A critical component of my role as a SOLIDWORKS EDU intern here at DASSAULT SYSTEMES is my involvement within the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, a Fab Lab spread across about 1900sq ft. I am one of the two interns who are tasked with being mentors and overseers of the Waltham Fab Lab, as we call it. As a vital node in the Fab Foundation network of Labs, our Fab Lab was established in May 2017 with the objective of acting as a creative space for DASSAULT SYSTEMES employees, local startups, and makers. It is probably one of the best outfitted digital fabrication labs on the east coast. It is quite rewarding to work in space which has the capability of fabricating just about anything.
As mentioned before, the main group of intended users for the Lab are employees of DASSAULT SYSTEMES. The goal of the Lab is to show employees working with DASSAULT SYSTEMES software how our software can be used in real life applications, where the rubber hits the road, if you will. All employees working here at DASSAULT SYSTEMES Waltham Campus are introduced to the Lab and its resources and are encouraged to work on both personal and professional projects within the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab. Along with employees, the Lab is also used by DASSAULT SYSTEMES partners and sponsored startups.
As an intern working in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab my tasks include up-keeping all machines and equipment, mentoring and teaching the use of machines and tools within the lab, and giving tours of the space to company partners, as well as using my knowledge in manufacturing to mentor users of the space.
The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab is currently organized into several differing areas of interest, including: additive manufacturing, woodworking, mold making, a laser etching and cutting area, CNC sewing, electronics, and CNC milling.
All of the 3D printers within the Additive Manufacturing section of the Lab
Within our additive manufacturing area of the lab we have a widely varying array of different 3D printers, all with different traits that are useful for different types of manufacturing. Currently in the lab we have printers from Sindoh, Formlabs, Ultimaker, Markforged, Rize, Prusa, and Gigabot. All of our printers here in the lab fall into one of two categories: “Fused Filament Fabrication” and Stereolithographic printing. The “Fused Filament Fabrication” method of printing is known as FFF for short and is also often referred to as FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), although the term FDM has been trademarked by a popular 3D printing company by the name of Stratasys.
The most common printer featured within our Lab is the Sindoh line of 3D printers. Sindoh is a Korean manufacturer of 3D and 2D printers and is company partner of SOLIDWORKS. Our Sindoh printers are the workhorse 3D printers of the Lab. We have a total of 15 of their printers and there are always multiple Sindoh printers actively printing in the Lab. All of our Sindoh printers are able to print with both PLA and ABS. (the 2X model is able to print PLA, ABS, PVA and flexible), although we do not use ABS in the lab due to its very high UFP and VOC emittance (UFP being Ultra fine particles or nanoparticles, and VOC being volatile organic compounds. Both of which are a major health hazard).
Sindoh’s 3DWOX1 printer
The only SLA printers we currently use within the Lab are the Formlabs Form2 printers. Because they are SLA the Formlabs are able to print with the highest quality (and least noticeable layer heights) of any of the printers in the lab. We use the Formlabs when we encounter projects with specific printing requirements that FFF printers are unable to accomplish.
Within our woodworking section of the lab we have all the standard hand tools, a band saw and Scroll saw, but our most interesting piece of equipment is our ShopBot wood milling CNC gantry router. The ShopBot is one of the cooler tools in the Lab and not many Fabrication Labs are lucky enough to have access to such a useful tool. Our ShopBot has a maximum job size of 96”x48” making it very useful for large projects. The ShopBot in the Lab has been used on a variety of projects in the Lab, ranging from Furniture, skateboards and guitars to the bodies of FSAE race cars. The ShopBot has seen major use by the Magic Wheel Chair Project which the Lab proudly supports.
In my next Blog I’ll continue my tour of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, where we’ll visit the remaining sections of the lab and discuss the Labs involvement with the Fab foundation.