Full-Scale Additively Manufactured Training Aids for DOD

*Disclaimer: This article’s contents do not express or imply an endorsement by the Department of Defense, the Air Force, or the United States government

Executive Summary

This award was designed to fulfill requests from two Air Force Education and Training Command (AETC) organizations who presented the need to produce full-scale training aids for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) training. The inert aids, however, were too heavy and inaccessible, and traditional production methods can be time and cost intensive. Existing Additive Manufacturing (AM) hardware that could produce training aids at high fidelity were too small, requiring the aids to be made in multiple small pieces and then assembled. re:3D explored how a digitally driven workflow could  drastically reduce these time, cost, scale, and quality factors.  re:3D also provided fully custom AM machinery (i.e. 3D printers) capable of producing single-piece, full-scale training aids at high quality. By implementing 3D scanning and a custom large-scale 3D printer, dubbed “Exabot” by re:3D, these groups were enabled to produce full-scale training aids on-demand at a 74% reduction in turnaround time and approximately 90% reduction in costs.

Client Snapshot

The 149th Fighter Wing, stationed on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas is a part of the Air National Guard. As an F-16 training unit, its mission is to produce the finest airmen for global engagements and domestic operations while supporting its families and serving its communities. It’s sister unit is the 147th Attack Wing, at Ellington Field Houston, where they fly combat support missions with the MQ-9 Reaper.  

Needs and Challenges

For the AETC, there was a need to train Air Force (AF) technicians and operators in the precise assembly of GBU and JDAM kits. Technologies like AR/VR could have greatly increased training efficacy, but such a process still required the use of full-scale training articles. There were, however, certain drawbacks to using them. First, existing training aids were extremely heavy, requiring special rigging or equipment to transport. Second, traditional manufacturing methods for training aids were costly with respect to time, materials, and money spent. This could have been overcome by utilizing AM, but there were no existing AM platforms that could produce high precision parts at the scale of training aids being used. Even then, operators required a thorough knowledge of 3D printing for the greatest return on investment.

Solution

re:3D focuses on affordable, industrial scale AM, offering a much lower barrier of entry with respect to build volume and feature set as compared to industrial competitors (Fig. 1). All re:3D 3D printers are also designed for modularity and customizability, so older units always have the potential to upgrade. Through a Phase II Open Topic SBIR grant awarded by AFWERX, re:3D was able to work with the 149th FW and 147th ATKW to reverse engineer and produce full-size training aids from AM thermoplastic.

FIGURE 1 - re:3D’S FLAGSHIP PRODUCT, GIGABOT 3+. LEARN MORE AT https://re3d.org/gigabot/

During this process, re:3D explored the potential for savings in cost, time, and materials through the fabrication of training aids via digital fabrication tools. Specifically, a Creaform HandySCAN Black Elite 3D scanner was used to capture high resolution 3D geometry for multiple Guided Bomb Unit(GBU) and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits (Fig. 2). The scans were post-processed in Creaform VXmodel and Dassault Systemes SolidWorks for ease of 3D printing and assembly. From there, several test prints were produced (Fig. 3) on re:3D’s print farm, a collection of in-house Gigabot and Terabot 3D printers(Fig. 4), to optimize the printing parameters for best quality.

FIGURE 2 - SCANNING A GBU BODY WITH THE HANDYSCAN BLACK ELITE
FIGURE 3 - FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED VERSION OF GBU BODY AND THE ASSEMBLED FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED GBU12, RESPECTIVELY
FIGURE 4 - THE re:3D SHOWROOM IN HOUSTON, TX, WHICH HOUSES A PORTION OF THE COMPANY’S PRINT FARM

After exploring the workflow and implied cost savings of using 3D scanning and AM to produce training aids, re:3D designed a custom 3D printer catered specifically towards GBU and JDAM production (Fig. 5). This included an extension of the flagship products’ maximum printing height from 3 feet to 6 feet, allowing for printing entire GBU/JDAM models in a single piece. Training was provided to the customer to minimize the learning curve and achieve reliable, successful 3D prints faster. The development process began on a touchscreen add-on, which will provide a more intuitive and accessible control interface.

