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3D Printing in November 2018

As with many other months in the past, November 2018 has been full of innovation for the world of 3D printing.

Let’s start with the world of razors!

As CNBC explains, recently Proctor & Gamble has been faced with a lot of successful competition in the sphere of men’s razors: “P&G is competing against newer rivals such as Dollar Shave Club, the subscription company bought by Unilever for a reported $1 billion in 2016.”  As a result of this, “in May 2017, Gillette launched its own on-demand service…[expanding it earlier this year in order to allow their customers to] add photos and text to their razor handles.”

Now, however, Proctor & Gamble has solicited the help of 3D printing in order to allow more customer customization options for their Gillette razors.  This pilot program, which P&G is calling Razor Maker, involves razor handles “printed using stereolithography, a type of 3D printing technology from Boston-based Formlabs.”  Customers will have the option “to choose from 48 designs and seven colors, priced between $19 and $45, including one razor blade.  A pack of four extra blades will cost $15 and orders will ship in two to three weeks from the new Razor Maker website.”

As Formlabs Chief Product Officer David Lakatos explains: “3D printing has mostly been used in manufacturing [up until now].  Mass customization with 3D printing is finally becoming a reality for consumers to experience end-use 3D printed products.”

P&G’s Director for Gillette and Venus North America Pankaj Bhalla enthuses: “earlier this year we introduced a range of new razor products and declared ‘one size’ does not fit all men when it comes to razors.  The Razor Maker pilot program furthers our commitment to place power in the hands of consumers.”

Elsewhere, Digital Trends has caught wind of an astoundingly cheap way to 3D print houses!  Italian 3D printing company WASP (which stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project) “has just 3D printed a hut structure called Gaia, using a combination of 3D printed concrete and a mud-based material.  [This was all put together using a giant, crane-based 3D printer.]  Total cost of the build?  Around $1,000.”

WASP CEO Massimo Moretti explains: “the material consist of clay earth, rice straw, and rice husk.  The natural fibers allow [us to minimize] the shrinkage of the dry mixture and confer mechanical strength to the layered wall.  By using the wet pan mill, the raw mixture has reached an interesting homogeneous plasticity which permits a good resolution in printed texture.”

To go with the earth and rice-based material, concrete is also mixed into the building foundations.  The roof of the Gaia hut was made out of timber.  “The 215 sq. ft. build took around 10 days to complete, although more time would be required to furnish the place.  It is also guaranteed the cost would creep up north of the $1,000 price tag for a commercial build, since this only includes material costs and not labor.”

Moretti concludes: “Gaia represents an example of reduced costs, especially if compared on the thermal performances usually obtained [through traditional systems.]  Gaia does not require heating or air conditioning, and is able to maintain consistent temperatures indoors regardless of what season in the year it is.  At the moment, the company is evaluating every possibility to enter the construction market.  Probably the most reliable strategy will be a construction service, with our team involved in the wall construction.”

Speaking of 3D printed houses, 3D Printing Industry was on hand to witness the announcement of a substantial seed funding drive successfully achieved by a Texas-based construction technologies company, ICON.  This is “said to be one of the largest seed rounds for Texas startups in 2018.”

Apparently, ICON has been able to raise $9 million from Oakhouse Partners (an early stage venture capital firm based in California), “D.R. Horton, Emaar, Capital Factory, CAZ Investments, Cielo Property Group, Engage Ventures, MicroVentures, Saturn Five, Shadow Ventures, Trust Ventures, Verbena Road Holdings, and Vulcan Capital.”

Why are all these venture capitalists so excited to invest in ICON?  Well, the company plans “to reinvent the construction of affordable homes with the use of ‘3D printers, robotics, and advanced materials.’”  In fact, earlier this year, ICON “and its non-profit partner New Story created the first permitted, 3D printed home in Austin, Texas using its Vulcan 3D printer, at a cost of less than $4000…as a result of this 350 sq. ft. house, which took approximately 48 hours [to 3D print], construction [of this 3D printed abode] became a proof of concept for investors.”

