A wide range of engineering services

Engineering ServicesHere at McNeil Engineering, we provide comprehensive design services that include civil engineering, structural engineering, land surveying, high-definition scanning (HDS), landscape architecture and consulting services to the private and public sectors. We also offer consulting services for cities, urban designers, urban planners, and others in the Utah construction market. With so much on offer, we figured now would be a good time to go into greater detail regarding our services and what they entail.

Civil Engineering in Utah and other states

Let’s start with the core of what we do. We are civil engineers first and foremost. But what exactly is it that civil engineers do? Well, in short, civil engineers work closely with others in the construction industry, from architects to contractors, to ensure construction projects progress as they should. Many of their tasks include site surveying ground condition tests, inventory, and materials and equipment maintenance and support. Civil engineers are also responsible for coming up with solutions that take the weather and other geologic factors into account.

Structural Engineering for Long-Lasting Projects

Structural engineering of the type we do fits specifically into the wheelhouse of civil engineering. Structural engineering in this context focuses mainly on the framework of a structure. Engineers design the structures to ensure they can withstand whatever stresses or pressures they may encounter in their environment. The key for structural engineers on projects like ours is to ensure that the buildings and structures we work on remain safe, reliable, and secure at all times.

Land Surveying Where You Need It

Another big part of what we do is land surveying. It’s a critical part of any construction project. There are different types of land surveying, but civil engineers utilize this technique in specific ways. Surveying in civil engineering represents the collection and analysis of specific data regarding the land under survey. Specific measurements of the horizontal and vertical lengths between points will also be recorded. Details will be documented regarding specific aspects of the land, such as size, shape, formation, and soil. Quality and accurate land surveys can set the foundation for a successful project.

Landscape Architecture for Beautiful Grounds

Another important aspect of what we do includes landscape architecture. Put simply, landscape architecture is described as designing specific outdoor spaces that integrate well within an overall project. In our case, we design large landscape architecture projects, such as those for green spaces, a town square, municipal playground, and so much more. Keep in mind there are significant differences between landscape architecture and landscape design. Landscape architects have a degree and they generally work on larger public works projects, whereas a landscape designer often works on residential and smaller-scale projects. Landscape architects are experts in their field.

Consultation Services for Companies Who Need an Expert

We also provide a wide range of consulting services to companies that require a committed and knowledgeable professional to help them with their engineering needs. These are often companies that do not have the in-house expertise they need to get the job done successfully. Our consulting civil engineers advise our clients on the design, development, and construction of projects of all shapes and sizes. We pride ourselves on offering consulting services that ensure safe, efficient, and fully resourced project completion. When you need a consultant you can count on McNeil Engineering.

Other Services We Offer

Now that you’ve learned more about the human aspect of our resources, take a few minutes to learn about some of the other services we offer. We provide a wide range of engineering, surveying, and consulting services. But these services would not be nearly as effective were not for our technologies. We use the latest technologies suitable for engineering projects.

One such example is laser scanning. 3D laser scanning has become an industry norm. Advancements in hardware, software, and workflows have made laser scanning a viable option for projects of all sizes. Laser scanning allows our surveyors to collect tremendous amounts of precise data at high speeds. We use the most advanced, high-definition laser scanners, total stations, and modeling and point cloud software to provide comprehensive, record surveys, 3D CAD models and detailed 2D isometric drawings.

We also have extensive expertise in BIM 3D modeling. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is essentially a technological solution that allows engineers to view a digital representation of a building as well as specific characteristics of its functionality. BIM is a model-based process that provides insight to help you plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

And guess what? That’s not all. If you need consulting services for roofing, paving, and even construction administration, we have the people and experience you need to ensure the job gets done right the first time, every time. We invite you to take a moment to peruse the various projects we have completed in Utah and around the country. Let’s work together!


5 Common materials used for 3D printing

3D Printing3D printing is a relatively new and exciting technology. Finding applications in fields ranging from manufacturing to medicine; 3D printing allows you to produce functional components using additive manufacturing. 3D printing is here to stay because it reduces material wastage, saves time, and improves overall efficiency.

Just as there are several applications of 3D printing, so also is there a wide range of materials used. Different materials have unique properties (strengths and weaknesses) that make them best suited for different applications.

