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August 3D Printing (2019!)

August was a busy month for the 3D printing world.

Let’s begin with a very special Lamborghini…

Syfy Wire reports on physicist Sterling Backus, who has just gone and 3D printed almost an entire Lamborghini Aventador in his own backyard.  Apparently, “it started as a project to show his son, who asked for a muscle car after playing the video game Forza Horizon 3, that science is cool.”

Even more spectacularly, Backus was able to complete this project for about $20K!  Once you consider the asking price for a standard Lamborghini Aventador, which is $400K, this 3D printed discount is quite remarkable.  95% off remarkable!

As Backus explains: “we decided we would use advanced technology to build the car.  However, we needed to do it on the cheap.  This led us to research different automotive construction techniques.  We wanted the car to be safe, so we decided on steel for the frame.  In the end, after choosing 3D printing for most of the body of the car, we needed it to be strong.”

“Almost everything making up this vehicle was designed in SolidWorks and came out of a 3D printer, from the body panels, interior parts, and air vents to the headlights and taillights.  It needed a steel frame so it wouldn’t fall apart.  Backus found anything else that couldn’t be 3D-printed (which really wasn’t that much) on eBay and at parts suppliers, including some authentic used Lamborghini parts and a 2003 LS1 Corvette engine, which was merged with an inverted Porsche 911 transaxle.”

Backus concludes: “the parts’ design is based on the Lamborghini Aventador, but we changed each panel significantly, to add our design flair.”

Elsewhere, Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry recently ran a feature concerning the ways in which the company Desktop Metal aims to create new possibilities for metal 3D printing.  Indeed, Desktop Metal “seeks to make 3D printing more accessible and convenient.”

Desktop Metal “was originally founded around the idea of ‘democratizing the art of metal 3D printing.’”  In order to achieve this lofty goal, “the company devised two different types of platforms – a desktop system and a production system.”

As Desktop Metal CTO Jonah Myerberg explains: “we are seeing two different models in 3D printing, which will continue to grow.  A print and consume yourself model and a print for someone else model.”

Myerberg continues: “traditional metal 3D printing uses lasers to melt metal in order to form parts.  Materials need to be weldable, but not all materials are, so they haven’t been printable.  This steered us to bulk sintering, which uniformly raises the temperature of a part in a furnace, debinding it first and then fully densifying it into solid metal.”

Back in March (of 2019), “Desktop Metal expanded its production of the Studio System, the desktop 3D printing system launched in 2017, which includes a printer, a debinder (AKA wash tank), and a furnace.  Myerberg says “it is suited for low volumes – for the office environment.  It’s surprising to engineers when they discover you don’t need major infrastructure changes.  This type of printer is normally not located outside a lab.  We’ve simplified it significantly – just wheel it in, put it on a desk, and print.”

For this reason, Desktop Metal has garnered a lot of interest from medical device companies.  Other reasons include, according to Myerberg, “variety, or customization, so as to change a device to fit an individual need and the other reason is the opportunity to optimize the way they produce their current tools.  Raw materials are expensive, and machining wastes a lot of material – so you often cast or forge a rough part first, but the tooling for these rough parts is expensive and time consuming.  Instead, with 3D printing you can produce a near-net shape right from the printer without a need for expensive tooling.”

Myerberg concludes: “The idea of digital manufacturing is so powerful and will reinvent the way we manufacture metal parts.  You can create new geometries and customize for patients. And if all manufacturing is digital, you can transfer [files] over the Internet, making any geometry or device accessible anywhere in the world.”

Meanwhile, 3D Printing Media Network reports on a fascinating art project embarked upon using the wonders of 3D printing.

Photographer Julius Rooymans and designer Hans Ubbink have gotten together to create “Nachtwacht 360,” which is a rather modern reinterpretation and recreation of Rembrandt’s famous ‘Night Watch’ painting, which was itself completed all the way back in 1642.  This painting is located in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Nachtwacht 360 heralds “an entirely new way to experience the famed 17th century artwork.”  The new installation “consists of a photographic replica of the original Night Watch. Behind the scenes, Rooymans and Ubbink have put a ton of work into the project, finding 25 lookalikes for each of the members of the Night Watch (as well as Rembrandt), styling them to match the attributes and details of the painting and then photographing them to recreate the pose of the original painting. (The exhibit also consists of a number of portraits, fashion items and props made for the shoot.)”

