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February 2017: A Month in 3D Printing

The world of 3D printing is, as usual, abuzz.  Innovations – as well as radical ideas – are always sweeping the industry.  So, what’s new this month?

Well…

Quartz reports on yet another shakeup at 3D printing company MakerBot, owned by Stratasys.  Jonathan Jaglom, who had been MakerBot’s CEO for the last two years, and “who tried to pivot the company away from an [as of now] unsuccessful push into consumer 3D printing, has resigned.”

Back “in 2013…the company was purchased by industrial 3D printing firm Stratasys for more than $600 million…MakerBot founder Bre Pettis stepped down as CEO a few months after the acquisition; he left Stratasys altogether in June 2015.  Interim CEO Jenny Lawton took over for less than a year, and in February 2015, Jaglom – at the time general manager of Stratasys Asia Pacific Japan, and son of the chairman of the board – was installed as MakerBot’s new chief.”

Once Jaglom had become established as MakerBot’s CEO, he pursued “new markets like education and professional services as it became clear [at least to him] the average consumer wasn’t going to buy a $1,000 personal 3D printer.”

So, “during his tenure, Jaglom instituted multiple rounds of layoffs, including everyone that actually built MakerBot’s printers in Brooklyn.  (They’re now built by a company in China.)  He also shuttered all of the company’s retail stores.”

Jaglom will be replaced as CEO of MakerBot by the company’s president, Nadav Goshen.  Goshen seems to be leaning towards a similar strategy to Jaglom’s: “I’m excited to continue working towards our vision of putting a desktop 3D printer in every classroom and on the desk of every designer and engineer.”

It remains to be seen whether MakerBot’s current strategy is indeed the right one.

Let’s move on to some brighter news…

Literally!

Wired UK reports on a startling new 3D printing-related development from a team of chemists at MIT.

The MIT team has developed a 3D printing technique allowing you to change an object’s color using light.  These malleable 3D printed objects can change colors by altering their polymers.  The team did this by utilizing Stereolithography – one of the most cutting edge forms of 3D printing.

For those who don’t know, Stereolithography works by “shining light onto a liquid solution of monomers – the building blocks of plastic and other materials – to form layer upon layer of solid polymers in a specific design or pattern, until the final shape is complete.”

Before now, “once an object had been printed these polymers were considered ‘dead’ – they couldn’t be extended to form new polymer chains, which would alter the printed object.”  However, with this process just developed by the team at MIT, polymer can be added to “alter the material’s chemical composition and mechanical properties.”

As Jeremiah Johnson, the Firmenich career development associate professor of Chemistry at MIT explains, “the idea is that you could print a material and subsequently take that material and, using light, morph the material into something else, or grow the material further.”

Back in 2013, Johnson and his team “demonstrated…they could use UV light to stimulate the polymers and add new features to 3D printed materials.  They experimented by using the light to break apart the polymers at certain points in a printed object, which created free radicals (extremely reactive molecules).”

These “free radicals would then bind to new monomers to form a solution surrounding the object and become incorporated in the original material.  Unfortunately, the radicals were found to be too reactive: they were difficult to control and could be damaging to the material.”

In order to work around this issue, “the MIT team designed new polymers that would react to light.  The polymers contained chemical groups known as TTCs, that are activated when turned on by light.  For instance, when blue light from an LED shines on the polymers, it attaches new monomers to the TTCs, which makes them stretch out.”  The 3D printed object is made from these monomers, which give the object’s material new properties.

Along with changing the color of a 3D printed object, the team also discovered “they could make materials become bigger or smaller using different temperatures by adding a specific monomer.”  This technique is still in its infancy, however.  It is “limited by the fact it requires an oxygen-free environment.”

The good news is that the team is “now working on finding different catalysts that can be used in the presence of oxygen.”

Elsewhere around the world, 3Ders caught wind of an exciting new device engineers at Stanford University have developed aiding in the detection of malaria.  Malaria is “an infectious disease spread by mosquitoes, [which] can cause fever, vomiting, fatigue, and – in extreme cases – death.  The condition is easy to diagnose with proper medical equipment, but, understandably, that equipment is not always available.”

