Top 10 influencers on 3D Printing – Are you kidding?

We have just come across this

What utter nonsense this is.

For us, the most influential input to 3D Printing is Gartner and their report about the state of consumer 3D Printing.

What everyone forgets, who do not understand what 3D Printing is really all about, is that 3D Printing is NOT a natural extension of 2D Printing.

Any of us can 2D Print because we are all programmed with 2D brains. It’s called text, drawing and picture taking (which we then insert into a document to 2D Print).

To 3D Print requires years of training, training to understand the impact of gravity on printing in 3D, training to understand the constraints of the materials used and the impact it has on the functionality of the part being produced, training on the constraints of the software you use to create the 3D object in the first place. By the way it is called Product/Industrial Design!

We do agree about Avi, we disagree about Meg (what does she know about 3D Printing?) and we would have included Scott Crump (Chairman and CTO at Stratasys) and Al Sablani (who owns Envisiontec).

Another one to watch is Dr Hans J Langer of EOS, he is actively investing in 3D Printer companies.

GCSE Results day – What Next?

To all the young people of the UK who have received their GCSE results today, congratulations and we hope you achieved the grades you were looking for.

For many of you, the next decision is ‘what next?’. A Levels, Apprenticeship or a job? three very difficult choices which need careful consideration.

From an SME employer perspective, here is some advice. Feel free to ignore it as it is only an opinion.

Whatever you choose to do, you have to remember you are competing with tens of thousands of others, of your age, who will be all asking the same 3 questions. So how can you make sure you give yourself the best chance, whatever you decide to do?

We would argue be honest with yourself first.

If you plan to stay on and study for ‘A’ Level, are you sure that you have the academic rigor to gain the grades you will need to go on to university to do a degree that will have worth to an employer afterwards? If the answer is yes, knuckle down, work hard and get the grades you need. Doing ‘A’ levels simply for the sake of it (or because you like the subject) might not translate into a bankable job opportunity afterwards.

If ‘A’ levels are not for you, then look to a modern apprenticeship. They have the advantage of introducing you to the world of work, give you the opportunity to ‘earn why you learn’ and can still open up academic opportunities for you in the future.

And if you are desperate to want to work, that is fine, but you may end up doing the same type of work for a very long time (50 very long years at least; something you may come to regret.

Whatever you choose to do, we wish you every success as you continue on your life journey. Work hard (and play hard…but get the balance right!) because the world of work will get more interesting and, hopefully, more enjoyable as your future work career progresses.

And Industrial Design as a career? Very rewarding but very risky! Most ‘design practices’ are ‘one man bands’. If it is a career in design you want, look to engineering Design, the future for engineers is very bright indeed.

Why we love competition

We had an interesting phone call the other week. As we’re a friendly bunch who respect many other design companies, we chat with them on a regular basis.

The conversation was to do with a client we have been working with (and who we won from this other design company, albeit we didn’t know this until they contacted us). We knew this client had additional projects and we assumed (and would encourage them) to ‘shop around’ to make sure we are offering value for money; and this is what they did.

Our competitor phoned to ask if we would be offended if they bid for the new project (they are a really nice design firm) and we said ‘absolutely not’.

Forget the legal implications of a ‘cartel’, our attitude is competition is good and we encourage it whenever we can. Why? Because it ensures we never get complacent and we continue to deliver exceptional design and ‘value for money’ to our clients.

But it never fails to amaze us about how some companies inflate the value of their design capability. Recently we won a project where one competitor bid £18K, another £6K and we bid £5K. Needless to say we got the project. Does this mean we should be charging more? Again, absolutely not. We know what exceptional value is and it has worked for us for 9 years so why change a winning formula?

TSB Innovation Vouchers – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

As an Industrial Design practice that has been designing products since 2005, we have seen many government grant schemes come and go.

