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Marching in with 3D Printing

This month, we take a closer look at how the 3D printing industry is affecting the industries of transport and movement.  How is 3D printing allowing us to move faster – and in more efficient ways?

Well, our journey begins at this year’s Olympics…

CNET reports from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.  The US luge team has collaborated with Stratasys in order to tinker with their sleds.

“Luge is a sport involving one or two-person sleds that can reach speeds of nearly 90 miles per hour.  Athletes race face-up and feet-first down an icy track.  They steer the sled by either using their calves to flex the runners or by using their shoulders to shift their weight.”

Stratasys and the US luge team are 3D printing tools “employed in the making of racing sleds, which means not only the sled’s body but also the ‘tower’ at the front of a doubles sled where athletes position their legs.”

During the creation of sled parts, “a mold, also called a tool, is created to form the part’s shape.  Any design change in the sled calls for a new tool, which can normally take several weeks to create.  But Stratasys was able to 3D print the tools for a sled in less than a week.”  Thanks to 3D printing’s flexibility, more iterations will be available for the athletes and their teams.

Indeed, while before generic sleds were utilized, they can now “be made as long or as wide as an individual athlete, and in a fraction of the time.”  As Gordy Sheer, Marketing Director for USA Luge, and a 1998 Doubles Luge Silver Medalist explains: “we need precision and we also need the ability to make tweaks, and 3D printing is where it’s at for this kind of thing.  As we learn more about aerodynamics and optimizing our designs, it’s nice to be able to have the ability to make those changes quickly.”

Stratasys Applications Engineer David Dahl explains how “using 3D printing to make little changes in aerodynamics and performance can have a big impact.  When you’re dealing with fractions of a second on the track, a little change here or there could be the difference between a gold medal or last place.”

Dahl envisions a not-too-distant future where the whole sled could be 3D printed: “there could be a point where you take a scan of the athlete and you’re able to print a slid customized and tailored to their body shape in the most optimal aerodynamics possible.”

Elsewhere in the world of movement – 3D printing isn’t just interrupting Olympic Athlete’s lives – but everyday people’s lives as well.

3DPrinting Industry writes of the recent launch of the Adidas AlphaEDGE 4D LTD 3D printed running shoe.  This shoe, which marks yet another collaboration between Carbon and Adidas, features 3D printed midsoles using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology.

The AlphaEDGE shoe launched on February 17th for $300.  “Carbon and Adidas’ partnership first came to light with the Futurecraft 4D range in April 2017, combining Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) enabled DLS 3D printing, a Speedcell system, and a Smart Part Washer into the process.”

This allowed for “the development of intricate lattice midsoles, which took into account the movement, cushioning, stability, and comfort needs of the wearer.”  Following an initial batch of 300 pairs of Futurecraft 4D running shows, a further 5,000 pairs were released.  These 3D printed shoes were a success.

Now, the Alpha 4D LTD running shoe is available, featuring “a midsole made of UV-curable resin and polyurethane mixture, arranged in complex lattice structures.  [These midsoles] are specifically tuned to provide superior, controlled energy return.”  The shoes are “available in core black, grey, aero, and ash green.”

“Carbon and Adidas, [with the help of fast production speeds and demand vastly outpacing supply], are building up momentum for a future manufacturing process, whereby Adidas footwear is bespoke-produced, according to the individual needs of each athlete’s foot.”

From shoes to cars – the world of additive manufacturing knows no bounds.

3Ders caught wind of an exciting new development for Dubai’s 3D Printing Strategy.  Those invested in the city’s economic development are excited to have yet another example of what 3D printing can do.

“Immensa Technology Labs, a 3D printing company based in Dubai, [and founded in 2016] has 3D printed parts for a Toyota GT86 race car.  The vehicle, driven by Mohammed Abdulghaffar Hussain, raced to victory at the Yas Marina Circuit in the TRD 86 Cup.”  The Yas Marina Circuit, for those unaware, is a winding racetrack serving “as the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”  It is not for the faint of heart.

