3D Printing News Briefs: March 2, 2018


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We’ve got a lot of business announcements for you today in 3D Printing News Briefs, plus some news about software and materials, so let’s dive right in. First, BASF 3D Printing Solutions has announced a restructure, and America Makes is joining other companies to collaborate on the upcoming sixth annual DigiFabCon. Sigma Labs released the latest version of its PrintRite3D INSPECT software, and Aerosint offers its perspective on 3D printing plastics economically. Aurora Labs has finished the prototype of its Powder Production Unit and will soon commence final testing, while ZYYX is introducing its benchtop metal 3D printing capabilities this week at TCT Asia. Finally, Naval Air Systems Command is promoting adoption of 3D printing skills for its workforce.

BASF 3D Printing Solutions Restructuring

This past summer, chemical company BASF announced the creation of a new business, called BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH, entirely dedicated to additive manufacturing. The business, a subsidiary of BASF New Business GmbH, had a successful 2017, and is now looking to the future, keeping up momentum as it plans to restructure its business activities. BASF continues to work on developing 3D printing technology past prototyping and opening up industrial 3D printing applications, and BASF 3D Printing Solutions is being expanded in order to do so. The new structure supports a focus on manufacturing technologies and target industries, so four operative business lines will be introduced, effective April 1, 2018, for this purpose; in addition, BASF has nominated several Industry Champions to take care of coordinating customer activities in target industries such as aerospace and industrial.

Volker Hammes, Managing Director of BASF 3D Printing Solutions, said, “We are convinced that the new organization will enable us to make a target-oriented and efficient contribution to the consistent development of industrial additive manufacturing.”

Advanced Manufacturing and STEM Leaders Collaborate for DigiFabCon

Rob Gorham, America Makes

The sixth annual DigiFabCon will be held at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Illinois later this month. Put on by Fab Lab Hub, the event counts America Makes, the Laser Institute of America, and The Fab Foundation as collaborators. DigiFabCon explores how digital fabrication tools like CAD, robotics, laser cutting, and 3D printing are changing the world. Thought leaders like keynote speaker Sherry Lassiter, President of the Fab Foundation and Director of the Fab Lab Program at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, will discuss how they’re innovating through digital tools, and what the future could hold in terms up manufacturing, startup creation, STEM education, technology, and workforce training.

Rob Gorham, the Executive Director for America Makes, will review the industry advancements fostered by his organization, and also moderate a panel on Innovative Initiatives to Train the New Collar Workforce. There will be plenty of panel discussions and expert presentations, and attendees will also have the opportunity to experience live demos in a mobile Fab Lab during the LME manufacturing event and expo.

Sigma Labs Releases Version 3.0.2 of PrintRite3D INSPECT Software

This week, Sigma Labs, which provides quality assurance software under the PrintRite3D brand, released the latest version of its PrintRite3D INSPECT In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) software. Version 3.0.2 allows for faster product to market times and rapid process qualification, and features the company’s new, proprietary Thermal Energy Density (TED) In Process Quality Metric (IPQM). The TED metric feature will allow process engineers to produce an industry-first, alloy-specific process map, which should also lead to increased production yields. This version also includes a production-level package of statistical process control (SPC) software apps, which will digitally support serial production quality monitoring at a scan, part, layer, or build level to achieve continuous operation inside the qualified processing window.

“We are thrilled to achieve this milestone in our development lifecycle as we believe it is a real game-changer for the industry,” said John Rice, Sigma Labs’ CEO. “This release represents a significant step forward towards ‘closing the loop’ in process quality monitoring and control.”

Aerosint Provides Perspective on Industrial Plastics 3D Printing

PEEK dental arch printed on FUNMAT HT

Belgium-based startup Aerosint, which is developing a new, patent-pending powder bed 3D printing process, has been writing a short series of perspectives about the applications of its technology. Aerosint R&D engineer Kevin Eckes, PhD, just published the company’s second piece, which discusses the inherent wastefulness of industrial plastics 3D printing, no matter how promising it is in terms of thermal and mechanical properties. 3D printed polymers can replace metals in multiple applications, like aerospace and medical. But, extremely expensive material waste issues keep development and widespread adoption of high-performance plastics from occurring. According to Eckes, industrial users could save $40,000 per build in material costs by using a multi-powder deposition system, like Aerosint offers.

