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Father’s Day 2021 is literally a week away. But there is still time to get some great gadgets and gifts for the dad or father figure in your life. The list below contains gadgets, consumer electronics, and other gizmos that have been reviewed on HighTechDad over the past year or so. And, within the list of reviewed gadgets, I have hand-selected the ones I think would be great for dads! This is the official HighTechDad Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide.
This guide is very easy to use. You can click on the picture or the linked title to open the Shop on HighTechDad section of the site. Within the product description, you will see a link to “read the full review on HighTechDad.” Clicking on that will give you a full, in-depth analysis of the product you are looking at.
If you just want to get the product, click on the “Buy” button. This will open the store where you can get that gadget (e.g., Amazon or from the vendor directly). NO eCommerce goes on within HighTechDad.com.
Another way to see all of the recent products that have been reviewed on HighTechDad is to simply head over to the Shop section of the site. There you can select different categories of products and browse through those products.
One last important note. These links are affiliate links. For those products that you do purchase, I do get a tiny commission. Those earnings help me pay for hosting and on-going work on HighTechDad.com. Think of it as buying me a cup of virtual coffee if you’d like. There are no financial transactions that happen on HighTechDad.com itself, as I mentioned. All “Buy Now” buttons will open a site where you can complete a secure transaction
Hand-selected HighTechDad Products for the Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide
I really like the tested products shown below. I try to have fairly comprehensive articles that talk about setup and usage, as well as how these items might fit in with the family (hence why I have them in a Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide). Do click on the pictures to see a quick summary of the gadget and then read the full review linked there.
If you have any questions about these products that I have reviewed, please feel free to leave a comment on this article, or on the review of the product itself. Also, you can ask me directly on Twitter – @HighTechDad. Or, use one of my contact forms.
HTD says: I would like to wish all of the dads and father figures out there a happy, healthy, and safe Father’s Day 2021 and best health and wishes in the years to come! Enjoy this Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide and remember, being a father or dad is a privilege, treat it with honor and respect!
ErGear Monitor Mount For Your Ergonomic Office Solution
Having a good monitor arm helps you stay productive as it makes your workplace to be ergonomically sound. Getting the best monitor arms offers more comfort which eventually has a positive impact on your health.
Best monitor arms fine-tune the positioning of your screen, regardless of whether or not your monitor allows physical adjustments. Doctors recommend that monitors should be positioned in such a way that your fingertips can touch the screen and the eye line to be level with the top of the display. Monitor’s arms have tilt and swivel features which makes it adjustable and helps you keep clear of screen reflections. Moreover, monitor arms free up space on your desk, making your workspace neat and productive. Most monitors are compatible with VESA standards mount which all monitor arms can accommodate.
Table of Contents
Reasons Why You Should Choose a Good Monitor Arm
Monitor arms allow a much more comfortable working posture and offer wonderful relief to the eyes. The monitor arms are a necessity to achieve healthy office ergonomics as they result in greater productivity as well as ensuring comfort.
Monitor arms are more robotic-looking arms that are attached to walls, desks, or ceilings. They allow users to adjust their monitors to their preferred ideal height. One can easily work on their monitors whether they are sitting, standing, or doing both throughout the day. Before buying a monitor arms here are some essential reasons you need to know:
They offer comfort and great working posture: As you adjust your monitor, you will be able to find your great ideal working posture. This will relieve strain in your body, especially the back that could be caused by leaning awkwardly to view your screen.
It eliminates eyestrain: Computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain are common for people who work long hours on computers and for many years. The eyes can tire. Without proper ergonomic, fatigue, strain, dryness, or even blurred vision results. Monitor arms eliminate these types of computer eye strain by enabling you to correctly position the monitor by adjusting the angle, height, and distance.
Helps you optimize your working space: Monitor arms have no footprint as they are usually mounted, either at the wall, ceiling, or at the back of the desk. When lifted this way, you get extra workspace.
It increases your productivity: The more comfortable you are with your monitor, the better your working experience. Monitor arms offer more comfort hence improving your work productivity.
Enhances collaboration: Computer monitor arms are flexible enough to allow you to shift your screens and share with your co-workers. But this is only possible in models that have 180 degrees horizontal rotation, making it easy to swivel from side to side.
