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3D Printing in May 2018

This month, the word of 3D printing continued to grow.  Partly, this growth was due to expansion by several corporations of note within the arena of additive manufacturing, but of course, it was also partly due to technological leaps and bounds which never seem far away from the realm of 3D printing.

Without further ado, let us begin…

Global Newswire recently ran a press release from HP.  HP showcased its additive manufacturing progress at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference, which is the world’s largest 3D printing user event.

According to HP, customers around the world have really been ramping up 3D printing installations.  In fact, more than 3 million HP Multi Jet Fusion were produced in 2017 alone.  At the AMUG conference, HP “showcased new large-scale customer deployments and [a] Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program as the industry accelerates its journey to full-scale 3D printing production.”

As stated by Wohlers Report 2018, “the production of functional parts, including functional prototyping, is now the industry’s leading additive manufacturing use-case and the demand for production-grade parts is expected to continue to grow exponentially.  As the market leader, shipping more plastic production 3D printers than any other company in the world, HP is delivering both unprecedented capabilities and economic advantages to its manufacturing customers, and also embracing its own technology to transform the design, production, and distribution of HP products worldwide.”

HP’s President of 3D Printing Stephen Nigro concluded: “our mission is to change the way the world designs and manufactures with 3D printing.  We are seeing an increase in high-volume 3D production as the industry accelerates its journey towards a digital future…as one of the largest manufacturers in the world, HP is also leveraging our own technology to transform our product development lifecycle to help lower costs, speed time to market, increase customer satisfaction, and improve sustainability across our business.”

Companies are certainly far from the only entities involving themselves more and more within this technological advancement.  Countries have also been jumping on the 3D printed bandwagon as well.

3D Printing Industry reports on yet another investment into the world of 3D printing by the United Arab Emirates.  The Abu Dhabi Police Department has announced the launch of a 3D printing initiative, which will help law enforcement solve crimes.  This, according to the Emirates News Agency, which is the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates.

The Abu Dhabi Police Department says 3D printing will be applied primarily to help in the handling of evidence.  “3D printed dioramas could, for example, be used to help thoroughly assess a crime scene, or communicate to the court a series of events.”  Such tactics have been employed by police forces in West Yorkshire, UK and Cascade County, Montana, USA’s police force “are applying 3D scanning for crime scene investigation.”

Abu Dhabi Police Department’s Brigadier Abdulrahman Al Hammadi, who is also the Director of the Criminal Evidence Administration, will be spearheading the initiative.  Brigadier Al Hammadi “hopes to make 3D printed models helpful in training exercise, and customer service activities promoting the force.”

As Lt. Colonel Sulieman Al Kaabi, Director of Innovation and the Future adds: “forecasting the future is a key engine for Ab Dhabi Police’s efforts to address global trends, challenges, and opportunities through preventative scenarios and solutions.”

Companies.  Countries.  But also, competitors.

3DPrint reports on a parathletic innovation brought about by the wonders of 3D printing.  Scott Crowley, who is a disabled triathlete from South Australia, participated in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games recently.

Crowley isn’t just an athlete, however.  Along with his wife, Clair, Crowley has started a business called The Good Scout, which “is a platform for helping people plan accessible travel adventures.  Their business idea was to develop an accessible travel directory specifically for people with limited mobility.”

Due to their business, the Crowleys won a spot at co-working space ThincLab at the University of Adelaide.  The TechLab Manager and 3D Engineer in Charge of ThincLab’s 3D Printers, Morgan Hunter, “asked Crowley how he was able to push his way through the punishing course. Crowley told him that he used gloves, which he made himself, during the final wheelchair leg of the race. The gloves allow him to hit the top of the tires on his track chair, so he can keep going forward, fast.”

As Hunter explains: “Scott told me that he bought a kit that basically came with plastic beads that he melted down and formed to his hands.  I thought, ‘that’s just crazy, there is no way that he could get the right shape and he must burn his hands’.”

So, Hunter had an idea.  He asked Crowley to bring in his gloves in order for them to discover a better [3D printed] solution.  After months of development, Hunter and Crowley created 3D printed gloves.  These gloves, which cost only $100 each, “resemble pistons Crowley can grab with his fist, and are made with Onyx carbon fiber-reinforced nylon from Markforged.”

Hunter developed two pairs – “a dry weather version with a rubber face, and a pair for wet weather, which will stick to wet tires thanks to an abrasive face.”

