Open and shut case
Coleman & Associates produces models for attorneys and other clients
Attorney clients use car models to demonstrate accident details.
Models for courtroom use were previously built by hand
The company purchased an Objet30 because it offers the right build envelope and high resolution, especially useful in trials.
Founded in 1984, Coleman & Associates is a team of model-making experts in 3D development, mold making and production. The team prides itself on producing high quality models and prototypes for attorneys who need models for litigation work, as well as for architects, engineers and manufacturers who require accurate models as sales tools. Clients also need beautiful display models of larger-than-life projects for lobbies and museums.
Impacting Juries During Trials
Most of the firm’s attorney clients handle litigation related to automobile accidents, using models in the courtroom to demonstrate accident details. Accuracy of each model is crucial so attorneys can show details about the progression of an accident and resulting physical evidence, such as damage to the vehicle and ground markings. Models can have a major impact on a jury’s ability to understand and evaluate a case.
For many years, Coleman & Associates built automobile models based on available model car kits, and then customized each finished vehicle by hand – adding scratches and dents as directed by the client.
With so many vehicle models and manufacturers, it became difficult to find a model car kit to meet the attorneys’ requirements. Firm founder Richard Coleman knew there had to be a better way. Coleman had been following 3D printing technology for many years, but had not found a system that offered the appropriate build envelope, high resolution and robust material to address his firm’s needs. After revisiting the market, he invested in the Objet30 Pro 3D Printer.
Coleman & Associates’ 3D printer has streamlined many aspects of the company’s modelmaking process. Coleman & Associates’ model makers now modify 3D car databases, adding an extended cab to a truck, separating bumpers and chassis from the solid database, or adding material thickness to make new parts. Within a few hours, they have a sturdy, accurate plastic model that can be painted and used as is, or used to create a mold if many versions of one car are required. One mold that can produce up to 30 identical models.
An Indispensable Tool
Coleman and his staff are thrilled – as are their clients. “The Objet30 takes several days out of the process and gives us a more accurate model because it’s easy to customize,” says Coleman. “This approach represents the next step in the evolutionary process of model making. It has become an indispensable tool in making scale models, not just for our litigation clients, but for all our clients.”
“Clients can now send us their 3D files and have models by the end of the week,” says Coleman. “We could not do that before we had the Objet30. It’s a great new service that really sets us apart.”
Recently, the firm worked with an architectural and landscape client unveiling the new George W. Bush Presidential Center at the Dallas Southern Methodist University campus. The project required construction of a six-by-10-foot scale model completed in just five weeks. The short deadline for such an intricate model meant every minute counted. Using the Objet30 to produce quick and accurate component work for the project saved the firm valuable time. The vertical freeway walls, light fixtures and Oval Office were all printed instead of fabricated. Importantly, Coleman & Associates captured detail for the project that could not have happened without the versatility of 3D printing.
Coleman & Associates is often working on very tight timelines, says Coleman, with immovable deadlines such as a scheduled trial. He loves that his model makers can print parts overnight, with the 3D printer unattended.
“When it’s crunch time for a client, it wasn’t unusual for our model makers to work late into the night,” he says. “Now that we have our Objet30, that happens a lot less often. It’s less pressure on our staff, and clients still get their models on time. Everyone wins.”