As Co-Founder and CEO of ICON Jason Ballard explains: “we’re in the middle of a global housing crisis and making old approaches a little better is not solving the problem.  We couldn’t be happier with the team of global investors who are supporting ICON in our belief the homebuilding industry needs a complete paradigm shift.”

With these new funds, ICON will “now…further the homebuilding process through the expansion of its team with several technical roles in robotics, software engineering, and advanced materials.”

Oakhouse Partners Managing Partner Jason Portnoy adds: “what the ICON team has accomplished in such a short period of time is not only a transformational breakthrough in homebuilding, it is an inspiration for the entire world to think outside the box about how humanity will confront the global housing crisis.”

ICON is already hard at work on the second generation of its Vulcan 3D printer.  It will be unveiled sometime in 2019.

Finally, as 3D Printing Industry (again) reports, when the Soyuz MS-10 spaceflight exploded, the Organ.Aut 3D bioprinter was destroyed.  Luckily, the two Russian cosmonauts aboard the vehicle used an emergency escape capsule and survived.

The Organ.Aut 3D bioprinter “was tipped to be the first of its kind to make it aboard the International Space Station (ISS).”  Developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions (an arm of INVITRO) in Moscow, the Organ.Aut was “one of the most multifunctional bioprinters in the world in terms of printing possibilities with different materials…the system seems to fabricate tissues from cell containing spheroids.  The bioprinter relied on a gelatinous (possibly hydrogel) bed, to hold deposited spheres of biological matter in place. After each printed layer, the supportive gel was replenished to hold the next layer of spheres and so on until the desired shape was created.  When incubated, these cells fused together, then gel was cleaned away leaving a sample of purely biological tissue.”

Now, however, as 3D Bioprinting Solutions Co-Founder and Managing Director Yousef Hesuani reports, “Organ.Aut and the cosmonauts have a duplicate [of the printer], it will be ready to fly to the ISS in the near future.  The current crew has already confirmed its readiness for undergoing the remote training, so we will be ready to send the scientific equipment in any case.”

In the meantime, while an investigation is undergone to determine what went wrong on the Soyuz MS-10 spaceflight, this might mean NASA’s 3D BioFabrication Facility will become the first bioprinter to actually reach the International Space Station – in February of 2019.

Be sure to check in again with us here at Replicator World for your monthly 3D printing news updates!

Image Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

Quotes Courtesy of CNBC, Digital Trends, and 3D Printing Industry

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ICON Raises $9 Million

3D Printing Industry was on hand to witness the announcement of a substantial seed funding drive successfully achieved by a Texas-based construction technologies company, ICON.  This is “said to be one of the largest seed rounds for Texas startups in 2018.”

Apparently, ICON has been able to raise $9 million from Oakhouse Partners (an early stage venture capital firm based in California), “D.R. Horton, Emaar, Capital Factory, CAZ Investments, Cielo Property Group, Engage Ventures, MicroVentures, Saturn Five, Shadow Ventures, Trust Ventures, Verbena Road Holdings, and Vulcan Capital.”

Why are all these venture capitalists so excited to invest in ICON?  Well, the company plans “to reinvent the construction of affordable homes with the use of ‘3D printers, robotics, and advanced materials.’”  In fact, earlier this year, ICON “and its non-profit partner New Story created the first permitted, 3D printed home in Austin, Texas using its Vulcan 3D printer, at a cost of less than $4000…as a result of this 350 sq. ft. house, which took approximately 48 hours [to 3D print], construction [of this 3D printed abode] became a proof of concept for investors.”

As Co-Founder and CEO of ICON Jason Ballard explains: “we’re in the middle of a global housing crisis and making old approaches a little better is not solving the problem.  We couldn’t be happier with the team of global investors who are supporting ICON in our belief the homebuilding industry needs a complete paradigm shift.”

With these new funds, ICON will “now…further the homebuilding process through the expansion of its team with several technical roles in robotics, software engineering, and advanced materials.”

