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3D Printing: March

Let’s start off with a fun story:

Thrillist reports on a new project launch embarked upon by Bulleit Bourbon.  The Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier is part of Bulleit’s Frontier Works program, which “highlights ‘the modern frontier’ – people who are pushing the boundaries in their current craft…for 2019 it’s all about the marriage of tech, culture, and, of course, cocktails.  With a 3D printed bar and a menu of printed cocktails.”

“Benjamin Greimel is the robotics pioneer behind Print-A-Drink, one of the first technologies to combine robotics with design and mixology, and one of the key features of The Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier. Greimel’s idea to combine 3D printing, robotics, and mixology actually began as a one-off grad school assignment using a robotic arm with a micro-dosing attachment, but Greimel quickly realized there was a need for this type of tech in the entertainment scene. Mostly because, as far as he could tell, no one else was utilizing 3D printing technology this way.”

Unlike most 3D printers, which print vertically, Greimel’s robotic arm prints cocktails “in a similar way to how medicine would be created in a lab, via micro-injections (and no thermoplastics, obviously).  The artful designs are created by precisely injecting microscopic dots of liquid into the drink in a pre-set pattern.”

These designs are able to stay in place due to the chemistry of the drinks and “because the tiny dots are actually small droplets of edible oils, like lemon, hazelnut, or even vegetable.  Because the droplets are so small, they don’t typically affect the mouthfeel or taste of the drink, unless a mixologist is using a more pronounced oil to accentuate the cocktail.  Think of them as edible garnish – but way cooler.”

“But not everything can be a robo-cocktail, and it took the team over 100 recipes to discover this for themselves. The drinks need to be semi-transparent for the design to shine through, so no stout beer. Sparkling drinks are out, since they go flat when cooled to the printable temperature. Lastly, the printed oil drops don’t maintain their position in spirits with a high alcohol content (they still aren’t sure why).”

The printing process actually only takes about 60 seconds per drink, which is optimal for a bar setting.  The bar itself was also 3D printed.  In fact, “now Bulleit is bringing the 3D Printed Frontier (bar and cocktails included) to cities across the US in 2019. The bar kicked off in Oakland and will stop through Austin, NYC, and more until it lands in Shelbyville, Kentucky, the home of the Bulleit distillery.”

Elsewhere, TCT Magazine reports on a new announcement made by GKN Additive concerning the opening of a new metal 3D printing customer center in Danyang, China.

GKN Additive, which is a metal additive manufacturing company, aims for the new facility to help “allow customers and partners to get hands-on experience with metal 3D printing and work with GKN Additive’s engineers to design and print components.  The new location is the company’s sixth R&D and manufacturing facility as part of a print network across Europe, North America, and Asia.”

GKN’s focus has been on direct metal laser sintering and binder jetting technology.  “Last year, the company announced a partnership with HP to deploy its new HP Metal Jet technology in its production plants to produce functional metal parts for automotive and industrial customers.”

As President of Additive Manufacturing at GKN Powder Metallurgy Guido Degen explains: “China is the world’s largest automotive market and automotive manufacturing country for conventional and new energy vehicles. Automotive development activities have shifted from traditional regions to China, and this leads to an increased demand on new technologies like additive manufacturing.  We believe that metal additive manufacturing is one of the future processes that will have great effect on the automotive industry and electric vehicle production. From saving time to market through rapid prototyping to redesigning and rethinking parts and assemblies for additive, to reduced inventories by on-demand replacements – metal AM adds value during the whole component life cycle.”

Beyond the world of metal, indeed – beyond our very own world, 3D Printing Industry reports on a recent announcement made by NASA.  Apparently, the space agency is allotting $2 million for a project involving the creation of 3D printed multifunctional sensors.  NASA’s Associate Branch Head of the Systems Engineering at the Maryland-based Goddard Space Flight Center, Mahmooda Sultana, will oversee the project.

As Sultana explains: “with our funding, we can take this technology to the next level and potentially offer NASA a new way to create customized, multifunctional sensor platforms, which I believe could open the door to all types of mission concepts and uses.”

