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3D Printed Hip Implant: Teenager Walks Again Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014

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Ca te g o ry : March 2014

Fanny Fellesen, a 15-year-old from Sweden, “suffered from a congenital disease [Von Recklinghausen’s Disease] which [caused] a neurofibroma, a benign tumor which grows on the peripheral nervous system, [resulting in] extensive damage to her pelvis. When surgery to remove the neurofibroma was followed by complications and ultimately a severe skeletal deformation of her left hip, the treatment options were limited and her doctors were uncertain if she would ever walk again.” However, as reported by Gizmag, Professor Rydholm of Skane University Hospital in Lund, Sweden, who was in charge of Fellesen’s case, contacted Mobelife, a Belgium-based implant design company, which describes itself as “a specialist in implant design and production for challenging bone and joint reconstruction surgery.” Mobelife was able to create a custom implant using “a tomography scan, which creates a picture of [Fellesen’s] unique bone anatomy. The implant was then used to reconstruct the defect, with screws attaching the implant placed strategically, based on the quality of the surrounding bone.” As for Fellesen, whose operation took “place in September 2012, she was pain free almost immediately afterwards. By Christmas she was out of her wheelchair and walking with one crutch, and now some 18 months later, is walking entirely un-aided.”


Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of Gizmag

WhiteClouds: Where Imagination Comes To Life Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014

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Ca te g o ry : March 2014

In November of last year, Replicator World ran an article about a new company, WhiteClouds, which had just set up shop near Salt Lake City, Utah. WhiteClouds’ CEO, Jerry Ropelato, heard about Elon Musk’s proposal for the futuristic Hyperloop transport system and urged his team to create a (non-working) replica using the magic of 3D printing. As with many projects the WhiteClouds 3D design team tackles, they decided to print three different materials on three different printers. It took less than 24 hours to complete!

According to WhiteClouds’ website, “each designer took a component of the Hyperloop concept and designed digital 3D models based on images released by Musk. The model consists of elevated tubes that are supported by pillars. There are passenger transport capsules that run through the tubes and a station where people [could] load and unload.” The WhiteClouds team used Autodesk Maya as their CAD software and then sent the designs to the printers.


designs to the printers. “The Connex 500 printed the pillars in an ABS-like plastic. The tubes are made of a clear UV-cured resin and printed with the ProJet 3500 HDMax. The ZPrinter 650 printed the station platform and the pods.” Well, we just had to see it for ourselves. We got the chance to visit the WhiteClouds showroom and offices, located in the foothills of the Wasatch Front in Ogden. Mr. Ropelato and WhiteClouds’ Print Production & 3D Designer Lead Jess Schenk showed us around.

WhiteClouds’ showroom is vast. A gigantic Stratasys Connex 500 sits on one side, “the largest 3D printer in Utah!” Mr. Ropelato beams. On the other side of the room sits a 3D Systems ProJet 660 Pro. And in between these heavyweights is a 3D printed wonderland. Resting on hexagonal shelves that wrap around the walls on every side is a cornucopia of 3D printed objects. From architectural models, to incredibly detailed heads, to heroic figures like Thor and Merlin, to spiders designed with spine tingling accuracy, the WhiteClouds’ showroom has it all. What is amazing is the diversity, both in color and materials, on display. When we arrived, Mr. Ropelato explained that WhiteClouds is busy with many simultaneous projects for their various customers, but one of their main focuses is on their booth for Salt Lake City Comic Con’s Fan Xperience on April 17-19th, 2014 at the Salt Palace. WhiteClouds already displayed a similar project at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, but Mr. Ropelato was keen on expanding it. In keeping with the science fictional nature (still!) of 3D printing, WhiteClouds’ design team is creating and printing dioramas containing “cities of the future.”


As with the Hyperloop model before them, these objects are printed using multiple 3D printers. For example, many of the large bases for the project will be printed on the Connex 500. But for more subtle, colorful, and intricate portions of the models, the team prefers to use the Z printers. Even a spaceship that is six inches long could be printed on both.

WhiteClouds is still a new company, so Ms. Schenk explained to us that designing and printing these projects can be a learning process. However, WhiteClouds’ 3D designers have gained many skills through experience. It takes about a year of courses to be fully trained in Maya, WhiteClouds’ preferred CAD program. Even then, you must learn to keep in mind how an object will be printed, Kelly Root, one of their designers, added.