When this is the case, centrifuges are the perfect solution for medical workers operating out of remote areas.  “By spinning a blood sample very quickly, different cell types in the blood can be separated from each other, making it easier to spot parasites.”

But how to get hold of a centrifuge?

This was a question Manu Prakash, professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, “asked himself…during a trip to Uganda, when he encountered medical workers desperately [in need of] a centrifuge” and one they could use without the aid of electricity.

Prakash elaborates on this worldwide dilemma: “there are more than a billion people around the world who have no infrastructure, no roads, no electricity.  I realized if we wanted to solve a critical problem like malaria diagnosis, we need to design a human-powered centrifuge that costs less than a cup of coffee.”

And so Prakash got to work.

His inspiration was the deceptively simple mechanics of children’s toys.  At first, he experimented with the spinning abilities of Yo-Yos, but found they were just too slow.  His team finally arrived on the appropriate toy for the task, which originated from the Bronze Age: the whirligig.

The whirligig “consists of a wheel in the center of a wire that spins by hand or wind power.”  The team eventually designed “an incredibly efficient whirligig, recording unprecedented speeds of 125,000 revolutions per minute.  Since the first version of the rapid-fire whirligig was made from paper, the engineers called their device a ‘paperfuge.’”

“To make a paperfuge, all that is required is paper coated with polymer film, string, and PVC pipe, or wood.  To operate it, blood samples are attached to the center disc, after which the user can pull on the string to commence the rapid revolutions.  This speedy spinning causes the cells to separate, just as they would in a more expensive electric centrifuge.”  Possibly the most startling asset of the paperfuge, however, is that it only costs 20 cents!

Where might 3D printing fit into this equation, you may be asking.

Well, 3D printing can aid these Stanford University engineers in the mass production of these sorts of devices.  “With this method, they were able to 3D print over 100 plastic whirligig devices in a day.”

The team concludes: “Using a desktop 3D printer (Form 2, Formlabs), we rapidly printed lightweight (20 g) prototypes of different ‘3D-fuges’ that spun at speeds of approximately 10,000 r.p.m. These further open opportunities to mass-manufacture millions of centrifuges using injection-molding techniques.”

While not as fast as their paper counterparts, these ‘3D-fuges’ are more durable and resilient – “a useful attribute in places where access to the source materials is limited.”

What’s in store next month?  Well, you’ll just have to tune in to Replicator World in order to find out!

Image Courtesy of Stanford University and 3Ders

Quotes Courtesy of Quartz, Wired UK, Stanford University, and 3Ders

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Another MakerBot CEO Leaves

Quartz reports on yet another shakeup at 3D printing company MakerBot, owned by Stratasys.  Jonathan Jaglom, who had been MakerBot’s CEO for the last two years, and “who tried to pivot the company away from an [as of now] unsuccessful push into consumer 3D printing, has resigned.”

Back “in 2013…the company was purchased by industrial 3D printing firm Stratasys for more than $600 million…MakerBot founder Bre Pettis stepped down as CEO a few months after the acquisition; he left Stratasys altogether in June 2015.  Interim CEO Jenny Lawton took over for less than a year, and in February 2015, Jaglom – at the time general manager of Stratasys Asia Pacific Japan, and son of the chairman of the board – was installed as MakerBot’s new chief.”

Once Jaglom had become established as MakerBot’s CEO, he pursued “new markets like education and professional services as it became clear [at least to him] the average consumer wasn’t going to buy a $1,000 personal 3D printer.”

So, “during his tenure, Jaglom instituted multiple rounds of layoffs, including everyone that actually built MakerBot’s printers in Brooklyn.  (They’re now built by a company in China.)  He also shuttered all of the company’s retail stores.”

Jaglom will be replaced as CEO of MakerBot by the company’s president, Nadav Goshen.  Goshen seems to be leaning towards a similar strategy to Jaglom’s: “I’m excited to continue working towards our vision of putting a desktop 3D printer in every classroom and on the desk of every designer and engineer.”

