monoFab™ Interview Series Part III: State of the Industry

01 Dec
December 1, 2014

Interview with Masahiro Tomioka, President of Roland DG

How does Roland DG view the current state of the rapid prototyping 3D printer market?

The term 3D printer covers a large and diverse lineup of products that address the usability needs of different users. For example, there are industrial applications such as making prototypes for jet engine or automobile parts, medical applications such as producing artificial bones and organs, as well as educational, research or artistic applications, and even individual applications for hobbyists. With the expiration of the patent on FDM 3D printing, the number of startups and individuals seeking to develop easy-to-use 3D printers continues to increase dramatically. As a company that has been aware of the value and possibilities inherent to 3D fabrication for many years, we are very interested to see where this expansion of fabrication possibilities will take us.

What was the objective behind releasing the monoFab ARM-10 3D printer and SRM-20 milling machine together as a set?

We have a track record of providing 3D milling machines as a way to transform imagination into reality. This technology worked well in the past, but now, people are seeking ways to explore any and all possibilities that come to mind without reservation. Therefore, it is not wise to continue focusing only on milling machines, as doing so could limit users’ imaginations. The same goes for providing only 3D printers. We want to remove all barriers to the realization of dreams and ideas, and expand creative possibilities by releasing both 3D subtractive and additive rapid prototyping machines as a set. We believe that using these tools in combination will open up a new world of fabrication opportunities.

What unique value do the ARM-10 3D printer and SRM-20 desktop mill bring as a set?

Frankly speaking, they expand the possibilities of 3D desktop fabrication. First and foremost, by leveraging the characteristics of each model, you can utilize the optimal method for each step of the design workflow from inspiration to production. The merits of each machine used in tandem make it possible to realize true innovation. Our hope is that users around the world learn to master the potential of monoFab with its combination of additive and subtractive technologies in order to produce their greatest works yet.

Who are the target users for the monoFab series?

If we were to think of the overall market as a pyramid, the target for the monoFab series would fall into the mid-range, including engineers and designers as well as the faculty and students of educational institutions and the users of fab labs. Due to limitations in material compatibility and size, the monoFab series is not intended for large-scale medical and aerospace parts production. Our 3D rapid prototyping machines are designed from the perspective of a computer peripherals company – products that are user-friendly and can be placed next to your computer in an office, lab or home to enjoy desktop fabrication. The monoFab series shares this basic concept.

What are your plans for expanding the monoFab series?

With over 25 years in the 3D modeling field, our company has accumulated a wealth of experience and knowhow along with a large user base that spans a variety of industries. With the monoFab series, we plan to work with our users and partners to share newly developed solutions and applications. To help achieve this goal, we have established a number of Creative Centers at our sales offices around the world. There are also Roland Academies where users can get hands-on experience with our products and enjoy educational opportunities. Our strength is in our global service and support structure. We will use our accumulated knowledge to provide an environment where users can create, share and grow together.

December 1, 2014

monoFab Interview Series Part Two: From Concept to Reality

20 Nov
November 20, 2014

Interview with Keigo Okusa, Roland DG manager of 3D product development

Of the many additive methods available, why did you choose to produce a stereo-lithography 3D printer with a layered projection system for the ARM-10?

The concept behind our desktop applications emphasizes three important values: desktop size, ease of use, and affordable pricing. We also wanted to develop a rapid prototyping 3D printer capable of modeling complex shapes with the high precision required by product prototypes. During our extensive research and development process, we determined that a stereo-lithography 3D printer with a layered projection system using a compact projector was the most suitable solution.

Were there any issues you had to overcome when developing a stereo-lithography printer?

There were two key problems we faced. A small projector is used as the light source engine for our 3D printer. With ordinary projectors, rays of light are converged using plastic lenses. However, deterioration resulting in cloudiness can occur due to continuous exposure by UV light. Initially, we were unable to cure the resin satisfactorily due to this issue. We pushed ahead with development by reviewing lens material properties and repeatedly modifying the lens shape until we were satisfied. Thus, we were able to install a lens that could realize adequate curing even after a prolonged period of use.