This comes in the wake of Sultana’s team’s work last year, wherein they “developed multifunctional sensors using the Nanoscale Offset Printing System (NanoOPS) developed at Northeastern University by Professor Ahmed Busnaina and his team.  These sensors were made of various nanomaterials including graphene and carbon nanotubes.”

As Sultana elaborates: “the sensors were found to be quite sensitive, down to low parts per million.  With ECI we are targeting parts per billion sensitivity by improving sensor design and structure.”

Now, with this added funding, “Sultana’s team will be specifically looking to develop smaller spectrometers.  Used to measure properties of light over the electromagnetic spectrum, spectrometers are a useful tool for identifying materials.  Such devices are used in astronomy to understand the composition of stars and planets.  Currently, spectroscopy devices are generally too large to be easily transported to space.”

“The NanoOPS technology works differently from other nano 3D printing technologies…which is a photo curing process. In contrast, NanoOPS dips a substrate wafer with a template into a well of nanomaterial. The nanoparticles stick to the template when an electrical charge is applied, and the material is built up layer by layer this way. The process is known as electrophoresis.”

Sultana concludes: “The beauty of our concept [involves the ability] to print all sensors and partial circuity on the same substrate, which could be rigid or flexible. We eliminate a lot of the packaging and integration challenges…This is truly a multifunctional sensor platform. All my sensors are on the same chip, printed one after another in layers…The same approach we use to identify gases on a planetary body also could be used to create biological sensors that monitor astronaut health and the levels of contaminants inside spacecraft and living quarters.”

Tune in next month for more scintillating 3D printing coverage!

Image Courtesy of Bulleit Bourbon and Thrillist

Quotes Courtesy of Bulleit Bourbon, Thrillist, TCT Magazine, NASA, and 3D Printing Industry  

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3D Printed Snacks from Scraps

Digital Trends reports on a duo of Dutch entrepreneurs, Elzelinde van Doleweerd and Vita Broeken, who have developed a method, utilizing 3D printing, which will allow people to re-use food waste in the creation of brand new edible food.

The duo began their startup, Upprinting Food, following “research carried out by van Doleweerd for her Bachelor’s degree at the Eindhoven University of Technology.  This was an attempt to combine her study of sustainable food with new technology – in this case, 3D printing.”

Upprinting Food aims “to give old food a new lease on life…by turning it into a material, which can be used for 3D printing new food.”  As the co-founders of this startup explain: “with Upprinting Food, we are creating an attractive food experience from food which otherwise would have been thrown away.  We use, for example, old bread, in combination with fruits and vegetables. We create a printable puree from those residual food flows and print it in nice shapes to make it look attractive again. After printing, we bake it and dehydrate it to create a crunchy structure [with a] long shelf life. The food can be implemented very nicely in dishes, and people can eat it again.”

This material, which is 3D printed, “is made from upwards of 75 percent residual food flows, in addition to select…ingredients and herbs and spices for flavoring.  Using this approach, the team has created a variety of both sweet and savory food samples.”

As for the future of Upprinting Food, the duo plans to focus on high-end restaurants: “this is a niche market, but a quite interesting start for us because the production of the food can take place in restaurants with their own residual food flows.  Our first step is to upscale the printer, to make it less time consuming for restaurants to create enough 3D printed samples for their quests.  In the [even farther out] future, we also want to focus on retail and wholesalers, to make a larger impact and reduce more food waste.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Digital Trends

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New Metal 3D Printing Customer Center Opens in China

TCT Magazine reports on a new announcement made by GKN Additive concerning the opening of a new metal 3D printing customer center in Danyang, China.

GKN Additive, which is a metal additive manufacturing company, aims for the new facility to help “allow customers and partners to get hands-on experience with metal 3D printing and work with GKN Additive’s engineers to design and print components.  The new location is the company’s sixth R&D and manufacturing facility as part of a print network across Europe, North America, and Asia.”

GKN’s focus has been on direct metal laser sintering and binder jetting technology.  “Last year, the company announced a partnership with HP to deploy its new HP Metal Jet technology in its production plants to produce functional metal parts for automotive and industrial customers.”

