3D Printing News Briefs, November 12, 2022: Composites, Bioprinted Breast Tumors, & More


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Business, aerospace, bioprinting, and more are on the agenda for today’s 3D Printing News Briefs! APG adopted Tritone’s MoldJet Technology, Austal USA is overseeing an AM Center of Excellence in Virginia, and 9T Labs is working with Purdue University to advance composites use for structural aerospace applications. Moving on, researchers are bioprinting breast cancer tumors and treating them, and Microsoft is using Shapeways to 3D print adaptive accessories for disabled users. Finally, 3Doodler has introduced its two latest 3D printing pen sets.

Alpha Precision Group Adopts MoldJet by Tritone

The Tritone Dominant machine on Alpha Precision Group premises Image courtesy of Tritone Technologies.

Israel-based Tritone Technologies, which enables industrial throughput of accurate 3D printed parts with metal and ceramic materials, announced that Pennsylvania-based Alpha Precision Group (APG) has adopted its technology through the acquisition of an industrial Tritone Dominant 3D printer from its own Pennsylvania facility. The Dominant uses the company’s MoldJet technology, which is described as ‘powder-free’ and was developed to produce large quantities of high-density parts with complex geometries out of a range of metals and ceramics. As Tritone explains, MoldJet allows for parallel 3D printing of parts in different shapes and sizes, and for different applications.

“We are extremely excited to see Alpha Precision Group’s commitment to invest in our Dominant system and offer this advanced technology to their customers. Partnering with this technology leader marks a significant and strategic milestone for Tritone as we enter the North American market,” said Omer Sagi, VP Products and Business Development, Tritone Technologies. “We look forward to collaborating with APG to expand access to our technology and suite of applications and materials.”

Austal USA Overseeing AM Center of Excellence for Submarine Parts

October 5, 2022: Grand opening of AMCOE in Danville, VA. Image courtesy of Austal USA.

Austal USA, a Mobile, Alabama-based arm of Australian shipbuilding company and defense contractor Austal, is involved with a new 3D printing venture. Electrawatch, a company it acquired in 2018, is overseeing the new Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AMCOE) in Danville, Virginia, which is housed within the new Center for Manufacturing Advancement on the campus of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) and will focus on 3D printing submarine parts for the US Navy. Each part that’s printed will have to be certified by the Navy before it’s implemented into the structure, which is why the new AMCOE in Virginia will be a big help. As Larry Ryder, Austal Vice President of Business Development and External Affairs, explained in a video interview with NBC 15 News, parts that Austal previously had to spend top dollar to ship can now be printed on-demand, which saves on costs, enables stronger and lightweight parts, and helps fix supply chain issues. He also said it’s possible that a similar AM facility could come to Mobile in the future.

“It is an effort by the Navy to pull together a consortium of academia and industry that can attack problems within the supply chain for the submarine industrial base,” Ryder said about the AMCOE.

“There’s a lot going on, and I think we’ve proved in the way we build ships that we are at the front end. We’re always looking to see what’s new, and how can we do things better and more efficiently.”

9T Labs & Purdue Collaborating for Composites in Structural Aerospace

A 3D printed composite overhead compartment pin bracket. Image courtesy of 9T Labs AG.

Swiss company 9T Labs AG, a leader in automated, digital serial production of continuous fiber components, announced that it is collaborating with Purdue University in Indiana to research and test the potential for at-scale manufacturing for structural aerospace composite applications, using 9T Labs’ hybrid Additive Fusion Technology (AFT). The solution automates manufacturing by combining 3D printing with the speed of bulk molding compound (BMC) overmolding, and is a cost-competitive option for continuous fiber preform parts in medical, robotics, and transportation applications. The tools and resources needed to analyze, simulate, and test the performance of the composites are all at Purdue’s Composite Manufacturing and Simulation Center (CMSC), and 9T Labs worked with the university to set up the application workflow for efficient manufacturing of the high-performance parts using BMC chips and continuous fiber 3D printed preforms.

“Traditional composites manufacturing is expensive, wasteful and limited in its geometric freedom, particularly for small-sized applications. We are defining a new composites manufacturing standard that allows us to produce structural composite parts as easily as metal parts. Our new partnership with Purdue University is a meaningful step toward making this technology more broadly available and accessible within the next 12-18 months,” said Yannick Willemin, head of marketing and business development, 9T Labs.