Second, we researched no less than 82 different combinations in order to find the most suitable resin material for our layered projection system. In this method, the composition of the resin, the light wavelength, and the compatibility of exposure strength are all very important factors. We worked diligently to ensure the optimum balance, including users’ running costs, as we overcame these problems.

What inspired the design and orange color of the ARM-10 Rapid Prototyping 3D Printer?

The orange color on the front cover has the effect of blocking UV rays. We wanted to ensure that the effects of UV rays from outside the unit did not cure the materials. In order to improve light shielding efficiency, we also increased the tightness of the cover’s seal by giving both ends a bent shape. Because orange is also the color of the monoFab brand, we used the same color for our new SRM-20 desktop mill.

How easy is it to operate the printer?

The ARM-10 unit can be controlled with a single button. By using the included monoFab Player AM output software, even beginners will find it easy to start modeling. monoFab Player AM automatically repairs defects in 3D data and creates the removable supports required for 3D printing an object.

Compared with competitors’ products, what ARM-10 features are unique?

In the rapid prototyping 3D printer market, there are currently several competitive products in the same price range as the ARM-10. However, there is no other product within the category of Desktop Fabrication that uses a stereo-lithography 3D printer with a layered projection system. The 3D printers available that do incorporate this methodology are good at modeling complex shapes with high precision, but are usually very expensive. We wanted to offer a compact 3D printer that could be used for creating prototypes at an affordable price. I believe that this is one major advantage. Another advantage is that our resin becomes semi-transparent when cured, so that the models produced by ARM-10 can be easily colored to check the finished image.

November 20, 2014

monoFab Interview Series Part One: Two tools in concert with purpose and form

11 Nov
November 11, 2014

Interview with product designer Hiroshi Yasutomi

How did you arrive at the concept of designing a Speaker Ball?

I produced an active speaker prototype using monoFab. First I came up with a geometrical model, but I wanted to find out the potential of creating prototypes with the 3D printer and share them with those people who are considering 3D printers. That’s what made me think about the possibility of producing a speaker by incorporating an amplifier and speaker inside this geometrical form. Ideally, it would also be a design that shared the experience of enjoyment with this prototype.

What inspired your design?

There are infinite forms in nature and animals, and all of them are produced within the progress of evolution. There is always a reason behind a form, and many design hints can be found in models such as these. The geometric form I came up with for this project was likewise inspired by natural forms.

Can you describe the process of combining both additive and subtractive devices to produce the prototype?

The advantage of the 3D printer, as can be compared to the Industrial Revolution, is that it does not require a design to be carried out while thinking about production molds, and instead ideas can be brought to life exactly as they are. On the other hand, the advantage of the milling machine is that it has excellent cutting precision and can produce very intricate forms. With this sample production, I made the most of the respective strengths of the 3D printer and the milling machine, using them each as appropriate for the purpose and form.

Specifically, I used the ARM-10 3D printer to produce the external parts since these shapes are complex. And it was easier to fine tune the design with a 3D printer. To produce these external parts with the milling machine, a part needed to be divided into more than one piece to mill, involving much time and effort. But with the 3D printer, even complex shape can be produced simply by outputting 3D data. Also, multiple parts can be modeled all at once within the working area, which drastically improves the efficiency of work. The materials become semi-transparent once hardened, so I made the most of that transparency for the external design.

I used the SRM-20 milling machine to model the cabinet for insertion of the amplifier circuit board and speaker unit. Milling precision as well as selecting the suitable material was required in order to mount the amplifier and speaker internally, and the precision of the fit would affect the speaker’s sound quality. Another advantage is the wide range of options for materials, from acrylics to woods. In this way, I took the approach of combining design and engineering by using a 3D printer for parts with a complex design priority and a milling machine for precision and flexibility of materials selection.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

It’s not really possible to share personal experiences through sketches or words alone. At times like that, the use of 3D printers or milling machines to give form to objects delivers something that can be touched by hand and truly experienced, which can then be used to check user-friendliness. It’s even possible to grasp structural inconsistencies at early stages that could not be seen in sketches. With monoFab and its two means of expression – printing and milling – I thought this would provide a powerful tool for creating personal experiences through prototyping, not only in design, but also in engineering.