FIGURE 5 - EXABOT, FULLY ASSEMBLED PRIOR TO INSTALLATION AT THE 149th FW

Results

The first half of the work with the 149th FW and 147th ATKW consisted of the 3D scanning and print optimization work. With the 3D scanner, re:3D was able to capture and reverse engineer fully featured 3D models of multiple GBU/JDAM kits (Fig. 6). The test printing yielded multiple full-scale printed training aids delivered to both the 149th FW and 147th ATKW for their assessment. After this process, re:3D compiled a digital package consisting of post-processed 3D models, optimized printing profiles, and ready-to-print .gcode files (Fig. 7).

FIGURE 6 - GBU12 BODY BEING PROCESSED IN CREAFORM VXMODEL SCANNING SOFTWARE
FIGURE 7 - PREPARING THE GBU12 BODY FOR PRINTING WITH SIMPLIFY3D 3D PRINTING SOFTWARE

A fully AM GBU38B weighed 33 lbs (Fig. 8), with its real-world equivalent weighing in at over 600 lbs. This amounts to a weight reduction of over 90% by switching to an AM training aid that still maintains the same geometric features as the genuine article. There are also implied safety and logistical benefits as a result of the drastic weight reduction. Transportation and handling of the training aids would require less staff and equipment and be easier, safer, and cheaper as a result.

FIGURE 8 - FINISHED AND ASSEMBLED GBU38B. THE FULL LENGTH IS 94 INCHES OR ROUGHLY 2.4 METERS

Using traditional sourcing, for the 147th ATKW to acquire one of their GBU/JDAM units would cost $10,000. A spool of high quality PLA plastic filament for AM will typically cost $20 per pound. At roughly 30 lbs, a fully AM GBU/JDAM kit only uses about $600 in materials to produce (Fig. 9). This equates to a 94% cost reduction when comparing just the materials. Extra associated costs include electricity usage, printing set up and post processing (when necessary), but these do not nearly make up for the drastic cost difference. Primarily, the main cost advantage comes in the fact that the parts can be printed with minimal setup or supervision.

FIGURE 9 - SPOOL OF PLA FILAMENT, SIMILAR TO WHAT WAS USED TO MANUFACTURE THE FULL-SCALE TRAINING AIDS

Instead of acquiring engineering drawings of each and every piece of equipment and recreating the models in CAD, re:3D used a 3D scanner to quickly capture 3D geometry for the kits the 147th ATKW and 149th FW were interested in using. Each scanning session took approximately 2 hours, followed by a few hours of post processing for each model in order to fix any scanning artifacts or to modify geometry for ease of printing or assembly. From there, each model was ready to print as desired. The typical turnaround time for the 147th to acquire one of their traditional training aids can be around 3 weeks. On the other hand, one of these kits can be printed in its full scale in 130 uninterrupted hours. This equates to a 74% reduction in time to complete a fully 3D printed training aid

After the completion of the custom 3D printer, dubbed the “Exabot”, it was delivered directly to the 149th FW. With a build volume of 3 feet by 2 feet by 6 feet (Fig. 10), Exabot is perfectly suited for printing full-sized GBU/JDAM kits, or any other parts that fit within the build volume as the end users see fit. Compared to a typical re:3D Gigabot 3+, Exabot also sports a stationary bed, a gantry which moves in the X, Y, and Z directions, a heavy duty frame with leveling casters, and a counterweighted filament delivery tube for consistent quality no matter how tall the print (Fig. 11).