One of the more endearing grant schemes are Innovation Vouchers. Innovation Vouchers were, originally, developed by the previous Government and administered by regional Business Links. The scheme was open to any UK tax payer who wanted to innovate to create a competitive advantage and we are proud to say that, in the Yorkshire & Humber region, Fripp Design and Research were delivering 1 in 5 of all Innovation Vouchers.

With the change in Government and the demise of the Business Links, the Technology Strategy Board have taken over their administration and have changed they way they operate. Based on our extensive experience of delivering Innovation Vouchers, we do have some objective views on the way they now operate.

The Good

Under the old scheme, the bureaucracy of obtaining an Innovation Vouchers was fairy intense (given the Innovation Voucher value was £3500). Under the new regime, the process of applying for an Innovation Voucher is much simpler.

One thing we are really pleased with is the method by which suppliers, clients and the Technology Strategy Board operate. As with the old scheme, the contractual relationship is maintained between the client and the supplier. This means that if the supplier fails to delight the client, then the client will not pay (as in any commercial transaction). The Technology Strategy Board pay the client once the supplier confirms that they have been paid. This is the right approach (and we wish more grant schemes worked in the same way, ensuring the UK tax payer gets value for money).

The Bad

Under the old scheme, there was little direction about what markets and projects could be supported by Innovation Vouchers (there were a few exceptions such as financial services and certain retail activities, but other than that, it was the idea that mattered rather than the market the client operates in) . However, under the new scheme, the Technology Strategy Board dictate the themes for which a grant will be allowed. We think this is fundamentally wrong. Innovation comes in all shapes and forms, including the markets where the innovation will be applied. Ultimately it is about making UK SMEs more competitive. We never think ‘top down’ intervention works in any market and we think this should also apply for Innovation Vouchers too.

Although we have huge respect for the team at the Technology Strategy Board, they are not custodians of markets (if they were, then they would be making billions for themselves). The whole purpose of an Innovation Vouchers is to stimulate new innovation and new opportunity, for a very low cost to the tax payer. We can certainly see the benefit of themes for higher value grants, but Innovation Vouchers should be free to seed new ideas and new business opportunities wherever they are happening (as long as they are legal of course!).

The Ugly

If you want an Innovation Vouchers, you cannot use an existing supplier. We believe this to be folly. As with any client/supplier relationship, there is a period of time that is used to develop the relationship. This relationship is about establishing respect, trust and the necessary market awareness for the innovation the client has in mind. Insisting that you cannot use an existing supplier restricts the potential true value that could be obtained from your £5,000 Innovation Voucher.

We know the Technology Strategy Board are concerned that Innovation Vouchers might be misused (because of the trusting relationships that becomes established between clients and suppliers), but fraudulent use of public money is a criminal offence and we know for certain that the Directors at Fripp Design and Research have no desire to ‘do time’!

In conclusion, we like the simplicity of the new Innovation Vouchers process, we do not like the fact that the vouchers are thematic and we think it is fundamentally wrong that clients cannot use suppliers they already work with and trust.

However we are really pleased that the Government continues to see their value.

How would you 3D Print with Silicone?

Although Fripp Design and Research continue to be at the forefront of Industrial and Product design in the UK, we are getting a lot of interest in our method for 3D Printing silicone.

To be absolutely honest, we invented it to overcome an objection by some anaplastologists in our use of starch as the framework for 3D Printing soft tissue prostheses; it was a ‘we will show them’ moment!

So we have a technology that is looking for applications and markets. So if you think you might have an application for 3D Printing silicone, then please get in touch at innovate@frippdesign.co.uk.

Please remember the following:

1. If you think your idea might have potential IP, please make sure you sign a NDA with us first, we want to make sure you get the full value and reward for your idea (remember we have the technology and we need you to have the idea)
2. Our technology requires no support materials at all, so there is plenty of ‘design freedom’ scope for whatever idea you may come up with
3. Our technology is not yet fully developed, so please do not expect to become rich overnight, however what you would do is influence the development path of the technology from here

So, it is over to you. Thinking caps on. We are looking for serious applications where there is an identified market need where the volumes would justify our mutual efforts.

