Networking for Success: Taking the Mystery Out of 3D LaminatesThis week I’ve exchanged the hot sun of Atlanta for the cool winds of San Francisco, ironically for a trade fair celebrating the sun’s ability to produce clean energy. Though I’m very busy with Intersolar 2012, I didn’t want to delay our series designed to help buyers and specifiers make wise decisions concerning 3DL components.

I want to emphasize something I briefly touched on last week: The need to network and join discussion groups, advice that should be taken by designers and fabricators of 3DL components as well. There is safety in this approach that should not be ignored. A number of us who have been around since the early days have been trying for years to get everyone to embrace proven best practices. We tell the story, we encourage, we warn, but there is always someone that thinks they can take an easier, cheaper path. This is why I have such a passion for educating people at the design and purchasing levels. I guess you could say we’re following the Doobie Brother’s approach and “taking it to the streets”.

As this series continues, we will discuss issues from designing components for the long haul, understanding strengths and weaknesses of various types of equipment, materials and processes, as well as the roll of quality control procedures. But you have to understand, this a blog and not a manual. I get questions every week asking when I’ll be covering certain issues to which my only reply is, “Be patient!” If it’s important we’ll get to it. But it’s going to take time.

The good news is with proper networking you don’t have to wait to get answers. My LinkedIn group Membrane Pressing & 3D Laminating Design is growing weekly and has a number of individuals able and willing to help you work through these issues. Of course you’ll get some varying opinions, but as your knowledge of the process and the people involved grows, so will your ability to choose the best advice.

Over the past couple of days I’ve spent some time on an Internet discussion board talking to a frustrated homeowner who was unable to find what he wanted in thermofoil cabinets. After seeing how he was bombarded with commentary about whether or not he should even be considering thermofoil, I decided to give him some direction. He immediately found what he wanted and thanked me with enthusiasm. My parting words to him were, “Don’t give up on thermofoil. There are reasons why some people are so happy and others are disgusted.” My goal with this series is to help you understand enough about this process, that buying 3DL components is not “a roll of the dice.”



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