Polypropylene is one of your go-to plastics for injection molding, and being both flexible and tough, you can do sexy things like making living hinges out of the stuff. But you are of course limited to what you can produce in a mold.
Stratasys is hoping to remove this barrier with Endur, a simulated polypropylene material that can be 3D-printed in their PolyJet machines.
Just like the name implies, Endur is tough. The polypropylene-like material offers both high impact resistance and superior elongation at break. Endur has a heat-deflection temperature up to 129°F/ 54°C, excellent dimensional stability and comes in a bright white color. It also features an excellent surface finish to make it easier to achieve a smooth look and feel.
These properties make Endur attractive for 3D printing prototypes that need the flexibility, appearance and toughness of polypropylene for a wide range of form, fit and assembly applications. This includes moving parts, snap-fit components, and small cases and containers with lids. The white tone and smooth surface finish make it ideal for consumer goods, electronics and household appliances, lab equipment and automotive parts.
Take a look at the stuff in this amusingly stilted video:
Tanos is a spin-off of engineering outfit TTS Tooltechnic Systems, and their sole purpose is to build out TTS's Systainer storage system. (Festool users will recognize the Systainers, as they come bundled with Festool products; no surprise as TTS is the parent company for both brands.)
The design approach of the Systainer system is simple in concept and complicated in execution. They've created a full line of ABS cases to hold every single thing an end user could ever need, from large pieces of kit down to the tiniest part, and they've built in such modularity that every single case of every size will all physically connect with or nest within one another. This allows users to mix and match to build their own storage monoliths.
Here's the basic idea in video:
The case interiors can be further subdivided with a variety of accessories and placed on optional wheeled bases.
German manufacturer S+L Tischlerei's approach to tool storage is modular in concept and monolithic in appearance. In contrast to OPO Oeschger's line of wares, which require the carrier to pick and choose which box is the right one to bring to the job, S+L Tischlerei's MobilMarie system is meant to transport a far denser variety of hand tools, power tools, hardware and parts to the jobsite. (It also presupposes being used in an environment with a fair amount of infrastructure: Trucks with hydraulic lift gates, buildings with elevators and wheelchair ramps, etc.)
MobilMarie consists of a series of stacking boxes on a wheeled base. The boxes are made from birch plywood skinned in PVC and reinforced along the corners, flight-case style, with aluminum fittings; popping open the front lid reveals individual drawers on ball bearing slides. Here's how it looks in action:
At Holz-Handwerk we saw not only thousands of tools, but several companies creating systems to store and transport those tools. You'd think that there are only so many ways mobile tool storage can be designed, but we saw at least four different approaches.
First up is OPO Oeschger. This Swiss trading company distributes some 35,000 items to tradesfolks around the world, so we can't really say these few of theirs that we're going to hone in on are indicative of their sole approach to tool storage, but it's a good place to start. On display were their collection of box-based tool storage objects in two form factors: A sleek-looking briefcase style, and a series of deeper boxes meant to be dense enough to store a variety of hand tools, yet manageable enough for one person to carry. And they all come pre-loaded with the tools.
Starting with the boxes, their Comfort model is made from birch and features a lid that slides rearward into a fixed vertical position. Interestingly enough, this model contains a built-in battery, a power cord and four sockets; the idea is that you plug the box into a wall when an outlet's available, and this charges the on-board battery; later when you're working and no outlet's available, you plug your devices into the box's sockets and draw juice from the battery. This box is designed to hold 67 specific tools.
Their smaller Compact III model is also made from birch, though this one's made for those who solely use hand tools, no on-board power. It features these little removeable wooden boards mounted with like tools, presumably so the user can install the appropriate boards for the day's work, carrying only what's necessary for the particular job. Fully laden, the Compact III is designed to hold some 34 tools.
This beautiful-looking tool is called a Latthammer, and it's Germany's version of the carpenter's hammer. The square head ("for greater precision," as Picard's booth representative explained at Holz-Handwerk) is the first thing you notice, and then a closer look reveals this groove at the top:
The sales rep's English wasn't great and my German is non-existent, but through pantomime he explained what it was for. There are times when a carpenter needs to drive a nail in a location over their head, where they cannot reach their other hand up to steady the nail. In these cases, the nail is placed into that groove, where it is held fast by a magnet. The carpenter can then single-handedly whack the nail into the surface far enough to get started, and can then drive it in the rest of the way with the same hand. Observe:
I call that brilliant.
Picard is a German tool manufacturer that's been around since 1857, by the way, and they make every type of hammer you can possibly imagine.