Where to Mount a Monitor Arm
Monitor arms are designed to be mounted on walls, ceilings, and at the sides of the desks. Where you will mount your monitor arm depends on the type of mount you buy. Below are some common types of mounts:
Freestanding mounts: These act as a replacement for traditional monitor stands. You attach the monitor to the mount and allow it to rest on the desk. Stability for this type of mount comes from the monitor and mount’s weight since there aren’t any screws or clamps. They are slightly adjustable and you can adjust the viewing angle, height, and panning. Some even allow you to rotate the screen for landscape and portrait orientations.
Side clamp mounts: These are for attaching your monitor at the edge of the desk, securing its pole with a sturdy clamp. It clears your desk space and offers adjustability. The only problem is that they won’t mount on all types of desks. Modern computer desks can accommodate this type of clamp but older ones lack the good edges required for this type of mount.
Through-the-desk mounts: These types of mounts are semi-permanent and offer greater stability. You will have to drill a hole into your desk or use an existing hole to attach this type of mount. They offer the highest weight capacity and keep your desk free from clutter. These mounts are especially suitable for multiple monitors.
Wall mounts: These types of mounts are sleek and completely do away with desk clutter. They need to be drilled into the wall which isn’t a feasible option for rental properties and offices. For this type of mount to be functional, the wall needs to be near your desk.
After picking your ideal monitor, finding a greater comfort comes with finding the right monitor placement that will provide a comfortable working posture. To find the perfect placement position, follow the following steps.
Step 1: Place the monitor at the center facing right at you. This ensures your neck isn’t torquing when viewing the screen.
Step 2: The distance between the monitor and you should be an arm’s length, about 20 inches from your eyes. Sitting too close to the screen can damage your eyes while placing the screen so far away can cause fatigue to the eyes and result in eyestrain.
Step 3: When your eyes should be slightly shifted downwards when looking at the middle of the screen.
Step 4: The monitor should be tilted slightly backward at an angle of 10 to 20 degrees. This ensures there is a healthy distance between the screen and your eyes.
Whichever mount you choose, pay attention to its rating and choose one which fits your monitor’s dimensions and weight. Below is a comprehensive review of one of the best monitor mounts you should consider.
ErGear Monitor Mount for 15-32″ Flat/Curved Monitors Review
This advanced Gas Spring can accommodate up to 50,000 times smoother adjustments compared to other normal springs that allow up to 30,000 times. This makes it possible to fix and adjust your screen in any desired setting with an easy one-touch positioning. The mount is made of an aircraft-grade metal frame that offers extreme durability. You can be assured your mount will last a long time.
It is flat/curved screen is universally compatible. Almost any monitor that is 32 inches or smaller and those that weigh 17.6 lbs can be accommodated by this type of mount. It is compatible with VESA standards of 75x75mm or 100x100mm. Its unique features make it a good choice for gaming, household, and office use.
Qi Wireless charging Explained And How It Works
Many problems characterize charging different devices using wired or corded chargers. First, the cords easily get entangled to create a mess that may be difficult and annoying to undo. What’s more, the plugs wear out and wires bend with use, making the charging process ineffective.
It is for such reasons that most people have moved on to the Qi wireless charging technology.
Qi wireless charging is not only simple and convenient but it presents many more possible applications as well.
Possibly, this revelation sounds interesting and this far you are wondering; so, can I make my phone qi compatible?
Well for this and much more information about Qi charging, please read this article to the end.
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What is Qi charging?
Qi is an open interface standard that describes wireless power transfer by inductive charging. The system comprises a charging pad upon which you place your device to charge via resonant inductive coupling. It was initially released to the market in 2008 and by 2020, it had been adopted by more than 200 tablets, smartphones, and other compatible devices.
You may be thinking, so, which devices are Qi-enabled?
Well, so far, some of the mobile device makers that have embraced the standard include Sony, Xiaomi, Huawei, Nokia, Apple, Samsung, LG Electronics, NuCurrent, Blackberry, Asus, HTC, Google (high-end pixel models), and Motorola Mobility.
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Motor vehicle manufacturers are also incorporating them in their car designs.
How fast is qi charging?
Although the Qi 1.2 standard delivers a maximum charging speed of 15 watts, which is 9volts, 1.67 amps, the gadgets doing 7.5 W – 10 Watts are more common today. If you have an iPhone, you can expect speeds of up to 15 W with an Apple-certified MagSafe Charger and 7.5 W for a regular Qi charger.
The majority of Android phones can take speeds of up to 10W, although, some of them support the 15W charging speed.
You must also be knowing the 5W chargers. Although these are much slower, they are considered by many users as a low-cost option. These take roughly 3-4 hours to give you a full charge.