Even though Crowley did not win his race at the Commonwealth Games, he says “this is the first 3D printed glove I’ve ever had.  It’s custom to my hand – it’s very light but still very strong, and it’s consistent.  It’s good to have that consistency of shape.  So far, the new gloves have performed excellently, much better than my normal gloves.  Because they’re light, they also help with recovery time.  I’m definitely happy with the outcome.”

Let’s end our tour with a look at what 3D printing can potentially bring to the stars.

Disrupter Daily has a fascinating (yet also quite disturbing) new report concerning NASA’s new interest in using human waste as 3D printing material for tools to be created and used in space.

Of course, this isn’t the first time NASA has considered using such unconventional building materials.  Earlier in the year, “researchers at Penn State University were brainstorming methods of turning solid and liquid human waste into hygienic human food.”

Now, a team at the University of Calgary are investigating a process which would “allow astronauts a virtually inexhaustible means of creating tools and other materials which they require along their voyage.”

This theoretical process would involve “the conversion of genetically engineered E. coli bacteria into a type of plastic known as polyhydroxybutyrate.  First, the waste must be left to sit for several days, a required step to increase the amount of volatile fatty acids in the sample. After extraction and further fermentation processes are completed, the waste-turned-plastic would be put through a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer to create the objects needed by the astronauts.”

In order to test their theoretical process, the team at the University of Calgary plans to test it using Canada’s Falcon 20 aircraft this summer.  “The first experiment aims only to extract granules of plastic from the waste, but the team hopes, in time, they will be able to create several types of plastic from the same underlying processes, and that those processes will translate successfully [for astronauts on] space missions.”

Indeed, 3D printing can make even human waste seem glamorous and potentially useful.  Surely the wonders of 3D printing will continue to multiply: this month and beyond.

Image Courtesy of Disruptor Daily

Quotes Courtesy of HP, Global Newswire, 3D Printing Industry, 3DPrint, and Disruptor Daily

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3D Printed Structures Made Entirely of Liquid

Digital Trends writes of a brand-new 3D printing technique developed by scientists at Berkeley Lab, in conjunction with the Department of Energy.  These researchers have developed “a way to construct 3D structures completely made from liquid.”

In order to accomplish this, the researchers “used a modified 3D printer to inject tiny streams of water, some as small as one millimeter in diameter, into silicone oil to sculpt tubes of liquid within another liquid.”  This technique could come in handy when it comes to liquid electronics and the creation of flexible devices.

As Visiting Faculty Scientist Tom Russell explains: “It’s a new class of material that can reconfigure itself, and it has the potential to be customized into liquid reaction vessels for many uses, from chemical synthesis to ion transport to catalysis.”

For this technique to work, “the water doesn’t disperse into droplets when it’s injected, due to a nanoscale ‘surfactant’ coated inside the injecting tubes, which surrounds the water, reduces surface tension, and separates the water from the silicone oil.  A ‘nanoparticle supersoap’ comprised of gold nanoparticles and binding polymers forms around the water threads and locks the structures into place.”  This was all done via a modified standard 3D printer.

The structures created by way of this technique are endlessly reconfigurable.  “The technology may also lead to fabrication of complex coatings with specific magnetic properties, or even electronics capable of repairing themselves.”

Image, Video, and Quotes Courtesy of Digital Trends

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HP Eyes Full-Scale Additive Manufacturing Production

Global Newswire recently ran a press release from HP.  HP showcased its additive manufacturing progress at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference, which is the world’s largest 3D printing user event.

According to HP, customers around the world have really been ramping up 3D printing installations.  In fact, more than 3 million HP Multi Jet Fusion were produced in 2017 alone.  At the AMUG conference, HP “showcased new large-scale customer deployments and [a] Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program as the industry accelerates its journey to full-scale 3D printing production.”

As stated by Wohlers Report 2018, “the production of functional parts, including functional prototyping, is now the industry’s leading additive manufacturing use-case and the demand for production-grade parts is expected to continue to grow exponentially.  As the market leader, shipping more plastic production 3D printers than any other company in the world, HP is delivering both unprecedented capabilities and economic advantages to its manufacturing customers, and also embracing its own technology to transform the design, production, and distribution of HP products worldwide.”

