The very model of efficiency
Published: 17 Jul 2015
Name: Richard Drennan
Job Title: Director
Company: Form 3d Services
My morning starts with lots of coffee, and a quick stroll with the dogs. I like to get on to check e-mails and web queries nice and early as we deal with various industries who often work extended or unusual hours, so it’s important to get up to speed quickly, particularly where a customer needs a quick response.
Following the morning admin work, I would typically get into the studio around 7.30am and get the day’s prints started.
Our most used 3d printer has many moving parts and handles a wide range of different materials so the calibration is performed on a daily basis. By arranging our prints intelligently, we can put multiple items in manufacture at once and really take advantage of the printer’s high speed and build volume.
We would commonly have two or three print runs per day with any number of parts produced.
If there are moulds to be released from the previous day, these would then be taken out and checked for accuracy and finish.
Our smoothing process for printed parts is done in several stages, so there is often work to be done on that front, before anything is prepared for paint-work.
Late morning, I will often get into design work on the PC. With over 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, I have a good understanding of the offshore-related work we undertake, which helps minimise the design and pre-print work and keeps us running efficiently.
For lunch I will normally grab something quick and get back on to some admin work, and mark up the work schedule to keep it up to date.
Time permitting, I like to use lunchtime to catch up on mainstream and industry news as I like to keep up-to-date. Any shipments going out are typically packed after lunch in time for courier collection.
I try to keep afternoons available for customer meetings; I like to get the chance to hear what people want from the additive manufacturing industry and hopefully to surprise people by what can be achieved.
Discussions can range from model requirements, work planning tools, training aids, topographical work, or even guiding customers through sale and lease options where they have chosen to start their own journey into 3d printing.
In the late afternoon, I would get back into the studio and crack on with scheduled work, which can be pretty varied to say the least.
This can involve moulding, preparing metal cold-casts of 3d printed parts, assembly of functional items, applying airbrushed finishes where requested and generally keeping all the plates spinning.
During my school years I spent my summers working in the auto-body industry and this goes a long way in helping us achieve high-grade polished finishes.
My working day sometimes reaches into the early evening, particularly where part of a process has been in curing or drying, so it’s worth taking a wee minute or two to get the next stage started.
Our high-detail printer uses various resins and chemical agents, which quite frankly can make something of a mess, so getting that area cleaned prior to finishing up for the day is also very important.
Weather permitting, I’ll let the dogs drag me around for another mile or so before relaxing for the evening with some comedy or crime drama.
I also have an old sports car which can be quite high maintenance and spend many an evening keeping it in good shape.
There is a great sense of satisfaction completing the assembly of functional models and seeing them come to life