It remains to be seen whether MakerBot’s current strategy is indeed the right one.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Quartz

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Supercraft3D Raises $1 Million from Angel Investors

Over at 3Ders, there is news of another 3D printing related startup raising $1 million from angel investors.  Supercraft3D, which is based in Singapore, raised the money from individuals such as Binny Bansal, e-commerce platform Flipkart’s co-founder.

“The new investments will help the start up to advance its 3D printed medical implants and offer them to the Asian market.  Supercraft3D was founded in September 2016 by Maltesh Somasekharappa and Venkataramana Gorti, who set out to create 3D printing solutions for developing medical models, implants, and surgical instruments…the startup has placed a focus on creating customized, patient-specific medical devices and models, which are made based on CT scans, MRIs, and even X-Rays.”

As Supercraft3D explains, “using sophisticated hardware and software, we are able to convert traditional X-Ray, MRI, CT, and other diagnostic images into clear transparent 3D models, at a fraction of the cost – and in most cases within 24 hrs.  These models are highly accurate and help the doctor plan a better surgery, as well as [help] the patient understand his or her anatomy before undergoing any hospitalization.  These models can also act as evidence in any medico-legal situation.”

Supercraft3D dived deeper into their reasoning: “we have started the R&D for patient-specific implants.  We [Asians] get very limited choices when it comes to knee implants, for example.  [Supercraft3D] make implants specific to the patient based on age and lifestyle.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Supercraft3D and 3Ders

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Adidas Announces American 3D Printing ‘Speedfactory’

According to 3D Printing Industry, Adidas has announced the American launch of their Speedfactory concept later this year.

The shoe manufacturer explains Speedfactories are “industrial factories where 3D printing and robots manufacturer sneakers on-demand.”  These Speedfactories (one in Ansbach, Germany and one in Atlanta, Georgia – in the United States) will allow Adidas’ manufacturing to “become localized, eliminating costs associated with logistics and supply chains.

“Large-scale production at the German Speedfactory…is set for mid-2017, with Adidas expecting to create 500,000 shoes a year in the future.”  As for Adidas’ Speedfactory in Atlanta, it will open in late 2017.

Adidas released the 3D runner in December of 2016.  “It was the first 3D printed [sneaker] Adidas sold,” before this 3D printing was strictly limited to the prototyping portion of the manufacturing process, “the product was used by Adidas to test the market and the technology.  Retailing at $333 on release, Adidas’ 3D runner is currently selling on eBay [for more than] $3,000!”  This experiment was evidently a roaring success, so “Adidas will [now] look to increase availability through mass production.”  This is where the company’s brand new Speedfactory announcements come in.

“Currently the time-scale of developing a new sneaker product can span over a year and Adidas want to reduce this time dramatically.  Using 3D printing as both a prototyping tool and manufacturing technique will enable that.  3D printing will also allow Adidas to shorten their supply chain and in the future, they plan to expand this by offering bespoke designs.”

As Adidas’ Vice President of Technology Innovation Gerd Manz envisions, “the set-up of the first Speedfactory has kicked off in Ansbach, Germany, to propel a global network of automated production, which brings cutting-edge technology to cities around the world.  These first…pairs will help us set the scene for large-scale commercial production so each consumer can get what they want [locally], when they want it, faster than ever.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry and Adidas

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Rocket Crafters Awarded Patent to Design and 3D Print Rocket Fuel

Space Daily has an update concerning Rocket Crafters.  Rocket Crafters has been awarded a patent for the fabrication and design to 3D print rocket fuel for spacecraft.

This method will help scientists and engineers devise “flawless, high-performance, safer handling fuel grains for hybrid rocket engines” using only 3D printing, “which will allow the fabrication of an inherently safe and less expensive launch vehicle with only two moving parts.”

Rocket Crafters’ co-founder, President, and CTO Ronald Jones explains: “3D printing of the rocket combustion chamber allows RCI’s expendable motors to deliver small satellites to orbits at as low as half current launch costs.”

