Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printing News Briefs, April 15, 2021: Essentium, Titanium GmbH, SUTD, QUT, & SUSTech

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We’re starting 3D Printing News Briefs today with a little bit of business news, as Essentium has just now announced the newest appointment to its executive leadership team. Moving on, there’s a Kickstarter campaign for 3D printed clipless, titanium bike pedals. Finally, we’ll end things with a little research on 4D printing shape memory polymers.

Essentium Welcomes Latest Executive Leader

Industrial 3D printing company Essentium, Inc. announced AM industry veteran Jeffrey Lumetta as its latest senior appointment; he’ll join the executive leadership team as Global Chief Technology Officer (CTO). With a Bachelor’s of Science in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University, Lumetta has 35 years worth of experience in engineering, technology innovation, and volume manufacturing advancements. Lumetta was a longtime executive with manufacturing services company Jabil and former principal of management consultancy specializing in AM strategies, and will be overseeing the technology strategy and development of Essentium’s printers, materials, and software, helping the company advance its industry position as a customer-centric AM innovation leader.

“Essentium is at the forefront of exciting developments that are unlocking the value of industrial-scale AM for manufacturers across industry sectors while improving competitiveness in the global value chain,” Lumetta stated. “I’m excited to join this dynamic and fast-growth company and work with customers to achieve a new level of speed and quality through their AM technology.”

Kickstarter Campaign: 3D Printed Titanium Bike Pedals

Most clipless bike pedals are designed specifically for use with road bikes or mountain bikes, but a 2-in-1 type of component can be tough, as each type of cycling requires focus on different functions and features. A German company called Titanium GmbH has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its titanium 3D printed, clipless pedals, optimized for mountain and road bikes, as well as BMX, track, and other kinds of cycling. Using its own patent-pending Blattfeder technology, paired with production partner Element22 GmbH’s sinter-based 3D printing, the pedal bodies and cleats are fabricated out of high-quality Ti6Al4V powder using Headmade Materials’ Cold Metal Fusion (CMF), which makes them stronger yet more lightweight.

With less than two weeks to go in the campaign, the 3D printed MyTi clipless pedals have already been fully funded, but there are still plenty of pledge rewards left if you want to get in on the ground floor of this Kickstarter “Project We Love.” For the Early Bird price of about $294, which is 25% less than the estimated consumer price, you’ll get one pair of pedals with stainless steel axles from the first production batch, along with a pair of cleats. The MyTi R TWIN SET, which includes two pairs of 3D printed pedals, will set you back about $588—again, a 25% savings.

Researchers Use 4D Printing to Fabricate Stretchable Heating Circuits

In 4D printing, thermally responsive shape memory polymers, or SMPs, are typically activated using either embedded stiff heaters or external heat sources, but according to a group of researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Qingdao University of Technology (QUT), and Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), this kind of strategy doesn’t have precise enough control, and can actually hinder practical applications of the technology. The researchers recently published a paper, titled “Fractal-Based Stretchable Circuits via Electric-Field-Driven Microscale 3D Printing for Localized Heating of Shape Memory Polymers in 4D Printing,” about their work using electric-field-driven (EFD) microscale 3D printed conductive paste to 4D print stretchable heating circuits featuring fractal motifs, which can then be integrated into 3D printed structures with SMP components.

The abstract states, “By regulating the fractal order and printing/processing parameters, the overall electrical resistance and areal coverage of the circuits can be tuned to produce an efficient and uniform heating performance. Compared with serpentine structures, the resistance of fractal-based circuits remains relatively stable under both uniaxial and biaxial stretching. In practice, steady-state and transient heating modes can be respectively used during the shape programming and actuation phases. We demonstrate that this approach is suitable for 4D printed structures with shape programming by either uniaxial or biaxial stretching. Notably, the biaxial stretchability of fractal-based heating circuits enables the shape change between a planar structure and a 3D one with double curvature. The proposed strategy would offer more freedom in designing 4D printed structures and enable the manipulation of the latter in a controlled and selective manner.”

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