This week’s news reports that Hong Kong researchers are using 3D printing to aid in heart surgeries, Minnesota students 3D printed a violin, and Magma Global Ltd. has 3D printed the longest-ever PEEK subsea pipe. Sculpteo has been 100% successful with its new Express Production Mode, and Nano Dimension has received recognition as a very cool vendor. Finally, WillowFlex has made its biodegradable filament available in 2.85 mm diameter.
Hong Kong Researchers Use 3D Printing for Heart Surgery
The Chinese University and the University of Hong Kong have come up with a way to create complex heart structures with 3D printing technology. The actual heart structure is first captured via ultrasound imaging, followed by the creation of “a silicone model using specially developed computer software.” It takes two days to complete the whole process, from ultrasound scanning to the completion of the 3D printed structures. The technology has been applied during three operations, the first involving a 78-year-old woman who had suffered several strokes. In the successful surgery, an occluder was used; this is a device covering a hole in the heart to stop blood clot formations in the patient’s heart.
Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin was the first in the city to apply the technique in heart operations; previously, it had been too difficult to select the proper device without a model that helped gauge the size of the hole in the patient’s heart. According to Dr. Gary Cheung Shing-him, Clinical Assistant Professor at the Chinese University’s Division of Cardiology, doctors had to prepare different sizes of occluders when performing operations in the past:
“If the size didn’t match, we had to use a catheter to retrieve the occluder. The time and risk of the operation would be increased too.”
With 3D printed models of patients’ hearts, doctors can determine the properly sized occluder before surgery, thus saving time and minimizing risk to the patient.
Minnesota Students Create a 3D Printed Violin
At a Lake Elmo, Minnesota high school science program, students have created a 3D printed violin. High school junior Jennah Slayton, who was conducting an experiment on sound waves for her physics class, chose the design for the plastic violin online, then printed and assembled it in her high school’s lab.
“It has a potential to be a way for more students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a violin to get a student a starter violin,” Slayton told CBS affiliate WCCO.
This development comes on the heels of a recently created 3D printed open source violin, the Hovalin, along with several other 3D printed violins. Slayton’s project shows that not only is 3D printing good for science and technology, but also for the arts. In many cases, instruments can be 3D printed much more cheaply than instruments made with traditional methods. How’s that for a great STEAM project?
Magma 3D Prints PEEK Subsea Pipe
Houston-based Magma Global Ltd has 3D printed a continuous pipe using PEEK, a thermoplastic from Pennsylvania-based Victrex Inc. The lightweight pipe is the largest and longest PEEK-based structure ever made, and utilizes “flexible m-pipe technology for subsea oil and gas systems that can be deployed to depths of 10,000 feet — handling pressures of up to 15 ksi.”
The thermoplastic composite pipe, which was printed in continuous lengths of up to 4,000 meters, was produced using S-2 glass and high-grade carbon fiber from Japan’s Toray in addition to Victrex PEEK. The result is “a reliable subsea intervention line that meets demand for a hydraulic pumping system that can handle high pressures and high flow rates.”
Sculpteo’s Express Production Mode a Success
Since the beginning of April 2016, Express Production Mode has been available on the Sculpteo website. They promised “we’ll ship your parts in 48 hours or you’ll have your money back,” and this week the company announced that they have been 100% successful in making all Express deliveries on time (with the exception of one instance where UPS didn’t show up). The only case where Sculpteo won’t give you your money back is when they have problems treating your file. To avoid this, you can check your file before uploading. Here’s how you can get the service:
“You can add Express Production Mode option in your manufacturing toolbox. You must be aware the option is usable for white non-polished polyamide parts. When preparing your order, you now can choose among different production modes: standard, express and economy. To help you prepare an order, you can refer to the last blog post on Express Production Mode, which explains in many details how you can apply this mode to your productions.”
Once your project is uploaded and the Express Production Mode is on, your file goes through a “production validation process.” Sculpteo technicians check each file, then it goes to the printing manufacturers. The whole process lasts a day, including cooling, with the 3D printers working all night. You can pick it up at the factory, or use a courier or delivery service to get your order in that quick time period.
Nano Dimension Called “Cool Vendor” by Gartner, Inc.
Gartner Inc. has named Nano Dimension Ltd. to their “Cool Vendors in 3D Printing 2016” report. Simon Fried, Nano Dimension Chief Business Officer and Co-Founder, describes what this honor means to the company:
“Being named to Gartner’s list of 2016 ‘Cool Vendors in 3D Printing’ is an honor and a validation of the impact that we believe the DragonFly 2020 3D Printer will have on the design and production of PCBs and electronics.”
Amit Dror, CEO and Co-Founder, also adds: “The 3D printing market is extremely crowded, so we feel being named affirms that we have developed a truly disruptive product that will fundamentally change the way electronics are designed and manufactured.”
Nano Dimension’s DragonFly 2020, the world’s first desktop electronics 3D printer, is expected to become commercially available later this year.
Biodegradable Filament WillowFlex Is Now Available in 2.85 mm
Described in a recent press release as “ecological, safe, unique, and compatible,” the biodegradable filament WillowFlex is now available in 2.85 mm diameter. Brian Crotty and Thorsten Perl, founders of BioInspiration’s WillowFlex, explain that the backers of last year’s Kickstarter campaign have all received their rewards, so they are now expanding their product line to accommodate users of Ultimaker, bowden or other printers that utilize 2.85 mm filament; thus far it has only been offered in 1.75 mm diameter.
The first 120 spools of 2.85 mm Willowflex will be ready for shipping on June 9 – available in Charcoal, Engine Red and Natural for the first production run. You can pre-order now at the BioInspiration online shop, or check out a promotional video for more detail here. The filament has received fantastic feedback, has a natural smell and is heat/cold resistant. So, if you have been waiting for that wonderful filament-related opportunity to save the planet, check out WillowFlex now!
That’s all for this week’s 3D printing news! Discuss further over in the Week’s 3D Printing News forum at 3DPB.com.