In this Tuesday edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re covering everything from 3D printers, printing materials, 3D scanning software, and virtual reality to business partnerships and future flight technologies. CRP Technology introduces its new Windform thermoplastic elastomer, while the Indiegogo campaign for the Visionsforge Forge One 3D printer just launched. Occipital announces the release of its Skanect 1.9 3D scanning software, and Vive Studios brings advanced 3D object modeling to virtual reality with its new MakeVR creativity app. Stratasys and the Manufacturing Technology Centre have teamed up, atum3D and ERM Fab & Test work together to conquer the French 3D printing market, and scientists determine that flying could eventually be safer and more fuel efficient, by taking a closer look at how peregrine falcons stay aloft.
CRP Technology Introduces Windform RL
Additive manufacturing leader CRP Technology, one of Italy-based CRP Group‘s specialized companies, has announced the newest member of its high-performance Windform materials family. Windform RL is CRP’s first thermoplastic elastomer additive manufacturing material; the durable material has “exceptional rubber-like distinguishing features,” according to CRP.
“We created Windform RL to provide complete and tailored end-to-end service to meet all customers’ needs,” said Franco Cevolini, CRP Group’s CEO and Technical Director.
Windform RL is stable and durable, combines high tear resistance with burst strength, and has both heat and chemical resistance. The mechanical characteristics of Windform RL make it the perfect choice for AM applications that need flexible materials and complex geometries, like automotive and motorsports, athletic equipment and footwear, and any parts that need good shock absorption. It’s also good for functional rubber-like parts, like hoses and gaskets, and prototypes, and is good to use when manufacturing “soft-touch” items that have non-slip surfaces, like handles.
Stiff parts manufactured with other Windform materials can be bonded together with Windform RL-manufactured flexible parts using epoxy resins, or mechanical joints. The mechanical properties of this new material allow for quality sealing power, and it can also simulate thermoplastic elastomer, cast urethane, silicone, and rubber parts. It’s also able to hold up under repeated deformation and bending, and is available in a variety of colors. If you need to color, strengthen, and seal parts manufactured using this new material, try the Windform RL Seal Infiltration method, which creates a watertight barrier.
Visionsforge Launches Forge One 3D Printer Indiegogo Campaign
Swiss startup Visionsforge announced that the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign began this week for its large, SLA-LCD Forge One 3D printer. Visionsforge has a rather “lofty goal,” according to its campaign page: the team is committed to “altering the face of the 3D printing world.”
Visionsforge touts the Forge One as the first 3D printer in the world to use the light of a tablet for resin curing, resulting in high-quality print jobs. This makes the large 3D printer cost-effective and convenient. The motor is insulated and the architecture is closed, so the printer is quiet for at-home use, and its software and hardware are fully upgradeable. The Forge One provides precise 3D printing, thanks to its high-end ball bearings, no backslash nuts, and high-resolution stepper motor. It features a print volume of 8″ x 10.2″ x 14.6″, and comes out of the box fully assembled, calibrated, and tested, with a 1.8-liter resin pack included.
Fabrizio Guadagnino, Visionsforge CEO, announced a super early-bird offer as part of the latest round of funding for the printer: for just $999, you get the Forge One, a 13.3″, upper-tier tablet, and the resin pack. The company has also promised that for each Forge One 3D printer sold, it will plant one tree, and include a ribbon around the tree with the buyer’s name; Guadagnino’s father has offered his 20,000 square meters of land in Italy as a home for the first couple hundred trees. If you don’t have the money to purchase a Forge One, but want to help the campaign and the earth, you can pledge just $30, and Visionsforge will plant a tree, with your name on a ribbon. Watch the Kickstarter campaign video to learn more:
Occipital Releases Latest Skanect
Hardware and software startup Occipital makes a 3D scanning software package called Skanect. The Skanect v1.8 was released in February of 2015, and yesterday, Skanect v1.9 was launched. Users of Skanect Pro can now capture 3D scans that boast higher resolution color frames, which means much more detailed textures.
The Skanect v1.9 update, which is now available for download for Skanect Pro users, works with Uplink, so people who own Structure Sensor can stream 3D data from a Structure Sensor and an iOS device in real time, to a Windows PC or Mac, on the same WiFi network. In order to use the new Skanect version with Uplink, just upgrade the Structure App on your iOS device.
