Building Customized Industrial-scale Additive Manufacturing Platforms with SOLIDWORKS

Jason Miller and Andrew McCalip founded Cosine Additive Inc. in 2014 in Houston, Texas, to establish the 3D printing industry’s first industrial-scale additive manufacturing platform. Their goal is to continue advancing, refining, and improving the development of large-scale additive manufacturing systems until they become economically competitive with and preferable to traditional production technologies for many manufacturing applications.

In 2015 Cosine Additive used SOLIDWORKS® design software to fast-track the R&D of the AdditiveMachine1 (AM1), the first large-format 3D printer with a build envelope capable of fabricating highly functional large components like kayaks and aircraft wings.

The AM1 overcame the proprietary printing materials paradigm of its competitors: it utilizes a range of polymers and polymer/carbon fiber blends to create 3D prints. What’s more, Cosine’s open materials, open software, and modular platform approach drastically decrease the cost of industrial, large-format additive manufacturing.


Customized for the Customer

After establishing that SOLIDWORKS’ ease of use capabilities enabled them to model three times faster than with similar systems, Cosine continues to use SOLIDWORKS to reduce subassembly design time by 50 percent, and to constantly update, refine, and improve the AM1’s innovative features while customizing the machine to meet specific customer applications for large-scale manufacturing.

“As our system development has advanced, Cosine has become focused on improving and customizing the AM1 machine to meet specific customer applications,” explains Lead Designer Jim Thompson. “We are no longer focused on building off-the-shelf printers and leverage SOLIDWORKS, which is why the printers that we build today are customized to specific customer needs.”

Build, Improve, Repeat

While many of the design changes that Cosine has made to the AM1 were intended to reduce manufacturing costs, many others were to improve the AM1’s ease of use and performance. “Every time we build a machine, we improve it, and many of those improvements make the system easier to use, perform better, or easier to maintain,” explains Thompson. “With SOLIDWORKS, we’ve been able to make these improvements while simultaneously reducing the total number of parts in the AM1, which benefits Cosine and our customers.”

Slashing Time-To-Build Cycles

With an engineered-to-order approach to machine development instead of designing standard products, the time required to engineer and build each machine, or the time-to-build cycle, has become an important metric of success and satisfying customer orders quickly. “With SOLIDWORKS, we have been able to reduce our time-to-build cycle by 25 percent,” Thompson says.

“In addition to our ability to design quickly in SOLIDWORKS to rapidly incorporate custom design modifications in each machine, we’ve created a bunch of Visual Basic macros to automate various tasks in SOLIDWORKS, which saves us additional time. We never build the same machine twice, and SOLIDWORKS is helping us improve quality and performance with every machine we make.”

You can read the entire case study on how Cosine used SOLIDWORKS solutions to cut time to market by 25% so they can get products to its customers faster here.

If you would like to share your SOLIDWORKS story, go to the Share Your Story web page. Or if you have more questions about how SOLIDWORKS can reduce product development cycles and improve quality and performance, contact your local reseller.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.