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Leo the Maker Prince: A Book About 3D Printing…for Kids!

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Leo the Maker Prince, a new book written by Carla Diana, “is the first book about 3D printing that’s targeted towards children.” 

According to Web Pro News, “the plot follows a young girl named Carla who meets up with a robot named Leo. Throughout their journey, Leo uses the power of 3D printing to bring Carla’s drawings to life.” 

Diana hopes her book inspires children to become makers early in their life.  “To help those maker aspirations along, Diana made sure that every object in Leo the Maker Prince can be 3D printed.  So if you have a 3D printer and a child, you can print the objects in the book to help stoke your child’s maker aspirations.” 

All of the 3D printable objects in the book can be found here. 

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Web Pro News

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3D Printing and the Cure for Blindness

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Professor Keith Martin, Wen-Kai Haiso, and Barbara Lorber, neuroscientists at Cambridge University, have successfully printed adult nerve cells for the first time. 

“The researchers used an inkjet printer to print living retinal cells of adult rats, which could be built up and used to create replacements for defective eye tissues.”  Professor Martin, quoted by Dezeen, said that they “have demonstrated that you can take cells from the retina and you can effectively separate them out.  These can be put in an inkjet printer and we can print those cells out in any pattern we like and we’ve shown that those cells can survive and thrive.”

The research team “hopes the development is a step towards treating retinal diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration…their study is the first to show that retinal ganglion cells, which transmit signals from the eye to the brain, and glial cells that support this process can be printed in layers on top of each other without damaging them.”

Professor Martin added, “the retina is a multi-layered structure.  We’ve shown that we can put down at least two layers so we can put down glial cells and 3D print retinal ganglion cells over the top.”  Currently, 3D printing hasn’t been involved in the printed adult nerve cells, but the team aims to make use of the technology soon. 

“Having successfully printed a layer of nerve cells and a layer of support cells, Martin says that the next step will be to print multiple layers to build up a full retina.” 

“What we’re looking to do now is to develop this towards ways of repairing the retina,” Professor Martin said, “with time there’s no reason why you can’t print multiple different cell types in the same way that you print multiple different colors of ink.  Building up 3D structures is the next step.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Dezeen

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MakerBot’s New Time-Based 3D Printing Service

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A few months ago, MakerBot announced the opening of two new retail stores in Boston and Greenwich, Connecticut.  Now, MakerBot has announced a new 3D printing service, which will be offered in their stores.

According to The Business of Robotics, customers can now go into a MakerBot store and “bring a .STL, .OBJ, or Thing file…on [a] USB drive, and items will be 3D printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.  Pricing is based on print time, with less than 30 minutes starting at $10.  For larger print jobs, up to one hour is $20, two hours is $35, four hours is $65, five hours is $80 and up to six hours is $100.  Beyond that, jobs are priced on a case-by-case basis.” 

Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, explained his company’s reasoning behind the launch: “we are really excited to be able to offer 3D printing services at our MakerBot retail stores.  Ever since we opened our first MakerBot Store in New York, customers have been asking if we can custom 3D print items.  Now, we can officially offer a 3D printing service and have already had many customers who are very excited about this possibility.  The ability to design and create a physical object, then hold it in your hands is very powerful.”

Photo and Quote Courtesy of MakerBot

Other Quotes Courtesy of The Business of Robotics

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3D Printing the Noise

Apoorva Kiran and Robert Maccurdy, graduate students of mechanical engineering at Cornell University, in conjunction with Hod Lipson, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, have “created a fully functioning loudspeaker, seamlessly integrating the plastic, conductive and magnetic parts, using only 3D printers.”  This, reported by Design Boom. 

The entire loudspeaker is 3D printed, “it even consists of plastic for the housing, a conductive coil and a magnet.”  As soon as it comes out of the 3D printer, all that is necessary for the printer to work is minimal assembly, and then it can be hooked up to an external device.  “To make it work, the electronic components are made with two customizable 3D printers: a special silver ink extrusion is used for the coil and a viscous blend of strontium ferrite is used for the magnet.”