Fripp Design and Research join AIRTO – Press Release

Press Release – For Immediate Release

Fripp Design and Research join the Association of Independent Research and Technology Organisations; AIRTO

Fripp Design and Research are delighted to announce that the company has been accepted as a member of the Association of Independent Research and Technology Organisations (“AIRTO”).

“This is a tremendous accolade to be given to Fripp Design and Research” commented Tom Fripp, Managing Director at Fripp Design and Research “it recognises the focus our company has in developing innovative, research focused solutions to our clients problems”.

Fripp Design and Research has a track record in innovating new products and services for a broad range of clients, including many UK Universities. “It is one of our proudest achievements that many of the UK’s greatest research institutions come to us for help to research new and innovative ways of applying modern industrial design methods into commercial applications” continued Fripp.

Research and Technology Organisations, more commonly referred to as “RTOs”, provide an important bridge between academia and commercial business. Their focus is to help business exploit science and technology to gain a competitive advantage.

AIRTO brings together those ‘best in practice’ independent research organisations, to encourage and support greater adoption of science and technology within UK businesses. “In common with the many eminent organisations that make up AIRTO’s membership, Fripp Design and Research have a strong focus and ability to help businesses exploit science and technology for their commercial advantage, making innovation happen” added Dr Jane Gate, AIRTO’s Director of Operations “.

Already membership is bringing advantage to Fripp Design and Research “As a result of being recognised as an independent Research and Technology Organisation, Fripp Design and Research are now obtaining approval to join as suppliers to a number of publicly funded programs, this means our clients are able to take some of the risk out of their own research and development programs by working with us” concluded Fripp.

End

About AIRTO

AIRTO – The Association for Independent Research and Technology Organisations – is the foremost membership body for organisations operating in the UK’s intermediate research and technology sector. AIRTO’s members deliver vital innovation and knowledge transfer services which include applied and collaborative R&D, frequently in conjunction with universities, consultancy, technology validation and testing, incubation of commercialisation opportunities and early stage financing. AIRTO members have a combined turnover of over £4Bn from clients both at home and outside the UK, and employ over 40,000 scientists, technologists and engineers.

AIRTO members include commercial companies, Research and Technology Organisations, Research Associations and selected research and technology exploitation offices from universities, operating at the interface between academia and industry. Most of AIRTO’s members operate in the important space between pure research and the pull of the market for commoditisation of knowledge into new products and services.

AIRTO exists to assist its members to network and to engage collectively with government and policy makers in the UK’s R&D landscape on matters of mutual interest, including research policy, innovation strategy, encouraging enterprise and developing the commercial take up of scientific and technological advances. AIRTO works to influence and improve the strategy and climate for innovation for our Members by forging links and progressing dialogue with key decision makers in government and industry across technology intensive sectors. Our interests cover the activities of the Research Councils, the TSB, the European Commission and a number of UK Government Departments, as well as topics such as the use of public procurement to support innovation, challenge led research, skills provision, support schemes such as SBRI and those that deal with contract and collaborative R&D.

2014 – A Great Year for Industrial & Product Design

2013 was a great year for Fripp Design and Research, culminating in the announcement of our own new 3D Print technology Picsima.

Underpinning the development of our own intellectual property is our continued delivery of brief pushing industrial design for our clients. This is recognised through the 40% increase in revenue from December 2012 through to December 2013 and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone of our clients for their business and we wish them all a very prosperous 2014.

This growth has come, in spite of a very static UK economy; which only goes to show that business is investing in business ensuring future prosperity. Prosperity which is starting to appear through the ‘shoots of recovery’ being talked about by politicians and economic observers alike (particularly within the UK manufacturing sector which bodes well for design). Indeed 2014 is starting well for us with a healthy order book and pipeline of opportunities.

