January 12, 2016

CES 2016 3D printer wrap-up

This year at CES, essentially all of last-year’s vendors were back with new or enhanced products and, more importantly, lots of industry application examples. In addition, not just new printer vendors, but a growing ecosystem of material providers and service bureaus showed up.

Extreme Tech reports on some of the most interesting new developments and provided some updates on a few of the vendors from last year.

emily | 9:23 AM | News | permalink

October 7, 2015

Nike’s COO thinks we could soon 3D print Nike sneakers at home

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 09.23.27.png Eric Sprunk, Nike’s COO, talked about the innovation in Nike’s Flyknit technology and what it suggests about the way sneakers could be made in the future. Based on what Nike is already doing with Flyknit, Sprunk says the ability for consumers to 3D print a pair of sneakers is close at hand. [via Quartz]

quotemarksright.jpgThe way it might work goes something like this: You could head to Nike’s website, customize a sneaker to your specifications, and buy a file containing the instructions for the 3D printer. If you have a printer at home, you could print it yourself and have a new pair of sneakers in a matter of hours. If you don’t, you could take the file to a Nike store and have them print it for you.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

October 1, 2015

3D-printable ice house could be our home on Mars

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One of the challenges of building a habitat on Mars is going to be materials. Transporting enough materials to build shelter will add to the shuttle payload, so a plan for a shelter can be built from materials that are already available on Mars would be really useful. c/Net reports.

quotemarksright.jpgTo solve this interesting conundrum, one designer turned to a substance that has been the topic of much speculation and research about Mars: ice.

And, for its 3D-printed frozen habitat, called, appropriately, the Mars Ice House, Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office was awarded first prize and $25,000 in NASA's 3D Printed Habitat Challenge to design a 3D-printed Mars habitat.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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September 22, 2015

How 3-D Printing Allows the World to Investigate New Human Fossils

Bone_Dating_2x519.jpgIntrigued by fossils of a new humanlike species dubbed Homo naledi, researchers and students use 3-D printing to handle the bones and search for clues. [via MIT Technology Review]

quotemarksright.jpgWhen it comes to understanding human evolution, the trove of fossils from South Africa that was unveiled last week offers much more than another potential new species. What’s raised the excitement level surrounding the finding is that it includes not just fragments of an individual or two but a whole population. There were males and females, infants, children and old people, with the promise of more bones to come.

“We’ve never had such a number of bones,” said University of Wisconsin anthropologist John Hawks, one of the scientists on the expedition. And never before has it been possible for so many researchers to instantly handle replicas of the bones, which are being downloaded and 3-D-printed around the world.

Within a few days of last week’s announcement, Kristina Killgrove, a University of West Florida anthropologist, had printed replicas of jawbones, teeth, and a skull of the upright-walking H. naledi. The expedition members made files available through a website called Morphosource.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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September 18, 2015

The world’s largest 3D printer towers 40 feet, will print clay houses

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 08.37.55.png Earlier this week, the 3D printing gurus at WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) announced plans to officially unveil a 40 foot tall 3D printer on Friday. Once erected, the massive “Big Delta” will supposedly be the largest 3D printer in the world. [via DigitalTrends]

quotemarksright.jpgThe team behind it says the main goal is to use the Big Delta to build extremely low-cost housing, especially valuable in providing quick relief to areas hit by devastating natural disasters.

To do this, WASP outfitted the printer to use local materials such as dirt or clay, and built it to function using less than 100 watts of power. With a strong, 20-foot-wide metal body and a printing nozzle which doubles as a materials mixer, WASP’s latest endeavor is an absolute mammoth.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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September 11, 2015

Cancer patient receives 3D-printed sternum and ribs

In the first surgical operation of its kind, a cancer patient has been fitted with a 3D-printed titanium sternum and ribs. [via C/Net]

quotemarksright.jpgFor the first time, a patient has received a custom, 3D-printed titanium implant to replace part of his rib cage.

The rib cage also is complex, and difficult to replicate. Usually in cases like these, a flat titanium plate is used to reinforce the structure of the rib cage. These aren't an excellent option: they can come loose, and increase the risk of complications.

But 3D printing is now at a point where it's a viable option for quickly creating custom implants designed specifically for individual patients.