In this article, we examine some of the most common materials used, their ideal usage, and their drawbacks.

Plastic

Plastic is the most common raw material for 3D printing in use today. From 3D-printed toys to household features (like utensils and vases), plastics have a great appeal – thanks to their malleability, firmness, and smoothness. What’s more, plastic has a wide range of colors and can be easily used to make irregular shapes.

There are different types of plastics used in 3D printing. Some of which include:

Nylon (also known as polyamide)

Nylon is a synthetic thermoplastic noted for its flexibility, low friction, durability, and corrosion resistance. It is well suited for creating complex geometries. It is also inexpensive and tough.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

A common 3D printer filament, ABS is the preferred material for personal or household 3D printing. It is accessible and cheap, with a longer shelf life than nylon. It is mainly used for making high-quality prototypes.

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Made from renewable sources like sugarcane and cornstarch, PLA is the “green plastic.” Due to its low warping, it is easy to print. Because it is easy to work with, it is the preferred material for use in children’s schools.

One major drawback of plastic as a 3D printing material is how it reacts to intense heat. Heat can cause deformation, which distorts the precise shape of the object.

Resin

According to Wikipedia, the resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins have many special properties that make them great for 3D printing. Some examples include low shrinkage and high chemical resistance.

Resins can be divided into three main categories:

High-detail resin

High-detail resin is a photopolymer material cured by UV light after it is jetted. When it comes to creating 3D models involving intricate detail, the high-detail resin is the go-to.

Paintable resin

Ideal for making smooth 3D surfaces. Figurines – with rendered facial detail – are typically made from paintable resin.

Transparent resin

This is a transparent material with a slight blue tinge. It is constructed from a liquid resin that is hardened by a laser. It is mainly used to embed or encase almost any object in crystal clear plastic.

Resin, however, comes with some drawbacks. Asides from being expensive, it also has high photo-reactivity, so it has to be stored properly. It can also undergo premature polymerization when exposed to heat.

Metals

Metals are also a common material used in 3D printing. It finds massive application in the aviation industry, where it is used to make air-travel equipment promptly and efficiently. Jewelry makers also use 3D printing to produced engraved bracelets, necklaces, and other fashion items. These metals use the Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or Selective Laser Melting (SLM).

Some of the common metals used include:

Gold and silver

These filaments are usually processed in powdered form. They find great application in the jewelry industry due to their high value. This precious metal is, however, expensive and relatively difficult to work with.

Stainless steel

Stainless is noted for its strength, hardness, high ductility, and corrosion resistance. However, the printing time for stainless steel is much longer. It is also more expensive to print with it.

Titanium

Most noted for its lightness, high strength, and corrosion resistance, it is heavily used in high-tech fields like aviation and space exploration. Note that printing with titanium is very expensive.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber 3D printing filament consists of tiny carbon fibers infused into the base material. Thanks to carbon fiber’s strength, stiffness, and dimensional stability, when added to the base material, it improves its performance.

Composites like carbon fiber are used in 3D printers as top-coat over plastic material, resulting in more durable and rigid objects.

Ceramic

One of the newcomers to 3D printing, ceramic, is noted for its durability (which is better than that of metal and plastic) because it can withstand insane heat and pressure without warping or breaking. It is also not susceptible to corrosion and acidic substances. This material is typically used in SLA (Stereolithography), Binder Jetting technology, and DLP (Digital Light Processing).

Wrap Up

We’ve explored just some of the materials used in 3D printing. Other materials that are of notable mention include:

PET/PETG

HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene)

Graphite and Graphene

Nitinol

Paper

Contact us HERE today for more details.


Applications of 3D printing in civil engineering

Building Information ModelingThere have been interesting and mind-blowing innovations in the science world over the years, but few might have the “hurricane” impact as 3D printing when it becomes the main scale. The internet rush of the late 20th century and the early 21st century resulted in many of the fascinating things we now enjoy including Blockchain tech, Data Analytics, Virtual meetings, and co. And yet many believe 3D printing will be bigger, especially for Civil Engineering; how inspiring!

While Additive manufacturing will become useful to every sector of our world, including medicine, art, prototyping, VR, and co, there is no better way people would see it implemented fully than in Civil Engineering.

