3D Printing News Briefs: February 23, 2018

Metal AM Markets

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We’ve got plenty of business and 3D printer news for you in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, followed by a research project involving additive manufacturing technology and a 3D printed presidential bobblehead. Nano Dimension has named its latest US reseller a day after closing its public ADS offering, and SD3D has completed its acquisition of 3D Matter. Hitch3DPrint helps users ‘hitch’ a metal 3D print job, while the newly released Velox 3D printer will be integrated into the glidewell.io In-Office Solution. Protolabs Europe has added HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology to its list of offerings, and Casio is using a 2.5D printer to rapidly produce leather interiors. ESI and the CEU Cardenal Herrera University have launched a joint research project, and a large 3D printed bobblehead of President Trump is for sale on eBay.

Nano Dimension Closes Public Offering, Names New US Reseller

Additive electronics provider Nano Dimension announced that its newest US reseller is engineering solutions provider TriMech Solutions, already a premier reseller of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software and 3D printers from Desktop Metal and Stratasys. As part of the reseller agreement between the two, TriMech will purchase the award-winning DragonFly 2020 Pro PCB 3D printer. This purchase shows TriMech’s commitment to AM, and the company, which has a large knowledge base of the PCB market, will make Nano Dimension’s technology available all the way from Maine down to Florida and over to Arkansas through its technical support team and over 25 office locations and 3D printing labs.

“TriMech is a welcome addition to our growing network of worldwide resellers. The team has deep knowledge and experience in additive manufacturing, and an extensive track record of marketing premium 3D printing solutions. This is an important collaboration, allowing us to broaden access to our technology and further our mission to redefine and shape how connected products are developed and produced more efficiently,” said Simon Fried, President of Nano Dimension USA Inc.

This news comes right after Nano Dimension closed the underwritten public offering of 6 million of its American Depositary Shares, at $2 per ADS, which was just announced last week. The gross proceeds came out to be approximately $12 million excluding the exercise of the over-allotment option and underwriting discounts, and will be used for general corporate purposes.

SD3D Acquires 3D Matter

3D printing automation leader SD3D has completed the acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, of New York-based 3D materials research and software company 3D Matter, which launched its 3D materials visualization platform back in 2015. SD3D, which acquired Printelize last year, was initially a client of 3D Matter, and realized the value of the company’s web-based OptiMatter material optimization software platform while using the product to enhance the quality of its 3D design and print production services. The acquisition will include both OptiMatter and the 3D Matter brand, and SD3D will continue the OptiMatter service, even announcing that it will make the software more accessible by providing, free of charge, full access to its web interface for individual end-users.

“OptiMatter is a very important tool for the 3D printing industry that 3D Matter created to help users understand the properties of their printed parts,” said Founder and former CEO of 3D Matter, Arthur Sebert. “I am very happy that OptiMatter is going to be integrated into SD3D’s robust offering of automation tools because OptiMatter’s data can now be connected to the rest of the 3D printing process. That’s what was missing for OptiMatter users so far.”

Hitch a Metal 3D Print Job with Hitch3DPrint

If you have been afraid to dip your toe into the very expensive pool of metal 3D printing, Hitch3DPrint is making it as easy to book a job as it is to hitch a car ride on the highway…and much safer. The company developed its easy service program last year to accelerate the adoption of metal 3D printing, by making it accessible and affordable for everyone. The process works like this – there is usually spare capacity for most metal 3D print jobs, and the Hitch3DPrint program allows users to hitch onto a print job through one of its global metal 3D printing partners at an attractive price, since there are no extra set-up costs.

Just upload the file for your metal 3D print job to receive an instant hitch quotation. Then, choose your preferred material and technology, and sit back and wait for your completed job – with free delivery to boot. Requests through Hitch3DPrint are typically hitched within three days.

Glidewell Integrates Velox 3D Printer into In-Office Solution

Earlier this week, Structo introduced the Velox, a desktop dental 3D printer with a patented, fully autonomous post-processing system to help streamline in-office appliance manufacturing. Its rotating carousel fits the Print, Wash, and Cure stages into a single, automated low-footprint system, and also uses Structo’s AutoPrint pre-processing cloud service. Now, Structo and California-based dental technology company Glidewell Dental have announced that the Velox will be integrated into the glidewell.io In-Office Solution, a chairside ecosystem that simplifies the prescribing and delivering of laboratory-grade restorations. Glidewell and Structo have a strong working relationship, and Glidewell was even named the launch partner for Structo’s DentaForm 3D printer last year.

“With the addition of the Structo Velox, the glidewell.ioTM Solution will be able to offer a complete suite of in-office applications covering intraoral scanning, desktop milling and now desktop 3D printing, giving clinicians an all-in-one solution for lab-grade appliance manufacturing in their own practice,” said Glidewell Dental CTO Mike Selberis.

