Highcon 3D Modeling software leverages the key advantages of Highcon technology to add a brand new high value application. Originally developed for finishing and converting in the printing and packaging industries, the Highcon digital technology includes high speed, accurate digital cutting of paper and paper-based substrates. The cutting can be made using variable data for each single sheet. Customers have no need for any previous knowledge of 3D printing.
Highcon has developed a dedicated workflow allowing the conversion of standard 3D models to separate layers that can be cut on Highcon’s machines.
Each 3D model is sliced into separate layers according to the paper’s parameter. For example, this 3D model of a complex 1.4 meter wine stand was created using 600 micron recycled cardboard. The input of 0.6 mm layer height (each layer is created on different sheet of paper), resulted in an output of close to 2,400 different layers, each representing a shape to be cut on the Highcon machine. These 2,400 DXF files are then sent to Highcon’s machine that automatically cuts each layer of paper according to the desired shape. The process results in paper models with a maximum size of 106X76X110 mm.
Highcon’s 3D modeling process enables customer to create any model in a fast and cost effective way. Small models are sliced and spread across the sheet to minimize substrate waste and optimize total turnaround time. For example, a 3D model comprised of 360 different layers was created using only 60 sheets of paper, by splitting the model into 6 parts. Each part of the model, and each layer was numbered by laser etching. The software is also capable of optimizing the cutting of the layers to reduce weight.
|No. of layers||Number of sheets||Sheet thickness||Time|
|Wine stand||2,380||2,380||360 gsm 600µ|| < 1 hour on the Highcon Beam
~ 3 hours on the Highcon Euclid III
|Wine stand||1,190||1.2mm||~1.5 hours on the Highcon Euclid III|
|Twisted pole||360||60||360 gsm 600µ||13 minutes on the Highcon Euclid III
< 5 minutes on the Highcon Beam
Thinner paper allows for more accuracy and finer details but slows down the process. Thicker paper dramatically shortens the production time. However, unlike in printing, the surface of the substrate is irrelevant as the sheets are stacked to create the model. However, the grade of paper and top coating layers, which usually reflect the price, are not a consideration. Highcon customers can use easily available and low-grade substrates with a very low price tag. They can even use printed paper that is the waste by-product of other processes in their business. An offset printing press, for example, can require a large number of sheets (100-500) as “press make-ready” for each new print job. Under specific conditions, the waste output of the press can be reused as the basis for 3D models with a positive effect not only on the business but also on the environment.
The range of applications for Highcon’s 3D modeling capabilities is endless. First uses have been to specific industries but more applications, segments and end-uses are being researched:
POP / POS / Stands / Display / furniture
Complex 3D models can be used to highlight products and appeal to consumers for promotional purposes. This can be a supplement to other brand activities including packaging for high-end and premium products. The ability to create large scale, impressive and complex models in a cost effective way completes the ability to create complex models in design software.
Once a 3D model has been produced, and removed, the remaining waste paper (the negative of the product) can be used as a mold or as a master mold for larger volume production.
In this way the process utilizes 100% of the raw material, and designers can also create a single prototype of the product from the final material (like concrete) before producing the final mold.
There are several applications of model production that require a mold. Two specific examples are carbon fiber products or decorative architectural concrete elements.
With Highcon 3D Modeling, a paper mold can be produced quickly, with dramatic reduction in time and cost. Complex structures and textures can be created that are impossible in any conventional molding technology or in any known additive manufacturing technology. Fine details and smooth surfaces are achieved, when required, by very little post-processing.
Conceptual modeling for furniture, automotive, theater and movie studios – these fields often require large scale models based on a 3D file. In cases where the volume and cost of the standard methods are prohibitive, Highcon’s technology can provide a cost effective alternative.