3D Printing News Briefs: March 23, 2018

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We’re starting off with some major medical news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs – Materialise is the first company in the world to receive FDA clearance for 3D printed diagnostic, anatomical models. Research was shared on 3D printed bone scaffolds at the American Association for Dental Research annual meeting, and the University of Delaware has provided an update on its 3D printed smart glass research. Eight schools, including the University of Cincinnati, have received metal 3D printers from the GE Additive Education program, and Xometry reached a major milestone. Finally, we’re wrapping up with all things new – Aurora Labs has a new distributor in Russia, Artec 3D has a new scanner, and Reebok is debuting a new 3D printed running shoe.

Materialise Receives FDA Clearance for Diagnostic 3D Printed Anatomical Models

3D printed anatomical heart model.

Big news in the medical world today, as Materialise is the first company ever to get FDA clearance for software about 3D printing anatomical models for diagnostic use. Last summer, the FDA announced that any software intended to create output files for 3D printing patient-specific anatomical models for diagnostic purposes required regulatory clearance, as the software qualifies as a Class II medical device. Materialise is the first company to provide this type of software, in its Materialise Mimics inPrint, for use in US hospitals for pre-operative planning. With this important clearance, the FDA demonstrates that it supports the continued growth of point-of-care 3D printing facilities.

Wilfried Vancraen, Materialise CEO, said, “Materialise has nearly three decades of experience in developing certified medical solutions that create a better and healthier world. The FDA clearance for our Mimics inPrint software will support the adoption of 3D planning and printing in U.S. hospitals and the creation of point-of-care 3D printing facilities.”

Oral Presentation on 3D Printing Bone Scaffolds

At this week’s 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) nonprofit, held in Florida in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), an oral session was presented on 3D printed bone scaffolds by Dr. Venu G. Varanasi, with the Texas A&M University’s College of Dentistry and the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. The session, titled “Live 3D Printing of Osteogenic Scaffolds Into Bone Defects,” discussed how additive in-situ 3D printing can be used to fabricate scaffolds which conform to the dimensions of a bone defect. The technology is able to overcome issues of limited efficacy in bone scaffold substitutes, which can be brought on by a variety of factors, and improve the accuracy of these 3D printed, implantable bone scaffold substitutes.

“Our goal is to heal the defect or fracture site rapidly, as if nothing ever happened. We want to develop these methods and materials so that someday we can treat certain types of bone defects like they are dental fillings,” explained Dr. Varanasi. “Principally, these become out-patient procedures where the patient goes home to heal with the support of their loved ones and with reduced medical expenses owed to extended hospital stays.”

Update from University of Delaware on 3D Printed Smart Glass Research

UD’s smart glass technology starts opaque but turns transparent when filled with index-matching fluid, as shown in the bottom portion of this pane.

Last year, researchers from the University of Delaware (UD) developed 3D printed prototype windows that can switch from clear to reflective just by adding a liquid. Now, the team is back with an update on its innovative smart glass. Keith Goossen, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UD, developed the panels together with Daniel Wolfe, who earned a doctoral degree from the university last year, and recently shared the latest smart glass prototype at the SPIE Smart Materials and Nondestructive Evaluation for Energy Systems IV conference. Instead of cubes, the new 3D printed design uses the total internal reflection of one-dimensional structures layered perpendicularly, which makes it highly reflective up to a 60° angle of incidence. Goossen is currently testing his system over a range of temperatures, and commercialization could follow later.

Goossen said, “It performed better than we thought it would based on our theoretical understanding. There is a lot of interest in the capability this might represent.”

University of Cincinnati Receives Metal 3D Printer from GE Additive Education Program

In February, GE Additive announced that it would begin accepting entries from colleges and K-12 schools for this year’s cycle of its GE Additive Education Program (AEP). The company has now announced that the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, along with seven other schools around the world, will receive a 3D printer donation this cycle, and UC celebrated its partnership with GE Additive, and its new Concept Laser Mlab Cusing 100R metal 3D printer, on campus earlier this week. Mohammad Ehteshami, GE Additive vice president and UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Distinguished Alumnus, was in attendance to discuss how important the technology is, and why UC was chosen. The partnership aligns with Next Lives Here, the university’s new strategic direction, by introducing innovation into classrooms, and giving engineering students more ways to make an impact.

“GE Additive’s generous gift will enhance the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s ties to local and national industry. This partnership will give our students an advantage in the global technical workforce by exposing them to present-day innovations, greatly enriching their education and better preparing them for the changing workplace,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto.

In addition to UC, Auburn University, Boston University, Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, the University of New South Wales, and the US Naval Academy also received metal 3D printers from GE Additive.