We’re all very excited about 2014, especially for what will become of Picsima; however our DNA is in industrial design and product design and this will never change. Shortly we will be launching our new website which will further enhance the extensive design capabilities we have at Fripp Design and Research.

So, to all our existing clients, prospects and clients we do not even yet have; we wish you all a very prosperous 2014.

Press Release – Picsima

Press Release – For Immediate Release

The next generation 3D Print Technology is coming

On the outskirts of Sheffield, located in a workshop on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, one of the pioneering companies in 3D Print technology are about to release the next generation of 3D Print technology.

Fripp Design and Research are recognised experts in the development of 3D Print applications where they have collaborated with organisations such as the Wellcome Trust, The University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University developing ground breaking solutions for the rapid manufacture of prostheses.

“Although 3D Print has been around for nearly thirty years, the increasing output in new applications is being driven by an ever increasing pool of industrial design talent and the software tools to allow that talent to flourish” stated Tom Fripp, Managing Director at Fripp Design and Research. Tom’s own Masters Degree was about developing custom casts for patients using 3D Print methodologies and the entire design team, at Fripp Design and Research, are all educated to the same level and all specialising in 3D Printing. “With this pool of talent available to us, research institutes such as the University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University rely on our expert knowledge rather than the other way round; which is the norm when SMEs engage with Universities”.

It was during the development of the soft tissue prostheses project that Tom and his team identified the need for Picsima, the next generation 3D Print technology currently under development “The soft tissue prostheses project we undertook with the University of Sheffield is a two part process using off the shelf technology. We create a prostheses scaffold using a standard colour 3D printer which we then infiltrate with medical grade silicone” explained Fripp, “Naturally, as Industrial Designers, we wanted to perfect a system to use as few stages as possible, so as to make it as commercially viable as possible, so we asked ourselves the question ‘could we print in silicone direct?’; as no such system was available we started on the journey to create the method for Picsima 3D Printing” said Fripp.

With a Technology Strategy Board High Value Manufacturing feasibility grant, the company set to work on working out how to 3D print silicone in full colour. “The grant was important as it allowed us to focus resource in solving the question posed on ourselves without distraction” continued Fripp.

Within a twelve week period, the company answered their own question and a UK patent application has been filed. “The method we’ve discovered has a certain simplicity to it which makes me proud of what the team has achieved” said Fripp. “The question is what do we do next?”

Like many SME companies, Fripp Design and Research have to manage their resources carefully “I am very proud of what Tom and the team have achieved” interjected Steve Roberts, co-founder and majority shareholder at Fripp Design and Research “Tom and I set the company up to invest our resources to develop our own IP for either license or sale” added Roberts, “This is still our preferred model, however the idea of becoming the next big manufacturer in 3D Printing also has its appeal”.

So the company has some interesting choices to make “Do we sell it, licence it or make it?” Roberts stated. Whichever route the company chooses to take, Picsima will have an impact on the world of 3D Printing. The technology behind Picsima means full colour functional prototypes could be made. Shore hardnesses of less than 25 are already been achieved, with their test rig, and the ability to use such a wide range of materials means they can create parts capable of withstanding temperatures as low as minus 60 and greater that 200.

“It feels a little bit like how HP started when they developed their first precision audio oscillator from their garage in Palo Alto, the question is how do we best take Picsima from the workshop, to market?” concluded Fripp.

Whichever route they choose, Picsima will be a landmark development in 3D Print technology.

About Fripp Design and Research

Sheffield based Fripp Design and Research specialise in Product Design, Concept Design, Industrial Design and Rapid Prototyping. The design team are Masters Graduates in their specialist subjects. The company use Solidworks, Rhino, Bunkspeed Hypershot, Magics and Mimics software and own a number of rapid prototyping machines.