FIGURE 10 - SIZE COMPARISON OF TWO EXABOT FRAMES VERSUS ONE GIGABOT 3+
FIGURE 11 - EXABOT AFTER DELIVERY AT THE 149TH FW AND A COMPLETED 16 HOUR 3D PRINT OF A MODEL ROCKET

After the Exabot delivery, re:3D provided training to the 149th FW (Fig. 12). While the crew at the 149th FW were already very familiar with 3D printing, re:3D was prepared to train operators at all levels of experience. This included education in machine calibration, maintenance, and operation as well as Simplify3D software set up. At the conclusion of the training, the 149th FW crewmen felt comfortable with operating Exabot and excited at their new ability to 3D print full scale parts.

FIGURE 12 - ONSITE TRAINING WITH THE 149TH FW

Continuous Improvement

re:3D values continuous improvement for their products and is committed to building an upgrade path for all standard machines. For example, an early Gigabot 2 can be upgraded to the latest Gigabot 3+, affordably preserving common components from unnecessary disposal while improving the machine’s functionality. re:3D approaches Exabot with the same commitment, leveraging feedback from the 149th FW to inform improvements that all Exabot users will benefit from.

Improved Filament Feeding

One challenge of large scale 3D printing is managing the filament feed path. The first iteration of Exabot used counterweighted filament tubes, with a constant length of tubing that moved in and out of the frame depending on the height of the gantry (Fig. 13). After some use, however, the operators gave re:3D feedback about shortcomings with this design.

FIGURE 13 - EXABOT WITH COUNTERWEIGHTED FILAMENT TUBES

The 149th FW Exabot was updated with a frame holding the filament spools directly above the gantry (Fig. 14). This stores all filament inside the frame, minimizing the overall footprint. There was also a 70% reduction in the filament path, for more reliable feeding and less chances of grinding through filament, and more economical use of filament spools.

FIGURE 14 - EXABOT WITH THE FILAMENT SPOOL FRAME

Upgraded Build Volume

While the original bed size was driven by the size of the training aids used by the 149th FW, the gantry of Exabot could actually accommodate a slightly larger bed plate. A simple and straightforward improvement was to install a new bed assembly that was large enough to fit the full stroke of travel of the X and Y axes. The original bed plate was 24” x 30” while the new plate is 30.7” x 30.7”, for a 31% increase in build volume.

FIGURE 15 - NEW BED PLATE SUPERIMPOSED OVER THE OLD BED PLATE AS A VISUAL COMPARISON OF SIZE DIFFERENCE

Continued Engagement

re:3D continues to engage with the 149th FW for regular service and maintenance needs, and also to better understand their 3D printing workflow and collect valuable feedback. This information will inform the next generation of re:3D’s large scale 3D printing products. 

Call to Action

This grant opportunity awarded by the AFWERX open topic solicitation enabled active investigation of Air Force needs and resulted in an innovative solution that was immediately commercialized with global interest, which include requests for even larger custom form factors. As mentioned above, many areas were identified and addressed for cost reduction. re:3D has had subsequent conversations with  DOD stakeholders, identifying further needs that may be addressed through large scale 3D printing, whether through the flagship Gigabot, and now Exabot, or a collaborative, custom solution. 

If your organization is interested in an Exabot of your own, it is available for purchase via GSA (https://bit.ly/3eFLpa0). If your organization is interested in collaborating on a future SBIR grant opportunity, feel free to email info@re3d.org with your vision to #dreambigprinthuge. re:3D is happy to consider any SBIR Phase 1, Direct to Phase 2 and eventually even beyond into Phase 3 opportunities. If you are interested in purchasing one of re:3D’s standard 3D printers or service offerings, please send a message to sales@re3d.org.

Specialty Pellets & Flake

Specialty

Specialty pellets and flake are unique materials created for specific use cases. Sometimes, common materials like PLA or ABS cannot meet the demands of a specific application and a dedicated material is needed. Specialty materials have been created for casting, smooth surface finishes, flexible parts, high clarity, and improved material strength. Due to the wide range of different applications, specialty materials are not easily classified into other common material categories. The chemical makeup of specialty materials is diverse as well, making each specialty material truly special. If you have a very specific demand for a material, there may be a specialty material to help you out!

