In April 2009, Tommy Voeten, President of 1212-Studio, was asked to help illuminate the fabric roof of the stages for rock band U2’s upcoming international 360 Tour. The roof would become part of the famous LED video screen for the band. New York City-based 1212-Studio, Inc. is an award-winning product design company, specializing in custom design and innovation of LED illumination products for the architectural and entertainment markets. It was a perfect fit for the project.
The requirements were rigorous. The 360 Tour would contain three identical stages, each holding 36 orange pods, called polyps, on the roof. Each polyp would hold eight pieces of illuminating LED fixtures to light the roof fabric in millions of colors. A total of nearly one thousand custom fixtures had to be designed, manufactured and delivered within four weeks. To illuminate the double-curved fabric roof structure in full color, Voeten came up with an innovative optical, mechanical and thermal design solution which he called U2BE (pronounced you-tube).
Voeten, who had invested in a Dimension BST 1200es 3D Printer from Stratasys in 2007, knew he would use the printer to create the fixtures, and he had complete confidence that it would meet U2’s design and time restrictions. “The Dimension is the best investment I’ve made in years,” he said.
The most important test was the performance of the optical system as a completely assembled product, according to Voeten. “We needed to avoid unwanted shadows or an uneven light distribution,” he said. “In addition, the fit and function of the units had to guarantee a fast, hassle-free assembly of nearly one thousand units in a matter of days, not weeks.”
“The innovative LED illuminating fixture required proof of concept,” said Voeten. “Optical and thermal simulation tools are fantastic for saving time and are incredibly accurate, but we still wanted to see the light distribution with our eyes. We wanted to hold a physical model in our hands before we started manufacturing.”
The Dimension-produced functional prototype helped to demonstrate proof of concept to the other team members. Three days after the printer began creating the part, Voeten flew to the United Kingdom to meet the team for final approval. The next day, the design went into full production.
Dimension 3D Printers use FDM technology, a method of additive technology that works by putting down layers of thermoplastic materials to create a prototype. “Tommy has said that investing in FDM Technology was the best decision he has made for his company, as it enabled him to sell his ideas more efficiently, provide better proof of concepts, create functional prototypes and save money at the same time,” said Gary Shears, Vice President, Stratasys Product Manager, Cimquest Inc. “The Dimension 3D Printer required little explaining. It pretty much sold itself.”
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.stratasys.com
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