As President of Additive Manufacturing at GKN Powder Metallurgy Guido Degen explains: “China is the world’s largest automotive market and automotive manufacturing country for conventional and new energy vehicles. Automotive development activities have shifted from traditional regions to China, and this leads to an increased demand on new technologies like additive manufacturing.  We believe that metal additive manufacturing is one of the future processes that will have great effect on the automotive industry and electric vehicle production. From saving time to market through rapid prototyping to redesigning and rethinking parts and assemblies for additive, to reduced inventories by on-demand replacements – metal AM adds value during the whole component life cycle.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of TCT Magazine

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$2 Million Allotted for NASA 3D Printed Multifunctional Sensors

3D Printing Industry reports on a recent announcement made by NASA.  Apparently, the space agency is allotting $2 million for a project involving the creation of 3D printed multifunctional sensors.  NASA’s Associate Branch Head of the Systems Engineering at the Maryland-based Goddard Space Flight Center, Mahmooda Sultana, will oversee the project.

As Sultana explains: “with our funding, we can take this technology to the next level and potentially offer NASA a new way to create customized, multifunctional sensor platforms, which I believe could open the door to all types of mission concepts and uses.”

This comes in the wake of Sultana’s team’s work last year, wherein they “developed multifunctional sensors using the Nanoscale Offset Printing System (NanoOPS) developed at Northeastern University by Professor Ahmed Busnaina and his team.  These sensors were made of various nanomaterials including graphene and carbon nanotubes.”

As Sultana elaborates: “the sensors were found to be quite sensitive, down to low parts per million.  With ECI we are targeting parts per billion sensitivity by improving sensor design and structure.”

Now, with this added funding, “Sultana’s team will be specifically looking to develop smaller spectrometers.  Used to measure properties of light over the electromagnetic spectrum, spectrometers are a useful tool for identifying materials.  Such devices are used in astronomy to understand the composition of stars and planets.  Currently, spectroscopy devices are generally too large to be easily transported to space.”

“The NanoOPS technology works differently from other nano 3D printing technologies…which is a photo curing process. In contrast, NanoOPS dips a substrate wafer with a template into a well of nanomaterial. The nanoparticles stick to the template when an electrical charge is applied, and the material is built up layer by layer this way. The process is known as electrophoresis.”

Sultana concludes: “The beauty of our concept [involves the ability] to print all sensors and partial circuity on the same substrate, which could be rigid or flexible. We eliminate a lot of the packaging and integration challenges…This is truly a multifunctional sensor platform. All my sensors are on the same chip, printed one after another in layers…The same approach we use to identify gases on a planetary body also could be used to create biological sensors that monitor astronaut health and the levels of contaminants inside spacecraft and living quarters.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of NASA and 3D Printing Industry

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3D Printed Artful Cocktails

Thrillist reports on a new project launch embarked upon by Bulleit Bourbon.  The Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier is part of Bulleit’s Frontier Works program, which “highlights ‘the modern frontier’ – people who are pushing the boundaries in their current craft…for 2019 it’s all about the marriage of tech, culture, and, of course, cocktails.  With a 3D printed bar and a menu of printed cocktails.”

“Benjamin Greimel is the robotics pioneer behind Print-A-Drink, one of the first technologies to combine robotics with design and mixology, and one of the key features of The Bulleit 3D Printed Frontier. Greimel’s idea to combine 3D printing, robotics, and mixology actually began as a one-off grad school assignment using a robotic arm with a micro-dosing attachment, but Greimel quickly realized there was a need for this type of tech in the entertainment scene. Mostly because, as far as he could tell, no one else was utilizing 3D printing technology this way.”

Unlike most 3D printers, which print vertically, Greimel’s robotic arm prints cocktails “in a similar way to how medicine would be created in a lab, via micro-injections (and no thermoplastics, obviously).  The artful designs are created by precisely injecting microscopic dots of liquid into the drink in a pre-set pattern.”