Civil/Structural Engineering is one crucial sector that has touched and continues to impact many lives. It cuts across all phases of our daily living, from building construction to bridges, dams, roads, towers, storage centers, and other utilities in the city or community. It also has the task of maintaining and improving such facilities. Many consider it the oldest and most crucial branch of engineering, and one can only imagine the many possibilities of 3D printing and Civil Engineering.

Applications of 3D printing in Civil Engineering

The most valuable feature of 3D printing is its ability to create the most complex geometric shapes easily. And create the additive layers to form the structure. With this kind of “anything is possible” feature and the speed by which it makes them, it will advance the course of Civil Engineering.

  • Improvements in modes of Bridge construction

Nobody expected it when the first concrete bicycle bridge opened up to users in 2017 in The Netherlands or when Shanghai, China printed the longest 3D bridge (26 meters in 450 hours). These bridges were an important milestone in a battle that was turning to be one of feasibility. It is showing the world that Additive manufacturing can unlock higher levels of human development, including; emergency bridges constructed in seconds, quick response to disasters, and many more.

  • Improving roads and maintenance techniques

Transportation by road is still the most important and popular mode of transport today. Civil Engineers continue to research and employ different methods and techniques in improving the standards of roads, bridges, and other structures.

While working on roads, the heavy materials and methods used often lead to serious congestions and discomfort. However, improvements are being made to use tar, asphalt, and others in 3D printing.

  • Improving tools for analysis and sensor

To improve roads, bridges, and other construction designs, Civil Engineers often depend on fiber-optic sensors. While these sensors are important to the Engineer, they are also costly to install in the structures and often not compatible with the construction materials used.

However, advancement in 3D printing has developed a simple 3D printed packaging for sensors. These packagings are not only suitable for almost all construction materials but are simple to mount.

When these sensors and devices are fully developed and released, it will help Civil Engineers make a proper and accurate analysis of the structures.

  • Reduce waste and cost in construction

Each year billions of dollars are lost due to waste from construction worldwide, one of the many downsides to the traditional manufacturing process. And some of these wastes are the major constituents of the biological degradation of the earth.

Additive manufacturing produces nearly zero wastes throughout the process of construction. Besides, it creates even more complex shapes than any of the manufacturing processes listed above. Most of the machines, buildings, and other constructions made with 3D printing are achieved with far lesser costs each time. And the continuous advancement in the field will continue to drive down these prices.

  • Achieving more Complex Shapes in designs and constructions

One can only imagine how many designs have been abandoned in the past for being too complex or costly to manufacture. However, complexities in shapes are one of the most interesting features of 3D printers. It allows for more innovation, flexibility, adjustments in designs, and above all, makes it more cost-effective. It comes out as a perfect photocopy of what you see in the drawings, only this time; it becomes tangible.

  • Complete construction in fewer periods

Although improvements in some of the techs/methods used by Civil Engineers have greatly reduced construction periods, it is still a bit slow for the growth we aim to achieve.

Through 3D printing, medical supply grounds, houses, and other temporal utilities are being constructed. With 3D printing, it has become very possible to design more complex and difficult parts in fewer periods.

Wrapping Up

Among the many techs emerging to reshape our world, 3D printing is leading that charge. And many industries have not looked away from it. The sort of attention 3D printing is getting, including research, funding, investments, and patience, will make it the next “big thing” like the internet.

It would mean; Telecoms mast being assembled and mounted in minutes, massive improvements to the housing system, construction of durable roads, and more aesthetic malls and landmark buildings.

For the Civil Engineer, the only limitations to 3D printing are their imagination.

Contact us today with any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!


Taking 3D Printing to the Next Industrial Level

3D PrintingFight it, resist it, romance it; do whatever you like with it; it falls upon us one way or the other. And it is Change. One thing that is ever sure in our stay on this planet is that Man always finds a way to improve on an existing process or innovate new ones. For now, the balance seems to rest on Additive manufacturing/3D printing.

3D printing VS Mass production

With the introduction of 3D printing – even at an infant stage, there are already fears that we might as well begin to kiss the old era of “mass production” goodbye. Where bulk production was made popular during the second industrialization era focused only on making bulk items, 3D printing can do both common and custom products.

