Sep 10, 2016 | By Benedict

The past week was a busy one for additive manufacturing. Over the last seven days, we saw Samsung and MakerBot joining forces in the name of education, GE making moves for two big additive manufacturing companies, and Eucl3D introducing new 3D printable Stark Trek Online models. Here are some more stories, in bitesize form, that you might have missed:

1. 3D printed electronics specialist Nano Dimension to open new ink production facility

Nano Dimension, the world’s foremost developer of 3D printed electronics, announced on Tuesday that it will open a production facility for its unique nano-ink products. The facility will be opened in Ness Ziona, Israel, in the same building as the company’s HQ. According to Nano Dimension, the space will be totally renovated to accommodate the company’s needs, and will massively improve ink development capabilities for commercial production.

The new 3D printable ink facility will feature advanced technological solutions in the chemistry and production fields, will meet high quality control standards, and will cover an area of around 8600 square feet.

Two weeks ago, Nano Dimension announced that it had supplied the first DragonFly 2020 PCB 3D printer to an unnamed Israeli defense company. The 3D printing company also posted its Q2 financial results around the same time, reporting a net loss of $1,664,000 for the period.

2. Promolding introduces 3D printed injection molding division

Dutch design specialist Promolding this week announced that, with the help of Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing equipment, it would be opening a 3D printed injection molding division. The new 3D printing capabilities will reportedly shorten injection mold lead times from six weeks to three days—a reduction of 93%.

With a client base that includes names like Heineken and Airbus, Promolding has sculpted a favorable reputation for itself in the area of high quality, polymer-based solutions. While the company had already used Stratasys PolyJet 3D printers in product development, it has now commandeered an Objet Connex 3D printer to enhance the injection molding process.

“We can use the technology in the early development phases to speed up the design process and develop, review and adapt prototypes earlier, but also extend the efficiencies into production through our PRIM process,” said Jeroen Gross, Product Development Manager at Promolding. “It really has been a game-changer and we’ve seen the benefits passed onto our customers.”

3. Intel, Microsoft, and EOS discuss additive manufacturing at Converge 2016

Converge 2016, a global conference series for product visionaries that explores the intersection of design and technology, kicked off in LA this week, with several leading names from its sponsor companies slated to give presentations on technology trends.

David Lombard, Intel’s Chief Architect for advanced HPC technology, will address the topic of high performance computing enabled design; Brett Tanzer, Microsoft Partner Group Program Manager, will discuss how digital product development is undergoing Cloud-provoked transformational change; while Dr. Adrian Keppler, Chief Marketing Officer at EOS, will discuss the future of additive manufacturing.

“The EOS Additive Manufacturing offerings are a perfect fit for this event that focuses equally on design and technology,” said Dr. Adrian Keppler, Chief Marketing Officer at EOS. “Our technology enables a design-driven manufacturing process and as such opens up completely new design possibilities from rapid prototyping through to real part production. As the global technology and quality leader for high-end Additive Manufacturing solutions, EOS is happy to share our knowledge at Converge.”

4. CRP invests in Ricoh and Concept Laser 3D printers

CRP Group, a technology company best known for its work in Formula 1, has purchased two new 3D printing systems: the Ricoh AM S5500p SLS 3D printer and Concept Laser X line 2000R DMLS 3D printer. “We are the first in Italy to have a multi-material 3D Printer with a large modeling area,” claimed Franco Cevolini, CEO of CRP Group, regarding the 550 x 550 x 500 mm Ricoh printer. “It allows us to make the most of the range of materials available to us, [such as] our WINDFORM family of high-performance composite materials.”

The CRP Group has its headquarters in Modena, Italy's renowned motor valley. It provides expertise in additive manufacturing and 3D printing with Windform, development, production and sales of laser sintering and 3D printing materials, as well as high-precision CNC machining.

The 800 x 400 x 500 mm X line 2000R 3D printer from Concept Laser will allow CRP to produce metal parts at a higher speed and volume, giving the company a competitive advantage against rivals and making the company one of the world leaders in terms of production capacity. CRP also has also invested in a Mikron HPM 800U Milling Machine.