In order to recreate each historic outfit depicted in the painting, “Ubbink collaborated with many groups, including Dutch 3D printing company Oceanz, which helped produce some realistic 3D printed props, including helmets and weapons.”  As part of their process, “Ubbink and Rooymans sourced many 17th century items for the elaborate photography project from collectors in the Netherlands, though many key pieces in the painting were designed by Rembrandt, meaning that the pair had to find alternative solutions.  Ubbink and Rooymans did not limit themselves in their techniques, as they worked with experts at the Rijksmuseum and the National Military Museum to identify and reproduce physical props and garments using both traditional and new techniques.”

One of these new techniques was, of course, 3D printing.  “In the case of some of the more unique parts, the pair enlisted the help of Robin Bandari, who 3D modeled a number of helmets as well as a collar and partisan (a spearhead mounted on a long shaft). These 3D models were then printed by Oceanz.”

As Oceanz Sales Engineer Frank Elbersen concludes: “As a professional and Dutch 3D print company, we are proud that Oceanz was involved in the Nachtwacht 360 project. How beautiful it is to be able to bring this Dutch masterpiece from the 17th century to life with the innovative and modern technology of today?  3D printing makes it possible to produce objects in the highest detail.  For example, the helmets, collars and a partisan, which were seen 350 years ago by Rembrandt’s eyes, are exactly counterfeited to be able to show the general public now.”

Finally, CNET reports on stereolithography startup Carbon, which has just raised another $260 million in a funding round.  This new influx of funds “should help the Silicon Valley startup create even more unusual materials.”

The possibilities are almost endless.  Indeed, Carbon’s Chief Executive Joseph DeSimone outlines what his company could now invest in: “products made from multiple materials with different properties and colors directly injected into different parts of the design.  For example, they could make dentures with separate materials for the base and the teeth in one process instead of gluing the two components together, products which are easier to recycle.  One example: dental models people wear to gradually straighten their teeth, which end up in landfills today, larger products that don’t sacrifice the fine details and smooth surfaces the company can create today…” the list goes on…

As CNET adds: “Carbon’s approach is similar to that of other 3D printing companies: build components or objects layer by layer, creating shapes that aren’t possible with conventional casting, molding or machining methods. What’s different is the company’s specific method, called Digital Light Synthesis (stereolithography), which carefully directs ultraviolet light upward through a special window to solidify a liquid resin.”

As DeSimone poetically puts it: “light is our chisel.”

Carbon earns its money via a subscription service providing its customers “access to a printer -either the older M2 or the newer L1 introduced in February that’s about the size of a refrigerator and can print larger objects.  Customers pay for resins separately, including some directly from Carbon and some from third-party suppliers.  The M2 starting cost is about $50,000 per year, but with resin sales, Carbon pulls in about $70,000 a year from each.  The L1’s annual revenue is closer to $200,000 per year.”

This latest round of funding “now gives Carbon a $2.46 billion valuation.  The investment, co-led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford, will also fuel international expansion.”

Read us next month for more exciting 3D printing news!

Image Courtesy of Syfy Wire

Quotes Courtesy of Syfy Wire, Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, Carbon, and CNET

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3D Printed Lamborghini

Syfy Wire reports on physicist Sterling Backus, who has just gone and 3D printed almost an entire Lamborghini Aventador in his own backyard.  Apparently, “it started as a project to show his son, who asked for a muscle car after playing the video game Forza Horizon 3, that science is cool.”

Even more spectacularly, Backus was able to complete this project for about $20K!  Once you consider the asking price for a standard Lamborghini Aventador, which is $400K, this 3D printed discount is quite remarkable.  95% off remarkable!

As Backus explains: “we decided we would use advanced technology to build the car.  However, we needed to do it on the cheap.  This led us to research different automotive construction techniques.  We wanted the car to be safe, so we decided on steel for the frame.  In the end, after choosing 3D printing for most of the body of the car, we needed it to be strong.”

“Almost everything making up this vehicle was designed in SolidWorks and came out of a 3D printer, from the body panels, interior parts, and air vents to the headlights and taillights.  It needed a steel frame so it wouldn’t fall apart.  Backus found anything else that couldn’t be 3D-printed (which really wasn’t that much) on eBay and at parts suppliers, including some authentic used Lamborghini parts and a 2003 LS1 Corvette engine, which was merged with an inverted Porsche 911 transaxle.”

