2018-05-21_10h40_13

3D Printing in June

As with any other month, the wonderful world of additive manufacturing has been exceedingly busy and exciting.

Let’s get right to it.

First, from the UK: The Telegraph reports on yet another astounding medical procedure undertaken using the invaluable aid of 3D printing.

Dexter Clark, who is two years old, is from Reading, Berkshire in the UK.  He “was born with severe kidney problems, which left him only able to eat from a feeding tube.”  Dexter’s father, Brendan, who is 36, agreed to donate his kidney.

The only problem?  “The adult organ is [of course] huge compared to the cavity in which it was to sit.”  So, surgeons at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust turned to the wonders of 3D printing.  They “scanned Mr. Clark’s kidney and his son’s abdomen and 3D printed both so that surgeons could find out if the transplant was even possible, and then worked out the best way to insert the organ…in Dexter’s case, the 3D printed models were also taken into the operating theater on the day of the transplant and reviewed by transplant surgeons.”

In similar circumstances, without 3D printing, Dexter would’ve had to be “placed under anesthesia [in order for] a surgical exploration to be carried out to determine feasibility.”  Now, however, because of 3D printing, “the need for surgical exploration can be reduced because pre-planning can happen before the patient is on the operating table.”

As Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Transplant Registrar Pankaj Chandak explains: “The ability to print a 3D model of the patient’s anatomy in varying textures, with the intricacies of the blood vessels clearly visible within it, enables us to differentiate critical anatomical relations between structures…[3D printing model organs] has the potential to really enhance and aid our decision-making process both during pre-surgical planning and in the operating room, and therefore can help in the safety of what is a very complex operation and improve our patient care.”  The surgeons utilized a Stratasys multi-material 3D printer.

Dexter’s mother, Emily Clark, concludes: “Since the transplant, Dexter is a changed boy, eating solid food for the very first time.  We always knew the operation would be complicated, but knowing the surgeons had planned the surgery with 3D models matching the exact anatomy of my husband’s kidney and son’s abdomen was extremely reassuring.  We hope Dexter’s case will offer other suffering families similar reassurance cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printing, can help surgeons better treat their loved ones.”

Elsewhere in the world of 3D printing:

TCT Magazine reports on a recent breakthrough made by crash test dummy manufacturer Humanetics.  Humanetics has 3D printed an “elderly” crash test dummy.

“Humanetics serves 100% of the OEMS and Tier I safety suppliers worldwide with anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) for testing the safety of automobiles.”  In order for these crash test dummies to be a successful tool in ensuring the safety of automobiles, they must be “designed to reflect the injuries, which occur in real accidents.”  Due to this requirement, it is very helpful to create dummies in every shape, age, and size.

Now, with the help of 3D printing, Humanetics has been able to “create the first elderly crash test dummy” using additive manufactured “internal parts used to replace expensive steel components.”  1 in every 5 drivers in the United States is now elderly, and are therefore “more likely to sustain internal injuries when crashing, because their bones are more fragile and soft tissues less robust.”

As Humanetics’ Chief Technical Officer Mike Beebe explains, due to the specific needs of elderly crash test dummies, he turned to 3D printing: “it’s my job to look at the future.  I’ve been in the ATD business for 38 years and I’m always trying to figure out what new processes and materials we should develop going forward. One of the major discoveries we’ve made recently was that we could 3D print much of the elderly dummy. Now all of the components of the new elderly dummy, from the pelvis to the head assembly, are additively manufactured.”

The team also used “Markforged’s Onyx, a carbon-composite material reinforced with continuous Kevlar fibers.  A complete set of ribs was put to test on an elderly dummy and underwent 60-70 impacts with no visible deformation or damage.”  These specially 3D printed ribs have yet to be broken.

Following these tests, Humanetics has “purchased its own Markforged Mark Two 3D printer, to make ribs and other skeleton components…[and] while Humanetics is seeing Onyx material cost similar to those of the previous steel, the team can print a single rib in twenty-four hours and a full set in a week compared to the two to three weeks with traditional manufacturing.”  3D printing can also improve quality and save between 40-60% in assembly and labor costs.