The customer base is broad; from blue chip companies, to UK leading universities, to individual inventors and entrepreneurs. The company were involved in the design of the Comic Relief ‘Honkus’ Red Nose and have appeared on Channel5’s, the Gadget Show. Clients also include; Fellowes, Rolls Royce, Proware Kitchen, Sagentia Group, Nestlé and The Wellcome Trust.

In addition to client work, Fripp Design and Research are involved in a number of in house product developments ranging from DIY to healthcare.

The company’s contact details are:

Fripp Design Limited
The AMP Technology Centre
Brunel Way
Sheffield
S60 5WG

www.frippdesign.co.uk

T: 0114 254 1244

Press contact:

Steve Roberts
steve@frippdesign.co.uk
Picsima 3D Printer

Why We Do Not Offer Internships

The world of graduate employment has changed. 25 years ago less than 5% of 18 year olds went to University and many students had their fees and living costs paid for by the tax payer.
When our co-founder, Steve Roberts, graduated in 1985, there were more graduate jobs than graduates and he had the pick of the jobs and career he wanted to pursue. Sadly, the situation is now completely different.

Although we applaud the notion of creating a well educated workforce, it has had some unforeseen consequences, particularly for graduates. Today there are more graduates, than graduate jobs; resulting in graduates prepared to enter the world of work at much lower salaries than graduates would have been prepared to take 25 years ago. This has created a whole new ‘job market’ ‘branded’ as Internships.
We understand why a Graduate would be prepared to work for a low salary (or in some cases for no salary at all), but we cannot support such work activity for a number of reasons:

1. We would never want to be perceived as an employer who is taking advantage of an unforeseen situation for a young person
2. An Intern is looking for an opportunity to gain work experience to help them find more gainful employment. This requires significant intervention by us, as an employer. This means diverting valuable resources which we believe would have a negative impact on our ability to delight our clients; and it is our clients that are most important to us. So there would be an ‘opportunity cost’ to us as well
3. Our mission in life is to delight our clients. A primary part of this is the professional team we have built. Our clients love our work because we have designers who are top of their game. It would be inconceivable of us to put an Intern on client work; and at the end of the day, our reason for existing is to do client work

For some organisations, Internships would make sense. But in a business, whose primary assets are its people; Internships would be a risky distraction. Without being too political, we are encouraged to see that young people are starting to look at alternatives to University and we think this is desirable for the UK economy.

We Are A Design House First – Honest

Our recent posts have very much focused on the commercial challenges in the use of 3D Printing technologies and our genuine concerns about the inflated expectations of 3D Printing, from Investors to Consumers alike.

Although it might appear that we are business analysts, we’re not. We are designers (well most of us are; Steve is not – he’s the business guy in the team so it should not be any surprise that our most recent blogs have been written by him) however we would always argue that design, and the tools of design, are integral parts of business and should never be viewed as ‘bolt on’ cost. Design is an investment whose sole purpose is to provide clients with a commercial return on their investment, where the term commercial return can be viewed in the broadest of terms (from increased sales, through to more competitive branding/marketing).

This is best exemplified by Apple who, under Steve Jobs’ guidance (second time around), went back to its design routes and developed Apple into the corporation it is today (despite the fact that its P/E is a fifth of the P/E of current 3d Print stock…but this will realign in the fullness of time). Similarly, the likes of Dyson, Sony, almost all of the automotive brands (in particular we have been impressed with the direction that Jaguar have taken over the last few years) and many of the large electronics manufacturers like Samsung as well as online platforms like Facebook, Kickstarter and Twitter that focus heavily on the integration of design and user experience through to the core of their business. More local to home we have noticed brands like Richardson, GHD and Joseph Joseph which have all become businesses that thrive on the use of good design and are businesses that we admire for it.

So please take the opportunity to read our blog history. It interweaves between the commercial and technical influences on design, of which there is no doubt, 3D CAD, Printing and scanning will continue to be important integral tools needed by design companies to deliver exceptional value to customers.