Accelerating Development with 3D Printing

When it comes to development - 3D printing can drive progress.

When new tech enters the market – it is often coupled with praise and excitement from those speculating on its potential to become truly disruptive and have wide reaching impact.  3D printing is one of the more notable technology advancements of the last century that has really taken the technology market by storm.  However, with roots leading back to the eighties, 3D printing is hardly classified as a “new technology.”

Across the various industries, companies’ imaginations have been captured by 3D printing with many actively realizing the benefits of integrating this technology into their business models. Notable companies that utilize 3D printed parts in their final outputs: GE Aviation, Nike, Siemens, Boeing and more.  

At IPOZ, we utilize 3D printing for rapid prototyping to support our ongoing research and development work.  Rapid prototyping makes ideas visible and discussions concrete.  Creating physical representations in house enables us to save on final production time and allows us to optimize parts.  

“We save a lot of time in product development by using 3D printing for prototypes – having abstract ideas can be confusing for people – discussions become much easier and clearer when holding a physical depiction of your vision.” IPOZ General Manager, Joel Saxum.  

With our soon to be released, subsea inspections tool, the GIPSEA PR - one of the most important considerations in its development is the depth rated housings produced by subsea housing specialists, Prevco. With Prevco being situation in Arizona finalizing the housing was made possible using 3D printing to affirm whether or not the draft design would be visible within the field of view of the camera. 


Prevco supplied us with the appropriate CAD models of a cylinder to test if any part of the endcap design of the new GIPSEA-PR bottle was visible in the FOV - after printing we made some minor adjustments - including designing a second cylinder to serve as a sleeve so that the camera would be perfectly centered inside the larger cylinder. After that - we were good to go into production.

The potential applications of 3D printing are widely understood, and thanks to innovations in this technology area, we have seen steady growth in its use.  Our in-house Development Engineer, Eason, is our own 3D printer specialist and is continuously opening our eyes to the capabilities of the tool.

As a part of #theipozstory moving forward we’ll highlight some of Eason’s ongoing printing work – touching on both product development and those just for fun!

Today’s highlight outlines Eason’s recent Helmet Mount created to support a GoPro.    

IPOZ_LAB-3D printing GoPro Helmut Mount.JPG

Project: GoPro Mount for Helmet

Total Time including Print: 2 hours

Material for Print: Polycarbonate

His Story: I wanted to mount a GoPro to the side of my helmet for my autocross race, but there were no designs out there already, and there were no commercial products either, so I had to design and 3D print one myself.

I was able to do this because of my experience with operating 3D printers and designing parts for 3D printing that I had obtained from working in R&D.

I knew my helmet had two M6 threaded holes at the 4 and 8 o'clock positions on the back of the helmet that I could use for mounting. The main design challenges were just making it sit flush with the helmet, not moving under “high-ish” G-Forces (even though I only had one attachment point available), making sure the tolerances worked with the standard GoPro mounting interface pieces, and making sure that the helmet didn't take up too much of the frame in the video.

In total I spent about 20 minutes designing the part, 1.5 hours printing it out of polycarbonate (a material I'm very fond of printing with due to its print quality, overall strength, and high glass transition temperature), then about 10 minutes cleaning the support material off.

Design final after paint work

Design final after paint work

Completed mount with GoPro (before final paint work)

Completed mount with GoPro (before final paint work)