The weekend may have finally arrived, but that doesn’t that 3D printing news is taking the day off. We’ve got a whole assortment of fresh stories for you from throughout the week, so here’s another edition of “The Stories We Missed This Week.” Google has decided to suspend Project Ara, which is their initiative to create a modular smartphone that would use interchangeable 3D printed components. The Israeli electronic 3D printing company Nano Dimension is set to open a new ink production facility in Ness Ziona, within the same building where they’re headquartered. The orthopedic device company Additive Orthopedics recently received FDA clearance for their 3D printed osteotomy wedge system, which is used to address bone fractures or osteotomies in the foot and ankle. The North Carolina-based on-demand manufacturing platform Xometry has appointed Tom Kurke as their new Chief Strategy Officer, a newly created role that will focus on driving their nationwide partner network. The France-based 3D printing service bureau Sculpteo has officially launched their new laser cutting and engraving technology, effectively expanding their manufacturing capabilities. The content platform Box has introduced new developer tools to help innovate the next generation of applications. Lastly, at this year’s National Day festivities in China, 3D printing will be used to create the decorations that will line both Tian’anmen Square and Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue.
Google Hits Brakes on Project Ara, Their Modular Smartphone Initiative
There’s no denying that Google is one of the most innovative and future-forward tech companies in the world, but it looks as if one of their major initiatives, Project Ara, will be put on hold for the time being. The project was an ambitious effort to develop a modular smartphone with interchangeable components, some of which were to be 3D printed. This sudden shift in focus by Google is a bit surprising, as they announced a whole array of partners for Project Ara at a developers conference they held back in May. The aim of the modular smartphone initiative was to provide users with a phone that they could instantly customize with an extra battery, camera, speaker, and other components. Although Google has technically axed Project Ara, there’s a chance they may continue working with their partners to bring the technology to the market through licensing agreements. Although this modular technology initiative had the potential to reduce electronic waste and increase lifespan of smartphone devices, they were also bulky and costly to produce, making it difficult to get onto the market.
Nano Dimension Set to Open New Ink Production Facility
This past week, the Israeli electronic 3D printing company Nano Dimension announced that they will be opening a new ink production facility in Ness Ziona, within the same building as their headquarters. The plan is to renovate the space in order to give the facility the capability to provide ink to hundreds of electronic 3D printers. The expansion is expected to help Nano Dimension increase their ability to develop inks to a commercial level, ensuring that they will be able to meet the needs of their future clients. The totality of the facility measures out to about 8600 square feet, will feature advanced technological solutions in the chemistry and production fields, and will strive to meet high quality control standards. The announcement of this new production facility follows the news that Nano Dimension has recently supplied their first-ever DragonFly 2020 electronic 3D printer to an undisclosed Israeli defense company.
Additive Orthopaedics Receives FDA Clearance for New 3D Printed Foot Treatment
This past June, The New Jersey-based orthopedic device company Additive Orthopaedics received FDA clearance for their first-ever product, the 3D printed titanium digital fusion implant, which is used to fuse the bones of the toe together after a surgery. Now, the early stage medical company has just received FDA 510(k) clearance for their latest device, the 3D printed osteotomy wedge system. This orthopedic system is designed to address bone fractures and osteotomies within the foot and ankle, and utilizes complex geometries and lattice structures. This device is Additive Orthopaedics’ second 3D printed device to receive clearance from the FDA, and has subsequently poised the device to succeed within the global extremities market.
“The complex geometry and unique lattice structure, which is only possible through the use of 3D printing technology, should have tremendous patient benefits. Solutions like these, as well as custom and patient specific applications of this technology, will continue to have a major impact on how we treat our patients,” said Dr. Selene Parekh, Professor of Surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke Orthopaedics and North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic.