Oakhouse Partners Managing Partner Jason Portnoy adds: “what the ICON team has accomplished in such a short period of time is not only a transformational breakthrough in homebuilding, it is an inspiration for the entire world to think outside the box about how humanity will confront the global housing crisis.”

ICON is already hard at work on the second generation of its Vulcan 3D printer.  It will be unveiled sometime in 2019.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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Dental Industry: Armann Girrbach Teams Up With 3D Systems

TCT Magazine reports on a recent partnership announced by Armann Girrbach and 3D Systems.  Apparently, Armann Girrbach will be installing 3D Systems’ NextDent 5100 Dental 3D Printer.  This device “is powered by 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology.”

Armann Girrbach will “employ the NextDent 5100 3D printing platform into is Ceramill System digital dental workflow.  The Ceramill System workflow encompasses articulation, model fabrication, scanning, CAD design, and production.”  With the help of the NextDent 5100, this system will have the ability to “print precision trays, models, surgical guides, dentures, orthodontic splints, crowns, and bridges.”

This is mostly due to the NextDent 5100 Dental 3D Printer’s “portfolio of 30 biocompatible and CE-certified materials…[enabling] the production of [various applications.]”  Along with the Ceramill System and the NextDent 5100, users will also be able to use 3D Spring software, “which enables the preparation of files, editing, printing, and managing” all on a single interface.  Customers will hail from more than 90 countries.

As Armann Girrbach’s Head of Product Management Christian Ermer explains: “with the addition of 3D Systems’ NextDent 5100 3D printing to our Ceramill System, we can offer our customers a more feature-rich digital dental workflow that will make them more competitive and efficient…[the NextDent 5100 Dental 3D Printer helps to] lower production costs and reduce turnaround time.”

3D Systems’ Vice President and General Manager of Dental Rik Jacobs concludes: “additive manufacturing is transforming the way dental applications are planned, produce and delivered, due in large part to the wide variety of NextDent material that are regulatory approved and clinically evaluated…Amann Girrbach’s customers are getting trusted connection – a complete fast and accurate dental 3D printing solution that will work seamlessly with their existing Ceramill equipment and processes. This new partnership with Amann Girrbach is an important milestone in our strategy to redefine digital dentistry and demonstrate our ability to optimize production workflows.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of TCT Magazine

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These 3D Printed Houses Are Cheaper Than iPhones!

Digital Trends has caught wind of an astoundingly cheap way to 3D print houses!  Italian 3D printing company WASP (which stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project) “has just 3D printed a hut structure called Gaia, using a combination of 3D printed concrete and a mud-based material.  [This was all put together using a giant, crane-based 3D printer.]  Total cost of the build?  Around $1,000.”

WASP CEO Massimo Moretti explains: “the material consist of clay earth, rice straw, and rice husk.  The natural fibers allow [us to minimize] the shrinkage of the dry mixture and confer mechanical strength to the layered wall.  By using the wet pan mill, the raw mixture has reached an interesting homogeneous plasticity which permits a good resolution in printed texture.”

To go with the earth and rice-based material, concrete is also mixed into the building foundations.  The roof of the Gaia hut was made out of timber.  “The 215 sq. ft. build took around 10 days to complete, although more time would be required to furnish the place.  It is also guaranteed the cost would creep up north of the $1,000 price tag for a commercial build, since this only includes material costs and not labor.”

Moretti concludes: “Gaia represents an example of reduced costs, especially if compared on the thermal performances usually obtained [through traditional systems.]  Gaia does not require heating or air conditioning, and is able to maintain consistent temperatures indoors regardless of what season in the year it is.  At the moment, the company is evaluating every possibility to enter the construction market.  Probably the most reliable strategy will be a construction service, with our team involved in the wall construction.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Digital Trends

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PrinTracker: Tracking 3D Printed Objects’ Origins

3D Printing Media Network reports on the efforts of a team of researchers from the University at Buffalo who have “devised a method for identifying which 3D printer an object” originated from.

