News & Events

'Where is Tommy?' Competition

Where is Tommy?

Last month, Formero kicked off its “Where is Tommy?” competition in celebration of our new Sydney office at Unit 39, 45 – 51 Huntley Street, Alexandria 2015.  The contest was opened to only those people who receive our newsletter. 

Announcing the Winners..

1st Prize:   Neil McKenzie recieves an iPAD with WiFi.

2nd Prize:   Shannon Day receives an 8GB iPod nano.  

3rd Prize:    Ali Farhat  receives a 2G iPod Shuffle.



The challenge was to find Tommy in his comic form, as he is placed in 5 different locations throughout our website   

Below is an example of the comic image of Tommy, our NSW Sales Engineer - beside it is Tommy in his human form:

Cartoon Image of Tommy                      Tommy Sales Engineer from Sydney  


 Prizes at a glance:


  • Page through websites, write an email, flick through photos, or watch a movie with just the touch of a finger.
  • iPad has a 9.7-inch, high-resolution LED-backlit IPS display and incredible Multi-Touch capability. Yet it’s thin and light enough to take anywhere.
  •  Right now you can discover over a thousand apps on the App Store made just for iPad — with more coming every day. And if that’s not enough, you can also run almost 300,000 iPhone apps
  • Download the free iBooks app from the App Store. More than a great ebook reader, it’s also an amazing place to browse and shop for books.


 Competition new Rapid Prototyping office  

iPod Nano

  • iPod nano has been completely redesigned with Multi-Touch — the same technology that makes iPhone, iPad and iPod touch so amazing. Now it’s half the size and even easier to play. And everything you want to hear is just a tap or swipe away.
  • Show off your album art, photos and the colour-coordinated wallpaper on the 1.5-inch colour display with 240-by-240 pixel resolution. It's tiny yet stunning.

 Celebration New Rapid Prototyping office


iPod Shuffle

  • Its main body is crafted from a single piece of aluminium and polished to a beautiful shine, so the new iPod shuffle feels solid, sleek and durable.
  • With up to 15 hours of battery life, iPod shuffle gives you 2GB of storage capacity, good for hundreds of songs. That’s plenty of room for the essential songs of your workout or commute. And for multiple playlists, Genius Mixes, podcasts and audiobooks, too.
  • iPod shuffle isn’t just portable. It’s wearable, too. Clip it to your shirt, jacket, workout gear, backpack or purse strap and it stays put — whether you’re running an errand or running around the track.



 3d prize competition for new Rapid Prototyping facility

SLS Technology Helps Surgeons Change Faces

Australian Craniofacial

Established in 1975, the Australian Craniofacial Unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia treats patients who require reconstructive surgery for birth defects, disease or injury to the skull or face.  The unit has achieved national recognition as a Centre of Excellence in its field, and is one of a few in the world that provides an holistic approach to patient care.

Formero’s Challenge

Formero was approached by the Australian Craniofacial Unit at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide to produce a medical model of a patients skull.  The Craniofacial Unit provided a CD full of stacked 2D X-ray images, commonly known as a CT scan and unlike any Formero had come across before. 

Taking up the challenge, Formero's Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technician, Chris Murray's first hurdle was to translate the many 2D images to a single 3D file, this required significant research.  Traditionally, the process of converting CT Scans would take considerable time, but with Formero's advanced techniques print ready CAD data and SLS models were produced in days, instead of weeks.  Surgeons are now able to have invaluable information for time critical operations within days of providing the images to Formero.

                                                           Converting 2D CT scan data into a 3D Model
 2D CT Scan data coverted 3D model

Key Learning's 

When pondering the process of converting 2D CT Scan data into a 3D Model, understanding can be aided by considering the strong correlation in theory between the two technologies.  A CT Scan is essentially a scan of an object that's been sliced into 2D "layers."  Whereas 3D Printing, and SLS itself, are a group of technologies that fabricate an object by depositing 2D layers on top of each other successively; A CT Scanner slices something, a 3D Printer reconstructs those slices.

The processes and technology progressed to a point where Formero's SLS Models have become a critical reference for hospitals and surgeries.  Upon receiving the data, the 2D Images are extracted, ordered and passed through Formero's medical imaging software.  A technician then makes a calculation for relative tissue density and segments the required tissue into its own 3D Model, its geometry based on "real world' parameters that were set with the scan itself.  The Skull is then fabricated by one of Formero's SLS machines under expert supervision by their experienced staff.

SLS technology allows for unlimited complexity, internal and external.  The tough nylon takes the rigors of surgical planning, testing and cutting admirably, and also imparts a slight light diffusive quality to the part, much in the way real bone does. Most importantly, it allows for a rapid response to a time critical event.

Formero would like to acknowledge Professor David J David AC for his outstanding leadership in creating the world renowned Australian Craniofacial Unit and the Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation as a means of raising funds to help children with deformed facial features and those injured through accidents and assaults.

Click here to read more about the Australian Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation and how your donation can change the life of a child forever.

  Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process                               See video of how each layer of the skull is built

SLS pocess building a human skull

The China Challenge

Many product developers are confronted with the ‘China Challenge’ to dramatically reduce their manufacturing costs by at least 20-40% if they outsource to China. 