Mr. Root and his colleagues create designs, which allow for different materials and different printers. Designs with large bases that can be built upon with more intricate parts later on or including material and support structures that will hold their models upright. As Mr. Ropelato and Ms. Schenk showed us around, it became evident that one of WhiteClouds’ favorite mediums to print in is a sandstone-like material. With these types of industrial 3D printers, many of the objects begin as powdered resin and are laid down layer by layer. Once the print job is done, a designer can blow off the excess powder


layer by layer. Once the print job is done, a designer can blow off the excess powder within the machine. But even then, the process isn’t done. Ms. Schenk showed us objects that come straight out of the machine and they were extremely brittle. This is particularly true if the models are made from this multi-colored sandstone substance. Therefore, it is necessary to add superglue once the designs have been fully printed. That way, the object won’t be brittle anymore and the vibrant colors will show even more brightly than they had before. Many of the 3D printed objects on display in their showroom are made out of this sandstone-like material. Mr. Ropelato showed us a selection of miniature buildings, which architects use to help customers visualize blueprints. Some of the models were hollowed out, while others, much heavier than their counterparts, had sandstone material all the way through them. WhiteClouds, Mr. Ropelato estimated, could design the hollow buildings for around $400, whereas the solid ones would cost about eight or nine hundred dollars. The main thrust of WhiteClouds’ business is to provide customers with 3D designs, which satisfy their needs. According to their website, even if your design or blueprint is on the back of a napkin, just bring it in or email it to them and the process of bringing that dream to life can begin. WhiteClouds can design 3D models from napkins, blueprints, pictures of people’s heads, and children’s drawings, among many other options. WhiteClouds is interested in bringing the potential of 3D printing to the masses. To spark the light of imagination with people who have only just stumbled upon the 3D printing industry. They are wowed by the variety of their customers. From architects to artists to miniature builders to statue makers, there doesn’t seem to be an industry in need of personalization and customization that 3D printing can’t improve.

One of the last projects Ms. Schenk showed us commemorated the hundredth anniversary of Henry Ford’s assembly line. It was a miniature model T. What was remarkable about this object was WhiteClouds’ use of so many different 3D printed materials. Harder plastic on the chassis. Gold coloring for the engine and headlights. Rubber-like materials for the wheels. It was truly a microcosmic example of what 3D printing can do. And this is only just the beginning. Back in WhiteClouds’ showroom, we notice that the Connex 500 and the ProJet 660 Pro are not the only 3D printers on display. At the front end of the room, a 3D Systems Cube and a MakerBot Replicator 2 are busily printing away. They are there to show people what 3D printing projects can be tackled from the comfort of their living rooms. And these desktop 3D printers represent the future of this diverse industry.


desktop 3D printers represent the future of this diverse industry. Mr. Ropelato points out that 3D printing has been around for quite a while now. Ever since Chuck Hull invented stereolithography during the 70s. Only in the last five years has an excitement been building for this technology, however. Mr. Ropelato explains that this spike in interest is largely due to the rise in desktop 3D printers. As with computers in previous decades, 3D printers are no longer these great ugly, clunky things that take up entire rooms, but sporty, brightly colored devices that fit on your desk. Designs that were once daydreams in your head can quickly and cheaply become physical, tangible reality. The home is now the factory, and the imagination of personalized manufacturing is finally unleashed.


Photos and Quotes Courtesy of WhiteClouds

China Invests in Industrial 3D Printing Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014

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Ca te g o ry : March 2014

Last summer, “a team of Chinese researchers led by Professor Yao Shan unveiled the world’s largest 3D printer with a maximum processing size of 1.8 meters.” The Voice of Russia reports Professor Yao’s printer “uses a ‘contour scanning’ technology that shortens processing time by 35% and reduces manufacturing costs by 40%.” With traditional 3D printing, processing time is “proportional to the volume of a part, while in Professor Yao’s printer, processing time is proportional to the unit area of a part, speeding print efficiency to 5-15 times that of traditional 3D printers. The material for this printer is common coated sand less than 1,000 yuan ($163) per ton.” However, the Chinese government’s ambition is still higher. Soon, the country plans to unveil the largest 3D printer yet, “capable of printing metal objects up to 6 m in diameter. If it works as it is supposed to, China will be able to print out the frame of virtually any automobile.” For now, though, China’s government “has several industrial 3D printers, which it has been using successfully to manufacture titanium alloy landing gear for jets, bearing frames of aircraft as well as parts used in satellites, rockets, and power plants.” Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of t he Voice of Rus s ia


