3D Printing: The Stories We Missed – March 4, 2017


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An ULTEM aircraft spare part flies on a T-44 Pegasus, a $99 3D printer, Tractus has a preferred filament supplier, 3D Slash 3.0 is out, NatureWorks releases a new Ingeo filament, RAM3D & Renishaw bring metal 3D printing to New Zealand, Luxexcel reaches ISO compliance with their 3D printed lenses and award recognition for medical team who separated conjoined twins with help from 3D printed models that allowed doctors to visualize the surgery.

Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Replaces T-44 Pegasus Air Duct With 3D Printed Part

An Ultem sample part.

An ULTEM sample part

Fleet Readiness Center Southeast 3D printed an Ultem part on a Stratasys Fortus system to replace a legacy T-44 Pegasus aircraft part that was not available. High-temperature composite ULTEM was used for an air duct for the aircraft. The part count was reduced from two separate parts to one. Legacy or unavailable parts have long been a potentially big application area for 3D printing. By 3D printing on demand, parts do not have to be stocked and should be available when needed. In aerospace, part reduction is also looked on as a strategy to reduce weight, part cost and assembly risk. The part itself was, according to tooling maker Randy Meeker, a “good first candidate because it’s not a flight-critical part, but it’s a step forward in incorporating 3-D printed parts into aircraft.”


iMakr Offers a $99 3D Printer Kit

iMakr has put a $99 3D printer kit called the STARTTstartt-3d-printer on the market. The 14 x 12 x 13 cm build volume kit is meant to give students a chance to inexpensively put together their own 3D printer. How cheap can 3D printers get exactly? Could you make one using just one stepper motor? Will low cost machines take over the market or be a gateway drug to more expensive printers? What further innovations could someone bring to a design like this one to make it even less expensive? Have we been going about this in the wrong way for years now? What is the price point of the first 3D printer that will sell in the millions of units? Or will we never achieve this?


Tractus3D and Innofil3D Partner

Innofil3Dtractus has partnered with Tractus3D to become their preferred material supplier. The companies report that Tractus3D printers have improved their performance, now operating at print speeds of up to 150mm/s thanks to an improved flow rate. Tractus3D sells delta style 3D printers ranging from the 20 x 20 cm-build-volume T650 RTP to the 100 x 190 cm T3500 RTP.


3D Slash Releases 3D Slash 3.0

3D Slashunnamed-2 is a browser-based 3D modeling tool that really has a fun way of interacting and building your model. It’s one of the easiest 3D modeling tools out there and you can use it in a fun way to make 3D printable things. With 3D Slash you can bash and slash away with a hammer to create. With the new 3.0 version of 3D Slash, you can upload a picture and engrave your 3D model into it. As well as the browser-based version, you can download it for Windows, Apple, Linux and Raspberry Pi.


NatureWorks Introduces New Ingeo Material

feedstocks_1-today_jpgNatureWorks is the supplier for much of the PLA that we use today. The US-based company makes PLA bioplastics for many applications including food packaging and building materials. NatureWorks’ PLA granulate is processed into filament worldwide, and the company is the leading supplier of PLA to 3D printing filament manufacturers. In addition to their existing grades of PLA made for 3D printing, they’ve just released a new grade, Ingeo 3D870. This new grade has a higher impact strength than ABS. This is the third PLA grade that Ingeo has made specifically for 3D printing after their 3D850 and 3D860 grades. The company reports that “3D870 was designed specifically for the impact strength required in industrial applications.” It is notable that many suppliers are looking to industrial applications for their filaments and materials. Will PLA be used for industry in 3D printing? Is 3D printing moving towards industrial use across the board?


Rapid Advanced Manufacturing (RAM3D) & Renishaw Partner

Rapid Advanced Manufacturing (RAM3D)ren249-industry-collaboration-progresses-new-zealand-additive-manufacturing-hn-1, a spinoff of the Titanium Industry Development Association, is collaborating with Renishaw to advance metal 3D printing in New Zealand. The service bureau has printed handlebar extenders for the New Zealand Olympic cycling team, and has working together with industrial users across New Zealand.

Warwick Downing, Managing Director of RAM3D, said:

“This growth is fuelled by realism, not hype; the enquiries we are getting show a clear understanding of the potential of design for additive manufacturing. This is an encouraging trend. We believe this trend is being driven by industry collaborations that facilitate a better understanding of the technology, such as the one between RAM3D and Renishaw.”

Traditionally, New Zealand and Australia were expensive markets for 3D printing with parts and imported parts driving up the cost of the technology there. Will RAM3D and more companies bring down these costs?


Luxexcel Reaches ISO Standard Quality with Ophthalmic Lenses

Luxexcelluxexcel01, a company that has developed and commercialized its own 3D printing process for optics, has reached compliance with the ISO 8980-1:2004 Focal Power standard. Luxexcel’s 3D printing process can now be supplied to the ophthalmics market.

“Luxexcel has developed an industrial 3D printing platform to 3D print specialty lenses like monofocals, bifocals, trifocals, with cylinders and prisms,” said Luxexcel CEO Hans Strang. “The lenses are thoroughly tested and on ISO quality level. This opens up business opportunities for ophthalmic labs to manufacture a wide range of specialty lenses with our technology.”

In addition to developing their Printoptical 3D printing technology, the company also has a software platform and service to enable industrial users to industrialize 3D printing in optics. The company initially focused also on other types of lenses and things such as LED arrays and prototyping for the LED market, but Luxexcel seems completely focused on 3D printing lenses for glasses. Luxexcel is an example of a startup that not only developed its own technology but also found an application and market for that technology very quickly. Their application is a customized lens for glasses, and this could see their technology being used globally at scale. Will your next set of glasses be entirely 3D printed?


Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Gets a Shout Out by the New York State Senate and Assembly

The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM)The twins Jadon and Anias was honored by the New York State Senate and Assembly for a surgery in which a team of 50 medical and surgical experts were involved. The surgery successfully separated 13-month-old Jadon and Anias McDonald, who were craniopagus conjoined twins, meaning that they were joined at the head. The team has so far helped separate 21 sets of craniopagus twins but this was the first time that 3D printing and scanning were used in surgical planning. These types of surgeries are very complex. Medical scans are used as a basis for 3D prints. These medical 3D prints let the team discuss and visualize their procedure. Since with craniopagus twins their brains are actually attached to each other, the procedure is particularly delicate. With 3D printing surgical teams can “walk their way” through the brains of the boys and discuss steps and the order of steps. This is one way in which 3D printing’s ability to make things more visual is helping surgeons worldwide. Discuss in the Stories We Missed forum at 3DPB.com.


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