Oct 13, 2017 | By Tess

Just in time for the weekend: here are some quick 3D printing stories to catch up on this Friday. Stratasys sponsors new LAIKA exhibit at Portland museum, SwissLitho and EVG team up to develop a method for printing 3D optical structures, Strangpresse acquires exclusive licensing for ORNL's additive manufacturing extruders, and much more besides.

Stratasys-sponsored exhibit about LAIKA studio reveals the 3D printing magic behind its animated films

3D printing company Stratasys has announced it will be sponsoring an exhibition at the Portland Art Museum dedicated to animation studio LAIKA. The studio, which is behind such acclaimed films as Kubo and the Two Strings, ParaNorman, and Coraline, has often turned to 3D printing to achieve its amazing animations.

The exhibition, called “Animating Life: The Art, Science and Magic of LAIKA,” will open on October 14th and run until May 20, 2018. Visitors to the museum will be able to look inside and behind LAIKA’s stunning animation films to see how the magic of the scenes and characters was brought to life.

Stratasys, which has offered its 3D printing solutions to LAIKA for many of its films (including Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings) will not only be sponsoring the exhibition but also had its executives speak at a press preview for it yesterday. The museum will also be showing a Facebook Live tour of the exhibit today at 9 am (Pacific time).

For us, the highlight of the LAIKA exhibition will be seeing how 3D printing has impacted and enabled the work of the artists.

“Bringing inanimate objects to life is one of the oldest forms of movie magic,” explaied Brian McLean, LAIKA’s Director of Rapid Prototyping. “By harnessing the power of 3D printers, we are able to create emotions and subtle facial performances never before seen in stop-motion animation. It is this technology—combined with the amazing talents of so many different creative disciplines within LAIKA—that allow us to tell really complex and enduring stories.”

If you happen to be in the Portland area over the next several months, we highly suggest checking out the exhibition. If not, it will at least be well worth your time to watch some of LAIKA’s academy award winning animations.

SwissLitho and EVG developing nanoimprint lithography system for single-nanometer 3D optical structures 

EV Group, an Austrian supplier of lithography and wafer bonding systems, has teamed up with Zurich-based nanolithography manufacturer SwissLitho AG to develop a solution for producing “3D structures down to the single-nanometer scale.”

The solution reportedly combines SwissLitho’s NanoFrazoe thermal scanning probe lithography system—which is used to produce “master templates with 3D structures for nanoimprint lithography (NIL)”—and EVG’s HERCULES NIL system and Smart NIL tech—which is capable of replicating the 3D structures at a “high throughput.”

The novel solution for 3D structures could be used in the development of diffractive optical elements as well as other optical parts used for photonics, data communications, augmented and virtual reality, and more. The partners say that their system could also be used in other biotech, nanofluidic, and nanotechnology applications.

"SwissLitho's NanoFrazor solution is highly complementary to EVG's SmartNIL technology,” commented Dr. Thomas Glinsner, corporate technology director at EV Group. “Together we can offer a complete NIL solution for photonics and other applications involving 3D structure patterning, providing significant opportunity for both companies to expand our customer base and market reach.”

“Our NILPhotonics® Competence Center will be the first point of contact for customers interested in this joint solution, where we will be able to offer feasibility studies, demonstrations and pilot-line production,” he added.

According to SwissLitho and EVG, its joint solution offers users a way of printing more precise and accurate 3D structures than using other competing technologies, such as electron beam and grayscale lithography. Additionally, thanks to EVG’s input, the system will also be scalable, enabling users to “create working templates for production use, cost-effectively and at high throughput.”

Strangpresse signs exclusive licensing agreement for ORNL’s 3D printing extruder technology

Strangpresse, an Ohio-based industrial equipment supplier, has made a deal to exclusively license the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s 3D printing extruder technology. The additive manufacturing extruders developed by ORNL are capable of depositing hundreds of pounds of polymer material at a rapid rate.

