3D Printing News Briefs, October 21, 2023: 3D Printed Molds, Bridges, & More

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We’ll kick things off in 3D Printing News Briefs with business, and then move on to critical spare parts for the battleground, an analysis of 3D printed vs. wood molds, and structural composite connectors for aircraft. Then it’s news about concrete 3D printing, new 3D printers, and more. Read on for all the details!

PRECISE Trading LLC Becomes Official Meltio Sales Partner in GCC Region

Laser metal deposition technology manufacturer Meltio announced that PRECISE Trading LLC will help boost its growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) metal AM market as an official sales partner. PRECISE is the founding member of the Dubai 3D Printing Strategic Alliance, and will play an important role in distribution and support of Meltio’s metal AM solutions in the GCC’s Arab states. Meltio’s process is built around affordable welding wire as a metal feedstock, and PRECISE will work to build a supportive ecosystem for it in the GCC region by driving business opportunities and partnerships with academia, technology centers, industry, tooling machine companies, and more.

“We are thrilled to be working with companies like PRECISE as their expertise as well as customer-centric approach are exactly what we are looking for when incorporating partners in the Meltio partner ecosystem,” stated Francisco González, Sales Manager for EMEA at Meltio. “Together, we will be able to cater to the ever-growing needs of the GCC market for, and ease the adoption of metal additive manufacturing.”

3DM Seeking Strategic Partners for Advanced SLS 3D Printing

3DM SLS printers – Addressing additive manufacturing high volume production applications.

Israeli SLS 3D printing startup 3DM Digital Manufacturing develops laser systems and printer heads, with a goal of fulfilling mass production applications. The startup is looking to build mutually beneficial relationships with business partners and industry experts who share its goal of evolving the AM industry, and is now actively seeking strategic partners who need SLS technology for high volume production. 3DM’s machines are customizable, and it’s said to be the only company to create quantum cascade lasers with specialized capabilities for 3D printing, enabling the creation of lasers at wavelengths that are the most efficient for melting a variety of different plastics. Through any new partnerships, 3DM will work to make existing products more suited to its specific high volume production needs.

“3DM has the right technology and building blocks to make additive manufacturing a preferred option for high volume production. If we have the expertise and backing of additional strategic partners, our company will produce transformation for every supply chain in the world,” said 3DM’s CEO Ido Eylon. “3DM already leverages the most promising technologies today and we continuously push the envelope of possibility. We’re breaking down barriers and that is an exciting journey, I think any partner would like to be part of.”

Ukraine Received 3D Printers from U.S. for Battleground Spare Parts

The container-size version of the WarpSPEE3D metal 3D printer, called the XSPEE3D, is deployable virtually anywhere.

According to a translated article, William A. LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, announced that Ukraine had received industrial-scale 3D printers from the U.S. to fabricate critical spare parts for military equipment. LaPlante said each printer is about “the size of a truck,” and his assessment is pretty accurate—through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the U.S. Department of Defense supplied seven massive SPEE3D printers to Ukraine, which will probably be deployed near the frontlines. A SPEE3D team traveled to Poland and spent several weeks training over a dozen Ukrainian soldiers to make metal parts on the WarpSPEE3D printer. These will be used to rapidly make what the military calls “parts of consequence,” which are always in demand and include hinges, connectors, levers, and brackets for more than 40 different armored platforms and aging military equipment systems on the battlefield. The soldiers trained 12 hours a day for 15 days, learning everything from engineering design theory and metallurgy to operating the actual printers.

“There’s a big difference when you’re training someone for preparedness versus training someone when the war drums are banging. This is the first time I’ve been involved in additive manufacturing training when the students’ lives were literally at risk,” said Chris Harris, Spee3D’s Vice President of Defense.