5. Additive Orthopaedics gets 510(k) clearance for 3D printed osteotomy wedge system

Additive Orthopaedics, LLC., an early stage orthopedic device company, this week announced that is has received FDA 510(k) clearance for its 3D printed osteotomy wedge system, which can be used to address bone fractures or osteotomies in the foot and ankle. The wedge system is the company’s second 3D printed medical device to be cleared by the FDA.

“The complex geometry and unique lattice structure, which is only possible through the use of 3D printing technology, should have tremendous patient benefits,” said Dr. Selene Parekh, Professor of Surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke Orthopaedics and North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic. “Solutions like these, as well as custom and patient specific applications of this technology, will continue to have a major impact on how we treat our patients.”

6. University-funded additive manufacturing research center opens in Xi’an, China

The National Research Institute Corporation of Additive Manufacturing has opened in the Xi’an Hi-tech Industries and Development Zone in China. Thirteen universities, including Xi’an Jiaotong University, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Tsinghua University, collectively contributed 135 million yuan ($20 million) to the project. It is hoped that the research institute will improve additive manufacturing research in Xi’an, paving the way for new discoveries and innovations in 3D printing.

According to its developers, the new institute will play an important part in the country’s supply-side reform, and forms part of the “Made in China 2025” plan. At the institute’s inauguration, Zhao Hongzhuan, Secretary of the Standing Committee of the Xi'an Municipal Party Committee, said the region has prioritized the development new materials and plans to make additive manufacturing one of its key industries.

7. 3D printed flowers to brighten up Tian'anmen Square on National Day

As part of the celebrations for China’s National Day, which takes place October 1, impressive 3D printed flower decorations will adorn Beijing’s Tian'anmen Square and Chang'an Avenue. The large structures will include a 3D printed imitation of Zhaozhou Bridge, a 1,400-year-old stone arch in Hebei Province. The 3D printed version will be 28 meters long and 6 meters wide, built with 20,000 bricks and strong enough to bear the weight of a vehicle. The bricks will even contain real flowers. There will be more than 200 flower displays at other sites in Beijing, with over 15 million flowers in total.

The central display at Tian'anmen Square will feature a 3D printed flower basket 17 meters high, with the biggest peony flower 3 meters in diameter. Preparations for the display will begin on September 17 following the Beijing Marathon, and will conclude on September 25. The decorations will remain until mid-October.

8. 3D Systems’ Geomagic Control X software increases 3D inspection capabilities

On Thursday, 3D Systems announced the immediate availability of its newly released Geomagic Control X software for 3D inspection and metrology. The software enables “precise, rapid, digital inspection for results-driven quality management and metrology workflows,” delivering comprehensive and innovative toolsets for the professional metrology process. The software also includes traceable, accurate, and customizable reporting and analysis tools.

“Geomagic Control X builds on our 20-year legacy of top-grade inspection software development to introduce the world’s best-in-class metrology software,” said Scott Green, Director of Product Management in Software Solutions at 3D Systems. “The outcome is an easy-to-use solution that answers the measurement analysis requirements of manufacturers worldwide.”

Key features of Geomagic Control X include a new UI, new synchronous and assembly inspection tools, new walk-up probing, new multiple results and analysis, and more. The software supports all industry-standard non-contact and optical scanners, as well as a wide range of portable probing and tactile devices. It is compatible with all major CAD file formats.

9. Fuel3D releases new 3D scanning software

Fuel3D, a leading 3D scanning technology company based in Oxford, UK, has released a significant update to its Fuel3D Studio software. Fuel3D Studio is the software that powers SCANIFY, the company’s high speed 3D scanner. The latest release of Fuel3D Studio adds some potent new features as part of a new “Professional” version.

“Our recent enterprise projects with major industry brands have led to some exciting advances in our software portfolio, including the measurement tools, which we are now making available to users of Fuel3D Studio Professional,” said Stuart Mead, CEO, Fuel3D.

Professionals, or those using 3D scanning as a business tool, can utilize Fuel3D Studio Professional together with the SCANIFY hardware platform to unlock the following features:

Measurement tools
These new tools provide users with the ability to acquire accurate length and area data from their 3D scans in seconds. This is ideal for developing custom-fit products, demonstrating before and after changes, or monitoring change over time.

