3D Printing

Why Popcorn Lovers Need Onshape and Formlabs

25 March 2022 | Sophia Hudson

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Repeatedly in life, you hear the phrase “practice what you preach.” A charge to show the world what you’re saying is true and viable. Well, that’s exactly what we did and continue to do here at EAC headquarters.

THE PROBLEM

EAC’s popcorn machine recently had a broken part rendering it difficult to produce popcorn that wasn’t blackened to a crisp. 

The Right Product Design Solution: Onshape

Our design engineers took one look at the problem and took action. Using PTC’s cloud-based Onshape, one engineer began the initial CAD design of the part off-site simultaneously as another designer was able to edit the part geometry on-site. This increased collaboration and excelled design iteration with updates in real-time.


With the initial design completed in Onshape, minor tweaks were made and work through versions 2 and 3 were finished in just a matter of days. The CAD file alone, however, was not going to fix the burnt popcorn issue – it was time for prototyping.

The Right Prototype Solution: Formlabs

Unfortunately, the original part had deteriorated over time which made it difficult to capture accurate measurements. Adjustments to the prototype would have to be made along the way to make sure that it fit just right.


Using our Formlabs 3D printers, the designers printed V1 and V2 on the Form 3+ printer due to the accuracy and speed in which they could turn around a prototype. Since our team wanted to test out their iterations quickly, they took advantage of the new and improved software and hardware offerings on this printer. The off-site designer was able to print the prototype after the on-site designer prepped the printer before leaving the office that same day. As a result they produced functional, high-quality prototypes and end-use parts in record time.


The prototype material used accelerated necessary edits, but was not used for the final product due to the level of heat it would take on sitting above the popcorn kettle. The final piece was printed with Nylon resin on the Fuse 1 printer. This new SLS printer not only sped up the production process, but allowed for long-lasting results using an incredibly durable material. It was time to install the ready-made part – our popcorn machine was going to pop again. 

THE FINAL PRODUCT

By using modern collaborative design tools in Onshape, our team was able to seamlessly work together remotely and also quickly iterate a quality design ready for prototyping. Formlabs’ connected printers with remote access, printing, and monitoring created an accurate and durable part that was ready to be put to use.

Together, the two solutions streamlined design, prototyping, and part production processes. Our design engineers saw a problem and practiced what they preach – filling the halls of EAC with the smell of fresh popcorn once again!