The pertinent issue is not the ‘if’ but the ‘when.’ A McKinsey study reports a usage increase from 200{ffa1fb9a833dbe70b91c2563ca2a54067368c324c18ffac54b9412388222efff} to 400{ffa1fb9a833dbe70b91c2563ca2a54067368c324c18ffac54b9412388222efff} amongst personal enthusiasts. Yet, we can agree that irrespective of the great strides 3D printing technology is taking, there is a lot more to do.

3D printing so far…

Additive manufacturing continues to break natural barriers, thinning the lines between feasible and otherwise, and lots more. Below are some of the programs that are taking off as a result of Additive manufacturing. And how they will fare in the future.

Medicine and health

Since early times, the pursuit of better treatments/medicine has driven more people to innovate. Currently, 3D printing is being experimented with; in the printing of human tissues or the manufacture of specific human organs.

Noble, as the idea is, there is a likelihood it will run into many ethical strains and issues. However, the projected benefits and assistance to life throws a greater weight in its support. Others include regenerative medicine, prosthetics, stem cell regrowth, drugs, and so on.

Architecture and construction

A common practice for architects or engineers was to build a prototype from a design and scale the item higher. However, with recent “adventures” in 3D technology, newer and more sophisticated prototypes and fabrications can be actualized.

Recently, advanced studies are ongoing about printing livable, life-sized houses using concrete and similar materials. As ludicrous as it sounds, many pioneers are already testing this concept with temporal buildings/attachments.

The future benefits of this are innumerable; think about it. Houses/Apartments will be completed in record time, intricate designs can be realized, plus you can get your custom home.

Transport and the Aerospace

The movement of man and his properties from place to place is a constant occurrence. And “how easier it will be for a man if his “journeys” are as efficient as ever.”

Many intricate and spare parts of the automobile are now produced with 3D printers. We also expect this to increase to full car production, chassis, engines, and all.

Also taking another wise further look is the International Space Station, which feeds information to our Earth. Asides from housing a handful of astronauts, it houses 3D printers. These printers make otherwise complex parts that would be dangerous to transport from the Earth.

Another area where 3D printing is being pretty efficient and ingenious is in art and fashion. Once people saw its amazing “powers,” it was only a matter of time before they started using it to create awesome pieces. It continues to expand the scope of fashion and art.

Problems the current 3D printing process face

It is not rocket science that so far, Mass production has become very comfortable and efficient for our “industrialization.” Also, most of the improvements that 3D printing gives, like; instant fabrication, customization, and the ability to create intricate designs, might be less useful.

Here are some ways to conquer some of these problems and take 3D printing to the next level

Producing should begin on a large scale.

One of the fundamental causes for the stunt in 3D printing is its non-viable use in large-scale production. However, as research and improvements continue, better ways to bulk producing with 3D printers will be discovered.

Laser technology as a panacea

For many, the quality of an item has been an issue with 3D printed materials. Since layers are stacked on top of each other, structural quality might be affected. Also, visual appeal is lost through the stripes generated from the layering.

The most viable option so far is using laser-based systems at high resolutions. Though, it might increase the fabrication time of the material.

Improvements in Energy source

The amount of energy used to run a 3D printer is usually greater than used in conventional Manufacturing. Therefore, there is a need to improve on the energy source, especially renewable/green energy.

Powering 3D printers through a “green” energy supply will reposition Addition Manufacturing in the industry dynamics.

Wrapping Up

There are lots of potentials and market for additive manufacturing, but funding seems very low. There is every likelihood that additive manufacturing will drive economies in the nearest future. However, it is the collective jobs of scientists, engineers, investors, and the government to strive to improve the process.

Contact us today for more information. We look forward to working with you on your next project.


Top 3D Printing Applications Across Diverse Industries

3D PrintingSince its inception in the 1980s, 3D printing (additive manufacturing) has come a long way. 3D printing was originally envisioned as a tool for rapid prototyping in the manufacturing industry. But in the last decade, it has evolved to cover lots of new and exciting technologies.

With its recent surge in popularity and usage, 3D printing is applied in various industries for tooling aids, visual and functional prototypes, as well as the making of spare parts. New business models and opportunities are made possible – thanks to 3D printing.

