Assignment #7

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And so we draw near to the end. As we've come to the end of this project, I've had some revelations about my topic (removing ice and snow from your car). These include the following:

  • Most users do not want something too complicated.

  • There are many gimmick-y products out there when it comes to ice scrapers. Need to make sure my ice scraper doesn't come off as a gimmick.

  • Above all, it needs to remove ice as well or better than the current model.

  • Removing snow/ice is a two stage process: remove snow, then scrape ice.

With that in mind, I created this Pugh chart.

Pugh chart.jpg

And from there I decided I could combine several of my ideas into a scraper with an innovative scraper blade, as well as adding a shovel feature to move the snow.

In a market with really bad scrapers, I wanted a name that would be simple and sound effective. Although one of my key features was an innovative scraper, I didn't want to come across as "innovative," when so many bad scrapers try to aim for this marketing point.

Thus, I am introducing the Modern Scraper.


The name implies that it's up to date, using newer technologies and overall made for the problems of modern cars, not the cars of the 50's.

This ice scraper uses an innovative blade which contains a hardened plastic tip, reinforced by a plastic core, while the rest of the blade is a dense rubber. This give the blade a small amount of flex to make your force for efficient in removing the ice, while maintaining a hard tip.

There is also a large "pusher" which allows the user to push and pull snow off the car to reveal the ice underneath. On top of this pusher is a brush which is essential for removing residual snow and ice.

At the end of the scraper is another small handle to make pushing directly along the axis of the scraper easier.

The scraper itself is three feet long, extending the user's reach considerably.

Assignment #6


And so the research continues.


For my preliminary research I did surveys on Facebook with the same basic format. The questions were (approximately) as follows:

Would you purchase a _________ ice scraper?

How much would you pay for a _________ ice scraper?

How much do you want this product? 1-4

Any other comments, feature suggestions, or general thoughts on this product?

On each product I got 10-40 responses, enough to tell which were good and which were bad (there were several that there was a nearly unanimous "NO" response to whether they would buy it.

Thus I narrowed my ideas down to these five:

  • Ice Scraper with Sprayer
  • Ice Scraper with Hand Guards
  • Ice Scraper with Heated Handle
  • Ice Scraper with a Flashlight
  • Innovative Ice Scraper Blade



Hand protection.jpg



Spray 2x2.jpg

Several of these were really difficult to find similar products, so I did the best I could.

For pretty much all of them, the price range was about $5-$20 so that will be good to keep in mind. I also learned from Amazon reviews that above everything else, functionality is most important. This is something I already knew but this only cemented that knowledge.


Flashlight: a scraper with a light attached.
Ice scraper with lamp
CN 201998958 U

Hand Protection: a scraper combined with a mitten.
Combination ice scraper and mitt
US 4683592 A

Heated Handle: a scraper with a heatable material in the handle.
Thermal ice scraper
WO 2007001250 A1

Innovative: an ice scraper with a thin, flexible, metal blade.
Ice scraper
CA 2464211 A1

Spray: ice scraper with sprayer on end.
Windshield ice scraper with de-icing solution dispenser
US 7832955 B1


For the flashlight, the biggest issue will be having a bright flashlight that isn't blocked by the user's arm during use.

For the heated handle, a power source that isn't heavy or cumbersome could be an issue.

For hand protection, it will be difficult to create a guard that protects against snow while allowing movement, as well as not capturing snow accidentally.

For the paint scraper imitation idea, making this product cheap while retaining flexibility could be difficult.

For the sprayer, holding enough spray to be effective could be difficult.

Assignment #5


Is still creative is it's prompted by a structured course of action? I don't know, but today we're saying yes. Robot creativity, okay not really, but it's definitely not blue sky ideation. Here's how my process went.

Haven't had time to go through the whole process of uploading the sketches, but here they are on Flickr.

Luckily we did all this on my topic in class, so I got some ideas from people who spoke up in class. Thanks guys!

Archetypal product: Ice scraper!

