3D Printing News Briefs, March 10, 2022: Standards, Services, Software, & More


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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, a proposed ASM standard will work to control how the cleanliness of metal powder feedstock. Meltio announced an official sales partner in Japan, Biohm has announced a new range of services, and Siemens NX added intelligence-based design to its Xcelerator portfolio. Finally, Atherton Bikes breaks down it makes its 3D printed frames, and Farsoon details how it 3D printed a TPU helmet for a bobsled team competing in the recent Winter Olympics.

Proposed ASTM Standard for Metal Powder Feedstock in AM

Image courtesy of Altana

First up, the ASTM International F42 additive manufacturing (AM) technologies committee is working on a proposed standard that will help users control the cleanliness of metal powder feedstock used in AM by performing assessments of reused and unused powders; the goal is to ensure the quality of 3D printed components. Powder properties may deteriorate through the introduction of contamination, such as when the material is being handled and processed, and especially reused, which can lead to defects and inclusions in the final components The F42 committee encourages those who are interested to help develop the standard, especially technical experts who have researched the contamination of metal powder used in AM and/or have experience in cleanliness assessments.

“The proposed standard will help manufacturers and users of metal powder feedstock used in additive manufacturing to identify suitable methods for detecting and quantifying different types of contamination. The guide will define and classify typical contamination that can be present within metal powder feedstock,” said ASTM International member Aneta Chrostek-Mroz, research engineer at the MTC.

Meltio Announces Nihon Binary as Sales Partner in Japan

Laser metal deposition technology manufacturer Meltio has been announcing new sales partners left and right, in North America, the Benelux region, Brazil and Europe, and now it has another one to share. The company announced that Nihon Binary is now its official sales partner in Japan, and will distribute and support Meltio’s metal 3D printing solutions in the Japanese metal AM market.

Nihon Binary has been in business for more than forty years, and worked with the 3D printing industry for over a decade, delivering products to customers in the education, industrial, and research fields. The Japanese company will help boost Meltio’s growth in the country’s metal additive market, and drive business opportunities for the company’s process—built around safe and affordable welding wire—together with academia, technology centers, industry, robotic integrators, and tooling machine companies.

Biohm Launches Services to Embed Biomimicry

Research and development-led biomanufacturing company Biohm, which is committed to a climate-positive future, has introduced a range of services to help companies embed biomimicry, promote regenerative practices, and integrate circularity. The first service the company offers is Climate Positive Resource Management, which uses your resource data to calculate carbon flow and generate a comprehensive picture of your company’s current environmental impact. Then, Biohm can demonstrate how material development can be used for decarbonization efforts, and even lead to a feasibility study to see if your waste stream can be validated as a feasible feedstock to create mycelium materials.

Another service is Mycoremediation, which helps break down synthetic, man-made waste, like plastic, using fungi. Biohm’s fungal strains can degrade, detoxify, and decarbonize problematic waste streams to transform the harmful end-of-life process into a regenerative one. Biohm also offers bio-based material development and product development services that address the need for decarbonization, and finally nature-inspired design services, which lets customers create a bespoke piece made from regenerative materials. After evaluation, the company will generate some concepts, then evolve the design by prototyping and testing with potential circular materials, and finally manufacturing and installing your piece, bringing nature into the space and hopefully inspiring regenerative practices.

Siemens NX Software Release Adds Intelligence-Based Design

Advances in graphics rendering allow designers to visualize the digital twin complete with in scene lighting to get a clear view of their product.

Moving on, Siemens Digital Industries Software recently launched the latest release of its NX software, which is part of the Xcelerator portfolio, and this release offers advanced technologies, including advanced simulation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, which help users achieve their design and engineering goals more quickly. The release delivered over 1,200 customer enhancement requests for more innovation, and highlights of the updated NX software include a new NX Topology Optimizer, which helps create parts based on functional and design space requirements; the Design Space Explorer, which combines generative engineering with design space exploration to help automatically optimize a design against multiple objectives; and the ability to use Siemens’ Simcenter 3D simulation to optimize lattice structures.

“With each new release of NX, Siemens is pushing the barriers of what product development systems are capable of. Our shift to continuous releases of NX is proving incredibly popular with our community – enabling us to deliver industry leading capabilities more quickly than before. This means providing access to new tools and technologies so they can be applied to our customers’ design, engineering and manufacturing challenges to help them overcome them more quickly,” said Bob Haubrock, Senior Vice President Product Engineering Software, Siemens Digital Industries Software. “We continue to improve the core tools our customers rely on every day, with over 1,200 customer enhancement requests delivered in this release.”

Atherton Bikes 3D Printing Mountain Bike Frames

Famous, award-winning mountain bike racing siblings Rachel, Dan, and Gee Atherton aren’t just stars in a race—the UK trio also started their own company, Atherton Bikes, which uses 3D printing to create its frames. The company started working with Robot Bikes, which was pairing carbon fiber tubing with 3D printed titanium lugs, and also collaborated with UK-based Renishaw to build its first 50 bikes. Now, the brand is going into full-scale production with frame kits and custom builds direct to customers, and offering four models, including a World Cup-proven DH bike and a 150 mm trail bike.

At first, Atherton was sending its 3D printing jobs out to Renishaw, but after a successful crowdfunding campaign, the company purchased its own 3D printer, built by Renishaw. Each titanium powder print takes 15-18 hours, and there’s a 24/7 livestream that the staff can view if needed. The parts are sent out for heat treatment still on the baseplate, and the supports are later removed with grinders and air hammers, before the parts are sent out for final machining. Carbon fiber tubes are cut to length, and the frame is dry-assembled, with the 3D printed lugs, in a jig. Finally, a mechanic will assemble the bike to the buyer’s specifications.

3D Printed TPU Bobsled Helmet for Winter Olympics

L-R: 3D printed bobsled helmet lining produced by Farsoon’s Flight Technology & the helmet used in racing. Image Courtesy: Farsoon Technologies

Finally, Farsoon Technologies and Wanhua Chemical Group partnered with China’s bobsled helmet R&D team, led by Associate Professor Li Nan of Dongguan University of Technology, to create a new helmet for the team to use at last month’s Winter Olympics. Maximum racing speeds can reach up to 160 km an hour, so safety is paramount when competing. Performing well under high temperatures, Wanhua Chemical’s specialized TPU material was used to create the bobsled helmet lining, and it was printed on Farsoon’s dual-laser Flight 403P SLS 3D printer, which can produce two linings in one build in less than eight hours. The team used 3D scanning to collect the necessary data to customize the helmet lining lattice design for each athlete, and each lattice structure includes multiple layers and buffer zones with differing hardness levels, in addition to structural distribution of different densities in areas with higher collision frequencies, to better absorb any collision damage. Plus, the helmet, with its 3D printed TPU lining and carbon fiber shell, is more lightweight and comfortable as well.

“Thanks to Farsoon’s high-speed dual-laser Flight ® Technology, we are able to achieve customized design and accelerated manufacturing process. We are also impressed with the performance of the new generation of customized helmets, as the impact strength of the helmet lining is increased over 40% compared with the international standard,” Li said. “It is also inspiring for us, to use 3D printed lattice structure to produce other protective sports pieces, which bringing new opportunities for the upgrading of helmets, armors and other protective equipment.”

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