Revisiting 3D printers

As it is in most businesses, research and development plays a big role in the process of creating custom hardware that is not only functional and attractive but is in keeping with the times, so to speak.

Today’s “times” is all about technology.  For example, how do we create a door handle that is unique in design while still allowing one to enter a building and, at the same time, meets the needs of those with physical challenges and employs new technology like LED lighting for safety.  Technology like 3D printers, for example, can certainly make this task faster and easier.

In February we attended the 3D Printer World Expo here in Los Angeles.  You can read all about our visit in our blog post here.  We continue to investigate whether the cost of such a printer is worth it for our business and here are some of our questions:

  •  While a cylinder 16” long with an outside wall of 1.6” and inside wall of 1.5” is not difficult to create a 3D file for, how do I get the organic holes cut in a piece like our Morphic design? Originally Martin cut these out on a scroll saw and then, to create a softer hole, refined and softened each hole by hand using files and different grades of sandpaper.
  • Large pull from the Morphic collection at Martin Pierce hardware Los Angeles, CA  90016 Photo by David Gill

    Large pull from the Morphic collection at Martin Pierce hardware Los Angeles, CA 90016
    Photo by Ted Morrison

  • Can the 3D scanner simply scan the existing pattern and then increase the  overall image  by 5%?  Not as easy as one thinks.  Since this design is a hollow cylinder it is difficult for the scanner to read the depth of each hole.
  • Can the scanner read the holes if we insert a piece of white paper inside the cylinder thus showing the depth of each hole?
  • Would it give us a better new pattern if we simply traced the holes from the existing pattern onto a piece of flat paper, scanned the tracing to create another 3D file which could be superimposed onto the 3D cylinder file?  We would then have to go in and for each hole define the depth and softness.  Would this take too much programming time and thus not be cost effective?

I have described this at length so that you can get an idea of how time consuming and costly it is to develop any new product.  This can be risky,  especially if you do not know whether you even have a market for it.  The process of costing a new product really forces you to hone your designs at the early stages.

This takes me full circle to saying that we thoroughly enjoy what we do and find the challenge of making this all work a lot of fun.

To view our entire collection of custom hardware, please visit our site at

Designers can visit the showroom located at:

5433 W. Washington Blvd

Los Angeles, Ca  90016

323 939 5929


About martinpierceblog

Martin and Anne Pierce live in Los Angeles California with their beloved rescue dog, Iris. Martin's custom designs reflect his love of nature and include beautiful vine and fern drawer pulls, a realistic yet whimsical collection of bugs and other critters on door hardware and charming floral designs on everything from door levers to bathroom accessories. He also enjoys creating sculptural contemporary pieces that are easy to access for those with limited physical capabilities. All of Martin's designs are hand carved and cast in their Los Angeles studio where there is truly something for everyone. Please contact us with any questions or custom queries
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