3D design and printing freelance specialist

Studio Septentrion is my full-stack freelance 3D design and printing service. Working from any type of support, such as drawings or existing files, I can design, print and assemble complex parts and prototypes.

As a freelance designer, I am available to discuss your ideas in order to arrive together at a working product : I work for both individuals and businesses. My services are centered around 3D design and prototyping, but also include production advice, estimate drafting, online courses and much more !

Do you have a question ? Do you require an estimate ? Contact me here !

Alexandre Berrou

Workflow

3D printing

3D printing is a rapidly expanding industry, which allows the fast production of parts in a variety of materials : most notably plastics, but also metals, resins, silicone… Unlike industrial production methods, an object can be 3D printed with no setup cost and a very short preparation. Starting with a 3D file, production can be launched in less than five minutes !

The printers I use are of the most common type : fused deposition modeling, aka FDM. These can print parts with an accuracy of 0.1mm in a number of plastics.

Tablette de dons - production en masse impression 3D

This technology allows for a great variety of shapes. Simple and tough parts like the one outlined in blue here can be mass-produced for a reasonable price, in this case with PLA and Volcano PLA.

On the other hand, complex and artistic parts like the ones highlighted in black require much more time and patience. The foldable chess set is made of painted and varnished ABS plastic with laser-cut Plexiglas parts, and the jewelry box is in a mix of PLA and ebony wood fibers treated with olive oil.

Echiquier impression 3D plié
Impression 3D en série

The cost of a print is proportional to the printing time, multiplied by a factor dependent on the material used. Production cycles can be very short : most of my parts are shipped within two days of the order !

Prints on my machines are limited to 20X25X21cm, but larger and more complex parts can be printed as several components, then assembled : the body of the chess set here is composed of eight parts.

3D printing does not allow for very flexible or soft parts, but I often print molds for subsequent silicone molding.

Coffret ébène

3D design

3D design begins with whatever input the client can offer : a drawing with the main dimensions, in the case of this parrot-shaped perfume bottle. Many different types of input can work :

  • An original part, to be remade
  • A detailed plan
  • One or more 3D files
  • An accurate written description
  • Measurements of a part, such as a PCB, in  order to design an enclosure
  • All sorts of drawings, schematics…
Dessin d'un modèle à concevoir
Modèle 3D réalisé sur Blender
From this basis, I use one of my 3D design programs to draw the part. Some are more appropriate for simple mechanical shapes, others are better for complex and organic shapes such as this one.
 

It is easy to draw a printable 3D file, but much harder to draw an easily printable one. A badly optimized file will take longer to print, and the result will be of a lower quality. Many factors must be balanced : wall thickness, amount of details, overhang angles, adherence surface… This is one of the skills that I specialize in, thus offering you fully-optimized designs for 3D printing.

This optimization is not limited to 3D printing though : my academic and professional experience allows me to design parts for injection molding, CNC machining and much more !

A specific case is photogrammetry : a technique which consists in remaking a part from pictures of an original. It is ideal for very complex parts that do not require perfect dimensional accuracy.
 

The price of a 3D design depends mostly on the complexity of the work required, as I bill by the hour. The more detailed and complex a part is, the more the price rises. A shape like this parrot can take a whole day to design, while simple geometric shapes such as PCB enclosures can be done in a matter of hours.

Prototype imprimé en 3D

Product prototyping

Mélangeur de cartes modèle 3D

It is possible to create far more complex systems with the use of 3D printing. These can be subdivided into :

  • Mechanical systems, like this card shuffler
  • Electro-mechanical systems, like this programmable robot
  • Electronic systems, like this all-terrain tactile computer
Robot SMARS
Prototypes mélangeurs de cartes impression 3D

By designing these systems in 3D, it is possible to test them before even printing : to check the fit of the parts, the transfer of movement, the dimensions of the electronics… thus, the quality of the printed product can be guaranteed.

3D prototyping is my specialty as a full-stack product designer. I can handle every step from the development of a product all the way through to prototyping, and then prepare the mass production phase !

Boitier ordinateur ouvert impression 3D

You will thus be able to test your products, in order to check that their appearance and functionality are up to your standards. This process makes functional prototypes far more affordable : savings can go up to 90% compared to other prototyping methods. And the gains in terms of production time and effort are almost impossible to quantify.

Boitier ordinateur impression 3D

Design for production

Designing a part for an optimized production can be a source of considerable savings when done correctly. A well-optimized part will be far easier, and thus faster and cheaper, to manufacture. This process can include several different services :

  • 2D drafting. Though increasingly replaced by direct-to-production 3D files, 2D drawings remain necessary for production. That is because they can contain far more information, such as the tolerances, surface qualities and other requisite criteria for industrial manufacturing.
  • Shape optimization. The shapes required for injection molding or machining are very different from those used in 3D printing. These technologies require far more accuracy in their design, while allowing for the movement of different tools around and through the part during production.
  • Simulations. By testing the mechanical behavior, solidity and manufacturability of a part, simulations can ensure that the first part manufactured is the right one, thus lowering the risk of costly modifications.
Boitier injection plastique
Boitier injection plastique fermé
Simulation injection plastique

Online courses

Though not a core activity, I sometimes make tutorial videos for different CAD programs : Fusion360, Solidworks… I also offer 3D printing advisory, in order to get the most out of your equipment, and written articles on all subject related to 3D design and printing.

Atelier du Studio Septentrion

3D printing equipment and materials

Visières en cours d'impression 3D

My main equipment currently consists of two Prusa i3 MK3S printers, one of which is equipped for multi-material printing. These mid-range machines, though somewhat limited in dimensions, are marvels of efficiency. They are faster and far more durable than industrial models that massively outprice them.

I also use a laser engraver and a full electronic and mechanical prototyping workshop. I used to run an Ultimaker 3 Extended, but it kept breaking down.

As for materials, I use mostly PLA and TPLA in a wide variety of colors, along with FLEX, ASA, ABS, PET and sundry others of the Formfutura brand.

Mes filaments d'impression 3D

Environment and solidarity

Clotilde avec son nouveau bras imprimé en 3D

 

I also participate in E-Nable, a charity making 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms for children suffering from defects. These are printed to the child’s scale, and controlled with rubber bands and fishing wire.

I made this prosthetic arm for little Clotilde in November 2020.

Le nouveau bras de Clotilde imprimé en 3D
Article Courrier de l'Ouest

The Covid crisis has been an opportunity for 3D printing to show its potential as a decentralized manufacturing method. Thousands of volunteers across France organized themselves to manufacture and donate protective visors. I personally gave almost 700, organized the distribution of an extra 600 and sold 300 to companies in order to finance the rest. Over a million such visors were donated in France alone over the duration of the crisis.

 

3D printing is a highly ecological means of production : material waste is almost inexistent, and the electricity use is lower than comparable manufacturing methods.

The main material I use, PLA and its derivatives, is a bio-plastic based on corn starch, and fully biodegradable. Some of my other filaments are also recycled.

 

Stock de visières impression 3D

Contact

Studio Septentrion

contact@studioseptentrion.com

+33 698182226

17 bis rue de la Roë, 49100 Angers

Micro-entreprise inscrite au RCS de Maine-et-Loire

SIRET 840 758 841 00026