Applications for specialty pellets and flake are almost entirely driven on the material’s design. Unlike common materials, specialty materials are often created for a specific application. Some of the most common specialty material use cases are given, but specialty materials exist for a wide variety of different applications.

Explore other Materials

rPC Flake
rPC Polycarbonate (PC) is a high performance material intended for use in engineering and industrial settings. As suggested by its name,
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rPET Pellets
rPET Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is a durable material with either a glossy appearance or opaque appearance depending on its crystallinity. PET
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rPLA Flake
rPLA Polylactic Acid, more commonly known as PLA, is one of the most frequently used materials in 3D printing. Its popularity
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Gigabot X XLT

Gigabot X XLT

The Gigabot X line of 3D printers are the next evolution in 3D printing technology. These direct-drive pellet extrusion based printers, can print from virgin or recycled pellets, flake, or regrind – and bring us even closer to the dream of a circular economy.

Capable of printing with 3-5mm plastic granules melting below 270ºC, with a larger 0.8, 1.75 or 2.85mm nozzle, Gigabot X XLT reduces the dependence on printing with filament while supporting plastic granule mixing, increasing printing speed and cost savings. 

For more information, please contact info@re3d.org

Printing

Technology

FGF

Build Volume

570 x 745 x 770 mm

Hot Ends

All-metal hot end

Materials

Thermoplastics melting
below 270 ºC

Layer Resolution

0.45 - 2.25 mm

Printing Speed

up to 60 mm/sec

Nozzle Diameter

0.8, 1.75 or 2.85 mm

Granule Size

Supports up to 5 mm plastic granules

Mechanical

Construction

Robust aluminum cartesian frame

Build Plate

cast aluminum - blanchard ground

Software

File Transfer Method

Micro SD

Bot Control

Viki 2.0 LCD panel or connect computer via USB

Operating Systems

Mac, Windows and Linux

Upload File Type

G-code rendered from .stl

Printing Workflow

Simplify3D, Slic3r,
open source softwares

Electrical

Power

110/220 V
(975-2200 Watts) 50/60HZ

Extruder Temperature

Up to 270°C

Build Surface Temperature

Up to 115°C

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Exabot

Exabot

Take your print to new heights in this 1.83 meter tall modification of our proven Gigabot FDM printers that allows you to print even bigger with a wide range of open materials! Exabot expands the size of your build volume to 762 x 762 x 1,829mm and comes backed by a 6 month warranty and lifetime customer support.
 
Your Exabot arrives straight to your door in a wooden crate on casters. Simply remove from the packaging, plug-in, calibrate, and print. 
Printing

Technology

FFF

Build Volume

762 x 762 x 1,829 mm

Hot Ends

Compatible with mondo hot ends

Materials

Thermoplastics melting
below 320 ºC

Layer Resolution

100 - 300 micron

Printing Speed

up to 60 mm/sec

Nozzle Diameter

0.25, 0.4 or 0.8

Filament Diameter

2.85 mm

Mechanical

Construction

Robust aluminum cartesian frame

Build Plate

1/2" cast aluminum - blanchard ground

Stepper Motor

NEMA 23

Software

File Transfer Method

Micro SD

Bot Control

Viki 2.0 LCD panel or connect computer via USB

Operating Systems

Mac, Windows and Linux

Upload File Type

G-code rendered from .stl

Printing Workflow

Simplify3D, Slic3r,
open source softwares

Electrical

Power

110/220 V
(975-2200 Watts) 50/60HZ

Extruder Temperature

Up to 320°C

Build Surface Temperature

Up to 115°C

Explore other Solutions

Gigabot
Gigabot Industrial 3D printing is now affordable. The massive print volume starts at 30X larger than desktop
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Terabot
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Gigabot X

Gigabot X

The Gigabot X line of 3D printers are the next evolution in 3D printing technology. These direct-drive pellet extrusion based printers, can print from virgin or recycled pellets, flake, or regrind – and bring us even closer to the dream of a circular economy.