The Velox 3D printer was on display this week at the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting at both Structo’s booth #4536 and Glidewell Dental’s booth #4021.


Protolabs Europe Introducing HP Multi Jet Fusion

Protolabs Europe just announced that it has added HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) to its 3D printing technology offering. The production-grade technology uses an inkjet array to apply fusing and detailing agents across a bed of nylon powder. The agents are then fused by heating elements into a solid layer and made into fully functional, highly detailed plastic prototypes, fixtures and jigs, and production-ready parts. With the addition of MJF to its portfolio, Protolabs now offers its customers four industrial 3D printing processes that can be used to produce elastomeric, metal, and plastic components in a day.

“To support our growth trajectory we are expanding our 3D printing service provision to include Multi Jet Fusion. With the addition of Multi Jet Fusion, we now have 4 advanced 3D printing technologies available for our customers to take advantage of—with different advantages to each,” said Daniel Cohn, General Manager of Protolabs’ German business.

“We piloted Multi Jet Fusion with our US business in 2017. From this we can verify the benefits of the technology for producing parts with consistent material properties and improved surface finishes, attributes considered difficult to achieve with powder-based 3D‑printing. With this confidence behind Multi Jet Fusion, we look forward to supporting our European customer’s project requirements using this new technology.”

Casio Mofrel 2.5D Printer Produces Leather Interiors

In Japan, Casio is showcasing its new 2.5D printer that can print out sheets of material that closely resemble leather in both look and feel – perfect for automakers that want to quickly and inexpensively fabricate interiors for their concept cars. The company calls the technology Mofrel, and it’s called 2.5D printing, a term we’ve heard before, because the maximum depth it can create is only 1.7 mm. The $45,000 printer’s multi-step process begins with special sheets of material, made of layers of PET and PVC plastics, that are only a few millimeters thick.

The 2.5D printer applies a gray scale pattern onto the sheets, and the darker portions define taller areas. Then heat is applied, localized to those dark areas, and the heat causes the core of the sheet to expand, creating specific textures and depth. Once a membrane is peeled off the top, taking all the black coloring with it, a white sheet remains which can then receive color through inkjet technology. While it’s not a perfect match for full-grain leather, it still looks pretty convincing, down to the tiny stitches; it can even make floor and wall tiles once protective lacquers have been added. The main application, for now, is rapid prototyping, as the 2.5D printed sheets aren’t durable enough to last long in production cars.

ESI Launches Joint Research Project

Vincent Chaillou, COO of Edition Operations at ESI Group, and Rosa Visiedo Claverol, Chancellor of CEU-CHU, launch a 5-year joint research program. [Image: ESI Group]

French Virtual Prototyping software innovator ESI Group has launched a 5-year joint research program with the CEU Cardenal Herrera University (CEU-UCH) in Spain, in order to create an Endowed Chair at the university and facilitate high-level training in the field of virtual manufacturing of materials. The goal is to achieve a major technological leap in the field, and the Endowed Chair will allow both ESI and CEU-UCH to spend the next five years conducting advanced research on virtual manufacturing.

The joint research program will focus on recurring engineering challenges in various sectors, such as understanding the relationship between a physical object and its “discrete combinatorial counter-parts” in terms of 3D printing technology. In so doing, the hope is to create algorithms based in geometry to offer better error control during 3D printing. The program will also investigate topics such as bioengineering, topological optimization, and robotized processes and systems.

Want to Buy a 3D Printed Trump Bobblehead for $20K?

Empty out your pockets…if you’re interested in purchasing a slightly used, 3D printed bobblehead of the 45th US president, that is. The 300 lb, 7 foot tall bobblehead, 3D printed from fiberglass-reinforced sand and plastic and coated in aluminum, was created by Youngstown, Ohio 3D printing service bureau Freshmade 3D, in partnership with Humtown Products and Youngstown State University, to display outside the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. On behalf of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, which commissioned the giant bobblehead to begin with, the Soap Gallery has listed it on eBay at an initial bid price of $20,000, and it will be on sale through 2:33 PM this coming Tuesday, February 27th.

The bobblehead is only listed as used because it’s been on display for nine months, and the high price tag is because another Trump statue, albeit one that wasn’t 3D printed, recently sold for $60,000. The chamber hopes to make back some of its initial investment, as well as continue to get word out about 3D printing in Youngstown.

Soap Gallery Co-Owner Stephen Poullas envisions it being bought by “either someone who really, really likes Trump or someone who really, really doesn’t like him.”

Bill O’Rly, another Soap Gallery Co-Owner, added, “It could be an institution. It could be someone that’s into political memorabilia. Whether you’re for or against Trump, it’s a fantastic piece.”

Discuss these and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.


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