With the recent expansion of the Stratasys product line, our Additive Manufacturing Group (AMG) had to get creative to find places where to display and service these machines! In the past we were setting them up in front lobbies, offices and even our van! So we’ve decided we require a dedicated space for this equipment, and thus, we started the CADimensions 3D Printer Lab in our Syracuse office, and planned for at least one printer in each of our other offices across the state.
After we got the okay to move forward, we were still faced with many questions, like:
- Where will we we put this lab?
- Will demolition and assembly be required?
- What type of printers will we need to display?
- Will they fit?
As the team pondered these questions, I began to realize I could build a floor plan in SOLIDWORKS of our office building; both the current and the planned renovation. I could then make some basic part models of each printer with desks and verify that everything would fit inside the new lab design.
Stage 1 – Making the current layout.
A basic understanding of where there are walls, doorways, and windows. Just the basic understanding of the current space. This was done with a thin extrude of my blueprint sketch with some cut extrudes for doors and windows.
Stage 2 – Making some simple parts based on printer dimensions to see how the old office space was laid out.
I saved my blueprint in Stage 1 as an assembly and started creating scaled parts to drop in. Our current lab had an Objet260 and Objet30 Pro, but we also have a Fortus 250 and uPrint displayed in our front lobby, due to room constraints. With some quick measurements and added appearances, I was able to create all the equipment and furniture we had in these two rooms.
Stage 3 – The virtual demolition phase (and was clearly the most fun)!
This stage meant that walls no longer applied. We knew what we had for space, so the design was up to us. It was clear, based on the use of our lobby and offices, that more space was needed. So the first step was to remove the wall between the printer area and work space. The next step was to bump out the right side wall to add an extra 45 sq ft. We also decided a set of double doors would be the easiest way to get printers in and out of the lab. We did not want the lab to go unnoticed in the office building, so we decided on a glass door and window right in our kitchen area. This was so visitors could look in and see the printers working while they were on break from training or meetings.
Stage 4 – Reassembling the Lab
We knew what printers we had on-hand, but it was the printers that we would like to showcase in Syracuse that required new models to verify they would fit in our new space. Checking out the Stratasys website, I was able to find all the specs I needed for the desired machines (Fortus 400mc, Connex260, and Objet500 Connex3) and created the SOLIDWORKS models. The final touch was to make sure spacing requirements (using mates) were met for techs to have room to service the machines, as well as proper power, heating, and venting specifications. I also added some desks and a workbench to make sure the lab would have enough functional space for our application engineers to work.
By the end of the design phase, we were able to prove that we could fit a mixed variety of 6 printers in the new lab space. The space would require minimal construction and power changes, while giving us a dedicated space inside the office building to showcase our printers. Doing the design directly in SOLIDWORKS, first allowed us to show management the proof of concept, as well as a detailed proposal of how the finished lab could look. The 3 week construction project is planned to start at the end of this month!
Hopefully the next time you visit us in Syracuse, you get a chance to stop in the Lab and see how it all came out!