More Than Meets the Eye Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014

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Ca te g o ry : March 2014

3D Systems is at it again! This time, according to the Guardian, the 3D printing industry giant has hatched a deal with Hasbro, the famous toy company. In a joint press release, the two companies said they are working together in order to “co-develop and commercialize innovative play printers and platforms later this year.” These plans refer to “the entirety of Hasbro’s world-renowned brands”. Hasbro’s President and Chief Executive Brian Goldner said, “we believe 3D printing offers endless potential to bring incredible new play experiences for kids and we’re excited to work with 3D Systems, a recognized industry leader in this space.” Though toy makers like Hasbro seem eager to join into the 3D printing melee, other toy companies are reluctant. Lego press officer Roar Rude Trangbaek stated this in December 2013: “Currently we do not see 3D printing as a viable replacement for the molded LEGO elements of today due to the fact that we have very strict demands for the quality, durability, and safety of our products. 3D printing does not currently live up to these requirements. In addition there is a high production cost involved, which currently does not make it commercially viable for us – except for prototyping purposes.” Trangbaek failed to mention any concerns Lego (or any other toy manufacturer, for that matter) might have over 3D printed piracy of toy designs. Obviously, Hasbro does not agree with Lego’s assessment of the 3D printing industry. I, for one, will be waiting with bated breath for my very own 3D printed Optimus Prime, in any case. Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of Has bro, t he Guardian, and Le go

US Government Funds 3D Printing Manufacturing Suite


Manufacturing Suite Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014

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Ca te g o ry : March 2014

According to Engineering.com, this project is “led by the University of Texas – El Paso’s W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation.” The research group has been able to develop “an automated assembly line that can manufacture multi-material UAVs without external assistance.” In their proposal to America Makes, UTEP researchers wrote: “our proposing team can see a day where a push-button design flow will lead to a rapid, reliable, and affordable fully 3D printed spacecraft or UAV.” The team predicts that “the micro-fabricator will eventually have the ability to print multiple material models using a series of 3D printing systems housed within a single, self-contained unit.” This all-in-one machine will also include “a milling station, robotics capable of implanting electronics, and other systems capable of wiring the entire design together.” Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of Engine e ring.com

Stratasys Announces Multi-Material Technicolor 3D Printer Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014 Ca te g o ry : March 2014

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According to PC Magazine, the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer “features unique triple-jetting technology, which allows for almost unlimited combinations of materials and color.” A team at Wisconsin’s Trek Bicycle “beta tested the printer, building accessories like bike chain stay guards and handlebar grips for assessment ahead of production.” Mike Zeigle, Trek Bicycle’s prototype development group manager, said, “the printer augmented their usual time-consuming process with ‘fast, iterative, and realistic prototyping and functional testing.’” As for the Objet500’s color capabilities, it “uses three-color materials – VeroCyan, VeroMagenta, VeroYellow – to produce hundreds of color combination. These colors are transferred to photopolymer supplies like digital materials, rigid, rubber-like, transparent, and high temperature ingredients. More palettes are expected in the second quarter of the year, including rubber-like Tango colors, ranging from opaque to transparent colors for use in the automotive, consumer, sporting goods, and fashion markets.” Igal Zeitun, Vice President of product marketing and sales operations at Stratasys added that the Connex3 “is in a league of its own. [It enables] you to dream up a product in the morning, and hold it in your hands by the afternoon, with the exact intended color, material properties, and surface finish.” The Objet500 Connex3 is now available online and through Stratasys’ worldwide reseller network for $330,000. Vide o Court e s y of S t rat as ys Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of PC Magazine

RoboBeast: The Offroad 3D Printer Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014 Ca te g o ry : March 2014

