Case study – IR remote readout – rapid prototyping
4.5 hours from idea to product:
This case study shows how we met our customer’s requirements due to our agile development methodology. The fast-growing technical industry requires in time solutions. Thanks to modern integration between digital design and desktop additive manufacturing rapid prototyping is possible.
For a further project and a first proof of concept our customer searched for a “…small device for quick signal readouts from IR remotes commonly used in smart home devices.”. The initial contact was set from the customer’s side via mail and we managed to set up a video-call within 30 minutes.
The main goal in rapid prototyping is to deliver a first iteration as fast as possible to the customer, that meets core criteria in thermal, chemical and mechanical plus the software requirements. In this case, function was more relevant than shape, therefore visual product design is left for further iterations. All this was discussed during the first call.
After discussion of the essential parameters, the first sketch was translated via a CAD design into a 3D printable shape that met all the previous criteria plus the integration of the needed microelectronics.
- IR-receiving diode
- IR-transmitting 960 nm diode
- 1,3” monochromatic OLED
- USB-powered microcontroller
Print time vastly depends on part design and slicing settings such as layer height, print orientation and infill density. A balanced setting allows short print time combined with desired mechanical properties and good visual outcome and led to a combined print time of two parts that was just under 2 hours.
While parts were printed a simple software sketch was written and parallel to that preparation, testing and soldering of the electronics took place. The final software was tested with the bare electronics. After finishing printing, the parts were checked for mechanical and visual quality, so final assembly of the prototype could be done.
After being tested in its final state the prototype could be presented to our customer via a second video call during the same day. Overall time, from customer’s initial request to online presentation of the first working prototype that met all the customers criteria, no more than 4.5 hours went by.
Key factors for successful rapid prototyping
Successful rapid prototyping is defined by extremely fast understanding of customer core requirements, translating these into short, relevant specifications and finishing a first working prototype as a first iteration within a few hours. Thereby, the customer can start testing shortly after and further improvements can be done in parallel. All this ensures the shortest time to market with a working product.