These designs are able to stay in place due to the chemistry of the drinks and “because the tiny dots are actually small droplets of edible oils, like lemon, hazelnut, or even vegetable.  Because the droplets are so small, they don’t typically affect the mouthfeel or taste of the drink, unless a mixologist is using a more pronounced oil to accentuate the cocktail.  Think of them as edible garnish – but way cooler.”

“But not everything can be a robo-cocktail, and it took the team over 100 recipes to discover this for themselves. The drinks need to be semi-transparent for the design to shine through, so no stout beer. Sparkling drinks are out, since they go flat when cooled to the printable temperature. Lastly, the printed oil drops don’t maintain their position in spirits with a high alcohol content (they still aren’t sure why).”

The printing process actually only takes about 60 seconds per drink, which is optimal for a bar setting.  The bar itself was also 3D printed.  In fact, “now Bulleit is bringing the 3D Printed Frontier (bar and cocktails included) to cities across the US in 2019. The bar kicked off in Oakland and will stop through Austin, NYC, and more until it lands in Shelbyville, Kentucky, the home of the Bulleit distillery.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Bulleit Bourbon and Thrillist

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Brooklyn Start-Up 3D Prints Rocket Engine

CNBC reports on a Brooklyn start-up, Launcher, which claims to have 3D printed a rocket engine.  The company says their “E-2 Engine is the largest in the world to be 3D printed in a single piece.”

Apparently, this E-2 Engine “was made in Germany by AMCM using its specialized M4K printer.  Launcher has only five full-time employees but credits its ability to develop E-2 quickly to advances made in 3D printing.”

As Launcher Founder Max Haot explains: “with 3D printing, we’re now in a world where a start-up like us can now access [advanced] liquid oxygen propulsion technologies.”

Haot was able to found Launcher in 2017 following the sale of his internet video business Livestream to Vimeo.  Now with Launcher, Haot “plans to spend a decade building a six story tall rocket, which will send small spacecraft to orbit.  Launcher’s rocket is priced to this smaller market as well, with plans to sell missions for about $10 million a launch.”

Interestingly, Launcher has a test facility on Long Island at the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant.  “Launcher has completed several minutes’ worth of test fires of its E-1 Engine…the company expects to begin test firing the E-2 Engine in the second half of this year.”

Launcher plans for true test flights to begin in 2024.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of CNBC

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Light-Powered 3D Printer

Tech Crunch reports on a fascinating new light-powered 3D printer.  For now, its creators are calling it “The Replicator,” but seeing as how MakerBot owns this name when it comes to the realm of 3D printing, this is probably subject to change.

Publishing their results in the scientific journal Science, the team which developed “The Replicator” at UC Berkeley claims this printer builds objects “all at once, more or less, by projecting a video through a jar of light-sensitive resin.”

As Hayden Taylor, the team’s leader explains: “basically, you’ve got an off-the-shelf video projector, which I literally brought in from home, and then you plug it into a laptop and use it to project a series of computed images, while a motor turns a cylinder that has a 3D-printing resin in it.  Obviously there are a lot of subtleties to it — how you formulate the resin, and, above all, how you compute the images that are going to be projected, but the barrier to creating a very simple version of this tool is not high.”

Before printing, the object is scanned “in such a way it can be divided into slices, a bit like a CT scanner, which is in fact the technology which sparked the team’s imagination in the first place.”

“By projecting light into the resin as it revolves, the material for the entire object is resolved more or less at once, or at least over a series of brief revolutions rather than hundreds or thousands of individual drawing movements.  This has a number of benefits besides speed. Objects come out smooth — if a bit crude in this prototype stage — and they can have features and cavities that other 3D printers struggle to create. The resin can even cure around an existing object, as they demonstrate by manifesting a handle around a screwdriver shaft.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Tech Crunch

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LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- A C-5 Galaxy, with the 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, carrying 398th Air Expeditionary Group personnel and equipment that have been supporting efforts in Liberia.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

3D Printed Parts for U.S. Air Force’s C-5 Super Galaxy Aircraft

3D Printing Industry reports on yet another U.S. military vehicle getting outfitted with brand new, state of the art 3D printed parts.  This time it’s the U.S. Air Force’s C-5 Super Galaxy Aircraft, which was originally created by Lockheed Martin.  This new installation occurred at the Dover Air Base in Delaware.

