Sep 24, 2016 | By Benedict

In a busy week for the 3D printing industry, NASA engineers explored new ways to optimize 3D printed rocket components, the state of Ohio invested in educational additive manufacturing, and Celprogen created a 3D printed heart. Here’s our weekly roundup of the news you might have missed:

1. Celprogen introduces 3D printed scaffold human heart

Celprogen, a leader in stem cell research, this week announced that it had successfully 3D printed a heart made from a PLA scaffold populated with adult human cardiac stem cells. The 3D scaffold was populated with two T225 human Cardiac Stem Cells 36099-26-T225, and with human adult cardiac cells 36044-15-T225, and the scaffold was coated with ECM prior to seeding the cells. The flexible PLA scaffold allows the seeded cardiac stem cells to potentially contract. The 3D printed heart is 1/3 the size of an adult 17-year-old heart, and had been monitored for 8 days, with a goal of keeping it functional up to 14 days.

According to California-based Celprogen, hearts of this kind could someday be used in heart transplants, and the company will continue to develop 3D printed organs for this purpose. The company, formed in 2002, is developing a proprietary portfolio of unique therapeutics products and life science research tools that include genetic engineering technologies, stem cell technologies for regenerative medicine, and bio-engineering products for tissue and organ transplants.

2. NASA engineers use neutrons to understand 3D printed rocket engine components

Engineers from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, this week announced that they had used neutrons to help understand the potential benefit of additive manufactured rocket engine components. The team used the Neutron Residual Stress Mapping Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), beam line HB-2B, to study residual stress in additive manufactured materials. By doing so, the engineers can better understand if and how these 3D printed parts could be qualified for flight, potentially reducing the amount of time needed to build an engine by years.

Before a 3D printed component can be used for space flight, every step must be taken to ensure that the part is safe. “Of particular concern are the residual stresses in the resulting additive manufactured components, as residual stresses may affect material properties and resultant part geometries and are difficult to measure on the resulting complex shapes,” said Stacey Bagg of NASA Marshall. “The HFIR neutron residual stress facility provides the unique capability to take detailed internal residual stress measurements on these shapes.”

The research also provides data about how residual stresses develop around common features of rocket propulsion components during 3D printing. The research will be made publicly available and could be used to refine additive manufacturing processes for the benefit of engineered aerospace components.

3. Ohio invests $450,000 in 3D printing technology for Dayton colleges and universities

The state of Ohio is investing a further $450,000 in 3D printing technology for several colleges and universities in the Dayton region. On Monday, the Ohio Controlling Board will vote to acquire 3D printers and equipment from Advanced Technologies Consultants, a Michigan-based company, to give to Sinclair Community College, Edison Community College, and Clark State Community College. The colleges will receive four, three, and two Mojo 3D printers, respectively.

The three aforementioned colleges, in addition to Wright State University, the University of Dayton, and Miami Valley Career Technology Center, will receive thousands of dollars more in 3D printing equipment and supplies. Last year, the University of Dayton received a $225,000 grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency in order to help state manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing in their mold-making processes.

4. University of Akron, Sandia National Laboratories to develop additive manufacturing polymers

Ohio’s University of Akron and Sandia National Laboratories this week announced a collaborative program to develop polymer materials. The two organizations said that the partnership will boost collaborations in areas such as additive manufacturing and advanced materials research. UA’s College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is one of the world’s premier academic and research programs, and its 350+ polymer science and engineering students and postdocs will be able to work with Sandia researchers in areas such as carbon nanomaterials and conjugated polymer developments.

The agreement will allow Sandia and University of Akron researchers to work together in such areas as carbon nanomaterials and conjugated polymer developments, as well as investigate and understand the role adhesion, friction and wear play in coatings, lubricants and adhesives. Both parties hope to help develop novel materials in these areas. Sandia and the University of Akron anticipate also learning from nature by studying biomimicry with the goal of creating advanced adhesives for engineering applications and biological adhesives. Technologies such as carbon nanotube-based coatings will be developed to reduce drag, inhibit ice formation and provide better heat transfer. The agreement also establishes a framework for managing intellectual property that may be developed during the collaborations.

