Steve Ryan: We Want His Job
Steve Ryan owns RyanTech Engineering, an Orange County-based firm that specializes in Product Design and Development. When we say, Orange County, we actually mean “off the shore of Orange County” – his office and Afinia Desktop 3D Printer are on his yacht off of Dana Point.
When we asked Steve what he did for a living, he said, “What we do is take our clients’ ideas and create a manufacturable product and make sure the design intent doesn’t get lost along the way. Sometimes we engineers focus a bit too much on the engineering and loose some sight as to the intended use of the product.”
Steve’s firm does a fair amount of Reverse Engineering, and has commercial scanners that work on 6’ and 8’ articulating arms. One of his most recent scanning projects was a full-sized [I forgot the name of the automobile].
“I was first exposed to 3D printing as part of the prototype service that I was using. Unfortunately, it got to the point where the pricing and turnaround time had increased so much that my clients started to get unhappy.”
“I came across the Afinia 3D printer a while back – there were really good reviews. I received some print samples and saw that they were of better quality than the other printers that I had seen. They were also better than some of the prototyping services that I was using. That really got my attention.”
“Many of the products that I design are quite big. I spent three years designing a 120-foot yacht for a client of mine. Many of the subcomponents are also quite big – one of my most recent ones was 15” x 18”. I broke-up the model into pieces that would print on the Afinia and they came together beautifully. This was definitely preferable to spending the $12,500 that the prototyping service would have charged me.”
“One of my clients does aluminum castings and had asked me to make a mold. I had never done that kind of work and decided to give it a try. I was able to design and print a 36-piece mold and it worked perfectly – kind of like Legos snapping together. Now, mold design and printing has become an important piece of my practice.”
“Since I office on my yacht, I needed a powerful 3D printer that wouldn’t take up much space. I have my Afinia installed in the main cabin in-between the throttle and ships’ wheel. I’ve built a custom enclosure to regulate the printing environment.”
“Having in-house 3D printing capability has allowed me to invent a number of things. For example, quite a few stand-up paddle boarders use the marina where I dock. It’s really hard to get around when the boards lying about so I invented and prototyped a storage system on my Afinia that temporarily connects to the dock.”
“Marina owners love this because they need the storage and they do not want to permanently attach things of this type to the decking. This idea has caught-on so I’m thinking of creating a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project.”
3D printing on a yacht? We never thought that this interview would “go there”.