Potential applications include using the tools to capture various measurements of the human form, such as the dimensions of the face, hands or feet

Measurement tools include:

  • Contour length: Measure the contoured distance between two points over the surface of the image.
  • Multi-segment length: Measure the straight line length comprised of any number of line segments.
  • Area: Measure the 3D area defined by a closed set of points on the surface of the image.

3D PDF export
With Fuel3D Studio’s new 3D PDF capability, users can save their 3D models as a 3D PDF file and easily email them to colleagues.

A 3D PDF is a PDF file that combines dynamic, rich 3D data with metadata, text, images, video and forms in a PDF document. 3D PDF files are compact, secure and easy to share, and are completely interactive.

This new format is transforming how companies communicate engineering data today – previously, 3D scans would have to be exported into a 3D file format, and then uploaded to a 3D platform before sharing the URL, taking several minutes. With 3D PDF the 3D file can be shared via email in a file format that even novice users are accustomed to.

Offline processing
All Fuel3D Studio users can currently access enhanced processing of their scans via Fuel3D’s cloud-based processing option. With this new update, Fuel3D Studio Professional users will also have the opportunity to access offline processing of their scans by using Fuel3D’s latest algorithms on a local computer.

Mac compatibility
The software is now compatible with OS X, making SCANIFY available to Mac users for the first time.

The latest version of Fuel3D Studio is available today to all SCANIFY owners.

10. New Zealand lecturer 3D prints massive pollen granules

Katherine Holt, a senior lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand, has developed a set of 3D printed scale models of pollen, 2000 to 3000 times their actual size, to use as demonstrative tools in university science classes. In recognition of her unique teaching methods, Holt has been nominated for a New Zealand Innovation Award alongside two other finalists.

“The same granule looks really different from different angles, so I've always wanted something to help improve their recognition,” the lecturer said of her sneeze-inducing 3D prints. “I thought, why not take this one step further and print them out in 3D? What surprised me is that it's a really simple idea but no one had actually done it before.”

With the materials for each model costing between 15 and 75 cents, Holt considers it worthwhile to continue using the 3D printing technique, and even recommends that other teachers try 3D printing scale models of other microscopic (or gigantic) things to use as teaching aids.

11. 3D print a 36-foot model of the Titanic

BernCo Models, an independent producer of scale model ships run by a modeling enthusiast named Bernie, this week launched a Kickstarter campaign for the “world’s largest Titanic model kit.” Fascinated by the doomed Olympic class vessel since his childhood, Bernie wanted to recreate the Titanic at home, while helping others do the same. His journey started with a 13-foot 3D printed model, but the maker has since developed a more practical version which incorporates other manufacturing techniques.

“I quickly realized that 3D printing would not be capable of building the whole thing,” Bernie explains on the Kickstarter. “A more traditional approach would need to be adopted, with a wooden frame and planking for the bulk of the model. However, 3d printed parts could still be implemented to exclude the need to fair the bulkheads for planking, and for construction of all smaller detail parts.”

Titanic enthusiasts with 3D printers and laser cutters should be warned that the project isn’t particularly cheap: the digital files will set you back a 500AUD ($380) pledge, while a complete kit—including laser-cut boards and 3D printed parts—will cost a cool 6,000AUD ($4,500). However, given that the real Titanic cost around $174 million in today’s money, maybe it’s not a bad investment! Bernie has set a $20,000 goal for his Kickstarter.

12. Tragedy of Progress: a 3D printable steampunk miniatures game

Tragedy of Progress is a steampunk tabletop RPG-skirmish game which lets players create custom groups of characters and compete or cooperate with others. To create a real community around the game, its creators want to introduce 3D printable character models which players can purchase and print themselves. To get the project off the ground, the creators have launched a Kickstarter.

“Our goal is to create an online database with a large selection of miniature files that players may purchase to represent their characters,” they explain. “We are looking to keep the price of these models reasonably priced at around $3.50 each. Players will also be able to purchase add-on packs of weapons, armor, etc. for around 25 cents each. Once a player has purchased a miniature they may return and re-download the file to print as many times as they choose.”

The Tragedy of Progress team has also created some detailed terrain items which gamers can use to set the scene for the game. The 3D printable files are available from $5 (Basic Terrain Pack), while fully printed and shipped versions are available from $95.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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