RENO, NV - Innovation starts with an idea, but in order for it to become a reality, inventors need to go through some lengthy and costly steps. A new local 3D printing business will help them cut those corners in an effective way.
It's not new technology. Manufacturers have been using 3D printers to build plastic parts for decades, but over the years the cost has come down, making it easier to take an idea and bring it to life. Most people have a general idea of 3D printing--turning a digital model into a three-dimensional object of any shape.
"I think you can print anything that's in your mind. I think it's a real creative endeavor," said Mike Blacksmith, owner of Conception 3D Printing.
Blacksmith pioneered the company to lure bigger businesses while also helping the little ones.
'Local businesses are kind of strapped in the manufacturing sector. They either need to be a large company and be able to prototype and bring products to market faster or send it out of state and get into a waiting line."
The printer can help make the visualization process easier and will be able work out all the kinks before you need to get it licensed and manufactured.
The weight and feel of a cell phone, the weight and feel in a bar of soap and how does it feel when you first touch it, a bottle of shampoo," he said. "Before you'd have to spend $1000 on a tool that will make a prototype a shampoo bottle and now you can print it."
For example, using traditional machining techniques, it can take up to four weeks to make a prototype of a forged gear, but using a 3D printer can make one in less than 24 hours.
Just seven weeks old, Conception has already contracted big names in aerospace, aeronautics and even the medical industry. Because most of the prints Blacksmith makes are prototypes and haven't been released to the market, the companies and the products can't be revealed.
"It's been exciting to see people's faces as we show them their idea that came out of their head and here's something tangible," he said. "It's pretty amazing."
To get your idea printed, it would cost anywhere form $100 to $1000.