Queen B: 3D Printed Housing on Mars

Gizmag recently reported on a competition hosted by NASA and MakerBot “which tasked people with making a 3D printed model home suitable for” Mars. 

“Noah Hornberger won with his Queen B (Bioshielding) concept home…the Queen B model comprises a space-saving and modular honeycomb design that’s flexible, durable, and compact.”

Hornberger explained, “a building with outstretched arms, wings, nodes, or branches is not practical for long-term efficiency and stability.  It would be nearly impossible to keep warm due to heat dissipation through the venerable areas.”

“Each of the 10 modules measures 4.87 m (16 ft) in diameter, and they are arranged around a central lounge area that contains a couple of couches, a TV, and a charging station.  The modules themselves contain a kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garden, laundry room, and a 3D printing lab.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Gizmag

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‘Titan: American Built’ Reality TV Show to Feature 3D Printing

Titan Gilroy, according to 3DPrint.com, runs a machine shop called Titan American MFG, which will be featured in a reality show this fall.  ‘Titan: American Built’ will focus on Gilroy’s pursuit of his art.

‘Titan’ will also feature 3D printing.  Gilroy’s shop is adding “to his arsenal of machines as a Fortus 250mc 3D printer from Stratasys that he foresees as becoming an integral part of the way in which his shop functions. 

Gilroy explains, “My CNC machines have lead-times of 1-12 weeks for just one part depending on my work load and the complexity of the part.  My customers can send me a 3D CAD files, and I can start the 3D printing process immediately and have it run all night to deliver it in the morning.  They can use the part or double check form and function.  I will be using the 3D printer also to create fixtures and tooling to hold my CNC parts.”

One episode of the show “features 3D printing as a part of a skills program that reaches out to ‘at-risk’ teenagers in Northern California.  In this episode, Ken Coburn of GoEngineer worked with teens at the Maxine Singer Youth Guidance Center to help kids design and print their ideas.  GoEngineer donated computers and SolidWorks software to the facility, and Stratasys provided a 3D printer.  Weekly instruction in CAD, 3D printing, and other aspects of 3D technologies will help these troubled teens find abilities to excel in the world.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3DPrint.com


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3D Printed Vertebra

Tech Times reported that scientists and doctors from Peking University Third Hospital have replaced a Chinese boy’s vertebra using 3D printing. 

“A soccer injury revealed a malignant tumor in a 12-year-old boy from China, prompting extensive surgery to prevent the cancer from spreading.  To replace the boy’s second vertebra, doctors turned to a 3D printed implant.”

The boy has become the first person “in the world to receive a vertebral implant that was made using a 3D printer.  Pre-fabricated implants could’ve been used, but the 3D printed implant provided the doctors with a replacement vertebra that was as close to the original as possible…the 3D printed vertebra was also easier to implant because it did not require the use of cement or screws.”

“The doctors created a 3D model that replicates the vertebra to be removed in the boy using titanium powder.  The powder is a traditional material utilized in the production of implants, which allowed them to make a vertebral implant that not only perfectly mimics the boy’s bone structure, but still also features the durability that pre-fabricated options offer…Aside from perfectly copying the vertebra to be removed, the implant was also designed to have small holes or pores that would naturally allow the boy’s bones to grow into it, providing a more permanent bond between the implant and the rest of his spine.”

Following the five-hour surgery, the boy was reported to be in good spirits.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Tech Times 

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Ultimaker to 3D Print Life-Size Elephant

According to Inside 3DP, Ultimaker, in collaboration with non-profit animal welfare organization World Animal Protection, plans to 3D print a life-size elephant and place it in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. 

This project is part of a campaign “that urges Dutch citizens to pledge never to ride [elephants]…Each person who pledges never to ride an elephant again will have his/her name printed onto the giant elephant model in a font called ‘Elephont’ that simulates elephant skin.”

The WAP believes that this campaign can successfully raise awareness for the Elephants’ plight.  “Demand from tourists to see and ride elephants has led to venues such as circuses and elephant-riding areas where elephants are forced to do things that cause them pain, stress, and suffering.  Simultaneously, the tourism industry has led to an increased number of elephants poached from the wild on a yearly basis.”

“World Animal Protection partnered with Ultimaker and 3D designer Joris van Tubergen to create a life-size 3D printed model elephant in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which is the fourth busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers.”

“Tubergen built a unique 3D printing contraption for the project using five Ultimaker 3D printers.  The printers and print heads are filled upside down so as to remove space/height limitations of the models printed and enable printing of individual pieces up to 2.5 meters high, which is considered revolutionary for a desktop 3D printer.”

The project will end on August 30th, 2014.