Skanect v1.8 included GPU fusion; the latest version replaces this with a faster CUDA-based fusion, so live 3D scanning is not only faster, but also increased how much data is captured during the scan. CPU processing is also faster – two times faster, in fact, when you use Skanect with a Windows PC. The time limit for recording data has increased to 180 seconds, and the plane cropping offset is now able to be set using 0.1% increments. Also, a new advanced feature that users can enjoy is the ability to specify custom bounding box sizes, orientation, and location, by using custom values in the configuration file.
Sixense and Vive Studios Launch Make VR Creativity App
Virtual reality content and motion tracking leader Sixense, together with the virtual reality content development initiative from HTC Vive, Vive Studios, launched a new award-winning creativity app, called MakeVR. The professional CAD engine, which premiered on Viveport yesterday for $19.99, brings 3D printing and advanced 3D design and object modeling to virtual reality, making a sort of virtual workshop and introducing an advanced free-form VR modeling tool. The interface is based on two-hand motions, and is able to give creators an incredible immersive virtual space in which to move around and design, using Vive’s room-scale VR. Users can also directly export their standard object files for 3D printing.
Amir Rubin, CEO and co-founder of Sixense, said, “MakeVR on the Vive allows anyone to create 3D content as fast as they can think it up, then turn their virtual creations into physical objects with direct-to-3D printing. Our partnership with Vive Studios in developing MakeVR and introducing a new kind of advanced creativity app using the immersion of VR is a win for makers, designers and the 3D printing ecosystem.”
Experienced modelers and makers will appreciate MakeVR’s efficient, multi-touch interface, and will be able to send object files in standard formats directly to their 3D printers from within the VR environment, or simply export the files. But the app was designed with a low learning curve and intuitive interface for users of all skill levels and ages, not just the advanced crowd.
“MakeVR is a first-of-its-kind advanced creativity app for VR. We recognize how the intuitive and immersive environment of VR will revolutionize digital modeling. We worked with Sixense to create MakeVR as an accessible yet advanced creativity app for Vive where room-scale VR gives creators a virtual workshop, and the use of natural physical motions brings unprecedented expressiveness and intuitiveness to object design,” said Joel Breton, Head of Vive Studios.
Users can create in the VR environment by easily interacting with 3D geometry, and all of MakeVR’s viewpoint and object manipulations are one-to-one, so you get to control when, where, and how you move through simple gestures. The scaling feature is quite powerful, as users can position themselves wherever they wish in the VR environment, and at whatever scale is best for the task they are working on. The app also has direct links to online 3D printing service Shapeways.
Pete Weijmarshausen, Shapeways CEO, said, “Shapeways is excited about the launch of MakeVR because it will help lower the barrier of entry for people to try their hand at 3D design. With cutting-edge tools like MakeVR, it becomes more intuitive and perhaps fun for people to express what they want through 3D modeling, and we’re incredibly proud to connect MakeVR to our platform and enable the creative process with Shapeways’ services.”
The MakeVR app won the Computer Bild “Best Product: Innovation” at the 2017 Mobile World Conference (MWC). MakeVR Pro will be launched later this year, with added features and precision tools based on user feedback.
Manufacturing Technology Centre and Stratasys Form Partnership
3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company Stratasys announced this week that it’s partnered with the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), to guide the MTC’s objective to demonstrate new and innovative technologies and processes that push the boundaries of conventional manufacturing methods around the world.
Ross Trepleton, Group Technology Manager, Component Technology, MTC, said, “We aim to inspire great British manufacturing on the global stage and central to achieving this are our partnerships with leading technology providers like Stratasys, through whom we are deploying some of the world’s most advanced, market-disruptive 3D printing based technology solutions.”
“Working with Stratasys, we have a clear objective to demonstrate additive manufacturing technology’s existing capabilities to our members and explore the opportunity to push the envelope in other areas. This includes the ability to produce end-use engineering components, as well as the capability to build complex parts with multiple materials and give multi-functionality to a single component, using 3D printing. We’re also looking at the potential to functionally grade parts by material composition.”
The MTC, headquartered in Coventry, is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which is supported by government agency Innovate UK. It focuses on delivering “bespoke manufacturing system solutions” to its customers, which include BAE Systems, Siemens, and Airbus. Stratasys will work with the MTC to make additive manufacturing a catalyst for driving change, while also supporting its role to research and advise industry on the capabilities of additive manufacturing. The MTC will be deploying the Stratasys J750 full-color, multi-material 3D printer, so its customers can produce realistic parts without post-processing, assembly, or painting.
