ZCorp, one of the leading 3D Printer manufacturers, also makes and markets 3D Scanners, such as the ZScanner 800 shown above. In a recent article posted by The Engineer Online and republished by ZCorp, they describe the case of Portuguese product development firm Protosys. Protosys recently assisted a boat manufacturer who had difficulties with hull shapes:
Boat hulls are traditionally made from fiberglass, and the designs are used for years. When manufacturers introduce new boat models, they reuse hull designs and spend the bulk of their product development efforts on the deck, cabin and furnishings. Since their moulds are based on handcrafted hull patterns, hulls are rife with minor imperfections. Minor imperfections add up, however, and can create headaches when a boat is assembled. When it’s time to glue the hull to the deck, too often the parts don’t fit together.
And of course, the ZScanner was used to capture and optimize the hull shapes so that they could be easily re-used.
But that gets us wondering; how many other industries have similar issues, where they have used manual techniques to produce shapes? How many great designs are "in analog jail" and cannot be released for others to re-use?
We suspect the amount of non-digital designs is truly vast. Therefore, we also suspect an emerging 3D industry will be services that capture these analog designs and bring their value into the interconnected 21st century.