Humanetics is now eyeing the possibility of 3D printed organs for these crash test dummies.  As Beebe explains: “the ability to generate new organs using 3D printing technology will lead to shorter lead times, improved restraint systems, and safer vehicles.”

Finally, let’s get gigantic!

The Financial Times reports on a recent development announced by the Australian company Titomic.  Apparently, Titomic claims to have build the world’s largest 3D printer.  Not only is it the world’s largest 3D printer – but it also prints in metal as well.

This printer is described as “bus-sized” and has the ability to 3D print “complex aircraft wing parts of up to nearly nine meters in length.”  Additionally, this printer is capable of printing “metal bike frames in around 25 minutes.”

In today’s 3D printing industry, this advancement could be huge.  Gartner, a research company, “predicts three-quarters of aircraft will fly with 3D printed components by 2021.  Also, a fifth of the world’s top 100 consumer goods companies will use 3D printing to create custom products by then.”

Titomic’s Chief Executive Jeff Lang is ecstatic: “only a year ago people thought it would not be possible to use this type of printing process to make large-scale metal parts for industry.  Now we are doing it larger and faster than anyone else…3D printing can provide an exponential increase in the speed of production lines.  One of our 3D printers can do the work of 50 people.  It could enable, for example, US bicycle manufacturers, which tend to manufacture in cheap-labor zones, to begin to bring back local production.”

Titomic was able to develop this technology with the help of Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.  Although Titomic claims their latest 3D printer is the largest, “it is possible the Chinese defense establishment has developed similar printers.”

Be sure to come back next month for more exciting 3D printing news!

Image Courtesy of The Financial Times

Quotes Courtesy of The Telegraph, TCT Magazine, and The Financial Times

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Electronics 3D Printed Directly on Skin

CNET reports on yet another dazzling new way 3D printing is changing the world.  Researchers from the University of Minnesota have just recently published a study concerning 3D printing technology in the scientific journal Advanced Materials.

In this study, the University of Minnesota researchers describe how they have “placed electronics directly onto a person’s hand using a portable 3D printer they designed and developed, which costs less than $400.”

As Mechanical Engineering Professor and Study Lead Michael McAlpine explains: “We imagine a soldier could pull this 3D printer out of a backpack and print a chemical sensor or other electronics they need, directly on the skin. It would be like a ‘Swiss Army knife’ of the future with everything they need all in one portable 3D printing tool.”

The customized 3D printer even works with moving hands, so the subject doesn’t even have to stay still during the application process.  This is due to the wireless LED it 3D prints with.  “The printer places tracking markers on the hand, which act like a map. It takes a 3D scan of the markers and then adds layers of conductive ink made with silver flakes, which cure at room temperature.”  This avoids scorching the skin, which conventional 3D printers would cause.

Beyond military applications, the University of Minnesota team also explained how “the technique could lead to new medical treatments for wound healing and direct 3D printing of grafts for skin disorders.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of the University of Minnesota and CNET

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Boeing Partners with Assembrix Software

3DPrint reports on a new partnership between Boeing and Assembrix Software.  In recent years, Boeing has become increasingly involved in the world of 3D printing, “using multiple vendors to 3D print parts for aircraft such as the Dreamliner.”

However, this has introduced some element of risk.  “While the vendors themselves may be perfectly trustworthy, electronic communication and transfer of parts carries the risk hackers will intercept the information, stealing or altering intellectual property, which could be disastrous.”

In order to mitigate these risks, Boeing has now “signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Assembrix.”  Assembrix is a company which specializes “in software that protects and secures data as it is being transferred between parties…Assembrix is based in Israel and specializes in solutions for the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries.  Those solutions include Assembrix VMS, Assembrix Prepare, Assembrix Quote, and Assembrix API.”

Utilizing Assembrix’s cloud-based platform, Boeing will now be able “to transmit additive manufacturing design information using secure distribution methods protecting data from being intercepted, corrupted, or decrypted during distribution and manufacturing.”  Assembrix “oversees the entire additive manufacturing thread, from the original part model to the verified physical part and beyond.  It also allows for allocation and monitoring of 3D printers for multiple in-house users or outside clients, offering a fully automated and self-controlled process, leading to higher print utilization and ROI.”

