Chinchilla Contest Winner!!
Knowledge of the 3D Industry
In speaking about the business of 3D printing it is clear James knows about what he speaks. While at the time of the contest he had not previously used NinjaTek products, he was very familiar with the company, its products, as well as the range of filament types and the varying characteristics of each.
For example, he had a prototype concept in mind for the Chinchilla contest (a 3D printable pillow cushion), but he wanted to be able to compare and contrast it with the outcome of other filament types. He began first with an extremely scaled down version and then moved on to a full-size prototype once he was happy with it. He initially used TPU materials that just tested OK after some manipulation. Understanding that TPU/TPE can be a bit more rigid in characteristics, James then toyed with pattern designs to “fake” the compression required for a comfortable end product. He printed different samples with hexagonal, square, and diamond patters, then tested each for compression performance.
Once his Chinchilla filament arrived, and James set out on the same methodical course of product evaluation. He began by testing a scaled down foam grid patterns to see if the cushion was capable of compressing upon itself—this time trying only square and diamond patterns. He ruled out the hexagonal pattern since it showed the least potential in his earlier runs. In testing the newly arrived filament on the first run, he knew he had something special. The compression was considerably better with Chinchilla than he saw with the TPU 95A filaments. When he stepped it up to full size, the compression was just as good.
By beginning his process with what he already knew to be a more rigid material, James designed his way out of that corner. He was intentional about doing this early in the process—experimenting with a variety of patterns that would then “cheat” the rigidity and leverage the flexibility of the material to mimic compression.
This allowed him to quickly hit the ground running once the Chinchilla filament arrived. Remember, he was already working under the weather and under a tight deadline.
Finally, nothing says Ninja, like sticking with the task to the bitter end. Did James have hiccups along the way. Yes. There were a few, but he also understood that it is an expected part of the process. It means steadily calibrating speed, temperature, and fine-tuning extruder settings.
After overcoming every obstacle, and pushing through to the finish, James produced a prototype that he feels has two great use cases. The first is in the realm of small-run custom prosthetics and ergonomics. It’s his belief that this is the biggest opportunity for a product like Chinchilla and one that is especially suited to it given the SkinSafe credential it carries.
He also sees a use for using the product for prototypes that eventually advance to mass production via an injection molding processes.
Watch his YouTube video to learn more about James and check out the first 3D printed cushion he made with Chinchilla to use with one of his own inventions.