Tag Archives: 3D printing

3D Printing Magic


If you’ve visited this blog before you know I’m a great fan of 3D printing. Though some uses, such as printing 3D selfies, seem dubious at best. So, when Carbon3D unveiled its fundamentally different, and better, approach to 3D printing I was intrigued. The company uses an approach called continuous liquid interface production (CLIP), which seems to construct objects from a magical ooze. Check out the video — you’ll be enthralled. The future is here.

Learn more about Carbon3D here.

From Wired:

EVEN IF YOU have little interest in 3-D printing, you’re likely to find  Carbon3D’s Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology fascinating. Rather than the time-intensive printing of a 3-D object layer by layer like most printers, Carbon3D’s technique works 25 to 100 times faster than what you may have seen before, and looks a bit like Terminator 2‘s liquid metal T-1000 in the process.

CLIP creations grow out of a pool of UV-sensitive resin in a process that’s similar to the way laser 3-D printers work, but at a much faster pace. Instead of the laser used in conventional 3-D printers, CLIP uses an ultraviolet projector on the underside of a resin tray to project an image for how each layer should form. Light shines through an oxygen-permeable window onto the resin, which hardens it. Areas of resin that are exposed to oxygen don’t harden, while those that are cut off form the 3-D printed shape.

In practice, all that physics translates to unprecedented 3-D printing speed. At this week’s TED Conference in Vancouver, Carbon3D CEO and co-founder Dr. Joseph DeSimone demonstrated the printer onstage with a bit of theatrical underselling, wagering that his creation could produce in 10 minutes a geometric ball shape that would take a regular 3-D printer up to 10 hours. The CLIP process churned out the design in a little under 7 minutes.

Read the entire story here.

Video courtesy of Carbon3D.

3D Printing Grows Up


So, you’d like to print a 3D engine part for your jet fighter aircraft, or print a baby — actually a realistic model of one — or shoe insoles or a fake flower. Or perhaps you’d like to print a realistic windpipe or a new arm, or a guitar or a bikini or a model of a sports stadium or even a 3D selfie (please, say no). All of these and more can now be printed in three-dimensions courtesy of this rapidly developing area of technology.

From the Guardian:

As a technology journalist – even one who hasn’t written much about 3D printing – I’ve noticed a big growth in questions from friends about the area in recent months. Often, those questions are the same ones, too.

How does 3D printing even work? What’s all this about 3D-printed guns? Can you 3D-print a 3D printer? Why are they so expensive? What can you actually make with them? Apart from guns…

The ethical and legal questions around 3D printing and firearms are important and complex, but they also tend to hoover up a lot of the mainstream media attention for this area of technology. But it’s the “what can you actually make with them” question that’s been pulling me in recently.

There’s a growing community – from individual makers to nascent businesses – exploring the potential of 3D printing. This feature is just a snapshot of some of the products and projects that caught my attention, rather than a definitive roundup.

A taste of what’s happening, but one that’s ripe for your comments pointing out better examples in these categories, and other areas that have been left out. All contributions are welcome, but here are 30 things to start the discussion off.

1. RAF Tornado fighter jet parts

Early this year, BAE Systems said that British fighter jets had flown with the first time with components made using 3D printing technology. Its engineers are making parts for four squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft, with the aim of saving £1.2m of maintenance and service costs over the next four years. “You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things,” said BAE’s Mike Murray. “You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there.”

2. Arms for children

Time’s article from earlier this month on the work of Not Impossible Labs makes for powerful reading: a project using 3D printers to make low-cost prosthetic limbs for amputees, including Sudanese bomb-blast victim Daniel Omar. But this is just one of the stories emerging: see also 3Ders’ piece on a four-year old called Hannah, with a condition called arthrogryposis that limits her ability to lift her arms unaided, but who now has a Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX for short) to help, made using 3D printing.

3. Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium

Manchester-based company Hobs’ business is based around working with architects, engineers and other creatives to use 3D printing as part of their work, but to show off its capabilities, the company 3D printed models of the city’s two football stadia – Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium – giving them away in a competition for Manchester Evening News readers. The models were estimated to be worth £1,000 each.

