We’re starting off your Friday edition of 3D Printing News Briefs with some 3D printing business news, then moving on to some pretty cool 3D printed projects to get you to the weekend. Ultimaker has joined the GE Additive Education program, and 3YOURMIND opened an office in France. Stratasys is forming an additive manufacturing joint venture with SIA Engineering, while Prusa is giving the world a look at its new 3D printer farm and a company has reached its Kickstarter campaign goal for 3D printable RPG tiles. An engineer 3D printed a chandelier inspired by SpaceX, and a complex, full-color 3D printed computer game map that you need to see to believe has been completed.
Ultimaker Joins GE Additive Education
Desktop 3D printing leader Ultimaker announced that it has joined the GE Additive Education Program (AEP) as a supplier and sponsor. The company shares GE Additive‘s focus on 3D printing in education, having launched its educational Pioneer Program in 2016 and become a founding sponsor of the Construct3D education conference, and Ultimaker is supporting the AEP’s expansion by enabling its own 3D printers with Polar Cloud. Over the next two years, GE Additive will be investing $2 million to subsidize desktop Polar Cloud-enabled 3D printers for primary and secondary schools, particularly those with a strong STEM education program serving students ages 8-18.
Greg LaLonde, President of Polar 3D, said, “As we enter year two of the AEP, we have seen the benefits of enabling schools with additive technologies. Students are learning at a young age to use digital tools to help boost creativity and productivity, and to prepare themselves for the quickly-changing workplace. Ultimaker has a proven track record of making 3D printing affordable and accessible across broad bands of education and professional settings, and we’re proud to have them join the effort.”
The AEP is now accepting entries from colleges and K-12 schools for this year’s cycle; applications can be found here. Packages for the schools include educational activities and modules, professional training, and Polar Cloud-enabled 3D polymer printers.
3YOURMIND Opens French Office to Support Industry 4.0
According to 3YOURMIND, one of the leading providers of software solutions for additive manufacturing, the manufacturing sector in France represents 5.1% of the world’s total AM market, and several French companies over the last few years have been adding industrial 3D printing to their production cycles. While this move has been supported by several government initiatives to digitize French production, it has mostly been due to the many business advantages the technology can offer. In order to support the growth of the 3D printing industry in France as the country moves into Industry 4.0, 3YOURMIND is opening an office in Paris to easily provide its software platform to companies struggling to properly implement the technology.
“France has been a pioneer in additive manufacturing with the first patents issued in the 1980’s,” explained Alexandre Donnadieu, Business Development Manager – France, 3YOURMIND. “As companies shift to industrial 3D production, 3YOURMIND’s platforms are a much welcome foundation to ensure smooth growth for France as they increase production efficiency and maintain their position within global manufacturing.”
3YOURMIND has already begun to integrate French suppliers into its global network, such as Lyon-based x3D Group, which specializes in 3D printing services.
Stratasys and SIA Engineering Form Joint Venture
Stratasys and SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC), a major provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in the Asia-Pacific region, have signed a Joint Venture Agreement, following their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April, to set up an AM service center to provide 3D printed plastic aircraft cabin interior parts for commercial aviation applications, as well as tooling for MRO providers. According to the agreement, SIAEC will hold a 60% equity stake in the AM joint venture, and Stratasys will have the remaining 40%. Based in Singapore, the joint venture will provide certification support, design, engineering, and parts production to customers around the world, including MRO providers, airlines, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
“We are excited to be working with such an innovative and ambitious partner. By drawing on industry knowledge at SIAEC, we have tremendous opportunity to deliver unique solutions in this high requirement and highly regulated segment,” said Ilan Levin, Stratasys CEO. “The joint venture will benefit from Stratasys’ near 30 years of additive technology, materials and application development, enabling it to stay at the forefront of its product offerings.”
