3D Printing News Briefs: April 7, 2017

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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, medical technology firm axial3D has secured over £530,000 in seed funding, while four University of Bristol graduates are on their way to China with their Omni Invent maker machine. Hawk 3D Proto and Magicfirm Europe AB announced a strategic partnership, while Sodick released a new Parallel Mode for its metal 3D printer. The UN is investigating 3D printed prosthetics for victims of land mines and IEDs, and a popular Hindi film could be remade into a virtual village, as long as it doesn’t disturb the wildlife.

axial3D Closes Investment Round After Securing Over £530,000 

Medical technology firm axial3D, which focuses on web-based technology for healthcare 3D printing, just closed an investment round, which brought its total seed funding to £530,000. The funds will be used to advance the Belfast firm’s 3D medical printing technology, as well as assist in its expansion into new markets. axial3D will invest in the continued development of its workflow solution, axial3D Insight, which allows for easy access to 3D printed patient-specific anatomical models for surgical planning.

Demand for axial3D’s bespoke models has increased around the world, and some of the top consultants use the models to create new surgical procedures and techniques before surgeons apply them in the operating room. The largest single investor is techstart NI, which has pledged a total investment of £250,000.

 “axial3D’s personalized 3D printed anatomical models are already making profound impacts in both the quality and cost of surgical interventions,” said Dr. Sandy McKinnon, Investment Director at techstart NI. “These physical bespoke models allow surgeons to see and interact with their patient’s anatomy, removing the guesswork involved with MRI or CT scans. The unparalleled insight the models give really does help the surgeon get it right first time and saves the healthcare provider both time and money.”

Entrepreneur Patrick Hurst MBE, former CEO and co-owner of Whale, is an early adopter of 3D printing, and was attracted to the axial3D team’s caliber, commitment to client delivery, and excellent 3D printing technology and services. Hurst, in addition to investing since 2016, has also joined the Board of Directors as axial3D Chairperson.

University of Bristol Graduates Heading to China with Omni Invent

Four engineering graduates from the University of Bristol invented a ‘workshop in a box,’ called the Omni Invent. The desktop maker machine, which lets users create smart products on demand, combines metrology, 3D printing technology, milling, and component placement in the same low-cost platform. A few months ago, these innovative graduates – Glen Cahill, Ed Cooper, Alex Michaels, and Jack Pearson – received their first round of funding, and also earned a spot in a prestigious accelerator program. The world’s largest hardware accelerator, Hax, only accepts the top 3% of the applicants for its Hax Accelerator Program, and the Omni Invent team landed a spot, after attracting the attention of Hax during a trip to China.

Michaels said, “Being accepted onto Hax is a great outcome for us – they have a fantastic reputation for helping founders get their products to market and grow their businesses.”

Now, the four graduates are headed to Shenzhen, China, thought of as the next Silicon Valley, where Hax will give them physical workshop space, along with investment and comprehensive mentorship.

“We’re really excited to be heading back to China; the manufacturing ecosystem in Shenzhen is perfect for developing products,” said Cahill. “Having the world’s manufacturing hub at your fingertips means you can get a year’s worth of work done in as few as 3 months.”

The team will spend over 100 days in Shenzhen, and then move on to San Francisco to look for more investors at the Hax Demo Day in September. The team, with the help of this next round of funding, should be able to fully launch its Omni Invent in early 2018, and will continue to grow its business and offerings.

Magicfirm Europe AB Strikes a Deal with Hawk 3D Proto to Resell its ZYYX 3D Printers

Swedish 3D printer manufacturer Magicfirm Europe AB, which owns the ZYYX 3D printer brand, announced a strategic partnership with desktop 3D printer reseller Hawk 3D Proto. Magicfirm is currently expanding its product portfolio and setting up new resellers for its ZYYX brand in the UK, the first of which is Hawk 3D Proto.

Hawk will resell the ZYYX line, and its supporting materials and parts, in both the UK and Ireland, while also providing first line support for users.