Using practical examples, this post will explore how 3D printing is being used to drive innovation across the board.

Education

In the last few years, more schools are beginning to incorporate 3D printing into their curriculum to equip students to thrive in a future that will be influenced by this technology.

Students can learn how to create prototypes without expensive tooling. This helps to bridge the gap between the process of conceiving objects/ideas and bringing them into the physical 3D world. In STEM education, students learn to fabricate low-cost, high-end scientific equipment from open hardware designs because of the rapid prototyping capabilities of 3D printing. Science students use 3D printing to create cross-sections of organs, while chemistry students use it to make models of chemical compounds.

From exploring designs to architectural principles to the duplication of historical artifacts, 3D printing has opened up lots of possibilities that were once elusive. Little wonder 3D printers are now becoming a common sight in schools and public libraries.

Manufacturing

As indicated earlier, 3D was initially developed to enable faster and cheaper prototyping. Conventional prototyping methods like injection molding takes weeks to build the mold, and costs, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. This approach becomes impractical during the experimentation stage, where new iterations are generated from time to time. However, with 3D printing, a prototype that could take weeks to produce can take hours. Also, the production cost can be reduced by as much as 80 percent.

This ability to make a mockup in a matter of hours makes it very easy to make revisions and designs based on feedback and implement them almost instantly.

Traditional manufacturing is only cost-effective at large volumes. But the good thing about 3D printing is that it maintains the same economics even in low volume production. This makes it far cheaper to produce custom parts.

Medicine

The medical industry is one of the fastest-growing adopters of additive manufacturing, with applications ranging from bioprinting (the use of biomaterials to create tissue-like structures) to the production of medical devices like prosthetics.

Bioprinting offers great promise for regenerative medicine. Instead of using metals or plastics, 3D bioprinters layer living cells (referred to as bio-ink), mimicking organ tissues. With 3D bioprinting, artificial tissues and structures – like skin, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, and cardiac patches – can be fabricated.

3D printing has also fundamentally revolutionized the production of prosthetics. Prosthetics need to be produced with great precision and flexibility so that it is the perfect fit for patients. 3D printing makes it seamless to adhere to these high standards. Formerly, children in need of prosthetics had to wait till they grew to a stage where they wouldn’t quickly outgrow it. This makes sense because prosthetics are very expensive. But as 3D printing has drastically cut down the associated costs, children no longer need to wait!

Art and Jewelry

To the amazement of many, 3D printing has also found massive application in the world of art and jewelry making.

With 3D printers, jewelry makers can easily experiment with complex designs that are impossible with traditional means. Furthermore, 3D printing has significantly cut down the cost of producing personalized jewelry.

In the world of arts, 3D printing has made it easier and cheaper for artists to create intricate works of art, thereby opening up their imaginations to endless possibilities. Artists like Banksy use 3D printing technology to rend 2D artwork to 3D using powder binding 3D printing. Oliver van Herpt, on the other hand, makes ceramic vases with 3D printing.

Aerospace

The aerospace industry was one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing, using it as far back as 1989. Unsurprisingly, the aerospace and defense sector represents about 17{ffa1fb9a833dbe70b91c2563ca2a54067368c324c18ffac54b9412388222efff} of the total additive manufacturing market. 3D printing is used to produce functional prototypes, tooling, and lightweight components.

In the aerospace industry where highly complex parts are produced in low volumes, 3D printing is a perfect fit because of its cost-effectiveness, even for small batches.

Furthermore, 3D printing is also used to produce lightweight parts that will help in weight reduction, leading to considerable fuel savings.

When using traditional subtractive methods, materials are wasted. Because 3D printing produces parts layer by layer, considerable material is saved. Aerospace materials – ranging from engineering-grade thermoplastics to metal powders – are highly valued, and so, wastage should be minimized.

Wrap Up

We’ve only covered a fraction of where 3D printing is applied. 3D printing is also used in the construction industry, automotive industry, consumer goods industry, industrial goods industry, and more.

Funny enough, 3D printing is still in its infant stages. As 3D printing rapidly breaks beyond the boundaries of rapid prototyping, its influence will only continue to increase into the future.

Contact us today for more information or to get your next project started!