Salient 2016 Highlights

 

Another year has gone by, and here at Salient, we have lots to be excited about!
Here 
(in no particular order) are just a few things that made our year great:

Salient 2016 HighlightsSalient Highlights

  1. Working with a wide range of customers on over 160 products this year; ranging from leaf blowers to sippy cups and from playground
    equipment to oceanic drones.
  2. Winning the Prospera Business Network’s 2016 Innovator of the Year award
  3. David Yakos won “Toy Innovator of the Year” at the ChiTag TAGIE Awards
  4. Being Finalists for two TOTYs (Toy of the Year Awards) {the Oscars of the Toy & Game world}!:
    1. Toy of the Year Finalist: Mega Tracks
    2. Game of the Year Finalist: Circuit Maze
  5. Acquiring a new 48×36 Laser cutter for large format cutting and etching fun
  6. Launching a Soft Goods Department; including new industrial sewing machines, heat-cool press, Optitex workstation, hot air welder and seam taping machine
  7. Purchasing a new FormLabs Form2 SLA 3D Printer for fast prototyping in multiple materials
  8. Attending the Outdoor Retailer (O.R.) Summer Market
  9. Attending HATCH Experience in Big Sky, Montana, and HATCH LatAm in Panama
  10. Participating in the Montana Department of Commerce’s Montana Pavilion at ISPO in Munich, Germany
  11. David addressed the Montana Ambassadors Annual Meeting & Conference as their Keynote speaker
  12. Steve addressed MMEC Compete Smart at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
  13. Winning the People’s Choice Award at Blunderbuss Maker Faire 
  14. Enjoying delicious nitrogen-frozen gelato made by Kevin from Big Horn Valve Company
  15. Attending the NY Toy Fair and receiving a Best of Toy Fair 2016 award
  16. Being written up in Forbes for creativity
  17. Collaborating with Helio + Company to create the first-ever 3D printed movie titles, which were used in The Fourth Phase

Check out some photos from all these happenings, below, and check out all the links above for more detail on our wild year!

We hope your year was fantastic, and that 2017 is filled with good things,

~The Salient Team

Salient-Helio Collaboration: 3D Printed Titles

Earlier this spring, Zach Johaneson of Helio Collective approached Salient about creating physical movie titles for use in-camera (instead of the typical computer-generated graphics we’re all used to seeing) for the opening credits of Red Bull’s recently-released Travis Rice snowboarding film, The Fourth Phase.

From Zach:

“For intro title sequences in films, you always start by identifying how the sequence should contribute to the film at large. For The Fourth Phase, Director Jon “JK” Klaczkiewicz had a vision of starting the film off with an elemental look at the hydrocycle. Helio & Co. has been in the graphics business for about ten years now, but with this project we really wanted to push ourselves into trying something different that would also contribute to the films overarching story. This is where the idea to shoot all of the titles in camera was born, but the execution was a total mystery. After a bit of experimentation, we reached out to Salient Technologies and they helped us realize we could actually 3D print very small titles that we could then place in these different states of water. For one instance, Salient 3D printed an incredibly small and detailed title and a jig so we could freeze it into a solid block of ice and then film it. Their ability to understand our end goal and then engineer solutions to achieve those goals was absolutely critical to our success.”

Salient and Helio explored many methods for fabricating the titles, including SLA (Stereolithography) and SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printing, laser cutting, decal cutting, and waterjet cutting.

SLS & SLA 3D printed lettering

SLS 3D printed titles on Left. SLA 3D printed titles on Right.

In the end, due to size and quality constraints, we settled on SLS and SLA printing for the titles. For some of the close-up macro shots, the letters were minute – as tiny as 2mm tall. Since they were to to be shot at 6K resolution, the prints had to be very detailed and high-quality. Take a peek at the end result here:

The Fourth Phase: Opening Title Sequence from Helio + Company on Vimeo.

If you were especially perceptive, you may have noticed that “Principal” was misspelled (or misused) in a couple of the images, then corrected in the intro sequence with several more names added. A consequence of actually printing out titles and creating complex setups for filming in-camera effects (as opposed to using computer-generated graphics) is that when there are changes, they take considerably more time to fabricate. Re-printing, finish, setting up the shot, re-shooting, and re-editing is far more time-consuming than editing the spelling or content in a video program digitally, and then re-rendering. To our knowledge, this is the first use of 3D printed titles in a feature film, which is pretty exciting. Being pioneers, and making “firsts” takes sacrifice!

All images in slideshow were provided and used with the permission of Helio + Company. Helio staff featured in photos include Alex Gappa, Zach, Johaneson and Jim Menkol.

