Fail Fast & Fail Better

Aug. 8, 2023
The design process has been the stopgap in moving from an idea to a tool to a finished part. Let’s look at how additive manufacturing has allowed the entire workflow to pick up speed while allowing design creativity to flow.

Glen Mason, manager of advanced innovation and industrialization at DeMarini, a division of Wilson Sporting Goods, and Lasse Staal, business development director of Nexa3D, spoke with Sharon Spielman, technical editor of Machine Design, about additive manufacturing for the sporting goods space. 

In this second of a five-part series, we learn that the experts have been the bottleneck in the process all along. Mason says, it is the experts who have been vetting what ideas go forward and what ideas dont.

“The cost is generally high for tooling, right? If I have to spend six to eight weeks and $15,000, $20,000, $30,000 just to test an idea, all the maybe,’ undeveloped ideas or ideas that don’t have a lot of legacy of data to support them, they just never see the light of day,” Mason says. “So, when I can bring that cost down by a factor of 10 and I can bring the time down by a factor of 10...there’s really not an obstacle to test these ideas...I can now have version one, version two, version three. 

READ MORE: ASME Honors Additive Manufacturing Innovation

He says that by jumping over those design steps, not only has the process sped up significantly but the mold build was faster, and the entire workflow got faster. “What I’ve done is, I've sort of liberated these early design phases so that more of those ideas can see the light of day because they arent waiting,” he says.

Staal agrees. “I think everybody’s realizing...that while additive manufacturing is a great technology, the experience that Glen has had with this gap between the prototyping and the production is a real one. It’s one that’s holding back a lot of creativity, a lot of ideas,” he says. We wanted to try to see if we could bridge that gap. 

The collaboration between Nexa3D and Addifab was to “be able to do bigger stuff faster,” Staal says.When we started the Wilson Sporting Goods case, we had actually just onboarded the large form of Nexa3D NICS in XY for 120, which was the key enabler in making those large molds. So, had you asked us about two years ago, could we do this? No, we couldn’t.

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