Dec 14, 2017 | By David

3D printing news can be hard to keep up with sometimes, but at 3ders we’re always one step ahead of the game, so here’s another round-up to catch you up on things you might have missed. Stories include the biggest 3D printed building in America, and 3D printed razor blades from Gillette.

1. America’s largest 3D printed building completed in Illinois

Concrete 3D printing is being increasingly adopted as a construction solution, with the world’s first 3D printed office building currently located in Dubai, which is now planning to install the world’s first 3D printed skyscraper. In the U.S, the largest 3D printed building was recently completed in Champaign, Illinois.

The building was commissioned by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), and took around 21 hours to complete Researchers said the new 3D printing construction method, which was intended for military purposes, is more cost-effective, energy efficient, and produces less waste.

“It could be used to make refugee housing,” US Army ERDC mechanical engineer Megan Kreiger said. “It could be used to print disaster relief housing. Its applications have barely been touched because we are on the cusp of this developing technology."


2. ESA completes first 3D printed prototype optical instrument for space

The European Space Agency has finished its first prototype in its ongoing project to make use of 3D printing technology in the development and manufacturing of optical instruments. The two-mirror telescope design was derived from the European-made Ozone Monitoring Instrument, which is currently flying on NASA’s Aura satellite.

The design process for this satellite imaging instrument involved topology optimization software, which automatically generates the best possible shape and structure for an object according to specific requirements set by engineers. This gives the prototype an oddly organic look. It was 3D printed in liquid photopolymer plastic, then spray-painted. The final version of the instrument will be printed in metal instead, and then tested in a simulated space environment.

The project was backed through ESA’s General Support Technology Programme, which is intended to hone promising technologies to be ready for space and global markets. It was developed for ESA by a consortium led by OHB System in Germany, with TNO in the Netherlands, Fraunhofer IFAM, IABG and Materialise in Germany and SRON, and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research. TNO is the company responsible for the design of the original Ozone Monitoring Instrument, on which this project is based.


3. Gillette offers personalized 3D printed razors

As part of a new promotional event, global men’s grooming giant Gillette will be offering customers the chance to get their own personalized razor, made using 3D printing technology. The company is hosting an event in January 2018 in Paris, which will have a booth providing this unique service alongside other fun and special activities.

The 3D printed razor will be designed using Gillette's Rzr Mkr software, which will allow users to customize their razor according to the specific requirements of their face. This personalization of the finished product should provide a much better, safer and more comfortable shave. The 3D printing job will be carried out by Gillette’s professional 3D printing partner Zortrax, which is based in Poland.

The event will also have a barber’s area, where attendees can go to get shaved, get their facial hair maintained and have special care and attention paid to their beard and moustache by professionals. There will also be a photo area where visitors are encouraged to try to mimic the unique facial expressions of Gillette’s international ambassador, French footballer Antoine Griezmann. These GrieZmaces will be converted into animated GIFs which the users can share on social media and other networks.


4. ActivArmor gets major grant for its 3D printed medical devices

Pueblo-based medical device manufacturer ActivArmor was recently the beneficiary of a $750, 000 grant, to further develop its business. The funding was an Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant, awarded by the Colorado Office of Economic Development. ActivArmor was the first company in the U.S to offer 3D printed casts.

Activ Armor's 3D printed casts are better than conventional plaster ones as they are more lightweight as well as being more accurately tailored to a wearer’s anatomy, with the help of 3D scanning techniques. Not only are they much more comfortable, they are also waterproof, which significantly reduces how much a wearer has to change their lifestyle. They can swim, bathe and shower in these casts just like they would without them, bringing back an improved quality of life, not to mention hygiene.

According to ActivArmor owner and co-founder, Diana Hall, "I think it's great for Pueblo…I grew up here. I love it. It's my hometown... (job growth in Pueblo has) always been a little bit tough with the old-school manufacturing so it's really nice to be able to bring bio-science and advance manufacturing jobs right here to Pueblo”

The grant will be used to expand the company, bringing around 20 new jobs to the area over the next few years. ActivArmor recently opened its first clinic in Los Angeles, and the company’s second clinic will soon be opening in Illinois.

5. Siemens wins award from ASME for first 3D printed gas turbine blades

Siemens received an award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for its technological achievement with the first successfully 3D printed and fully tested gas turbine blades.

The goal of the Mechanical Engineering magazine Emerging Technology Awards is to recognize some outstanding examples of what ASME calls ascending technologies: new products and processes that have left the breakthrough stage, crossed the so- called commercialization valley of death, and are poised to reshape the industries where they compete. After exclusive vetting, ASME editors selected the technologies from each of five focus areas: advanced manufacturing, automation and robotics, bioengineering, clean energy, and pressure technology.

"The 3D-printed turbine blade places Siemens at the forefront of a technology trend that is spurring a global revolution in product design and production," said Charla K. Wise, president of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME. "Mechanical Engineering magazine is pleased to present one of the five Emerging Technology Awards to a leader in manufacturing, and we thank the design team on the 3D-printed blade for advancing technology excellence."

Earlier this year, Siemens has achieved a breakthrough by finishing its first full-load engine tests for gas turbine blades completely produced using Additive Manufacturing technology. The 3D printed components were tested at 13,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures beyond 1,250 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, Siemens tested a new blade design with a completely revised and improved internal cooling geometry manufactured using the AM technology.

"Additive Manufacturing is one of our main pillars in our digitalization strategy. With our combined know-how in 3D printing, we will continue to drive the technological development and application in this field," says Christoph Haberland, Advisory Key Expert Additive Manufacturing, and member of the blade team.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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