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South African Richard van As “lost four fingers on his right hand in an accident at work (he is a carpenter) and…through an online collaboration with US inventor Ivan Owen he developed…a DIY (3D Printed) prosthetic for himself…[and] the pair went on to create [another] one for a five year old boy…too. By adapting the design so that it could be customized and built by anyone with access to a RepRap-style 3D printer, RoboHand was born.” Van As moved the RoboHand project into House4Hack, “the Centurion makerspace which is run by volunteers and has been home to other world-class 3D printing inventions. [Including the RepRap Morgan]…The original plan was to create a ‘botfarm’ of 3D printers in a backroom at House4Hack, which would be capable of producing printed RoboHands en masse for people who can’t afford medical prosthetics…Van As says that the finicky nature of current 3D printer designs is frustrating though…[citing a] need for a printer which just works, and will continue to work no matter what.” Thus the idea for the RoboBeast was born. According to htxt.africa, this new 3D printer was “designed to be ‘bulletproof’. It requires no set-up, software tweaks, or mechanical adjustment of the frame before you print. It’s designed to be thrown in the back of a Land Rover, carted off into the bush, and to start working as soon as the power is on. You can move it during operation and the print head stays steady. It can even print if flipped upside down.” The RoboBeast was adapted from the RepRap Morgan, although Van As claims that it will “be considerably bigger than the 200X200X200mm cube that most RepRap-type printers are capable of…the electronics which drive the printer are all off-the-shelf components. The controller is an Arduino motherboard with a standard RAMPS add-on ‘shield’ for driving the motors, as well as a touchscreen LCD panel and SD card reader.” The RoboBeast’s SD card will be loaded with preconfigured RoboHand models “in a variety of sizes.” It will also include a battery with up to five hours of life on a single charge. “Coincidentally, that’s almost exactly how long it takes to produce an adult RoboHand.” The RoboBeast will cost around $2,500. Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of ht xt .af rica

Carbon Fiber 3D Printer Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014 Ca te g o ry : March 2014

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The Mark One printer from Mark Forged was announced at the SolidWorks 3D printing expo and The Verge was on hand to witness it. Mark Forged, a Boston startup, expects the new printer to retail for just $5,000. Carbon fiber, “the super-strong and lightweight material used in race cars and space shuttles” is not the only medium the Mark One can print in, however. “The desktop printer is also capable of printing in fiberglass, nylon, and the thermoplastic PLA, as well as a composite of these materials with layers of carbon fiber added for strength.” These materials will be “useful in building stronger prototypes as well as ‘prosthetics, custom bones, tools, and fixtures’.” The Mark One is desktop size, at 22.6-inch by 14.2 inch by 12.7 inch. Mark Forged “has a wait list for pre-orders and hopes to ship in the second half of the year. Gregory Mark, the founder of Mark Forged, says the desktop printer [meaning his Mark One] is a precursor to a larger industrial machine.” Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of T he Ve rge

Attack of the (3D Printed) Drones Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014 Ca te g o ry : March 2014

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Tom’s Guide was at the 3D Print Show in New York City when they discovered “the small but speedy 3D printed flying drone called [the] Micro Drone 2.0” Extreme Fliers, a British based company, developed the Micro Drone 2.0, which costs $99. Recently, however, Extreme Fliers has announced that it will “now make its design files freely available on its website…owners can download the .STL files…and modify the parts using just about any computer-aided design program, such as the free Blender or SketchUp.” The Micro Drone 2.0 itself “is less than a foot across and has four small propellers that keep it aloft for up to 8 minutes and allow it to hover, turn, and perform flips.” The design files allow users to customize their drone’s propellers, cockpit covers, and color. The Micro Drone 2.0 “can be ordered from Extreme Fliers’ website“. Phot o and Q uot e s Court e s y of T om’s Guide

BigRep: Large Format 3D Printing Posted by : replicatorworld On : February 27, 2014

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Ca te g o ry : March 2014

Personalize reports that a new large format FDM 3D printer has been unveiled. “BigRep has a build volume of 49 cubic feet and prints in 100 micron resolution.” Oehmigen, who is also an artist, came up with the idea for the BigRep when “he lacked an appropriate printer to depict his own sculptures in their ‘true size’…his art project LeBigRep generated so many inquiries that he…invested two years into developing an affordable large format 3D printer.” According to Marcel Tasler, BigRep’s co-founder of BigRep, “large format 3D printing has always been an exclusive right of industrial corporations such as automobile and machine engineering firms. We wanted to change this. With the BigRep ONE, professional users now have the opportunity to quickly create and print out their planned object, be it a chair, a structural element or a model house, in a format a bit larger than one cubic meter


chair, a structural element or a model house, in a format a bit larger than one cubic meter (49 cubic feet). They can print it directly from their own computer or, in the near future, have it printed at the nearest BigRep 3D service provider.” Though the BigRep, priced at $39,000, is quite a bit more expensive than the desktop 3D printing bracket, it is considerably less than many large format industrial 3D printers. At present, the BigRep “can print with PLA, ABS, PVA, HDPE, PC, Nylon, TPE, Laywood, and Laybrick.” Vide o, Phot o, and Q uot e s Court e s y of Pe rs onalize

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Recent Posts 3D Printed Hip Implant: Teenager Walks Again WhiteClouds: Where Imagination Comes To Life China Invests in Industrial 3D Printing More Than Meets the Eye US Government Funds 3D Printing Manufacturing Suite

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