Researchers Bioprinting and Treating Breast Cancer Tumors

The development of bioprinted models could open the door to entirely new ways of understanding the tumor microenvironment and the body’s immune response. Image courtesy of Patrick Mansell/Penn State.

In a new study, a team of Penn State researchers successfully bioprinted breast cancer tumors, and were then able to cure them. This is a scientific first, and will help scientists better understand the disease, which is one of the leading causes of mortality around the globe. They used aspiration-assisted bioprinting to precisely locate tumors in 3D and create the tissue, which was then formed into a multi-scale vascularized breast cancer tumor model with blood vessels. As explained in both Biofabrication and Advanced Functional Materials, the team validated the accuracy of their model by treating it with doxorubicin, a drug often used to treat breast cancer, and after discovering it responded favorably to the chemotherapy, the bioprinted tumor was then tested with a cell-based immunotherapeutic treatment; the cells within generated a positive immune response.

“This will help us understand how human immune cells interact with solid tumors. We’ve developed a tool that serves as a clinical test platform to safety and accurately evaluate experimental therapies. It is also a research platform for immunologists and biologists to understand how the tumor grows, how it interacts with human cells, and how it metastasizes and spreads in the body,” explained Ibrahim Ozbolat, professor of engineering science and mechanics, biomedical engineering and neurosurgery at Penn State and the senior author of the study.

“Our model is made from human cells, but what we make is a very simplified version of the human body. There are many details that exist in the native microenvironment that we aren’t able to replicate, or even consider replicating. We are aiming for simplicity within complexity. We want to have a fundamental understanding of how these systems work — and we need the growth process to be streamlined, because we don’t have time to wait for tumors to grow at their natural pace.”

Shapeways 3D Printing Add-ons for Microsoft Adaptive Accessories

When Microsoft was developing its new Adaptive Accessories, it chose Shapeways as a 3D printing partner to customize the add-ons, because the company is dedicated to empowering all individuals and fostering an inclusive environment. Each piece in the line is highly adaptable and easy to use, and designed in partnership with the disability community, so anyone who has trouble using a traditional keyboard and mouse can create the best personal setup, more effectively use their apps, and increase their productivity. Users can customize the Adaptive Mouse with a Mouse Tail and Thumb Support, and a central hub and new wireless buttons enable the replacement or augmentation of traditional keyboards. You can also 3D print your own button topper.

Open source 3D files for these customizable adaptive accessories are available to download on the Shapeways Marketplace. Once you choose a mouse tail or button topper design, Shapeways will 3D print the part using selective laser sintering (SLS) technology and Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic]. There are multiple colors to choose from, including white, blue, pink, yellow, red, and more, and multiple finishes as well, such as Natural, Premium, and Smooth.

3Doodler Releases Two Sets for Maker Series

Finally, 3Doodler has two new sets out now that are part of its Maker Series. The 3Doodler Start+ Maker Bundle is the perfect 3D pen set for kids who love to invent and make things, and because it has no external hot parts, is safe for children from 6-13. The $59.99 set includes the Start+ 3D printing pen plus its micro USB charging cable; one Quick-Start Activity Guide with over ten fun projects; one 3Doodler Start+ Eco-Plastic Pack featuring 72 strands in eight colors; one 3Doodler Start+ Color Pop Eco-Plastic Collection of 75 strands; one set of Maker Challenge Cards with nine projects; one 3Doodler Start+ DoodlePad; and exclusive PDF access to 3Doodler’s What Will You Create Project Book.

The 3Doodler Create+ Maker Bundle is better for older child makers, giving them the tools to visually express their ideas with the simple touch of a button. This set costs $99.99, and includes the Create+ 3D printing pen; one Ultimate Guide to Doodling with five projects; one Create+ PLA Refill Box with 75 strands in eight colors; one Create+ PLA Tie Dye Collection with 75 strands, one set of nine Maker Challenge Cards with nine projects, one 3Doodler Create+ Mini DoodlePad; and exclusive PDF access to 3Doodler’s What Will You Create Project Book. Both of these 3Doodler Maker Bundles would be great Christmas gifts for your kids!

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