Your One-Stop Resource for Automated 3D Concrete and Mold Fabrication.

  • Share your Knowledge!

    Become a LEAP Network contributor

    Do you have a great story or project that you would like featured on the LEAP Network? That’s great! Contact Crystal at crystal@3dcutting.com with the details and become a contributor to a valuable industry resource! ...

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  • Get Hard Results from Your Software

    Looking to start doing your 3D modeling in-house? Check out FROGWare™, a powerful software suite for 3D design and fabrication.   ...

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  • Additive versus Subtractive Manufacturing

    Versatility

    Subtractive technologies win big at fabrication versatility when compared to additive methods. While 3D printing might excel in a handful of specific fabrication niches, 3D CNC fabrication technology can be applied to a staggeringly large list of industries and production processes. This makes 3D CNC equipment a better investment for any company wanting the capability to expand into new markets or products. The ability to handle multiple materials is also a key feature of subtractive...

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  • Additive versus Subtractive Manufacturing

    Comparing Costs

    When it comes to the fabrication of 3D objects, 3D printing and 3D carving provide two different manufacturing methods. While 3D printing has recently been generating a lot of publicity, the fact remains that it is rarely the best, or most realistic, production process. One of the major factors that makes 3D CNC milling a more appealing option is the dramatically lower production costs associated with it. When comparing the costs of equipment, materials, and time,...

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  • Love is in the air...

      Forget flowers. This year for Valentine’s Day we want a shiny new set of FROGTools™! Specially engineered for 3D foam carving, these milling bits definitely get our heart racing! ...

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  • What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? Intelligent Shop Planning and Business Growth

    Planning for Success

    As outlined above, there are many factors that determine the best shop size for a given CNC fabrication company. However, and this cannot be emphasized enough, each factor is predicated on the presumption of solid business planning. Therefore, before committing to any shop it is vital that you have assessed and identified these factors, so that you can apply this knowledge to your specific business plan. Know Your Market: What is the potential for growth in...

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  • What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? Intelligent Shop Planning and Business Growth

    Reconceptualising the 'Shop' As a Physical Space

    Build Outsourcing Support: For businesses that already have an established market and can better predict their project flow, shop size can range anywhere between 15,000-45,000 ft2. The range is large because each business will have a unique set of needs based on their specialization and production style. Eventually, somewhere between 25,000 and 45,000 ft2 it becomes more economical to turn to outsourcing rather than to increase shop size. Therefore, developing a stable of reliable subcontractors...

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  • What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? Intelligent Shop Planning and Business Growth

    Managing Shop Space the Smart Way

    Determining optimal shop size for CNC fabrication equipment is a complicated issue that requires careful thought. While it is easy to measure equipment, shop size is more about production goals than it is about machinery footprints. Depending on your business, your contacts and your cash flow, the size of shop that works best will differ. Managing Shop Space the Smart Way   Plan for Potential: For new companies it can be quite tempting to secure the smallest shop...

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  • Estimating Project Times: Some Considerations

    FINISHING TOUCHES AND STAFF SKILL

    The complexity required for finishing a piece will also impact production time. If a project needs to be smooth-finished (compared to a pebbled finish) this will take more time because the coating needs to be sanded smooth. Likewise, protective coating needs can be as basic or as complex as a project requires.  At the finishing level, and indeed for the project as a whole, staff skill will also play a significant role. At each stage...

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  • Estimating Project Times: Some Considerations

    MATERIALS AND STRUCTURAL REQUIREMENTS

    Materials factor into time requirements because denser materials take longer to mill or cut. Maximum cutting speeds for 3D CNC routers pertain to light density materials such as foam. If you were to use wood or resin (for example), the time to mill these materials would be somewhat longer. Therefore, what material you need to use for a project will impact production times. Somewhat related to materials are structural support requirements. Depending on the size,...

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  • Estimating Project Times: Some Considerations

    MAKING A PROJECT MODEL

    Determining how long it takes to do a job depends on numerous features. Many of these times can be dramatically reduced using 3D CNC technology, but others will be specific to individual jobs and these you will have to anticipate. Training and experienced support will go a long way towards helping appropriately gauge time requirements on a project. MAKING A PROJECT MODEL Will you be using a physical model or virtual model? What will you be basing...

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  • Start the New Year Right!