In a first for the United Arab Emirates, Immensa Technology Labs “provided 3D printed parts for the Toyota, doing its bit to support the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy while improving the performance of the vehicle.”

Immensa’s CEO Fahmi Al-Shawwa elaborates: “we are proud to be the first 3D printing company in the UAE to apply this new technology to the local automotive industry.  We are confident additive manufacturing can enhance traditional manufacturing processes, reduce costs, redefine productivity, and fuel innovation across all sectors, and we are delighted to have proved this in partnership with Hussain.”

Hussain, the driver, who also happens to be the managing director of Green Coast Enterprises and CEO of Creek Capital, added he was “pleased to have been part of the milestone moment.  3D printing provided a great turnaround time for parts that we were not able to source locally and others that were produced to a much higher quality than the original parts.”

Even well-established automobile makers are utilizing the wonders of 3D printing in quite innovative ways.

CNET reports on a new announcement just recently made by Porsche, concerning their classic car division.  Porsche Classic is now using 3D printing in order to produce hard to find parts.

Porsche Classic’s parts supplies issues are now a thing of the past: “whether it’s plastic or steel, Porsche’s additive manufacturing is capable of reproducing a part to its correct specification, which is generally far less expensive than rebooting old production lines or ordering far more parts than owners will ever need.”

Porsche Classic is using 3D printing in order to reproduce both metal and plastic parts.  To create metal parts, Porsche Classic is using selective laser melting 3D printing, while they are using selective laser sintering 3D printing for plastic parts.

At this time, “Porsche Classic only 3D print nine different parts – like 959’s clutch release lever, for example, which is no longer being manufactured.  But [the division] is looking at another 20 parts to see if 3D printing is a feasible solution to mitigating supply issues.  Thankfully, if a part gets the green light, all Porsche needs to get started is a 3D scan or design data for the part, and the printers can get to work.”

This is yet another example of how 3D printing can become so pivotal for companies (and their customers) searching for hard to find and hard to replace parts.  The technology’s flexibility is unmatched.

Whether it’s Olympic lugers, footwear, cars, or any number of transportation modes, the world of 3D printing is hard at work advancing its various technologies.  Who knows what 3D printed marvel will speed toward us next…

Image Courtesy of Porsche and CNET

Quotes Courtesy of CNET, Adidas, 3DPrinting Industry, 3Ders, and Porsche

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Dubai-Based Immensa Technology Labs 3D Prints Parts for Race Car

3Ders caught wind of an exciting new development for Dubai’s 3D Printing Strategy.  Those invested in the city’s economic development are excited to have yet another example of what 3D printing can do.

“Immensa Technology Labs, a 3D printing company based in Dubai, [and founded in 2016] has 3D printed parts for a Toyota GT86 race car.  The vehicle, driven by Mohammed Abdulghaffar Hussain, raced to victory at the Yas Marina Circuit in the TRD 86 Cup.”  The Yas Marina Circuit, for those unaware, is a winding racetrack serving “as the venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”  It is not for the faint of heart.

In a first for the United Arab Emirates, Immensa Technology Labs “provided 3D printed parts for the Toyota, doing its bit to support the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy while improving the performance of the vehicle.”

Immensa’s CEO Fahmi Al-Shawwa elaborates: “we are proud to be the first 3D printing company in the UAE to apply this new technology to the local automotive industry.  We are confident additive manufacturing can enhance traditional manufacturing processes, reduce costs, redefine productivity, and fuel innovation across all sectors, and we are delighted to have proved this in partnership with Hussain.”

Hussain, the driver, who also happens to be the managing director of Green Coast Enterprises and CEO of Creek Capital, added he was “pleased to have been part of the milestone moment.  3D printing provided a great turnaround time for parts that we were not able to source locally and others that were produced to a much higher quality than the original parts.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders

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US Luge Team Uses 3D Printing at Olympics

CNET reports from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.  The US luge team has collaborated with Stratasys in order to tinker with their sleds.

