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3D Printing at Year’s End

The year might be ending – but the 3D printing industry certainly isn’t!

Let’s begin this month’s news with a warning…

Gizmodo recently ran an interview with the authors of several studies published in the scientific journal Aerosol Science and Technology concerning the toxic materials produced by desktop 3D printers.

Of course, this isn’t a new worry, but these scientists, hailing from UL Chemical Safety and Georgia Institute of Technology, have conducted a “two-year investigation to assess the impacts of desktop 3D printers on indoor air quality.”  During this study, “the researchers were able to identify hundreds of different compounds, some of which are known health hazards.”

UL Chemical Safety’s Vice President and Senior Technical Advisor Marilyn Black “says her team’s findings should serve as a wakeup call, and they’re asking health researchers, scientists, and other institutions to investigate further.”

“Standard desktop 3D printers produce detectable amounts of ultrafine particles, or UFPs, while performing print jobs. UFPs are nanoscale particles that are invisible to the human eye, but could lead to serious health issues, particularly if they’re inhaled and delivered to the body’s pulmonary system.”

“When a printing process is initiated, a burst of new particles is created, which then becomes airborne. It’s this initial batch that tends to contain the smallest sizes and the maximum number of UFP concentrations during the entire print job, according to the new research.”

FDM 3D printers (of which MakerBot is just one desktop example) are particularly notorious for such particles: “The sheer variety of the toxic substances produced by these printers was alarming. No less than 200 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in the invisible puffs emanating from the printers as they churned away—including many known and suspected irritants and carcinogens.”

However, despite this alarming research, Dr. Black is quick to point out “this study was not a detailed look into the long-term health effects of 3D printers.”  Going forward, it is vital makers begin to take certain steps in order to counteract the effects of these harmful materials, though.

Dr. Black advises makers to “use [3D printers] only in well-ventilated spaces with outdoor air flow and stand away from the printers during operation.  Choose and select printers and feedstocks which have been proven to be low emitters.”

This month’s news wasn’t all stress-inducing, however…

3D Printing Industry reports on a recent collaboration between Fillamentum, which is a Czech 3D printer materials manufacturer, and František Dvořák, an industrial designer.

Presented at the Formnext Exposition in Frankfurt, this collaboration turned out to be a 3D printed electric motorcycle hood.  “In total, the motorcycle is built from 66 parts and uses Fillamentum’s high strength CPE filament (also known as PET or UPET) for the hood.”

Fillamentum is not only known for its top-quality 3D printing materials, “it also enjoys cooperating with printers, idea makers, architects, and most importantly: designers.”  Indeed, František Dvořák “made the motorcycle as part of his final project at Tomas Bata University and under a commercial assignment from Czech electric motorcycle manufacturer Kuberg s.r.o..”

As František Dvořák explains: “the machine’s concept uniquely combines the best qualities of a city scooter and adds the wild DNA of Dakar racing motorcycles.  Expected technical parameters: 55kW power, 300 km distance on one charge.”  The design took 10 months to develop, but the actual physical motorcycle hood only took 43 days.  “It was 3D printed in 66 segments on a Průša desktop 3D printer, and 2.5km of Fillamentum CPE HG100 was used in the process.”

Dvořák’ explains his choice in materials: “after experimenting with ASA and ABS, I’ve decided to use the CPE material for printing, specifically the CPE HG100 because it seemed like the best fit.  It’s very solid and heat-resistant, and what’s more, it has excellent impact tenacity – it was crucial for my project.”

Continuing on with the theme of vehicles, CNET reports on a recent successful collaboration between HRE Wheels and GE Additive: “3D printed titanium concept wheels.”  The HRE3D+ concept wheel, “which has spokes going through other spokes, was created using 3D printed titanium, allowing the wheel company to create a design impossible [to replicate] through traditional manufacturing methods like CNC machining alone.”

The HRE3D+ concept “was created from titanium powder and a type of 3D printing [known as] electron beam melting.  An electron beam generates heat, which is used to form the powder into metal structures in a vacuum.  Titanium likes to react with oxygen, so the vacuum [part] is especially [vital.]”  Electron beam melting is “also being investigated for use in medical implant and aerospace manufacturing as well.”

