arbitrary units and without scale information.
STL files can be added to prepare.zone by accessing the Manage > Equipment menu area and filling out all the required information boxes to describe the part or equipment. At the foot of the page is a button that allows you to select and STL file – up to a file size of 20 MB – and insert it in the entry. With all the other information regarding size, color and units of measure for the part being in the descriptive section, you then have all the information that you need to assess the use of or recreate the part or assembly as you need to.
Features such as this make prepare.zone the one-stop shop for the entire project. Too often project managers or other project team member complain that they do not know where to get information from. Finding even simple data about parts such as where they come from, lead times and even just size or positional information takes too long to gather since it is not in one central spot. Prepare.zone has taken account of that gives the option to corral all that data within the program, giving those who need it instant access to everything they need.
Once you have used this feature, and seen the power and possibilities of it, adding this kind of data to a central project repository will become second nature, and you will wonder how you managed to get by without it before.
How-To: Equipment Setup, Equipment