“Luge is a sport involving one or two-person sleds that can reach speeds of nearly 90 miles per hour.  Athletes race face-up and feet-first down an icy track.  They steer the sled by either using their calves to flex the runners or by using their shoulders to shift their weight.”

Stratasys and the US luge team are 3D printing tools “employed in the making of racing sleds, which means not only the sled’s body but also the ‘tower’ at the front of a doubles sled where athletes position their legs.”

During the creation of sled parts, “a mold, also called a tool, is created to form the part’s shape.  Any design change in the sled calls for a new tool, which can normally take several weeks to create.  But Stratasys was able to 3D print the tools for a sled in less than a week.”  Thanks to 3D printing’s flexibility, more iterations will be available for the athletes and their teams.

Indeed, while before generic sleds were utilized, they can now “be made as long or as wide as an individual athlete, and in a fraction of the time.”  As Gordy Sheer, Marketing Director for USA Luge, and a 1998 Doubles Luge Silver Medalist explains: “we need precision and we also need the ability to make tweaks, and 3D printing is where it’s at for this kind of thing.  As we learn more about aerodynamics and optimizing our designs, it’s nice to be able to have the ability to make those changes quickly.”

Stratasys Applications Engineer David Dahl explains how “using 3D printing to make little changes in aerodynamics and performance can have a big impact.  When you’re dealing with fractions of a second on the track, a little change here or there could be the difference between a gold medal or last place.”

Dahl envisions a not-too-distant future where the whole sled could be 3D printed: “there could be a point where you take a scan of the athlete and you’re able to print a slid customized and tailored to their body shape in the most optimal aerodynamics possible.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of CNET

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Stratasys Now Dedicated 3D Printing Provider for Unlimited Tomorrow

ZDNet caught wind of a recent agreement between Stratasys, a 3D printing company, Dassault Systems, producers of design software, and Unlimited Tomorrow, creators of low-cost prosthetics.

“Under the partnership, Stratasys will become the dedicated 3D printing provider for Unlimited Tomorrow [while Dassault will be the dedicated software provider]…[with the goal of scaling] custom-designed, low-cost robotic arms for amputees.”  Fascinatingly, Unlimited Tomorrow was started by entrepreneur Easton LaChapelle when he was only 17.

“LaChapelle’s idea was to cut costs for recipients receiving prosthetics, which can run anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.  For children, those costs are limiting since they can outgrow models.  Unlimited Tomorrow aims to address customization, weight, and cost with digital, scanning, and 3D printing techniques to speed up development and fittings.”

With the aid of these bleeding edge technologies, LaChapelle explains “the baseline costs for an Unlimited Tomorrow prosthetic will run $5,000, and there’s a service model for children when they outgrow the device for $2,500 and an upgrade…with help from Stratasys and Dassault, Unlimited Tomorrow is looking to scale its efforts.”  LaChapelle explains that unlike its competitors – such as Open Bionics, who use rigid materials, Unlimited Tomorrow does not.

Now with Stratasys, Unlimited Tomorrow “can print in any color and has automated the design process so [each prosthetic will be] unique to the individual.”  Stratasys and Unlimited Tomorrow outlined this process: “3D scanners collect data from the missing arm and opposite full arm if possible.  Then, the data runs through proprietary software and automatically exports files ready to be 3D printed.  Finally, the prosthetic is printed and combined with sensors and wireless charging to manage force feedback through haptics.”