Capable of printing with 3-5mm plastic granules melting below 270ºC, with a larger 0.8, 1.75 or 2.85mm nozzle, Gigabot X reduces the dependence on printing with filament while supporting plastic granule mixing, increasing printing speed and cost savings. 

For more information, please contact info@re3d.org

Printing

Technology

FGF

Build Volume

570 x 595 x 470 mm

Hot Ends

All-metal hot end

Materials

Thermoplastics melting
below 270 ºC

Layer Resolution

0.45 - 2.25 mm

Printing Speed

up to 60 mm/sec

Nozzle Diameter

0.8, 1.75 or 2.85 mm

Granule Size

Supports up to 5 mm plastic granules

Mechanical

Construction

Robust aluminum cartesian frame

Build Plate

cast aluminum - blanchard ground

Software

File Transfer Method

Micro SD

Bot Control

Viki 2.0 LCD panel or connect computer via USB

Operating Systems

Mac, Windows and Linux

Upload File Type

G-code rendered from .stl

Printing Workflow

Simplify3D, Slic3r,
open source softwares

Electrical

Power

110/220 V
(975-2200 Watts) 50/60HZ

Extruder Temperature

Up to 270°C

Build Surface Temperature

Up to 115°C

Explore other Solutions

Exabot
Exabot Take your print to new heights in this 1.83 meter tall modification of our proven Gigabot
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Gigabot
Gigabot Industrial 3D printing is now affordable. The massive print volume starts at 30X larger than desktop
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Gigabot XLT Fulfilling your large-format 3D printing needs, re:3D now offers Gigabot XLT, expanding the size of
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Terabot
Terabot Meet Your Terabot. Your largest print jobs can now be affordably completed in one piece! With
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Gigabot XLT

Gigabot XLT

Fulfilling your large-format 3D printing needs, re:3D now offers Gigabot XLT, expanding the size of your build volume to 590mm  x 760mm x 900mm!

Print with thermoplastics that melt below 320ºC, Gigabot XLT’s all-metal hot end opens the door to a wider variety of 3D printing materials, including both high-strength and heat-resistant plastic filaments.

Free from the constraints of product versioning, the Gigabot XLT platform enables user upgrades and customization. No machine will fall behind with new features available as add-on packages.

Printing

Technology

FFF

Build Volume

590 x 760 x 900 mm

Hot Ends

Compatible with hardened steel and mondo hot ends

Materials

Thermoplastics melting
below 320 ºC

Layer Resolution

0.4 mm nozzle: 100 - 300 micron
0.8 mm nozzle: 200 - 600 micron

Printing Speed

up to 100 mm/sec

Nozzle Diameter

0.4 or 0.8 mm

Filament Diameter

2.85 mm

Mechanical

Construction

Robust aluminum cartesian frame

Build Plate

1/2" cast aluminum - blanchard ground

Stepper Motor

NEMA 17

Software

File Transfer Method

Micro SD

Bot Control

Viki 2.0 LCD panel or connect computer via USB

Operating Systems

Mac, Windows and Linux

Upload File Type

G-code rendered from .stl

Printing Workflow

Simplify3D, Slic3r,
open source softwares

Electrical

Power

110/220 V
(975-2200 Watts) 50/60HZ

Extruder Temperature

Up to 320°C

Build Surface Temperature

Up to 115°C

Explore other Solutions

Exabot
Exabot Take your print to new heights in this 1.83 meter tall modification of our proven Gigabot
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Gigabot Industrial 3D printing is now affordable. The massive print volume starts at 30X larger than desktop
Learn More
Terabot
Terabot Meet Your Terabot. Your largest print jobs can now be affordably completed in one piece! With
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Have any questions?

