Happy December! Rather than worrying about how much you have left to do in the few short weeks before the holidays, why not use that time in a more productive way and check out this month’s first edition of 3D Printing News Briefs? We’re starting with some contest news from Sinterit and Solvay, then getting down to business as Cincinnati Inc. announces the acquisition of NVBOTS. 3DBear has raised over €1 million in seed funding, and the University of Memphis is investing over $2 million in a new metal 3D printing lab. FILOALFA is launching a new filament, and Imperial College London is focusing on the future of additive manufacturing with a new paper.
Sinterit Announces Winning Contest Designs
3D printer manufacturer Sinterit has announced the winners of its first 3D printing challenge in cooperation with MyMiniFactory, for the best project designed for SLS 3D printing. The challenge received 415 design submissions from six continents, but only one winner received the desktop SLS Sinterit Lisa 3D printer – Bartus, with his 3D printed Barrel Padlock design, which Sinterit referred to as “astonishing.” His functional, working design is an excellent indicator of what the Lisa 3D printer is capable of.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate Bartus for winning Lisa and wish him a lot of fun designing and printing breathtaking models. With the record number of participants, watching all of this great designs being printed using Sinterit Lisa 3D printer was a great pleasure,” said Sinterit CEO and Co-Founder Paweł Szczurek. “We know that with SLS technology designers can really empower their creation, not possible with other technologies. Despite the complexity, the models printed are durable and precise.”
Sinterit also gave additional distinction to Jeremy Webb for the Functional Windup Clock, Bertan Atamer for the Printable Flexible Wallet, and Morgan for the Black Widow Gauntlet. You can check out all of the design submissions here.
Update on Solvay’s Additive Manufacturing Cup
We’ve got an update on Solvay Group‘s international additive manufacturing competition for university students, which the company launched earlier this fall, called the AM Cup. The challenge is centered around one of the highest performing, but most difficult, 3D printable polymers – organic thermoplastic PEEK, or polyetheretherketone. Students were challenged to 3D print complex shapes using Solvay’s KetaSpire PEEK filaments, and over 30 teams from 13 countries have enrolled in the challenge, which completed the registration period late last month. The final parts 3D printed by each team will be evaluated by an international panel of Solvay polymer, design, and additive manufacturing specialists on their aesthetic qualities and mechanical stability.
“3D printing is a remarkable manufacturing technology that is developing quickly. It can deliver fully functional prototypes as well as cost-efficient single to small volume applications much faster than traditional manufacturing,” said Brian Alexander, Additive Manufacturing Manager for Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit. “However, printing with the world’s best performing polymers remains a challenge. Solvay’s Additive Manufacturing Cup is to demonstrate that the time has come for this to change.”
The winners of the AM Cup will be announced on March 22nd, 2018, with first, second, and third place winners being awarded, respectively, with €10,000, €5,000 and €3,000 prizes that can be used for either academic, entrepreneurial, or societal purposes.
Cincinnati Incorporated Acquires NVBOTS
This week, Cincinnati Incorporated (CI) announced that it has closed on its acquisition of Boston-based New Valence Robotics Corporation, more commonly known as NVBOTS, in an effort to expand its additive manufacturing efforts. Back in 2016, the two companies partnered up to introduce the industrial SAAM (Small Area Additive Manufacturing) 3D printer, to complement CI’s large-scale BAAM, so the two are already used to working together. While most terms of the acquisition were not made public, we do know that all NVBOTS employees will continue to work there, and that its headquarters will remain in Boston for the foreseeable future.
“Cincinnati Incorporated’s participation in additive manufacturing has been within the large scale arena with BAAM,” explained Carey Chen, the President, CEO, and Vice Chairman of Cincinnati Incorporated. “NVBOTS naturally compliments CI’s capabilities with smaller scale additive manufacturing systems, the growing ability to print in a wide array of materials, and automated solutions including cloud based management software.”
3DBear Raises Venture Capital FinancingSoftware company 3DBear, based out of Helsinki, has raised over €1 million in seed funding from multiple investors, including Rethink Education VC and Spinverse Group, and several individual investors as well. In addition, Esko Aho, the former Prime Minister of Finland and a former member of Nokia’s executive board, is now an advisor for 3DBear, and will help the company expand its business abroad. 3DBear is an online learning tool, as well as a platform for 3D printing and augmented reality, and is available in the US through the Junior Library Guild.
“This investment enables the scaling up of our R&D and implementation of our internationalization strategy,” said 3DBear CEO Kristo Lehtonen. “It has been incredible to see how well educational technology and pedagogy developed in Finland has worked in the US for example.”
University of Memphis Building 3D Metal Printing Lab
The University of Memphis is investing $2 million into building a metal 3D printing lab on campus, which will contain two metal 3D printers. University researchers already work with local companies to further develop and explore the science behind the technology, but until now, they have had to send their work to a far away offsite location to be 3D printed. Mechanical engineering researchers Ali Fatemi and Ebrahim Asadi, who are researching 3D printing in terms of the aerospace industry and biomedical technology, respectively, said that students from multiple university departments will be able to take advantage of the new metal 3D printing lab, which is set to open by April. The university joins countless other educational institutions around the world that are working to further develop and learn from 3D printing technology.
Fatemi said, “There are several universities that are heavily investing in this, not just in terms of the research capabilities but also in terms of education.”
FILOALFA Launching New Eco-Friendly Filament
Italian 3D printing filament manufacturer and supplier FILOALFA is launching a new eco-friendly material, called ALFA+, which offers better thermal resistance and strength than ABS and PLA materials but costs the same. The natural material has high mechanical properties, and is able to stand up under temperatures up to 105°C without deforming, making it a good choice for users looking for a material that’s easy to process but maintains excellent mechanical and thermal properties. ALFA+ also has low shrinkage rates, good dimensional tolerance, and does not require the use of a heated build plate.
FILOALFA’s Antonio Berera said, “The filament market consists mainly of two materials, PLA and ABS, and for well-founded reasons: both materials have a low cost and are readily available on the market. In combining the best qualities of both materials, ALFA+ is an economical and easy-to- print filament, similar to a PLA, but also rugged and robust (with a higher tensile strength than ABS) and able to reach operating temperatures of up to 105°C. It also comes in a wide variety of colors which make it suitable for a broad range of uses, from architectural applications, to mechanics, to hobbyist projects.”
Imperial College London Focusing on Future of Additive Manufacturing
According to a new briefing paper, titled “The value of additive manufacturing: future opportunities,” put out by the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (IMSE) at Imperial College London, we could potentially make 3D printing faster, more consistent, and less expensive by combining engineering and molecular science. Imperial is known for its culture of multidisciplinary research, and is focused on the future of the technology; the paper outlines how merging these two disciplines could send the 3D printing industry, predicted to be worth over $26 billion by the year 2022, into its next stage of development. In addition, using both engineering and molecular science could allow for more effective translations of research into real-life industrial applications.
The paper also highlights some of the additive manufacturing research currently underway at Imperial, and makes suggestions as to how external partners interested in the technology could work with Imperial researchers, such as funding AM research projects and setting up workshops and bespoke consultancy services.
“By bringing researchers, from a host of disciplines, together with other stakeholders we aim to provide fertile ground for stimulating innovation,” said Dr. Shoshana Wider, one of the paper’s co-authors and the IMSE Communications Manager.
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