Stratasys’ Director of Healthcare Solutions Mike Gaisford elaborates: “the Unlimited Tomorrow-Stratasys-Dassault partnership is a mutual win on many levels.  Unlimited Tomorrow gets the scale and expertise, while the partnership includes research and development, design collaboration, and knowhow from Stratasys Direct Manufacturing.  While this relationship is a key piece of Stratasys’ Corporate Social Responsibility Program, it goes much deeper.  Stratasys is playing a three-tier role: providing actual funding to power Unlimited Tomorrow’s operation and growth, 3D printing all components for the first 100 arms at no cost, and bringing Unlimited Tomorrow’s innovation-to-production scale by guiding the Design for Additive Manufacturing (DFAM) process.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of ZDNet

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HP Launches Jet Fusion 300 and 500 Series

TechRepublic reports on the recent launch of HP’s Jet Fusion 300 and 500 Series of 3D printers.  These printers are “capable of voxel-level printing across the full color spectrum.”

The Jet Fusion 300 and 500 Series’ costs “start [at] around $50,000 and are targeted toward SMBs.  Since the machines are relatively low-cost, they could help make 3D printing more accessible to a broader variety of businesses and professionals.”  Though, these machines’ focus on voxel control “could foreshadow the future of 3D printing in manufacturing.”

Gartner Research Vice President Pete Basiliere explains the specifics behind voxel control in 3D printing: “a voxel is a three-dimensional pixel.  Just as the pixel is the core of the technology within flat screen TVs – where the computer dictates what color the pixel should be – HP’s Jet Fusion printers can determine color for each of the three-dimensional voxel cubes. This is different than extrusion methods, like FLA, that lay down a continuous stream of material. Voxel control, plus the color range offered by HP, could allow these printers to create prints with much higher detail.”

As Basiliere elaborates: “in the prototyping world, you’ve got parts that could be very realistic.  By realistic, I mean compared to the part being made in a state of production.  In addition to more functional prototyping, it also means that if a business can make the product with materials available from HP, it can offer it as a new product itself, customized with small batch, quick manufacturing.”  Basiliere has coined this process “local production for local consumption.”

It remains to be seen if voxel control and HP’s new “local production for local consumption” process will take off.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of TechRepublic

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3D Printing Metal in Nanoscale

The Engineer writes of a recent report found in the scientific journal Nature Communications.  In this report, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) outline how they have “used a new 3D printing technique to produce complex nanoscale metal structures orders of magnitude smaller than previously” believed possible.

Once the researchers scale these 3D printed metal structures up, they “could be used in a wide variety of applications, from building tiny medical implants and 3D logic circuits on computer chips to engineering ultra-lightweight aircraft components.”

In order to accomplish this nanoscale 3D printing, the researchers used “a high-precision laser to strike the liquid in specific locations of the material with two photons.  Whilst this provides enough energy to harden liquid polymers into solids, it doesn’t provide enough to fuse metal.”

As Caltech Materials Scientist Professor Julia Greer elaborates: “metals don’t respond to light in the same way as the polymer resins we use to manufacture structures at the nanoscale.  There’s a chemical reaction that gets triggered when light interacts with a polymer, enabling it to harden and then form into a particular shape.  In a metal, this process is fundamentally impossible.”

In order to solve this chemical puzzle, Greer’s graduate student Andrey Vyatskikh developed a solution involving “organic ligands – molecules which bond to metal – to create a resin containing mostly polymer, but which carries along with it metal which can be printed like a scaffold.”

Now, the Caltech researchers are focusing on how this nanoscale 3D printing technique “could be called up for industrial applications.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Caltech and The Engineer

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Researchers Print 3D Structures with Living Cells

Science Daily has reported on the findings of a group of scientists from the University of Twente in the Netherlands.  These scientists have developed a process they call ‘in-air microfluidics,’ which allows them to print 3D structures with living cells.

“This special technique enables the fast and ‘in-flight’ production of micro building blocks that are viable and can be used for repairing damaged tissue, for example…microfluidics [involves] the manipulation of tiny fluid drops with sizes between a micrometer and a millimeter.”  Often, this manipulation is not fast enough for industrial and clinical applications.

This is where the team from the University of Twente comes in.  Their hypothesis involved the acceleration of these fluids via the use of two ‘jets’ of fluids.  They were correct.  But “speed is not the only advantage.  By choosing jets containing different types of fluids that react, the collision results in new materials.  Smart combinations of fluids will result in solid and printable building blocks in one single step.”