Do wireless charging work on all phones?
Not exactly! However, a wireless charger can effectively charge any smartphone that is compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard.
What are the advantages of wireless charging?
So, who qualifies to use a wireless charger?
Well, you can use this device if you own a smartphone that is customized to support the Qi wireless charging standard. Perhaps one of the leading advantages of using this gadget is convenience. For example, if your phone does not have a headphone jack, you can still use wired headphones while charging because a wireless charger doesn’t use a USB-C port or a lightning connector.
Two, with a wireless charger, you won’t have to go through the hustle of plugging and removing the cable. In effect, this minimizes the damage to the charging port
In brief, Qi wireless charging
(1). Is a safer way to charge your phone
(2). Is simple to use because all you have to do is place your phone on the charging pad
(3). Has less impact on your phone’s charging port.
(4). Pads are installed in cars, buildings, and several other public places for convenient access to the charging service.
Generally, wireless charging works much slower when compared the ordinary chargers, more so for handsets with quick charge technology.
Also, when your phone is charging on a cable charger, you can still receive and make calls without disrupting the charging process. However, the case is different when using a wireless charger because once you remove the phone from the pad, it stops charging immediately.
Another disadvantage is that not all phones have the wireless charging feature
Belkin Boost Charge 10W Fast Wireless Charging Stand
Charging speed: 10 Watts for Android phones and 7Watts for iPhone
Input port: Micro USB
Accessories: 24 Watt quick charge 3.0 wall charger, 4foot Micro USB cable, and a charging stand
This gadget delivers speeds of up to 10W for Qi-enabled Android and iPhone handsets. These include the Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, iPhone, and more.
Specifically, you can charge;
iPhone: Max, SE, 11 Pro, Max, XR, XS, 8, 11, 8 Plus, and more.
Samsung: Galaxy S20, S10, S9+ S9, 3XL, 3, 4XL,4, Pixel 4, Note 9, Note 10+, 8plus, 8, S20 Ultra, and more
The Belkin Boost Charge 10W Fast Wireless Charging Stand can charge a phone from empty to over 50% in an hour.
It is accessorized with a wall plug and detachable cable and this is all you need to charge at the fast available speeds.
Users highly appreciate its black and white colors because these colors blend easily into most environments
It charges the landscape or portrait positions to give you convenient access to the apps, texts, videos, and more.
Interestingly, it can charge through lighter plastic cases of up to 3mm
It is certified by the wireless consortium as safe and should anything go wrong, the manufacturer’s warranty covers you for 2 years.
Charges in both portrait and landscape
Pretty simple to understand and use
Works through a shock of proof case
One item stopped charging midway
Some users found it difficult to find the exact charging position
One user simply said “it did not work well”
Anker Wireless Charger, PowerWave Base Pad
Although the Anther Wireless Charger bears a reputation for slower charging, it remains a good choice for charging overnight. It is quite affordable and reliable although it doesn’t come with a USB wall charger. Therefore, you need to get one at an extra cost.
The pad’s rectangular design reflects the shape of your handset allowing you to place your phone centrally for regularized charging. You will also realize that the slimline design takes little space whether on the bedside table, stool, or working desk. All you have to do is align your handset with the pad for optimal charging
Typically, owners of high-end models are highly concerned about the safety of their phones. If you are such a person, then the charger’s non-slip design ensures that it is firmly held in position to avoid slipping away during vibration.
It comes with impressive safety features including
(1). Advanced temperature control
(2). Foreign object detection
(3). Overvoltage protection
In case your phone has a case, you never have to worry about pulling it off because it delivers power through cases measuring up to 5mm thick.
Output: 10 W / 7.5 W / 5WInput: 5V-2A / 9V-2A
It is compatible with the following models
Samsung: (10 W fast Charge Mode)
Note 7/ Note 8/note 9/note 10Galaxy S6 edge+/ S7/ S7 edge/S8+/S8/S9/S9+/S10/S20
iPhone: 7.5 W (fast charge mode)
iPhone 8/8 Plus/iPhone X/ iPhone XS/ iPhone XR/ XS Max /11 Pro Max /11Pro/iPhone 11
The 5Watt Standard Charge mode serves on all Qi enabled phones and other devices.
Charges the phone in any position.
