It now seems virtually impossible to find an industry that 3D printing hasn’t touched. With the film industry being no exception, designers and photographers are using 3D printers for cameras, spool holders, and equipment. This innovative method saves time and money, while allowing companies to create equipment that is both lightweight and durable.
Nori Equipment founder Kevin C. W. Wong quickly caught onto this innovative trend and started using 3D printers for his product, SquareBounce – a unique lighting reflector that doubles as protection from outside conditions. With 3D technology, he was able to instantly cut down on production time and costs.
Wong still felt restricted by the materials he was 3D printing and the part quality they produced. He needed parts to be stronger, long-lasting and withstand outdoor conditions, so he began researching for alternatives. Markforged quickly caught his eye, thanks to CADMicro.
“Initially, we were only able to use our 3D printers for prototyping and creating molds,” Wong said. “The fact that Markforged parts are fiber reinforced and come off the print bed with a smooth, good-looking surface finish was a game changer.”
Wong invested in two Markforged Onyx Pro printers and has since re-engineered his product to better meet customers’ needs. With Onyx, he creates strong, color-accurate, mechanically precise end-use parts directly from the print beds.
Onyx stands out from other materials – with its high strength and sleek surface finish, parts created from this material are usable eye candy, transforming 3D printed parts from prototypes to final products. Unlike other materials, Onyx does not require chemical baths, sanding or dyeing to hide internal honeycombs. The 3D part is ready to go, right off the print bed.
Aside from the impressive part quality Markforged provides with its printers, Wong also praises the easy-to-use, stable software available to its users – Eiger.
“With Eiger, we can pause and resume prints at anytime, reload material, and check on details.” Wong noted. “This saves us time and material since partial prints aren’t wasted if we run out of material. We don’t like to waste, so this sits very well with us.”
Nori Equipment quickly eliminated mold making, resin-casting, and CNC machining from their production process, saving 4.6x the cost per reflector. Creating customer-facing parts eliminated the need for post processing, and production time was cut from 10 days to 1 day. Wong noted the additional 30-40% weight reduction per part was an enormous advantage to film and photography professionals who are often required to carry equipment around the set.
While the production process benefited from 3D printers at Nori Equipment, Wong also noticed an improvement with their customer relationship. The quick turnaround using Markforged technology allowed him to innovate and respond to customer feedback faster, and improve their product in ways that were impossible with traditional manufacturing.
“As a small company, this keeps us agile and receptive to our customers’ needs,” Wong said. “We are creating proprietary parts in any quantity, at any time.”
Aside from printing end-use parts for SquareBounce, Wong has high hopes for 3D technology in the future, and is looking into printing jigs and fixtures to further optimize his production line.
“With 3D printers, I can leave the shop and go to bed knowing parts are being created and money is being made while I sleep.” Wong said. “How awesome is that?”