Nov.20, 2013

Sheffield, UK based Fripp Design and Research, a Product Design and Research Consultancy is about to release the next generation 3D printer. It is not another FDM printer, it is called Picsima 3D Printing which is capable of 3D printing silicone and other materials directly in full color.

During the development of the soft tissue prostheses project the company identified the need for Picsima, the next generation 3D print technology currently under development.

"The soft tissue prostheses project we undertook with the University of Sheffield is a two part process using off the shelf technology. We create a prostheses scaffold using a standard colour 3D printer which we then infiltrate with medical grade silicone," explained Managing Director Tom Fripp. "Naturally, as industrial designers, we wanted to perfect a system to use as few stages as possible, so as to make it as commercially viable as possible, so we asked ourselves the question: could we print in silicone direct? As no such system was available we started on the journey to create the method for Picsima 3D Printing," he said.

With a Technology Strategy Board High Value Manufacturing feasibility grant, the company set to working out how to 3D print silicone in full colour. "The grant was important as it allowed us to focus resource in solving the question posed on ourselves without distraction," continued Fripp.

Within twelve weeks, the company has filed a UK patent application. "The method we've discovered has a certain simplicity to it, which makes me proud of what the team has achieved," commented Fripp. "The question is what do we do next?"

The technology behind Picsima means full colour functional prototypes could be made. Shore hardnesses of less than 25 are already been achieved with its test rig, and the ability to use such a wide range of materials means it can create parts capable of withstanding temperatures as low as minus 60 and greater that 200.

"Applications as broad as medical, industrial, consumer products and automotive stand to benefit from this technology." said Fripp.

The company now has some interesting choices to make: should it sell it, licence it or make it? "We want to keep things under wraps until we can show samples." says the company.

Whatever route it chooses to take Picsima from the workshop to market, Picsima seems likely to be a landmark development in 3D print technology.


Images credit: Fripp Design

Posted in 3D Printers



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