HP’s President of 3D Printing Stephen Nigro concluded: “our mission is to change the way the world designs and manufactures with 3D printing.  We are seeing an increase in high-volume 3D production as the industry accelerates its journey towards a digital future…as one of the largest manufacturers in the world, HP is also leveraging our own technology to transform our product development lifecycle to help lower costs, speed time to market, increase customer satisfaction, and improve sustainability across our business.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of HP and Global Newswire

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BigRep Teams Up With Etihad Airways

TCT Magazine reports on the recent announcement of a partnership between BigRep and Etihad Airways.  The partnership aims to develop more 3D printed aerospace solutions.

BigRep, which is a large-format 3D printer manufacturer based in Berlin, Germany, plans to, with the help of Etihad Airways Engineering, “apply 3D printing to the production of novel cabin parts and concepts for both new aircraft and retrofit installations.”

Etihad Airways Engineering’s Vice President of Engineering, Design, & Innovation Berhard Randerath explains: “Etihad Airways Engineering and BigRep share a vision to bring the 3D-printed cabin into production, together with our partners. Our goal is to enable 3D-printing technologies for cabin parts – be it on new aircraft programs or for retrofit installations – to serve our airline customers with innovative and smart solutions.”

BigRep’s CEO & CFO Stephan Beyer adds: “We believe Etihad Airways Engineering, with its expertise, is the perfect fit to cooperatively shape the industrialization of AM for the aviation industry. We believe we offer the best additive manufacturing solutions today with our BigRep equipment, but to unfold the full potential of our technology for the aerospace sector, we have to jointly certify new aviation materials and establish specific AM design and engineering guidelines in parallel.”

Specifically, BigRep and Etihad aim to develop “a wider spectrum of high-performance AM-suitable polymer materials capable of passing the aerospace certification process.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of BigRep, Etihad, and TCT Magazine

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Smart 3D Printing Ink: Changing Structures’ Shape and Color

Interesting Engineering has recently caught wind of an innovative project spearheaded by researchers at Dartmouth College.

This team of engineers have managed to develop “Smart 3D Printing Ink” which allows structures to change shape and color, when introduced to various stimuli.  This new smart ink could “lead to an entirely new style of 3D printed materials.”

“The team at Dartmouth wanted to branch into the emerging technology of form-changing intelligent printing — aka 4D printing. Fans of 3D printing hope that 4D printing could offer a low-cost option for critical parts in areas like energy to biomechanics.”

As Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Dartmouth Chenfeng Ke explains: “this technique gives life to 3D printed objects.  While many 3D printed structures are just shapes that don’t reflect the molecular properties of the material, these inks bring functional molecules to the 3D printing world.  We can now print smart objects for a variety of uses.”

This process also allowed the researchers to “even shrink printed objects to 1% of their original size and with 10 times the resolution.  Using fluorescent trackers, the printed objects could change color in response to stimuli such as light…[This smart ink] could save researchers looking to leverage the technology for other disciplines time, money, and other resources.”

Ke adds: “this process can use a $1,000 printer to print what used to require a $100,000 printer.”

All the researchers working on this project at Dartmouth College conclude: “We believe this new approach will initiate the development of small molecule-based 3D printing materials and greatly accelerate the development of smart materials and devices beyond our current grasp that are capable of doing complex tasks in response to environmental stimuli.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Interesting Engineering

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Abu Dhabi Police to Fight Crime with 3D Printing

3D Printing Industry reports on yet another investment into the world of 3D printing by the United Arab Emirates.  The Abu Dhabi Police Department has announced the launch of a 3D printing initiative, which will help law enforcement solve crimes.  This, according to the Emirates News Agency, which is the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates.

The Abu Dhabi Police Department says 3D printing will be applied primarily to help in the handling of evidence.  “3D printed dioramas could, for example, be used to help thoroughly assess a crime scene, or communicate to the court a series of events.”  Such tactics have been employed by police forces in West Yorkshire, UK and Cascade County, Montana, USA’s police force “are applying 3D scanning for crime scene investigation.”

Abu Dhabi Police Department’s Brigadier Abdulrahman Al Hammadi, who is also the Director of the Criminal Evidence Administration, will be spearheading the initiative.  Brigadier Al Hammadi “hopes to make 3D printed models helpful in training exercise, and customer service activities promoting the force.”

As Lt. Colonel Sulieman Al Kaabi, Director of Innovation and the Future adds: “forecasting the future is a key engine for Ab Dhabi Police’s efforts to address global trends, challenges, and opportunities through preventative scenarios and solutions.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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Human Waste: The Next 3D Printing Material?