Blade made of condensed salt

With a flashlight


Make blade similar to paint scraper, give flexibility

Paint scraper.jpg

Longer reach/telescoping handle


Put to other use:
Scraping dirt from shoe sole

boot scraper.jpg

No handle, brass knuckle scraper

Brass knuckle.jpg

Pull instead of push scraper



The issues that I determined we were dealing with was force and ease of operation, because we need to use a lot of force, but doing so reduces the ease of operation.

This suggested that I use these concepts:
13. The other way around
-Invert the actions
-Turn the object (or process) "upside down"

28. Mechanics substitution
-Replace a mechanical means with a sensory (optical, acoustic, taste, or smell) means
-Use electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields to interact with the object
-Change from static to movable fields, from unstructured fields to those having
-Use fields in conjunction with field-activated (e.g. ferromagnetic) particles

35. Parameter changes
-Change the object's physical state (e.g. to a gas, liquid, or solid)
-Change the concentration or consistency
-Change the degree of flexibility
-Change the temperature

From doing TRIZ, I came up with the following three ideas:

Have car surface heated

Heated car.jpg

Ability to lock yourself into the ground for increased leverage

lock feet.jpg

The good ones!

So I don't want to upload all the photos again, but here's the list with pics of ones I haven't uploaded yet:

Compressed salt
Paint scraper imitation
Telescoping handle
"Brass knuckle" scraper

Built in heater




Heated handle

Heated handle.jpg

Heated net

Heated net.jpg

Hilt to guard hand


Assignment #4


Blue sky ideation: anything is possible. As I learned, if you tell a group of people this, they will take that idea to the limit. These were some of the ideas presented for "How might we make it easier for short people to remove ice/snow from their cars?"

  • Hire a chain gang

  • Stand on someone's shoulders

  • Create an elevator in your driveway that lowers the car six inches

  • Change Earth's orbit so snow doesn't exist

Or for the prompt, "How might we keep our hands warm while de-icing/de-snowing our cars?"

  • Light the car on fire

  • Have someone else blow on your hands while you work

  • Use your feet

  • Use your mouth

  • Cortizone shots into your hands

But surprisingly, I was able to get some useful ideas from my group! But before I get to that, let me tell how it all went down.

Meet the ideaters!

Thumbnail image for 530623_4910210198157_1742610921_n.jpg <- Colie

601488_10200932581096926_1566570158_n.jpg <- Ericka

1394216_10200932567936597_1437205567_n.jpg <- Leslie

575416_410972829009777_1230899135_n.jpg <- Jessica

1003806_10202228119365267_1480334302_n.jpg <- Riley

We started out by just talking for a few minutes with some music on because several of the group members had just come from work and I wanted them to relax a bit before we went on. This didn't take too long and soon enough we were all laughing and having a jolly good time. Cheerio!

At this point I decided to break out my new warmup exercise: word association stories. I started out by giving everyone sixteen seconds to do a random word association train off a word that I gave them (for example; blue, water, ocean, rocks, plants, people, hardware). Then everyone passed these lists to the person to their right who was then required to make a story in thirty seconds based off of these words.


Surprisingly, they loved the game and actually wanted to play it more than I was anticipating! We played a few rounds of this and by then I felt the group was more than ready to begin ideating.

The Session!

I conducted the brainstorming session "pincards" style, with each ideater putting their ideas to their left. I also laid out a newspaper crossword for inspiration (I suggested they randomly place their pen and force themselves use whatever word they picked. Got some interesting ideas from that one!)

These pictures are square, which I apologize for, but unfortunately I didn't realize they were sketching in portrait orientation until too late. I hope this works!

Prompt #1!
The first prompt, like I said, was "How might we make it easier for short people to remove ice/snow from their cars?" Overall we generated 58 ideas in twenty minutes, most of which will actually help me as we go on. Here are the five we liked best for this first prompt:


An extended scraper. Simple idea, but it's not really being done right now. Having it foldable would also make it possible to be stored in the car as usual. An idea by Colie.


Retractable step stool. Once again, pretty simple, but by having a step that could swing out, those vertically challenged people could clear the snow from the top of their car much easier. Riley came up with this one.


Vibrating Shaking roof. Created named and renamed by Jessica. By having a roof that could vibrate, snow could be removed before it hardened, or loosen heavy snow, overall reducing effort for everyone.