Photo, Quotes, and Video Courtesy of Cornell University and Design Boom

MakerBot’s New Time-Based 3D Printing Service

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Office Depot Expands 3D Printer Demonstrations

officedepotOffice Depot began offering 3D printing demonstrations at a retail location in Denver last year.  These demonstrations featured the Cube 3D printer from 3D Systems.   

According to Web Pro News, George Hill, Office Depot’s Senior Vice President of Copy and Print Depot, says that Office Depot received “an overwhelming response” from this initial program: “customers ranging from tech buffs and entrepreneurs to marketers, educators, and stay-at-home parents commented on how they would utilize 3D printing in their lives.  With that insight, we knew we needed to expand the scope and offer these demonstrations to markets across the country.”

With this information in mind, Office Depot recently announced the expansion of this program to 150 of its stores, in eights U.S. states- “California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas….the move will allow even more customers to see first hand how a 3D printer works.  From there, the customer can then purchase their very own Cube 3D or CubeX 3D printer from Office Depot’s web site.” 

Photo Courtesy of Office Depot

Quotes Courtesy of Web Pro News

 

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‘Foodini’: A 3D Printer of Food

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Natural Machines, a company from Barcelona in Spain, has recently unveiled the ‘Foodini’, a 3D printer that prints out foods. 

According to the Telegraph, the ‘Foodini’ “squirts out anything from pizza or pasta to cakes in a variety of shapes – from dinosaurs to spelling out names with letters.  Different ingredients are built up in layers following selection of a design on the device’s control panel.”

Natural Machines suggests, “Parents could use the machine to print messages on cakes or for parents to design food for their children in shapes they enjoy.”   While this printer could be great for children, Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of the firm said that Natural Machines is also aiming the ‘Foodini’ for use in restaurants: “Retail food stores have shown an interest.  They can both print food in-store to sell to consumers as well as sell pre-filled food capsules for consumers to take home to use in their machines.”

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Despite these lofty goals, the ‘Foodini’, for now, does have certain limitations.  As Natural Machines explains, “’Foodini’ does not automate all your cooking, nor does it cook food.  If necessary, it can keep food warm as it works as it contains a heating element….It does require more time from you in the kitchen…[however] ‘Foodini’ can design food into different shapes, make a quiche in the shape of a dinosaur, create pictures with sauces that kids can fill in with veggies or write messages on pieces of toast for breakfast.  You could also make food more visually appealing by adding an intricate topping to a cupcake.  Who says food always has to be a serious affair?”

Natural Machine expects a mid-2014 release for the ‘Foodini’, with a price tag of roughly $1350. 

Photos and Quotes Courtesy of the Telegraph          

 

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Keys to the Future

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VentureBeat reports that 3D printing marketplace Shapeways “is teaming up with digital key storage startup KeyMe to let users print their own custom keys in materials like brass and plastic.” 

KeyMe was founded last year and has “already raised $2.3 million.”  The startup’s mobile app allows users to take “photos of their keys, store them in the cloud, and retrieve them if emergencies pop up.” 

Instead of a customer being forced to go on an emergency locksmith visit, which can cost up to $200, KeyMe and Shapeways customers can “pay the company $60 to manufacture and deliver [the keys] within an hour.  (The company is also installing key-making kiosks in five or so 7-Eleven and Bed Bath & Beyond stores in Manhattan.)” 

Customers will also be able to customize their keys, as illustrated above.

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of VentureBeat              

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Lulzbot Launches TAZ 3.0

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Lulzbot calls the latest addition to its 3D printer family “its most refined model ever.” 

According to Tweak Town, the TAZ 3.0 has a new 24v power supply and injection molded parts.  “A new heated bed is powered by 24v which is double the previous voltage, and equates to a much faster heat time than previously experienced.”  The TAZ 3.0 also “moves further way from using other 3D printers to build parts for the new model.  This means that tolerances are tighter” resulting in higher quality prints.

“Lulzbot has designed the TAZ 3.0 to print more than just PLA or ABS (plastic), and in fact can print a much wider variety of plastics including everything from nylon to wood infused plastics.  The TAZ 3.0 is also capable of printing in PVA, Polystyrene, and stone dust infused filaments such as the new Laybrick filament that simulates sandstone.”