Here lies the challenge  …going direct to Chinese toolmakers and mouldmakers is difficult to manage and often companies end up paying more instead of reducing costs.  Overcoming this challenge is not as difficult as you think if you understand the pitfalls and are able to utilize reliable and experienced Project Managers and Engineers in both Australia and China. 

Ask anyone who has had the daunting experience of sourcing a manufacturer in China and you will no doubt hear some interesting stories.

Pitfalls of going direct to China 

  • Chinese introductions – trying to finding the right person and managing the relationship
  • Negotiating is difficult – need to visit China with a professional translator to obtain quotes. 
  • Pricing – understanding what is included in the price, ongoing price adjustments is misleading
  • Quality issues – often work is subcontracted to other suppliers and there is a lack of process management
  • Copyright issues – knowing how to protect your intellectual property
  • Delivery – defect corrections, shipping and payment delays
  • Communication –  language barriers and cultural aspects can be a challenge
  • Cash flow - having to pay upfront befoer production starts (extended payment terms are generally not offered by Chinese suppliers).

 Formero’s China Service

  • Benefits of offshore manufacturing without the hassle and cost of manufacturing it yourself
  • Project managers and engineers on the ground both locally and offshore, taking your product through all stages of manufacturing
  • Design for manufacturer service - our engineering team is experienced in reducing customers’ cost of production and minimizing the number of production tools
  • Access to global, multi-source capabilities and emerging technologies



"Having a dedicated experienced Australian engineering team on the ground in Asia has been a huge advantage for us during product development, tool design and manufacturing stages. Formero has done a great job delivering what we asked for within our timeframe and budget."         General Manager – Product Development and Manufacturing  Nanosonics

"Initially we chose Formero based on price and delivery of difficult tooling - numerous parts with overmoulds and very tight drafts -against a tight delivery schedule to market. Some 15 separate items were delivered in the promised time frame and were pretty much exact the first time around - their first off tooling is always impressive. Compared to previous tool-makers used -  Formero provided near perfect 1st time trial product in around 1/3 of the time."      Engineering Manager, Minesite

  "The project required a very tight tooling schedule to meet our product release date. Formero’s project management and commitment to our schedule ensured the product was released on time"     Engineering Manager, Zodiac Group Australia

Matthew Sleeth_ Award sculpture



                For more information about manufacturing off shore, download       
                Formero's brochure: 'Looking to Reduce Your Total Cost of Production'

New prototyping materials now available

The release of the following new prototyping materials is Formero's ongoing commitment in using industries most advanced additive manufacturing materials and is a step closer to true thermoplastic performance parts. 

New Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) material now available:  

SLS Nylon 12

SLS is an extremely versatile process, using Nylon powder it creates functional rapid prototypes that meet the most stringent performance requirements.

Over the years Formero has seen the acceptance of SLS capabilities grow, with more component designs containing complex and detailed geometries.  Industries are also pushing SLS technology past the prototype applications and into fully-fledged production components.

Nylon 12 is a generational step forward in producing SLS parts that are not only durable prototype or production parts, but also contain improved surface resolution and feature detail, good chemical resistance and low moisture absorption.

SLS Nylon 12 applications:

  • Housing and enclosures
  • Snap-fit designs
  • Impellers and connectors
  • Direct Digital Manufacture (Production parts without tooling)
    Also referred to as Additive Manufacture
  • Controlled surfaces
  • Low volume complex production or prototype plastic parts

Materials property data sheet available soon...

click here to read how SLS technology is being utilised for end-use applications:

New Stereolithography (SLA) materials now available:

SLA DuraMax NeXt:

DuraMax NeXt produces rapid prototypes with an unprecedented combination of stiffness and toughness that typically characterizes thermoplastics, yet with all the high feature detail, dimensional accuracy and aesthetics offered by SLA.    

Parts produced from DuraMax NeXt are opaque in colour, contain good temperature resistance and can be heat treated.  DuraMax Next is ideal for use in functional testing applications with snap-fit designs, impellers, duct work, connectors, electronic covers, housings and packaging designs.   

SLA DuraMax Ultra Clear:

Is a clear, colourless and functionally strong SLA resin.  When polished it becomes optically clear making it the ideal choice for lenses, light pipes, bottles and other clear cover applications. 

“DuraMax Ultra Clear is a huge improvement on other clear SLA materials.  It contains great performance properties, without any colour tints that are common aesthetic problems for SLA resins.  Being able to produce functional, crystal clear-like prototypes is a significant advancement” advises James Sanders, Business Manager at Formero”. 

DuraMax Ultra Clear closely mirrors the behaviour of a clear acrylic part. In the past, headlight lenses needed to be machined from acrylic, but now with the extreme transparency of DuraMax Ultra Clear, Formero can make them via the SLA process.  This reduces turnaround time and opens the door to more complex designs.

Click here to read material properties data sheet.

SLA DuraMax Next                                  SLA DuraMax Next

   Example: DuraMax NeXt                                                                     Example: DuraMax Ultra Clear 


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