These rockets will be incorporated into Intrepid-1, “the world’s first mass-producible orbital launch vehicle.”  Rocket Crafters’ “patented method takes advantage of 3D printing’s unique ability to precisely fabricate fuel grains (a tubular shaped structure [dually serving] as the rocket’s solid fuel source and combustion chamber) which features internal geometric patterns designed to significantly increase the amount of fuel that is available for combustion on a second-by-second basis during the rocket engine’s operation.”

Rocket Crafters’ Chairman and CEO Sid Gutierrez (who also happens to be a former NASA astronaut and a retired Sandia National Labs executive) opened up about the company’s vision:

“[Rocket Crafters] continues to innovate.  This new patent shows our commitment to making access to space safer, more reliable, and more affordable than ever before.  I have believed for years that hybrid rockets, due to the inherent safety when propellants are protected against accidental detonation by storing them in different states, could be the solution to make rocket powered flight as safe as airline travel one day.  With our 3D printed fuel technology, we now have the means to make this a reality.”

Rocket Crafters “is currently on track to incorporate their rocket motors into orbital launch vehicles in 2019.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Space Daily

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Markforged Announces Metal X Metal 3D Printer

Engineering reports on a brand new industrial metal 3D printer which will be the first of its kind sold under $100K.  Carbon fiber pioneer Markforged announced the Metal X 3D printer at CES 2017.

Greg Mark, Markforged’s CEO, explained the brand-new form of additive manufacturing his company developed specifically for the Metal X system.  “Metal X 3D prints with a process similar to atomic diffusion bonding, resulting in what Markforged refers to as atomic diffusion additive manufacturing (ADAM).  ADAM involves 3D printing with bound-powder rods, in which metal powder is contained within a plastic binder.  A cartridge of these rods feeds the material to the printer, which prints the object layer by layer, melting the plastic and fusing it to the preceding layer.”

Mark elaborates: “basically, we looked at the way our continuous fiber works.  Our continuous fiber is continuous strands of carbon fiber wrapped in plastic.  Then you basically remelt that plastic when you’re printing it.  So, we did the same thing with metal.  We have a metal powder – which is by itself toxic and flammable – we infiltrated it with plastic, which makes it safe to breathe, safe to handle, and nonflammable.”

“The Metal X 3D printer is described by Markforged as the first metal 3D printer priced under $100,000…most metal 3D printers are well above that price point.  The layer resolution of the system, 50 microns, is comparable to most powder bed fusion metal 3D printers.  Parts are between 95 and 99 percent dense, depending on the furnace used to sinter the parts, making it competitive with direct metal laser sintering systems.”

The Metal X 3D printer “has a substantial build volume of 250mm x 220mm x 200 mm (9.8 in x 9.7 in x 7.9 in), includes a built-in camera, and runs on the Markforged cloud-based Eiger software platform.”

The Metal X 3D printer will begin shipping in September (2017) and starts at $99,500.

Video and Image Courtesy of Markforged

Quotes Courtesy of Engineering

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3D Printing Aids Stanford Engineers in Mass Producing Life-Saving Whirligig

3Ders caught wind of an exciting new device engineers at Stanford University have developed aiding in the detection of malaria.  Malaria is “an infectious disease spread by mosquitoes, [which] can cause fever, vomiting, fatigue, and – in extreme cases – death.  The condition is easy to diagnose with proper medical equipment, but, understandably, that equipment is not always available.”

When this is the case, centrifuges are the perfect solution for medical workers operating out of remote areas.  “By spinning a blood sample very quickly, different cell types in the blood can be separated from each other, making it easier to spot parasites.”

But how to get hold of a centrifuge?

This was a question Manu Prakash, professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, “asked himself…during a trip to Uganda, when he encountered medical workers desperately [in need of] a centrifuge” and one they could use without the aid of electricity.

Prakash elaborates on this worldwide dilemma: “there are more than a billion people around the world who have no infrastructure, no roads, no electricity.  I realized if we wanted to solve a critical problem like malaria diagnosis, we need to design a human-powered centrifuge that costs less than a cup of coffee.”

