3D Printing: The Stories We Didn’t Cover This Week — May 16, 2015

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This week’s stories we didn’t cover include several about filament, the stuff that printed things are made of. Lenovo has announced a $3 million investment in Polymaker for filament development, an Amsterdam-based outfit — Space Junk 3D — has created a material that looks like marble, and Laywood just got more flexible with the rolling out of Laywood-Flex, which simulates the flexibility found in a natural tree branch. In non-filament related news, Launzer makes it possible to print your favorite characters from Legendary Games’ Year 0: Tactics; you can 3D print your own bow tie rigged with a spy camera; and Queensland has dropped efforts to pass legislation targeting 3D printing guns. Also, ethical fine jewelry has found a friend in 3D printing, and open source affordable robot hand creator Open Bionics’ 3D printed hand has been short-listed in the Inclusive Technology competition.

Queensland Drops 3D Printed Gun Legislation

I3d-printing-guns-billn May 2014, the Australian state of Queensland introduced a bill outlawing the 3D printing of guns, but that has been short-lived as the controversial legislation has been dropped. As the Australian Labor Party took control of the parliament, the bill lapsed and the decision was made to not reinstate it — favoring use of the already established harsh penalties for the illegal manufacturing of weapons.

This news bodes well for those who believe in the unregulated printing of guns, and not so well for those who fear that such guns will end up in the wrong hands. The Queensland legislature believes that’s a risk worth taking, as it seeks to balance the “right to 3D print” with the “right to be free from a world of proliferating weapons.”

3D Printing Plays Role in Online Fine Jewelry Service

Bespoke-ring-1940x1252Speaking of “queens,” the Dutch jewelry house that provides Europe’s families with their bling — their fine jewelry — known as Royal Asscher has gotten behind a new on-line fine jewelry shop that provides rare, colored conflict-free jewels. This company, House of Eléonore, will use a 3D service to provide online customers better sizing for rings using a 3D tool and they will also receive a 3D printed version of customized jewelry too, so they can assess it. According to Royal Asscher, non-mined diamonds are the future of fine jewelry, and a service like House of Eléonore’s will be in greater demand. 3D printing is right in there, providing tools to allow high-end jewelry to achieve its “ethical” heights while also simply providing an updated and convenient service.

Open Bionics Shortlisted in Inclusive Technology Competition

While some worry about whether they haopen-bionics-3D-printed-handve the exact ring size down, others would simply like a functional working hand, right? 3D printed prosthetics for the disabled is a very successful application of this technology, and recently the company Open Bionics has been short-listed for their prosthetic hand entry in an Inclusive Technology competition that could net them £50,000. Open Bionics specializes in the design and manufacturing of open source, affordable robot hands, and this competition is an excellent fit for their work. Ten finalists in the competition will be selected in June, with the winner to be announced in March 2016. Our fingers are crossed for this innovative project. As more 3D printed applications reach the public, people will begin to catch on to just how much 3D printing can do. Open Bionics gets a hand for its remarkable efforts so far!

You Can Print Your Own Bow Tie Spy Camera!

bowtieThe Raspberry Pi costs around $35 and it is wildly popular due to all of the fun things you can use it for. This next project is one example of such a project: mount a Raspbery Pi-controlled camera onto a 3D printed bow tie. The Raspberry 2 (900MHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and four USB 2.0 ports) functions as a fully operable PC, so long as it has a memory card. With that and a portable battery pack, microSD card with SD card adapter, Ethernet cable, Micro USB cable, Wi-Fi adapter, and Raspberry Pi camera module, you too can have your very own spy camera.

Year 0: Tactics Now Available as 3D Printable Models

Iyearn an effort to further connect the gaming world, which increasingly occurs online or in the cloud, and 3D printing, Legendary Games has announced a partnership with Launzer‘s 3D model marketplace. This deal allows people to print characters from Legendary Games’ Year.0: Tactics. You will be able to go to Launzer’s website to download and print your favorite Year 0: Tactics characters, which 3D printing still today.

Space Junk Offers New Marble-Like Material

marbWhile many look to metals to provide relief from plastics, Space Junk has decided to go a different route and simulate the look of marble using gypsum. 3D Systems originally turned gypsum, which is sandstone, into a 3D printable powder and Space Junk takes gypsum to another level, giving it a marble-like appearance in a dipping process used to coat 3D printed objects in resin. Space Junk’s designers hand-polish the material to create the marble-like effect. The objects printed using this material are delicate and can not touch water.

New Laywood 3D Print Filament

Ifiln other material news, German Inventor Kai Parthy has made his name pushing filament to the next level; and given the demand, as stated above, for alternatives to plastics, this is no small business Parthy is in. Parthy’s latest is an excellent example of the future of filament. In 2012, he introduced Laywood, which is a combination of recycled wood and polymer, and now Laywood-Flex has arrived with the mission of recreating the natural tree branches qualities. If you pick up a tree branch you will instantly notice that there’s a degree you can bend it before it snaps. Right? It appears the new Laywood-Flex emulates this flexible quality, offering yet another option for those seeking to print with wood-like materials but also wanting to improve objects’ flexible quality.

Lenovo Invests $3 Million in Polymaker

polyBy this week’s news alone you can see how essential filament development is to 3D printing. The people at Lenovo also seem to have caught on to this fact, and have invested $3 million in Shanghai-based Polymaker for the development of filament, and the ongoing manufacturing and distribution of these products globally.

That’s this week’s news we didn’t cover! Discuss in the Stories We Missed forum thread over at

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