Has rubber feet to ensure that that the charger doesn’t slip
Sleek and portable
Charges as fast as a cable charger
Charging stops with any downward pressure on the Micro-USB connector
Some users find it pricey
Some users have raised concerns about phone alignment
INIU Wireless Charger, 15W Qi-Certified
This is another wireless charger that you may want to either buy now or keep on your watch list mainly due to its excellent features. The product is made by INIU company using high-quality material to give you the best wireless charging experience.
Charging Distance: 4mm
Input Protocol: QC/PD/AFC Fast Charging
Input: 9V⎓1.67A or 5V⎓2A
Input Port: USB Type C
It features the NTC temperature guard protection that serves to eliminate the conventional noisy cooling fan. The temperature guard regulates the temperature in a muted sense to ensure your phone doesn’t get heated or damaged.
The charger has dual conductivity coils that allow you to watch videos in portrait or landscape without disrupting the power supply.
It is also sleep-friendly, because of the smart adaptive LED that dims in the dark and brightens during the day. This feature keeps you aware of the charging progress without disrupting your sleep.
Another feature that makes this charger attractive is its high-efficiency chip that delivers 7.5 W fast charge for iPhone, 10 W fast charge for Samsung Galaxy, and 15 W fast charge for LG,
You will also appreciate the intelligent FOD system that automatically detects any foreign object that is likely to interfere with the charging process
Doesn’t get heat up
Charges instantly. It actually knocks 45 minutes off your waiting time
Has a great aesthetic and functional design
May fail to charge but in very rare occasions
Some users have complained about the cord being too short
Some cords don’t match the common connection.
Having read much about this technology, you may be wondering can I make my phone Qi-compatible?
Well, you can only enjoy this service if your phone is suited for Qi charging. Then, all you will have to do is buy a Qi charging pad and you will be good to go.
Explaining the technology used in Touchscreen Gloves
On those chilly days when you hardly see any sunshine, you’re bound to dress up for the weather, and gloves are a must-have accessory in such cases. But traditional gloves now come with the fault of being incompatible with the modern touchscreen devices, ranging from Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) to smartphones and tablets.
That’s why touchscreen gloves were invented, and in this article, you will learn what these essential gloves are made of. After looking at the various touchscreen technologies you will see how even ordinary gloves can be converted into touchscreen gloves. You will also find out whether touchscreen gloves are safe for your personal use.
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Types of touchscreen technologies
To properly understand what touchscreen gloves are made of, it’s important to know some basics of how touchscreens work. There are more than five touchscreen technologies, but the two most common are; capacitive and resistive.
Capacitive touchscreen technology requires an input device that’s a good conductor of electricity. That’s why our bare hands perform great with touchscreen devices because our bodies can excellently conduct electricity.
Resistive touchscreen technology on the other hand, only needs the input device to apply pressure, on the specific point of the screen to recognize the touch command. In this case, any material would work with a resistive touchscreen as long as you press down hard enough to apply the required pressure.
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Touchscreen gloves were therefore invented to work with capacitive touchscreens and that explains why they are made in the processes described below.
How are touchscreen gloves made?
Touchscreen gloves are normally made of regular gloves with modified fingertips, embedded with the conductive material. They can also be made of fully conductive material allowing the whole glove to work with capacitive touchscreens.
It is this conductive material that allows the fingertips or whole palm (depending on the type) to absorb the electrical current produced by the capacitive touchscreen. This is what makes gloves touchscreen-friendly and practically allows you to do what you would otherwise have to do with your bare hands.
The presence of salts and moisture on the hands is what makes our fingers and palms conductive. That’s why touchscreen gloves that are only designed with a conductor on the fingertips, may not work as effectively as those designed with a blend of conductive threads.
This is because the palm is the best conductor compared to the fingertips due to the dry nature of fingers. When the palm releases the moisture and salts, the current is easily directed to the fingertips with a fully conductive glove.
There are several good conductors of electricity used to make touchscreen gloves such as; silver, copper, thermal paste, and aluminum.
Some touchscreen gloves are made with nylon fibers coated with real silver thus making them conductive. These types of gloves are normally fully conductive and more effective compared to those made of conductive material only embedded on the fingertips.
Silver threaded touchscreen gloves are also known to retain heat without necessarily using thick threads for gloves. This allows the wearer to maintain the warmth they badly need in their hands whilst going on with their business as usual with regards to the use of capacitive touchscreen devices.
Copper yarn is commonly used to make touchscreen gloves because it enables the absorption of electrical currents produced by the capacitive touchscreens. Copper is known to make fully conductive woven gloves by mixing the copper yarn with the threads.