    It’s a whole new year of possibilities. Want to learn more about getting 3D CNC technology working for your business? Check out the FROG3D® system! ...

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  • Dear Santa...

    Have you checked out the video of the new FROG360™ from Streamline Automation? Imagine getting one of these under the tree this year! ...

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  • New Technology Update: Is Combination CNC Equipment Right for You?

    Recognizing Production Demands

    Combination CNC equipment, such as FROG360™, refers to a single piece of equipment that can perform the full range of 3D CNC fabrication tasks (scanning, cutting, milling) usually divided between several different machines. Determining if such an equipment solution is the right fit for your business depends on a number of factors including budget, shop size, and production demands. Recognizing Production Demands Depending on your specific production needs you might find that a combination machine or a...

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  • New Technology Update: Is Combination CNC Equipment Right for You?

    Optimizing Equipment Footprint for Shop Size

    Combination CNC equipment, such as FROG360™, refers to a single piece of equipment that can perform the full range of 3D CNC fabrication tasks (scanning, cutting, milling) usually divided between several different machines. Determining if such an equipment solution is the right fit for your business depends on a number of factors including budget, shop size, and production demands.   Optimizing Equipment Footprint for Shop Size Because combination 3D CNC fabrication technology like the FROG360™ is a single...

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  • New Technology Update: Is Combination CNC Equipment Right for You?

    Balancing Budget and Business Growth

    Combination CNC equipment, such as FROG360™, refers to a single piece of equipment that can perform the full range of 3D CNC fabrication tasks (scanning, cutting, milling) usually divided between several different machines. Determining if such an equipment solution is the right fit for your business depends on a number of factors including budget, shop size, and production demands. Balancing Budget and Business Growth Combination CNC equipment comes in at a substantially lower price point than a...

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  • The Lost Foam Technique and Fiberglass Casting

    Why use it?

    The benefits to using the lost foam technique are particularly prevalent when doing prototype or custom mold work. Because the materials (foam) are very affordable you can produce unique casts with very little investment on your part. Unlike working with manual methods, automated mold making equipment allows for the exact replication of any mold, so no mold is truly ‘lost’. This means that you can quickly and easily fabricate another identical lost foam mold (should...

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  • Concrete Furniture

    Concrete mold making technology is increasingly being used to cast furniture. Ranging from ultramodern designs to new interpretations of classic pieces, concrete furniture is a stunning example of fusing functionality and art.  By adding fiberglass or steel reinforcing micro fibres to the concrete and using computer guided molding techniques, artist are able to produce shapes and textures far beyond the expectations of traditional concrete. We have to say that we are impressed! And inspired… ...

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  • The Lost Foam Technique and Fiberglass Casting

    What is it?

    One of the advantages to having 3D CNC mold making technology is the ability to quickly and easily fabricate foam molds for the ‘lost foam’ technique. Named for its resemblance to the famous lost wax casting method, the lost foam technique uses a foam mold that is destroyed in the casting process. With fiberglass, the lost foam technique is most commonly used for internal molds, where the fiberglass is laid over the foam mold or...

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  • Concrete Barriers as Functional Art

    Casting Considerations

    That the rise of artistic concrete barriers corresponds to the development of 3D CNC mold making technology is no coincidence. When it comes to making complex and/or custom molds quickly and easily there is nothing that compares to a 3D CNC foam carving router. When used in conjunction with a 3D scanner and powerful 3D modeling software, any object- real or imaginary- can become the source for a mold. This flexibility during the design and...

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  • Concrete Barriers as Functional Art

    Design Considerations

    Look around and you will see a wide variety of cast concrete barriers ranging from pillars and urns to abstract modern shapes. Depending on the purpose and location of a barrier some designs might be better suited. For example, formal buildings which want to denote boundaries might chose a cast concrete marker in a classical style with a more rigid form in order to create clear property lines, while a public path that follows a...

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  • Fun with Shapes

    Check out this great of example of a project that combines perimeter security and artistic form.  Rather than using plain concrete barriers, Quick Crete, a member of the FROG3D network, designed and fabricated a stunning collection of spheres to be used as boundary markers. ...

