Entries with tag 3d printing.

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)

British Art Museum Set to Display Guns Made by 3D Printers

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum of art and design will be purchasing and displaying prototypes of two of the controversial Liberator guns that people could produce themselves with 3D printers. The museum will buy the weapons from Defense Distributed, which distributed open source blueprints for the guns online before the US government demanded that it stop the practice. The museum will show the weapons during its London Design Festival from 14-22 September. (SlashDot)(Forbes)(BBC)
 

US Government Demands Removal of Online 3D-Gun Blueprints

Defense Distributed, an open source, nonprofit firearms designer, has removed from its website blueprints for a gun that can be made with high-density plastic on an industrial 3D printer, after receiving pressure to do so from the US State Department. However, the plans reportedly have already been downloaded 100,000 times and are being hosted on other servers, including those belonging to The Pirate Bay file-sharing site. US officials indicate that publication of the blueprints so that they would be available internationally may have breached arms-control regulations regarding the shipping of weapons overseas. Defense Distributed claims it is in compliance with the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations. (BBC)(CNET)
 

Material Reuse Makes 3D Prototyping Affordable

Michigan Technological University researchers are working on a process that promises to save 3D-printer users money. Typically, 3D printing requires users to purchase plastic filament to prototype and create objects. The Michigan Tech team created RecycleBot, a plastics extruder that lets users utilize high-density polyethylene milk jugs for 3D printed items. The scientists made their plans open source to encourage people to take advantage of the technology. They estimate that 20 milk jug yields approximately 1 kilogram of plastic filament. The plastic filament typically costs between $30 and $50 per kilogram. Work they conducted with Queen’s University researchers has been published in Rapid Prototyping, while a second paper with Michigan Tech colleagues will appear in the Materials Research Society Online Proceedings. (EurekAlert)(Michigan Technological University)(Rapid Prototyping)
 

Software Lends Structural Integrity to Printed 3D Items

Purdue University and Adobe Advanced Technology Labs researchers have created software that automatically provides 3D structures with strength before they are printed. Typically, items printed in 3D can be fragile and lose their shape. The new software uses structural analysis to find problem areas, such as where a person is likely to grab an item, and chooses one of three possible remedies: increasing an area’s thickness, adding struts, or hollowing out places that would make the structure overweight. The researchers say the software also saves about 80 percent in costs over conventional 3D printing. Since the process is less precise, it requires less computational resources than precision manufacturing commonly used to create items such as aircraft turbine blades. The researchers say the software may eventually include algorithms that work with printed objects that have moving parts. They presented their work recently at SIGGRAPH 2012. (EurekAlert)(Purdue University)

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