All the classic benefits of additive manufacturing appeared in a 3D print use case between Shapeways and Tilt as they developed a critical part for Tilt’s colorful hydrometers. Used to measure fermentation and perform real-time monitoring of home brew systems, the Tilt hydrometer is a free-floating device that allows brewers to gauge both gravity and temperature wirelessly on their smartphones or tablets.
The rapid prototyping process was a large part of what drew Tilt’s CEO Noah Neibaron to working with Shapeways, bypassing conventional technology in lieu of faster, more affordable processes, along with the ability to evaluate important parts comprehensively. The rapid prototyping process allowed them to adjust and edit parts, redesigning one or more features to perfect both form and functionality–and then going back to the drawing board to test and manufacture all over again.
The Tilt team was also able to experiment with many different types of gravity by calibrating the float to ensure accurate readings and measurements to users through their Bluetooth connection. Neibaron chose Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic] for 3D printing the parts, taking advantage of the variety of different colors and finishes available to delineate different part readings. Selective Laser Sintering allowed for expanded freedom in design, along with the ability to produce strong, accurate parts quickly.
“The Shapeways part really helps dial in where that center of gravity is going to be,” said Noah. “It’s very sensitive, and that’s one of the big reasons we have used 3D printing. With Shapeways we were able to try various centers of gravity with different prints, quickly.”
“Shapeways has been a great service and has obviously inspired us to make the product the way it is today,” said Noah.