4. Unborn babies

Not actually as creepy as it sounds. This is more an extension of the 4D ultrasound images of babies in the womb that have become more popular in recent years. The theory: why not print them out? One company doing it, 3D Babies, didn’t have much luck with a crowdfunding campaign last year, raising $1,225 of its $15,000 goal. Even so, its website is up and running, offering eight-inch “custom lifesize baby” models for $800 a pop.

5. Super Bowl shoe cleats

Expect to see a number of big brands launching 3D printing projects this year – part R&D and part PR campaigns. Nike is one example: it’s showing off a training shoe called the Vapor Carbon Elite Cleat for this year’s Super Bowl, with a 3D-printed nylon base and cleats – the latter based on the existing Vapor Laser Talon, which was unveiled a year ago.

6. Honda concept cars

Admittedly, not an actual concept car that you can drive. Not yet. But Honda has made five 3D-printable models available from its website for fans to download and make, including 1994’s FSR Concept and 2003’s Kiwami. So it’s more about shining a light on the company’s archives and being seen to be innovative – although the potential of 3D printing for internal prototyping at all kinds of manufacturers (cars included) is one of the most interesting areas for 3D printing.

Read the entire article here.

Image: Cubify’s 3DMe figures. Courtesy of Cubify.

Printing the Perfect Pasta


Step 1: imagine a new pasta shape and design it in three dimensions on your iPad. Step 2: fill a printer cartridge with pasta dough. Step 3: put the cartridge in a 3D printer and download your print design. Step 4: print your custom-designed pasta. Step 5: cook, eat and enjoy!

In essence that’s what Barilla — the Italian food giant — is up to in its food research labs in conjunction with Dutch tech company TNO.

3D printers aimed at the home market are also on display at this week’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show), including several that print candy and desserts. Yum, but Mamma would certainly not approve.

From the Guardian:

Once, not so very long ago, the pasta of Italian dreams was kneaded, rolled and shaped by hand in the kitchen. Now, though, the world’s leading pasta producer is perfecting a very different kind of technique – using 3D printers.

The Parma-based food giant Barilla, a fourth-generation Italian family business, said on Thursday it was working with TNO, a Dutch organisation specialising in applied scientific research, on a project using the same cutting-edge technology that has already brought startling developments in manufacturing and biotech and may now be poised to make similar waves in the food sector.

Kjeld van Bommel, project leader at TNO, said one of the potential applications of the technology could be to enable customers to present restaurants with their pasta shape desires stored on a USB stick.

“Suppose it’s your 25th wedding anniversary,” Van Bommel was quoted as telling the Dutch newspaper Trouw. “You go out for dinner and surprise your wife with pasta in the shape of a rose.”

He said speed was a big focus of the Barilla project: they want to be able to print 15-20 pieces of pasta in under two minutes. Progress had already been made, he said, and it was already possible to print 10 times as quickly as when the technology first arrived.

According to reports, Barilla aims to offer customers cartridges of dough that they can insert into a 3D printer to create their own pasta designs.

But the company declined to give further details, dismissing the claims as “speculation”. It said that although the project had been going on for around two years, it was still “in a preliminary phase”.

When contacted by the Guardian, TNO said media interest in the project had spiked in recent days, and it declined to make any further comment on the nature of the project.

The technology of 3D printing is advancing in myriad sectors around the world. Last year a California-based company made the world’s first metal 3D-printed handgun, capable of accurately firing 50 rounds without breaking, and scientists at Cornell University produced a prosthetic human ear.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, the US company 3D Systems unveiled a new range of food-creating printers specialising in sugar-based confectionary and chocolate edibles. Last year Natural Machines, a Spanish startup, revealed its own prototype, the Foodini, which it said combined “technology, food, art and design” and was capable of making edibles ranging from chocolate to pasta.

Read the entire article here.

Video courtesy of TNO.