“The ZYYX was developed with reliability and safety in mind, with companies and schools as intended users,” said Mats Moosberg, CEO and creator of ZYYX 3D Printer. “This type of customer requires first class support before and after buying a 3D printer, something that we consequently look for in any potential ZYYX reseller. We are therefore very happy to have made this partnership with Hawk 3D Proto, a company that has proven themselves over a number of years in this capacity.”

In addition to ZYYX 3D printers, Hawk is also an official Zortrax reseller, an authorized WASP reseller, and the UK and Ireland distributor for BCN3D Technologies.

Sodick Develops OPM250L 3D Metal Printer Upgrade

Illinois-based Sodick, a longtime manufacturer of EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) machines, unveiled its 3D metal additive manufacturing system, OPM250L, a few months ago. It combines high-speed milling and metal 3D printing, so complete products, like molds, can be manufactured without any post-processing. The company just announced that it has developed a new, high-performance technology for the OPM250L, called Parallel Mode. Sodick expects the new feature to greatly increase the process speed of the OPM250L.

The machine, while in Parallel Mode, will be able to use just one beam to simultaneously grow parts at three separate locations. Laser units are not always used at full capacity during additive manufacturing processing, because while laser sintering equipment generates the laser path, it also has to consider shape deviation and fumes during the process.

“Parallel Mode makes optimal use of the laser unit by targeting multiple locations simultaneously,” said Sodick.

Sodick’s new Parallel Mode can be used to manufacture singular large parts, and multiple replicas of the same part, in far less time, making it suitable for a range of applications. In addition, Sodick’s new machine also has an upgraded fume collector, which should last longer than its predecessor; this will accommodate the additional fumes that the Parallel Mode’s increased production will produce.

Weapons Won’t Be Cleared in Middle East for Decades; UN Looking Toward 3D Printed Prosthetics

The United Nations said that it will take 40 to 50 years to clear all of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs), landmines, and other unexploded ordnance from Syria and Iraq.

Agnes Macaillou, director of the UN Mine Action Service, said, “We are looking at decades of work for these countries to look like post-World War II Europe where we still find some unexploded ordnance here and there.”

Macaillou said it could cost between $170-$180 million per year to rid the areas taken by the extremist Islamic State group of these dangerous explosives. But she also said that it is possible to make these countries safe, with a huge, sophisticated effort, and encouraged the international community to increase funding.

A way to save money in this massive, joint effort is by using 3D printing to manufacture prosthetic limbs for injured victims. Macaillou said that by using 3D printing technology, the cost of artificial limbs could really go down, dropping from roughly $18,000-$20,000 to $3,000-$5,000. Macaillou explained that the UN is “very involved in looking at 3D printing of prosthetic limbs.”

Hindi Cinema Cult Classic Could Be Recreated in a 3D Village

A beloved cult classic of Hindi cinema, Sholay, was released over forty years ago, and the director, Ramesh Sippy, was so overwhelmed by the journey that his directorial debut took in becoming a blockbuster smash that he said “even he can’t attempt to make it again.”

But the Karnataka government wants to take on the project, and is attempting to bring the magic to life again with a virtual village located about 50 km from where the film was shot in Bengaluru. The plan is to bring the characters to life through a combination of 3D printing and virtual reality technology. However, the plan has hit a snag: the area that surrounds the proposed site for the virtual village is in a protected zone, and part of a vulture sanctuary, and a senior official from the forest department said that the project could have a negative effect on wildlife conversation.

“Nothing has come to me yet. We don’t know where exactly and what exactly they are planning to do,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) KS Sugara. “Our DFO (Divisional Forest Officer) will update us on the project. After that, we will take a call. If there is anything that is not in the interest of wildlife conservation or vulture sanctuary, we will object.”

Even though the virtual village would likely attract tourists and provide an economic boost, some of the proposed locations for the village are in the vulture reserve area. The state government will need to evaluate the proposal for the virtual village, and some of the locations may need to be virtually recreated outside the area. Discuss in the News Briefs forum at


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