Creating New and Innovative Products Using 3D Printers. A Case Study
April 24, 2021 | By Don Musilli | In Blog
In 2016, Keith Grant set up his new operations, Frontline One, in Port Charlotte, FL. His company developed and produced a line of nozzles that used high pressure water for drilling into sand and shale and for fire supression.
Frontline One had develped a new method of altering the flow patterns in the new nozzles to significantly reduce the time to drill caissons in the sand and shale as well as create a more well distributed water pattern for fire supression. In addition, these new nozzle designs would drill faster and with less water than any previous nozzle on the market.
Keith would design the nozzles on Inventor 3D modeling software and send the files off to a machine shop where it would take up to 3 weeks to machine and cost up to $300.00 each and then Keith would test the new nozzle pattern and design and hope the new flow patterns worked. This was both slow and expensive, so Keith began looking for another method for rapid prototyping.
In 2018, Keith was introduced to Don Musilli, owner of LiteWorld LLC. Don had started playing with 3D printing in 2013 and had developed a method for doing prototyping of any type of object using a number of different materials. Don could get the 3D modeled file type from Keith on a Monday, print the new nozzle design on Tuesday, Keith would pick it up on Wednesday , and test it on Thursday. In only four days and for $30.00, Keith was able to make minor adjustments quickly and for one-tenth the cost.
This new process opened an entirely new area of nozzle development for Frontline One and over the course of 3 years Liteworld printed ove 30 different nozzle sizes and types for testing. ( see photos below). Initially the nozzles were printed using PETG which proved to be a good material for testing and they could work fro short periods of time under stress. But Don knew a stronger material would have to be used for commerical applications.
When Covid-19 hit it affected all businesses and Keith’s business was significantly impacted by the pandemic. His minimal revenue stream slowed to a trickle and he was now looking for a produce he could sell quickly.
Keith had always thought the “plastic nozzles” as he called them would be used primarily for testing with the possibility of using them in the residential market. But LiteWorld had the 3D printers that could print with Polycarbonate, and extremely tough and durable material that could be used in-lieu of metal nozzles to accomplish similar tasks.
Keith requested a test print using Polycarbonate for his 3/8″ and 1/2″ clean out nozzles. The first polycarbonate nozzles printed for Keith turned out to work beyond his expectations. A few tweaks to the design and Keith had a small clean out nozzle that he could offer to the City of North Port for their fleet of maintenance trucks that often had to do sewer pipe clean out for residential applications.
In April of 2021, Frontline One received an order for 10 Polycarbonate along with the associated 1/2″ hose section with appropriate coupling devices. This was the first time he had successfully landed a sizable contract with a municipality. LiteWorld is now printing those nozzles and expects to deliver the order to Keith by the end of April 2021.
Below are some of the photos of the many styles and types of nozzles LiteWorld produced for Frontline One over the past 2.5 years as well as the Polycarbonate nozzles.
For more information on our 3D printing capabilities or if you are interested in attending one of our Adult or Kid 3D Camps please go to our website at: http://www.liteworldllc.com or call us at; 941-999-8200