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3D Printing News Briefs, September 16, 2023: Certification, Fuel Cells, Microalgae Ink, & More

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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re kicking things off with business, as former Waymo legal executive David Tressler joins 6K as its Chief Legal Officer. Moving on, MakerVerse received an important ISO certification, and Mechnano’s PK ESD has been approved for use on Farsoon’s printers. On to research, a team at Clemson University developed 3D printed protonic ceramic fuel cells, while researchers from the National University of Singapore are 3D printing mock squid with microalgae ink. Finally, you’ll just have to see these shoes 3D printed on socks to believe them.

6K Appoints Former Waymo Executive as Chief Legal Officer

David Tressler is a seasoned legal leader with significant experience enabling the commercialization of complex new technology and maturing legal, regulatory, and compliance functions to support scaling businesses.

Massachusetts-headquartered 6K Inc., a leader in sustainable production of critical materials for lithium-ion batteries and additive manufacturing, has appointed David Tressler as its Chief Legal Officer. As the company enters into a period of strategic commercial growth, adding Tressler to the team will support the acceleration of its global expansion. He has years of legal leadership experience in enabling the commercialization of new technologies and maturing compliance, legal, and regulatory functions to support scaling businesses. A Harvard Law School graduate and long-serving officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Tressler was Deputy General Counsel of autonomous driving technology company Waymo, LLC for over six years, and a partner at global law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago, practicing there for more than ten years. In his new role, reporting to 6K’s CEO Dr. Aaron Bent, Tressler will help support the company’s commercial growth, fundraising, M&A strategy, investments, and construction of new production facilities, including its recently announced PlusCAM, a sustainable multi-chemistry cathode manufacturing plant in Tennessee.

“6K is executing rapidly on its growth strategy to deploy investments for long-term impact. I’m thrilled to join 6K’s leadership team as the company prepares to scale its transformative, clean technology and look forward to supporting 6K’s commercial expansion,” Tressler said.

MakerVerse Receives ISO 27001 Certification for Information Security

Berlin-based startup MakerVerse, founded in 2022 as an on-demand manufacturing platform for industrial parts, has attained the globally-recognized ISO 27001:2017 certification for information security. The startup, also ISO 9001 certified for its quality management system, offers over 12 different manufacturing technologies, including CNC machining and 3D printing, as well as a suite of production services to help customers in  making their manufacturing and quality plans. This new certification is a globally accepted standard based on requirements for establishing, implementing, and improving an information security management system (ISMS), and the criteria for achieving it is focused on data protection, information security controls, and continuous enhancement of a company’s overall ISMS. To examine the startup’s security controls, TÜV SÜD examined MakerVerse’s ISMS in an in-depth audit, including procedures, policies, and processes for safeguarding services and customer data. The evaluation was a success.

This recognition underscores our dedication to maintaining the highest data security and privacy standards. It further emphasizes our commitment to offering unparalleled services to our customers while ensuring robust security measures are in place,” said Tim Schark, MakerVerse CFO.

Farsoon Approves Mechnano’s PK ESD Material for Printers

Global polymer and metal laser sintering systems manufacturer and supplier Farsoon, the leading supplier of industrial AM technology in China, has approved Mechnano’s PK ESD material for use with its 252P Series and Flight 403P Series machines. This laser sintering powder pairs Jabil’s PK 5000 with a coating formulation using Mechnano’s proprietary D’Func (Discrete, Dispersed, and Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes) technology. PK ESD has PK 5000’s advantages, including chemical and abrasion resistance, high impact strength, and improved elongation over general-purpose nylons, which makes it good for functional testing and production uses. Plus, the D’Func-based coating adds nano-uniform electrostatic dissipative properties to parts printed with SLS technology, giving the parts Nano-Uniform ESD at 107 ohms surface resistivity (independent of powder refresh rate and build orientation). Printing PK ESD on Farsoon’s systems results in accurate, high-performance parts for end-use applications like durable ESD tooling and drones.

