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3D Printing News Briefs, December 31, 2022: AI-Generated Footwear, Anniversary, & More

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We’re starting out with AI-generated, 3D printed footwear in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. Then, Lithoz reported its best year ever, and Women in 3D Printing celebrated its eight-year anniversary. Finally, Formnext + PM South China was rescheduled for the fall of 2023.

“First” AI-Generated 3D Printed Wearable Sneaker

An innovation platform for the footwear industry, Barcelona-based Footwearology brings together experienced footwear professionals from all over the world to provide online training, mentoring, consulting, and R&D services. Nicoline van Enter announced that the team recently presented what it calls the first AI-generated, 3D printed, wearable sneaker, created using a combination of 3D and 2D AI applications. In-house designer Marina Aperribay created a series of 2D shoes, inspired by biology and history, using Dalle-2, which helps to find the optimal text prompt for the output you’re looking to make. The prompt used in this case was “High quality photo of a shoe composed by radolarian fossils, designed by Ernst Haeckel, 8k, digital art.” For reference, radiolaria are tiny micro-skeletons of silica, which were beautifully illustrated by German zoologist and professor Ernst Haeckel.

Some interesting designs resulted from the Dalle-2 text prompt, though they were only 2D images, so Aperribay entered the same prompt into Stable Diffusion 2.0 in order to generate an image “which fits within the basic 3D form and silhouette of the input.” Just five curves were drawn to create the shoe model in Houdini, which then wrapped the AI-generated displacement map from Stable Diffusion 2.0 around the model. Once the model was sliced, it was 3D printed out of Filaflex on an Artillery Sidewinder X2. If you want to learn how to create your own wearable shoes using AI and 3D printing, you can enroll in Footwearology’s next course on the subject.

Lithoz Reports Strongest, Most Successful Year in Company History

Global ceramic 3D printing leader Lithoz GmbH reported that 2022 has been its strongest year ever in terms of order intake, as the company successful scaled its Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM) technology to industrial levels and nearly doubled machine sales from last year. Lithoz, with four sites, more than 140 employees, and three unique ceramic AM technologies, reports that several of its customers have CeraFab 3D printer parks, using the systems to print millions of ceramic parts per year for industries such as aerospace, dental, electronics, and medical. The company launched two powerful new materials for industry and medicine this year, and also introduced two new technologies. With the launch of its CeraMax Vario V900 3D printer in June, Lithoz welcomed laser-induced slipcasting to its portfolio, which can print large, thick-walled parts with full densities, and also made its first company acquisition with CerAMing, adding LSD-Print.

“…all answers to our urgent questions of today, from ageing societies to sustainability and climate change, will probably contain a 3D-printed ceramic part as part of the solution,” Lithoz Co-Founder and CTO Dr. Johannes Benedikt said about the potential of combining the geometric freedom of AM with a powerful material like ceramic.

Women in 3D Printing Celebrates 8 Year Anniversary

Nonprofit organization Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP), dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion in additive manufacturing, was founded in 2014 and just celebrated its eighth anniversary! Thanks to a restructure of the organization, there are 107 local chapters in 38 countries that hosted various networking events, and over 5,000 Wi3DP delegates attended more than 121 events this year alone. There were several other highlights in Wi3DP’s 8th year, such as a reshape of the Board of Directors, a strategic partnership with SME to scale marquee programs like Wi3DP’s showcase at RAPID + TCT 2023 and the 2023 TIPE 3D Printing Virtual Conference, and the formation of an Advisory Board, on which our Editor in Chief Michael Molitch-Hou sits. Wi3DP also had a very successful 2022 TIPE 3D Printing virtual conference, with 2,232 delegates joining live from around the world, and the organization also hosts a free Job Posting board, published the 2022 edition of its Diversity for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) report, and much more.

“With the explosive growth we’ve seen over the last few years, we’ve come to realize our focus should be on a much bigger mission: to support and promote an industry that is more reflective of the world in which it operates. DEI (Diversity, equity, and inclusion) isn’t solely a women’s issue,” explained Kristin Mulherin, President of Women in 3D Printing. “Diversity drives the speed of innovation and advances the industry as a whole. Anyone who has worked in diverse teams will confirm this – diverse experiences introduce new perspectives. And when this is not only accepted but also encouraged, we see accelerated creativity and innovation. This applies to cultivating a healthy and productive work culture, improving business strategy, or finding new and creative applications for AM technology.”

Formnext + PM South China Rescheduled for 2023

Finally, the organizers of Formnext + PM South China have decided to defer this year’s trade fair, due to local prevention measures that have been put in place in light of rising COVID-19 numbers in China.  A main reason being the rescheduling of the event, which was originally supposed to take place last week, was the wellbeing of participants who would have traveled to attend. The organizers obviously want the show to have a favorable environment for conducting in-person business encounters, and once important exhibitors and stakeholders voiced their agreement of postponing Formnext + PM South China, the organizers went ahead and rescheduled it for the fall of 2023 at the Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center; exact dates will be announced later.

Formnext + PM South China, jointly organized by Guangzhou Guangya Messe Frankfurt and Uniris Exhibition Shanghai Co Ltd, is one of China’s top manufacturing events, and covers multiple advanced technology and equipment categories, including powder metallurgy, additive manufacturing, and advanced ceramics-related materials, software, designs, and processing technologies. Last year’s fair welcomed 9,330 visitors and 199 renowned brands that showcased their latest solutions and products. It is part of a series of international events that includes Asiamold, which will take place in Guangzhou, China, March 1-3, 2023; Formnext Forum Tokyo from September 28-29, 2023; and formnext, coming again to Frankfurt, Germany, from November 7-10, 2023.

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