“Boeing is currently using additive manufacturing at 20 of its sites and has suppliers all over the world, using them for 3D printed parts for its commercial, space and defense platforms. In addition to using 3D printed parts for the Dreamliner, Boeing has also recently commissioned them for its space taxis, satellites, and much more. The company has big goals including supersonic flights and transport to Mars, and 3D printing will help it more effectively pursue those goals, especially now that the technology is protected and secured by Assembrix’s software.”

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Quotes Courtesy of 3DPrint

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Titomic Builds [Arguably] World’s Largest Metal 3D Printer

The Financial Times reports on a recent development announced by the Australian company Titomic.  Apparently, Titomic claims to have build the world’s largest 3D printer.  Not only is it the world’s largest 3D printer – but it also prints in metal as well.

This printer is described as “bus-sized” and has the ability to 3D print “complex aircraft wing parts of up to nearly nine meters in length.”  Additionally, this printer is capable of printing “metal bike frames in around 25 minutes.”

In today’s 3D printing industry, this advancement could be huge.  Gartner, a research company, “predicts three-quarters of aircraft will fly with 3D printed components by 2021.  Also, a fifth of the world’s top 100 consumer goods companies will use 3D printing to create custom products by then.”

Titomic’s Chief Executive Jeff Lang is ecstatic: “only a year ago people thought it would not be possible to use this type of printing process to make large-scale metal parts for industry.  Now we are doing it larger and faster than anyone else…3D printing can provide an exponential increase in the speed of production lines.  One of our 3D printers can do the work of 50 people.  It could enable, for example, US bicycle manufacturers, which tend to manufacture in cheap-labor zones, to begin to bring back local production.”

Titomic was able to develop this technology with the help of Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.  Although Titomic claims their latest 3D printer is the largest, “it is possible the Chinese defense establishment has developed similar printers.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of The Financial Times

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3D Printing Complex Biological Tissues Via Stereolithography

UCLA Newsroom reports on a recent study exploring how the new 3D printing process of stereolithography can be used to create complex biological tissues.

This study, which was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Institutes of Health, was developed by researchers at the UCLA Samuell School of Engineering, Harvard Medical School, the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Sharif University of Technology, Iran, and UC San Diego.  The team’s findings were published in the scientific journal Advanced Materials.

The technique involves “a specially adapted stereolithographic 3D printer to build therapeutic biomaterials from multiple materials.  The advance could be a step toward on-demand printing of complex artificial tissues for use in transplants and other surgeries.”

As UCLA’s Levi James Knight, Jr., Professor of Engineering Ali Khademhosseini explains, “tissues are wonderfully complex structures, so to engineer artificial versions of them that function properly, we have to recreate their complexity.  Our new approach offers a way to build complex biocompatible structures made from different materials.”

Stereolithography is a 3D printing process involving light.  Khademhosseini’s custom-built 3D printer “has two key components. The first is a custom-built microfluidic chip — a small, flat platform similar in size to a computer chip — with multiple inlets that each ‘prints’ a different material. The other component is a digital micromirror, an array of more than a million tiny mirrors that each moves independently.”

“The researchers used different types of hydrogels – materials that, after passing through the printer, form scaffolds for tissue to grow into. The micromirrors direct light onto the printing surface, and the illuminated areas indicate the outline of the 3D object that’s being printed. The light also triggers molecular bonds to form in the materials, which causes the gels to firm into solid material. As the 3D object is printed, the mirror array changes the light pattern to indicate the shape of each new layer.”

“The process is the first to use multiple materials for automated stereolithographic bioprinting — an advance over conventional stereolithographic bioprinting, which only uses one type of material. While the demonstration device used four types of bio-inks, the study’s authors write that the process could accommodate as many inks as needed.”

The team “also printed shapes mimicking tumors with networks of blood vessels, which could be used as biological models to study cancers. They tested the printed structures by implanting them in rats. The structures were not rejected.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of UCLA Newsroom

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3D Printed Models Allows Kidney Transplant Between Father and Son

The Telegraph reports on yet another astounding medical procedure undertaken using the invaluable aid of 3D printing.