“PK ESD’s nano uniformity is the answer to alternative ESD powder and filament solutions with unpredictable ESD performance. With Farsoon, we’re enabling the AM market by eliminating expensive and time-consuming requirements to test and validate static-dissipative performance for each part. And the fact we are doing this with a high-performance and eco-friendly material makes it even more compelling,” said Bryce Keeler, Mechnano President.

3D Printed Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cells

The research team included (from left): Jiawei Zhang, Jianhua “Joshua” Tong, Bridget Sheridan, Kyle S. Brinkman, Minda Zou, Fei Peng and Jacob Conrad.

Researchers from Clemson University have come up with a novel way of 3D printing protonic ceramic fuel cells (PCFCs), which have the potential to generate electricity more sustainably than traditional fossil fuels. That’s because they run on renewable fuels like ammonia, alcohols, hydrocarbons, and hydrogen, instead of petroleum or coal. But, because they’re so difficult to manufacture on a large scale, it’s been hard moving them from a laboratory setting to real-world applications. The team from Clemson’s Advanced Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL) solved this problem by 3D printing PCFCs in a tubular shape, which makes them more durable, and easier to seal, than planar designs. They published their findings in ACS Energy Letters.

The researchers also 3D printed all three layers that a fuel cell requires: the anode, cathode, and electrolyte, which postdoctoral researcher and corresponding author Professor Jianhua “Joshua” Tong said has never been done before. The team tested one of their 3D printed PCFCs for 200 hours, using hydrogen for fuel, and reported that it consistently produced power. Using 3D printing to fabricate this renewable energy device offers more affordability, consistency, ease of use, and precision, all of which are, as Tong said, “promising for commercialization.” It takes them about three hours to print one PCFC, and the team plans to develop a more advanced design in the future. Tong believes there’s potential for commercialization of the cells in about five years.

National University of Singapore Researchers 3D Printing Mock Seafood

A 3D printed calamari ring prepared in the lab

Demand is increasing for alternative seafood options that are better for the environment. Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are using 3D printing to create a sustainable, fully plant-based mock seafood. They tested out microalgae and mung beans in their ink, both of which are high-protein plant sources, and some microalgae already have a fishy taste. As it’s been a challenge to replicate the flavor of seafood from plant sources, while achieving the same textures and nutritional content, this was a plus. The researchers also used legume protein to help mimic the flakiness and mouth-feel of real seafood, and combined the proteins with plant-based oil containing omega-3 fatty acids. They used a food-grade 3D printer to deposit the edible ink and make a concept calamari ring, which had a nutritional profile similar to that of real calamari rings from squid. After changing up the temperature of the paste so it could be easily extruded and layered into rings, the team assessed the appearance, smell, and taste, using an air fryer to prepare them for an initial cooking test. They reported that the 3D printed rings tasted “acceptable” and had “promising texture properties.”

“The goal is to get the same texture and elastic properties as the calamari rings that are commercially available. I’m still seeing how the composition impacts the product’s elasticity and the final sensory properties,” said graduate student Poornima Vijayan, who presented the work at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

3D Printing a Shoe on Your Socks

I’ve seen some weird 3D printed shoes, but these may take the cake: meet IMPROSOCKS, a project that was part of a Digital Fabrication course taught by Professor Dov Ganchrow at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Designers Nimrod Cohen Arazuni and Noga Kamhagi 3D printed the sole of a shoe—which wraps around the top of a sock—onto the bottom part of a sock, and the parts on the upper portion were also printed from the bottom outside of the sock. A frame outside the borders of the fabric was created to print the lace-managing features, which enabled direct-to-textile printing, as well as 3D printing “in the air” around the frame. Elastic laces connect the upper parts of the shoe to offer more foot support and achieve the final look of this strange hybrid footwear. The designers used Stratasys 3DFashion technology to print unique, personalized sole designs.

“In analyzing the shoe-sock relationship, we realized that socks are often hidden from view, hence we decided to expose the sock and fuse the entities into one. We developed an innovative method that makes it possible to use existing socks and turn them into everyday shoes. Using the advanced technology of 3D printing and scanning softwares, we allow the choice of a personal and unique design tailored to their foot shape and fashion inclination.”

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