Oct 30, 2017 | By David

3D printing news just keeps coming, and we know it’s not always easy to stay abreast of all the exciting developments. That’s why we’re here with a brief summary of things you might have missed recently, including Ricoh developing a new material, J Group Robotics launching a new FDM machine, and more besides.

1. Ricoh launches new 3D printing material for high speed 3D printer

Global tech giant Ricoh has announced that it will be releasing a new 3D printing material on to the market soon. The company, which is headquartered in Tokyo, intends for the new material to be used with its Ricoh AM S5500P SLS 3D printer, its first branded AM machine, to give customers access to a broader range of applications. The application range will include parts for electrical components ranging from automotive motors to bathroom furnishings.

Known as PBT, Ricoh’s new product is a high strength, heat resistant material that should provide properties similar to injection molding, but with the benefit of 3D printing technology’s improved design flexibility and efficiency. The application range of PBT includes parts for electrical components ranging from automotive motors to bathroom furnishings.

The material will be on display at this year’s formnext show, one of the major international exhibitions for the next generation of manufacturing technologies. It will eventually be made available to purchase for Ricoh customers by mid-2018.


2. Bio-based 3D printing polymer developed in Russia

A group of researchers based in Russia have developed a new material that can be used with 3D printing technology in a way that will significantly reduce its carbon footprint and contribute less to the manufacturing industry’s pollution of the natural environment. A bio-based polymer, the material will be completely recyclable and bio-degradable as well as having high-performance qualities similar to other polymers and plastics used for 3D printing.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Russian researchers published the results of their work. Their material is known as PEF (polyethylene-2,5-furandicarboxylate), and it is made from bio-mass. The team was working with Valentine P. Ananikov at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, in the development of this cellulose-based material.

The team was able to use a commercially available FDM 3D printer with standard settings to successfully make objects out of PEF. The individual layers of the printed objects were firmly bound to each other and the surface was smooth and of high quality. The objects also displayed impressive thermal stability, which meant that they could be easily melted down and made back into filament which could be re-used for FDM 3D printing.

Another significant advantage of PEF was its solvent resistance. Many polymers are easily damaged by common solvents, and their material properties can suffer. Tests of PEF, however, demonstrated that the 3D printed objects were resistant to dichloromethane, one of the most aggressive solvents.


3.J Group Robotics launches Delta HC 666 FDM 3D printer

One of India’s largest technology manufacturers, J Group Robotics, has announced the release of a new FDM 3D printer. The next-gen machine is known as the Delta HC 666, and J Group Robotics intends it to be used for functional prototyping, manufacturing aids, tooling and short-run direct digital manufacturing.

According to Vaibhav Jariwala - C.E.O. of J Group Robotics, "Among the thermoplastic-based 3D printers, the next generation Delta HC 666 Production 3D Printer has industry leading accuracy and reliability. This new generation of the proven large format Delta HC 666 Production 3D Printer maintains the industry's leading accuracy and reliability. With additional key features, the 3D printer allows for improved use along with a rapid installation process that saves time for the users.’’

The streamlined workflow that comes as standard with the Delta HC 666 3D printer should be ideal for a range of different industries, including the Aerospace, Automotive and Medical manufacturing sectors. The machine is compatible with most consumer and engineering-grade thermoplastics, including high-performance materials like Ultem 9085, Ultem 1010, Polysulfone (PSU), Polyphenylsulfone (PPSF / PPSU), Victrex 500 Peek, and Polycarbonate (PC).


4. 3D printing used to make ethoscopes for insect behaviour studies

A team of researchers based at Imperial College London have developed a new piece of equipment that will enable the improved study of insect behaviour, which should contribute much to various scientific disciplines. 3D printing was part of the development process of this unique, easy-to-use, customizable device, which is known as an ethoscope.

The ethoscope is basically a 3D printed chassis combined with a camera and a Raspberry Pi computer, but LEGO or cardboard could be used just as effectively. The software and instructions for construction are all available for free online.