This large military transport “has been upgraded with 3D printed metal and plastic parts, reducing sustainment costs.”  As for the incredible flexibility of 3D printing technology, Senior Materials Engineer for the Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) Eddie Preston boasted: “if you can imagine sitting on a commercial aircraft, everything around you including parts of the seat you are sitting in, we can print.”

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), aims for “the rapid adoption of additive manufacturing.  For this purpose, the DoD founded the Manufacturing USA network.”  Additionally, there has been a concerted effort in recent years among all branches of the U.S. military “to integrate 3D printing into their manufacturing operations.”

In fact, just recently, the U.S. Army has acquired a “Rize One 3D printer by the Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center to manufacture spare parts on demand.”

Concurrently, at the Dover Air Base, Delaware, the U.S. Air Force’s RSO have “installed seventeen 3D printed parts on the C-5 Super Galaxy.  The manufacturing and installation of the parts was a joint effort by the C-5 Program Office, Air Mobility Command, and the 436th Airlift Wing, and, of course, the RSO.”

These 3D printed parts were “fitted in the cabin and crew compartments of the aircraft and included components such as overhead panels, emergency light covers, and gasper (outlet vent for passengers) panels.”

Using traditional manufacturing methods, this process, according to Preston, would have taken anywhere from a week to an entire year.  As for the 3D printing process, its times only ranged “between 24-48 hours.”  The installed 3D printed parts also save the military tens of thousands of dollars.

“In the coming days, the RSO and C-5 Program Office teams will install 20 additional components on the aircraft.  These will be made from polymers and high-end metals such as titanium.”

Images and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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‘First’ Zero Gravity 3D Printer Under Development for Use in Space

Irish Tech News reports on a project spearheaded by Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA).

This project involves developing “the world’s first large-scale, zero gravity 3D printing machine for use on the International Space Station as part of a wider European consortium, which includes German aerospace company Sonaca Group, BEEVERYCREATIVE, a Portuguese 3D printer provider, and OHB, a leading German Space and Technology Group.”

This project, dubbed Project Imperial, “will draw on the expert knowledge of Dr. Sean Lyons, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Informatics.”  As Dr. Lyons explains: “Traditionally, 3D printers are based around simple materials and applications. They might look the part but they’re not hard or strong enough to be fully functional. Using cutting-edge material science, we’re going to design components that can be modified or configured for printing in zero gravity conditions on board the International Space Station.”

Dr. Lyons elaborates: “There are several applications for this technology, imagine a door handle breaks on the ISS, it’s not feasible to send a payload from France all the way to the International Space Station with a spare handle. Through Project Imperial, the astronauts on board the ISS will be able to print parts as and when they are required. They’ll also be able to print bespoke parts: say if an astronaut broke their arm and needed a cast plaster, they’ll have the capability to print it in space themselves in-situ.”

On top of these obvious applications, Dr. Lyons and his team are also considering other applications “such as where printing in zero gravity gives benefit to the material properties, which might be useful on Earth.”  Dr. Lyons adds: “Some cell scaffolds could be printed in a zero-gravity environment and then brought back to earth and implanted into a human. They would perform better than they would if they were printed under gravity constraints on Earth. There are loads of potential applications for this.”

“Project Imperial is scheduled to run for two years – with the payload deployment expected by 2021.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Irish Tech News

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Tech Education: Certifications in 3D Printing

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports on a brand new tech education program, developed by the Fab Lab Hub, which is based at Santa Fe Community College.  Sarah Bosivert, who owns “two of more than 1,600 Fab Labs operating around the world, which all stem from the Center for Bits & Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” saw a need for a quicker and easier pathway than a two or four year degree program to “get a person into a high-tech job.”

Bosivert and her team have therefore created a four-to-six week program which helps people earn certifications in a single skill in advanced manufacturing – such as 3D printing.  “The idea is to teach tech workers specific proficiencies, the kind often sought out by firms looking to hire.”

“Obtaining a digital badge is the foundation for this workforce training, and fab labs, or fabrication laboratories, provide hands-on learning experiences with tools seeming as if they are from science fiction.”