3. Thermal Paste
Commonly used to fill gaps between heat sinks and processors, thermal paste’s conductive nature also allows it to work with capacitive touchscreens. That then makes it a good material for making touchscreen gloves.
Although aluminum is not highly conductive like copper, it can still conduct electricity just like your bare palm. That’s why it’s also used to make some touchscreen gloves because aluminum is supported by capacitive touchscreens.
Are touchscreen gloves safe?
Contrary to the belief of many people who’ve heard about touchscreen gloves, these conductive accessories are not powered at all. There’s a common myth that touchscreen gloves use batteries, and that they can cause the gloves to malfunction and knock your body with an electric shock.
But as already described above, touchscreen gloves are not powered, but only supplement the role of your palm and fingertips when handling capacitive touchscreens. It is therefore very safe to use touchscreen gloves even in a chilly winter without the worry of being electrocuted.
With a wide array of touchscreen glove designs cropping up every day, it can be a bit confusing knowing what touchscreen gloves are best for different occasions. That’s why The Gadgets Judge has reviewed the leading brands for the year 2021 to enable you to choose the best touchscreen gloves for the coldest seasons.
There are many different materials used to blend with the conductors described above in the making of touchscreen gloves. Some of the most common are wool and leather. Wool is either used as an inner lining to provide warmth or even knitted together with conductive yarns such as copper and silver. Leather touchscreen gloves are composed of leather treated with a conductive material hence making them fully conductive.
Touchscreen gloves can also be made of ordinary gloves modified by adding a glove tact on the fingertip of the gloves. This tact is made of high-tech conductive adhesive and materials that make any kind of glove touchscreen compatible.
This design is commonly used by bikers who normally wear heavier gloves customized to sustain the cold air when riding a motorcycle. A glove tact is also said to be even more effective than the touchscreen gloves made of woven conductors on the fingertips. This is probably because of the highly conductive adhesive and material used to make the tact.
So whether you want to keep your stylish leather or woven glove, or you want to purchase a new pair to work with your touchscreen devices, you certainly have enough options to choose from. Never again should you worry about having to take off your gloves on a cold winter just to use your phone or tablet computer.
3D Scanners in Studying Fossils And How It Helps Make Sense Of The Ancient Remains
Have you ever wondered how the ancient world dating back to thousands of years ago looked like? Have you ever imagined the kind of creatures that roamed the earth? Archaeologists and paleontologists are now making use of 3D printing and scanning technologies to enable you to examine these rare historical objects.
Both 3D printing and 3D scanning form a complementary process. 3D scanning is all about taking numerous measurements of an object and compiling it all together to form a 3D image of the object. On the other hand, 3D printing is all about constructing the object through additive manufacturing.
With 3D you can make accurate measurements of ancient objects and very easily compare them with other specimens around the world. This gives you the option of making virtual comparisons and eventually saves you the hustle of bringing everyone together. Outlined below are some of the benefits of 3D scanning to archaeologists.
It helps in the documentation: 3D technologies are used to chart heritage sites. Non-profit organizations like CyArk have been using these 3D scanning technologies since 2003 to share files with the public. Google backed them up and helped them open this digital archaeology access to the public.
3D Scanning Fossils
Helps with digging deeper: Archaeologists can capture hundreds of pictures of their workspace with 3D scanners. They then combine them to form a 3D whole print. These scans help dig deeper without having to do the actual deep digging. This is particularly helpful when the physical site is protected or on unstable ground.
Provides the big picture: Archaeologists spot and analyse data gathered from the 3D scans. Their findings and conclusions often lead to a deeper understanding of the sites which leads to further discoveries which would have otherwise been missed.
Offers a means of looking into the past: When the scientists manipulate 3D images from the scans, it paints a picture to them of how the site might have looked like during its time, with much more correct precision and predictive growth than what other tools would have offered them.
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How 3D Scanning Technology is used in the Museum.
Museums mostly use 3D technologies to overcome the problem of the inherent inaccessibility of archaeological findings. They use the technology to present full views of the past without endangering the safety of the artifacts.
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3D technologies offer greater reach, enhanced interactions, and accessibility. Andre LuJan, paleontologist and the Founder of the museum explains: “I felt it was necessary to have these fossils 3D scanned as it is less damaging than traditional molding and casting […] I have strung along and even had a no-call no-show for scheduled work.
