This blog post, Large Format 3D Printing for the Signage & Display Industry, is adapted from Sharon Rothschild’s Lounge and Learn presentation at ISA Sign Expo 2018.
Massivit 3D launched our first product at DRUPA 2016: the Massivit 1800. Within two years, we’ve grown to 60 customers worldwide. Ten are in North America. At first, our customers filled a need in the world of signage and display. Large format 3D printing added a new dimension to conventional printers’ capabilities. Today, Massivit 3D’s install base includes event producers, theater and television set builders, scenic fabricators, 3D service bureaus, and more, and they now have two Massivit 3D printers from which to choose.
Both of our large format 3D printing machines are nothing like today’s 3D printers for home use. Besides the size (home desktop 3D printers can be 50 cm high while the Massivit 1800 is 1.8 meters high) the biggest difference our printing technology offers is speed. Both printers, the Massivit 1800 and the Massivit 1500, use patented Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP).
- GDP cures instantly by UV light. This cuts printing time down dramatically.
- GDP does not require extra material. Other 3D printers must use extra material to support models or keep them in place, and this increases waste and cost.
- GDP produces light-weight models.
The Flagship Large Format 3D Printing Machine
The flagship printer is the Massivit 1800. The printing area dimensions are 145cm x 111cm x 180cm or 57” x 44” x 70”. With two independent engines and nozzles, it can print two different 6-foot tall (180cm) people simultaneously. The printing time takes 1/15th the speed of a household 3D printer.
The new Massivit 1500 offers a lower height to fit smaller spaces. The printing area is almost identical to the Massivit 1800, save for the vertical Z axis which is a little lower. It prints a bit slower too, but it is much faster than other 3D printers because of our GDP technology.
How 3D Printing Changed Industries
Many industries have adopted 3D printing technology. The most famous is industrial engineering. For over 20 years, they’ve been employing 3D printing to create prototypes and end-use parts because of the very precise accuracy and because strong materials like metal can be used. In recent years, 3D printing has spread to other industries.
In construction and architecture, 3D printing allows professionals to create scale models of houses, buildings, and even neighborhoods. Today, entire houses can be created with 3D printing. The technology is also used by designers for interior decor, lighting, and furniture. It is becoming more popular for consumers themselves to think of an idea for their home, design it, and then print it.
Even artists are using 3D printing. In museums you see 3D printed art. Some artists use the artistic language of 3D design, accentuating the pixels and angles.
3D printing changed the health and medical industries from what they used to be. Today, bones, tissues, prosthetics, hearing aids and more can all be 3D printed. Hearing aids are manufactured from 172 different materials. One of the efficiencies of 3D printing makes sampling easy and inexpensive.
And of course 3D printing is in educational settings. Students can design and print atoms, skeletons, and even artifacts to get a hands-on learning experience.
3D printing is conquering the world!
In 2017, one billion 3D printers shipped around the world, mostly for home use. That’s about $6 billion.
Look at the different industries that are adopting the technology. One industry you don’t see is signage and display. That’s because there was no printer that could provide value and fill the needs of this industry. This is where Massivit 3D filled the void.
Stand Out with Large Format 3D Printing
Our 3D printer is a way to differentiate your signage and display business. We all know that in this industry, there are very narrow profit margins . . .using conventional printing. The Massivit 1800 and 1500 offer a way to differentiate your offering and find new applications that offer high profit margins.
When you see what Massivit 3D offers, you’ll see it provides a way to separate yourself from the conventional printers you continually price and bid against for every job.
We have many customers around the world. Most of the customers came from 2D printing in signage and display. They had to learn about 3D design and printing and how to use the 3D files. Some had to learn about finishing. That’s sanding, painting, and such.
We learn so much from our customers as they attend to their customers’ needs, finding the solutions with their Massivit 3D printers. A new trend we are seeing is that our customers’ customers are actually demanding 3D printing. Here are examples.
Customers’ Applications of Large Format 3D Printing
Louis Vuitton had one week to install a pop-up store inside a mall in Sydney, Australia. The store had to fit between the structural pillars of the mall. Louis Vuitton asked several shops but nobody could do it except the one with the Massivit 1800.
Rugby League World Cup 2017 wanted something special for the championship tournament. They found it with large format 3D printing. They created a team representative from each competing nation modeled after Patrice Siolo of the North Sydney Bears. Each figure stood 3 meters high and was illuminated with LED lighting.
Massivit 3D allows you to print channel letters that contain complex geometry or curves that normally are very hard and time-consuming using conventional means. 3D printing saves seven steps and days of work. We at Massivit 3D never considered using our technology for creating channel letters until our customers began doing it and showed us. One customer even combined their channel letters with video mapping for a company party.
What if you need more than one? No problem. Creating identical models is as simple as pushing a button. This is the digital world. Or you can create a thermoformed mold that allows you to produce many duplicates of smaller 3D models. Print the mold and then create whatever quantity you need.
One of our customers presented at a trade show. His customer was in the audience and learned about large format 3D printing. The customer, a big hotel chain, ordered a high-end accent for one of their hotel lobbies — an elegant black panther. The hotel management was so happy, they ordered other animals. No two were identical.
One New York customer wanted to separate themselves from their competitors in conventional printing. They pitched to Sony Pictures the idea of incorporating 3D elements on bus wraps advertising their upcoming movie. Sony loved the idea, and the results were so successful, Sony hired them for their next movie as well. To this day, the firm creates bus wraps for Sony using 3D elements and enjoys revenue streams from new sources of business.
Businesses create a buzz and leverage free marketing via social media with 3D printing selfie points. With 3D printing, you can create virtually anything. One customer created a giant ski boot. Using a gondola, they lifted the boot to the top of an Italian mountain resort and people could not wait to get their photo with it.
Point of sale displays are always in demand, and with 3D printing, they can be created lightweight and hollow for illumination. Most important, they can be created fast.
A tavern in Melbourne, Australia wanted an Alice In Wonderland scene. They dazzled patrons with larger-than-life, illuminated mushrooms.
When Israeli airline company, El Al, received their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, they marked the occasion with a celebration. In attendance was this 2.5-meter long replica of the new plane about to land. Boeing sent the computer file to the printing house who simply resized the file and then hit “Print.” Even our large format 3D printer can’t print 2.8 meters at once, so they printed the plane in sections.
3D Printing And You
This Massivit 3D distributor in Vienna shows every passerby what is possible with 3D printing. And anything is possible! Pictured below is the outside of their office. Fun and engaging.
You can print any idea you can think up! The freedom the design software allows and the Z-axis of 3D printing technology goes beyond the capabilities of CNC and creates models much faster than conventional polystyrene.
[Thanks Denys Nevozhai and Unsplash for the featured image]