We got wind of a great new venture currently raising funds on Indiegogo. MediumWare seeks to be a database of printer ready parts for engineers, housing things like pumps, bearings, valves, etc. Although they are trying to raise funds, they’re also looking to raise awareness and are looking for beta testers!
We had a chance to get an exclusive interview with Steve Hammond, founder of MediumWare. Here’s what he had to say about his company:
What was the background of the management prior to MediumWare?
As founder of MediumWare I have 14 years engineering experience working with 3D CAD to design complex products for companies operating in the aerospace, automotive and defense industries. To assist this process, I built numerous engineering calculation and optimisation tools which automatically updated the 3D CAD so that I could be confident of the expected performance of my designs before committing them to manufacture.
Recently, through my company Qoppa Ltd, I’ve adapted this technique to suit a number of major design automation projects. Our work includes cooling fans, stair-lifts, security doors and flight cases and involves creating huge libraries of components along with models which can be altered via a simple web based user interface. As a result Qoppa Ltd, is registered as an associate partner with SolidWorks (our preferred CAD system) and we’re working towards achieving SolidWorks solution partner status.
What features differentiate MediumWare from other similar services?
Most other services available today offer customisable 3D models of products such as toys, jewellery and art which is great but we’re developing MediumWare to be a library of functional designs which can then be easily configured and optimised prior to printing. The base product accessible via the site should be viewed as a starting point and, from there, users will be able customise the design based on their unique requirements. The web based interface will then test the performance using our virtual simulation tools and provide feedback to the user who, once happy, will be able to request a copy of the 3D model in .stl format.
As an example, perhaps you’re working on a project and have a requirement for a water pump which flows a certain amount of water per minute as a given pressure. By using our online configuration and virtual testing tools, you’ll be able to quickly customise your design to suit, test its performance right in the web page and then request a model of your unique prototype so it can be printed and used for further real world testing. Given the progress with materials like Taulman’s Nylon 618, it may even be possible to put the design into small scale production using a relatively inexpensive machine such as the MakerBot.
Who is your target audience for MediumWare?
Our target audience is Engineers, Product Designers, Fabbers, Hackers and basically anyone who has a need to print out a customised, fully functional component for their project; be it a fan, pump, fastener, bearing, etc…
What are the challenges in compiling information like this? Are they on the scanning, database or printing side?
The first this we have to do is to develop a set of mathematical calculations to define each characteristic of the product, be that dimensional characteristics or performance characteristics. Once the mathematical model is completed, the next part of the process is to develop a robust 3D model that generates correctly for every possible set of options. I’d say these are the most challenging aspects of developing a new product range for MediumWare.
Thanks to Steve and checkout their site!