ORNL Completes Analysis of 3D Printed vs. Wood Molds

ORNL’s 3D printed polymer composite mold was used to produce precast concrete parts for a New York City building. Researchers conducted a techno-economic analysis that highlights the benefits over wood molds. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy and Gate Precast

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) completed a comprehensive lifecycle, carbon emissions, and cost analysis comparing the benefits of 3D printed vs. conventional wood molds for use in precast concrete. Typically used in building construction, precast concrete is produced by pouring material into a reusable mold. These molds are traditionally made from wood, which means a specialized skillset is needed to craft them. An alternative means of fabrication is 3D printing the molds out of fiber-reinforced polymer composites, which the researchers found is more economically beneficial than wood molds. Additionally, carbon emissions and energy demand were reduced by optimizing the mold designs for additive, and future studies will evaluate the recycling impact of this transition.

“We developed a techno-economic model that compared costs associated with each method, evaluating materials, equipment, energy and labor. 3D printing can make complex molds faster, and the composites can be recycled, leading to more economical molds when used many times for precast concrete parts,” said Kristina Armstrong, ORNL R&D Associate Staff.

Dufour Aerospace Picks 9T Labs as Structural Composite Connectors Supplier

L-R: Jasmine Kent (CTO Dufour Aerospace), Andy Lee (Lead Engineer Stress Dufour Aerospace), Giovanni Cavolina (CCO 9T Labs), Simon Bendrey (Head of Design Dufour Aerospace), Hannes Schütte (Sales Manager 9T Labs), Matteo Arnoldi (Technical Program Manager 9T Labs)

Dufour Aerospace, which develops efficient and ecological aircraft for patient and passenger transport, logistics and public safety, has announced a collaboration with 9T Labs. The Swiss composites manufacturing technology company will supply 3D printed structural composite connectors, like hinges and brackets, for the uncrewed tilt-wing aircraft Aero2. This is Dufour Aerospace’s first product, designed to transport critical cargo, like medical supplies, up to 40 kilograms in medium to long range distances. Replacing several structural metal parts with 3D printed thermoplastic composite ones will help the company reduce the weight of the vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

“The importance of the smaller parts of an aircraft is often underestimated when it comes to contributing to weight,” explained Says Simon Bendrey, Head of Design of Dufour Aerospace. “With 9T Labs, we have found a partner who is supporting us in exactly this critical area with surprisingly lightweight composite structural parts, without us having to make compromises in terms of durability and strength.”

3D Printed Bicycle Bridges Next to Renovated N243

Over the last several years, a lot of work has been completed to redesign the Schermerhornerweg, Middenweg, and Noordervaart (N243) in the Netherlands, including planting new trees, replacing intersections with roundabouts, and adding bridges. Last month, the renovated N243 between Alkmaar and Koggenland was officially inaugurated, and features three different 3D printed bicycle bridges next to it, to make the road safer for cyclists. Designed by Witteveen+Bos, the bridges were printed out of concrete in the Eindhoven factory of Saint-Gobain Weber, and because of the design freedom of 3D printing, they feature special railings with text that pays tribute to the Beemster and Schermer. Additionally, by fabricating the bridges this way, less material was needed, which means less CO2 emissions, and less waste was produced during construction, as no formwork was required.

“3D concrete printing aligns with a sustainable future, where more and more circular building practices are being adopted,” said Bert Swart, project manager for N243 at the Province of North Holland.

Ackerstein Industries Signs Cooperation Agreement with CyBe Construction

(Photo credit: SHUKA COHEN)

Speaking of concrete 3D printing, Israeli company Ackerstein Industries, a leader in concrete products for infrastructure, environmental development, and industrialized construction, has made a strategic move towards innovation and entered the field of concrete 3D printing. As part of this move, it signed a cooperation agreement with Dutch CyBe Construction, one of the first companies that specialized in 3D concrete printing. By combining a special concrete mixture to a robotic arm 3D printer, it’s possible to quickly produce and move a 3D printed concrete product, and the technology is considered more energy efficient and environmentally friendly as well. Now, Ackerstein will start to design, manufacturing, and market unique 3D printed products for its new product lines in street furniture, retaining walls, and other uses.

“We are happy to enter the innovative field of 3D concrete printing. This is a revolution in the production of a variety of products for the construction and home design industries, including buildings, street furniture, coverings, and many other products,” said Ehud Danoch, the CEO of Ackerstein Industries. “This innovative technology fits in with Ackerstein’s innovation tradition that has been practiced for almost 100 years and with Ackerstein’s environmental vision, which advocates the use of a minimum of raw materials while maintaining the highest quality. Throughout the world, this technology is used by the leading companies in the field of construction and environmental design, and I am sure that this move will put Israel at the forefront of concrete printing.”