And so Prakash got to work.

His inspiration was the deceptively simple mechanics of children’s toys.  At first, he experimented with the spinning abilities of Yo-Yos, but found they were just too slow.  His team finally arrived on the appropriate toy for the task, which originated from the Bronze Age: the whirligig.

The whirligig “consists of a wheel in the center of a wire that spins by hand or wind power.”  The team eventually designed “an incredibly efficient whirligig, recording unprecedented speeds of 125,000 revolutions per minute.  Since the first version of the rapid-fire whirligig was made from paper, the engineers called their device a ‘paperfuge.’”

“To make a paperfuge, all that is required is paper coated with polymer film, string, and PVC pipe, or wood.  To operate it, blood samples are attached to the center disc, after which the user can pull on the string to commence the rapid revolutions.  This speedy spinning causes the cells to separate, just as they would in a more expensive electric centrifuge.”  Possibly the most startling asset of the paperfuge, however, is that it only costs 20 cents!

Where might 3D printing fit into this equation, you may be asking.

Well, 3D printing can aid these Stanford University engineers in the mass production of these sorts of devices.  “With this method, they were able to 3D print over 100 plastic whirligig devices in a day.”

The team concludes: “Using a desktop 3D printer (Form 2, Formlabs), we rapidly printed lightweight (20 g) prototypes of different ‘3D-fuges’ that spun at speeds of approximately 10,000 r.p.m. These further open opportunities to mass-manufacture millions of centrifuges using injection-molding techniques.”

While not as fast as their paper counterparts, these ‘3D-fuges’ are more durable and resilient – “a useful attribute in places where access to the source materials is limited.”

Video, Image, and Quotes Courtesy of Stanford University and 3Ders

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3D Printed Graphene: Lighter than Air, 10 times Stronger than Steel

Computerworld reports on a recent development catalogued in an issue of the journal Science Advances.  “MIT researchers have been able to use graphene to print 3D objects with a geometry that has 10 times the strength of steel but only a fraction of the weight.”

Prior to this advancement, “researchers struggled to use graphene’s two-dimensional strength in three-dimensional materials.”  As Markus Buehler, the head of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) explains: “what we’ve done is to realize the [dream] of translating these 2D materials into three-dimensional structures.”

Buehler’s team went about achieving this dream by “using a proprietary, multi-material 3D printer.  The structures have a ‘sponge-like’ configuration with a density of just 5%.  Combining heat and pressure, the MIT researchers were able to compress small flakes of graphene to produce a strong, stable structure ‘whose form resembles that of some corals and microscopic creatures called diatoms.’”

“The new configurations were made in the lab using [as stated previously] a high-resolution, multi-material 3D printer.  They were mechanically tested for their tensile and compressive properties and simulated using the team’s theoretical models.  The results from the printed models and the simulations matched.”

As Buehler concludes, “you could either use the real graphene material or use the geometry we discovered with other materials, like polymers or metals.  You can replace the material itself with anything.  The geometry is the dominant factor.  It’s something that has the potential to transfer to many things.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of MIT and Computerworld

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3D Printing Technique Allows You to Change a 3D Printed Object’s Color

Wired UK reports on a startling new 3D printing-related development from a team of chemists at MIT.

The MIT team has developed a 3D printing technique allowing you to change an object’s color using light.  These malleable 3D printed objects can change colors by altering their polymers.  The team did this by utilizing Stereolithography – one of the most cutting edge forms of 3D printing.

For those who don’t know, Stereolithography works by “shining light onto a liquid solution of monomers – the building blocks of plastic and other materials – to form layer upon layer of solid polymers in a specific design or pattern, until the final shape is complete.”

Before now, “once an object had been printed these polymers were considered ‘dead’ – they couldn’t be extended to form new polymer chains, which would alter the printed object.”  However, with this process just developed by the team at MIT, polymer can be added to “alter the material’s chemical composition and mechanical properties.”