The ethoscope is capable of automating the usually painstaking manual process of recording a fruit fly’s behaviour. Not only this, but it can also manipulate the fly’s behaviour in particular desirable ways. Flies behave in ways that are often remarkably similar to humans, and for this reason their study is useful for neuroscience and many other fields in behavioural studies.

According to Dr Giorgio Gilestro, who led the project, "We can programme the machine to send stimuli to the flies only when they behave in a certain way. For example, the robots can be programmed to give flies rewards only if they complete a learned task...The ethoscope is going to provide neuroscientists with a very new powerful tool to study, for instance, the biology of learning and memory or the function of sleep...Another possible use of ethoscopes is the adaptation of the platform to detect behavior of other animals; clearly, adapting ethoscopes to work with other small insects similar to Drosophila should be an easy task, and tracking behavior of even smaller animals may be possible using lenses."

5. 3D printed antenna based on moths used for chemical sensing

A team of researchers from the Oak Ridge National Lab and the Georgia Institute of Technology recently published studies on the natural olfaction structure of male moth antennae. The results of their work could serve to improve performance of preconcentrators for chemical sensing. A key part of the research was the development of a 3D printed replica of the moth’s antennae.

Male moths are capable of using their antennae to rapidly detect food and female pheromones over large distances. They can sense important chemicals from up to four kilometers away, which is significantly better than artificial sensors of similar size. Chemical communication is used by the insect to sense pheromones in less than a second, which is a significant reduction in the amount time that typical sensors take. Most hazardous gases aren’t detected by artificial sensors until after a minute of exposure.

The researchers are hoping that moth’s olfactory capability can inspire a new approach to the detection of chemical leaks, drugs and explosives. They analyzed the natural dimensions and hierarchical structure of the moth’s antenna design and then fabricated a 1:1 scale replica of it, using Nanoscribe’s two-photon polymerization based 3D printer. The antenna demonstrated improved performance, and could be subsequently used for all kinds of practical applications.


6. Materialise and Henry Ford to validate the importance of accurate 3D modeling for mitral valve planning

Mitral regurgitation affects more than 4 million Americans – nearly one in 10 people aged 75 or older. Currently the primary option for the disease is open-heart surgery, which holds extremely high risks for patients in this age group and can prevent treatment in many cases. Non-invasive methods are entering the market to address this need and physicians are recognizing the importance of pre-surgical planning for this complex disease. Entering their pre-market phase of development, Materialise is working with select U.S. and EU hospital partners to validate the importance of accurate 3D modeling to help physicians plan complex transcatheter mitral valve replacement & repair (TMVR/r) procedures.

The pre-market phase will assess the importance of accurate 3D modeling for robust, repeatable patient planning. Materialise has partnered with Henry Ford Health Systems to bring Henry Ford's validated, patented, mitral planning workflow, developed in Materialise's Mimics Innovation Suite to a broader TMVR Market.

"Expanding access to this proven workflow is another step towards our mission to develop innovative products that result in a better and healthier world," said Brigitte de Vet, Vice President of Medical at Materialise. "Working with specific hospital partners in this pre-market phase of development of a TMVR planning tool means we are one step closer to helping more patients receive therapy without the risks inherent to open-heart surgery."

Organizations participating in the Mitral Valve Planning research program will leverage Henry Ford's validated workflow in Materialise's Mimics Innovation Suite software where virtual 3D anatomical models are the basis for assessing left ventricular outflow tract obstructions (LVOTO) and other elements for planning complex mitral valve procedures.

"The mitral valve anatomy is much more complex than other areas of the heart that transcatheter devices currently treat," said Dee Dee Wang, M.D., director of structural heart imaging at Henry Ford Hospital, and medical director, 3D printing, Henry Ford Innovation Institute. "The ability to bring advanced 3D computer aided design (CAD) technology and software into the transcatheter mitral space has been a real game changer. This 3D visualization of patient specific anatomy can help cardiologists and surgeons gauge each patient's mitral annular dimensions to better understand how a device will fit in the patient's heart and the nature of the obstruction of the left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) for successful TMVR device implants in highly diseased hearts. This, along with proper imaging and skilled staff, brings peri-procedural planning and patient-centered outcomes to a whole new level."


Posted in 3D Printer Company



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