Microsoft Uses Objet’s Line Up of 3D Printers

Microsoft Uses Objet’s Line Up of 3D Printers

Inside the Microsoft model shop, where Microsoft’s actual products are designed and built, you may see a familiar sight. Along with numerous 3D printed objects, there is an Objet Connex500 3D Printer. The Objet Connex 500 is used to rapid prototype any potential 3D products and stay atop the computer software and computer electronics industries!

Microsoft's user experience designer and model maker, Karsten Aagaard shows Joshua Topolsky around Microsoft's very cool product prototyping lab. In this video you can see a total of 3 Objet 3D printers, which include 2 Objet Eden's and a brand new Objet Connex500, that are being used to rapidly prototype the next generation of Microsoft products!



Karsten really knows his stuff as he expounds on the unique benefits of 3D printing and the Objet Connex. He explains how wrenches and bicycle chains can be produced in a single 3D Print with no assembly and how to achieve a wide range of flexible/rigid model combinations including overmolding for a PC mouse prototype.

Being one of the big players in the technology world, Microsoft heavily relies on any competitive advantage they can gain in their product development process. Their in-house 3D printers provide the capability to produce both simulations and end-use parts in real time. This saves both time and money, while bolstering creativity and ingenuity.

Aagaard feels that 3D Printing helps Microsoft achieve a competitive advantage partly because of the prototype turnover rate. When (Microsoft designers) want it, at five o’clock they dump their files. We get (the Objet Connex500) running, and at eight in the morning (the 3D Prototype) is ready to go,” explains Aagaard.

Aagaard and Microsoft’s team of designers really like the ability to print multiple materials on one object in a single print. “You can then two-shot the parts,” says Aagaard. Microsoft can print 3D mouse prototypes with spinning scroll balls and custom rubber side grips. “Once (designers) create the new debosses and features inside, they are able to load components and do testing,” continued Aagaard.

Aagaard estimated that a fully functioning (moving) wrench would take approximately 35 minutes to print and a functioning mouse prototype would take around three hours to print. Once printed, the hollow mouse can be fitted and assembled with functioning electronic parts inside it, making it an operational prototype. “We also do test fixtures,” explains Aagaard. “So if the mouse has to go through a life cycle, rather than spending thousands of dollars creating a fixture that holds the mouse, we will create the fixture in 3D.”

3D Printing is helping Microsoft revolutionize the technology industry. When Microsoft released the new Windows Phone, Microsoft printed a clear, 3D phone using an Objet 3D Printer. With new Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse Hardware coming out in 2012 (Arc Keyboard, Touch Mouse), Objet’s line up of 3D Printers is helping the technology giant develop the most innovative products to date.

The 3D printed transparent touch-screen for the Windows phone, although a prototype and model, would be a revolutionary design in the mobile industry, far exceeding the current design offerings by smart phone makers. Perhaps the technology is currently unavailable, or does Microsoft have something in the works?

With Objet’s help, we will soon find out.





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