To see other work from Helio & Co, go to www.wearehelio.com

Fourth Phase 4K Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JHE2zkRfW4

 

6 Player Loopin’ Chewie Hack

As a gamer, maker and designer, I am a huge fan of altering toys and games for more exciting play. Sometimes you just need to make a Nerf dart fly faster or make a toy glow in the dark just for fun.  For those that love action games, Hasbro reintroduced the classic Looping Louie this last year with an epic Star Wars version called Loopin’ Chewie.  Gameplay is simple: Chewbacca flies in circles trying to knock over Stormtrooper tokens.  You defend your tokens by hitting a paddle which can launch the erratic Millennium Falcon away from your troopers and hopefully knock out your opponents.  If you are the last to have Stormtroopers, you win.

Well, the original Looping Louie was a Loopin' Chewie, Step 14 player game, and with the reintroduction, the Star Wars edition was dropped to 3 player.  While the game is super fun, I wanted to make play a little more interesting by turning it into a 6 player game.

The necessary 6 Player Loopin’ Chewie Conversion files can be downloaded for 3D print using the Thingiverse.com link below, but here is a step by step if you want to make one yourself…

1. Supplies:

  1. 2 sets of Star Wars Loopin’ Chewie Game,
  2. 3D printer,
  3. Ability to create the 3D file (or download here http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1798407)

2. Design: Using a photograph of the motorized base as reference geometry, I drew a clip attachment in a 3D CAD software called SolidWorks that would attach to an extra paddle. The base has vertical ridges that come up at an angle, so I was able to use those to help position and hold the part.  I used calipers to measure the features on the original base to make sure my geometry was correct.  With one extra attachment complete, I simply patterned the geometry 3x around the motorized center.

Loopin' Chewie Hack, Step 2

3. 3D Printing: With the 3D file ready, I 3D printed the part on our Formlabs 2 SLA printer out of Tough Resin. This material was ideal since the part has to flex over the base to fit into place… and since it will see proper abuse when things get really competitive. The print took roughly 6 hours and can be seen finished in the machine and with the structural supports removed.

Loopin' Chewie 3D Print - Step 3

4. Assembly: Clip the 6 Player Conversion over the base from
the bottom. Since the print is semi-flexible, it can deform enough to clip over the angled base. The vertical ridges hold it perfectly in place. Attach the 6 paddles. Be careful though – it’s still a 3D print and not as strong as molded plastic. Assemble 6 competitive Star Wars fans, and prepare for battle.

Loopin' Chewie 3D hack - Step 4

5. Play: Get ready, cuz it’s about to get crazy! If you only have 3 players, you can operate a paddle with each hand…. Not easy.

Loopin' Chewie 6 Player hack

3D Printing Keynote Speaker

October 2014, David Yakos, VP and Director of Creativity at Salient  Technologies, Inc. addressed a roomful of technology professionals as the keynote speaker at the RJ Young “Power of 3D Printing” Conference in Nashville, TN. Yakos presented the ability of 3D printing to take risk out of product development through prototyping.


RJ Young Brings “The Power of 3D Printing” Exhibition and Award Winning Product Designer to Nashville

Southeast’s leading office technology provider brings “The Power of 3D Printing” Exhibition and Award Winning Product Designer David Yakos to audience in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville, Tennessee (PRWEB) October 16, 2014RJ Young 3D Printing 2014

Nearly 50 professionals from across the mid-state attended “The Power of 3D Printing”, an interactive 3D printing exhibition and guest lecture at the Omni Hotel, sponsored by the RJ Young Company. The event showcased 3D Systems printing technology and informed a wide-range of professionals, from architects to advertising agencies, of the competitive advantages that 3D printing offers and featured a lunch-time presentation by award-winning product designer David Yakos.

“Weapons to wheelchairs and dog toys to space exploration, all industries could use 3D printing technology,” Yakos said as he addressed the audience. He explained how 3D printing in product development allows you to “fail fast and fail cheap” to get more desirable products to market faster.

Read the rest of the story HERE

Salient’s Top 10 Highlights of 2014

Top 10 Highlights of 2014

It’s been a pretty big year for us here at Salient.  Following are some of our Highlights, “Letterman-style”:

No. 10:  Salient featured in a webisode of “In The Making”

No. 9:  David as Keynote Speaker for the RJ Young 3D Printing Conf. in Nashville, TN

No. 8: Rolling out the new Salient Website

No. 7: New PC SolidWorks Workstations (that we built ourselves!)

No. 6: Hiring two new Salient Team Members – Seth & Christina

No. 5: “Product Testing” Blue Ribbon Nets’ Aquafade nets in the Beartooth Mountains and catching a hoard of trout

No. 4: Participating in HATCH 2014 in Big Sky, MT

No. 3: Attending the Chicago Toy & Game Fair & The MMEC Compete Smart Show in Billings, MT

No. 2: Flying to Dusseldorf for the World Valve Expo

And No. 1: Working on over 130 product designs THIS YEAR!

Bonus:  Numerous Epic NERF Battles in the office.

Merry Christmas

3D Printing in the News

Just in case you missed it – here’s a short feature* on 3D Printing by ABC Fox Montana starring Salient Technologies, Inc. owners David Yakos (VP, Director of Creativity) and Steve Sanford (President)!

