In the first edition of 3D Printing News Briefs this week, we’ve got news on consumers’ views about 3D printing, 3D software updates and 3D printers, 3D printing materials, and an interesting development by Nano Dimension. A new survey shows that consumers want 3D printing to be available, while Markforged announced that its latest Eiger software release is free to the public. Solidscape introduced its new jewelry 3D printers, the VSHAPER Pro took home a prestigious award, and the latest Ilios Photon 2 firmware features a new mode for handling viscous resin. Finally, Verbatim launched a new high performance water soluble support material, and Nano Dimension has developed oxidation-resistant copper nanoparticles.
Interactions’ Retail Survey Shows Consumers are Hungry for 3D Printing Technology
Interactions, a subsidiary of Daymon Worldwide, provides experiential marketing and innovative retail solutions for brands and retailers worldwide. The results of a new survey, called “What Shoppers Want from Retail Technology,” show that consumers want their shopping experiences to include targeted notifications, enhanced interaction, and available 3D printing. The study surveyed over 1,000 adult shoppers, and found that 84% of those polled expect their retailers to utilize tech features and functionality, while 95% want to buy 3D printed consumer products; in addition, almost 80% of shoppers polled said they would likely spend more money at a retailer that can work with them to create custom 3D printed products.
In a press release about the findings of the study, Interactions president Bharat Rupani said, “Consumers want both digital and human interfaces today. They desire the integration of technology into their shopping experience, but nothing can truly replace the accessibility of a traditional store associate. The key for retailers is to balance human interaction with technology to streamline and compliment the consumer’s overall retail journey.”
Markforged Announces that Latest Eiger Software is Available Free of Charge
Markforged, which invented a new way to 3D print metal and the world’s first carbon fiber 3D printer, announced that its newest Eiger software release is available at no charge to interested engineers and designers. For the first time, non-customer organizations will be empowered to learn about, and be a part of, the Markforged experience before even getting one of its 3D printers, and will be able to anticipate print times and the costs, usage, and weight of the materials. Users can upload CAD files easily, and virtually design parts across the Markforged materials portfolio, though metal 3D printing is not available with this release just yet.
Ben Sklaroff, senior software engineer at Markforged, said, “Eiger lets engineers convert any STL file into a printable, fiber-reinforced model in seconds. You can add continuous carbon fiber to your part with one click and we’ll auto-route it for optimal strength, but you also have full layer-by-layer control if you want to optimize your part’s strength-to-cost. Users file support tickets just to tell us they’re impressed how powerful and easy-to-use our software is. Now anyone can create an account and upload their design to discover how to print truly strong parts.”
The Eiger software is available fully on-premise, or in a local storage version, as needed. If you purchase a Markforged 3D printer after you sign up for an Eiger trial account, you can add your new printer to the account, and immediately start printing, as parts, fiber reinforcement parameters, and other print metrics can be saved. Users can securely access their files from anywhere using Google Chrome.
Solidscape Introduces New S300 Series 3D Printers and Jewelry Materials at JCK
High precision jewelry 3D printer manufacturer and Stratasys subsidiary Solidscape unveiled its new S300 3D printer series, and some new materials, at the JCK Las Vegas show this week. The S350 and S370 high precision printers were designed for more efficient custom jewelry production processes for service bureaus, investment casting companies, and jewelry manufacturers. Solidscape also introduced its new castable material, Midas, and its dissolvable Melt-J support. The new 3D printers both feature a temperature control system, a re-engineered material delivery system, and a tank level measurement, which offers a 100% increase in capacity; both continue to use Solidscape’s Smooth Curvature Printing (SCP) technology. Midas material offers a clean burnout with no thermal expansion, and the non-toxic, hands-free Melt-J dissolvable support enables better manufacturing efficiency and faster delivery.
“The growing global demand for high end custom jewelry we see, requires professional tools that can produce any design without limits. The new S300 Series printers and materials offer jewelers unique 3D printing accuracy, precision and reliability,” said Fabio Esposito, Solidscape President.
Solidscape is demonstrating its new 3D printers and materials at the JCK show this week, booth #65079.