The patient's surgical team at Salamanca University Hospital in Salamanca, Spain, commissioned Melbourne, Australia-based medical device company Anatomics to create a customisable titanium implant that could replicate the complicated structure of the sternum and rib cage.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

September 8, 2015

3-D Printing Breaks the Glass Barrier

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 08.29.23.pngResearchers have cracked the challenge of printing glass through a nozzle. [via MIT Technology Review]

quotemarksright.jpgThe palette of materials that can be used as 3-D printing “ink” is quickly growing in diversity, but one ubiquitous material has, until now, been absent: transparent glass.

It’s already possible to use tiny granules of glass in a powder bed with conventional 3-D printing techniques like jetting and sintering, but the products turn out opaque. Now researchers at MIT have demonstrated the first-ever machine that can print molten glass through a nozzle and make transparent glass objects layer by layer according to digital instructions.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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August 28, 2015

Tiny, 3D-Printed Fish to Swim in Blood Stream, Deliver Drugs

microfish cover.jpgNew 3D-printed fish-shaped microbots — called microfish — could one day transport drugs to specific places in the human body and be able to sense and remove toxins. [via Discovery.com]

quotemarksright.jpgThese microfish, smaller than the width of a human hair, are groundbreaking for two reasons: they’re simple to create, but remarkably high-tech in what they can do, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

... These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish will inspire a new generation of ‘smart’ microrobots with capabilities such as detoxification, sensing and directed drug delivery, according to the researchers.

“Another exciting possibility we could explore is to encapsulate medicines inside the microfish and use them for directed drug delivery,” Jinxing Li, the other co-first author of the study, said in a statement.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

NASA Just 3-D Printed Part of a Rocket

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 08.08.58.pngNASA is getting closer to 3-D printing a rocket engine. TIME reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe space agency announced Wednesday that it had built a turbopump using a 3-D printer. The device, which is designed to boost the power of an engine, is one of the most complex rocket parts ever designed with a 3-D printer.

According to NASA, the 3-D printed turbopump has 45 percent fewer parts than a turbopump made via traditional methods. The device is able to power a rocket engine capable of generating 35,000 pounds of thrust and is able to survive in an environment where fuel is burned at greater than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA is also 3-D printing injectors and other engine parts in order to make the production of future spacecraft more efficient.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more. Image from Design-engine.

emily | 8:05 AM | 3D printing in space | permalink

August 25, 2015

Low-cost 3D printed robot hand wins Dyson prize

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A prototype 3D-printed robotic hand that can be made faster and more cheaply than current alternatives is this year's UK winner of the James Dyson Award. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Bristol-raised creator of the Open Bionics project says he can 3D-scan an amputee and build them a custom-fitted socket and hand in less than two days.

It typically takes weeks or months to obtain existing products.

Joel Gibbard says he aims to start selling the prosthetics next year.

The 25-year-old inventor intends to charge customers £2,000 for the device, including the cost of a fitting.

Although prosthetic arms fitted with hooks typically can be bought for similar prices, ones with controllable fingers are usually sold for between £20,000 and £60,000.

That cost can sometimes be prohibitive for children, who usually need to change their prosthetic once or twice a year to take account of their growth.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

MobileFusion: Research project turns regular mobile phone into 3D scanner

A new Microsoft Research project lets people to create high-quality 3D images in real time, using a regular mobile phone, with about the same effort it takes to snap a picture or capture a video. [Inside Microsoft Research Blog via TheNextWeb]

quotemarksright.jpgWhat this system effectively allows us to do is to take something similar to a picture, but it's a full 3D object," said Peter Ondruska, a Ph.D. candidate at Oxford University who worked on the project while he was an intern at Microsoft Research.y/p>

The researchers say the system, called MobileFusion, is better than other methods for 3D scanning with a mobile device because it doesn't need any extra hardware, or even an Internet connection, to work. That means scientists in remote locations or hikers deep in the woods can capture their surroundings using a regular cell phone without a Wi-Fi connection.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:28 AM | 3D scanners | permalink

August 20, 2015

This Low-Cost 3-D Printer Can Produce Human Organs And Bones

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At a lab in Philadelphia's Drexel University, a desktop 3-D printer is cranking out miniature samples of bones. In Toronto, another researcher is using the same printer to make living tumors for drug testing. It looks like an ordinary 3-D printer, but instead of plastic, it squirts out living cells. FastCompany reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBioBots, the startup behind the device, wants to change how researchers do biology. "We've been doing experiments on cells in a dish since 1905, and that's still what we're doing today to learn about how things work inside of our body," says Danny Cabrera, CEO of BioBots. "But the body is a three-dimensional structure. Cells in our body are used to interacting with the world in 3-D. The fact that we've been doing biology in 2-D for over 100 years now is sort of limiting."