As Jeremiah Johnson, the Firmenich career development associate professor of Chemistry at MIT explains, “the idea is that you could print a material and subsequently take that material and, using light, morph the material into something else, or grow the material further.”

Back in 2013, Johnson and his team “demonstrated…they could use UV light to stimulate the polymers and add new features to 3D printed materials.  They experimented by using the light to break apart the polymers at certain points in a printed object, which created free radicals (extremely reactive molecules).”

These “free radicals would then bind to new monomers to form a solution surrounding the object and become incorporated in the original material.  Unfortunately, the radicals were found to be too reactive: they were difficult to control and could be damaging to the material.”

In order to work around this issue, “the MIT team designed new polymers that would react to light.  The polymers contained chemical groups known as TTCs, that are activated when turned on by light.  For instance, when blue light from an LED shines on the polymers, it attaches new monomers to the TTCs, which makes them stretch out.”  The 3D printed object is made from these monomers, which give the object’s material new properties.

Along with changing the color of a 3D printed object, the team also discovered “they could make materials become bigger or smaller using different temperatures by adding a specific monomer.”  This technique is still in its infancy, however.  It is “limited by the fact it requires an oxygen-free environment.”

The good news is that the team is “now working on finding different catalysts that can be used in the presence of oxygen.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Wired UK

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Inholland Students Use 3D Printing to Create Small Rockets

WARNING: For the above video, unless you speak Dutch, turn on closed captioning!

TCT Magazine reports on a design project Dutch aviation students are conducting at Inholland University.  The students are utilizing Ultimaker 3D printers in order to “produce lightweight parts for small rockets.”

The “pupils have previously built and launched two rockets with 3D printed parts and carbon fibre.  For their third rocket, the students, working in tandem with their teachers, are planning on a completely 3D printed rocket.”

Before now, “the group successfully launched the Aguilo II, a solid-fuel rocket of about 8 feet tall.  Their next rocket will also stand 8 feet tall and use a similar engine to the Aguilo II.”

As Martin Kampinga, teacher in aviation technology at Hogeschool Inholland in Delft explains: “we use 3D printing primarily in the design process.  We design a model on the PC and print it out to continue working on it.  We’re an applied sciences study, so everything we teach we try to apply in practice as well.  Students primarily learn about strength calculations, aerodynamics, everything that has something to do with airplanes.”

“The Applied Sciences department of Inholland University has introduced 3D printing techniques into its teaching, not only to familiarize students with a modern manufacturing method, but also because of its time and money-saving capabilities.”

“I think every university should offer this in their curriculum,” Kampinga concludes, “University is where it all happens.  Students will be here for four years, so they won’t hit the labor market [until they graduate.  When that happens,] these 3D printers will [have developed and changed as well,] so in the course of their education, you need to show them [this revolutionary] production method exists.”

Video, Image, and Quotes Courtesy of TCT Magazine, Inholland University, and Ultimaker

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Meet the First Multi-Ingredient Food 3D Printer

Smithsonian Magazine recently interviewed Hod Lipson, who is a professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University.  Lipson “has been studying 3D printing for nearly 20 years, working on printing things like plastics, metals, electronics, and biomaterials.”

Now, however, he’s 3D printing something else.  Food.

Lipson explains: “for millennia we’ve been cooking the same way.  Cooking is one of the things that hasn’t changed for eternity.  We still cook over an open flame like cavemen.  Software has permeated almost every aspect of our lives except cooking.  The moment software enters any field – from manufacturing to communications to music, you name it – it takes off and usually transforms it.  I think that food printing is one of the ways software is going to enter our kitchen.”

It all began for Lipson when he was “experimenting with making multi-material printers [and] noticed the students in his lab were beginning to use food as a test material.”  He goes on: “they were using cookie dough, cheese, chocolate, all kinds of food materials you might find around an engineering lab.  In the beginning, it was sort of a frivolous thing.  But when people came to the lab and looked at it, they actually got really excited by the food printing.”

