Ben started work at Laser Lines just four months ago, making him the most recent member to join our 3D Printing Bureau team.
Unlike our usual recruits, Ben’s background in 3D printing very much started out as a hobby, an interest which he’s turned into a career. Here he tells us more.
My previous role before joining Laser Lines was as the manager of a trailer manufacturing business, which, as you might think, had very little to do with 3D printing. However, my long-standing interest in Airsoft (a sport similar to paintball) had led me to purchase my own 3D printing system to manufacture parts.
I was so impressed with the capabilities of the technology that I decided to learn as much as possible about it, with a view to turning my hobby into my professional life. A lot of hard work, learning and researching, I’m now doing something I enjoy each and every day at Laser Lines.
I am able to put my knowledge and experience to good use on a daily basis, helping our 3D printing bureau customers achieve the right solution. When a customer approaches us with a view to having a part made, it’s up to me and the team to advise the customer as to the best way of producing this.
It is very much a two-way process, with us ensuring we have a full grasp of the customers’ requirements. We discuss any temperature or material constraints we need to take into consideration to guarantee we get the products right first time.
We are lucky that customer knowledge these days is very good, with a great deal of our customers understanding just what can be achieved with 3D printing technologies, from one-offs for prototyping purposes to low volume production runs.
A common sticking point is designing for 3D printing. Customers are accustomed to designing for traditional manufacturing methods, but the design rules for 3D printing are not as limiting as those you need to follow in traditional engineering. Part of the service we provide is to offer guidance on how designs can be adapted to make them suitable for 3D printing purposes.
There’s also no such thing as a typical customer for us, which makes every day and every project different. The sheer variety of industries and applications we deal with is astounding and the great results we achieve here in the bureau are evident through the number of repeat customers we have.
The bureau is the most comprehensive of its kind, with 18 rapid manufacturing systems here at our Banbury base and the choice of 12 different engineering-grade thermoplastics.
Laser Lines’ experience and expertise, in combination with its diverse portfolio of technologies, help us to stand out from the crowd, which, in turn, helps our customers to do the same. It’s great to be part of such a dynamic, innovative industry, not to mention an organisation which has enabled me to turn my part-time hobby into a full-time day job!