4-D Printing and Self-Assembly


With the 3-D printing revolution firmly upon us comes word of the next logical extension — 3-D printing in time, or 4-D printing. This allows for “printing” of components that can self-assemble over time at a macro-scale. We are still a long way from Iain M. Banks’ self-assembling starships, but this heralds a small step in a very important direction.

From Slate:

Read the entire article here.

Vide curtesy of MIT: Self-assembly Lab.

Printing Human Cells

The most fundamental innovation tends to happen at the intersection of disciplines. So, what do you get if you cross 3-D printing technology with embryonic stem cell research? Well, you get a device that can print lines of cells with similar functions, such as heart muscle or kidney cells. Welcome to the new world of biofabrication. The science fiction future seems to be ever increasingly close.

[div class=attrib]From Scientific American:[end-div]

Imagine if you could take living cells, load them into a printer, and squirt out a 3D tissue that could develop into a kidney or a heart. Scientists are one step closer to that reality, now that they have developed the first printer for embryonic human stem cells.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Edinburgh have created a cell printer that spits out living embryonic stem cells. The printer was capable of printing uniform-size droplets of cells gently enough to keep the cells alive and maintain their ability to develop into different cell types. The new printing method could be used to make 3D human tissues for testing new drugs, grow organs, or ultimately print cells directly inside the body.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are obtained from human embryos and can develop into any cell type in an adult person, from brain tissue to muscle to bone. This attribute makes them ideal for use in regenerative medicine — repairing, replacing and regenerating damaged cells, tissues or organs. [Stem Cells: 5 Fascinating Findings]

In a lab dish, hESCs can be placed in a solution that contains the biological cues that tell the cells to develop into specific tissue types, a process called differentiation. The process starts with the cells forming what are called “embryoid bodies.” Cell printers offer a means of producing embryoid bodies of a defined size and shape.

In the new study, the cell printer was made from a modified CNC machine (a computer-controlled machining tool) outfitted with two “bio-ink” dispensers: one containing stem cells in a nutrient-rich soup called cell medium and another containing just the medium. These embryonic stem cells were dispensed through computer-operated valves, while a microscope mounted to the printer provided a close-up view of what was being printed.

The two inks were dispensed in layers, one on top of the other to create cell droplets of varying concentration. The smallest droplets were only two nanoliters, containing roughly five cells.

The cells were printed onto a dish containing many small wells. The dish was then flipped over so the droplets now hung from them, allowing the stem cells to form clumps inside each well. (The printer lays down the cells in precisely sized droplets and in a certain pattern that is optimal for differentiation.)

Tests revealed that more than 95 percent of the cells were still alive 24 hours after being printed, suggesting they had not been killed by the printing process. More than 89 percent of the cells were still alive three days later, and also tested positive for a marker of their pluripotency — their potential to develop into different cell types.

Biomedical engineer Utkan Demirci, of Harvard University Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has done pioneering work in printing cells, and thinks the new study is taking it in an exciting direction. “This technology could be really good for high-throughput drug testing,” Demirci told LiveScience. One can build mini-tissues from the bottom up, using a repeatable, reliable method, he said. Building whole organs is the long-term goal, Demirci said, though he cautioned that it “may be quite far from where we are today.”

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the leap.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image: 3D printing with embryonic stem cells. Courtesy of Alan Faulkner-Jones et al./Heriot-Watt University.[end-div]

3D Printing Coming to a Home Near You

It seems that not too long ago we were writing about pioneering research into 3D printing and start-up businesses showing off their industrially focused, prototype 3D printers. Now, only a couple of years later there is a growing, consumer market, home-based printers for under $3,000, and even a a 3D printing expo — 3D Printshow. The future looks bright and very much three dimensional.

[div class=attrib]From the Independent:[end-div]

It is Star Trek science made reality, with the potential for production-line replacement body parts, aeronautical spares, fashion, furniture and virtually any other object on demand. It is 3D printing, and now people in Britain can try it for themselves.