5. Tru-Design LLC, Polynt Composites USA to develop coatings for 3D printing

Tru-Design LLC, a specialist in coating applications for 3D printing, and Polynt Composites USA, a supplier of resins and gel coats for coatings and composites, this week announced a partnership to develop unique advanced material coatings and finishes for 3D printed components made by large area additive manufacturing. The partnership will enable the two parties to create and market materials that will enable broader commercial adoption of large-area additive manufacturing for industrial-size parts, tools, and various products that require a smooth or vacuum integrity finish. Tru-Design will be responsible for sales of the TD coating materials.

“This industry is in its infancy, and new materials are needed to make it viable for many market segments,” said Polynt’s R&D Director Steve Voeks. The partnership has already produced two new products: TD Seal HT and TD Coat RT. TD Seal HT is designed to provide vacuum integrity to 3D printed molds for use in high temperature (350°F) and high pressure autoclave molding. TD Coat RT is designed to provide an additive applied coating that is easy to machine and sand to a desired gloss for parts, plugs, and molds.

6. Nano Dimension looks to raise $10 million on Nasdaq

Nano Dimension, the company behind the groundbreaking Dragonfly 2020 PCB 3D printer, will attempt to raise $10 million in an offering of American depository shares (ADS) that will follow its share on the TASE. Each ADS will represent five Nano Dimension shares. Once the offering is completed, investors in the offering will hold 13% of the company's share capital.

According to the prospectus, Nano Dimension expects a net $8.8 million from the offering, which is likely to increase to $10.3 million if the underwriters—National Securities Corporation and Lake Street Capital— exercise an option to buy more shares. $2 million of the money raised will be allocated to the marketing and sales team for the DragonFly2020 printer, with another $2 million going towards costs of printer production and ink. $1 million will be used to expand the company's production capacity for ink and perishable products, and the remainder will go towards working capital and general business needs.

Nano Dimension posted its Q2 financial results at the end of August, reporting cash and cash equivalents of $5,793,000 and shareholder equity of $11,558,000. The company recently reported that its Dragonfly 2020 PCB 3D printer is capable of 3D printing conductive patterns onto fabric.

7. Stratonics, ORNL form 3D printing partnership

Stratonics, a provider of thermal sensing and control systems for additive manufacturing, this week announced a collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop flaw detection and process parameter optimization tools. The ThermaViz Sensor System will be integrated into a Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process at the ORNL Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) in order to correlate actual melt pool characterizations to simulation model data. The parties believe that this research could then be used to improve and perfect the DMLS process.

Additive manufacturing is restricted primarily by reduced mechanical properties as a result of porosities and interlayer lack of fusion, the primary causes of failure. Significant research is required to eliminate these defects by optimizing the operating parameters using in-situ process monitoring and closed loop techniques. "Successful measurements could provide a way to rapidly develop ideal processing parameters for new alloy powders and improve the DLS process,” said Ryan Dehoff, group leader, deposition science and technology at ORNL.

The ThermaViz Sensor System can be used to help understand the relationship between specific process variables and outcomes, by producing single variations while keeping key process variables constant. For example, to study the relationship between melt pool characteristics as a result of changes in the thermal condition of the substrate, other process variables such as beam power, beam velocity, and material feed rate can be held constant.

8. HP to open 3D printer-equipped Learning Studios for refugees in Middle East

Printing giant HP, which introduced its first ever 3D printer earlier this year, has vowed to open new HP Learning Studios in the Middle East. HP will work with Digital Promise Global, the Global Business Coalition for Education, Microsoft, and Intel to set up the centers, which will be equipped with computer systems and teacher training services to give refugee students access to the latest education technology and provide adults with the opportunity to learn essential business and IT skills. The announcement was made as part of President Barack Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees.

“The refugee community is full of untapped potential, but is challenged with growing those talents and skills due to a lack of access to technology and the digital world,” said Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer at HP. “By opening these new HP Learning Studios and supporting a variety of initiatives, HP is empowering refugees to build a better, more prosperous life through access to quality education and employment opportunities.”

The new HP Learning Studios will be equipped with its latest technologies, including HP Sprout, a fully integrated desktop 3D scanning solution with 3D object capture, editing and multiple streamlined 3D print options. The Studios will also have 360 convertible PCs powered by Windows 10, along with a Dremel 3D Printer. The curriculum will consist of a number of HP LIFE e-Learning courses, which include 25 online modules on essential business and IT skills in seven languages. As part of this effort, HP will support the creation of additional free online courses and curated content specifically designed to help refugees develop the skills and expertise necessary for freelancing and ecommerce. 



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