This will keep track of 3D printed weapons and counterfeit 3D printed goods.  The team, along with other researchers from Rutgers and Northeastern universities, have developed a project they’ve dubbed ‘PrinTracker,’ which keeps track of 3D printed items “based on inherent imperfections in infill patterns.”

As University at Buffalo’s Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Study Lead Wenyao Xu, PhD explains: “3D printing has many wonderful uses, but it’s also a counterfeiter’s dream.  Even more concerning, it has the potential to make firearms more readily available to people who are not allowed to possess them.”

PrinTracker allows individuals to decipher “the subtle differences between objects printed on different 3D printers.  These differences…are found on a submillimeter scale in infill patterns. Though the patterns are supposed to be uniform and dictated by the digital 3D model of the printed object, a number of elements (such as printer model, filament type, nozzle size etc.) can cause tiny imperfections in the print…A given 3D printer model will produce parts with unique and repeatable infill imperfections, creating something of a fingerprint within 3D printed parts.”

In order to test the reliability of these 3D printer ‘fingerprints’, the “team…[used] 14 3D printer models (10 FDM and four SLA) to 3D print a series of five keys each. Once the prints were complete, an inkjet scanner was used to digitally capture each of the printed keys. These scans were then enhanced and filtered so that the infill patterns were distinguishable.  From there, the team used an algorithm to align and calculate the variations of each key’s print pattern to check the authenticity of the ‘fingerprint,’ which enabled them to establish a database of fingerprints for each of the 14 3D printers in the test.”  PrinTracker was accurate 99.8% of the time, and 92% accurate once those items were damaged.

As Xu concludes: “we’ve demonstrated…PrinTracker is an effective, robust and reliable way law enforcement agencies, as well as businesses concerned about intellectual property, can trace the origin of 3D-printed goods.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of the University at Buffalo and 3D Printing Media Network

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XJet Opens World’s Largest Metals and Ceramics Additive Manufacturing Center

Recently, XJet has opened the world’s largest metals and ceramics additive manufacturing center in Rehovot, Israel.  The facility cost $10 million and stands at 8,000 square feet.

The facility is located in Rehovot Science Park, and “is home to the largest collection of metal and ceramic 3D printers worldwide, comprised entirely of XJet Carmel AM systems.”  As XJet CEO Hanan Gothait explains, this new “AM Center will support XJet in developing new 3D printing materials and applications…[it] is a crucial part of our pursuit for wide-ranging multi-material printing. XJet Carmel AM systems are currently available with one of two printing materials, stainless steel or zirconia. Our vision is a platform that prints with a multitude of metals and ceramics on the same part. We will use the AM Center to develop and demonstrate specialized applications, print test parts for our global customer base, and trial new metal and ceramic materials.”

The XJet Carmel AM series, which uses a patented NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ) technology, “allows manufacturers to produce ceramic or metal parts with the ease and versatility of inkjet printing. Due to its unique approach, the NPJ technology produces highly complex parts with superfine details, smooth surfaces and pinpoint accuracy. Remarkably thin layers of just a few microns can be achieved, compared to dozens of microns in powder-based ceramic and metal AM technologies. Cavities and fine details can be created with no concern that they will be harmed in the support-removal process, as a separate material is used for support structures, a material that easily disintegrates post printing.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of XJet

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Russian Bioprinter Destroyed in Soyuz MS-10 Failure

As 3D Printing Industry reports, when the Soyuz MS-10 spaceflight exploded, the Organ.Aut 3D bioprinter was destroyed.  Luckily, the two Russian cosmonauts aboard the vehicle used an emergency escape capsule and survived.

The Organ.Aut 3D bioprinter “was tipped to be the first of its kind to make it aboard the International Space Station (ISS).”  Developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions (an arm of INVITRO) in Moscow, the Organ.Aut was “one of the most multifunctional bioprinters in the world in terms of printing possibilities with different materials…the system seems to fabricate tissues from cell containing spheroids.  The bioprinter relied on a gelatinous (possibly hydrogel) bed, to hold deposited spheres of biological matter in place. After each printed layer, the supportive gel was replenished to hold the next layer of spheres and so on until the desired shape was created.  When incubated, these cells fused together, then gel was cleaned away leaving a sample of purely biological tissue.”