As Los Alamos Feynman Center for Innovation Research and Development Scientist Ross Muenchausen explains of Fab Lab Hub’s project: “what I got excited about is the badges (certificates) are giving employees more choice about how they are going to develop their career on the job. It allows them to prioritize their choices. It makes for more efficient forming of teams. You can hand select teams to partition skills you need for a project.”

“The hub, in part, is a classroom for the community college’s continuing education courses in 3D printing. It also serves as a 3D manufacturing business for real-world customers, such as Vista Therapeutics at the Santa Fe Business Incubator.”

Bosivert concludes: “Employers will take as many people as I can turn out.  I see badges as expanding the reach of community colleges. It’s for people who need ‘reskilling’ or people who haven’t thought of college. Badges are a great pathway to becoming engineers and scientists.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of the Santa Fe New Mexican

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Texas Man Arrested with 3D Printed AR-15

NPR reports on the arrest and sentencing of a man found with a partially 3D printed AR-15.

Following a domestic violence charge, Eric Gerard McGinnis was barred by a Texas judge from possessing a firearm back in 2015.  About a year later, “McGinnis tried to buy a gun anyway, but the purchase wouldn’t go through after a background check revealed the court order.”

Undeterred, McGinnis chose to 3D print his own gun, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  McGinnis “obtained a barrel, stock, upper receiver and grip — and then used a 3D printer to create the gun’s firing mechanism. He assembled the parts into a short-barrel AR-15 style rifle and headed out into the woods with what federal attorneys called a ‘hit list’ of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including their office and home addresses. The list was titled, ‘9/11/2001 list of American Terrorists.’”

After officers heard three gunshots fired out in the woods, they arrested McGinnis in 2017.  He has now been given an eight year sentence.  U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox summed up the case succinctly: “when he realized he couldn’t legally purchase a firearm, McGinnis circumvented our gun laws by 3D printing his weapon, eliminating the need for a background check.”

In related news, the same week McGinnis was being sentenced; Democratic legislation was being proposed in the U.S. Senate.  Due to Republican control of the Senate, this legislation will likely die, but its aim is to “maintain current laws against publishing 3D printed gun information” online.

“The Senate Democrats criticized President Trump’s proposal to transfer oversight of 3D guns to the Commerce Department, arguing this would make it easier for people to get access to blueprints.”

As Democratic Senator of Connecticut Chris Murphy argued: “the Trump administration basically gave anyone – including criminals and murderers – a green light to 3D print and sell untraceable ‘ghost guns.’  Thankfully, the courts have blocked this for now, but Congress needs to act to close this glaring loophole before anyone gets killed.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of NPR

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Airbus and Farsoon Partner

All3DP reports on the announcement of a partnership between Airbus and Farsoon.  This partnership “aims to create a 3D printing polymer material for the civil aviation industry.”

Farsoon is “a Chinese supplier of both SLM and SLS 3D printers.”  Specifically, they are partnering with Airbus Beijing Engineering Centre (ABEC).  “The companies will focus on developing an additive manufacturing polymer to be used in civil aviation to make aerospace-grade parts on Farsoon’s 3D printers.”

As Farsoon CEO Dr. Xu Xiaoshu says: “we are very excited to start this R&D collaboration with Airbus.  As a leading industry AM solution provider, Farsoon has been pushing towards the transition of AM applications from prototyping to manufacturing.”

“Two years ago, Farsoon introduced the Continuous Additive Manufacturing System (CAMS) polymer series which offers continuous and scalable production. The build space of the HT1001P, which is in use via a beta program, is 1000 x 500 x 450mm.”

ABEC’s General Manager Michel Tran Van adds: “it’s the first time Airbus will be collaborating with a Chinese company in the polymer industry.  Airbus is looking for more than the performance of a new material.  We must focus on what industrializing AM needs including workflow development, cost management, industrial manufacturing capabilities, and speed.  With this same goal of industrialization, I look forward to the R&D results of this collaboration.  I also believe we will collaborate more [with Farsoon] in the future.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of All3DP

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