Disrupter Daily has a fascinating (yet also quite disturbing) new report concerning NASA’s new interest in using human waste as 3D printing material for tools to be created and used in space.

Of course, this isn’t the first time NASA has considered using such unconventional building materials.  Earlier in the year, “researchers at Penn State University were brainstorming methods of turning solid and liquid human waste into hygienic human food.”

Now, a team at the University of Calgary are investigating a process which would “allow astronauts a virtually inexhaustible means of creating tools and other materials which they require along their voyage.”

This theoretical process would involve “the conversion of genetically engineered E. coli bacteria into a type of plastic known as polyhydroxybutyrate.  First, the waste must be left to sit for several days, a required step to increase the amount of volatile fatty acids in the sample. After extraction and further fermentation processes are completed, the waste-turned-plastic would be put through a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer to create the objects needed by the astronauts.”

In order to test their theoretical process, the team at the University of Calgary plans to test it using Canada’s Falcon 20 aircraft this summer.  “The first experiment aims only to extract granules of plastic from the waste, but the team hopes, in time, they will be able to create several types of plastic from the same underlying processes, and that those processes will translate successfully [for astronauts on] space missions.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Disruptor Daily

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Rize Develops Digitally Augmented 3D Printed Parts

TCT Magazine was on hand last month at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference in St. Louis, Missouri when Rize announced a brand-new capability for its Rize One machine.

This new ability, the additive manufacture of ‘Digitally Augmented Parts,” will allow engineers to “3D print parts featuring digital information.”

“Rize’s Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) technology launched back in 2016 with unique extrusion and voxel-level ink jetting capabilities which enable parts to be printed with blue ink markings. Now that process can be utilized to 3D print secure information on an industrial part, such as a QR code for example, which can be scanned with a smartphone and instantly display the corresponding digital information.”

The significance of this is the reality we now find ourselves in where “users can now create a digital thread between the digital and physical part and accelerate Industry 4.0 technologies like blockchain and AR/VR applications.”  Rize claims this will counteract challenges such as non-compliant parts, piracy, counterfeit, and obsolescence.

Rize’s President and CEO Andy Kalambi explains how Digitally Augmented 3D Printed Parts change “the user experience by ensuring the digital thread can go from a file to a physical part so the entire process is inclusive to the user experience.”

Kalambi goes on: “the moment the part gets printed on the machine it’s a physical part and there is no digital element left in it. The break of the digital link is a big issue for this industry overall to realize the promise of what is called Industry 4.0.  So we took our marking capability that we had natively in our machine and what we did was we started working on a digitally augmented part, so we said let’s 3D print in at a voxel level a marker which enables you to connect this physical part to the digital world and keep it constantly connected.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Rize and TCT Magazine

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UPM Launches Formi 3D

Lesprom reports on a recent announcement made by UPM.  UPM has “launched UPM Formi 3D, a new biocomposite material” used for the purposes of 3D printing.  This material was announced last month as part of the NORDIC 3D Expo at the Dipoli Conference Center in Espoo, Finland.

“The new material brings together advanced cellulose fibre and biopolymer technologies. With a matte finish and a surface that feels natural to the touch, filaments for 3D printing can now be produced in light colors as well as dark. UPM Formi 3D has been engineered to flow smoothly through small nozzles, which enables fine details.”  The UPM Formi 3D also cools rapidly and causes low shrinkage, which “ensures improved dimensional stability and makes [UPM Formi 3D] the ideal material for large scale printing.”

During this biocomposite material’s self-supporting molten stage, makers will be able to create round and other complex shapes, without the need for separate support materials.  When 3D printing with wood, the benefits of using biocomposite materials include “fine sanding, reduced paint absorption, and easy to glue materials using PVAC.”

UPM Formi 3D is produced and sold in a granule form and is aimed for producers of filaments for 3D printing.  Typically, makers will be able to use this brand-new material for “prototypes, design, education, and concept modules,” mostly in architectural capacities.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Lesprom

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YouTuber Awarded Guinness World Record

As 3Ders explains, James Bruton is a successful YouTuber and 3D printing maker, based in the United Kingdom.  Recently, Bruton was awarded a Guinness World Record.

