3D Printing News Briefs, December 15, 2022: 4D Printing, On-Demand Manufacturing, & More


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We’re starting out with research in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as a Purdue University team is adding a fourth dimension to 3D printing. Then we move on to business, as Canadian company Precision ADM has formed a strategic partnership with America Tecomet, and 3DOS is working to build the “world’s largest” on-demand manufacturing network. Finally, an Illinois business is targeting the RV and electric wheelchair markets with 3D printing.

Purdue University Adds 4th Dimension to Functional 3D Printed Structures

Purdue University researchers have developed a novel wet-mixing method to add sensor particles to 3D printer filaments, which will allow manufacturers to create functional printed parts. (Purdue University image/Brittany Newell)

A team of researchers from Purdue University developed a patent-pending method to make 3D printed structures functional, essentially adding a fourth dimension. Epoxy resin is used to adhere typical foil-type strain gauge sensors to the surface of a printed part, kind of like sprinkles added to a baked cookie, so the parts don’t have sensing capabilities. But the team, which received funding from the Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC), came up with a way to make sensing capabilities an inherent part of the printed component, and their tiny scale makes it possible for the printed part to maintain strength and achieve fully integrated sensing capabilities. The researchers embed electrically conductive sensor particles in filament polymers, and use an FDM 3D printer to disperse them evenly throughout with a wet-mixing method. The research was published this year in Advanced Engineering Materials, and allows researchers and manufacturers to design parts with a wider variety of shapes. The materials are also tunable, and the novel process is not just limited to sensor conductivity either.

“The results from this work enable users to create complex 3D structures with embedded strain gauges, rapidly moving traditional prototype pieces into fully functional and structurally assessable parts. A limitation of application of 3D printed parts has been in their durability. With this development, we can continually monitor the structural health of the part with the sensor embedded in the print,” explained Brittany Newell, associate professor in the School of Engineering Technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

“This work can be further expanded to add other particle types using the same wet-mixing method. This could include the addition of magnetic particles for electromagnetic fields, fluorescent particles and other functionalities.”

Precision ADM & Tecomet Form Strategic Partnership

Canadian AM company Precision ADM and aerospace and medical parts maker Tecomet, headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts, have formed a strategic partnership. The two will jointly leverage their combined expertise and resources to compress customer development timelines, which will allow the Winnipeg-based company to grow its development and production opportunities in both subtractive and additive manufacturing. Each organization will reap expanded capacity and capabilities from the collaboration—Precision ADM will be able to grow its advanced digital manufacturing (ADM) proprietary set of processes, which have already produced millions of 3D printed medical instruments and implants, while Tecomet will expand its capacity in titanium and 17-4 stainless steel, as well as delve into new material areas like aluminum, cobalt chrome, and 316 stainless steel, and grow its complementary capabilities with EOS metal additive platforms.

“Together with Tecomet, we will be able to offer clients shorter lead times and more efficient production with the same commitment to quality and manufacturing excellence for which we are both known. Our shared expertise and history in the medical device and aerospace industries leads to a naturally collaborative relationship,” said Precision ADM President and CEO Martin Petrak.

3DOS Building Largest Decentralized Manufacturing Network

Silicon Valley company 3DOS is working to create the world’s largest on-demand decentralized manufacturing network, using NFTs as a licensing tool and built on Web3. The ambitious network, built on blockchain, will democratize the design creation and manufacturing process, and security will be a major part of it. 3D creators will be empowered to take a product to market, with close to zero risk, with just the click of a button—upload your design, receive royalties, and have it made anywhere. If it’s not purchased, it’s not made, which is a better solution than today’s large inventories of spare parts sitting in warehouses, and then being shipped around the world. As the global supply chain starts working toward decentralized local manufacturing, companies and creators need to protect their royalties and guarantee authenticity, which is what 3DOS aims to do with its network. The company recently launched its equity crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine with Activision Founder Kevin Marks and Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary.

“3DOS has the vision to create the world’s largest peer-to-peer manufacturing network, allowing anyone to upload a design, receive royalties, and have it made anywhere in the world,” explained John Dogru, the Founder and CEO of 3DOS. “3DOS instantly connects demand and supply in real-time – so products are made on-demand locally: No waste, no inventory, no international shipping.”

3D Printed Accessories for RVs and Power Wheelchairs

Marengo, Illinois-based HyperStitch Inc., founded in 1996 and purchased by a new owner in 2018, offers custom screen print services and branded products like mugs, shirts, patches, caps, blankets, and local spirit wear to businesses and organizations. HyperStitch recently welcomed fellow Marengo business Granted Engineering into its showroom for the holiday season, and will be offering Granted’s 3D printed products for power wheelchairs and RVs, along with some fun toys. The family-owned business uses 3D printing to create useful RV accessories, like a Travel Trailer Table Leg Holder and Shower Corner Storage Bar, as well as toys and really cool custom power wheelchair joysticks. Granted Engineering also offers 3D scanning services, and for the rest of December, you can purchase its 3D printed toys, RV accessories, and power wheelchair replacement joysticks in the HyperStitch showroom.

“Our products are our own designs which fill a gap in the retail market for RVs and power wheelchair users. There are items we needed for our own RV that we couldn’t find, so we created them,” said Katherine Grant, Granted Engineering Co-Owner. “The power wheelchair joysticks allow individuals to customize a wheelchair to meet his or her needs by choosing the shape, size, and color of the joystick.”

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