3D Printing Month In Review – April, 2014

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April has been an exciting month within the 3D printing industry.  We have seen numerous groundbreaking stories within the industry in the last 30 days, many of them covered by the writers here at  Below you will find a review of some of the biggest stories covered in April.

April 2nd – Stratasys Goes on Acquisition Spree (Link)
review-9Stratasys announced that they will acquire both Solid Concepts, as well as Harvest Technologies.  Both firms within the 3D printing industry will immediately add revenue to Stratasys’ income statement, once the deals are complete.  Solid Concepts gained notoriety for their 3D printed metal gun, several months back.  Harvest Technologies has been working in the additive manufacturing industry for close to 20 years.  (Discuss this story)

April 3rd – Grafoid Announces They Will Produce Graphene Based 3D Printer Materials (Link)
review-10The Canadian company released a statement saying that they have been working on a graphene based 3D printing material called Mesograf.  The new Mesograf material will be able to be used in 3D printers to create incredibly strong, durable prints.  Grafoid signed a deal with Altamat Inc, which will give them permission to use the company’s facilities and technology to produce the Mesograf material in a powder form. (Discuss this story)

April 7th – M3D’s The Micro 3D Printer Sees Explosive Interest On Kickstarter (Link)
review-7After M3D launched their Kickstarter project, in which they were seeking to raise $50,000 for the $299 FDM based 3D printer, interest quickly blew up. Several media outlets jumped on the story, and the campaign eventually raised over $3 million in funding. (Discuss this story)

April 11th – Researchers 3D Print Cancerous Tumors (Link)
review-2Researchers at Drexel University, in Philadelphia were able to 3D print cancerous tumors, leading to possible advances within the pharmaceutical, and drug testing fields. The tumors were printed about 10 mm wide, and were nearly perfect. The cells mimicked that an a actual tumor found in the body, and will hopefully lead to advances in the treatment of cancer. (Discuss this story)

April 11th – Staples Begins Offering 3D Printing in Its U.S. Stores (Link)
review-8Office supply and printing chain, Staples, began offering 3D printing services within two of their stores in the United States.  One store is located in New York City, while the other is in Los Angeles.  Staples will use this as a pilot program to determine how many additional stores they will offer such services at in the future.

April 15th – Surgeons 3D Print Cancerous Kidney Model to Help in Surgery (Link)
review-3Every year thousands of people die on the operating table during kidney surgery.  Japanese researchers and surgeons hope to change this as they began 3D printing polymer models of patients’ cancerous kidneys.  The printed kidneys act as a guide during surgery, giving surgeons a better idea of where to make incisions, and where major blood vessels reside.  (Discuss this story)

April 20th – Comparison of a $42k Prosthetic Hand to a $50 3D Printed Version (Link)
review-4A man named Jose Delgado Jr. compared the $42,000 prosthetic hand he had been using for years to a 3D printed hand which costs just $50 to print. Surprisingly Jose preferred the much cheaper 3D printed version by a long shot. The hand was modeled after the Cyborg Beast design. (Discuss this story)

April 23rd – United States Navy Install First 3D Printer On Board Ship (Link)
review-5The U.S. Navy announced that they have installed the worlds first 3D printer on a naval ship. The printer was installed on the USS Essex, which is expected to leave port very shortly. Some of the problems sailors will need to overcome, is the printing of objects as the ship moves in choppy waters. Thus far they have been printing out various small plastic parts with success. (Discuss this story)

April 25th – Rabbit Proto Introduces 3D Printed Integrated Circuitry (Link)
review-6A new company, Rabbit Proto introduced 3D printed integrated circuits. The way it works is a user installs a  second extruder on their Reprap 3D printer, which has the space for such. The printer then switches from plastic to the conductive circuit ink, and back again, as needed during a print. (Discuss this story)

April 27th – New 3D Cartilage Printing Technology to Cure Arthritis (Link)
review-11 Dr. Rocky S. Tuan has discovered a new method of 3D printing a patients Cartilage, layer by layer, with a 3D printer. He hopes that one day this process can be preformed inside a patient, on their joint, using a catheter. The technology 3D prints a patient’s own stem cells mixed with a material which keeps the cell’s structure and promotes growth. (Discuss this story)

April 30th – Lockheed Martin & RedEye 3D Print 15 Foot Long Satellite Fuel Tank Simulator (Link)
review-12One of the largest objects ever printed by an FDM 3D printer was created by RedEye and Lockheed Martin. It is a fuel tank simulator for a satellite. RedEye printed the part which saved Lockheed Martin about half the cost of using traditional manufacturing technology. The one fuel tank is 15 feet in length.  (Discuss this story)


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