This Guinness World Record is in recognition of Bruton successfully creating the world’s tallest 3D printed sculpture of a human.  This 3.62m (11.8 ft) statue dwarfs the previous record holder “built by FabLab Kielce in Poland in 2016, [which stood] at a mere 3.06m (10 ft).”  Bruton’s sculpture “was installed at the Winchester Discovery Centre in Hampshire, England, as part of the Creative Genius Exhibition.”

Bruton wished to avoid any copyright issues, so he decided to print this magnificent statue of himself.  He began the process by using an iPad at Portsmouth University’s CCI facility to capture a detailed body scan of himself.  Following the scan, “he had the help of Portsmouth designers and engineers in making a 3D digital mesh with correct proportions, which could be used to start printing the sculpture.”  Total printing time took 500 hours over the course of two months, using two separate 3D printers, which printed parts simultaneously.  “In the end, around 50 kg of filament was used.”

“Bruton printed the sculpture in separate parts so that it could be stored in his home. He had the help of materials provider 3DFilaPrint, which supplied the necessary filament required for this mammoth undertaking. He also made use of Lulzbot FDM 3D printers, which are some of the most popular machines used in the hobbyist community for projects such as this.”

Image Courtesy of Guinness World Records

Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders

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BMW To Open Additive Manufacturing Campus in Germany

3D Printing Industry reports on yet another 3D printing center to open – this time in Germany.  The most fascinating aspect of this latest announcement is that it comes from automobile manufacturer BMW Group.

BMW Group has invested approximately $12.3 million into this “Additive Manufacturing Campus,” which is scheduled to open early next year.  BMW envisions this campus as a 6,000 square meter facility, focusing “on prototyping, series production of parts, and customized solutions for the automotive industry.

As BMW’s Head of Production Integration Udo Hanle explains: “our new Additive Manufacturing Campus will concentrate the full spectrum of the BMW Group’s 3D printing expertise at a single location.  This will allow us to test new technologies early on and continue developing our pioneering role.”

This Additive Manufacturing Campus will be located, specifically, in Oberschleissheim, which is north of Munich.  It will “accommodate up to 80 BMW employees, with space for over 30 industrial systems for additive manufacturing in metal and plastic.”

As BMW concludes: “The team there will evaluate new and existing technologies in both plastics and metals printing and develop them to series maturity. Our goal is to provide the optimum technology and process chain, be it for individual components, small production runs or even large-scale manufacturing.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of BMW Group and 3D Printing Industry

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3D Printed Wheelchair Racing Gloves Aid Australian Parathlete

3DPrint reports on a parathletic innovation brought about by the wonders of 3D printing.  Scott Crowley, who is a disabled triathlete from South Australia, participated in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games recently.

Crowley isn’t just an athlete, however.  Along with his wife, Clair, Crowley has started a business called The Good Scout, which “is a platform for helping people plan accessible travel adventures.  Their business idea was to develop an accessible travel directory specifically for people with limited mobility.”

Due to their business, the Crowleys won a spot at co-working space ThincLab at the University of Adelaide.  The TechLab Manager and 3D Engineer in Charge of ThincLab’s 3D Printers, Morgan Hunter, “asked Crowley how he was able to push his way through the punishing course. Crowley told him that he used gloves, which he made himself, during the final wheelchair leg of the race. The gloves allow him to hit the top of the tires on his track chair, so he can keep going forward, fast.”

As Hunter explains: “Scott told me that he bought a kit that basically came with plastic beads that he melted down and formed to his hands.  I thought, ‘that’s just crazy, there is no way that he could get the right shape and he must burn his hands’.”

So, Hunter had an idea.  He asked Crowley to bring in his gloves in order for them to discover a better [3D printed] solution.  After months of development, Hunter and Crowley created 3D printed gloves.  These gloves, which cost only $100 each, “resemble pistons Crowley can grab with his fist, and are made with Onyx carbon fiber-reinforced nylon from Markforged.”

Hunter developed two pairs – “a dry weather version with a rubber face, and a pair for wet weather, which will stick to wet tires thanks to an abrasive face.”

Even though Crowley did not win his race at the Commonwealth Games, he says “this is the first 3D printed glove I’ve ever had.  It’s custom to my hand – it’s very light but still very strong, and it’s consistent.  It’s good to have that consistency of shape.  So far, the new gloves have performed excellently, much better than my normal gloves.  Because they’re light, they also help with recovery time.  I’m definitely happy with the outcome.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3DPrint

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