A Look at Prusa’s 3D Printer Farm
Prusa moved to a new building this past summer, which means it finally has enough room for a proper 3D print farm…at least for now. The farm has a total of 300 3D printers at the moment, but the planned capacity is 500 by this summer. Of those 300, there is a mix of Original Prusa i3 MK3 and MK2S 3D printers; the latter, of course, features a magnetic bed with removable steel sheet plates, which saves the 15 3D print farm workers a lot of time during print removal. The farm operates 24/7, and each completed part then goes through the company’s quality control measures, where it’s cleaned if needed, its dimensions are verified, and holes are pre-drilled. The part is discarded if the company believes it’s not up to snuff.
“When you take a look at our huge 3D printing farm you might ask yourself, ‘Wouldn’t it be better to just use injection molding?’ Well, in some cases, it might,” Josef Prusa writes. “Even though a single mold can cost tens of thousands of dollars, it could be more effective. However, using 3D printing gives us one huge advantage – thanks to 24/7 heavy load we can keep innovating and upgrading our printers as we have to resolve every found issue. And in that case, injection molding is no longer a better solution. A 3D printer can also create much more complex parts than injection molding. And our workflow is also way simpler. As soon as we come up with a part improvement, we just test it, upload new gcode to the print farm and within hours we start shipping improved printers to our customers. Basically, we are leveraging one of the biggest advantages of 3D printing to the maximum.”
Campaign for 3D Printable RPG Tiles Reaches Funding Goal
While the Kickstarter campaign for 3D printable Epic Sci Fi Tiles will still be going on for over 20 days, Epic Dungeon Tiles is proud to announce that it has reached its original goal in just two days – five times faster than its previous campaign. The company created, and is selling, digital files of 3D printable tiles for users to download and print for their own tabletop RPG and war games. Available rewards range from £4 for all of the floor tiles up to £32 for the Epic Pledge level, and there will be multiple stretch goals available, like the Crashed Spaceship scatter terrain and the Biodome, if the campaign reaches over £4,000. Eventually, the tiles will be available for commercial licensing as well.
“All the files on offer use the OpenLOCK license, which is open source and used of many other projects, it is a great addition to the RPG/Wargame 3D printing community and allows you creators (with permission) to create awesome terrain and scenery,” Rob Mehew, with Epic Dungeon Tiles, told 3DPrint.com. “The rewards range from only £4 for all the floor tiles up to £32 for the Epic Pledge level, providing you with an Epic gaming experience. The files are relatively cheap compared to a lot of other campaigns, especially considering how much these tiles give you in terms of gaming experience.”
Engineer 3D Prints Chandelier Inspired by SpaceX
Engineer and founder of Cosine Additive Andrew McCalip has easy access to the company’s fleet of giant, robotic, composite extrusion 3D printers, and was inspired by SpaceX to design and 3D print a really cool chandelier based on its Falcon 9 rocket. McCalip and Cosine made, and are selling for $500 a piece, two versions of the chandelier. The first, made of polycarbonate, is reinforced with glass fiber, with a flexural yield of 210MPa, and emits a gong-like sound when struck. The second is made of the strongest thermoplastic ever 3D printed: polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) combined with 50% carbon fiber by weight, and according to McCalip, has “a nearly metal-like resonance sound when struck,” which he calls “truly bizarre” for something made of plastic. The 90 watt chandeliers are 3D printed at 9,000 mm a minute, with a 4 mm nozzle, on a Cosine Additive custom gantry with an 8′ x 4′ print bed.
McCalip wrote, “Ship dates will be based on order #. We can manufacturing approximate 25 sets per month right now. First batch will ship approximately 6 weeks after order. As most of you are probably familiar with, we may slip the schedule to the right to ensure assembly and launch goes off without a hitch. Hopefully our schedule will be faster than the Heavy launch date!”
3D Printed Video Game Map
We’ve seen 3D printed maps before, even ones from popular video games, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this. Valve’s Defense Against the Ancients 2, better known as Dota 2, is a multiplayer computer game, and White Clouds, which helps its customers customize and mass produce products to build their brands, has just completed an amazingly colorful, fully 3D printed map model from the game.
Jerry Ropelato, CEO of White Clouds, told 3DPrint.com, “We just finished up one of our most complex full-color 3D print we have ever done – it is for a video game (Dota 2) map model.”
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