The TAZ 3.0’s print area is 298mm X 275mm X 250mm, “which equates to 20,500cm cubed of useable space, and print speed is still high at up to 200mm per minute.”  The TAZ 3.0 has a $2195 price tag.

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Tweak Town 

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Biopen Repairs Bone With 3D Printed Stem Cells

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Design Boom reports that researchers from the University of Wollongong’s Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science have developed a handheld ‘biopen’. 

This device will give doctors the ability to design “customized implants on-site and at the time of surgery.”  The biopen uses a similar method to 3D printing by delivering the 3D printed “cell material inside a biopolymer such as a seaweed extract, protected by a second outer layer of gel material.  It works when two layers of gel are combined in the pen head, extruding onto the bone surface.  The surgeon then ‘draws’ with the ink to fill in the damaged bone section.”

The development of this biopen builds upon recent work by ACES researchers “where they were able to grow new knee cartilage from stem cells on 3D printed scaffolds to treat cancers, osteoarthritis, and traumatic injury.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Design Boom

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3D Systems Expands R&D Team

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3D Systems and Xerox have been partners for 15 years.  As Gigaom explains, “they collaborated on products like 3D System’s line of ProJet professional 3D printers.”

Recently, however, 3D Systems acquired part of Xerox’s Wilsonville, Oregon-based group for $32.5 million.  “The Wilsonville group is home to Xerox’s product design, engineering and chemistry teams…more than 100 Xerox engineers and contractors will help 3D Systems increase its research and development spending by 75 to 100 percent over the next few years…the employees acquired by 3D Systems will focus on product design and material science.  They come packaged with their associated labs and select patents.  Xerox also plans to continue its own research into 3D printing.”

3D Systems President and CEO Avi Reichental released a statement, saying that “the stronger our marketplace leadership, the more powerful our economic model becomes.  Simply put, a solidified position translates directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, and greater earnings power over time and we are willing to sacrifice short term earnings to get there faster.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Systems and Gigaom

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Born to 3D Print

Italian motorcycle maker CRP has “joined forces with F1 technologies to print [a] lightweight, zero-emissions electric motorcycle called the Energica Ego.”  According to Clean Technica, the companies “[used] selective laser sintering and polyamide-based materials reinforced with carbon fiber called Windform.”  In a press release, CRP and F1 technologies added, “3D printing and Windform materials can lead to the production of prototypes and functional parts, that once made, can be metalized and painted.  With free-form design, short fabrication time, and the ability to build extremely complex geometry that cannot be easily tooled (or impossible to tool) a customized production is realized that goes beyond the aesthetic model.”  The Energica Ego also sports “a KERS braking system designed to recapture some energy and send it back to the battery pack.”  CRP states that the driving range of the bike is 120 miles between charges, “with DC fast-charging stations topping off 85% of the batter pack in as little as 30 minutes…the top speed is an electronically limited 150 mph, and 0 to 100 mph supposedly takes just 3 seconds to accomplish.”  However, CRP and F1 technologies have not released a price for the bike just yet. 

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Clean Technica     

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Robox: “Plug and [3D] Print”

Tech Radar has recently written of CEL’s new 3D printer, the Robox.   CEL, a British-based product development company, states that the Robox 3D printer will be simple to use thanks to its ‘plug and print’ functionality.  “The Robox, which will only be launched if CEL’s Kickstarter campaign reaches its $162,000 funding target, is powered by the company’s bespoke AutoMaker software that lets you load up a design before clicking start to set the machine in motion.”  At the time of this writing, the Robox Kickstarter campaign has raised roughly $125,210.   The Robox will also include “a number of proprietary features that allows it to print finely tuned objects – including a rotating bed mechanism, closed feedback loop, and dual-pinch-wheel extrusion system – all of which help the printer feed and layer adhesives evenly.”  Another feature of the Robox 3D printer is its “dual-nozzle system that…improves print speed by up to 300% compared to other printers.  [According to CEL’s Kickstarter campaign]  One [nozzle] is used to print on a detailed surface, whereas the other fills in larger areas, and both use a needle-valve system to stop substances oozing all over your shiny new desktop companion’s insides.”  The Robox will be released in March 2014.   

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Tech Radar

Video Courtesy of CEL

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