And so, ideas began percolating for Lipson concerning multi-ingredient 3D food printers.  “There are two basic approaches to 3D food printing…the first involves using powders, which are bound together during the printing process with a liquid such as water.  The second [approach, which was] used by Lipson’s lab – is extrusion-based, using syringes, which deposit gels or pastes in specific locations determined by the software’s ‘recipe.’”  The Columbia team’s eventual prototype “involves an infrared cooking element, which cooks various parts of the printed product at specific times.”

One of the hurdles the team had to overcome was how to “predict how different foods will fare when combined.  It’s easy enough to create recipes based on single items like chocolate, whose properties are well established.  But when you start to mix things together – mixing, of course, being fundamental to cooking – the mixtures may have more complex behaviors…Lipson’s printer is unique for being able to handle many ingredients at once, and cook them as it goes.”

Lipson envisions his team’s printer having two main uses.  “First, it could be a specialty appliance for cooking novel foods difficult to achieve by any other process…Lipson says he could imagine digital recipes going viral, spreading across the globe.”

“The second use is about health and targeted nutrition.  People are…increasingly interested in personal biometrics, tracking their blood pressure, pulse, calorie burn, and more – using cell phones and computers.  In the future, it may be possible to track your own health in much greater detail – your blood sugar, your calcium needs, or your current vitamin D level.  The printer could then respond to those details with a customized meal, produced from a cartridge of ingredients.”

As for the prototype’s design – Lipson left that up to one of his students, Drim Stokhuijzen, who is an industrial designer.  Stokhuijzen “completely redesigned the machine, giving it the sleek look of a high-end coffee maker.”

Lipson raves about it: “his design is so beautiful people are saying for the first time, ‘oh, I can see the appeal of food printing, this is something I might actually use.’”

By this point you’re probably wondering whether Lipson’s printer is coming to the market anytime soon.

“Lipson says it’s more a business challenge than a technological one.”  In his own words: “how do you get FDA approval?  How do you sell the cartridges?  Who owns the recipe?  How do you make money off this?  It’s a completely new way of thinking about food.  It’s very radical.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

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Cleveland Cavaliers’ Championship Rings Created Using 3D Printing

3DPrint discovered a fascinating tidbit concerning the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship rings.  Apparently, they were developed using the wonders of 3D printing!

As many of you are already aware, the Cleveland Cavaliers achieved their first NBA championship this year by coming back in a seven-game series against the Golden State Warriors.

Hailing from a city starved of championships, the Cavaliers knew they had to commemorate the occasion in style.  Baron Championship Rings was commissioned to create the players’ rings.  They are the heaviest NBA championship rings ever made, “at 165 grams, and there are over 400 diamonds on each one.”

Obviously, these rings were no small design task: “there’s an immense amount of detail in the design.  Not only does the design include the year and the team name and logo, it’s customized to each player with name and number, and includes numerous other details like the etching of the city skyline.”

For this reason, Baron uses a process relying heavily on 3D printing.  “Once the design is sketched, it’s then turned into a 3D model and printed in wax, which is used to cast the final metal piece.  Baron has been using 3D printing in their manufacturing process for a while now, and the technology has numerous benefits.”

According to the company, “3D printing speeds production by 30% without compromising the detail or integrity of the design.  While older processes require that rings be crafted in multiple pieces and in standard sizes, resulting in the need for resizing and a tendency for the shape to warp, with 3D printing, each ring can be manufactured in one piece and in custom sizes, with no limit to the level of detail and customization…offered.”

Just hear how Baron’s employees expound upon 3D printing’s many capabilities: “through the last few years there’s been some great leaps in the technology, and…using 3D printing really allows you to get off the standard even more than before.  It allows you to make basically anything that comes to mind now.  You’re not restricted to just attacking the design from one dimension anymore.  You’re allowed to spin it; you’re allowed to think upside down, inside out, whatever it takes to get the perfect ring made.”

Video, Image, and Quotes Courtesy of 3DPrint, Baron Championship Rings, the NBA, and the Cleveland Cavaliers

 

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