The cutting-edge technology, which layers plastic resin in a manner similar to an inkjet printer to create 3D objects, is on its way to becoming affordable for home use. Some of its possibilities will be on display at the UK’s first 3D-printing trade show from Friday to next Sunday at The Brewery in central London .

Clothes made using the technique will be exhibited in a live fashion show, which will include the unveiling of a hat designed for the event by the milliner Stephen Jones, and a band playing a specially composed score on 3D-printed musical instruments.

Some 2,000 consumers are expected to join 1,000 people from the burgeoning industry to see what the technique has to offer, including jewellery and art. A 3D body scanner, which can reproduce a “mini” version of the person scanned, will also be on display.

Workshops run by Jason Lopes of Legacy Effects, which provided 3D-printed models and props for cinema blockbusters such as the Iron Man series and Snow White and the Huntsman, will add a sprinkling of Hollywood glamour.

Kerry Hogarth, the woman behind 3D Printshow, said yesterday she aims to showcase the potential of the technology for families. While prices for printers start at around £1,500 – with DIY kits for less – they are expected to drop steadily over the coming year. One workshop, run by the Birmingham-based Black Country Atelier, will invite people to design a model vehicle and then see the result “printed” off for them to take home.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image: 3D scanning and printing. Courtesy of Wikipedia.[end-div]

3D Printing – A demonstration

Three dimensional “printing” has been around for a few years now, but the technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds. The technology has already progressed to such an extent that some 3D print machines can now “print” objects with moving parts and in color as well. And, we all thought those cool replicator machines in Star Trek were the stuff of science fiction.


Forget Avatar, the real 3D revolution is coming to your front room

[div class=attrib]From The Guardian:[end-div]

Enjoy eating goulash? Fed up with needing three pieces of cutlery? It could be that I have a solution for you – and not just for you but for picnickers who like a bit of bread with their soup, too. Or indeed for anyone who has dreamed of seeing the spoon and the knife incorporated into one, easy to use, albeit potentially dangerous instrument. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to the Knoon.

The Knoon came to me in a dream – I had a vision of a soup spoon with a knife stuck to its top, blade pointing upwards. Given the potential for lacerating your mouth on the Knoon’s sharp edge, maybe my dream should have stayed just that. But thanks to a technological leap that is revolutionising manufacturing and, some hope, may even change the nature of our consumer society, I now have a Knoon sitting right in front of me. I had the idea, I drew it up and then I printed my cutlery out.

3D is this year’s buzzword in Hollywood. From Avatar to Clash of the Titans, it’s a new take on an old fad that’s coming to save the movie industry. But with less glitz and a degree less fanfare, 3D printing is changing our vision of the world too, and ultimately its effects might prove a degree more special.

Thinglab is a company that specialises in 3D printing. Based in a nondescript office building in east London, its team works mainly with commercial clients to print models that would previously have been assembled by hand. Architects design their buildings in 3D software packages and pass them to Thinglab to print scale models. When mobile phone companies come up with a new handset, they print prototypes first in order to test size, shape and feel. Jewellers not only make prototypes, they use them as a basis for moulds. Sculptors can scan in their original works, adjust the dimensions and rattle off a series of duplicates (signatures can be added later).

All this work is done in the Thinglab basement, a kind of temple to 3D where motion capture suits hang from the wall and a series of next generation TV screens (no need for 3D glasses) sit in the corner. In the middle of the room lurk two hulking 3D printers. Their facades give them the faces of miserable robots.

“We had David Hockney in here recently and he was gobsmacked,” says Robin Thomas, one of Thinglab’s directors, reeling a list of intrigued celebrities who have made a pilgrimage to his basement. “Boy George came in and we took a scan of his face.” Above the printers sit a collection of the models they’ve produced: everything from a car’s suspension system to a rendering of John Cleese’s head. “If a creative person wakes up in the morning with an idea,” says Thomas, “they could have a model by the end of the day. People who would have spent days, weeks months on these type of models can now do it with a printer. If they can think of it, we can make it.”

[div class=attrib]More from theSource here.[end-div]