Reporter, Rachael Aragon takes a quick look at the how’s and what’s of 3D Printing at the Salient office in Bozeman, MT…

ABC Fox Montana 3D Printing story - November 2014

*Update: March 18, 2015 – We regret that the video for this feature is no longer available, but you can still click on the photo above to read the full article.

 

Top 10 Benefits of 3D Printing

3D printing is one of those technologies that seem somewhat mysterious and futuristic. The closest experience most have with the science is from watching Star Trek where Data or Spock could request anything they wanted from a wall-mounted computer consul called the Replicator. It would replicator2theoretically arrange subatomic particles into whatever was requested; like a meal, uniform or a spare part for a machine. Today, the process is a little different than what you might experience on the Starship Enterprise however, that concept isn’t too far off the mark. Modern processes don’t synthesize at the atomic level but rather build one layer at a time by extruding molten plastic or curing a resin using UV or laser light. After 30 years of perfecting additive manufacturing (3D printing) it has become a vital step in product development. Today people are 3D printing replacement tools, ornate foods, textiles for clothing and even organic matter like bone. With this technology emerging in mainstream, I wanted to visit ten major benefits of the technology…

  1. Time-to-Market: 3D printing allows ideas to develop faster than ever. Being able to 3D print a concept the same day it was designed shrinks a development process from what might have been months to a matter of days, helping companies stay one step ahead of the competition.
  2. Save Money: Prototyping injection mold tools and production runs are expensive investments. The 3D printing process allows the creation of parts and/or tools through additive manufacturing at rates much lower than traditional machining.
  3. Mitigate Risk: Being able to verify a design before investing in an expensive molding tool is worth its weight in 3D printed plastic, and then some. Printing a production-ready prototype builds confidence before making these large investments. It is far cheaper to 3D print a test prototype then to redesign or alter an existing mold.
  4. Clear Communication: Describing the product you are going to deliver is often misinterpreted since it leaves construction up to the imagination. A conceptual picture of the product is better than the description since it is worth 1,000 words, but getting to hold the tangible product-to-be, in hand, clears all lines of communication. There is no ambiguity when holding the exact, or at least a very close, representation of the product.
  5. Feedback: With a prototype you can test the market by unveiling it at a trade-show, showing it to potential buyers or investors, or raising capital by pre-selling on IndiGogo or Kickstarter. Getting buyers response to the product before it actually goes into production is a valuable way to verify the product has market potential.
  6. Get the Feel: One thing you can’t get from a picture or virtual prototype on the computer screen is the way something feels in your hand. If you want to ensure the ergonomics and fit of a product are just right, you must actually hold it, use it and test it.
  7. Personalize It: With standard mass-production, all parts come off the assembly line or out of the mold the same. With 3D printing, one can personalize, customize and tweak a part to uniquely fit their needs, which allows for custom fits in the medical and dental industries and helps set people apart in the fashion and jewelry world.
  8. Build your Imagination: In the modern boom of digital art and design, the possibilities are not only accelerating but limitless. One can now 3D print almost anything they imagine after drawing it up virtually. In a relatively short time, an idea, concept, dream or invention can go from a simple thought to a produced part that you can hold.
  9. Square Holes?… No Problem: The limitations of standard machining have constrained product design for years. With the improvements in additive manufacturing, now the possibilities are endless. Geometry that has been historically difficult or impossible to build; like holes that change direction, unrealistic overhangs, or square interior cavities, is now possible and actually simple to construct.
  10. Fail Fast, Fail Quick, Fail Cheap: Being able to test ideas quickly and discover what doesn’t work accelerates discovery leading to an ideal solution. 3D printing allows a product developer to make breakthroughs at early stages that are relatively inexpensive leading to better products and less expensive dead-ends.

David Yakos is VP & Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc.

3D Printing a Doctor Who Dalek for Yahtzee!

Dalek-Prototype-Unpainted_compressed-(4)

When you can combine 3D printing, product design, Yahtzee and the BBC science-fiction program Doctor Who, you end up with one fun and creative project.  We were tasked by USAopoly to create a Yahtzee dice shaker that represented the evil mutant race of the Daleks, extraterrestrial villains who battle the Doctor though time and space.  USAopoly is well known for playful variations of games like Monopoly, Risk, Life and Yahtzee.

Here is an inside look into the development process.  Wanting to stay true to the details of the Bronze Asylum of the Dalek characters, we started by reverse engineering images from the original costuming.  Paying attention to the fine details, we drew the figure in SolidWorks. SolidWorks is a feature based 3D CAD program that allows us to create a virtual prototype to ensure moldability, symmetry, form and fit.  With the geometry fully defined, we 3D printed a rapid prototype to test geometry and to create a showpiece.  Prototypes are very helpful to ensure dimensions, test the way it feels and to pitch the product at tradeshows. The 3D print was hand painted to represent a final production piece so it could be showcased.

 

Dalek Yahtee - Creating a Prototype

Dalek Yahtzee - creating a prototype

David Yakos is the VP, Director of Creativity at Salient Technologies, Inc.

 

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