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Inside 3DP

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Plastic Polymer Market Expected Worth $1.4 Billion by 2019

Inside3DP has obtained a report by industry analyst firm SmarTech Markets Publishing.  According to this report, the plastic filament, which is the material by which most 3D printed objects are created, will have a market worth of $1.4 billion by 2019. 

This report, mostly focused on the “opportunity for growth in the plastics industry over the next ten years”, states “the 3D printing polymers market currently stands at $310 million and will grow dramatically to $1.4 billion over the next five years with expected major increase in 3D printer purchases.  Materials included in this category by SmarTech are ABS, PLA, resins, thermoplastics, and nylon powder materials.  As expected, the firm claims ABS and PLA will have the biggest growth potential out of all the materials.”

SmarTech added, “a growing user base in the plastic market represents ‘a high-margin opportunity for materials companies, equipment manufacturers, and others in the 3D printing supply chain.’”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Inside3DP

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The Sculptify David: Pellets Instead of Polymer

As reported by Tech Crunch, Sculptify David was created by Todd Linthicum and Slade Simpson in Columbus, Ohio. 

“This 3D printer reduces the cost of 3D printing by allowing users to use cheap pellets instead of expensive custom filament.  This means you could feasibly use all sorts of materials, from nylon to plastic to wood-based pellets, to print.”

Simpson explained, “we have been using 3D printers for some time now, and have realized how powerful the technology is/can be. But both the printers and materials themselves have insanely inflated prices – six figures for some printers, and hundreds of dollars for a couple kilograms of material.  Our main philosophy at Sculptify is that for 3D printing to become a truly useful and viable technology, material options have to expand, and material costs have to decrease – not every plastic product in your life is made out of PLA, especially at $48/.9kg.”

Sculptify settled on pellets, according to Simpson, because “pellets offer many distinct advantages, with more material options, higher material quality, and reduced material cost, being the most primary. Basically every plastic product in the world starts out in pellet form, so they are widely available in hundreds of different grades, materials, and colors. Also, since David eliminates the need for spools of filament, materials no longer need to be optimized for a spool – just poured into our system.”

The Sculptify David will be launched on August 20th (2014), and will be sold for $2,745.

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Tech Crunch

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NASA’s 3D Printed Camera

According to Fox News, NASA, who have already used 3D printing in order to create “rocket engine parts, a space pizza maker, and even physical photos from the Hubble Space Telescope” plan to create the “first space cameras made almost entirely out of 3D printed” materials by the end of September. 

This camera will be 2-inches and used in a cubesat, which is a miniature satellite.  “The camera will have to pass vibration and thermal-vacuum tests next year to prove that it’s capable of space travel.”  NASA is also “using 3D printing [in order[ to build a 14-inch dual-channel telescope.” 

Photos and Quotes Courtesy of Fox News 

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NTU Start-Up Launches Blacksmith Genesis

Phys.org reports “Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) start-up, Blacksmith Group, has launched a 3D printer that can also scan items into virtual models.”


This project “is the brainchild of Blacksmith Group’s founders, NTU engineering graduate Dr. Alex Pui Tze Sian and Mr. Fang Kok Boon.  The company is mentored by Professor Chua Chee Kai, Director of NTU’s Additive Manufacturing Centre and the world’s most cited scientist in the field of 3D printing as ranked by Thomson-Reuters.”


This device, the Blacksmith Genesis, “allows users without much knowledge of 3D software to scan any item, edit the scanned virtual model on the computer, and print it out in 3D with ease. Unlike other commercial 3D printers, the Blacksmith Genesis is the first to use an innovative rotary platform for its printing and scanning. Having such a revolving platform allows for true 360 degrees scanning, while allowing it to print an item up to a size of 6,650 cm3 (about 6.5 litres), equivalent to the size of a large tissue box.”


Mr. Fang adds, “3D printing will be much easier with Blacksmith Genesis, because our users won’t need to design an original work from scratch using 3D software. By scanning any physical item, the digitized object can be used as a base for them to customize or even combine with other existing models to form their own 3D object.  As a child, I designed toys and gadgets but I didn’t have a way to build them. With the advent of 3D printers today, it has opened so many possibilities for inventors in all industries including education, medicine, food, and even construction. What we hope for Blacksmith Genesis, is that it will be an empowering tool for aspiring inventors, young and old, to turn their ideas into reality.”


In order to fund the Genesis, Blacksmith Group is hosting an Indiegogo campaign up until the 10th of September, with the goal of raising $75,000.  The first tier of Blacksmith Genesis machines is “set at $1,200 followed by $1,395 for the next 20 units.”


Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Phys.org

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OpenReflex: Universal SLR Camera

Over at the crowdfunding site Kiss Kiss Bank Bank, a French entrepreneur from Saint-Etienne is seeking 5,000 euros (about $6,800) in order to finance an open source, 3D printable camera. 