In order to see the HRE3D+ come to fruition, the two companies had to print the wheel “in five distinct sections comprising the face of the wheel.  Those five pieces were combined with a custom center section, all of which was eventually bolted to a carbon-fiber wheel rim using titanium fasteners.  Some machining is still required, since its precision is unmatched and components like bolt holes need to be engineered to perfection.”

While still only a concept, the HRE3D+ speaks to great things on the horizon for 3D printing using titanium, even if this wheel concept was created merely for aesthetics.  Still, the wheels do look quite amazing.

Finally – some hope for the future of sustainable 3D printing: 3D Printing Industry was on hand when Colossus, “a machine development startup based in Genk, Belgium,” announced “the largest Fused Granular Fabrication (FGF) 3D printer specifically designed to process recycled materials.”

Colossus’s Co-Founder Philippe Merillet explained the company’s rationale when it came to designing this 3D printer: “clients requested a way to make furniture and other large-scale objects from plastic waste, so we searched the market [for a] large-scale printer and everything we found was either too slow, too expensive, or could not work with high-temperature materials.  We decided to develop a printer made for materials.”

The Colossus 3D Printer, which debuted at Formnext, is housed inside a shipping container.  It boasts “a build size of 2.67m x 1m x 1.5m (L x W x H) equating to a volume of 4 meters cubed.”  Although their 3D printer is large, the team at Colossus assured it was also transportable and modular.

Colossus’s CTO Yannick Aerts added: “we wanted to build a printing system which really adjusts to our customers’ needs, so making it as transportable and upgradeable as possible was a main priority.”  Users will be able to adjust the print bed, extruder, and screw types.  “This flexibility makes the Colossal 3D FGF highly relevant for various applications and industry sectors.”

“The Colossus FGM 3D printer print supports speeds of up to 15kg per hour from a granulate fed extruder and includes a dehumidification unit for improved print quality. A heated print bed is also featured that allows easy print removal.  In partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical, Colossus has successfully tested 10 material compound profiles for optimal performance of FGM system. According to the company, this printer is the first of its scale to use rPET, recycled PET, and rPP, recycled Polypropylene profiles.”

The company is now working to develop a printer capable of faster times.  Preorders for the Colossus FGM 3D printer have already begun to be ordered.

Festive greetings to you all, until next year!

Image Courtesy of Gizmodo

Quotes Courtesy of Gizmodo, 3D Printing Industry, and CNET

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Roboze Launches Xtreme 3D Printers

Engineering recently published a wide-ranging interview with the CEO of Roboze, Alessio Lorusso.  It is a fascinating discourse – mainly focusing upon the release of a new line of 3D printers.

Lorusso founded Roboze back in 2013 – and launched the company’s first product – the Roboze One – in 2015.  Subsequently, the Roboze One+400 was released.  With the Roboze One+400, “the company initiated a breed of 3D printers capable of printing with such sought after materials as polyether ether ketone (PEEK) and ULTEM, but at a much lower price than the name-brand 3D printers more familiar to the 3D printing industry.”

Now, Roboze has launched “a new series of mid-range, office-friendly 3D printers with similar material capabilities, thus bringing engineering-grade plastics to small and mid-sized businesses.”  These printers, like their forebears, utilize FDM 3D printing.  They include the Roboze One Xtreme and Roboze One+400 Xtreme 3D printers.

The main difference between these printers is the temperatures they can reach – the One Xtreme only reaches 300 degrees Celsius, “whereas the One+400 Xtreme can reach 500 degrees Celsius, opening up a greater range of engineering-grade materials.”

Up till now, “Roboze has found itself working with a variety of businesses, including some of the largest in manufacturing.  These include familiar names such as GE and Airbus, as well as defense companies like Rafael and Formula 1 teams.  However, these firms have access to far more resources than smaller businesses.  The introduction of the Xtreme series…is meant to open industrial FDM technology to small and medium-sized companies.”