Gigabot

Gigabot

Industrial 3D printing is now affordable. The massive print volume starts at 30X larger than desktop 3D printers, at a fraction of the cost of industrial systems.

Print with thermoplastics that melt below 320ºC, Gigabot’s all-metal hot end opens the door to a wider variety of 3D printing materials, including both high-strength and heat-resistant plastic filaments.

Free from the constraints of product versioning, the Gigabot platform enables user upgrades and customization. No machine will fall behind with new features available as add-on packages.

Printing

Technology

FFF

Build Volume

590 x 600 x 600 mm

Hot Ends

Compatible with hardened steel and mondo hot ends

Materials

Thermoplastics melting
below 320 ºC

Layer Resolution

0.4 mm nozzle: 100 - 300 micron
0.8 mm nozzle: 200 - 600 micron

Printing Speed

up to 100 mm/sec

Nozzle Diameter

0.4 or 0.8 mm

Filament Diameter

2.85 mm

Mechanical

Construction

Robust aluminum cartesian frame

Build Plate

1/2" cast aluminum - blanchard ground

Stepper Motor

NEMA 17

Software

File Transfer Method

Micro SD

Bot Control

Viki 2.0 LCD panel or connect computer via USB

Operating Systems

Mac, Windows and Linux

Upload File Type

G-code rendered from .stl

Printing Workflow

Simplify3D, Slic3r,
open source softwares

Electrical

Power

110/220 V
(975-2200 Watts) 50/60HZ

Extruder Temperature

Up to 320°C

Build Surface Temperature

Up to 115°C

Explore other Solutions

Exabot
Exabot Take your print to new heights in this 1.83 meter tall modification of our proven Gigabot
Learn More
Gigabot XLT
Gigabot XLT Fulfilling your large-format 3D printing needs, re:3D now offers Gigabot XLT, expanding the size of
Learn More
Terabot
Terabot Meet Your Terabot. Your largest print jobs can now be affordably completed in one piece! With
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Terabot

Terabot

Meet Your Terabot. Your largest print jobs can now be affordably completed in one piece! With a build platform of 915x915x1000mm, Terabot boasts 8,372,250 cubic centimeters of volume. The heated build chamber allows you to print with a broad range of open materials for your professional application, and the industrial components provide quality & repeatability. Your Terabot comes backed by a 6 month warranty, lifetime customer support, and a guarantee that every improvement to the Terabot fleet will be made available to you as a path to upgrade.

Printing

Technology

FFF

Build Volume

915 x 915 x 1,000 mm

Hot Ends

Compatible with mondo hot ends

Materials

Thermoplastics melting
below 320 ºC

Layer Resolution

0.4 mm nozzle: 100 - 300 micron
0.8 mm nozzle: 200 - 600 micron

Printing Speed

up to 60 mm/sec

Nozzle Diameter

0.25, 0.4 or 0.8 mm

Filament Diameter

2.85 mm

Mechanical

Construction

Robust aluminum cartesian frame

Build Plate

1/2" cast aluminum - blanchard ground

Stepper Motor

NEMA 23

Software

File Transfer Method

Micro SD

Bot Control

Viki 2.0 LCD panel or connect computer via USB

Operating Systems

Mac, Windows and Linux

Upload File Type

G-code rendered from .stl

Printing Workflow

Simplify3D, Slic3r,
open source softwares

Electrical

Power

110/220 V
(975-2200 Watts) 50/60HZ

Extruder Temperature

Up to 320°C

Build Surface Temperature

Up to 115°C

Explore other Solutions

Exabot
Exabot Take your print to new heights in this 1.83 meter tall modification of our proven Gigabot
Learn More
Gigabot
Gigabot Industrial 3D printing is now affordable. The massive print volume starts at 30X larger than desktop
Learn More
Gigabot XLT
Gigabot XLT Fulfilling your large-format 3D printing needs, re:3D now offers Gigabot XLT, expanding the size of
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re:3D Inc. Awarded FAVE Innovative Company by Austin Young Chamber

Austin Young Chamber Announces Annual FAVE Award Winners

We couldn’t be more stoked and honored to share the virtual stage with so many companies we adore as the 2020 FAVE Innovative Company Award from the Austin Young Chamber!

