Entries with tag 3d printing.

US Start-up Supplies the Emerging Consumer 3D-Printing Market

Consumers and hobbyists are increasingly interested in 3D printing, but one barrier to wider adoption has been the lack of accessible, affordable materials. Now, a company called Proto-pasta is stepping in to fill the void. The firm, a spin-off of the engineering consultancy ProtoPlant, is making specialty, high-performance 3D printer filaments—the “ink” used in 3D printers—that customers can color and customize to meet their specific needs.  One of Proto-pasta’s products, for example, mixes polylactic acid with carbon fiber. The resulting material can be used easily with 3D printers and is strong and light among its other desirable properties. Industry observers say the emergence of companies like Proto-pasta could help 3D printing become mainstream. (GeekWire)(ZD Net)

Chinese Company Completes 3D Printed Cement Building

A Chinese firm has used 3D printing to print 10 one-room buildings. Yingchuang New Materials made these as offices for a Shanghai industrial park. Yingchuang New Materials used giant 3D printers and recycled construction waste and cement to make the walls for the 650-square-foot buildings, which cost roughly $5,000 each, as offices for a Shanghai industrial park. The structures were assembled on-site. Yingchuang also made its factory and research center via 3D printing. Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering CEO Ma Yihe, who developed the printer used in the project, plans to build 100 recycling facilities across China to supply materials for similar projects. He is also working on a robotic printer able to assemble structures on site. (SlashDot)(Quartz)(Computerworld)

Intel Offers Do-it-Yourself Robot Kits

Intel has announced plans to offer a kit that will let consumers make their own robots. The $1,600 package, which includes a motor and other parts, enables users to customize and print 3D components to create a small robot powered by the Intel Quark chip. Users can program these devices to complete tasks and can share their software with other robot owners via downloadable applications. Intel, which has begun courting do-it-yourself and hobbyist consumers, says it hopes the kit will cost less than $1,000 within five years. (PC World)(Reuters)(Intel)

3D-Printed “Liver” Detoxifies Body

University of California at San Diego scientists have used a 3D printer to create a device—inspired by the human liver—that attracts and removes toxins from the body. The biomimetic 3D detoxifier uses 3D-printed hydrogels—which contain nanoparticles that sense, attract, and capture toxins—arranged in a matrix. The researchers’ proof-of-concept device could lead to the creation of other 3D-printed medical devices. They published their findings in the journal Nature Communications. (re/Code)(Nature Communications)

Autodesk Announces First Hardware Products

Autodesk, a 3D software developer, announced it is launching its first 3D printer. The company is enabling other manufacturers to make their own versions of the printer or use its Spark software at no cost. The printer uses a laser to harden liquid plastic in a process known as stereolithography rather than the extrusion process most low-cost 3D printers rely on. The laser traces the design on a layer of resin, turning it solid. Unused materials are discarded. The process continues iteratively until the object is formed. This particular process will enable users to choose their own materials, allowing them to formulate and experiment with different polymers, says Autodesk. The printer is being targeted at professionals wishing to make small items, namely medical devices or jewelry. Pricing details have not been finalized, but it may cost roughly $5,000. The hardware offering is designed to increase interest in Autodesk’s new Spark software. Analysts have noted 3D printer adoption is growing as hardware prices decline. Most of the purchases are being made by businesses. An estimated 56,000 printers under $100,000 were sold in 2013, according to Gartner analysts. (SlashDot)(BBC)

Researchers Produce Airframe Quickly with 3D Printing

Scientists at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Center have made a drone’s airframe using only 3D printing. This let them produce the airframe and have it flying within a day, and use less material in the process. The researchers made a blended-wing aircraft using fused deposition modeling, in which layers of a material are built up to make an object. Typically, the process requires additional material to support the structure during printing, which adds to the cost and construction time. The University of Sheffield scientists’ design eliminates the support material by changing the geometry of the design. Their design structure contains no critical angles that would require such support material. Their airframe has a 1.5-meter wingspan and weighs less than 2 kg without the motor and electronics. They are also designing a new version of the airframe that has a greater wing span and that will be able to fly longer and faster, and carry bigger payloads. (SlashDot)(Gizmag)(Advanced Manufacturing Research Center)

3D Printing Helps Restore Man’s Face Following Accident

Welsh surgeons used 3D printing to reconstruct the badly injured face of a man injured in a motorcycle accident. They claim it is the first surgery in which 3D printing was used at every stage in the procedure. The 29-year-old man, despite wearing a helmet, had multiple facial fractures and a skull fracture in the 2012 accident. Surgeons at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Wales—working with Cardiff Metropolitan University scientists—first used computed tomography scans and a 3D printer to create and print a symmetrical 3D model of the patient’s skull. They were then able to create precisely designed cutting guides and plates before beginning the eight-hour surgery.  (BBC)(AFP @ Yahoo! News)

Company Announces Inexpensive, Compact 3D Printer

A company is preparing to take orders for one of the first small, inexpensive 3D printers.Typically, 3D printers are large and costly. However, MakerBot’s Replicator Mini retails for $1,375—about $1,000 less than comparable printers the company offers —and measures 3.9 × 3.9 × 4.9, or about 75 cubic inches.  By comparison, the company’s Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer is 19.1 x 16.5 x 14.7 and capable of making products 410 cubic inches in volume. Its features include an onboard camera and Wi-Fi connectivity. The printer could be used with a scanner, which lets users scan objects they want to reproduce. Market-research firm IDC anticipates 3D printer shipments will grow about 10 times between 2014 and 2017, while market-research firm Gartner Inc. predicts 50 of the largest multinational retailers will sell 3D printers by 2015. (Tech Times)(Tech Crunch)

3D Printing Poised to Come Home

3D printing has long been associated with manufacturing and prototyping, but numerous firms demonstrating products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are ready to bring the technology into consumers’ homes. For example, the ChefJet Pro is a food printer that deposits sugar or chocolate in layers and let users create intricate sugar sculptures. An industry observer forecasts that about 100,000 3D printers will be sold in 2014. There were 28 companies with 3D printing technologies at this year’s CES, compared to only eight last year. “The question in my mind is not `Will we have a 3D printer in each home?’ but ‘Which room will it be in?’ ” Avi Reichental CEO of printer maker 3D systems CEO, told the Associated Press. “Will it be in your garage? Will it be in your kids’ room... or the wardrobe?” (Associated Press)(Los Angeles Times)

Scientists Produce First Consumer-Electronic Device Made Completely by a 3D Printer

Cornell University researchers say they have created the first consumer electronic device—a working loudspeaker—produced entirely by a 3D printer. They made the speaker with a customizable research printer in a university lab, using silver ink to make the conductor and strontium ferrite for the speaker’s magnet. The challenge, the researchers note, was finding materials that could successfully be fabricated together, at the same time since the materials need different temperatures for printing and have different curing times. To demonstrate their speaker, they played a clip from US President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech in which he mentioned 3D printing. (United Press International)(Cornell Chronicle)

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