Our QA blog series looks at different members of our team and their perspective on the most current 3D printing and CAD technology. This month’s QA features Rich Annino and RP Services for PolyJet parts.
Meet Rich Annino, 3D Print Lab Supervisor
1. Describe yourself in five words or less.
Creatively driven and attentively ingenuitive.
2. What are you most passionate about and why?
Outside of work, I’m very passionate about playing card games such as Magic: The Gathering and board games such as Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan with friends and family. I find the level of focus and skill required to play games like these well is fun, and I think that getting to play silly games with people that you enjoy spending time around should always be a blast.
I also love mixing my two loves: 3D printing and drones. My coworkers recently introduced me to flying drones, which is my new passion. From tiny quadcopters that can fly safely indoors without damaging their environment or falling apart, to large racing drones that must be flown outdoors over large fields using first person view goggles, I have a great time flying. Plus, most drones are easily modified with the right CAD software and the right 3D printer to make your design a reality!
Rich's Role at TriMech
3. What is your role at TriMech and your background?
My role at TriMech covers quite a bit. Primarily, I run our Connecticut print service shop, which is the largest shop in TriMech’s arsenal of print service centers. Here, we provide backup printing for current clients with printers under repair, benchmarks for prospective clients interested in seeing parts before purchasing a printer and Rapid Prototyping Services for all other clients. The vast majority of my day is spent working with clients to determine what they need based on our technologies available. That said, I also spend a fair amount of my time programming jobs to print, calibrating printers, troubleshooting/repairing machines that go down occasionally, post-processing parts and managing shipments.
Because of the age of the machines in the Connecticut shop, I also get to try new beta materials and equipment and report information back to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) of these technologies to ensure quality before a product launch. Once these products release, I also usually write TriMech blogs article about these products in both an entertaining and technical way.
Finally, outside my 3D Print Lab Supervisor role and marketing content creator, I also manage the TriMech CT Office. I'm the go-to person for fixing or installing equipment, monitoring supplies or helping with marketing or sales events at the office. While I wear several different hats, my number one focus is always meeting our clients’ needs and providing the absolute best possible level of service.
4. Can you tell us what it's like to work at TriMech's CT shop?
TriMech's Connecticut Print Service Lab is a great place to work! We have more printers at our disposal than any other TriMech office, with two 3D scanning application engineers (one of which is an Elite SolidWorks AE, the other is a Stratasys AE), some of the newest Stratasys printers (Fortus 450mc, 380mc, Objet500 Connex3, and an F170), and a substantial amount of material on hand. All of these resources allow us to have a quick turnaround on 3D printing part orders.
5. What is your favorite thing about working in RP services?
My favorite thing about working in RP Services is that no two days are identical. One day you may be working on an exciting bright yellow/green PolyJet Simulated Rubber part for an individual looking to patent a unique new product, and the next you may be working on strong Ultem parts for a large aerospace company. When time permits, it's also a great perk to explore new technology, design in SOLIDWORKS and print demo parts. Never having to work on the same type of project for more than a week at a time is absolutely my favorite part about working in RP Services. Each new project is fresh and exhilarating.
Going In-Depth with TriMech RP Services for PolyJet Parts
6. What competitive advantage does outsourcing PolyJet parts offer to clients' workflows?
Outsourcing PolyJet parts to TriMech offers our clients access to incredible technology. In particular, we can print high quantities of high resolution PolyJet parts at incredible speeds using our Connex printers. We print in a range of simulated materials such as rubber-like materials (with a dynamic shore A durometer range), simulated polypropylene, simulated ABS (at 28 microns, vs. the max resolution of FDM ABS of .005” per layer) and even exciting colors! TriMech PolyJet RP Services offers companies with commercial 3D printers in-house a partner for overflow work. And we offer companies who don't have access or only have access to older, smaller machines expanded capabilities for their larger, one-off projects.
7. How do RP services impact the 3D printing industry?
RP Services is perfect for businesses with sporadic, infrequent uses for additive manufacturing or who can’t afford the capital investment required for a 3D printer purchase. It is a great alternative for those companies to still be able to utilize these technologies while at the same time working with professionals who have worked in the 3D printing industry for years. In most cases, partnering with a 3D printing firm can provide additional value to projects. RP Services is a crucial service for those that can’t have access to the latest and greatest technology in-house and will continue to make a positive impact on the 3D printing industry.
8. Where do you anticipate it going from here?
With new materials and technologies, RP Services lets clients test new technologies and guage how it fits into their design/process before purchasing. As long as the printing industry continues to release high-end machines and materials, the rapid prototyping trends will continure to grow.
I’m certain that outsourcing additive manufacturing work to RP Print Service companies like TriMech will continue to be a widespread practice in the future for companies to expand their prototyping capabilities. We are always striving to grow this department and support more Stratasys and soon Desktop Metal technologies. We have machinery, materials and expert staff in-house to assist our client base, and our team is always available and happy to help! I hope we are able to bring our clients even newer and more unique additive manufacturing solutions in the future. Contact us for a quote!