Snow-be-gone spray. Use a spray container to coat the car in an ice dissolving coating, thus the snow will remove itself (or at the minimum be much easier to remove). The spray aspect will allow users of any height to coat their entire vehicle. This was another idea from Riley.


Blowdryer attached to car outlet. This idea is cool because it exploits a feature already in cars, the car outlet, but in a new way. Plugging an appliance, such as a hairdryer, to melt the snow will make removing snow much easier. Good one Leslie!

Prompt #2!
"How might we keep our hands warm while de-icing/de-snowing our cars?"


Scraper with hot air blower. Here we have a regular ice scraper with a fan that blows hot air onto the user's hands. This was Leslie's idea.


Scraper with a thing to block snow. Once again, this is a regular scraper with a hilt of sorts to block snow from getting the user's hands wet. This was one of my ideas.


Shake and scrape/heated scraper handle. Both of these ideas were by Ericka, and have similar themes. By using a chemical reaction, similar to in hand warmers, the handle warms up.


Ultrasound scraper. A scraper that uses ultrasonic frequencies to keep the hands warm, by Riley.


Mittenscraper. Here is a scraper with a mitten built in. Convenient if you forget your mittens, and helps you hold the scraper better! By Leslie.

For the first exercise our IPM was .62 and for the second was .58. This wasn't our goal of 1 idea per person per minute, but overall I was satisfied with the number of ideas I received as they were quite varied in scope and focus.

This exercise was really helpful, opening up ridiculous (yet helpful!) ideas. If I need any more ideas on de-icing cars, I know who to consult.

Assignment #3


And just like that we're thrust out into the real world! Interviewing, observing, getting into other people's lives. Don't think a lot of people fully understood just exactly my goal was; turns out that gathering information without a defined end goal isn't common practice!

In fact I did have an end goal: defining what makes de-icing/de-snowing one's car in the winter so much of a pain. From my own personal experience I've found this to be stressful, hand-numbing, and overall aggravating. But I'll get to all that later.

Ask: Interviews

The first step in my research was conducting interviews with real world users. Although we are currently out of the ice and snow season (for a little while longer at least), nearly everyone I spoke to had experience with removing ice or snow from their cars. Except for the Cali-boys I ran into. Softies.

I interviewed two students and one elderly gentleman; I defined this older man as an expert in ice removal as he's lived through more than sixty Minnesota winters, over thirty of which he owned his own car. Here were several of his insights:

  • Tools haven't changed much, he said, except for changing shape they've essentially always been scrapers and brushes.
  • He used to be fine taking off his mittens for a few minutes to clean his car but that is becoming increasingly painful as he ages (he admits his circulation in his hands is below average).
  • Wishes there was a way to start melting the ice from afar.

The next student I interviewed doesn't actually have a car on campus currently and so was working from memory (although technically all my interviewees were, considering there has been very little snow lately). Here were his thoughts:

  • Often forgets to factor removing ice into his routine and so he oftentimes removes the minimum amount (maybe half of windshield, get snow off back windshield and parts of windows.
  • Also leaves ice on car for extended periods of time before removing
  • Depends on internal heat of car to remove or melt ice.
  • Sometimes leaves so much snow on the top of his car he can't see cars behind him because the snow blows off, blocking his view.
  • Has scratched car's paint with a shovel when he tried to use one. Was using a shovel because he thought it would be faster than the scraper.
The final student I interviewed has a car on campus but hasn't had to remove any snow or ice yet. Overall he was fairly satisfied with the current modus operandi, but that is in part because he has access to a garage and most often only needs to remove light snow. Here are his thoughts:
  • Wet snow on gloves sucks, if the snow is heavy and wet it often splashes onto his hands.
  • Wet snow makes both tools (brush and scraper) less effective. Brush is too floppy, scraper only removes small amounts at a time.
  • Thin layer of ice is the hardest to remove because it is hard to get a grip and only comes off in small chunks.
  • Knows a friend who was too lazy to de-snow car and instead stuck his head out of the window. Accidentally hit a parked car.
To summarize these interviews, here were the main issues users encountered:
  • Current tools are outdated and cumbersome (and only effective on certain types of precipitation, hard to operate with gloves if they get wet, can damage car's paint)
  • Current methods take too long because people forget about the snow on their car until they see it with their eyes and then are in a rush.