November 11, 2014

imagiNATION, to inspire the Roland Nation.

03 Nov
November 3, 2014

For years we’ve talked about creating a user conference to inspire and educate Roland owners. To provide them with priceless tools to grow their business and, of course, have some fun doing it. Our vision of creating this one-of-a-kind experience finally came to fruition this year.

Yes, imagiNATION 2014 took place the night before SGIA on October 21st.

The day and evening truly had it all. NASCAR legend Richard Childress took pole position as keynote speaker, following an opening that included the debut of the laugh-out-loud Stuff Print People Say” video (watch it here), along with 16 amazing, educational breakout sessions that delivered tools and tips to help Roland customers improve their productivity and profitability. The conference ended with an after-party to celebrate our inaugural event, as a toast to our faithful customers—the Roland Nation—who traveled nationwide from California to New York, to all the way across the globe, representing various parts of Canada and even down under in Australia. What a great turnout!

Special shout-out to all of our sponsors and speakers—thank you!

Check out the recap video below, or click here for more details and photos.

Time flies when we’re having fun—and the next imagiNATION event will be here sooner than we think. Be on the lookout for future emails, or contact us at imagination@rolanddga.com for more information and to get on the pre-event list!

November 3, 2014

$2-Million-A-Year with a Roland SOLJET.

27 Oct
October 27, 2014

That’s No Monkey Business.



What do you get when you cross a Roland SOLJET with a businessman passionate about printing wall decals? A $2-million-a-year business on the rise. That’s the story of WallMonkeys CEO Jason Weisenthal, who transformed his home basement into a lean, mean, decal-printing machine in just under five years.

Read the full article on Yahoo! here. And learn more about the Roland SOLJET that helped make it all happen.

 

October 27, 2014

It’s a 3D World

01 Oct
October 1, 2014

The recent introduction of Roland’s new monoFab™ series ARM-10 3D printer and SRM-20 milling machine is generating a significant amount of industry and media buzz. And that’s understandable. Afterall, these state-of-the-art, compact devices are capable of doing something pretty incredible – namely, turning ideas into reality. These innovative machines, which can be used together as a system or as stand-alone devices, are attracting the attention of high-tech magazines and websites worldwide.

One of the publications impressed by Roland’s new 3D rapid prototyping offerings is Desktop Engineering. In fact, DE magazine just selected the monoFab series as its “Editor’s Pick of the Week,” covering both the ARM-10 and SRM-20 in a related article. In that piece, Desktop Engineering’s Editor at Large, Anthony Lockwood, notes how well known Roland is as a manufacturer of 3D milling machines, as well as wide-format printers, cutting machines, engravers, 3D scanners and support software. One thing they’re not well known for, he says, is 3D printing. But as Lockwood is quick to point out, that is about to change.

Read the complete Desktop Engineering write-up, here.

October 1, 2014

The Case for Digital Signage – It’s as Simple as ABC

23 Sep
September 23, 2014


It’s clear that demand is growing rapidly for digital signage systems. Just take a look around you. It’s hard to find a food service or retail chain that hasn’t incorporated this technology in some way shape or form. Even some smaller, “mom and pop” operations are beginning to embrace digital signage.

Savvy sign shops are starting to realize that complementing their current print offerings with digital signage can generate significant new revenue streams. There are those, however, who are still on the fence when it comes to entering this market. But, as Richard Romano points out in his insightful Whattheythink.com article “The ABCS of DDS,” as digital signage grows in popularity, these clients will seek it out elsewhere if you don’t offer it.

Check out the article, here.

