3D Printing News Briefs, June 3, 2023: Beta Software, 3D Printing Walls, & More


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We’ll kick things off in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs with software, as General Lattice released a beta version of its Frontier software, and a research team out of Ondokuz Mayıs University developed an algorithm for efficient use of binder jetting. Speaking of research, a team out of UTHealth Houston School of Public Health designed and 3D printed a mobile human airway system replica as an experimental tool. Moving on to construction, University of Hong Kong professors added 3D printed walls to an abandoned wooden home in a prototype project. Finally, POC released a limited edition pair of titanium 3D printed cycling sunglasses.

General Lattice Releases BETA Version of Frontier Software

Chicago software startup General Lattice designs and builds digital material solutions that allow creators to be more innovative, while also simplifying AM adoption. The company recently released the BETA version of Frontier, its Digital Materials Platform software that democratizes the use of lattices by treating them like traditional materials. The platform gets rid of expensive guess and check workflows with its free-to-search library of validated mechanical property data, so users can choose the combination of material, lattice, and hardware, and then search, analyze, and order physical samples. Initial partners of the platform include Photocentric, BASF Forward AM, and EOS, and they will work to gain a better understanding of Digital Materials made of elastomeric polymers for foam replacement applications. Additional partners will be added as Frontier continues to grow and add composites, ceramics, and metals; a full version with integration capabilities will be available later in 2023.

Dave Krzeminski, Senior Additive Minds Consultant at EOS, said, “These tools will reduce the effort and costs to replace foam via drop-in lattice solutions, as well as reduce waste generated by physical prototype iterations.”

Ondokuz Mayıs University’s Adaptive Binder Jet Slicing Study & Algorithm

Hasan Baş, Research Asistant

According to a trio of researchers from Ondokuz Mayıs University in Turkey, binder jetting is one of the essential 3D printing methods due to its material range, cost-effectiveness, and lack of thermal stress problems, but it’s slower than traditional manufacturing process. The team aimed to increase the speed of binder jet 3D printing through the use of an adaptive slicing method and variable binder amount algorithm, which they detailed in a published study. They used these tools, and an open source printer, to fabricate quarter-spherical samples, which were then, as they wrote, “sintered at 1250°C for 2 h with 10°C/min heating and cooling ramp.” Testing results showed that they had achieved similar surface quality with 38% fewer layers than uniform slicing could achieve.

“We conducted a study on the use of adaptive slicing in binder jetting. We have also developed an algorithm for the efficient use of binder jetting. In this way, we increased production speeds by up to 40%,” Hasan Baş, Research Assistant and a co-author of the study, told 3DPrint.com. “We think it is an important development for additive manufacturing.”

The researchers believe that “the actual use of adaptive slicing in binder jetting was applied for the first time in this study.”

Researchers Studying Aersol Particles in 3D Printed Human Airway System

Wei-Chung Su, PhD, center, works with Minjung Kim, left, a visiting student from National Seoul University, and Jinho Lee, right, PhD student at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, to test MALDA in an industrial setting. (Photo by UTHealth Houston)

Together with his UTHealth Houston School of Public Health team, Wei-Chung Su, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology, human genetics, and environmental sciences, designed and 3D printed a replicated human airway system, called the Mobile Aerosol Deposition Apparatus, or MALDA, that’s being used as an experimental tool for studying airborne aerosol particle deposits in the lungs. The respiratory system includes a head airway, tracheobronchial airways, and a section of the tiny air sacs in the lungs called alveoli that handle gaseous exchange. It’s then paired with two particle sizers that measure particle size distribution of harmful aerosol from dust or fuel combustion to better understand its chemical composition, and use the data to assess the health risks, like cancer or pulmonary impairment, for people who are often exposed due to environmental or occupational risks. Placed on a trolley with a battery-powered vacuum pump, MALDA is fully mobile and able to work on aerosol respiratory deposition experiments in real-life settings, and has already been used to estimate aerosol respiratory depositions, such as e-cigarette and dental cleaning aerosol, for several environmental and occupational aerosol exposure studies.

“I’m thankful for UTHealth Houston for providing an amazing research environment and resources to allow my dreams to come true. MALDA wasn’t made at a store, but in UTHealth Houston labs with state-of-the-art technology,” Su said.

3D Printed Walls Added to Abandoned Wood Home

The tiled roof and wooden structure of the old house have been recycled and restored. (Photo courtesy of John Lin and Lidia Ratoi)

As part of a prototype project in southwest China, University of Hong Kong professors John Lin and Lidia Ratoi have added 3D printed walls to an abandoned wooden home to create the Traditional House of the Future. The research project, part of a government plan in Nanlong Village to renovate hundreds of old wooden homes, won the RIBA President’s Medal for Research, and treats the ancient dwellings like continuous, flexible design alterations that can respond to changing lifestyles, rather than simply preserving cultural heritage. By adding 3D printed walls to the existing structure, locals can recycle their old homes and reassemble them into new ones. Lin and Ratoi scanned the original house, which was then dismantled and built back up, supported on the 3D printed walls that expand the space. Additional dividing walls were added to create bathrooms and an entrance courtyard kitchen, and then the tiled roof and wooden structure were added back.

The professors explained, “The project questions how technology can act as a social potentiator and become a means to strengthen local and cultural building practices.

“Considering the existing built fabric as a ‘new nature’, which cannot be altered and therefore requires adaptation, the process touches upon key areas of sustainability: social, technological, and cultural.”

Limited Edition Titanium Sunglasses with 3D Printed Arms

POC, a Swedish manufacturer of apparel, equipment, and accessories in snow sports and cycling, has launched the Elicit Ti, a $400 limited edition pair of cycling sunglasses with 3D printed titanium arms. The shades are very similar to POC’s standard Elicit sunglasses, with their snap-on arms, Clarity lenses, and interchangeable nose pieces, but the big difference is how skinny the arms are now. Each one is made up of about nine extremely thin titanium filaments in a truss formation, over which rubberized temple grippers are slid. Using titanium saved one gram of weight, and at just 22 g, they are now the brand’s lightest pair of cycling glasses yet. Speaking of the titanium, while there aren’t a lot of details, the Elicit Ti sunglasses are said to be 3D printed from Ti-6AI-4V medical waste, which makes for more sustainable production.

“Sustainable materials and performance can, and should, be able to live side by side. If we challenge conventional thinking and methods, there is no need to compromise performance or sustainability or a reason to choose one over another,” said Tilda Håll, product manager for eyewear at POC. “Instead, it should be able to co-exist and become the norm. And we are proud that with the Elicit Ti we have shown just that.”

Only 365 pairs of the POC Elicit Ti sunglasses were made, and they are already sold out.

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