Backus concludes: “the parts’ design is based on the Lamborghini Aventador, but we changed each panel significantly, to add our design flair.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Syfy Wire

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3D Printing in Orbit!

Spaceflight Now reports on some fascinating news concerning Made in Space and NASA.  Apparently, NASA has awarded Made in Space a contract to 3D print satellite structures in Earth’s orbit.

Made in Space, which is based in California, has partnered with NASA before on many separate projects involving additive manufacturing in space.  Now, however, NASA has given them a $73.7 million contract “for a 3D printing demonstration using a free-flying small satellite to additively manufacture solar array beams in space.”

This satellite mission, named Archinaut One, “will have the ability to 3D print its own structures in orbit.  The small satellite is set for launch no earlier than 2022 from New Zealand on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket.”

“Archinaut One will 3D print two beams, extending 10 meters (32 feet) from each side of the spacecraft.”  According to NASA, “as manufacturing progresses, each beam will unfurl two solar arrays generating as much as five times more power than traditional solar panels on spacecraft of similar size.”

Made in Space believes these 3D printed solar array booms will enable “future power-hungry missions, which could use smaller spacecraft launched by less expensive rockets, and still produce the electricity of a much larger conventional spacecraft.”

For its part, NASA foresees “in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly technology [like the Archinaut One project] could be important for future human expeditions to the Moon and Mars, where astronauts will be far removed from ground-based supply chains for replacement parts and other equipment.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Spaceflight Now

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US Army: On Demand 3D Printed Body Armor

Task & Purpose reports on a recent announcement made by the US Army Research Laboratory.  Apparently, their researchers “have devised a method to produce ceramic body armor, lightweight but strong, from a 3D printer.”  This 3D printer is modified, of course.

This sort of ceramic armor “provides great protection but can also be difficult to manufacture, notably in combining materials to create a strong composite.”  As US Army Research Laboratory Researcher Lionel Vargas-Gonzalez explains: “for ceramics, that’s a bit of a challenge because you can’t really do a one-step additive manufacturing process like you could when using metal or plastic polymer.”

However, ceramic armor is a must for the US Army.  As Vargas-Gonzalez elaborates, this sort of armor can “stop bullets by shattering them or reducing their penetrative ability, but this depends on how porous the ceramic is.  Ceramic armor can achieve something that’s about 99 to 100 percent fully dense.  This density is important because porosity is one of the main deficiencies of ceramic armor when it comes to being able to withstand threats.”

For Vargas-Gonzalez, indeed the entire US Army Research Laboratory, as a result of this, 3D printed ceramics are the “next avenue for armor because researchers like him will be able to, in theory, design armor in a way they can attach multiple materials together into a single armor plate, and be able to provide ways for the armor to perform better than it can be just based on one material alone.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Task & Purpose

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New Possibilities for Metal 3D Printing

Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry recently ran a feature concerning the ways in which the company Desktop Metal aims to create new possibilities for metal 3D printing.  Indeed, Desktop Metal “seeks to make 3D printing more accessible and convenient.”

Desktop Metal “was originally founded around the idea of ‘democratizing the art of metal 3D printing.’”  In order to achieve this lofty goal, “the company devised two different types of platforms – a desktop system and a production system.”

As Desktop Metal CTO Jonah Myerberg explains: “we are seeing two different models in 3D printing, which will continue to grow.  A print and consume yourself model and a print for someone else model.”

Myerberg continues: “traditional metal 3D printing uses lasers to melt metal in order to form parts.  Materials need to be weldable, but not all materials are, so they haven’t been printable.  This steered us to bulk sintering, which uniformly raises the temperature of a part in a furnace, debinding it first and then fully densifying it into solid metal.”

Back in March (of 2019), “Desktop Metal expanded its production of the Studio System, the desktop 3D printing system launched in 2017, which includes a printer, a debinder (AKA wash tank), and a furnace.  Myerberg says “it is suited for low volumes – for the office environment.  It’s surprising to engineers when they discover you don’t need major infrastructure changes.  This type of printer is normally not located outside a lab.  We’ve simplified it significantly – just wheel it in, put it on a desk, and print.”

