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Anders Håkansson in LTU's design lab.

LTU supports development of design lab

Published: 9 January 2013

Division of Innovation and Design at Luleå University of Technology gets 1 000 000 SEK of LTU's lab fund to expand the design lab with a 3D printer that can produce models of wax and a vacuum casting equipment.

LTU's lab fund shall lead to the development and renewal, which strengthens LTU's research environment and makes it attractive. The Division of Innovation and Design already has a 3D printer that prints in plaster and plastic, but a vaxprinter complements the existing equipment in an important way. The new equipment will be able to deliver products with greater wealth of details.

– It allows us to create an even better final finish on the products, says Anders Håkansson, which teach in courses in advanced 3D modeling, prototyping and product design at LTU.

A tool in the design process

A 3D printer is based on rapid prototyping technology. This is a technique to quickly and easily produce a prototype. The technique is based on thin layers that are built up with a three-dimensional CAD model as a basis.

Rapid prototyping is an important part in the design process and is a cost efficient way to produce complex shapes in only one copy. The physical 3D model helps the designer to get a feeling for the size, color and shape of the product.

The new vaxprinter and vacuum casting equipment to be purchased are complementary and can be combined in a good way. Vacuum casting enters in the final stages of the design process and involves creating a plastic prototype which is as close to the final product as possible.

– Vacuum casting is used to produce details in the final material, more like the finished product. The technique is good when a few examples needs to be manufactured says, Anders Håkansson.