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  • Concrete Barriers as Functional Art

    Basic Considerations

    Increasingly, 3D cast concrete barriers situated in public spaces are transitioning from being merely functional to being a contributing element to the general aesthetic of a space. In other words, they are becoming functional art. Having a good idea of both the number and size of cast concrete markers that will be needed is an important part of the planning process, as this will impact budget and production needs for the project as a whole. In...

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  • Concrete Release Agents

    Budget

    Budget is another factor to consider when selecting a release agent. While coverage per gallon provides an easy means of comparison, the real selection criteria should be geared towards the preservation (or not) of the mold and the required quality of the finished project. Depending on the type of mold used you may wish to reuse it multiple times and so therefore choosing an expensive release agent that maximizes mold life will save you a...

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  • Concrete Kitchen

    Concrete kitchens are a growing trend in home design and with results that look like this it makes perfect sense. A clean, modern look, cast concrete counters and shelves can also be easily customized to fit the dimensions of any room or space.  What a great blend of functionality and art! ...

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  • Concrete Release Agents

    Application

    When it comes to the actual application of a release agent there are few general rules that will result in a better final project. Firstly, more is rarely better when it comes to release agents. Applying the thinnest coat possible produces the best results because it prevents excess release agent from pooling in low points in the mold. This is important particularly when dealing with fine detail or complex 3D casting because pooled release agent...

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  • Concrete Release Agents

    Mold Material

    When selecting a release agent for a mold it is important to consider both the type of concrete and the material of the mold itself. For example, concretes with microsilia, high admixture components and high-range water reducers will have adverse reactions with chemically active release agents and require the use of a barrier release agent instead. Likewise, colored concretes can distort unless the correct release agent is used. For molds, some materials, such as wood...

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  • Rethinking the Mold

    Here is a provocative project by Rachael Whiteread.  An artist who specializes in 3D concrete, Whiteread turned an entire condemned townhouse into a mold. The result? A 3D concrete cast of the interior of the home. Simply entitled House, the project is a great example of the use of concrete in dimensional modern art.  ...

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  • Concrete Release Agents

    Types of Release Agents

    When it comes to concrete casting, release agents often fail to get the attention they deserve. However, ensuring the use of the correct release agent for a concrete cast can be the difference between the success or the failure of a 3D cast concrete project. Without a release agent there is a good chance that the form and the mold will not separate cleanly and instead you will be left with either pieces of the...

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  • Making Cheap Concrete Molds

    Contracting Out

    A final means of helping to keep mold making costs low is to explore the possibilities of contracting out sections of the work. Two common areas that might be contracted out are the design process and the creation of a GRFC mold. For the design process, rather than keeping a concept artist in-house, it might be economical to use a contract artist. This allows you to hire them on a project specific basis, bringing them...

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  • Making Cheap Concrete Molds

    Planning Ahead

    It may seem self-evident, but planning ahead is one of the biggest ways in which to bring down the costs of mold making. There are three major areas of consideration that should be fully articulated before any production actually begins. The first of these is project conceptualisation. One of the most expensive parts of mold making is having to make a new mold (and a new concrete product) because the clients hate the first attempt....

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  • Want to See More Cool Projects?

    Here at Streamline we get to see tons of amazing projects that our clients are working on. We try to share as many as we can through our FROGBlog and the LEAP Network but another great place to follow along is on our Facebook page. It’s always being updated with new and interesting stuff so make sure to check it out! ...

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  • Making Cheap Concrete Molds

    Reducing Labor

    Another area where you can cut costs during the mold making process is in reducing labor. Eliminating manual labor requirements through the use of CNC 3D mold making technologies can substantially reduce costs. Automating production processes diminishes or eliminates many labor costs. It also facilitates more a more effective use of staff by concentrating labor to a few select tasks surrounding the mold making process. While creating the design for the mold still requires human...

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  • Making Cheap Concrete Molds

    Choosing Materials

    There are many situations in which you need to make a concrete mold on the cheap. It might be dictated by a client’s budget, it could be that you are doing a piece of work on spec and need to keep costs down or that perhaps you want to test out elements of a project for client approval. Whatever the case, choosing lower cost materials can go a long ways towards bringing down overall production...

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  • Taking Relief Work to the Next Level

    Thanks to 3D scanners and 3D modeling software concrete reliefs are getting more elaborate than ever. Check out these guys who are using textile patterns as the basis for their concrete reliefs. By scanning the print and converting it to a 3D pattern, molds are able to made on the CNC 3D router that exactly replicate the fabric design but are 3D. All we can say is wow! ...

