This week’s 3D printing stories includes news from Asia, where South Korea plans a first of its kind metal 3D printing facility, while the Thailand government has started regulating 3D printing due to its fear of 3D printed guns. Over at Germany’s CeBIT computer expo, Chancellor Angela Merkel visited BigRep to see just how big 3D printing machines work, and in the UK a local engine company used KWSP 3D printing services to create an ideal engine replica. SOLIDWORKS Visualize, a new 3D design program, is available for download now. And finally, have you ever wanted to recycle those pesky failed 3D prints? There’s some recent advice about doing just that on Reddit. Let’s begin with some upbeat financial news from Vancouver’s Tinkerine.
Tinkerine’s 2015 Financial Results Are In
Vancouver-based Tinkerine, home of the DittoPro 3D printer, reports that it has seen an overall revenue increase between 2014 and 2015. Revenue increased 270% from 2014’s $342,839 to 2015’s $1,268,074 — making a gross profit of 293% higher than 2014. This financial success follows successful implementation of a dealer network for the company’s DittoPro 3D printer, integration of the DittoPro with Adobe Photoshop, and the launching of Tinkerine U — to name a few of the top company projects in 2015.
Tinkerine President and CEO Eugene Suyu comments on Tinkerine’s success:
“We are extremely pleased with the increased revenue and new sales channels established by our team at Tinkerine. We are continuing the development of the Ditto Pro 3D printer, and are generating significant new interest from school boards, public institutions and education oriented entities. We appreciate the support of our distributors and shareholders and look forward to future growth in this emerging sector.”
South Korea Opens First Metal 3D Printing Plant
As Tinkerine experiences significant financial growth, we see more and more 3D printing technology in Asia as well. South Korea has now opened its first metal 3D printing plant in Seoul — where Wizit Co. plans to build a 3,300 sq. meter building. This plant will be dedicated to mid-to-large-sized Sentrol metal 3D printers, and the initial plan is that the machines will be used to make the metal frame used for the molding process. This will be the country’s first plant dedicated to 3D printing metal industrial machinery on a large scale.
Wizit has reported sales of 32.1 billion won ($27 million) last year; the company’s sales have been growing at a rate of over 10% every year. Its operating profits increased 17.8% from a year ago to 3.8 billion won last year. Although it has seen a recent “slump in the semiconductor and display market,” the addition of a new metal 3D printing plant is likely to make up for the slump — and then some.
Thailand Regulates 3D Printing Due to Printed Gun Concerns
In more Asian 3D printing news, Thailand’s Cabinet of Regulations has approved a regulation that has imported 3D printers falling under the Commerce Ministry’s import-related regulations. This means importers must “comply with all requests and processes related to imports, as well as procedures for printer registration and ownership transfer.” Currently, companies do not need to register imported 3D printers, but due to concerns with the 3D printing of guns, the government seeks to regulate 3D printing more closely.
Nati Sang, founder of the Chiang Mai Makerspace, worries about how regulations will impact Thailand’s 3D printing sector:
“We should not let the new rules affect the course of the country’s future or make it more difficult for Thais to access 3D printing innovation. The legislation could impede Thailand’s participation in the global innovation landscape.”
There are currently three 3D printing companies in Thailand, and many have expressed concern that such regulations will make the companies less economically competitive while driving the cost of 3D printing products up as well. 3D printing importer and pioneer Wiwat Arunruangsiriloet may have a solution. He suggests that the Commerce Minister “should narrow the definition of 3D printers. The legislation should be restricted to metal 3D printers that are capable of making 3D printed guns.”
Perhaps a compromise is on the horizon for 3D printing in Thailand.
BigRep Gets Attention from German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Meanwhile, in a different part of the world that has wholeheartedly embraced 3D printing technology, BigRep, the maker of the largest FFF 3D printer currently on the market, received a visit from larger than life German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel was on her traditional tour of the annual comptuer expo CeBIT, which was held at the Hanover fairgrounds from March 14-18. This year, Merkel decided to swing by and see this mammoth 3D printer in action — and this is exactly what the BigRep company CEO, René Gurka, dazzled Merkel with.
René Gurka, BigRep’s CEO, reports on Merkel’s visit:
“We are very proud that we were able to welcome Chancellor Angela Merkel to our stand at CeBIT. She could get an idea of the opportunities and potential offered by large-scale 3D printing with respect to the digitalization of the local economy. Current studies conclude that there is still a great need to catch up on the digitalization and digital transformation of the German economy. Our goal is to enable our 3D printing solutions to address this opportunity and to be a significant contributor.”
Gurka expressed that further sparking Merkel’s 3D printing interest can catch Germany up on the digital transformation of its economy, and it looks like that just might be a big reason for Merkel’s visit to BigRep.
UK Company Meteor Power 3D Prints Motorcycle Engine Model
Meteor Power is a UK-based company that specializes in powertrain technology. When it recently decided it wanted to take its new innovation, a hybrid motorcycle engine, on the road to show investors, it ran into a snag. The company needed a convenient way to transport the engine on the road without wanting to spend the money producing a one-off unit. The solution? 3D printing! Meteor Power used 3D printing experts KW Special Projects Ltd. (KWSP) to make a black and grey ABS full-scale model of the engine in only 50 hours.
Mike Edwards, Meteor Power’s CEO, explained how 3D printing helped here:
“We opted for 3D printing as it was the best option to demonstrate the compact size and packaging of our design. It also showed a much more tangible product that really engaged people and illustrated just how small everything was going to be. The 3D printed model proved to be the perfect solution to engage and have much more detailed conversations with potential customers and investors.”
The high quality replica is cheaper and easier to transport than real high performance hybrid engine, which is “half the weight (30kg), half the size (350mm x 300mm x 160mm) and twice the power density (300kW per litre) of conventional powertrains.” 3D printing came through for Meteor Power with the support of KWSP’s 3D printing expertise.
Download the New SOLIDWORKS Visualize Now
The new SOLIDWORKS Visualize program promises to change forever how you see product design in 3D. SOLIDWORKS CAD Professional or Premium active subscriptions automatically qualify you for a free Visualize download — although this is a stand alone program that does not occupy the SOLIDWORKS CAD license.
With this new program, your design and marketing team can: start marketing efforts before products are made; limit making costly physical prototypes; speed up the design process; encourage design collaboration; evaluate the market’s interest in future products; and accelerate approval of proposed designs.
Want to get started and already have a SOLIDWORKS CAD subscription? Go here to download Visualize. Or you can visit the website here for more information, tutorials, forums and access to the Visualize Cloud Library.
Can You Recycle Failed 3D Prints?
A recent post on Reddit from Bango Durango inquired about what to do with about ten pounds of ABS plastic from pesky failed 3D printed pieces that didn’t quite make the cut. The eco-friendly answer is to recycle it using the town recycling services, however this is not so easy. Some cities require a plastic ID number for recycling, which concerned Bango Durango, as 3D printed plastic waste is not properly stamped.
If you are having the same problem, not knowing what to do with your failed plastic 3D printed items, this is an informative thread that includes a link to a 3D plastics recycling machine — the Redetec Proto-Cycler. Grinding and shredding is also mentioned on the thread, but you have to make sure your old pieces are clean to do this successfully. Worth a read for anyone facing this same dilemma!
And that’s all the 3D printing news we have this week! What story interested you the most? Discuss in the Week’s 3D Printing News forum over at 3DPB.com.