I was about to give up when I found NVision on a Google search. Steve Kersen, the president of NVision, was awesome in answering questions and scheduling the job. We knew we had found our service provider. NVision being local was also very convenient.”
Offers greater reach: Many more people can see the objects and entire museum via electric file sharing and the internet without having to visit physically. Examples of museums that offer virtual tours include the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Easier accessibility: Museums and archaeological sites can offer 3D scanned objects online where people all over the world can access and examine. This expands their knowledge of ancient artifacts.
Enhances interactions: 3D scanning are used to create new levels of interactions with exhibits in museums. You can touch, rotate, zoom and examine closely 3D scans. You will obtain amazing information which would have otherwise been hard to notice directly. This offers museums better ways of telling stories of the past.
The Use of 3D Scanners in the Fields
Used in planning excavation: Before performing an extensive dig, it is essential to determine what the site has to offer first. 3D scanning can give paleontologists an overview of how the fossils are oriented in the site. They will gain insights on the best ways to proceed with maximum efficiency and minimum environmental disturbance.
Used in fossil maintenance: Some fossils have been buried in places where it is impossible to extract them without causing them damage. 3D scanning is used in such scenarios. 3D scanning is also used in preservation due to its portability nature. Paleontologists can take scans of the fossils on-site and take them for examination in the lab without interfering with their resting place.
Helps in artifact revitalization: Photogrammetry 3D scanning techniques can be used to reclaim artifacts that may have been poorly preserved.
Use of 3D Scanners at Home
3D scans offer easy accessibility. It makes it possible for the general public to have rich historical content and facts at the palm of their hands through their computer or phone screens. MorphoSource by Duke University contains fossil collections from all over the world. These are used at home for both education and entertainment and further scientific research.
3D Scanning Fossils
Scanning of fossils usually leads to breakthroughs. Lots of paleontologists usually CT-scanning everything. Scans offer a better look, clearer images in greater detail. CT scans and enabling scientists to examine the scaled skin of these fossils, as well as their internal bones and soft tissues.
There is an app called Fossil Explorer that is available both on Google Play and App store that helps you identify fossils based on where you find them. To use the app, set your current location on the interactive map or simply choose an area you want to explore. The app will plot for you the types of rocks present at your chosen location and will offer a long list of fossils that are known to occur in rocks of the same age.
The app has other features like introductory facts and illustrations that act as a guide for beginners. As a user, you can create and share a list of fossils that you have found and even set wish lists for your future discoveries. Other free apps for identifying fossils include The Digital Atlas of Ancient Life which was created by scientists from the University of Kansas.
In conclusion, 3D digital scanning technologies are revolutionizing the preservation and study of paleontology specimens. This has made it possible to replicate fossils with exact accuracy in details compared to the original specimen. These technologies are presently in use both at home, in the fields, and at the museums.
Before Planning To Setup 3D Printing Business Here Are Few Thing To Consider
Have you been thinking about starting a 3d printing business? There’s no better time to do it than today. Even though 3d printing was invented in the 80s, it’s only gaining popularity now and it’s incredible how it allows you to bring to reality all sorts of imaginations.
After all, the low cost 3d printing services make it easier for companies to acquire materials that would have otherwise cost them more, and taken months to import from overseas. If you have considered doing it as a business, we show you how to start a home based 3d printing business in this post. So, you can finally be the boss that you have always wanted to be. How cool is that, huh?
More and more companies are opting for 3d printed materials so the demand is increasing rapidly. Of course, this also means that most people are venturing into the 3d printing business and competition will be very high. But this is not to say that you cannot stand out and make good profits from your home based 3d printing business. That’s why you need to take your time to get your ducks in a row before starting your business.
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Factors to consider when putting up a 3d printing business at home
Before we can get ahead of ourselves, let’s have a look at some of the things to consider when putting up a successful home based 3d printing business.
Like it is with any other business, having a budget will determine the kind of business you are going to be running. This is in terms of the quality, size, and number of 3d printers you intend to buy. Depending on your budget, you can start small with a single printer, or have several printers if your budget allows. Also, for a start, you can outsource the printing services before you can at least get your own printer. You will only need to have the designs, then once they are printed for you, you can sell them on your website.
3d printed toys
What do you intend to be printing? Remember that with 3d printing, the list of things you can deal with is endless. Toys, home decor materials, prosthetics, face shields, ear relievers, furniture, jewelry, and even houses. While you can still be a generalist, being specific on who to serve gives you the advantage of being known as the expert in a certain industry. For instance, you can choose to serve hospitals and dealers of medical equipment.