As Lorusso says: “the goal of these new products is to provide access to high performance materials and industrial machines to the medium-sized business segment.  These are customers who are not the large manufacturers of the world, like GE and Airbus, but who are small and medium-sized companies who can access these machines and materials at a good price point.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Roboze and Engineering

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Indianapolis Museum Aims To Be At Forefront of 3D Printing Revolution

WVXU recently released an interesting peak inside the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site museum in Indianapolis.  For those who are not already aware, Benjamin Harrison “was the 23rd president of the United States, who was born in North Bend, Ohio; graduated from Miami University, and University of Cincinnati’s Law School, and made his home in Indiana.”

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site museum features 2D and 3D artifacts totaling 10,000 pieces – all focusing on the former president.  This institution has also been at the forefront of the additive manufacturing revolution.  Indeed, it “was one of the first museums to offer free 3D printing of its art collection, all in an effort to make it more accessible to the public.”  Now, the museum “hopes to be a model for other museums around the country.”

“The New Century eCollection Initiative – funded by the Lilly Endowment, a private philanthropic organization supporting religion, education, and community – allows printing [of the museum’s collection.]”  This also marked a partnership between the museum and Indiana University-Purdue University, IUPUI.

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site’s President and CEO Charlie Hyde concluded: “this forward-looking initiative will open up an extraordinary range of original materials for exploration never before accessible in this way.  It will allow us as a museum to better preserve our collection for future generations by visually documenting artifacts in their entirety and open up new channels for the thrill of discovery.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of WVXU

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Massivit Engineer on the Merits of 3D Printed Signage

Wide Format Online, which focuses primarily on wide format (traditional) printing for the signage industry, recently published a piece by Massivit engineer Matan Weinstein.

In his piece, Weinstein espouses upon the merits of using large format 3D printing (like his company Massivit provides) to create incredibly effective signage.  Weinstein begins by discussing additive manufacturing’s flexibility:

“By creating a design file in 3D from the start, all aspects of the letters can be included in the design process. This means the creative possibilities are limitless. Brands can incorporate unusual shapes, curves, different angles, side textures, and they needn’t produce just one letter at a time… or letters at all for that matter.”

Weinstein then goes on to explain how the speed of 3D printing – as opposed to traditional signage creation methods – effects the entire design flow: “aside from taking less time and reducing the manual intervention required, a solution like the Massivit 1800 Flagship 3D Printer – engineered for large format visual applications, including attention-grabbing retail signage, high-impact vehicle wraps, and track-stopping event and exhibition displays – also features dual printheads, enabling the production of two models simultaneously. This not only offers faster delivery times but reduces the cost to the end customer.”

Weinstein also talks about how 3D printing can really cut down on errors made during the process.  Not only this, but Weinstein waxes poetic about his company’s 3D printers’ abilities: “the Massivit 1800 Flagship 3D Printer and the Massivit 1500 Exploration 3DPrinter enable print providers to produce innovative, versatile 3D printed applications for the advertising, retailing, entertainment, events & exhibitions and interior design industries.”

Unlike other 3D printers, “Massivit 3D printers have been developed to ensure there are far less constraints in terms of the size of printed output. Print providers and brands can literally, and creatively, think big insofar as sign and display production. As such, when it comes to breaking new ground with creative, cost-effective, large-scale signage, such as channel letters, you can write off traditional production methods – large format 3D printing is clearly the way forward.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Massivit 3D and Wide Format Online

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Stratasys Launches Range of FDM & Polyjet Materials

TCT Magazine recently commented upon Stratasys’ latest range of FDM & Polyjet materials for 3D printing.  This announcement was made at Formnext.

Stratasys “has launched the TPU 92A Elastomer, available across its F123 FDM series and through its Stratasys Direct Manufacturing business.  This material is said to boast high elongation and toughness, stretching significantly without losing shape, and with hands-free soluble support, can help to reduce production time and labor costs.”

Stratasys aims for this ‘compelling’ material to help users “produce medium to large parts, which are complex and require resilience, that were previously not possible.”  As Stratasys’ Vice President and Head of Solutions and Materials Business Zehavit Reisin elaborates: “creating elastomer parts using traditional silicone or CNC molds are extremely costly and time consuming – while it is our view other additive techniques just cannot deliver parts with the size and complexity of our elastomer approach.  Manufacturers demand 3D printing solutions which can be put to work in real prototyping and extreme production environments.  With reliable and highly resilient parts, our solutions are designed to enable customers to do just that.”