I learned a lot from these interviews, but I really did feel like I need to observe people in action. It's just been too long since people had to practice this behavior!

Observe: Survey


To gain information I put out a survey of students because I couldn't observe people de-icing their cars without ice.

Thumbnail image for _DSC2838.jpg

Here were the main points I found:

Items people use: ice scraper, mittens, defroster, brush.
They use these items because their parents used them, because they are cheap, and because they fit in their car.
People generally don't clear the snow off right away, most people said they would wait until the next day or overnight (~10 hours).
Most respondents remove ice and snow from the windows and windshield, with equal minorities stating they attempted to remove all the snow/ice, and removing just enough to see out the windshield.

On average they gave their tools a 2.9 out of 5 (where 1 is low no effort, 5 is exhaustive effort) on the effort scale as well as on the time scale (where 1 is very quick, 5 is a long time). And yes, it was weird but the averages came out exactly the same!
For both of these I used very subjective ratings because I wanted to know how people felt while removing ice/snow from their car. This tells me most people think it uses more effort than they would like, and takes more time than they would like.

And here were a few stories they shared:
"I tend to get snow all over myself and my hands always end up going numb. It takes less time if I warm up my car though."
"The hardest snow to remove is the pile on my roof, I'm short and it's a struggle."
"I hate having cold hands while I scrape my windshield!"
"The worst situation is when it rains, freezes, then snows. The ice on the windows does. not. budge!"
"It's frustrating to have to press down so hard on the scraper if you're short. It is difficult to get the leverage needed."
"The ice scraper broke my windshield wipers before winter even started."
"Once had to remove snow with just hands, it twas really cold but it worked!"

As a sidenote, here's an interesting phenomena I observed:


With just a bit of sunlight (small amount of heat) the snow removed itself from this sign! Maybe I could incorporate this into a product design?

Experience: Real life!

Once again I ran into some problems with experiencing my activity without snow or ice, but I went back and picked up my old scraper/brush combo.
Product design wise, it was smart to combine the brush and scraper into one tool, however these two tools are not perfect in cleaning cars. Like some of my survey takers noted, getting leverage on the top of the car and surfaces that are further away is difficult (hard to get downward force with such a long lever arm).
The scraper is ergonomic, but becomes slippery when wet. Gloves don't grip it especially well, although they work.
It looks over-designed; it is not beautiful.
Takes up more space than it seems it needs to. It is long and cumbersome, not designed for the environment it is kept: the floor of a car or the trunk.
The brush keeps snow and brings it into the car.
I know I've scratched my paint as well with the scraper if I've zoned out and started removing ice from the body of my car. No stupid users right?

Two problem statements that sum up most of the issues:

People who wait to clear their car off for a few hours need a way clear ice without using a lot of leverage because many people are short or do not have long enough arms to gain enough force to remove ice that has hardened over night.
Quote: "The hardest snow to remove is the pile on my roof, I'm short and it's a struggle." "It's frustrating to have to press down so hard on the scraper if you're short. It is difficult to get the leverage needed."

People with poor circulation need a way to keep their hands warm while they clear ice off their car because cold hands hurt and are less productive at removing ice.
Information came from the first user I interviewed and several of the survey responses, such as, "I hate having cold hands while I scrape my windshield!"

Part II: Bug list!


  1. Hair gets caught in glasses' hinge.

  2. Pants hit bike chain.

  3. Handlebars are cold/wet


  5. Cover up beautiful phone with cheap case.

  6. Constantly checking watch.

  7. How do you find houses in Dinkytown????

  8. Pocket buttons on jeans scratch phone screen.

  9. Getting applesauce out of a mostly empty jar.

  10. Water splashes out when washing pans.

  11. Garbage falls out of cans when transporting to large garbage can.

  12. Why are photo ID pics so bad?

  13. Why do we rake leaves twice whenever we rake leaves (once into piles, once onto the tarp?

Assignment #2


Silly ideas, hard to define what silly is exactly.