Massivit 10000-G Introduced to Maritime Market at IBEX 2023

At the recent IBEX 2023 Marine Technology Tradeshow in Tampa, Florida, industrial 3D printer provider Massivit 3D Printing Technologies (TASE: MSVT) introduced its Massivit 10000-G system to the maritime sector for the first time. The massive AM system, based on the company’s Cast In Motion, makes it possible to achieve custom manufacturing for composite materials through direct, high-speed printing of industrial complex molds, jigs, fixtures, end parts, prototypes, and master tools. The Massivit 10000-G combines its predecessor’s range of large-scale tooling applications with several manufacturing and prototyping applications for boatbuilding—including interior fittings, radar masts, stern extensions, and hydrofoils—enabled by its built-in Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP) and hydrophobic, thermoset Dimengel materials. Marine manufacturers can count on this printer to overcome production bottlenecks, reduce material waste from machining, and decrease labor-associated costs by up to 90%.

“Following Massivit’s success winning the IBEX Innovation Award in 2022 for the Massivit 10000, we continue to develop and bring to market new products and capabilities in our commitment to solving real-world manufacturing challenges,” said Massivit’s CEO Erez Zimerman. “We’re thrilled to introduce the trailblazing 10000-G that sets a new standard for automated, custom manufacturing and has already been hailed by customers as a game changer that is ‘5 years ahead of the market’.”

Flashforge Introduces New Adventurer 5M Pro 3D Printer

The latest addition to the Flashforge Adventurer lineup is the new Adventurer 5M Pro, a good choice for beginners as it’s said to make 3D printing easier and faster with a pre-assembled nozzle, automatic leveling system, and out-of-the-box design. This system marks the company’s entrance into rapid printing, with a nozzle capable of a 32mm³/s flow rate, maximum speed of 600 mm/s, and maximum acceleration of 20000 mm/s². Available to order now on the Flashforge online shop, the introductory price for the new Adventurer 5M Pro is $599, and its recently launched sister version, the open-space desktop Adventurer 5M, is priced at $399 but with the same machine size as the Adventurer 5M Pro.

This new printer ensures safer operations with an enclosed chamber and dual air filtration system to block 99% of particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It offers real-time remote monitoring, and will alert the user when filament runs out; after printing is finished, the power is automatically shut off. The Adventurer 5M Pro can also heat up to 200℃ in 35 seconds, and features a vibration compensation mechanism, which helps ensure crisper, cleaner prints. Finally, it has a Core XY structure combined with an all-metal frame for precision and rigidity, and a dual air-duct structure for effective cooling.

Mayku Debuts New Custom Mode for Multiplier Pressure Former

London-based technology company Mayku wants to localize manufacturing with its benchtop pressure forming, and has introduced an enhanced Multiplier Pressure Former to deliver injection molding-quality and scale up production of 3D printed parts from custom batching to serial production. Designers and engineers can now quickly capture sub-micron details for highly accurate isotropic prototypes and end-use parts, like protective covers and optical parts, and the machine’s new custom mode enables them to create and store profiles for any compatible thermoformable material, as well as have more control over the Multiplier’s heat and pressure capacities. Its new reducing plate accessory makes material sourcing and testing easier, extends the range of thicknesses, and provides access to hundreds of hard-to-print thermoplastics, like polypropylene, PMMA, and UHMW. The enhanced Mayku Multiplier is available through a global network of partners, and existing customers will get an over-the-air update to access the Multiplier 2.0 firmware with new functionality.

“At Mayku, we believe in making mass production accessible and are proud to say that the Multiplier Pressure Former is helping our customers achieve this. It, quite literally, brings engineers and designers closer to the parts they create by combining the accuracy, repeatability, and detail of heavy manufacturing floor machinery with the convenience, speed, and adaptability of 3D printing,” said Benjamin Redford, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Mayku.

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