Additionally, on the FDM front, Stratasys has announced the Antero800NA, which is a PEKK-based thermoplastic.  This high-performance material “is notable for its chemical resistance, high heat resistance, and low outgassing properties, which make it suitable for aerospace applications.”  Stratasys has also launched “a set of materials able to mimic the qualities of rubber, leather, or plastic” for its PolyJet J750 and J735 full-color 3D printers.

“Finally, MED625FLX, a bio-compatible material said to be well-suited for dental and orthodontic applications, is now available on Stratasys’ Objet 260 Dental and Objet 260/500 Dental Selection machines. This material has been designed to directly print flexible IDB trays, reducing bracket placement times and cutting the costs for labs.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of TCT Magazine

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Desktop 3D Printers Produce Toxic Materials?

Gizmodo recently ran an interview with the authors of several studies published in the scientific journal Aerosol Science and Technology concerning the toxic materials produced by desktop 3D printers.

Of course, this isn’t a new worry, but these scientists, hailing from UL Chemical Safety and Georgia Institute of Technology, have conducted a “two-year investigation to assess the impacts of desktop 3D printers on indoor air quality.”  During this study, “the researchers were able to identify hundreds of different compounds, some of which are known health hazards.”

UL Chemical Safety’s Vice President and Senior Technical Advisor Marilyn Black “says her team’s findings should serve as a wakeup call, and they’re asking health researchers, scientists, and other institutions to investigate further.”

“Standard desktop 3D printers produce detectable amounts of ultrafine particles, or UFPs, while performing print jobs. UFPs are nanoscale particles that are invisible to the human eye, but could lead to serious health issues, particularly if they’re inhaled and delivered to the body’s pulmonary system.”

“When a printing process is initiated, a burst of new particles is created, which then becomes airborne. It’s this initial batch that tends to contain the smallest sizes and the maximum number of UFP concentrations during the entire print job, according to the new research.”

FDM 3D printers (of which MakerBot is just one desktop example) are particularly notorious for such particles: “The sheer variety of the toxic substances produced by these printers was alarming. No less than 200 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in the invisible puffs emanating from the printers as they churned away—including many known and suspected irritants and carcinogens.”

However, despite this alarming research, Dr. Black is quick to point out “this study was not a detailed look into the long-term health effects of 3D printers.”  Going forward, it is vital makers begin to take certain steps in order to counteract the effects of these harmful materials, though.

Dr. Black advises makers to “use [3D printers] only in well-ventilated spaces with outdoor air flow and stand away from the printers during operation.  Choose and select printers and feedstocks which have been proven to be low emitters.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Gizmodo

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3D Printed Electric Motorcycle Hood

3D Printing Industry reports on a recent collaboration between Fillamentum, which is a Czech 3D printer materials manufacturer, and František Dvořák, an industrial designer.

Presented at the Formnext Exposition in Frankfurt, this collaboration turned out to be a 3D printed electric motorcycle hood.  “In total, the motorcycle is built from 66 parts and uses Fillamentum’s high strength CPE filament (also known as PET or UPET) for the hood.”

Fillamentum is not only known for its top-quality 3D printing materials, “it also enjoys cooperating with printers, idea makers, architects, and most importantly: designers.”  Indeed, František Dvořák “made the motorcycle as part of his final project at Tomas Bata University and under a commercial assignment from Czech electric motorcycle manufacturer Kuberg s.r.o..”

As František Dvořák explains: “the machine’s concept uniquely combines the best qualities of a city scooter and adds the wild DNA of Dakar racing motorcycles.  Expected technical parameters: 55kW power, 300 km distance on one charge.”  The design took 10 months to develop, but the actual physical motorcycle hood only took 43 days.  “It was 3D printed in 66 segments on a Průša desktop 3D printer, and 2.5km of Fillamentum CPE HG100 was used in the process.”