Romano demystifies digital signage by providing a general overview of the components that make up a typical system and how such systems operate. It’s a “must read” for sign shops planning on getting into the digital signage market, and for those who may be hesitating.

Also be sure to check out Whattheythink.com’s video interview with Roland DGA President Rick Scrimger. In the video, Rick discusses Roland DisplayStudio™, the opportunities that exist for sign shops in introducing print customers to digital signage, and how doing so can actually increase print business, and that signmakers are uniquely qualified to combine printed graphics with digital signage.

Enjoy!

September 23, 2014

2014 Roland Creative Awards: We’re Sending 3 Lucky Users to imagiNATION!

22 Aug
August 22, 2014

Our 2014 Roland Creative Awards contest kicked off last week and we asked our users to submit photos of their best work produced on a Roland device. One weekly winner will be selected for a total of 3 weeks, based on creativity, innovation and execution. Each winner will receive a trip to Roland imagiNATION, our first inkjet user conference, including event admission, airfare and 4 nights at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. To enter the contest or view more detailed information, click here or visit the Roland DGA corporate Facebook page.

This Monday, we selected our first weekly winner! Congratulations to Sticker City of Sherman Oaks, California! We saw tons of amazing entries, but Sticker City took the top spot with a photo of a holographic multi-color chrome wrap that was produced on their SOLJET XR-640 printer/cutter. While the car underneath (Lamborghini Aventador Roadster) is inherently gorgeous, the wrap is absolutely stunning. See the photo and details below:

Sticker City Chrome Lambo Wrap

“A very good client of ours that is always willing to push for the next big thing asked us to come up with something no one has done before and asked us to show the world something out of this world for his new white Lamborghini Aventador Roadster. We went to the drawing board AKA our Photoshop program and after many hours of thought and trial and error we came out with this holographic multi color chrome wrap. This was an extremely complicated process with continues patterns from body panel to body panel which required application of multiple layers to complete the final effect. We started by wrapping the entire painted surface with the Avery conform chrome. Then we designed and printed the second layered graphic on Avery Laminate using our Roland XR-640. The second layer was applied using a wet application directly on top of the chrome giving the vehicle a splash of chrome paint affect. We then completed the design by incorporating a hologram graphic on the upper side portion. This extremely complicated process to wrap a vehicle has been a huge hit all over social media with over 300 pictures of this car on Instagram alone. #arabventador” – Andy Soleimani, Sticker City

That’s not all folks! Be sure to get your photos in because we still have 2 more weekly prizes up for grabs. We would love to send you to imagiNATION, so hit us with your best shot! Submit your entries at the 2014 Creative Awards Facebook page, or upload new photos to Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #imagineRoland. For full details, terms and conditions, click here.

August 22, 2014

15 Ways to Beat Jet Lag

18 Jul
July 18, 2014

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese

All,

Welcome to summer, and for those of you who might be traveling overseas, or even across the country for summer vacations, I came across this neat infographic with some tips on handling the dreaded jet lag. While I’ve found my own little tricks to work well, these are some great general rules of thumb when being upside-down somewhere in the world circadian rhythm-wise.

Enjoy!

Rick

15 Ways To Beat Jetlag Infographic

via Thomas Cook

July 18, 2014

Workspace Matters

11 Jul
July 11, 2014

We’ve recently expanded our offices, built out a full demo room, and revamped many of our workspaces here at Roland.

Our local magazine, OC Metro picked it up and featured us in a article. Check it out here:

http://digital.ocmetro.com/gallery/view.asp?seq=252228&path=140428140918

Here’s a few more photos of the office.

Enjoy!

Rick

demo_room

Product demonstration room

lobby

Creative Center in the lobby

at-the-Movies_01_medRes

“Roland at the Movies” section of lobby Creative Center

IMG_9108

“Roland at Play” section of lobby Creative Center

at-Work_01_medRes

Metallic silver wall and floor graphics, plus sublimated chairs and rug

stand_up_desk

Office with adjustable stand-up desk

conference_table

Open area meeting table

shared_desk

Design team’s open workspace