In the past, the researcher with the 3-D printed tumors would have tested new tumor-fighting drugs in a dish or on an animal—neither of which really represents how the drug would actually work in the human body. The 3-D printed version gets much closer to the real thing. "It mimics the tumor micro-environment really well," says Cabrera. "So when you pass drugs to it, it really is a much better predictor of what the effects of those drugs is going to be."

The researcher studying bones is learning how bones form. "The vision is that once we understand these processes we can recreate them, and we can begin to engineer bones for people who need them," he says. Other researchers have printed out samples of heart tissue, lungs, the brain, skin, and cartilage.quotesmarksleft.jpg

BioBots is inviting early-stage developers to order and test out their product. Their credit card will be charged: $25000.

Read more.

August 12, 2015

Teeny 3D-Printed Churches For Hermit Crabs Are Incredibly Beautiful

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This is one of the craziest uses of 3D printing we’ve seen yet.

quotemarksright.jpgJapanese artist Aki Inomata began 3D printing tiny homes for hermit crabs in a project she’s called “Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ To a Hermit Crab?’ in 2009. Her original teeny hermit crab shelters were inspired by famous cityscapes; her latest inspiration is all about “white chapels”—which have a fascinating back story.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Yahoo]

August 4, 2015

The FDA has approved the first drug designed using 3D-printing technology

The FDA has just approved the world’s first 3D-printed medication, SPRITAM. The seizure drug is meant to be customized for high dosage treatments, and was developed with Aprecia’s ZipDose technology. The Next Web reports.

quotemarksright.jpgSPRITAM’s 3D-printed designed makes it water soluble with a minimal amount of liquid, which absorbs into the blood stream in less than 10 seconds.“By combining 3DP technology with a highly-prescribed epilepsy treatment, SPRITAM is designed to fill a need for patients who struggle with their current medication experience,” Don Wetherhold, Aprecia’s Chief Executive Officer of Aprecia, said in a press release.

The use of 3D-printing for medical purposes is not new, but this is the first time the FDA has approved a drug designed by 3D-printing.quotesmarksleft.jpg

July 21, 2015

Smithsonian to Kickstart Museum Preservation, Starting with Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit

3D-scan-Neil-Armstrongs-suit-for-3D-printing-on-Kickstarter.jpgToday, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has launched its first-ever Kickstarter campaign, titled Reboot the Suit, to preserve human history with 3D scanning and more. 3D Printing Industry reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAsking for $500,000, the museum has already raised more than a fifth of its goal to conserve the iconic spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore when he became the first person to set foot on the Earth’s moon.

As it stands, the 21-layer spacesuit is among the museum’s most fragile artifacts, stored in a climate controlled storage area where, despite every measure to protect it, the suit’s material has slowly begun to decay and its colors fade. On top of that, this storage unit is necessarily restricted to public access. But, with its $500k, the Smithsonian will conduct chemical analysis, CT scans, photogrammetry, 3D scanning, and other processes, along with consultations with the original designers of the suit, to ensure that it is preserved “down to the particles of lunar dust that cling to its surface.”

Once complete, the Smithsonian will display the suit on the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing, July 20, 2019, before being transferred to their Destination Moon exhibit, which will open in 2021.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

July 1, 2015

Dubai plans to 3D print an entire office building

Fast-growing Dubai, where something new is always being added to the skyline, may have found a way to make construction move even faster. stuff reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Gulf commercial hub has announced plans to add the world's first office building made using three-dimensional printer technology to its collection of eye-catching buildings.

Mohammed al-Gergawi, the United Arab Emirates' minister of Cabinet affairs, said the project is part of a broader effort by the seven-state federation to embrace cutting-edge technology and make it a global hub for innovation.

"This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping construction and design sectors," he said in a statement.

The roughly 2000 square-foot office building and furniture used inside will be printed out layer by layer from a mixture of reinforced concrete, gypsum and plastic using a 20-foot tall 3D printer.