Dvořák’ explains his choice in materials: “after experimenting with ASA and ABS, I’ve decided to use the CPE material for printing, specifically the CPE HG100 because it seemed like the best fit.  It’s very solid and heat-resistant, and what’s more, it has excellent impact tenacity – it was crucial for my project.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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Kodak Announces Portrait Desktop 3D Printer

ZDNet reports on a recent announcement made by Kodak.  Previously, we have reported on a licensing agreement reached between Kodak and Smart International, “the company which licenses the Kodak name for 3D printing.”

Now, though, the partnership has announced its first desktop 3D Printer: the Portrait, which is powered by a Raspberry Pi 3.  Kodak aims “to capitalize on the 3D printing market, offering a range of cheaper [3D printers] catering to designers, hobbyists, schools, and consumers.”

The Kodak Portrait 3D Printer was created to do just this.  This dual extrusion desktop 3D printer will cost $3,500 and is run by “a Raspberry Pi 3 running on the Raspbian-based 3DPrinterOS.”  The Portrait “features a five-inch color touchscreen with Kodak branding and can be accessed over Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, and USB.”  Additionally, you can hook up this desktop 3D printer to the cloud – the Kodak 3D Cloud – to be exact.

Additionally, the Portrait boasts “a camera [able] to remotely monitor jobs underway.  The device automatically records a time-lapse movie of the job.  The printer employs LED lights to show its status.”  On top of all this, Kodak and Smart International “are selling Kodak-branded 3D filaments, including different grades of PLA, ABS, Flex g8, HIPS, PETG, water-soluble PVA, and two grades of nylon.”

The Portrait is aimed at the professional market and “stands out with above-average print volume of 10 liters.  It fits on a desk and can be carried by a person or two.”  Indeed, Kodak adds, the Portrait’s “filaments are specially manufactured and packaged to ensure low moisture and high dimensional accuracy, and come in a wide color palette, including, of course, Kodak’s Trade Dress Yellow.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of ZDNet

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Bioprinting a Renewable Energy Generating Mushroom

Teslarati has caught wind of some fascinating findings recently published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.  Apparently, scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey have managed to bioprint a renewable energy generating mushroom.

In their experiment, the scientists utilized “strands of graphene, which were intertwined with cyanobacterial cells on a mushroom cap to capture 65 nanoamps of power.  While this amount of power is a fraction of what would be needed to power even an LED, the initial results are promising for further development as a source of renewable energy.”

For those not already aware, cyanobacteria are “more commonly known as ‘blue-green algae.’”  Cyanobacteria “are aquatic, photosynthetic bacteria, which have been around for about 3.5 billion years.  In addition to the energy produced by photosynthesis, cyanobacteria also produce oxygen, and their ancient ancestors are credited with producing the original oxygen in our atmosphere.  These bacteria are further responsible for the origin of plants – the chloroplasts enabling photosynthesis are actually cyanobacterium living in plant cells.”

For this experiment, the scientists took advantage of another cyanobacteria ability: the release of photocurrents.  Cyanobacteria, during photosynthesis, release a fraction of their electrons, creating photocurrents.  The scientists developed a way for this process to be even more streamlined, therefore, “after being printed onto a mushroom cap, the photocurrent produced was eight times greater than what is produced naturally.”

The scientists chose graphene as their 3D printed ink due to its electrical conductivity and thin size.  This graphene ink was, in turn, able to “collect the electricity from the cyanobacteria placed on the mushroom cap.  Mushrooms were chosen first to provide a surface and nutrients for the cyanobacteria to grow, and second, they enabled the bacteria to last several days longer compared to other bases and materials.”

After all this, the researchers were able to conclude they had successfully created a new functional bio-hybrid system.  “With their proof-of-concept “bionic” mushroom, they are hopeful their research can be used to expand to include more bio-hybrid applications. The bacteria themselves have several other properties which can be integrated for purposes such as glowing identification tags for medical use, toxin sensing, and fuel production.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Teslarati

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Colossus Announces Large-Scale 3D Printer for Recycled Plastics

3D Printing Industry was on hand when Colossus, “a machine development startup based in Genk, Belgium,” announced “the largest Fused Granular Fabrication (FGF) 3D printer specifically designed to process recycled materials.”

