This week it was especially difficult to keep up with all the news since we participated in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Given that the CES event only added to the usual stream of 3D printing news we encounter each week, we feel we did a pretty good job covering the stories relevant to our growing 3D printing audience. For the stories we missed, here’s our weekly review.
Stratasys Launches Direct Manufacturing
Stratasys, which acquired Harvest Technologies and Solid Concepts last year to add to its RedEye On Demand services, has launched Stratasys Direct Manufacturing–officially marking its 3D printing shift from prototyping to end-product manufacturing technology. Stratasys’ 3D printing services will still offer prototyping, but this announcement indicates the increasing ability to focus on production. For manufacturing purposes, Stratasys’ turn to Direct Manufacturing means the company no longer wishes to be seen just as simply a 3D print leader, but it also plans to expand its capabilities to the global manufacturing process. With 700 employees and 9 manufacturing services throughout the US, it is definitely in the position to make major contributions to the manufacturing side of the 3D printing industry.
Netherlands based Leapfrog has announced a partnership with Ingram Micro technology solutions Europe after closing several deals in the U.S. Ingram Micro is a Fortune 500 Company serving customers in over 170 countries and it provides tech and supply chain optimization solutions. Ingram Micro adds Leapfrog’s new Creatr HS 3D printer for consumers and educators, and the Xeed which has a temperature controlled environment and larger build volume.
Rich Olsen has posted OpenSCAD files for a 3D printed, customizable, parametric speaker that can be adjusted using the Thingiverse Customizer. What is a parametric speaker? It uses specific geometric shapes to focus sound in one specific direction, rather than blasting sound waves out as widely as possible, like most speakers. Parametric speakers work great at desks, in office spaces, and home theater systems. You can adjust the speaker’s wall thickness, speaker opening, bass port, internal diameter, and wire openings, and the sphere size can be altered as well.
Matter and Form Scanner Arrives
In other scanner news, after debuting at London’s 3D print show, the user-friendly and affordable Matter and Form scanner has been sent to its Indiegogo supporters. The Indiegogo campaign raised $500,000 after setting an early modest goal of $81,000–revealing the high demand that an affordable 3D scanner has. So far, the review are overwhelmingly positive at only $579, and it is lightweight, portable and can export files for print on any 3D printer.
Sculpteo Announces FinalProof Service for Printing Preview
The 3D printing company based in San Francisco and Paris, Sculpteo, has launched their most advanced 3D printing preview feature–FinalProof. Sculpteo provides easy-to-use online 3D printing services and cloud-based solutions, encouraging users to take control of their 3D print creations. Sculpteo’s website has optimization tools and a platform that offers the ability for users to upload and print 3D designs, and share models and information. Just announced at this year’s CES, FinalProof is an innovative online service that predicts potential losses during a 3D printing project and gives a realistic preview of the layering effects on a project. This product simulates a full 3D print, and provides a highly detailed rendering of the physical object. The real selling point is the FinalProof process happens in seconds instead of the hours it takes to physically print something.
FinalProof is available for all Sculpteo users at no cost. From the website’s print page, users can get a full breakdown of every characteristic of the 3D print. This includes scale blueprints, a solidity check, and even a delivery quote. This information can be sent to the user as an email or a PDF.
3D Printed Model of the Eta Carinae Shines Light for NASA
The Eta Carinae is an astronomical phenomenon that is relatively close to Earth and highly luminous–a sort of binary star system mystery that has been baffling scientists since the 1840’s. Recently, a new 3D printed simulation of a computer model based on the system’s spiraling pattern has been used by NASA Ames Research Center to help illuminate this system on the brink of exploding as a supernova. This is caused by two massive stars circling around each other that are slowly blowing themselves apart. One star is approximately 30 times our Sun’s mass and the other bigger star is around 90 times the Sun’s mass. The two stars orbit around each other every 5.5 years, producing winds that create high energy x-rays that heat up gas surrounding the stars. Colored bright orange, the 3D printout shows “spine-shaped lumps protruding from the spiral that resulted from the stars’ close approach to one another” and these results were presented at the recent winter meeting of the American Astronomical Association.