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Before starting your 3d printing business, do a market research in your area to identify the needs your business is going to be meeting. If there are already other businesses in your local area, find out how they are operating and what they might not be doing. This will help you have a unique selling point to win clients. Are the businesses offering cheap 3d printing services or do they run free 3d printing services from time to time? If not, consider doing so since you have the advantage of not paying for an office space.
Figure out how you are going to price your designs from the word go to avoid confusing your clients. Your prices will depend on factors such as size, material, and the complexity of the design. The more niche you are, the more you can charge since customers do not have a lot of choices. For big orders, you can give free 3d printing services to your customers for their small and simple designs as an incentive. So long as your services are top-notch, even the smallest of freebies can keep your clients coming for more.
Understanding 3d technology
The other thing you cannot ignore when establishing a home based 3d printing business is the technical know-how. Even if you are going to be employing an expert to help you run the business, you still need to understand how 3d technology works.
If you are like most entrepreneurs who do everything by themselves, then you must familiarize yourself with all the nitty gritty required in running a successful 3d printing business. This involves knowing how to set up the machines, materials to use, how to design your prints, and any other information that will help you create high quality 3d prints for your clients.
Buying a 3d printer for home business
Once you have gathered all the necessary information and are surefire that 3d printing is the way to go, it’s time to go shopping. If 3d is something new to you, you might not know where to start or what type of printer to buy. However, the process of buying a 3d printer is easier when you know what you want to print and have a budget to work with.
For instance, some printers do not accept certain printing materials. So, knowing the material of your end products goes a long way in helping you choose the right 3d printer. You will also need to consider factors such as security features, a user friendly interface, brand with a great support system, and, the quality of the printer. A high quality printer will give you high quality end products and its price will also be higher.
Before settling on a specific 3d printer for your homebased 3d printing business, have a look at the product’s reviews or ask people who have experience with different printers.
Remember that a 3d printer does not come with printing material. You will have to buy the filament reels and get the 3d printing software.
Once you have everything ready, including necessary licenses and permits, it’s time to set up your business and get grinding. As you are still learning and trialing your designs, you can provide simplified and low cost 3d printing services. You could also do free 3d printing services for a few days in exchange for testimonials.
Marketing your 3d prints
Make use of your website and social media platforms to market your designs. Take professional images of your prints and share them on your Instagram for people to get people to know about your services. You could also run ads and write guest posts about your services on popular sites where your prospect clients tend to hang out.
Starting a home based 3d printing business doesn’t have to be so hard. Just make sure you do your homework well before starting out. Once you are in business, strive to provide excellent services and keep on learning since technology evolves every now and then. With time, you can even print for startups who have no printers. Or, who knows what other opportunities will arise! Keep your eyes wide open to spot market gaps and grab the opportunity as soon as it presents itself.
Manufacturing and warehouse shift work has been standard procedure since the dawn of the industrial revolution. And, shift work remains the standard in many cases today. It’s been about 120 years since this practice began.
Does it really make sense today, considering what’s changed in manufacturing since then? In this time, we’ve seen the introduction of pallets, forklifts, barcodes, inventory management systems, the Toyota Production System, cross-docking, and omni-channel retailing, just to name a few. And yet, even today most operators manually build out weekly schedules based on 8-hour or 12-hour shifts, focused on consistent worker schedules and not necessarily aligned to warehouse activity. To date, there’s been limited adoption of strategic workforce planning strategies or automated employee scheduling in this industry.
A Common Misalignment In Resources
With little exception, the hour-by-hour happenings in production and distribution are not consistent. The same number of trucks don’t arrive every hour on the hour to be unloaded. The same products don’t get produced, packed or shipped every hour of the day, every day. There are peak hours for loading or unloading trucks, hot loads that need immediate processing, and downtime when there’s just not as much work to do. With standard shift work, there are hours when there’s not enough labor to get everything done, and other times when there’s more staff on the clock than what’s needed. Not the most efficient use of resources, is it?
The Case For Strategic Workforce Planning
In virtually every other aspect of the supply chain, we’ve come to realize that strategic demand planning is essential. It helps reduce costs, improve collaboration and visibility, and provide the ability to predict and respond to disruption early. So why hasn’t this concept been more widely adopted for strategic workforce planning? Some might argue that workers prefer stable work schedules, but a recent study by EmployBridge proved just the opposite is true. 73% of blue color workers would trade a $1.00 per hour raise for a more flexible work schedule. One way to retain employees, especially in today’s tight labor market, is to give them more control over when they work.
