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Hershey and 3D Systems: Partners in “Chocolate”

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Gizmag reports “the announcement mentioned plans to develop not only new candy confections with the technology, but also a new class of printers.”

Hershey aims to embrace “new technologies to move its candies into the future, though also left the language vague enough to include foods that weren’t candies.”

This announcement comes on the heels of 3D Systems unveiling a sugar printer “which doesn’t print in chocolate, though a representative of the company described some of their recipes as tasting like a chocolate cookie and others as having more of a candy consistency.”

Quotes Courtesy of Gizmag

Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

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3D Print Unborn Babies

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The wacky world of 3D printing never ceases to amaze. 

Take this creepy example from Business Insider: apparently a new company, 3D Babies, which failed to become fully funded on Indiegogo in October 2013 for $15,000 (surprise, surprise), is offering expectant mothers the chance to 3D print their unborn babies’ fetuses. 

For $600, pregnant women can send 3D Babies their ultrasound “and the company will send [them] a custom, life-size figurine of [the] fetus.” 

“You can choose between two different positions for your fetus, and pick its skin tone as well.  You can also order a “half-size” baby for $400 or a mini-baby fetus for $200.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Business Insider      

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Adobe Photoshop CC Adds 3D Printing Capabilities

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In a recent press release, Adobe announced updates to its Photoshop Creative Cloud software, effective immediately. 

“Photoshop CC will become the go-to tool for anyone who wants to print a 3D model.  [It will] enable Creative Cloud members to easily and reliably build, refine, preview, prepare, and print 3D designs, setting the stage for explosive growth in the 3D printing market.”

Creative Cloud members will be able to utilize familiar Photoshop tools in order “to design in 3D from scratch or refine an existing 3D model and produce beautiful print-ready 3D models.”

With the announcement of its release, Photoshop CC users will have the capability to print 3D designs to locally connected 3D printers “or via built-in access to popular online 3D print services.  Photoshop CC supports the most popular desktop 3D printers, such as the MakerBot Replicator [and 3D Systems’ Cube 3D printer line], and also supports the full range of high quality materials available on Shapeways – the 3D printing community and marketplace – including ceramics, metals, and full color sandstone.  Additionally, Photoshop users can now directly upload their 3D models to the Sketchfab 3D publishing service, and embed them in their Behance profile using Sketchfab’s interactive 3D viewer.” 

Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe added, “the new 3D print capabilities in Photoshop CC take the guess work out of printing 3D models for everyone.  Before today there was a gap between the content produced by 3D modeling tools and what 3D printers need in order to deliver high quality results.  Now, by simply clicking ‘Print’ in Photoshop CC, creatives can bring 3D designs to the physical world.”

Image Courtesy of CNET

Quotes Courtesy of Adobe

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MCor Wins Funding from Silicon VCs

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The Irish Independent reports Tipperary (Ireland)-born entrepreneur John Ryan, the founder of “what became a €1.4bn ($1.91bn) Nasdaq-listed company” has backed MCor with an investment in the region of €2m. ($2.73m)

 

Mr. Ryan is also the chairmen of the Louth (Ireland) 3D printed company MCor, “which has just won €15m ($20.48m) investment in new funding from Silicon VCs.”  Mr. Ryan backed the company through start-up investor SVG. 

 

“It’s a unique company,” Ryan said, “and I’m very proud to be associated with it.  It sold more printers in recent weeks than in the entirety of last year.  The plan is for that rapid sales growth to be sustained and a new desktop version [of its software] to be introduced later this year or in early 2015.  I think it could be a substantial global company, there is a lot of interest from investors, many of whom are talking about taking the company public on the Nasdaq this year, but our objective is building the company and putting it on a secure financial footing.”

 

Quotes Courtesy of the Irish Independent

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iMaker Academy: 3D Printing Classes for the Next Generation

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We recently sat down with Mark Loertscher, founder of iMaker Academy: a Salt Lake City, Utah based workshop and 3D printing bureau. 

Mr. Loertscher began his career in graphic design “but yearned to create 3D models and animation.”  He studied Computer Animation at BYU while “3D printing was making its debut at the Industrial design department.”  At the time, however, Mr. Loertscher says that he didn’t think much of additive manufacturing, except to dream of the day when “the 3D models [he] was building at the time” could become an actual, physical reality.

