The stories we didn’t cover this week run the gamut, covering announcements of new 3D scanning techniques based on built-in smartphone sensors, Stratasys’ global expansion efforts, 3D printed concrete art and functioning engine parts, a Nerf-like blaster toy, and news in 3D printer filaments including a newly designed product to dry filament as well as new forays into flexible filament manufacturing. Business is booming in the 3D printing space, and further looks into some of the stories we missed this week only emphasize the broad range of news in the 3D printing industry. From materials to homemade soft weapons, this has been a busy week throughout the space.
Carnegie Mellon University Researchers Use Smartphones for Accurate 3D Scanning
Smartphones have become a fairly ubiquitous piece of technology, and anyone who’s used one is familiar with the phones’ capability to rotate the screen from portrait to landscape view depending on how it’s being held. Those in the 3D printing space are familiar, as well, with the growing use of smartphones used as 3D scanners. Until now, however, they haven’t been very precise — but researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania have brought these two aspects of smartphone use together, making for much more accurate scaling for 3D models. By utilizing the inertial measurement units (IMU) that swap the screen view, CMU Robotics Institute associate reserach professor Dr. Simon Lucey has been able to calibrate 3D models to get incredible accuracy.
According to Lucey, the “cheap sensors” are able to be utilized for highly precise modeling. Between the IMU measurements and face tracking technology, smartphone scans are able to measure distance to unforeseen levels of accuracy — up to 0.5mm in an eye scan of a pupil. Such use can be used for 3D modeling, and even digital applications like measuring the fit of eyeglasses for online shopping, or checking furniture arrangement possibilities in a scanned room.
Stratasys Asia Pacific Expands Operations in India
As we’ve seen with huge announcements recently out of China, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries, the Asia/Pacific region is fast becoming a 3D printing hot spot — and India is eager to solidify its place on the map, as well, embracing the tech trend more fully all the time. Stratasys announced recently that its Stratasys Asia Pacific subsidiary will be opening its new Stratasys India office in Ulsoor, Bangalore this month, and has also appointed a new General Manager, India.
The operations in India are intended to bring local support and affordable, accessible 3D printing technology and solutions for the rising demand in the huge nation. The office will include a Demo Centre facility to highlight Stratasys’ offerings. Operations will be headed up by Rajiv Bajaj, who has nearly two decades of CAD/CAM/PLM and product management experience, as the General Manager, India.
3D Printed Concrete Sneakers
Some people love their shoes, and then there are fans of Nike’s Air Max 1 sneakers — who have an entire day set aside to celebrate the apparently very popular footwear. Air Max 1 Day is March 26th (mark your calendars for next year), and among the celebrants is artist Dominic Goldman. To commemorate the shoes, Goldman has crafted a series of sculptures devoted to the shoe, in white, several greys, and black, all made from concrete and set upon a wooden “shoe box.” At nearly 8 pounds per shoe, the sculptures are heftier than the actual Nike shoes — and the artist noted that “concrete is the opposite to air,” making for a fun juxtaposition.
They were made, in quite a drawn-out process, using 3D design. While the commissioned 3D designer crafted the model, the outsourced printing job was apparently very difficult and took several tries — and after that, the 3D models broke again another few times in the process of creating the mold. Eventually, some sculptures came out wonderfully, and Goldman is planning to offer them for sale, though pricing is as yet undecided. If you’re interested in a shoe sculpt for your home, you can contact the artist via email.
DeltaWing 3D Printed Engine Parts
3D printing has come into play on some car racing tracks already, and the technology sure is working to keep up with the fast-paced racing world. DeltaWing Racing Cars teamed up with CRP USA to enhance their already impressive car construction techniques, using CRP’s Windform materials in the additive manufacture of an engine intake manifold ideal for racing use.
DeltaWing design engineer Christian “Skitter” Yaeger noted the benefits of working with CAD technology for the design of precise parts, which have been tested since 2013 with more than 12,000 miles driven in test and race conditions. The case study from CRP highlights the perfect union achieved with the now fully tested, tried-and-true, use of 3D printing in motorsports.
Mostly Harmless Arms 3D Printed Soft Dart Blaster
Kane and Ryan, the pair between Mostly Harmless Arms, have developed their own Extension Spring/Latex Tubing (ESLT) Blaster, a homemade and perfectly functioning soft dart blaster along the lines of the ever-popular Nerf line. Using Kane’s 3D printer, the duo designed their own new blaster, having worked through several different versions. They’re offering file availability for many different blasters, and the 3D printing-incorporating one looks to be a fun project anyone so inclined would be able to make fairly easily.
With 14 STL files, for everything from the main handle to the trigger, and some hardware store goodies like PVC tubing and screws, the 3D printed ESLT blaster has step-by-step, illustrated directions for its construction. They do note that a 3D printer to print the pieces must have at least a 7″ x 7″ x 2″ print bed, and that it would be helpful to have a dual extruder system for better support prints for the handle. Once constructed, the blaster looks to be pretty easy to use and rather powerful, incorporating a scope to ensure the perfect shot every time.
FilaDry Unit Intended to Save 3D Prints from Humidity
Humidity might be good for us, but too much moisture in the air doesn’t just frizz hair — it can wreak havoc on 3D print jobs. Too much moisture in the air can make filament “sticky,” as a new product notes. FilaDry purports to provide enhancements to the 3D printing process for those in humid environments by adsorbing moisture, as well as softening the filament to make it easier to work with. The makers note that FilaDry units can be used with pretty much any desktop FFF-based 3D printer to enhance print jobs, allowing for faster speeds at better quality, eliminating nozzle jams, and improving interlayer adhesion to reduce peeling and warping.
The makers, Ohad and Hanan, have successfully tested PLA filament and are currently working to ensure that all types are compatible with their system, working now on ABS and HIPS materials. FilaDry is compatible with 1.75 and 3 mm filaments. FilaDry is available now with about a 5-day lead time, shipping worldwide, for $149. Units arrive fully tested and include a 12V PSU with EU plug.
Verbatim Announces More 3D Printing Filament Availability
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group subsidiary Verbatim, which began its foray into the 3D printing space last August in Europe and just this January in the US, has now announced an expansion of its filament availability. Having started with more rigid filament types last year, releasing ABS and PLA types, Verbatim is now beginning to explore the possibilities inherent in flexible materials.
The first new filament, available through Verbatim Europe, is Primalloy, a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) filament. Primalloy is manufactured in Japan, and is available in 1.75mm and 2.85mm widths in 0.5kg spools, for use on FFF-based 3D printers — with best performance for those 3D printers with heated (40-50 °C) print beds. First announced in development last September, Primalloy is available now in white for £54.99 per spool.
That’s this week’s look at the stories we didn’t cover! Let us know what you think about these latest developments in the Stories We Missed forum thread over at 3DPB.com.