Here's my list of silly ideas, based around winter health.

  • Tongue protector- a sleeve for your tongue so it won't burn when you drink hot cocoa.

  • Shoe warmer- a shoe with a removable slot that is put in the oven when you bake cookies (optimized for a 375 degree oven or so) that you then put in the shoe to keep your toes warm.

  • Heated tires-tires with wires built in which melt the snow and ice as you drive, preventing car crashes.

  • Exercise baking- an oven controlled by your movement, will only bake if you run on a treadmill.

  • Exercise travel- related to the above, a plane which requires passengers to exercise while in flight.

  • Padded sidewalks- sidewalks which become pliable and soft in colder weather, making falls less painful.

  • Insulating cloth-cloth which expands in thickness in cold temperatures.

  • Floppy skis-break into connected segments when they sense rapid rotation, less likely to twist a knee.

  • Robosnowmobile-snowmobile with robot legs that extend when tipping too far back.

  • Safety fort-inflatable tent like structure you put inside of a snowfort to prevent collapses.

  • Happiness log-log that burns with incense and other smells to clear nasal passages and overall lift moods.

Here are a few more pics! Not sure if all are showing up, they're all uploaded but when I view my page they aren't there
:( so yeah, hopefully you see a bunch of pics!

So I'm dumb and used a really broad topic, so here are the topics I'd like to pursue:

  • Stress reduction

  • Sledding

  • Frostbite

Here are my pics based off of my too general idea, winter health.


Here's my mind map.


And here just a sampling of my sketches! This was the boot that had a slice that you put in the oven to heat up.


This was a sleeve for your tongue to protect it from hot drinks.











Assignment #1


I could have also titled this post "How cookies almost made me lose my mind." It was a close call.

This week's assignment was to innovate a new kind of cookie; either through form factor, flavor combination, manner of consumption, etc. Here was my original list of ideas:

Ones that are still cookies basically:

  • Layered cookie

  • Cookie with multiple doughs of different baking soda amounts (inflates in the middle)

  • Some sort of shell in the middle filled with liquid

  • Different shapes for functionality, sticks, bowls

  • - Bowls could be made in muffin tin
    - Hold structure with shot glass or dry beans, remove after.

  • Blood cookies: tons of red food coloring, melt into "pools of blood" when baked

Kind of cookies:

  • Solid chocolate with cookie chunks in it (inverse chocolate chip)

  • -Fudge instead?
    -Sea salt?

  • Chocolate shell with cookie on top, shell filled with something?

  • -Cookie on bottom, shell pushed into it?
    -Filled with white wine?

  • Mini cookies (like little balls)

  • -Think there's a candy like this already...

  • Ball cookies (large)

  • -Structure could be tricky

  • Flexible cookies

  • - Put caramel or taffy elements into it, could bend and sandwich other things into it.

Lots of fun and interesting ideas (in my opinion anyway), but not so many that I could experiment with without many days and an extensive test kitchen. Thus, I went with, what I thought was, one of my easier ideas.

First attempt: Cookie cups filled with chocolate. Commence frustration.



Decided to vary the amount of baking soda to change how much the cookies will rise.


Looks pretty good, right?




So I put an egg shell in it. Only logical thing to do. And a pile of chocolate ships.


Okay, might be onto something here.


Removed the egg and put in melted chocolate. Put it in the freezer and then removed it from the pan. However, turns out that no matter what you do the cookie will get torn to shit when you remove it. Tasted okay though.

From here I decided to move on to my next idea, because this really didn't seem to be going anywhere. On an unrelated note, I never wanted to eat another cookie again.

Which brings me to the inverse chocolate chip cookie, or cookie chunk fudge as I like to call it.

Attempt number two: Cookie chunk fudge

Basically I thought it would be cool to switch the functions of the two main parts of a chocolate chip cookie, the dough and the chocolate chips. Thus the chocolate would be the structure and the dough would make up little surprises within the cookie. But I didn't want to have just a chunk of solid chocolate with cookie chunks in it, so I went with a fudge recipe that has a very classic chocolate flavor and put chunks of cookie into that (with a chocolate chip cookie recipe as the base for the dough).