Now, however, as 3D Bioprinting Solutions Co-Founder and Managing Director Yousef Hesuani reports, “Organ.Aut and the cosmonauts have a duplicate [of the printer], it will be ready to fly to the ISS in the near future.  The current crew has already confirmed its readiness for undergoing the remote training, so we will be ready to send the scientific equipment in any case.”

In the meantime, while an investigation is undergone to determine what went wrong on the Soyuz MS-10 spaceflight, this might mean NASA’s 3D BioFabrication Facility will become the first bioprinter to actually reach the International Space Station – in February of 2019.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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3D Printed Custom-Sized Lithium-Ion Batteries

Engadget reports on a recent, and rather fascinating study, undertaken by researchers and discussed in an article published in the scientific journal ACS Applied Energy Materials.

Apparently, a team of researchers wished to tackle a common obstacle: “one of the challenges in creating smaller and smaller [technological] devices these days, such as wearables and phones, is the batteries.  [These batteries] can take up a lot of room.  Cases are often designed around standard battery sizes, and it often creates wasted space.”

As a result of this obstacle, the research team was able to develop a way to 3D print lithium-ion batteries into whatever shape and/or size is required.  As the team, led by Christopher Reyes and Benjamin Wiley, explain: “the problem which has stood in the way of 3D printed lithium-ion batteries [until now] is the polymers traditionally used in this kind of printing aren’t ionic conductors.  The goal [of this research and development] was to discover a way to 3D print custom-sized lithium-ion batteries in a cost effective way using a regular, widely available 3D printer.”

Therefore, “in order to make the batteries conductive, the team…infused the polylactic acid (PLA) usually used in 3D printing with an electrolyte solution.  The researchers also incorporated graphene and carbon nanotubes into the design of the case in order to help increase conductivity.  Following these design modifications, the team was able to 3D print an LED bracelet, complete with a custom-sized lithium-ion battery.”

Before you get too excited, however, it is important to keep in mind the findings by this research team are incredibly “preliminary; the battery was only able to power the bracelet for about 60 seconds.  The team nots the capacity of the 3D printed battery is well below commercial standards.  [Obviously!]”

On the bright side, though, the research team does “have ideas for how to improve capacity, and this idea has a lot of promise for the future of small gadgets and tech.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Engadget

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3D Printed Gillette Razors

As CNBC explains, recently Proctor & Gamble has been faced with a lot of successful competition in the sphere of men’s razors: “P&G is competing against newer rivals such as Dollar Shave Club, the subscription company bought by Unilever for a reported $1 billion in 2016.”  As a result of this, “in May 2017, Gillette launched its own on-demand service…[expanding it earlier this year in order to allow their customers to] add photos and text to their razor handles.”

Now, however, Proctor & Gamble has solicited the help of 3D printing in order to allow more customer customization options for their Gillette razors.  This pilot program, which P&G is calling Razor Maker, involves razor handles “printed using stereolithography, a type of 3D printing technology from Boston-based Formlabs.”  Customers will have the option “to choose from 48 designs and seven colors, priced between $19 and $45, including one razor blade.  A pack of four extra blades will cost $15 and orders will ship in two to three weeks from the new Razor Maker website.”

As Formlabs Chief Product Officer David Lakatos explains: “3D printing has mostly been used in manufacturing [up until now].  Mass customization with 3D printing is finally becoming a reality for consumers to experience end-use 3D printed products.”

