The weekend may have arrived, but the 3D printing industry is one that doesn’t take any days off. Here are the biggest news stories that you might have missed over the week. To help expand their hardware capabilities, social media titan Facebook has acquired Nascent Objects, a product development startup that uses 3D printing, circuitry, and modular electronics to create products quickly and efficiently. International TechneGroup Incorportated (ITI) introduced CADfix 11, the latest version of their software for CAD model translation, repair, and simplification. The 3D printing company Leapfrog has unveiled the Bolt, their latest 3D printer, which is equipped with independent extruders, a built-in camera, and more. Australia-based 3D Printing Systems has introduced an educational initiative for the Bunker, a smart filament cartridge system that they recently launched on Kickstarter. Known for their aluminum-strength, carbon fiber-reinforced 3D printer components, 3D printing company Markforged has announced tremendous financial growth during the first half of 2016. CRP Technology has launched WINDFORM FX BLACK, a new polyamide-based composite material with exceptional mechanical properties. Lastly, Italian 3D printing company Roboze has partnered with GoPrint3D, which will focus on distributing the Roboze One and Roboze One+400 professional-grade 3D printers.
Facebook Gets Into the Hardware Game With Acquisition of Nascent Objects
What in the world could Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook be up to next? Well, with the recent news that they’re acquiring the consumer electronics 3D printing startup Nascent Objects, it looks as if additive manufacturing will play a major role in whatever they’re plotting. The acquisition will be Facebook’s introduction into the hardware business, and they’re already developing WiFi drones, data servers, and virtual reality goggles. With the purchase of the Silicon Valley startup, Facebook plans to speed up the process of developing hardware prototypes. The terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but it’s been reported that Nascent Objects will join Building 8, which is the social media platform’s elusive initiative for hardware development that is being spearheaded by Regina Dugan, the former Google vice president of advanced technology and projects.
International TechneGroup Releases Update Version for CADfix Software
Earlier this week, the CAD software company International TechneGroup Incorporated introduced CADfix 11, the latest version of their industry leading software for CAD model translation, repair, and simplification. The multi-purpose tool software allows users to import CAD models and efficiently repair them before exporting them for 3D printing, which helps eliminate pricey CAD model rework. The latest version, CADfix 11, includes updates to the wide range of CADfix native and neutral file interfaces, including CATIA v5-6 r2016, SOLIDWORKS 2016, Inventor 2016, ACIS R26, and Parasolid 28.0. Additionally, the latest version will come with enhancements to the service pack used for assembly editing, body welding, surface lofting, and PLMXML support. CADfix 11 will improve faceted model handling and STL generation, geometry morphing, model preparation for 3D printing, and advanced de-featuring for CAE, as well as simplification tools for the process plant and shipbuilding industries.
Leapfrog Introduces Their Latest 3D Printer, the Leapfrog Bolt
The consumer-friendly 3D printing company Leapfrog has unveiled their latest desktop 3D printer, the Leapfrog Bolt. The new printer has a wide array of new features, including a set of independent extruders, which will allow for multi-material and multi-color 3D printing, as well as the production of multiple objects at once. In addition, the Bolt is also equipped with a built-in camera, which will allow users to monitor their 3D printer from the smartphone or web browser. The built-in camera will also automatically generate a time-lapse movie of the entire process once the 3D print is complete. Other features include an activated HEPA carbon filter, which will prevent harmful vapors from escaping the enclosed printing environment, as well as Mirror and Replicator modes, which will enable users to automatically mirror or copy their part with both independent extruders at the push of a button. The Bolt costs $6,999 (excluding VAT), and will come with a free High-Temp 360°C hotend if the order is placed before September 30.