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Mr. Loertscher goes on to explain that after graduation, “I got into compositing and effects for the movie industry [and then] started hearing of affordable 3D printers from the various tech news sites and my interest was piqued again.  What was especially inspiring was the story of the man who bypassed the insurance and medical industries and printed out his own prosthetic for his son at very little cost.” 

“I knew at that moment that 3D printing was now poised to make a huge difference in the world, and that it could be used to bypass man-made roadblocks.” 

Mr. Loertscher began using a MakerBot Replicator 2 to make his 3D models a physical reality.  Soon after, the idea for iMaker Academy was born.  As he explained, “iMaker Academy is a school and 3D printing bureau that caters to the exploding interest in Minecraft and helps kids build and print their own creations.” 

“I came up with the idea when my kids became addicted to Minecraft, and my eldest son started building machines and fantastic structures without any guidance, [save a few examples from YouTube] and his own imagination to fuel him.  After he built his own version of the Statue of Liberty, I knew that Minecraft was something now much more than the sum of its parts: easy 3D [modeling] for kids and adults alike, with endless possibilities.”

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“The relatively low costs of 3D printing made it a perfect companion, and I started looking for ways to make 3D prints from Minecraft models.  I happened upon a story of two MIT students who had written a script to extract a Minecraft model and made it into an STL file.”

“I knew I had to make a school that let kids play and learn at the same time.  The school would never give a grade.  Instead, you get a 3D print or a product as your grade.  With my discovery of printcraft.org, I knew I had a way to make the business a reality.  Printcraft made it easy to pick a plot, build, and then transport the 3D model to me and my printer.“  (His MakerBot Replicator 2)

“If kids have played with Lego than they already know how to build models with amazing degrees of detail and very little planning time.”  Mr. Loertscher added.

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iMaker Academy’s Facebook page offers, “classes on building Minecraft structures, from simple to complex, and within a week you will have a 3D print of your creation.  All for only $20.  You can also send us your creation [a digital 3D model] and have it printed for only $10!”

Mr. Loertscher believes Minecraft is the best medium for introducing kids to 3D printing.  “The beauty of Minecraft is that kids can create unimpeded from the technical aspects of 3D modeling.  It caters to creation and thus inspiration can flow and incredible things can emerge.  When kids begin to build things they can branch into any subject they wish, from building and architecture to circuits and machine building (through the redstone aspect of Minecraft)….Not only can they do this on their own, but Minecraft encourages collaboration through its multi-player aspect.” 

“Every time I’ve mentioned the ability to 3D print in-world creations to a Minecraft player their eyes light up and it becomes a wow moment.”

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Mr. Loertscher went into further detail about the kinds of objects iMaker Academy can help kids 3D print: “if you can build it in Minecraft, we can print it.  Obviously a floating object can not be printed out of thin air, but even then the printer will build supports to hold up suspended objects.  Kids have already built castles, spaceships, and animals.  The possibilities are endless given enough time and imagination.”

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As you can see from the pictures above, the most interesting 3D prints to come out of the iMaker Academy so far have been a paladin action figure Mr. Loertscher designed himself, a Serenity (from the TV series Firefly) model, and these strange hybrid creatures:

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As Mr. Loertscher explained, “I had a friend that drew fantastic creatures, basically combinations of different animals to create a new whimsical creature.  A penguin combined with an octopus (penguipus) and a dragon mixed with a rabbit. (Drabbit)”

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As for the future of the iMaker Academy, Mr. Loertscher says, “we are going to be offering a full 3D printing bureau and as the business grows we can offer better and better quality prints for everything from toys to industrial design objects to videogame replicas and objects.  I recently modeled a replica of the original Halo Pistol and painted it to look like the in-game gun.  [shown below]”

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When we asked Mr. Loertscher about the future of 3D printing in general, he said, “eventually 3D printers will become as common as laser/inkjet printers are today.  Not everyone will become a 3D modeler, however, there still need to be inroads in 3D scanners and modeling to make them much more accessible to the general public.”

Evidently, that is one of Mr. Loertscher’s goals for iMaker Academy.  To help 3D printing become more accessible for everyone to use effectively, particularly the next generation.

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Photos and Quotes Courtesy of Mark Loertscher and the iMaker Academy  

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Here Be (3D Printed) Dragons

Researchers at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, according to Ubergizmo, were recently sent a letter from Sophie Lester, a seven-year-old girl. 

In her letter, Ms. Lester asked the scientists at CSIRO “if it was possible that they could create a dragon for her.   Apparently her dad had been raving…about the wondrous things that the scientists get up to in their labs at CSIRO, and she thought given their smarts, a dragon would not be completely out of the question.”