The project is a partnership with WinSun Global, a Chinese company which has begun assembling houses and other buildings made using 3D printers, and architectural and engineering firms Gensler, Thornton Thomasetti, and Syska Hennessy.

The Emirati statement said 3D printing technology has the potential to cut building construction time and labour costs by at least half, and reduce construction waste by 30 to 60 per cent. It described the proposed Dubai office as "the most advanced 3D printed structure ever built at this scale" and the first to be put into actual use.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

June 14, 2015

Amsterdam's new 3D-printed steel bridge is revolutionizing the building industry


Heijmans, the innovative Dutch construction company behind the smart highway and glowing Van Gogh-inspired bicycle paths, has unveiled their latest avant-garde project: a 3D-printed steel bridge in the heart of Amsterdam. [via Inhabitat]

quotemarksright.jpgCreated in collaboration with Dutch startup MX3D and designed by Dutch designer Joris Laarman, the 3D-printed pedestrian bridge is part of Heijmans’ aspirations of building the “spatial contours of tomorrow.” Multi-axis industrial robots will construct the pedestrian bridge using cost-effective and scalable technologies.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

June 7, 2015

PepsiCo is creating new deep-ridged potato chips on 3D printers

pepsico-helps-lead-future-food-innovation-3d-printed-potato-chips-00003.jpgFor all of the potential uses of food in 3D printers at the consumer level, there are many developments being made under the radar by large food corporations who are researching the future of food. 3Ders.org reports.

quotemarksright.jpgWhether the purpose is to create food that can be printed on-demand for military or space exploration or simply just fun new ways of thinking about existing food, 3D printing has been playing a significant part in the development of various new food items.

Among others, PepsiCo - makers of Pepsi cola have recently been able to use 3D printing to create one of the most sought-after snack foods of all time, the potato chip.

The new chips, which the company is calling Deep Ridged, were first developed using a 3D model and a 3D printer to create a thick and super-crunchy potato chip experience.

While it’s highly unlikely that the company will use 3D printing to mass manufacture the chips for consumers, it’s nonetheless cool to know that perhaps someday soon, we’ll be eating healthier snack foods that were developed thanks to additive manufacturing technologies.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:52 PM | 3D printed food | permalink

May 29, 2015

How a 3D-printed titanium bike points the way to products custom-fit for you

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 08.33.16.pngDesign firm Industry has developed a bike that demonstrates how the lines are blurring in design, engineering and manufacturing. This shift will ultimately allow companies to tailor products to individuals. c/net reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Solid is an unusual bicycle: it's 3D-printed out of titanium, it's unusually streamlined, it will take you on routes designed to help you discover a city and it tells you where to turn by buzzing signals in the handlebars. It's also a harbinger of how products will be built in the future.

But the Solid, designed by a Portland, Ore.-based firm called Industry and unveiled Thursday here for the Connected Conference, is unusual in another way, too. It's not a product to be sold, but instead a project to help Industry figure out the future of design and manufacturing.

3D printers, which fuse raw materials layer by layer into metal or plastic components, will open the door to new levels of customization.

The end result may not mean you can buy the Solid in a bike shop next year. But according to Industry co-founder Oved Valadez, it will completely transform the products you do buy.

"The future is about bringing 'personal' back to service," Valadez said. Instead of buying something in size small, medium or large, you'll buy it in "size me," he said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

May 19, 2015

L'Oreal to start 3D-printing skin

_83089659_l'oreal.jpgFrench cosmetics firm L'Oreal is teaming up with bio-engineering start-up Organovo to 3D-print human skin. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIt said the printed skin would be used in product tests.

Organovo has already made headlines with claims that it can 3D-print a human liver but this is its first tie-up with the cosmetics industry.

Experts said the science might be legitimate but questioned why a beauty firm would want to print skin.

L'Oreal currently grows skin samples from tissues donated by plastic surgery patients. It produces more than 100,000, 0.5 sq cm skin samples per year and grows nine varieties across all ages and ethnicities.

Its statement explaining the advantage of printing skin, offered little detail: "Our partnership will not only bring about new advanced in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance, but the potential for where this new field of technology and research can take us is boundless."

It also gave no timeframe for when printed samples would be available, saying it was in "early stage research".quotesmarksleft.jpg

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