Xometry Appoints Tom Kurke as Chief Strategy Officer
Over the week, the North Carolina-based on-demand manufacturing platform Xometry decided to appoint 3D software veteran Tom Kurke as their new Chief Strategy Officer. The new addition seems like a valuable and promising move for Xometry, who created the new role solely for Kurke to fill. The new CSO has over 20 years of experience in the realm of 3D, and was the former President of Geomagic, which was acquired by 3D Systems in 2013. Prior to that, Kurke helped to grow the global software subscriptions business of Bentley Systems, which is a design and information management tools and solutions provider. According to Randy Altschuler, the CEO of of Xometry, Kurke’s veteran experience with connecting manufacturing and software partner relations will help provide efficient to their
“Improving the velocity and efficiency of manufacturing represents a complex technical and business challenge, but, if done correctly, can drive significant returns through improved lead times, market efficient pricing and improved machine utilization,” said Kurke. “I am excited to be joining a team of innovators with remarkable vision and an incredible passion for customer and partner support.”
Sculpteo Officially Launches Laser Engraving and Etching Services
Back in July, the France-based 3D printing service bureau Sculpteo made a major addition to their manufacturing methods, introducing laser engraving and laser etching services to their customer base. After offering these new services in beta for a couple of months, Sculpteo officially launched their new digital manufacturing method earlier this week. The laser engraving and laser etching services will be compatible with 60 variations of materials that stem from four families, including plywood, acrylic (PMMA), cardboard, and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). These materials are available in a wide array of colors and thickness, giving their customers a full range of options. The turnaround times for the newly implemented laser cutting technology are estimated at just one to three days. Additionally, Sculpteo is also providing extensive tools to help customers optimize CAD files and 2D design files, turning their imaginative ideas into physical objects.
“Digital manufacturing represents a transformative opportunity for small- to mid-sized manufacturers seeking to gain competitive advantage,” said Clement Moreau, CEO of Sculpteo. “Laser cutting is the next logical phase in our plan to become a one-stop resource for a wide range of advanced digital production processes from prototyping through manufacturing.”
Box Platform Releases New Developer Tools For Next Generation Apps
The content platform Box announced a number of enhanced developer tools that will help create the next generation of applications. These tools will be equipped to the Box Platform, which is a platform for developers and enterprises to build secure, collaborative, and engaging applications around content assets like documents, audio and video files, 3D objects, and more. The announcement was made at BoxWorks 2016, an IT-driven conference hosted in San Francisco this past week. Included in these enhancements is new support for several new file types, which includes 3D models, as well as HD video, 360 images, and VR. By enhancing their developer tools to be more compatible with 3D models, we can expect some high-powered killer 3D printing apps in the near future courtesy of Box.
“Technology today is transforming every aspect of how businesses operate and successful companies will be defined by the quality of the digital experiences and software they create to engage customers, partners and employees,” said Jeetu Patel, Chief Strategy Officer and SVP of Box Platform. “Content and collaboration are fundamental to every industry and Box Platform makes it easy to build on Box’s innovative security, content management and collaboration. Box is where all your work comes together, and Box Platform enables developers to extend the power of Box to transform and accelerate their business.”
China to 3D Print Flower Decorations to Celebrate Upcoming National Day
On October 1, the citizens of China will come together for the annual celebration of National Day. During the holiday, Tian’anmen Square and Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue will both be lined with 3D printed flower decorations. Although 3D printing technology was used to create a gigantic flower basket in Tian’anmen Square last year, this coming National Day will showcase more 3D printed holiday decorations than ever before. The gigantic flower basket has been used in the square since 2012, and will return as an 18m tall 3D print, a full meter taller than the decoration from last year. These 3D printed decorations will be themed around the Winter Olympics, which are being held in Beijing and Zhangjiakou in 2022, their “Belt and Road” initiative, as well as the 80th anniversary of the Long March. The gigantic flower pot will be constructed in Tian’anmen Square later this September, and will be presented sometime in mid-October. Discuss further over in the Week’s 3D Printing News forum at 3DPB.com.