CSIRO replied to Ms. Lester’s letter on their blog: “We have sighted an eastern bearded dragon at one of our telescopes, observed dragonflies, and even measured body temperatures of the mallee dragon.  But out work has never ventured into dragons of the mythical, fire-breathing variety.  And for this Australia, we are sorry.”

However, the CSIRO scientists have “decided to do the next best thing…3D print a tiny dragon…for [her].”

The researchers used titanium at CSIRO’s lab in Melbourne and 3D printed the dragon, named Toothless as per Ms. Lester’s request.  “According to Chad Henry, an additive manufacturing operations manager at CSIRO, ‘being that electron beams were used to 3D print her, we are certainly glad she didn’t come out breathing them…instead of fire.  Titanium is super strong and lightweight, so Toothless will be a very capable flyer.”

May we all quake in fear as this 3D printed leviathan glides over our heads.

Video, Photo, and Quotes Courtesy of CSIRO and Ubergizmo

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MakerBot Launches ‘iTunes’ of 3D Printing

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The Times Herald was on hand at CES 2014 during MakerBot’s unveiling of its new digital store. 

The company is hailing it as the ‘iTunes’ of the 3D printing world.  “The game-changing new MakerBot digital store features a host of professionally designed digital 3D models, created by an in-house team at MakerBot, made to be simple and easy to purchase and print with one-touch.” 

Bre Pettis, co-founder and chief executive of MakerBot added that “3D printing can be a bit daunting from the outside, so we’ve created all these 3D designs that you can buy individual models or as a collection – a bit like songs – and create fun for kids and adults alike.”

The digital store will launch with six different collections of models, “primarily based around children’s toys.  The models can be picked up individually for $0.99 or as whole collections of models for $9.99.” 

Although MakerBot previously offered the cloud-based design sharing service Thingiverse, “which allowed users to upload their designs and share them with a community and access them from anywhere with a MakerBot 3D printer,” the new digital store will sit alongside Thingiverse, “augmenting it with professional, proven designs that are guaranteed to work.”

MakerBot plans to use the digital store to discover what works and what doesn’t “collecting data on purchases and user feedback on the models.” 

As Pettis explained: “our objective is simple.  We’re going to learn by what people like, and do more of that.”    

Photo Courtesy of MakerBot

Quotes Courtesy of The Times Herald

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Super Cleats

 

According to CBS News, “former Olympic sprinter and gold medalist Michael Johnson approached Nike about creating a new cleat.  Johnson is now a speed training coach working with NFL players, and he wanted to give his athletes an edge.”

Thus began Nike’s project to design a cleat to be used in Super Bowl XLVIII.  That’s when 3D printing technology entered the picture.  As Nike Director of Innovation Shane Kohatsu explains. “with 3D printing you can have an idea, sketch it out, 3D model it, and by the next day you come to the office and you have a part….the [technology] really changes the pace that we get to work and it really changes how far we can go in a short amount of time.  You can imagine how liberating that is for a designer.”

Indeed, Kohatsu “said it might have taken three years to complete this project using the traditional method of injection molding…under that system it took months to make the slightest tweaks, because the entire process had to be repeated with each redesign.  With 3D printers, those tweaks can be done in hours.”

The cleats were created with the ‘Zero Step’ in mind.   This ‘Zero Step’ is “the pivotal moment when propulsion and acceleration are determined.  The cleat needed to reduce the fractions of an inch that the foot slips backwards when an athlete starts to sprint.”  In this specific context, during the Super Bowl, “mastering the Zero Step can mean the difference between a defensive lineman sacking the quarterback or getting blocked.”

Following a motion capture video technology study focusing on Zero Step, the Nike design team used 3D printed to create “dozens of prototype cleat plates and spike shapes.  Many of those shapes would not have been possible with traditional manufacturing, said Kohatsu…after testing dozens of prototypes, Nike determined that shaping the spike like a shovel helps athletes dig in faster for the best performance at Zero Step.” 

These cleat plates “served as the prototype for the Super Bowl-ready shoe, the Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite Cleat.”

Photo Courtesy of Business Insider

Quotes and Video Courtesy of CBS News

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Negative Liberty: 3D Printed Guns

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Cody Wilson, who published the blueprint for the first fully 3D printable gun last year [The Liberator], has signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster for a quarter of a million dollars. 

