Kenhoward.com is here to help you build speed and efficiency into your design process by providing rapid high quality prototypes.
Kenhoward.com was principally set up to help inventors get their ideas off the ground. Kenhoward.com not only assist companies and individuals with evaluating the viability of their product or idea, but they are able to develop it into a fully functional prototype then manufacture it. This allows the inventor/company to then organise distribution. Kenhoward.com is also able to refer these new “marvels” to other successful clients (who are always after new product). Kenhoward.com is able to advise on the best way to raise capital to develop the idea and provide ongoing consulting, design, manufacturing and marketing services.
These create physical models directly from digital data in hours instead of days. This rapid prototyping process is an essential tool for experimenting with design concepts and testing new ideas. This type of processing reduces time cycle time and produce better products. This process means we can not only develop rapid prototype samples for toy and game parts but also any other application an inventor or company requires. From architecture and consumer products to transportation, medical modelling and general plastics, 3D printing enables clients to see physical what their idea will look like but also to touch and feel it and test it within the environment it is intended for. This enables design modifications prior to expensive machine tooling needed before manufacture.
This type of prototyping improves communication between all groups involved in the product design and development process: design engineering; marketing and manufacturing.
The 3D printer outputs a three dimensional physical model directly from digital *.stl CAD files created by our Industrial Design team. These models are an invaluable tool in the testing and communication of design ideas. The printer works by gluing together the cross-sections of the part being built using a special powder and a water based binder. The main benefit of this type of printing means that we can “print” objects fully assembled, including moving parts and mechanisms. The parts can be sanded then primed and painted to replicate a high level of finish, accurately representing the finished object. The parts can be assembled into fully functional working prototypes.
SLA – Stereolithography:
This process produces exact replicas of computer solid models, within hours, by solidifying a liquid photo-curable resin, layer by layer, with a UV laser. Below is a schematic providing a general overview of the process.
A platform, mounted to a z-axis traversing elevator, is positioned within the vat of photo-curable resin. First a support structure is created to anchor the soon-to-be-built part to the platform and provide a flat surface for part building.
A 3D solid model is “sliced” into horizontal cross-sections with thickness that correspond to the build layer thickness (typically 0.006 or 0.008″ on the SLA-250). Each cross-section is then traced over the surface of the epoxy resin by the UV laser. The movements of the laser are controlled by stepper motor driven mirrors. After each layer is traced, the elevator is lowered into the vat to allow resin to cover the layer that was just solidified. The elevator then raises back up to a level that is one layer thickness below the previous layer. The sweeper blade moves across the vat removing any meniscus created by the part rising and the process starts all over with the next cross-section being traced on the surface of the resin. When all the cross-sections have been traced, the elevator raises the platform out of the resin allowing the solid model to drain until removed for post-processing.
The technique works on same principles that all Rapid Prototyping methods. A CAD-model is sliced with special software into thin layers (normally 0.1mm). Inside the generated boundaries a raster is created. The raster is then controlling a laser’s pot. Before start of a build, a platform is placed just beneath the surface in a container consisting of UV curing, floating epoxy. The laser is then exposing the areas that is described in the slice-file, in the exposed areas the epoxy will cure. When one layer is cured the platform is lowered by one layer-thickness and the curing of next layer take place. This procedure goes on until the whole model is cured. The first ten millimeters consist of a support structure that makes it possible to release the prototypes from the platform. After the prototypes have been taken out of the machine a cleaning and rinsing procedure takes place. When this is done, postcuring is performed in an UV-oven. Thereafter the prototypes are finished and ready for painting etc.
From here, we make silicon moulds from the approved sample/s, which can then be used to make a small number of additional copies, if required. This may be required to complete a set, as for a prototype of toy or board game (eg a new style of chess game – only one rook has to be prototyped). Costs for silicon moulding and copying are quoted on a job by job basis.