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  • Concrete Relief Work

    Finishing Work

    Finishing work will largely depend on the specific requirements of a project. If you are planning on using carved foam for the mold you might want to mud and sand the mold before applying a protective coating using a plural component spray system. This method will provide a smoother finish on the concrete. Conversely, if you are intending the concrete to have a particular texture, you might apply a coating that is designed to mimic...

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  • Concrete Relief Work

    Creating the Mold

    The actual mold making process is probably the easiest part of creating 3D concrete relief work, because it can be almost totally automated. The 3D digital file of the mold is uploaded to the 3D CNC foam router and the router will automatically carve the mold. Depending on the size of the mold it might be carved out of a single block of foam or it might take several blocks, the pieces of which will...

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  • Friday Profile

    Art Mouldings

    If you want to see just how diverse the applications for 3D CNC technology are in terms of architectural moldings check out Art Moulding. These guys produce a huge range of architectural moldings for both commercial and residential purposes and are also more than happy to create and fabricate any custom project that you can dream up! ...

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  • Concrete Relief Work

    Digital Planning

    Digital planning is a power tool that comes out of using 3D CNC technology to produce relief concrete molds.  It is this stage that allows you to finalize the 3D digital model that is going to be carved on the 3D CNC foam router. Not available when using more traditional, manual methods of production, digital planning provides a number of means that can save you money and time. Once a model has been scanned by...

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  • Concrete Relief Work

    Using Maquettes

    With the rise of 3D CNC technologies maquettes and models have become an even more vital aspect of concrete relief work. The benefits are numerous. Due to their (generally) small size, models are quick to make. They are most often sculpted out of clay and they provide a full 3D concept for clients and production teams to interact with. Thus, they tend to require low investments in terms of time, labor and materials. Beyond this,...

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  • Facades for a Friday

    Came across a great article showcasing some of the most interesting and unusual facades from around the world. Thanks to advancements in 3D architectural technology these sort of impressive designs are probably only the beginning.  ...

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  • Identifying Your Target Market

    Advertising Compared to Networking

    Once you have set your business goals, found your target markets and identified the competition in said markets, the fact remains that you need a plan for accessing the market of choice. The knowledge that you have gained while researching a market should provide you with some informed ideas on how to do this. You should have a list of businesses to target, clients to go after or perhaps print or digital resources to focus...

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  • Using Color in Concrete Art

    Did you know that all those white marble sculptures from ancient Greece were actually painted? It's true. While we tend to think about classical art as being monochromatic, it's only because all the paint has worn off over the centuries. Like these statues, concrete art also has a prevelance towards being percieved as lacking in color. But why? There is no reason not to use paint or pigment to kick projects up a notch! ...

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  • Identifying Your Target Market

    Sizing up the Competition

    When it comes to identifying a target market sizing up the competition is key.  Many markets are so saturated that there are little profits to be found by entering into them. 3D foam carving technology can provide an edge in some of these markets by substantially reducing production costs and so allow for competitive pricing with higher margins, but by far the greater advantage to possessing this technology is in accessing new and niche markets...

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  • Identifying Your Target Market

    Defining the Market

    Part of setting successful business goals is being able to define the market you are going after. Identifying a target market can actually describe several different processes. It could, for example, be as basic as researching and learning about the 3D concrete mold making industry or as complex as finding out about 3D concrete mold making for artistic relief work within a set geographic area of 100 miles and a defined price point. It could...

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  • Friday Profile

    Inland Pipe

    Part of the Lehigh Hanson family of pipe companies, Inland Pipe produces a wide range of pipe and pipe accessories. Known for their durability, quality and variety, these guys are a major concrete pipe supplier for western Canada. What’s the secret behind their fabrication success? 3D CNC mold making technology, which brings precision and efficiency to their production processes! ...

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  • Identifying Your Target Market

    Setting Business Goals

    You can have all the talent, creative power and drive in the world, but without sound business goals your company is going to flounder. Having clear business goals provides corporate structure, a means of measuring progress and success and a map for how to best harness your chosen market. In fact, did you know that the mere action of writing down a goal has been proven to increase the likelihood of achieving it by more...

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