P&G’s Director for Gillette and Venus North America Pankaj Bhalla enthuses: “earlier this year we introduced a range of new razor products and declared ‘one size’ does not fit all men when it comes to razors.  The Razor Maker pilot program furthers our commitment to place power in the hands of consumers.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of CNBC

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3D Printed Artificial Blood Vessels

Business Standard reports on a startling new 3D printing method outlined in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Apparently, scientists from the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder have developed this method in order to 3D print artificial blood vessels.  Recreating the “complex geometry of blood vessels…could one day be used to produce artificial arteries and organ tissues.”  The scientists’ new 3D printing method “features fine-grain, programmable control over rigidity.”  This method could be used to aid those suffering from hypertension and other vascular diseases.

As Associate Professor Xiaobo Yin, one of the scientists involved in the study explains: “the idea was to add independent mechanical properties to 3D structures capable of mimicking the body’s natural tissue.  This technology allows us to create microstructures, which can be customized for disease models.”

Postdoctoral Researcher Yonghui Ding adds: “oxygen is usually a bad thing in it can cause incomplete curing.  Here, we utilize a layer, which allows for a fixed rate of oxygen permeation.”  With this fixed rate of oxygen permeation, the researchers were able to keep “tight control over oxygen migration and its subsequent light exposure – giving them control over which areas of an object are solidified to be harder or softer.”

Researcher Ding concludes: “this is a profound development and an encouraging first step toward our goal of creating structures which function as healthy cells should.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Business Standard

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World’s First Maritime 3D Printing Facility

Business Times reports on an exciting new development concerning 3D printing’s incursion into the maritime industry.  Apparently, the world’s first maritime 3D printing facility is to be built at PSA’s Pasir Panjang Terminal in Singapore.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a deal with NAMIC (National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster), PSA Corporation, and manufacturing company 3D MetalForge in order to bring this facility into fruition.

The facility will “feature state of the art 3D printers and use a specialized maritime digital cloud supported by blockchain technology for increased security of file transfers.”  As Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Dr. Lam Pin Min explains: “the government is committed to growing 3D printing in Singapore, a technology known for disrupting how industries function.”

Dr. Lam goes on: “with additive manufacturing, customized ship parts such as propellers previously produced by original manufacturers can now be printed whenever and wherever needed, at ports of call or even onboard ships.  The replacement of parts could even just be a case of adding on layers to worn out parts.  This can prolong asset lifespans, reduce inventory, and lower the cost of maintenance.”

MPA’s Chief Executive Andrew Tan added: “as a leading maritime hub, Singapore firmly believes the maritime industry should embrace new technologies such as additive manufacturing.  The digitalization of the maritime sector in all its aspects is not a matter of how but when.”

Image Courtesy of The Straits Times

Quotes Courtesy of Business Times

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3D Printed Foldable Electric Self-Balancing Scooter

3D Printing Media Network has recently reported on a successful Kickstarter begun by a company called UrmO.  UrmO, which is located in Munich, Germany, has many former Tesla and BMW engineers on staff.  And recently they have been working on something new…

The UrmO 3D printed foldable electric self-balancing scooter has been successfully launched and fully funded via Kickstarter.  In total, UrmO was able to raise a whopping $159,925 for their scooter.  The company plans to retail their nifty little device for roughly $2,317 a unit.

Touted as the Tesla of scooters, the stylish UrmO “integrates a patent-pending folding mechanism for your last mile, which means you can fold it up and easily carry it (it weighs about 7kg) anywhere you go.  You might even be able to transport it in your carry on luggage on a flight.”

UrmO explains “during the key prototyping phase – which enabled [them] to come up with a functioning proof of concept – the carbon fiber parts were produced using a hydraulic press, other parts were 3D printed out of laser sintered plastics, while the subshell of the device was 3D printed from aluminum parts using powder bed fusion…[this] could be a cost-effective production method for several – if not all – of the aluminum parts, while some other polymer parts could also be made using AM technologies.”

As the team’s blog adds: “these are the real materials the prototype is made from.  In short, we did everything which constitutes rapid prototyping.  And then the moment came when we turned it on for the first time.  The first step on the UrmO, it beeps, and then it gives a slight jolt: it drives off.  Success!”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network

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