According to the crowd-funding page, “OpenReflex is a DIY analog camera that is entirely Open Source, which means that you can copy it and make it at home.  All files and info [will be] freely available online and without usage restrictions.”

Customers will have the option to either receive a ready-made kit or make their own Open Reflex camera “by fabricating parts with a desktop 3D printer (RepRap, MakerBot, Ultimaker, etc…) and buying the rest of the parts at the hardware store for a few dollars.”

As for the OpenReflex itself, it “features everything that a classic reflex camera has.  A ‘sport’ Viewfinder that lets you see the image in the shutter directly on a small screen on top of the camera.  It also features a mechanical shutter that works every 1/50 seconds as well as custom back covers that you can switch depending on the type of film you’re using.”

As of July 2014, the OpenReflex has earned 1,346 euros ($1,830) of its 5,000 euro (about $6,800) goal.

Photo and Courtesy of the OpenReflex Crowd sourcing Campaign on Kiss Kiss Bank Bank 

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Final Audiowings 3D printed prototype, produced on a Stratasys Objet30 Pro 3D Printer

3D Printed Headphone Prototypes

As reported by Product Design & Development, Stratasys Ltd. “has announced that British product design house Ignitec has designed and manufactured a new generation of wireless headphones for technology start-up and luxury goods company Audiowings, using its Stratasys Objet30 Pro 3D Printer.”

These headphones, named after the company, will be a “luxury audio headphone that synchronizes directly with online music services, such as Spotify, enabling users to listen to their favorite music on-the-go, without the burden of headphone cables.”  The headphones will also have their own built-in storage system and connect “wirelessly to the Internet using 3/4G or WiFi, giving users the ability to plug into YouTube and enjoy music from around the world.”

Ben Mazur, Director of Ignitec, explained, ”when we were first approached with the concept of Audiowings and briefed on its prototyping requirements, we instantly knew that 3D printing would be the answer.  Our Stratasys Objet30 3D Printer was the obvious choice since it has the ability to produce products on demand that depict the accuracy and surface quality of injection molding.”

“Since introducing Stratasys 3D printing into our work flow, we have cut our finishing time by more than 50% due to the reduction of support material removal required compared to our previous SLA system.  We have also seen a surge in client interest due to the fact that we can now produce prototype parts with a short turnaround time, while retaining the highest quality and remaining cost effective.  Being able to offer end-use parts prior to manufacturing is something which is very valuable to our clients and takes away a lot of risk and guess work.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Product Design & Development

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Dimension Alley: Europe’s First 3D Printing Café

The Local recently interviewed software engineers Norma Barr and Amin Torabi.  Barr and Torabi opened Dimension Alley, a Berlin 3D printing café, last December. 

The café is located in Prenzlauer Berg, and “offers support, education, and access to 3D printers, as well as a variety of British-style” food. 

Barr explained, “we felt that if we provided printers in a café environment it would be accessible for everyone and encourage visitors with a whole range of experience.” 

“Seasoned CAD engineers and designers printing prototype models also frequent the shop.  Those with experience have printed items as complex as medical models from CT scans of patients’ ankles and shoulders and a scientific model of thermal convection plumes.”

But probably the most exciting café-goers have been the children.  “’It’s nice to get the younger kids interested because they have a lot of ideas and are already quite good at using computers,’ said Barr.”

“The café also offers quick printing projects which can be created in the amount of time it takes to consume one of the Cornish pasties on offer.”  As Barr illustrates, “one of the easiest things to print are the three to ten centimeter half-body-sized busts.  A person can come in and we scan their bodies in the café.  They then choose a color and have the printed item in about 45 minutes.”

But Dimension Alley is no longer the only 3D printing shop in Berlin.  “Others include Botspot, which offers miniature models of oneself and prints of everyday objects, and Stilnest, a company that specializes in 3D printing for jewelry designers.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of The Local

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MakerBot and Home Depot Team Up

According to Tom’s Guide, “the home improvement retailer has announced a partnership with 3D printing company MakerBot to sell MakerBot Replicators in 12 Home Depots in New York City, California, and Illinois.”

“In New York, the two Home Depots with 3D printing installations are at 40 West 23rd Street and 980 3rd Avenue.  In California, the Home Depots are located in the cities Emeryville, East Palo Alto, San Carlos, Los Angeles, West Hills, and Huntington Beach.  In Illinois, three of the Home Depots are located in Chicago, and a fourth in Napierville.”

These Home Depots will sell the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer, Replicator Mini, Replicator Z18, and the MakerBot Digitizer scanner.  On top of that, at these Home Depot locations, “MakerBot staff will also demonstrate 3D printing technology to customers at specially designed kiosks and hand out 3D printed items as keepsakes.  The intent is to get people interested in 3D printing and its capabilities – MakerBot’s, in particular.”

Photo and Quotes Courtesy of Tom’s Guide   

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