For this reason, Desktop Metal has garnered a lot of interest from medical device companies.  Other reasons include, according to Myerberg, “variety, or customization, so as to change a device to fit an individual need and the other reason is the opportunity to optimize the way they produce their current tools.  Raw materials are expensive, and machining wastes a lot of material – so you often cast or forge a rough part first, but the tooling for these rough parts is expensive and time consuming.  Instead, with 3D printing you can produce a near-net shape right from the printer without a need for expensive tooling.”

Myerberg concludes: “The idea of digital manufacturing is so powerful and will reinvent the way we manufacture metal parts.  You can create new geometries and customize for patients. And if all manufacturing is digital, you can transfer [files] over the Internet, making any geometry or device accessible anywhere in the world.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry

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D&D Monster Manual: Fully 3D Printed

Recently, Venture Beat interviewed Miguel Zavala, who has managed to 3D print every monster in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual.  In total, this process took over a year and a half to complete.

Zavala first got into Dungeons and Dragons, the eldest and most far reaching table top roleplaying game, back when he was six years old: “It started back when I went to Sunday school and the teenager who was bored watching over all these little kids in church decided to run a kid friendly D&D game. It’s funny, because this was back in the ’80s at the height of the D&D scare (‘Satanic Panic’), so she was clearly a brave kid. After that I played here and there, and really enjoyed it in high school.”

“It continued throughout my Army service and both my Iraq deployments. Heck even in Iraq I had two games going when we weren’t out on missions — I was a combat medic during my first tour and an infantry officer during my second. Gaming continued throughout college and to this day I still play once a week with friends after work. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends from the past, socialize with new people in your current circles, and all in all its just fun. I think I’ll always enjoy playing, since no matter how serious things can get in life, whether its work, war, or school, D&D never changes and is always a great escape for the mind and soul.”

This led Zavala into creating a 3D printing centered hobby concerning the game.  “He went whole hog and printed the entire Monster Manual – 352 pages of more than 150 monsters.”  Zavala elaborates: “my wife thought it’d be great to pick up an artistic hobby, since she felt I’m rather talented and shouldn’t let it go to waste. 3D printing was becoming very popular and given how much I love playing D&D, she thought it’d be cool to 3D print some of our own minis for fun. We found out the Washington, D.C., library offered 3D printing services, so we took full advantage of that. I got back into 3D modeling thanks to the D.C. library’s free Fablab classes. It started with Tinkercad, then I found out about Blender, and my skills improved further.”

A year and a half later Zavala had finished every monster in the manual and had shared each file with the gaming community on Reddit.  As he concludes: “it’s meant a lot to me, given this was just a simple hobby.  To have such a positive impact on the gaming community has been phenomenal.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Venture Beat

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Carbon Raises $260 Million

CNET reports on stereolithography startup Carbon, which has just raised another $260 million in a funding round.  This new influx of funds “should help the Silicon Valley startup create even more unusual materials.”

The possibilities are almost endless.  Indeed, Carbon’s Chief Executive Joseph DeSimone outlines what his company could now invest in: “products made from multiple materials with different properties and colors directly injected into different parts of the design.  For example, they could make dentures with separate materials for the base and the teeth in one process instead of gluing the two components together, products which are easier to recycle.  One example: dental models people wear to gradually straighten their teeth, which end up in landfills today, larger products that don’t sacrifice the fine details and smooth surfaces the company can create today…” the list goes on…

As CNET adds: “Carbon’s approach is similar to that of other 3D printing companies: build components or objects layer by layer, creating shapes that aren’t possible with conventional casting, molding or machining methods. What’s different is the company’s specific method, called Digital Light Synthesis (stereolithography), which carefully directs ultraviolet light upward through a special window to solidify a liquid resin.”

As DeSimone poetically puts it: “light is our chisel.”

Carbon earns its money via a subscription service providing its customers “access to a printer -either the older M2 or the newer L1 introduced in February that’s about the size of a refrigerator and can print larger objects.  Customers pay for resins separately, including some directly from Carbon and some from third-party suppliers.  The M2 starting cost is about $50,000 per year, but with resin sales, Carbon pulls in about $70,000 a year from each.  The L1’s annual revenue is closer to $200,000 per year.”