Verashape’s VSHAPER Pro Wins MTP Gold Medal 2017
Poland-based Verashape entered its industrial VSHAPER PRO 3D printer, which is capable of printing with PEEK and PEI materials, in the popular Gold Medal Awards at the ITM Fair in Poznań, which began today and ends on Friday. It’s a pretty prestigious contest – last year, nearly 450 products were submitted for consideration by the jury, who chooses the winners based on creativity, innovation, and modernity. This year, the jury, led by Professor Adam Mazurkiewicz from the National Research Institute, awarded a total of 18 MTP Gold Medals, and the VSHAPER PRO was one of the winners.
Tomasz Szymański, the founder and CEO of Verashape, said, “Prints created in VSHAPER PRO, widely popular in medicine, automotive and aerospace industries, are often used as alternatives to elements made of metal.”
Verashape and its VSHAPER PRO will now move on to the next stage of the competition, the “Gold Medal – Consumers’ Choice.” In the meantime, visitors to ITM this week can view the 3D printer at the Edgecam Polska stand, #49, in Hall 3A.
Ilios 3D Adds New Viscous Material Handling Function to Photon 2
Cyprus-based 3D printer manufacturer Ilios 3D introduced its Photon 2 3D printer at the end of 2016, and has been busy putting it through tests and adding new firmware functions, including the latest – the ability to handle viscous materials, like ceramic SLA resins. The company’s founder, CEO, and lead developer, Demetris Ruslan Zavorotnitsienko, explained that many SLA 3D printers can’t handle these types of materials, due to lack of parameters, an understanding of the liquid properties, and outdated software. The viscosity of these resins could be enough to damage or even break a 3D printer.
“As we do have many resins being shipped for testing as well as samples, we thought it would be a good idea to rewrite some of the subroutines which are related to those ‘special’ cases and create a proper as well as dedicated print cycle specifically for highly viscous resins which don’t belong to any specific category and are used in very limited but specialized cases,” Zavorotnitsienko wrote in a blog post. “These functions ensure that your investment is well protected and doesn’t just bluntly function until something breaks. Additionally these parameters allow the user to experiment not just with different cure settings but also different material properties while adding an additional layer of protection.”
- Liquid Flow Relief – at the first sign of print failure during the first 30 layers, the Photon 2 will delay for 20 seconds to allow the viscous liquid to settle and realign before enabling UV LED project
- Additional Vacuum – the retract speed of the lift will be five times slower for the first 15 layers, so the initial model layer won’t pull from the lift with too much force
- Resin Particulates and Additions – the cure time for the initial layers will be increased 3-5 times in order to generate the proper adhesion for resins with a high concentration of particulates
- Minimum Layer Height – the Photon 2 has sensors to monitor the VAT motion, and a delay will be enabled if the motion reaches critical limits, so the resin can evacuate the needed space
Verbatim Announces New BVOH Water Soluble Support Material
Shigeyuki Furomoto, the manager in the Global CEO office for Mitsubishi Chemical Media, said, “Verbatim BVOH is very reliable and prints like regular 3D printing material, meaning that more complex objects can be designed and printed at high quality. This printing performance, together with its fast dissolving speed will help push desktop material extrusion printer usage much more into both industry and professional maker applications.”
Nano Dimension Develops Oxidation-Resistant Copper Nanoparticles
Nano Dimension, known for its dedicated PCB DragonFly 2020 3D printer, just filed a patent application in the US for its latest development: oxidation-resistant copper nanoparticles, which can be used to develop conductive ink. These novel nanoparticles can fuse into a continuous conductive line after a sintering process at temperatures lower than 160°C, and could really lower the cost of raw materials that are used in 3D printing electronics and PCBs. The difficulty in developing this stable nano-copper ink was the oxidation of the particles, including during the complex sintering process, which typically needs very high energy, from something like a laser or powerful lamp, in an atmosphere that’s free of oxygen.
Nano Dimension’s copper nanoparticles are packed into a spherical cluster, which has properties typically found in a core or shell structure. This development is a major inkjet technology breakthrough, potentially lowering the cost of printing conductive traces, and opening the company up to new markets and printing applications.
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