Strangpresse, which is a supplier of extruders and other 3D printing technology, was reportedly the first company to license ORNL’s patents for its large-scale additive manufacturing technology in 2015 (though on a non-exclusive basis).

The extruder technology licensed (exclusively) by Strangpresse includes a nozzle designed for large-scale printing, which has applications in the aerospace and automotive sectors due to its high resolution capacity.

“Development of the extruder technology increases high resolution deposition rates by three orders of magnitude, going from about four cubic inches per hour up to 2,400 cubic inches per hour,” explained Bill Peter, director of DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. “This has opened up the potential applications of additive processes.”

“Obtaining an exclusive technology license from ORNL helps us secure a more competitive position for Strangpresse as we grow our company,” said Chuck George, the company’s chief executive officer.

4WEB Medical announces launch of next generation anterior spine truss system

4WEB Medical, the industry leader in 3D printed implant technology, has announced the launch of its next generation interbody fusion product line for anterior lumbar spine procedures. The new release of the Anterior Spine Truss System recently received FDA clearance for several impactful line extensions along with some key new indications for use and design enhancements.

"As the first ever FDA cleared additive manufactured spine implant, the original Anterior Spine Truss System paved the way for a new paradigm in implant technology," said Jim Bruty, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing at 4WEB Medical. "The latest edition of the Anterior Spine Truss System builds upon 6 years of successful clinical use with a variety of upgrades that position it as the most advanced anterior interbody solution on the market today."

The Anterior Spine Truss System features an array of new hyperlordotic options in 16, 20, and 25 degree angles and offset insertion functionality has been added for optimal oblique positioning of the device. 4WEB's new clearance also includes an indication for allogenic bone graft in addition to autograft. The key differentiator for the product remains the proprietary truss design that provides a more stimulative and stable environment for fusion than competitive annular designs across the industry.

"The new hyperlordotic footprints allow for greater anterior sagittal balance restoration while keeping the signature bi-convex truss design which has shown to increase bone interface and dramatically reduce the risk of expulsion," said Bobby Kalantar, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Medstar Georgetown.

4WEB expects that the Anterior Spine Truss System will provide a considerable growth opportunity for the business as it takes the product to market in the fourth quarter. The company's spine business has just completed its eighth straight quarter of consecutive growth and is poised for its biggest quarter ever in Q4 with the most comprehensive portfolio of 3D printed interbody implants and the early success of its also recently released lateral product line.

Nano Dimension opens nano particle ink production facility

Nano Dimension announced this week that its wholly owned subsidiary, Nano Dimension Technologies Ltd., has opened its nano particle ink production facility. Scientists at this facility will produce advanced nanoparticle conductive and dielectric inks for its DragonFly 2020 Pro, the company's first commercial 3D printer for rapid prototyping of complex multilayer printed circuit boards (PCBs).

The 8,600-square foot (800 square meters) facility is in Ness Ziona, situated in the same building as the company's headquarters and R&D laboratories.

"We have made significant progress over the past several months to design and engineer an innovative continuous manufacturing process to enable us to increase production of our nano particle inks and compatible dielectric materials," said Amit Dror, CEO of Nano Dimension. "This extremely complicated process has been installed at our ink production facility, and it will allow us to efficiently scale-up and maintain our ability to supply customers with advanced materials, produced at our technologically sophisticated and cost-efficiently operated production facility, while keeping the trade secrets of the unique production processes."

Nano Dimension's breakthrough inks have unique compatible sintering and curing properties, as well as ink stability enabling precision, and engineered metal particle size. This unique combination of a dielectric material (for mechanical structure, high temperature resistance and electrical insulation) and a conductive material for the circuitry with a very low melting point, solve some of the major challenges that, thus far, have prevented widespread use of 3D printed electronics. Nano Dimension's inks make it possible to quickly print three-dimensional, high performance, low-cost conductive patterns as well as complex structures on relatively heat sensitive substrates with Nano Dimension's DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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