In this week’s stories we missed, while 3D printing gains a stronger foothold in the defense industry with the opening of an America Makes Satellite Center in El Paso, Texas, 3D printing makers continue their own stalwart path realizing new design concepts that expand the technology’s applications. There’s now a service that provides 3D printed reproductions of museum pieces, and two new Kickstarter campaigns– a phone drone kit and Nüdel (3D printed connectors for large scale design projects). Regarding a different kind of noodle, the kind you eat, the pasta giant Barilla has unveiled its new pasta printer at the Milan EXPO 2015. The list of 3D printed items and applications expands rapidly. There’s also a new scanner on the horizon that is easier to use outdoors with a hi-definition laser technology based on human eye functioning. Lots of new developments to keep track of, so here’s the big stories we didn’t cover from this week.
University of Texas, El Paso Houses First America Makes Institute
America Makes is a project that seeks to use the latest cutting edge 3D printing technology and integrate it into the U.S. manufacturing sector, potentially reinvigorating U.S. manufacturing through defense industry manufacturing. And the project has recently seen some significant progress as it has opened up its first “satellite center” at the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP). Chosen as a satellite, drone, and general defense industry manufacturing hub because of its extensive resources — especially its Keck Center, which has over 50 3D printing system s– UTEP was a natural choice since its also currently working on a $2.2 million grant to improve 3D printing for aerospace systems.
New DIY PhoneDrone Kit: Print your own Drone!
While the military perfects its own drone manufacturing processes, the little guy does the same. A new Kickstarter campaign has been launched to realize the production of a new pre-made and DIY Kit including electronics (motherboard and ESCs), hardware, four motors, and the 3D model files. The goal? To 3D print your own phone drone. With the largest part being 5.8 x 5.8 inches, it can be printed on your home desktop 3D printer, and better yet, controlled using your smartphone, including Android and iPhones. The creators claim there’s a wide spectrum of uses for a personal phone drone, even hundreds of uses, for a device that costs $199 pre-made and $99 for the starter kits. These uses include: virtual tour device, home monitoring robot, and an aerial camera for athletes.
Get your 3D Printed Museum Pieces Now
Do you love Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” but the poster version that hangs framed in your living room just isn’t quite as good as the real thing? If you are a fine art enthusiast and you’ve been to a museum gift shop after visiting the exhibitions, you may have found that the process of seeing your favorite pieces reproduced in poster or even postcard form is bittersweet. After all, posters don’t capture the brushstrokes and textures of the original pieces. But a new 3D printing service — Verus Art — will reproduce your favorite paintings for a fairly hefty price tag (anywhere from $1,000-8,000). It is changing the fine art reproduction landscape, allowing more people to own reproductions that mimic the originals. Verus Art is a collaboration between Océ, Arius Technology and Larson-Juhl, and the program is launching at the American Alliance of Museums Expo in Atlanta.
Verus Art is a complete package that includes “in-museum” scans, printing, framing, marketing and distribution. Museums, which will retain digital rights to the original paintings,will receive royalties for all 3D printed copies sold by Verus Art. The idea is to make this reproduction and marketing as simple as possible through a division of labor. If you are a major painting devotee but can’t afford originals, this may be just the service for you.
New and Improved 3D Scanner Modeled on Human Eye
While the verdict is still out on how in demand 3D printed reproductions of original artworks will be, we already know that demand for excellent 3D scanners is great. Microsoft sold 8 million Kinect units in 60 days, and now there’s a new scanner that may be even better than this scanner. The Kinect had problems producing high-def images and it was difficult to use outdoors, but the new Motion Contrast 3D Laser Scanner — a collaboration between Northwestern University, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research — has picked up where the Kinect scanner leaves off. The main improvement is the camera laser on the new scanner, which mimics the human eye in the way it scans: neurons fire when visual stimuli change rather than a constant scan occurring. The scanner’s inventors state that this could be useful in the fields of bioinformatics, robotics, manufacturing automation, and augmented reality.
Barilla Pasta has its Own Pasta Printer
While advances are made in the scanning of objects, printed food also sees progress as the pasta giant, Barilla, unveils its new pasta printer at EXPO Milan 2015. Barilla announced its plan to work with Dutch tech company TNO Eindhoven two years ago and then in August 2014, Barilla hosted a “Print Eat” contest — that invited everyone to submit designs for 3D printable pasta shapes. French designer, Loris Tupin, submitted a bio-dynamic blooming 3D model of pasta. This pasta blooms into a flower when you put it in boiling water! Barilla’s partnership with TNO Eindhoven continues to be productive, and those visiting this year’s EXPO Milan can see first hand the pasta printing progress, and perhaps sample some of the new designs too.
3D Printed Design Connectors, Nüdel
Moving from news of Barilla’s printed pasta noodles, to Nüdel, a new Kickstarter campaign has been launched to create nifty and modifiable plastic connectors that contribute to an architectural system allowing you to realize complex digital designs. For large-scale designs, connectors make all of the difference, and Nüdel wants to make this design and printing process that much easier by working with your uploaded design to optimize it while pricing it along the way. Nüdel envisions a sort of Thingiverse for architectural systems that rely on connectors, and in order to realize this vision, they need to raise about $40,000 USD by May 31, 2015. So far, they have raised only $3,508 USD, so those who are interested in large scale 3D printed architectural design services, it’s time to step up to the plate, use your noodle, and support Nüdel’s efforts.
And those are the stories we didn’t cover this week! Let us know your thoughts on any of these stories in the ‘Stories We Missed’ forum thread on 3DPB.com.