Xometry Reaches Major Company Milestone

The largest on-demand manufacturing network in the US, Xometry, continues to exhibit strong growth, as it announced this week that it has surpassed 1,000 Manufacturing Partners. Its proprietary software platform offers on-demand manufacturing to a diverse set of customers, and this continued growth shows that Xometry is capable of a large capacity for custom manufacturing, along with being able to provide a broader set of capabilities. Partners can join its nationwide network of manufacturing facilities at no cost, and there is no bidding for jobs. Instead, partners receive notifications about orders that fit their capabilities, and can accept jobs if they have the capacity to do so.

“Reaching 1,000 Manufacturing Partners is a tremendous milestone for Xometry, demonstrating rapid growth on both the demand and supply side of our business. Xometry’s technology is revitalizing American manufacturing by making it easier for small and medium size manufacturers to easily access jobs from across the nation that align with their capabilities and capacity,” said Xometry CEO and Co-Founder Randy Altschuler. “We’re focused on helping manufacturers save time previously spent bidding for new business to do what they do best — create high quality parts.”

Aurora Labs Announces New Russian Distributor 

Aurora Labs has been busy recently, and things aren’t slowing down yet for the Australian metal 3D printing company – in addition to completing a rebranding exercise, it has signed a distribution agreement with Russia-based NISSA Digispace Ltd. The agreement, which starts immediately, covers exclusive distribution rights for Aurora’s Small Format Printers (SFP) in Russia and some other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions for an initial two-year term, with a further three-year term possible. Aurora is currently factory training the NISSA Digispace staff to operate and fully service its S-Titanium Pro, which will be shipped to the company upon completion of training at distributor cost; it will be used as a demonstration unit.

“One of Aurora’s current commercial objectives is to continue to commercialise the SFP, with the cash received from sales used to assist with funding the development of the Medium and Large Format Printers,” said Aurora Labs Managing Director David Budge. “Expanding our global distribution network with a solid partner such as NISSA Digispace greatly assists us in meeting this goal. We look forward to the impact this can have on SFP sales, which will ultimately support the development of our far more significant commercial opportunity within the large format technology and large scale manufacturing sector.”

Artec 3D Introduces New 3D Scanner

At the upcoming Industrie Paris 2018 trade show, Artec 3D will be unveiling its newest product – the portable Artec Ray Laser Scanner, which grows its no-targets-required 3D scanning technology portfolio. The metrology-grade laser scanner can capture data from large objects up to 110 meters away, capable of producing high-quality data with sub-millimeter accuracy. It features minimal noise and excellent angular accuracy, and can scan and process data directly in Artec Studio software, which can then be exported to other programs for design and construction documentation or reverse engineering. For faster scanning of large objects, the compact Artec Ray can also be paired with any of the company’s other 3D scanners.

“At Artec 3D we’ve become a trusted and respected source for handheld 3D scanning technology and software. With the Artec Ray, we are now able to offer a full line of high-quality solutions that will enable users to 3D scan almost any object with precision, from a human fingerprint to a jet liner or a 10-storey building – both inside and out,” said Artyom Yukhin, President and CEO of Artec 3D. “As with all of our 3D scanners, the new Artec Ray captures data using target-free technology, ensuring the most user-friendly experience.”

The Artec Ray Laser Scanner will also be on display at next month’s RAPID + TCT Show, which will be attending.

Reebok Debuts Latest 3D Printed Running Shoe

Liquid Floatride Run

Almost two years ago, Reebok introduced its Liquid Speed shoes, which were made with its Liquid Factory 3D drawing process. Now, the athletic footwear and apparel company is introducing its latest running shoe made with Liquid Factory technology. The Liquid Floatride Run, currently available on the Reebok website for $180, merges the brand’s signature Floatride Run sneaker with its 3D drawing technology, which makes the shoe 20% lighter than the original version. Liquid Factory uses a proprietary liquid material to draw shoes in 3D layers, and the new Liquid Floatride Run includes new liquid lace and liquid grip features – the laces are 3D printed directly onto the shoe for a stretch-to-fit slip-on design, and liquid printed stripes in specific places on the bottom of the shoe improve traction.

“Last year we launched the Liquid Factory concept with the Liquid Speed shoe. It was definitely a striking silhouette, as we aimed to showcase the way that the 3D-drawing process could change the way shoes are made. What we’re excited to highlight with Liquid Floatride is how we can apply the Liquid Factory process to any of our existing products, to make great shoes even better,” said Bill McInnis, Head of Reebok Future.

“The next generation of Liquid Factory products will be even more innovative, as we can create the entire shoe using the Liquid Factory process – outsole, cushioning and upper fit systems – the whole shoe. We are looking forward to bringing many more products to market that incorporate the ground-breaking Liquid Factory process.”

Discuss these stories, and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts below. 

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