It’s spring, which means that the motorcycles are coming out. If you’re typically a car driver, it’s also open-window season, which means that you get to listen to motorcycle drivers’ music at stoplights. Many motorcycles have some impressive sound systems these days, and many of those impressive sound systems come from Soundz, a South Dakota-based audio equipment manufacturer that specializes in power sports audio. According to Soundz, their speakers are the loudest and have the cleanest audio quality out there, so some careful craftsmanship has to go into creating them.
Recently, Soundz was gearing up for the launch of a new after-market speaker product for a global motorcycle brand, and they needed a new tweeter housing grill. The grill needed to be high quality in terms of surface texture, finish and fit, as well as reliable in terms of part strength, UV stability, and abrasion resistance. And it needed to be finished in one week.
Soundz had been trying to get the grill completed and delivered in time for launch at Daytona Bike Week, but injection molding was taking too long – the lead time for designing, prototyping, tooling and production was somewhere around three to four months. This was too long, so the company decided to look into 3D printing for the first time.
For help, Soundz turned to fellow South Dakota company Primary Manufacturing, one of the launch partners for Carbon’s new Speed Cell 3D printing system. The company is Carbon’s newest partner and manufactures parts exclusively with CLIP technology. When Soundz approached them, Primary Manufacturing decided to try 3D printing the grill with Carbon’s RPU70 resin, which offers the strength, abrasion resistance and UV stability the part needed.
The grill was designed with Netfabb, which allowed for optimization of support structures to ensure that there would be minimal post-processing needed. Once Primary Manufacturing received the CAD files from Soundz, they were able to 3D print the first functional prototype within 24 hours. A few quick iterations were produced to make sure that the grill had the right texture and aesthetics, and the final part was 3D printed within in a week on a Carbon M1 printer.
Soundz released the new speaker product at Daytona Bike Week as planned, and customers were thrilled with the aesthetics and reliability of the system. Without Carbon’s technology, that likely wouldn’t have been possible in the short time required.
“The collaborative effort among Primary Manufacturing, Carbon and Soundz allowed my company to bring an idea to market faster than we ever thought possible,” said Peter Jensen, CEO of Soundz. “That potential led us to sell completely out of stock of this speaker during its launch at Daytona Bike Week.”
When Carbon emerged with their CLIP technology two years ago, they promised two things: materials that would allow for the production of high-quality end-use parts, not just prototypes, and super-fast 3D printing. So far, they’ve delivered both consistently. The company continues to impress through high-profile collaborations like recent ones with Adidas and other companies. When a new company emerges with big claims like Carbon made from the beginning, there’s always a bit of a breath-holding period to see if they can actually live up to those claims – but so far, Carbon has had no trouble at all showing the world that they can deliver on their promises. Discuss in the Primary Manufacturing forum at 3DPB.com.
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