Dexter Clark, who is two years old, is from Reading, Berkshire in the UK.  He “was born with severe kidney problems, which left him only able to eat from a feeding tube.”  Dexter’s father, Brendan, who is 36, agreed to donate his kidney.

The only problem?  “The adult organ is [of course] huge compared to the cavity in which it was to sit.”  So, surgeons at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust turned to the wonders of 3D printing.  They “scanned Mr. Clark’s kidney and his son’s abdomen and 3D printed both so that surgeons could find out if the transplant was even possible, and then worked out the best way to insert the organ…in Dexter’s case, the 3D printed models were also taken into the operating theater on the day of the transplant and reviewed by transplant surgeons.”

In similar circumstances, without 3D printing, Dexter would’ve had to be “placed under anesthesia [in order for] a surgical exploration to be carried out to determine feasibility.”  Now, however, because of 3D printing, “the need for surgical exploration can be reduced because pre-planning can happen before the patient is on the operating table.”

As Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Transplant Registrar Pankaj Chandak explains: “The ability to print a 3D model of the patient’s anatomy in varying textures, with the intricacies of the blood vessels clearly visible within it, enables us to differentiate critical anatomical relations between structures…[3D printing model organs] has the potential to really enhance and aid our decision-making process both during pre-surgical planning and in the operating room, and therefore can help in the safety of what is a very complex operation and improve our patient care.”  The surgeons utilized a Stratasys multi-material 3D printer.

Dexter’s mother, Emily Clark, concludes: “Since the transplant, Dexter is a changed boy, eating solid food for the very first time.  We always knew the operation would be complicated, but knowing the surgeons had planned the surgery with 3D models matching the exact anatomy of my husband’s kidney and son’s abdomen was extremely reassuring.  We hope Dexter’s case will offer other suffering families similar reassurance cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printing, can help surgeons better treat their loved ones.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of The Telegraph

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NASA Test Fires 3D Printed Rocket Engine

Popular Mechanics reports on a recent successful test of a partially 3D printed rocket engine by NASA.  The hot-fire test involved a 3D printed combustion chamber for the rocket engine.

“The successful test is the latest in a series of advancements in 3D printed rocket technology from both private companies and public research groups.”  This particular engine marks a collaboration between “three NASA centers across the country: Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio; Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia; and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.”

Back in 2015, “material scientists at Glenn developed a powdered copper alloy that engineers at Marshall used to 3D-print the space agency’s first full-scale copper rocket engine part, a lining for the combustion chamber.”  Now, due to this most recent collaboration, the chamber jacket for that lining was 3D printed.  “Chamber jackets are used to help protect parts of the engine from the immense pressure generated in the engine’s combustion chamber.”

Copper may be conductive, but it isn’t strong enough.  Therefore, NASA “has covered the part in a nickel-alloy jacket, which provides a sturdy structure to withstand the stress from pressure.”  Due to all of NASA’s research into additive manufacturing over the last few years, hand-on engineering processes can now be eliminated.  These jackets can now “be made in hours as opposed to days or weeks.”

As for this test, “the lining and the jacket were placed in a test stand, and the engine was fired to simulate launch conditions.  The hot fire ran for 25 seconds at 100 percent power for the engine.  Both parts passed with flying colors.”

Image Courtesy of NASA

Quotes Courtesy of Popular Mechanics

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AREVO Raises $12.5 Million in Series B Financing

3DPrinting Industry reports on another company successfully raising funds with Series B financing.  AREVO, which is a company “dedicated to direct digital additive manufacturing of composite materials” has raised $12.5 million in its Series B financing round.  Additionally, AREVO has also introduced a brand-new CEO.

This Series B financing round, which was funded by “Japanese global glass manufacturing company Asahi Glass with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, Leslie Ventures, and Khosla Ventures…will contribute to AREVO’s ongoing R&D efforts.”  Two years ago, AREVO completed a Series A funding round, which raised $7 million.