What Are Some Benefits That Can Be Achieved?
Blue Yonder’s strategic workforce planning and workforce management (WFM) helps businesses align labor resources to operational requirements to drive down costs while improving associate engagement. It uses demand forecasting to automatically generate weekly schedules that are tightly aligned with required staff levels. All local and federal laws and regulations are preconfigured into the calculation, so there’s no risk of labor violations. Schedules are based on associate availability and shift preferences, which helps reduce call-outs and absenteeism. The system also optimizes fixed schedules for the full-timers so that workers who prefer flexibility and those who prefer consistency can both get what they want.
It also provides insights into future labor needs so to get ahead of any potential gaps before they occur. The system analyzes demand trends, business strategy and budget to create a 12-month labor forecast. This identifies cross-training and recruitment opportunities, and strategic workforce planning balances individual labor plans across the organization so every site reaches its potential without over-burdening or underutilizing its workforce.
To appeal to today’s employees, the solution also provides maximum flexibility. “Blank” weekly schedules can be created, meaning all shifts are defined but no names are assigned. Workers simply opt-in to the shifts they want. Blue Yonder’s WFM also provides mobile self-service tools where associates can request swaps, select additional shifts, and request time off. When Associated Food Stores (AFS) adopted Blue Yonder’s WFM for their warehouses, they experienced lower turnover and an overall reduction in labor costs. Why it’s important to get workforce planning right
It’s no secret that today’s supply chains are strained — everything from computer chips to chicken wings have been impacted with supply shortages. And some of this strain is a direct impact from labor shortages. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) measured factory employment at a six-month low with 50% of companies having difficulty in trying to hire new workers. One way to attract and retain quality employees is by empowering them with flexible scheduling and mobile self-service tools.
To learn more about Blue Yonder’s strategic workforce planning capabilities for distribution and manufacturing, download our latest brochure, watch the video overview or visit our website.
This blog is authored by Sophia Han, Educational Services intern who will be a senior at Arizona State University this fall
How much is your time worth to you?
We often hear “training is not necessary,” “it costs too much,” or “takes too long.” For these reasons, companies do not invest in formal training programs and instead, have their employees learn through trial and error.
While attending Blue Yonder’s space planning training session this week, it became evident that formal instructor-led trainings provide great value to attendees. During the training, an attendee commented that they ended up restarting one of their projects from scratch due to not manually saving the project file before their computer crashed. They didn’t know that Blue Yonder’s solutions automatically save projects every ten minutes (fully adjustable, of course). Instead of accessing the backup file, the individual restarted their project, saving over their original work with the new version. A day’s worth of work gone because they didn’t know about that particular feature of the solution.
Throughout the rest of the course, as users learned more, their faces would light up when they learned new tricks or features that would inevitably help reduce frustrations and make their day-to-day tasks much more efficient.
Some of the features highlighted in formal instructor-led trainings are things that, unless the user has a lot of time to play around, are unlikely to be discovered or used for what they are designed, with efficiency in mind. Similar to Excel, it is entirely possible to go through the program without prior experience and learn how to use V-look ups, create pivot tables and do calculations. There’s always going to be Google and other communities for you to look up functions. However, if you didn’t even know about the existence of V-look ups, how would you search for them? There are bound to be more obscure features that unless you are trained on them, you won’t know about. This is the case with many software products.
You can learn on your own how some of the features work, and oftentimes, you will be able to manually do what you need to do. However, by having an instructor guide you through the software and answer questions as they come up, you can learn to have the solution do what would have taken you hours to do manually.
Software is here to make your life easier, and the developers want to help you be more efficient. One of the best ways to do that is by reading through the product manual to learn all the tips and tricks, though it’s not recommended because it’s time-consuming and only explains the mechanics. To really understand the product and the why behind the how, instructor-led classes are the best option to provide context and better enable the user to apply the information in other aspects of their role.
Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) conducted a survey on customers who have been formally trained. They found that 65-73% of people who’ve taken training used the product more, over half were able to use more features, and 85-91% were more independent, with the variations in percentages being attributed to different methods of learning. It’s easy to see the value in participating in formal training, especially for something as important, and potentially time-consuming, as space planning.
To view Blue Yonder’s upcoming classes on space planning from our expert instructors, click here or contact Education Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.