This latest round of funding “now gives Carbon a $2.46 billion valuation.  The investment, co-led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford, will also fuel international expansion.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Carbon and CNET

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Robot Printed Concrete Columns

Design Boom reports on a new 3D printing process developed by ETH Zurich.  This process has been used to produce nine individually designed concrete columns.

This process “allows the production of concrete elements without the need for any formwork.  In addition, one-of-a-kind designs with complex geometries can be fabricated in a fully automated manner.  Hollow concrete structures are printed in a way where the material can be strategically used only where needed, allowing a more sustainable approach to concrete architecture.”

This project was completed “in collaboration with the Origen Festival in Riom, Switzerland.  The installation, which has been dubbed ‘Concrete Choreography,’ consists of nine 2.7-meter-tall columns (8.9 ft each).  Each column is concrete 3D printed at full height in 2.5 hours with the process developed by ETH Zurich, with the support of NCCR DFAB.”

“Students of the Master of Advanced Studies in Digital Fabrication and Architecture explored the unique possibilities of layered extrusion printing, demonstrating the potential of computational design and digital fabrication for future concrete construction.”

“Computationally designed material ornament and surface texture exemplify the versatility and significant aesthetic potential 3D concrete printing holds when used in large-scale structures.”

This installation will “frame and inform the dance performances of the 2019 Summer Season in Riom.  The project showcases how technological advancements can bring efficient and novel expressions to concrete architecture.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Design Boom

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Conjoined Twins Successfully Separated With Help of 3D Printing

All3DP reports on a miraculous surgery successfully performed via the magic of 3D printing in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, UK.

This surgery aimed to separate conjoined Pakistani siblings Safa and Marwa Bibi, who were born connected at the head.  The surgery itself involved a years-long delay due to funding, months and months of planning, and 50 hours of operation.  “The process was aided in part by 3D printing and modeling.”

The GOSH team was led by surgeons Owase Jeelani and David Dunaway.  3D printing and modeling gave them the ability to plan this complex surgery far more easily than they could have done ever before.

Craniofacial plastic surgeon Juling Ong, who led the modeling team for Safa and Marwa’s separation elaborates: “these are really unique cases and it’s not something we get taught in medical school.  With this software, we can make a realistic computer model to look at the extraordinary anatomy of these children and plan our surgeries beforehand.”

The team used 3D scanning to create 3D models of the twins’ brains, skulls, and skin.  Ong goes on: “[this allowed us] to try out different strategies for operating, and the likely danger areas given the twins’ unique anatomical structures.”

“GOSH’s 3D technician Kok Yean Chooi printed the skull in soft plastic.  It was used to plan how to divide the layer of skin between Safa and Marwa’s shared skull.  This wasn’t the only 3D print.  In fact, many were created before the girls went into surgery.”

Surgeon Jeelani concludes: “this is clearly the way of the future.  We are blessed [at GOSH] in terms of engineers and software specialists – the skill sets they bring to the equation are skills we as doctors with our medical training don’t have.”

For all these reasons, the surgery was a success.  Safa and Marwa are no longer conjoined.  “They will spend six more months in the UK to complete a rehabilitation program before heading home with their mother, Zainab Bibi, to Pakistan.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of All3DP

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Volkswagen Establishes Californian Innovation and Engineering Center

3D Printing Industry reports on Volkswagen Group of America, which has just recently announced “the expansion and rebranding of its California-based Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) with a unique concept vehicle integrating additive manufacturing.”

The concept car, which is a Type 20, has been “built from a 1962 Type 2 11-window Microbus and showcases a variety of experimental 3D printed parts, both in its interior and exterior.  In tandem with its debut, the ERL has been introduced as the Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC) and is expected to be the largest Volkswagen vehicle research facility outside Germany.”

As Volkswagen Group of America’s President and CEO Scott Keogh explains: “the future of the Volkswagen Group will be defined by our success in developing new technology that is designed to meet our customers’ needs.  As we roll out the next generation of electric and autonomous vehicles, innovation will increasingly define who we are.”

The Type 20 concept vehicle features biometric identification and a holographic dashboard display.  Additionally, “the Type 20 has used generative design in collaboration with Autodesk, to develop 3D printed rims, wing mirrors, seating fixtures, and steering wheel – for a more lightweight and streamlined vehicle.”