Now, AREVO has announced a new CEO: Jim Miller, who was former VP of WW Operations at Google and VP of Supply Chain at Amazon.  Miller is excited to join the AREVO team: “we have the technology and tools to commercialize our software and fabrication process to build high strength parts the manufacturing industry hasn’t been able to conceive and construct before.”

For example, AREVO has already developed “a multi-axis robotic additive manufacturing platform they call ‘Free Motion Printing’ or ‘True 3D printing.’”  With this platform, AREVO is able to composite fiber projects with a higher “degree of design flexibility and scale.”  AREVO’s most recent project involved a “3D printed frame for a high-performance commuter bike.”  The frame is said to be stronger than titanium.

“The vision for this technology is that it will be used to make strong, lightweight parts, capable of replacing heavier metal parts – potentially valuable to the transport, aerospace, and automotive industries.”

Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures concludes: “AREVO’s approach is a significant leap forward as it is truly 3D printing rather than stacked 2D printing, which is what most of us are accustomed to.  AREVO is the company that can finally move 3D printing beyond novelty applications and into a mainstream manufacturing necessity with its unique nexus of software, robotics, and composite materials.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of AREVO and 3D Printing Industry

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Humanetics 3D Prints “Elderly” Crash Test Dummy

TCT Magazine reports on a recent breakthrough made by crash test dummy manufacturer Humanetics.  Humanetics has 3D printed an “elderly” crash test dummy.

“Humanetics serves 100% of the OEMS and Tier I safety suppliers worldwide with anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) for testing the safety of automobiles.”  In order for these crash test dummies to be a successful tool in ensuring the safety of automobiles, they must be “designed to reflect the injuries, which occur in real accidents.”  Due to this requirement, it is very helpful to create dummies in every shape, age, and size.

Now, with the help of 3D printing, Humanetics has been able to “create the first elderly crash test dummy” using additive manufactured “internal parts used to replace expensive steel components.”  1 in every 5 drivers in the United States is now elderly, and are therefore “more likely to sustain internal injuries when crashing, because their bones are more fragile and soft tissues less robust.”

As Humanetics’ Chief Technical Officer Mike Beebe explains, due to the specific needs of elderly crash test dummies, he turned to 3D printing: “it’s my job to look at the future.  I’ve been in the ATD business for 38 years and I’m always trying to figure out what new processes and materials we should develop going forward. One of the major discoveries we’ve made recently was that we could 3D print much of the elderly dummy. Now all of the components of the new elderly dummy, from the pelvis to the head assembly, are additively manufactured.”

The team also used “Markforged’s Onyx, a carbon-composite material reinforced with continuous Kevlar fibers.  A complete set of ribs was put to test on an elderly dummy and underwent 60-70 impacts with no visible deformation or damage.”  These specially 3D printed ribs have yet to be broken.

Following these tests, Humanetics has “purchased its own Markforged Mark Two 3D printer, to make ribs and other skeleton components…[and] while Humanetics is seeing Onyx material cost similar to those of the previous steel, the team can print a single rib in twenty-four hours and a full set in a week compared to the two to three weeks with traditional manufacturing.”  3D printing can also improve quality and save between 40-60% in assembly and labor costs.

Humanetics is now eyeing the possibility of 3D printed organs for these crash test dummies.  As Beebe explains: “the ability to generate new organs using 3D printing technology will lead to shorter lead times, improved restraint systems, and safer vehicles.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of TCT Magazine

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RoboToad: 3D Printed Toads

The Windsor Star reports on a brand new small business which has been launched by a student at the University of Windsor.  Lincoln Savi is a master’s student studying the behavior of yellow toads in Costa Rica.

In order to better understand these creatures, Savi 3D printed a number of robotic ones, painting them himself.  He created eight of them, while adding electronic movement as well.  Savi initially 3D printed these ‘RoboToads’ “for PhD student Katrina Switzer who is in Costa Rica now studying the male neotropical yellow toads who only turn yellow for half a day to mate before turning back to brown.  Switzer wants to know if a brighter yellow attracts more females and no female is going to waste her time on a fake-looking toad.”