Here's how the whole process went!


DSC_2652.jpg cookies.



Important to get your nourishment while baking. Gael's pizza in St. Louis Park, check it out.



Now that's what I call fudge.


Make sure your pan is well greased!


But how do I get these out of the pan...


...with a plastic tube of course! But how do I get the fudge cylinder out of the tube...

Thumbnail image for DSC_2668.jpg

...well of course with a chopstick and paper towel! The paper towel kept the chopstick from crushing the cookie or denting the fudge. Pretty creative if you ask me.


And voila! Not exactly a classic cookie, but I still think it was pretty tasty!

Finally, here is the recipe:

Cookie chunks:

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/8 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg one, beating well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. You want the cookies much smaller than usual, about a dime in diameter (this way they will be crunchier than usual)
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Cut into desired size, I suggest quartering them. You will probably have extra dough. Consume said dough.

I halved this recipe which is why the numbers are weird!


  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup butter

Place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter or margarine in large microwaveable bowl. Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minute, stirring once or twice during cooking. Don't begin heating mixture until cookies are cool and ready to go.

Pour into 8x8" well-greased glass baking sheet.

Once the cookies are cooled, place them into freshly warm fudge and place whole mixture into refrigerator. Let cool until set. If desired, cut into circle shapes to get the full inverse-cookie effect.

Facility visit: Stratasys

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Second class of the year and we're already set free into the real world, a whole twenty-five minute drive from the University of Minnesota. There in Eden Prairie we found one of the most important companies in the world when it comes to 3D-printing: Stratasys.

Founded in 1989 by S. Scott Crump in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Stratasys has become extremely influential in the 3D-printer production business. Stratasys provided 44% of all 3D printers installed worldwide in 2007. Their printers range from small prototyping models, to full scale printers which create parts meant for production. In 2012 Stratasys merged with Objet, another privately held manufacturer of 3D printers and in 2013 Stratasys purchased MakerBot. Statasys' new market capitalization was estimated at $3.0 billion in 2012.

Currently their printers use one of two technologies: fused deposition modeling or polyjet technology. As I understand it (and working from their website,, this is how each works and their strengths and weaknesses summed up in a few bullet points:

Fused deposition modeling(FDM):
-Works by layering semi-liquid material (usually a thermoplastic) in thin strings, following a linear path. These layers then harden.
-Moves in X, Y coordinates across all parts (regardless if separate or connected) before moving onto the next layer.
-Uses two materials: modeling material (the object being created) and support material which acts as scaffolding.
-Scaffolding can be broken off or dissolved in detergent and water.
-Clean, easy to use, lower cost, durable materials
-Lower resolution (0.007 in. per layer at finest, depends on material)

Polyjet technology:

-Works similarly to an inkjet printer, jetting drops of liquid photopolymer onto a build tray.
-These drops are cured or hardened with a UV light, taking several passes to fully solidify (after one pass it is mostly cured but still tacky so next layer adheres to it).
-Uses a gel-like support material that is removed with a water jet.
-Higher quality (0.0006 in. per layer), more precise and faster
-Very wide variety of materials
-Can print multiple materials at once
-More expensive

Between these two types of printers you can print transparent, rubbery, semi-flexible and rigid materials.


In Rapson we have this one! ---->

It's a Stratasys Dimension SST, which is an FDM printer.

If you already know how to model for 3D printers, check out the competition Stratasys is putting on!

Finally, here are some photos of the time at Stratasys with examples of what they're able to do.


Here's an FDM printer in action. Even though FDM has a less fine resolution than polyjet, watching it work you still couldn't discern the material that was being laid down.


A sample of an FDM printed object, a model clock.


An example of how a 3D printed object can be used in conjunction with other manufacturing processes, such as stretch blow molding. Here the mold was 3D printed.


Here is a polyjet printer building some more of the promotional toys we got. Pretty friggin' sweet!


And here's the final product!


One more pic of what can be done on a polyjet printer.

Printer room.jpg

Can you count them all? And each is valued from around $100k and up! (though Stratasys' smaller printers range from $10k and up)

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Recent Comments

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