“ In this way, it is possible to capture a living cell inside printable material. The resulting bio building blocks are printed in a 3D structure that looks like a sponge, filled with cells and fluid. These 3D modular biomaterials have an internal structure that is quite similar to that of natural tissue. Many 3D printing techniques are based on using heat or UV light: both would damage living cells. The new microfluidic approach is therefore a promising technique in tissue engineering, in which damaged tissue is repaired by using cultured cell material of the patient.”

The team at the University of Twente are now investigating a new lamFluidics spinoff, “in which in-air microfluidics is used to create functional particles and materials.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Science Daily and the University of Twente in the Netherlands

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Sandvik Invests $25M in New Metal 3D Printing Plant

3Ders reports on the Swedish engineering firm Sandvik.  Sandvik has just announced an investment of $25 million “to establish a new facility for manufacturing fine metal powders for additive manufacturing applications.”

This brand-new 3D printing plant will have the capability of producing both titanium and nickel-based powders, “adding to [Sandvik’s] existing metal powder offering which includes stainless steel as well as nickel-based and cobalt-chromium alloys.”  The company aims to bolster tei current standing “in the metal powder and metal 3D printing sectors.”

Sandvik Materials Technology’s Head of Product Area Powder Annika Roos elaborates: “this investment [will enable] future growth and means that we are expanding our metal powder offering to include virtually all alloy groups of relevance today.  In addition, it will also support the overall additive manufacturing business at Sandvik.”

Predictably, this new 3D printing plant will be built in Sandviken, Sweden (by 2020), producing powders bound for “the European, North American, and Asian markets.  Conveniently, the plant will be located within a short distance from an in-house titanium raw material supply and the company’s additive manufacturing center.”

Sandvik Materials Technology President Goran Bjorkman concludes: “the metal powder segment and the additive manufacturing business are of increasingly strategic importance to us.  This investment should be viewed as the latest evidence of our commitment to an area we strongly believe in.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders and Sandvik

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Adidas Launches AlphaEDGE 4D LTD 3D Printed Running Shoes

3DPrinting Industry writes of the recent launch of the Adidas AlphaEDGE 4D LTD 3D printed running shoe.  This shoe, which marks yet another collaboration between Carbon and Adidas, features 3D printed midsoles using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology.

The AlphaEDGE shoe launched on February 17th for $300.  “Carbon and Adidas’ partnership first came to light with the Futurecraft 4D range in April 2017, combining Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) enabled DLS 3D printing, a Speedcell system, and a Smart Part Washer into the process.”

This allowed for “the development of intricate lattice midsoles, which took into account the movement, cushioning, stability, and comfort needs of the wearer.”  Following an initial batch of 300 pairs of Futurecraft 4D running shows, a further 5,000 pairs were released.  These 3D printed shoes were a success.

Now, the Alpha 4D LTD running shoe is available, featuring “a midsole made of UV-curable resin and polyurethane mixture, arranged in complex lattice structures.  [These midsoles] are specifically tuned to provide superior, controlled energy return.”  The shoes are “available in core black, grey, aero, and ash green.”

“Carbon and Adidas, [with the help of fast production speeds and demand vastly outpacing supply], are building up momentum for a future manufacturing process, whereby Adidas footwear is bespoke-produced, according to the individual needs of each athlete’s foot.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Adidas and 3DPrinting Industry

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3D Printing an Entire Camper Trailer

3DPrinting Industry reports on a recent – and quite impressive – 3D printing project undertaken in Saskatoon, Canada.

Wave of the Future 3D has 3D printed a 13-ft. long camper trailer – all in one go.  “The full process was broadcast live on Facebook over [a two-week period], breaking the world record for its size.”

While there have been larger 3D printed objects (such as the U.S. Navy’s 30 ft. long “Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) 3D printed submarine hull,”) none have been 3D printed all at once – and in one piece.  (ORNL’s submarine was assembled using 6 distinct parts.)