3D Printing Systems Rolls Out Educational Initiative for the Bunker Smart Filament Cartridge System
Last month, the Australia-based company 3D Printing Systems unveiled the Bunker, a smart filament cartridge system designed to help to monitor and optimize the 3D printing process. After a hot start on Kickstarter, 3D Printing Systems has recently introduced an educational initiative to get the Bunker in classrooms and makerspaces around the world. The Bunker will allow students to log onto the system with their student card, meaning that both time and materials can be monitored and billed to the user appropriately. Once the 3D printing operation is complete, the student user is sent a notification and automatically logged off. This system will ensure that classroom funds or materials are not wasted, and that every 3D printed object is accounted for. Additionally, the educational initiative will provide in-depth activity reports and a flexible charging model per print, and will monitor which printers and filaments have had the highest failure rate. Ultimately, in the educational setting where funding is often limited and time is of the essence, the Bunker is aiming to save these schools money and help them monitor the entire 3D printing process.
Markforged Sees Tremendous Growth During the First Half of 2016
Known for their high-performance 3D printer that produces lightweight, aluminum-strength parts using continuous carbon fiber, the innovative 3D printing company Markforged has reported exceptional growth in the first half of 2016. During that time period, their sales grew 147% from last year, primarily due to the popularity of the Mark Two 3D printer and the recently developed stiff carbon-filled nylon material called Onyx. In addition, their continuous Fiberglass, Kevlar, and High-Strength, High-Temperature Fiberglass materials have also played a part in their success. According to Makrforged, their network of Value Added Resellers grew by 60% from the end of 2015 to over 85 worldwide. With their unique patented continuous fiber filament (CFF) technology and Eiger software, users from around the world have been able to efficiently produce tooling, fixtures, and custom parts that would be nearly impossible to machine.
“Professionals and large enterprises are seeing the value of what we can provide them – something much beyond just another prototyping 3D printer at a price well below metal 3D printing with comparable strength,” says Founder and CEO Greg Mark. “The real benefit comes from shortening development cycles and saving time, cost, and materials to create end-use, reinforced strong parts.”
CRP Technology Unveils Mechanically Superior WINDFORM FX BLACK Material
One of the 3D printing material leaders, CRP Technology, has recently launched WINDFORM FX BLACK, a new generation polyamide-based composite material. The dark black material has exceptional mechanical properties, including high resistance to repeated bending and torsion, as well as excellent impact resistance even at low temperatures. According to Franco Cevolini, the CEO of parent company CRP Group, the new material is well-suited for applications in the winter sports industry. The WINDFORM FX BLACK has similar properties to polypropylene and ABS injection molded parts. Additionally, no post-production is necessary, as the material has an excellent surface finish in its sintered state. Ultimately, the material is ideal for producing flexible components with fine details, as well as accurate and reliable prototypes. Other suggested functional applications for WINDFORM FX BLACK include parts with living hinges or clip fittings, thin-walled connectors with snap-fit systems, and much more.
Roboze Partners With Leading 3D Printer Distributor GoPrint3D
Italian 3D printing company Roboze is making a giant leap across the pond, recently announcing a new partnership with the UK-based 3D printer distributor GoPrint3D. With this new deal, GoPrint3D will focus on selling the Roboze One, a professional desktop 3D printer, as well as the Roboze One+400, which is considered an industrial 3D printer for 13 advanced thermoplastic materials. The distribution company, which was started in Ripon, North Yorkshire back in 2012 as a division of Express Group Ltd, will help Roboze spread their 3D printing products throughout the UK and Ireland region. In fact, GoPrint3D will be showcasing Roboze’s 3D printing technology at the upcoming TCT Show in Birmingham at NEC, which takes place from September 28 to 29. Their booth will be located at Hall 3A, stand G14.
“The UK is in the top three most important regions in EMEA which seem to have accelerated in the past few years with regards to the adoption of 3d printing technologies, led by large corporations looking for powerful yet affordable solutions,” says Gil Lavi, Roboze’s VP Global Sales & Business Development.
Discuss further in the Week’s 3D Printing News forum over at 3DPB.com.