Andy Middleton, President, Stratasys, EMEA, said, “The MTC is the UK’s renowned epicenter for developing and proving innovative manufacturing processes and technologies that equip companies with the know-how to compete on the global stage. This partnership and the integration of our technology solutions at the MTC underscores the fact that, more than ever, the UK is committed to exploring ways to bring growth to the UK economy and promote the real business benefits achievable from transformational technologies like additive manufacturing.”
The MTC opened in 2011, and is home to some of the world’s most advanced manufacturing equipment. It was established to “prove innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile environment in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions.”
Trepleton said, “Additive manufacturing has been recognized as a key disruptive technology, and it continues to play an increasing role in realizing digital manufacturing and industry 4.0. Right now, the MTC is developing the means to ensure that additive manufacturing is suitable for the end user, de-risking the technology for UK industry.”
atum3D Announces Partnership with ERM Fab & Test
Dutch atum3D has partnered with leading French 3D manufacturing solutions company ERM Fab & Test. atum3D’s DLP solutions for high-quality, cost-efficient 3D manufacturing will be represented by ERM Fab & Test to professional customers in its focus market area. atum3D’s products offer an open material platform and accuracy for R&D/prototyping, medical/dental, jewelry, and final component manufacturing applications.
“With the atum3D DLP Station, we extend our existing portfolio with state-of-the-art DLP technology which brings previously inconceivable accuracy in a midrange machine,” said Cyril Liotard, founder of ERM. “Now exceptional quality and speed is within reach for users in many different sectors, from educational institutions to R&D and production departments of manufacturing companies. atum3D opens a new chapter in 3D manufacturing.”
ERM Fab & Test has experts who will offer advice, support, and on-site training installation for atum3D’s software, hardware, and resins. Both ERM and atum3D invite professional customers from all over France to discuss the potential applications of atum3D’s DLP solutions.
Guy Nyssen, Channel Manager at atum3D, said, “We’re very happy to team up with ERM, being a professional partner with a great network and over 25 years of experience in the field. We feel ERM fully understands and supports our proposition, which means customers across France can now be served. The DLP Station can support any material, which is why we value ERM’s professional support whenever customers make manufacturing decisions.”
Peregrine Falcons Inspire Future Aircraft Technologies
Research on the mechanics of peregrine falcons’ flight was conducted by scientists at BAE Systems and City, University of London to uncover new technologies that could help with the aerodynamics and fuel efficiency of aircraft. These technologies could potentially be applied sometime within the next two decades.
“The peregrine falcon is the world’s fastest bird, able to dive for prey at incredible steep angles and high velocities,” said Professor Cristoph Bruecker from City’s Aeronautical Engineering department. “The research work has been truly fascinating and I am sure it will deliver some real innovation and benefits for the aerospace sector.”
The scientists researched how the falcon can stay in control while airborne, even in high winds, at speeds of up to 200 mph. Several concepts have been developed as a result of this research, including 3D printed polymer ‘hair’ filaments, or ‘sensory feathers,’ that would essentially act as sensors on the aircraft itself. If the aircraft begins to stall, the feathers would be something of an early warning system. Also, as aerodynamic drag slows aircraft while in flight, the scientists determined that more densely packed passive sensory feathers could change the airflow near the aircraft’s surface, helpfully reducing the drag and slowing it down.
The peregrine falcon can also stabilize itself by ruffling its feathers after landing or swooping: this act inspired a different technology, in which small hinged, or flexible, flaps on an aircraft would allow the wing to maneuver more quickly, and thus land at lower speeds. This approach also means that future aircraft could be designed in a more compact manner for an added safety margin, or even designed to carry additional fuel. Research also shows that these flaps could potentially lower noise pollution from aircraft.
“Working with Professor Cristoph Bruecker and his team at City, we’ve investigated how we could apply the unique abilities of the peregrine falcon to aircraft,” said Professor Clyde Warsop, an Aerodynamic Flow Control specialist from BAE’s military aircraft business. “Bio-inspiration is not a new concept; many technologies that we use every day are increasingly inspired by animals and nature.”
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