Now, however, thanks to Wave of the Future 3D and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, a fully 3D printed camper trailer is now a reality.  This 3D printing was hosted at Create Café 3D Printing Solutions Inc., which is a “3D printing workspace and coffeeshop.”

Named ‘The Wave’, this camper trailer was “3D printed on a custom-built, large-scale ErectorBot…the largest indoor 3D printer in North America and the only one in Canada.  The ErectorBot 3D printer…has a build area of approximately 28 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 7 feet tall.  The trailer was printed entirely as a single piece using PETG plastic feedstock.”  The ‘Wave’ camper trailer weighs around 600 lbs, with a life expectancy of 100 years.  It is mobile and will be “re-purposed for different uses such as an ice fishing hut.”

Saskatchewan Polytechnic President and CEO Dr. Larry Rosia concludes: “this leading edge applied research partnership creates unique learning opportunities for our students.  We have a great applied research relationship with Create Café, with countless synergies.  This is another example of being able to learn from each other and share Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s expertise to support industry in solving every day, real-world problems.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3DPrinting Industry

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Porsche Classic Utilizes 3D Printing

CNET reports on a new announcement just recently made by Porsche, concerning their classic car division.  Porsche Classic is now using 3D printing in order to produce hard to find parts.

Porsche Classic’s parts supplies issues are now a thing of the past: “whether it’s plastic or steel, Porsche’s additive manufacturing is capable of reproducing a part to its correct specification, which is generally far less expensive than rebooting old production lines or ordering far more parts than owners will ever need.”

Porsche Classic is using 3D printing in order to reproduce both metal and plastic parts.  To create metal parts, Porsche Classic is using selective laser melting 3D printing, while they are using selective laser sintering 3D printing for plastic parts.

At this time, “Porsche Classic only 3D print nine different parts – like 959’s clutch release lever, for example, which is no longer being manufactured.  But [the division] is looking at another 20 parts to see if 3D printing is a feasible solution to mitigating supply issues.  Thankfully, if a part gets the green light, all Porsche needs to get started is a 3D scan or design data for the part, and the printers can get to work.”

This is yet another example of how 3D printing can become so pivotal for companies (and their customers) searching for hard to find and hard to replace parts.  The technology’s flexibility is unmatched.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Porsche and CNET

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Stratasys Collaborates with PostNord

3DPrinting Industry reports on the announcement of a recent deal between the 3D printer manufacturers Stratasys and PostNord Strålfors, a Swedish communications and logistics company.

Thanks to Stratasys, PostNord will now “be offering 3D printing bureau services and delivery to customers” in Scandinavia.  As PostNord’s Communication Manager Rebecka Mathers explains: “PostNord has acquired a J750 full-color, multimaterial 3D printer. The 3D printer has been installed at the center of PostNord’s logistics network in Stockholm, which also handles the international incoming and outgoing shipping from Arlanda Airport.”

Prior to this deal, Mathers explains how PostNord “explored a number of 3D printing options throughout 2017. By working with customers across all industries, the company sought a solution to reach the widest range of applications possible.”  Mathers continues: “we feel that the full-color, multi-material gives us the best opportunity to have a wide perspective in working with customers.”

PostNord Strålfors’s CEO Ylva Ekborn adds: “at PostNord Strålfors, we aim to be our customer’s digitalization partner, and we constantly need to strive for digital developments and explore new business opportunities.”

As Stratasys is quick to point out, their J750 systems “have proved an effective solution for functional prototyping, healthcare, education, and track-side assistance.”

While UPS was the first logistics company to dip their toes into 3D printing bureau services, FedEx has recently “provided shipping for Stratasys Direct Manufacturing in the U.S.”  FedEx has also “announced a long-awaited realignment to make way for new customization-centric business FedEx Forward Depots.”

It has evidently become apparent to logistics companies worldwide that 3D printing will play an integral part in their futures – and their future successes.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3DPrinting Industry

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