Colossus’s Co-Founder Philippe Merillet explained the company’s rationale when it came to designing this 3D printer: “clients requested a way to make furniture and other large-scale objects from plastic waste, so we searched the market [for a] large-scale printer and everything we found was either too slow, too expensive, or could not work with high-temperature materials.  We decided to develop a printer made for materials.”

The Colossus 3D Printer, which debuted at Formnext, is housed inside a shipping container.  It boasts “a build size of 2.67m x 1m x 1.5m (L x W x H) equating to a volume of 4 meters cubed.”  Although their 3D printer is large, the team at Colossus assured it was also transportable and modular.

Colossus’s CTO Yannick Aerts added: “we wanted to build a printing system which really adjusts to our customers’ needs, so making it as transportable and upgradeable as possible was a main priority.”  Users will be able to adjust the print bed, extruder, and screw types.  “This flexibility makes the Colossal 3D FGF highly relevant for various applications and industry sectors.”

“The Colossus FGM 3D printer print supports speeds of up to 15kg per hour from a granulate fed extruder and includes a dehumidification unit for improved print quality. A heated print bed is also featured that allows easy print removal.  In partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical, Colossus has successfully tested 10 material compound profiles for optimal performance of FGM system. According to the company, this printer is the first of its scale to use rPET, recycled PET, and rPP, recycled Polypropylene profiles.”

The company is now working to develop a printer capable of faster times.  Preorders for the Colossus FGM 3D printer have already begun to be ordered.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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3D Printed Titanium Wheels

CNET reports on a recent successful collaboration between HRE Wheels and GE Additive: “3D printed titanium concept wheels.”  The HRE3D+ concept wheel, “which has spokes going through other spokes, was created using 3D printed titanium, allowing the wheel company to create a design impossible [to replicate] through traditional manufacturing methods like CNC machining alone.”

The HRE3D+ concept “was created from titanium powder and a type of 3D printing [known as] electron beam melting.  An electron beam generates heat, which is used to form the powder into metal structures in a vacuum.  Titanium likes to react with oxygen, so the vacuum [part] is especially [vital.]”  Electron beam melting is “also being investigated for use in medical implant and aerospace manufacturing as well.”

In order to see the HRE3D+ come to fruition, the two companies had to print the wheel “in five distinct sections comprising the face of the wheel.  Those five pieces were combined with a custom center section, all of which was eventually bolted to a carbon-fiber wheel rim using titanium fasteners.  Some machining is still required, since its precision is unmatched and components like bolt holes need to be engineered to perfection.”

While still only a concept, the HRE3D+ speaks to great things on the horizon for 3D printing using titanium, even if this wheel concept was created merely for aesthetics.  Still, the wheels do look quite amazing.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of CNET

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Simplify3D Releases Version 4.1 of 3D Printing Software

3DPrint reports on Simplify3D’s latest update of its 3D printing software suite – Version 4.1.  Simplify3D, which “is one of the most popular brands of professional 3D slicing software on the market, first expanded its 3D printing software suite in 2014.  Ever since then, the company has been releasing updated versions of it ever year.”

Now, Simplify3D is releasing an update to this past summer’s Version 4.0.  According to Simplify3D’s CEO Clayton Webster: “Version 4.1 is a tremendous step forward for the software, offering improvements in almost every aspect of the product.  These tools will continue to offer professional users the options they need to push the boundaries of additive manufacturing.”

“Simplify3D’s 3D printing software is preferred by engineers, innovators, and professional users around the world, as it supports hundreds of 3D printer brands, is available worldwide through a long list of industry partners, and streamlines the 3D printing process while also offering excellent customization tools for achieving high-quality results.”

Version 4.1 adds support for over 50 new 3D printers, “intelligent tools, customization, and ways for users to have even greater control over their prints.”  The updated software will now also be able “to take full advantage of multi-extruder hardware, and can now provide support for up to six materials printing at the same time.”

Additionally, Version 4.1 also offers enhancements for multi-part sequences, “which give users more options to choose from when 3D printing several parts on one build platform” and this version also improves upon collision avoidance logic, which “can automatically detect potential build collisions during the print and alter the strategy as needed.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Simplify3D and 3DPrint

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