University of Windsor Biology Professor Dan Mennill, “who is involved in the research [along with Switzer and fellow professor Stephanie Doucet]” describes Savi’s 3D printed RoboToads as a “gamechanger.  The use of 3D printing brings about a new era for animal behaviorists who want to study animals in the wild.  Researchers have used taxidermy specimens that break down or clay models that aren’t realistic. Now research can be done that scientists only dreamed of in the past.  What’s really special is the combination of Savi’s scientific and artistic knowledge to create ‘incredibly lifelike’ 3D animals.”

In fact, Savi’s 3D printed creations have been so successful he was able to start his own business: Savi Made, creating 3D printed animals.  “He’s created about 20 so far, some for research and some as unique gifts for biologists. He also sees a market for teachers such as making larger-than-life insects for education.”

Savi has been accepted into the RBC Epic Founders Program for Entrepreneurs at the University of Windsor’s EPICentre, where he “will learn to grow his startup over the next three months.”

Video, Image, and Quotes Courtesy of Savi Made and The Windsor Star

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Artist Matthew Angelo Harrison Uses 3D Printing for Abstract Ancestry: Machine Works on Paper

All3DP reports on a new time-based performance at the University of Michigan Institute for Humanities’ gallery featuring 3D printing.

Matthew Angelo Harrison is the 2018 Efroymson Emerging Artist in Residence at the University of Michigan.  Harrison has chosen “to utilize 3D printing to reinterpret African tribal symbols into sculptures.”  Harrison has called this performance “Abstract Ancestry: Machine Works on Paper.”

Harrison’s “exhibit focuses on the cultural expressions of Africanism that have been consumed by the tourism industry.  To bring this concept to the art world, Harrison designed and built his own large-scale clay 3D printer to produce his sculptures directly onto a canvas hanging on the gallery wall.”

In order to see his vision through, Harrison used textile design programming.  His specially constructed 3D printer “extrudes the sculpture in thick lines of clay directly onto a heavily gessoed canvas…by building up layers in a dubious and unrecognizable manner, Harrison is able to symbolize the impact tourism and commerce have had on the ritualistic traditions in Africa.”

“The objects used in Harrison’s artwork are all purchased online, rather than sourced directly from regions in Africa. He notes that the relics he acquires are oftentimes sold by colonizer countries rather than their countries of origin, which plays into his concept of commercialized tribal patterns.”

In Harrison’s own words: “a lot of these patterns have had religious or ritual context, but what has happened over time is that they’ve become just part of commerce.  The tourist market is super interesting to me.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Matthew Angelo Harrison, The University of Michigan, and All3DP

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BigRep Tests 3D Printed Airless Bicycle Tire

TCT Magazine reports on a recent test undergone by BigRep.  BigRep is a large-format 3D printer manufacturer.  Recently, they have “3D printed the first airless bicycle tire with the help of their TPU filament Pro FLEX.”

BigRep’s goal in 3D printing this airless tire was to “demonstrate the ease and speed, as well as flexibility, in which spare parts can be 3D printed.”  In order to test their brand new airless 3D printed tire, BigRep took to the streets of Berlin, Germany.

BigRep Product Designer Marco Mattia explains: “we were able to replace ‘air’ as a necessity in the tire by customizing the pattern to be one of a three-layered honeycomb design.  Based on the same principle, the design can be altered to fit the requirements of specific kinds of biking, such as mountain biking and road racing, or for different weather and speed conditions.”

As BigRep had hoped, the success of this airless 3D printed tire “showcases the potential for 3D printing to develop new complex geometries, which could not be produced with traditional production methods.  The tire was printed to scale as a large 1:1 object on the BigRepONE 3D printer, which has a build volume of one cubic meter, without the need for gluing work or any other post-processing.”

BigRep’s CEO Stephan Beyer concludes: “we have expanded our technical portfolio with a high-impact, high-temperature-resistant material in Pro FLEX, which has higher interlayer-bonding than we have ever seen before, and robust chemical resistance for a range of technical applications. There is a clear use case for flexible parts that can be customized and printed on a needs basis, across med-tech, aerospace, automotive, and other industries.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of BigRep and TCT Magazine

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