3D designer also creates sculptures with objects found at HGR

Matthew Beckwith, partner at Photonic Studio, and HGR Industrial Surplus customer

Why did you decide to go to school at Cleveland Institute of Art?

I originally wanted to be a car designer. CIA was a better fit for me than other schools focused on automotive design that were located in Detroit and San Francisco. After trying cars for a year, I decided product design was a better fit for me.

What is your best memory of CIA?

Some of my best memories from CIA came from classes taught by Richard Fiorelli. His classes had a hands-on approach to working with materials that delivered results I would otherwise not think to sketch out. This hands-on concept of “play” to iterate concepts is something that has stuck with me throughout my career.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a maker?

I guess I would say “designer.” For my day job (creative director /partner at Photonic Studio), I make things for other people to communicate and visualize their ideas. I suppose that I am a “maker” as a hobby because I love to tinker and experiment.

[editor’s note: Photonic creates 3D architectural renderings, product renderings 3D illustration, animation and interactive environments. These photos showcase some of their work.]

What do you make and with what types of materials?

With materials from HGR I have made some various sculptures. I have worked with everything from charts and thermocromatic graph papers, to conveyor belts and giant rubber bands. Often the bulk nature of materials at HGR lends itself to play and experimentation. I, generally, like to look for unique things that are on their way to scrap and can be purchased for as little as possible. I like the idea that we can upcycle things that were on their way to the landfill or scrapyard.

How long have you been an HGR customer?

My first trip to HGR was in 2005ish.

What have found at HGR that you incorporated into your work?

Unique chart and graph papers, thermocromatic papers, robot parts, conveyor chains, giant drill bits, refractory bricks. Too much to list, honestly.

Would you recommend HGR to other artists and makers?

Always. Aside from being super interesting to look around, it offers all sorts of things you just wouldn’t find at Home Depot or an arts store.

What do you do when you are not doing your personal work?

I am a designer at Photonic Studio. We are a creative and visualization agency that focuses on 3D modeling for animation and interactive. Lately, this means we are working on lots of exciting projects in augmented and virtual reality. Traditionally, we have worked with clients in design fields, as well as marketing and communications teams at all sorts of companies.

What inspires you?

I love being optimistic about the future. The ability to work with new technologies and create interactive experiences that could not happen in the physical world is exciting. I also have a love for manufacturing and find the process and tools of production to be beautiful. Often the limitations of a process or technology give me something to reach for as I develop concepts. Also science. I love NASA, SpaceX, JPL, LHC, NIF, and all sorts of amazing machines built for science.

Where can we find your work?

My day-to-day work can be seen at www.photonicstudio.com.

Ford truck rendering by Photonic Studio 3D illustration by Photonic Studio 3D illustration by Photonic Studio 3D architectural rendering by Photonic Studio 3D architectural rendering by Photonic Studio motion graphic by Photonic Studio

Additive manufacturing, 3D printing and rapid prototyping: What’s the difference?

Keyboard with 3D print key

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Liz Fox, senior marketing associate, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network)

If you type “additive manufacturing” into Google, thousands of results pop up, including everything from magazines to materials manufacturers to membership organizations devoted to the subject.

Many of these sites also use the terms “3D printing,” “additive manufacturing,” and “rapid prototyping” interchangeably, which brings up an important question: are these really all the same, or are crucial differences being overlooked?

Let’s start with the basics. Additive manufacturing is a methodology made up of new processes that have been developed during the last 30 years. While these vary on a technical level, all of them involve quickly building components layer-by-layer or drop-by-drop using printers and digital files. This differs from traditional manufacturing processes (such as CNC machining) because it builds up rather than takes away; thereby, constructing something from scratch instead of chipping away at existing material to form a specific shape or object.

At the root of it all, 3D printing and additive manufacturing are one and the same. While most experts prefer “additive,” “3D printing” has become a buzzword that resonates more with the average consumer, as well as the new class of makers that’s emerged in the last 10 years. Some debate this theory, but in our experience, it extends little beyond personal preference, like calling soda “pop” or vice versa.

Rapid prototyping is a different story. While additive and 3D printing describe a process, rapid prototyping is a way to use that technology, specifically in a testing environment and/or for design purposes that have little or nothing to do with service applications. The phrase “fail fast, fail cheap” often applies to this practice, as additive tech allows manufacturers to experiment with different ideas, designs, and functions without worrying too much about the cost of materials. Some options include Color Jet Printing (CJP), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), and Stereolithography (SLA), which have been used to create things as diverse as car components, toys, and surgical implants.

Regardless of its applications, 3D printing continues to revolutionize the manufacturing sector. As current tech is improved upon and new methods are developed, these innovations are impacting companies for the better by offering a faster, cheaper alternative to using traditional processes and materials.

Check out how MAGNET is helping manufacturers harness the power of additive manufacturing capabilities in their products and processes:

For more information, call MAGNET at 216.391.7766, visit manufacturingsuccess.org, or follow us on Twitter at @MAGNETOhio!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock