3D Printing News Unpeeled: Better Elastomers, Mailbox Keys and Origami Networks


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A man has been arrested in Houston for making and using 3D printed mailbox keys in order to use them for fraud. For over 15 years people have been 3D printing handcuff keys and more, and this is the first time someone got arrested, as far as I know. Any photo of any key can be turned into a working 3D printed key and it’s remarkable how crime-free we’ve all been. A friend of the man was making and selling the keys for money. It will be interesting to see how they criminalise this. 

EPFL researchers have made a new kind of elastomeric structure which may enable soft robotics and actuators. The DNGEs are an intertwined network of two different components. Made through swelling up Microparticles, using them in an ink and bioprinting them, and then polymerising the structure inside of them, it sounds rather contrived but can lead to very tenable locally changeable properties. 

Another group of researchers have gotten published in Nature that have made an 3D printed origami pressure array. They did this using two different NinjaTek filaments and a $1800 Vivedino T-Rex 3.0 IDEX printer. The network has an origami tube in it, and movement collapses the tube, changing the capacitance. It is elegant and seems cheap to make.

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