Below is a repost of the event highlights– if haven’t already, we encourage you to check out the amazing local businesses that were featured this year!!

AUSTIN, Texas, October 30, 2020 — The Austin Young Chamber celebrated a virtual version of the 11th Annual FAVE (Favorite Austin Venture or Enterprise) Awards last night where forty businesses representing ten different categories were honored and recognized.

“Over the last few months, Austin area businesses have faced many challenges.” said Alyssia Palacios-Woods, President and CEO of the Austin Young Chamber. “What they have been able to accomplish despite these challenges is truly remarkable. We are honored to be able to recognize all finalists and winners and celebrate their resiliency, adaptability, and innovation this year.”

The evening began with keynote Kathy Terry from P. Terry’s sharing her thoughts on success and the importance of community, and was followed with representatives from Ascension Seton, Civilitude, and University Federal Credit Union announcing the awards.

Congratulations to the winners:

  • ZACH Theatre | FAVE Arts & Culture Experience
  • NI | FAVE Community Minded Company
  • Civilitude | FAVE Company Culture
  • re:3D Inc | FAVE Innovative Company
  • H-E-B | FAVE Legendary Austin Brand
  • Latinitas | FAVE Local Non-Profit
  • Austin PBS, KLRU-TV | FAVE Local Source for Info
  • Antonelli’s Cheese Shop | FAVE Small Business
  • Ascension Seton | FAVE Way to Keep Austin Healthy
  • Recalibrate | FAVE YP-Led Business

To see the full list of the finalists and descriptions, please visit the event page HERE.

To see the FAVE Finalist videos, please visit the Austin Young Chamber YouTube Channel HERE.

To schedule a media interview, please contact Alyssia Palacios-Woods, AYC President and CEO, at (512) 810-8005 or alyssia@austinyoungchamber.org.

About the Austin Young Chamber

Millennials are the Largest Generation in the U.S. Labor Workforce. The Austin Young Chamber focuses on equipping our members with the skills, experiences and connections they need to be successful leaders and influencers in Central Texas, both today and in the future. Members of the Austin Young Chamber are generally between the ages of 21 and 40. We welcome Corporate members who employ a young professional workforce as well as individual young professionals looking to grow professionally.

Support Filament

Support

Support material is a class of materials dedicated to serving as easy to remove support. Supports are required on a lot of complex parts, and depending on the geometry they may be difficult to remove. Support material is designed to be easy to remove, and this is often achieved in two different ways. Some support materials are made of PVA, which is often seen in glue. PVA support materials are water soluble, so PVA supports are removed by submerging a part in water. Other support materials are designed to bond with a specific filament. This helps the support material bond to the part, but also remain easy to remove. If you have a complex part that needs intricate support, consider using a dedicated support material in a dual extrusion setup.

Support material has primarily one application, acting as support! The unique properties of PVA support makes it useful beyond just being support. Sometimes, a part may need to dissolve upon contact with water. PVA support is able to meet this unique application.

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ABS
ABS Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is another common 3D printing material with popularity that rivals PLA. ABS’s structure contains a long
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Flexibles
Flexibles Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU) are a category of materials that feature rubber-like mechanical properties. Parts made from TPU tend to stretch
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Nylon
Nylon Nylon is a range of materials that are often used for industrial engineering applications. Its chemical nature allows it to
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PC
PC Polycarbonate (PC) is a high performance material intended for use in engineering and industrial settings. As suggested by its name,
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Want to validate your material?

Have any questions?