IECC Senior Vice President Nikolai Reimer adds: “the Type 20 is a fantastic example of how we celebrate our heritage while striving to advance our technology.  We are excited to move into or next chapter as the IECC, to continue designing innovations, which will bring the Volkswagen Group’s vehicles into the future with cutting-edge technology.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry and Volkswagen Group of America

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Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ Recreated with 3D Printing and Photography

3D Printing Media Network reports on a fascinating art project embarked upon using the wonders of 3D printing.

Photographer Julius Rooymans and designer Hans Ubbink have gotten together to create “Nachtwacht 360,” which is a rather modern reinterpretation and recreation of Rembrandt’s famous ‘Night Watch’ painting, which was itself completed all the way back in 1642.  This painting is located in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Nachtwacht 360 heralds “an entirely new way to experience the famed 17th century artwork.”  The new installation “consists of a photographic replica of the original Night Watch. Behind the scenes, Rooymans and Ubbink have put a ton of work into the project, finding 25 lookalikes for each of the members of the Night Watch (as well as Rembrandt), styling them to match the attributes and details of the painting and then photographing them to recreate the pose of the original painting. (The exhibit also consists of a number of portraits, fashion items and props made for the shoot.)”

In order to recreate each historic outfit depicted in the painting, “Ubbink collaborated with many groups, including Dutch 3D printing company Oceanz, which helped produce some realistic 3D printed props, including helmets and weapons.”  As part of their process, “Ubbink and Rooymans sourced many 17th century items for the elaborate photography project from collectors in the Netherlands, though many key pieces in the painting were designed by Rembrandt, meaning that the pair had to find alternative solutions.  Ubbink and Rooymans did not limit themselves in their techniques, as they worked with experts at the Rijksmuseum and the National Military Museum to identify and reproduce physical props and garments using both traditional and new techniques.”

One of these new techniques was, of course, 3D printing.  “In the case of some of the more unique parts, the pair enlisted the help of Robin Bandari, who 3D modeled a number of helmets as well as a collar and partisan (a spearhead mounted on a long shaft). These 3D models were then printed by Oceanz.”

As Oceanz Sales Engineer Frank Elbersen concludes: “As a professional and Dutch 3D print company, we are proud that Oceanz was involved in the Nachtwacht 360 project. How beautiful it is to be able to bring this Dutch masterpiece from the 17th century to life with the innovative and modern technology of today?  3D printing makes it possible to produce objects in the highest detail.  For example, the helmets, collars and a partisan, which were seen 350 years ago by Rembrandt’s eyes, are exactly counterfeited to be able to show the general public now.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network

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3D Printed Carbon Electrodes

Millikin University boasts of a student who is using the wonders of 3D printing to create carbon electrodes essential to electrochemistry.

“Carbon electrodes are a key component of electrochemistry.  They are used for many electrochemical applications, ranging from investigating neurotransmitter movement in a brain to toxin detection in lake water.”

The traditional process of creating carbon electrodes via photolithography is expensive, but now “the research team of Dalton Glasco, a senior chemistry major at Millikin University, and Dr. Kyle Knust, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Millikin University” have turned to the wonders of additive manufacturing in order to produce carbon electrodes.

As Dr. Knust explains: “Dalton is working on an alternative fabrication route for preparing pyrolyzed carbon electrodes.  The goal is to prepare an electrode able to mimic glassy carbon, a material electrochemists like to use for a diversity of applications.”

Currently, “Glasco is using computer software to create carbon electrode designs, which are then 3-D printed directly onto quartz using a carbon rich resin.  The electrode is then transferred to a tube furnace and pyrolyzed – a process where material decomposition is heated to extreme temperatures.”

Dr. Knust elaborates: “it provides a lower cost, more accessible route to preparing a customizable glassy carbon-type electrode.  Instead of requiring a cleanroom and the infrastructure in the cleanroom, techniques like photolithography with a desktop 3-D printer – such as ours, and a tube furnace, you can prepare these electrodes yourself.”

Glasco used a $3,500 3D printer, while “a Class 1000 cleanroom can easily exceed $100,000.”

This research is so groundbreaking the team “received an invitation from the editor of ChemElectroChem, a top-ranking electrochemistry journal for primary research papers and critical secondary information, to submit a manuscript on their carbon electrode 3D printing research.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Millikin University

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