Forbes writes that Wilson, “who leads the 3D printed gun group Defense Distributed” will “write a non-fiction book chronicling his quest to create the first fully 3D printable [gun].”

“The book’s working title is Negative Liberty.  According to Wilson, “the whole point to me is to add to the hacker mythology and to have a very, very accurate and contentious portrayal of what we think about the current political situation, our attitude and political orientation, a lasting remark.  It won’t be a manifesto.  But culturally I hope to leave a couple of zingers…a touchstone for the young, disaffected radical towards his own political and social development, that kind of thing.”

Wilson’s design was downloaded 100,000 times within two days last year.  Wilson believes he “may soon be embroiled in a legal battle with the government over his firearm 3D printing project.”  He jokes that “at least now if I’m in prison, I’ll have something to do.”

But Wilson does in fact plan to use the “book’s advance to fund a court battle.” 

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Forbes

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3D Printed Architecture

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The University of Southern California’s Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis is a leading figure in 3D printed architecture. 

Professor Khoshnevis, as reported by News.com.AU, is best known for his patented Contour Crafting process.  This process “is a system that automates age-old tools normally used by hand.  These are wielded by a robotic gantry that builds a 3D object.  Strong walls are built up layer by layer using concrete with automatic reinforcement, while plumbing and electrics [for the 3D printed building] are also added by the system during the building process.” 

Khoshnevis aims for this kind of technology to one day have use“in disaster relief areas to build emergency and replacement housing”.  He also hopes that it could be used for space exploration as well. 

Recently, however, his research team at USC has developed a 3D printer that can “build a 232sq m home layer by layer in a single day” using Khoshnevis’ Contour Crafting system. 

As Khoshnevis concluded, it is “basically scaling up 3D printing to the scale of building.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of News.com.AU

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A Home Schooled Prodigy Builds India’s First 3D Printer

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Daryani is from Mumbai, and according to DNA India, dropped out of high school because he felt “kid’s don’t learn anything there.  I had no satisfaction that I knew things, I couldn’t apply anything I had learned to real life.”

“[Daryani’s] love for developing and creating things wasn’t appreciated in a system where practical knowledge isn’t too common.”  Daryani built his first humanoid robot when he was eight, and created a remote-controlled hovercraft by watching YouTube videos.  He has even “presented his work to former president (of India) APJ Kalam and industrialist Ratan Tata.”

Daryani started his “own company that sells DIY kits, Shark Kits, for everything from portable speakers to headphones to power supplies.”  He even sells RepRap Prusa i3 desktop 3D printers.

However, Daryani’s greatest achievement to date is the 3D printer he developed, the SharkBot.  It launches this January.  Daryani claims the SharkBot is the “fastest and most robust desktop 3D printer that can print any material except metal.” 

“The idea came about when he noticed people were importing 3D printers for desktop use.”  “We are wasting foreign currency by importing these things…I want to change that.” He says.  Daryani spends at least four hours a day working on the SharkBot.  The future looks bright for this young 3D printing entrepreneur.     

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of DNA India      

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How 3D Printing Saved a Horse’s Life

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In a previous issue, we reported a story of a horse racing team in Australia that used 3D printed titanium horseshoes to make their horse go faster.  Now, the Brisbane Times has uncovered its sequel. 

Luke Wells-Smith, a horse vet and farrier with the Equine Podiatry and Lameness Centre in New South Wales (Australia), saw the story and contacted the horse racing team to see if the horseshoe could be helpful for a horse with laminitis.  “Also known as founder, laminitis can be crippling and sometimes result in permanent lameness or euthanasia for the horse.  The disease, which causes inflammation of the tissue attaching the foot bone to the hoof, can be managed in a variety of ways but has no actual cure.”

Holly, the horse in question, “has suffered from laminitis for the last three years.  [However] since being fitted with the new [3D printed] titanium shoes by Dr. Wells-Smith, she appeared to show an immediate improvement and has been seen trotting around the paddock.” 

Dr. Wells-Smith claims 3D printing technology “offered a significant advantage in making the shoe highly specialized…After assessing how Holly walked and then taking X-rays of her feet, Dr. Wells-Smith could determine the exact type of shoe that would benefit her and design a shoe that fit.”

The doctor explained: “in the case of Holly, we actually put a curve to the bottom of the shoe so the horse can rock forward and change the angle of its foot to suit how comfortable it is.  So it’s kind of like a self-adjusting orthotic for the horse.”    

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of the Brisbane Times     

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