Eckes wrote, “In this perspective, I’ll give a few examples of the potential applications of 3D printed high performance polymers as replacements for metal parts. I will also demonstrate how a multi-powder deposition process like Aerosint’s could dramatically improve the economics of 3D processing of high performance polymers. For simplicity and focus I’ll limit the discussion to polyetheretherketone (PEEK), a polymer in the polyaryletherketone (PAEK) family that has long been recognized for its superb performance in demanding environments.”

PEEK is an expensive material, but offers many great benefits to industries like aerospace and dental. Is there a way to offset the cost by wasting less? To learn more, you can check out the full Aerosint perspective here.

Aurora Labs Completes Powder Production Unit Prototype

Australian 3D metal printing company Aurora Labs announced that development of its Powder Production Unit (PPU) has been completed. This is an important step for the company, as it lets Aurora move on to developing different metal powders which will benefit its Large Format 3D printer. Once this process has been proven, it will allow for high-volume, quality powder production to meet demands created by the Large Format 3D printers’ projected use of consumables – putting Aurora just one step closer to creating an integrated 3D printing platform. Final testing has begun, and if all goes well, Aurora plans to build a full-sized PPU that can produce up to five metric tons of powder a day.

“I am pleased to report on this significant achievement. Although this milestone is not part of our Large Format Technology Timeline, it is a considerable one. Once the machine has been tested, we will commence the development of powders, which we believe will strengthen the attractiveness of our Large Format Printer. A single full-sized Powder Production Unit could potentially produce 5 tonnes of powder per day,” said David Budge, Managing Director, Aurora Labs.

“The prospects are tremendous for metal powders in additive manufacturing across a wide number of sectors, including the oil & gas, medical and aerospace industries. With time, our efforts producing powders will open up considerable markets for us to tap into.”

ZYYX Introducing Benchtop Metal 3D Printing Capabilities at TCT Asia

We’ve been getting wind of many announcements coming out of this week’s TCT Asia 2018 in Shanghai, and the latest is from ZYYX, which is exhibiting at the show together with partner Shenzhen eSun Industrial Co. While the Swedish company is also showcasing professional materials for its ZYYX 3D printer line, and its advanced 3D printing filaments for the ZYYX Pro 3D printer, what’s catching the eye of many attendees is its latest development – benchtop metal 3D printing. At the eSun booth, several 3D printed prototypes made with ZYYX’s new benchtop metal capabilities are on display.

“Our benchtop metal 3D printing will disrupt the 3D Printing market once again with metal 3D Printing at a fraction of the cost,” Anton Månsson wrote. “At TCT Asia we are showcasing some pure metal prints in steel, copper and bronze. These are early tests done back home in Gothenburg with our new technology that will enable a complete metal 3D printing and sintering solution for under 10’000 EURO.”

He expands on this, telling us, “We haven’t revealed a lot of details yet, but will gradually release more samples and articles on the development of this technology during the spring.”

Stay tuned to 3DPrint.com for more information on ZYYX’s new benchtop metal 3D printing as we speak with the company.

NAVAIR Promoting 3D Printing Skills for Its Workforce

Class instructor Russell Gilbert, a mechanical engineer with NAVAIR, works on his own project in January 2018 as students finish designing plastic coins toward the end of an introductory 3D printing course offered at the technical library at NAS Patuxent River. [Image: Emanuel Cavallaro, US Navy]

In an effort to promote 3D printing skills, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is educating its workforce on the many benefits that 3D printing technology offers when trying to solve problems. As part of a recent initiative to foster innovation, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) is now offering introductory, intermediate, and advanced FABLAB Operator courses on 3D printing to interested civilians and military personnel at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland. Classes are held in an innovation hub classroom, filled with Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers as part of the #NAWCmADe initiative, at the technical library. Participants learn about CAD and 3D printing, and anyone who has taken the introductory course can reserve time to use the hub’s 3D printers. 230 people had taken one of the classes as of mid-February, with 18 projects completed using #NAWCmADe facilities, including a wash cover for air vents on the vertical stabilizers of the F/A-18E-F Super Hornet fleet.

“I know it’s state-of-the-art stuff that we’re going to be using in the future. I don’t see it going away,” said Lt. Ian Higgins, a test pilot with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 who took one of the introductory classes. “It’s fantastic that NAWCAD provides this course. This shows they’re looking for that leading edge that’s going to allow us to develop future technologies.”

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


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