3D Printing: The Stories We Didn’t Cover This Week — May 30, 2015

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This week’s 3D printing news was filled with great designs.  From ic! berlin’s sunglass line, to Maurizio Casella’s Harley model, Polyhelo’s safer drone, and ALPA’s customized camera lens shades — 3D printing grows more sophisticated in both design details and customized customer service. Also, 3D printing has captured the U.N.’s attention, as China’s Anyprint 3D was visited by 90 education ministers. On the hardware side, the first 3D laser cutter, Glowforge, is being backed by former MakerBot executives and is due out soon and a Kickstarter campaign is being prepared by PhotonFluid for its Kast 3D printer. Finally, PyroGenesis has commenced shipment of ten of it 3D metal printing production systems to an anonymous customer in Asia’s manufacturing sector.

ic! berlin’s “plotic” sunglass line

3D printed accessories is the topic of this first story. Using Selective Laser Sintering Technology, ic! berlin offers a variety of styles in 8 differentberlin colors in its new “plotic” line of sunglasses. The company’s lead designer, Julius Iversen, explains the eyewear is 3D printed in a hypoallergenic, water and food safe Polyamid PA220 material. This material has a molecular structure similar to natural silk. Strong, tough, and 30% lighter than cellulose acetate, it allows for many post-production treatment possibities and is favored by ic! berlin for its versatility. The glasses were first unveiled at Munich’s Opti 2015 eyewear convention, and you can check them out on ic!berlin’s website.

3D Printed Harley Davidson

Maurizio Casella has already made a harleyname for himself by 3D printing high-quality luxury cars, and now he has outdone himself with a very detailed rendering of a Harley Davidsdon classic bike. Egypt-based Casella took on the classic American Harley, and overall this was quite an undertaking. The model required 75 printed components in total (divided into 20 STL files). What this means for anyone interested in printing one for themselves is that this isn’t exactly a model for beginners, but Maurizio has also written up a very detailed tutorial which will help you assemble the final model.

The bike was printed using an FDM printer that some of his friends are working on called the “Kentstrapper Volta”. The bike is made in PLA, sliced at 226° with simplify3d, with a 0.2 layer. It took 48 hours (two whole days!) to print. The wheel axles are mades from coat hanger parts, but other than that, everything else is 3D printed. Riding a Harley takes enough courage, and now it also takes some courage to 3D print a Harley bike thanks to Casella’s bold design.

Duct Fans Propel 3D Printed Drone to New Heights of Safety

Pasadena, California-based Polyhelo (all former Caltech researchers with a background in unmanned aerial systems and spacecraft) has just launched androne Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 for its new drone that is designed to be safer than many other drones. What’s the secret? The Nano Tornado uses four ducted fans instead of propellers– which can cut people during the inevitable crashes. The Nano Tornado drone is 3D printed in sturdy plastic and it is much easier to transport also because it is propeller free. The company has 17 days left to reach its funding goal to make the ground safer as the skies fill up with more and more 3D printed drones.

3D Printed Camera Lens Shades

Closer to the ground than drones, we still have issues with the age-old camera. People customize their cameras for their own photography purposes, so why not alpamake available customized lens shades too? This is the thought behind Zurich-based ALPA’s new customizable camera lens service. ALPA is a high-end camera manufacturer that has run into the problem of not being able to create one-size-fits-all lens shades for cameras that vary widely in their composition. Turning to 3D printing has helped this problem immensely. ALPA teamed up with production partner Rodenstock, and computed the paths of light for individual sensor sizes. Then a CAD model updates model changes and a custom lens shade is manufactured for the customer. The shades are printed with TPU by Additively, using an SLS 3D printer. The final shades are shock-resistant and light-weight, making them easy to carry — which is a major bonus for photographers who have to haul around lots of equipment at one time.

U.N. Education Ministers Tour China’s Anyprint 3D

UNESCO is the United Nations’ Education, Science, and Culture Organization, and this organization seems to be paying close attention to 3D printing developments internationally. edProof of this is a recent tour that 90 UNESCO education ministers took of China’s Anyprint 3D company headquarters. Anyprint 3D was eager to share its “3D Printing Innovation Education Training Center & Demonstration Base” with the education ministers. This center is dedicated to demonstrating how technology enhances classroom learning. Anyprint 3D has also developed new software — 3D Magic — which only takes about 15 minutes to learn before students are designing and building models of their own. Anyprint 3D clearly left the education ministers with plenty to take back to their respective countries when it comes to the intersection between 3D printing and childhood education.

New Affordable Laser Cutter Backed by Former MakerBot CEOs

On the hardware side of things, Bre Pettis and Jenny Lawton, formerly of MakerBot fame, are throwing theircandle weight behind a new project that can benefit many: an affordable (below $2,500) 3d laser printer called Glowforge. The company behind this new, first of its kind, laser 3D printer is comprised of individuals from bigger Silicon Valley companies — like Apple. They have some experience in the tech world and want to take it to another, more accessible, level. The company believes it can keep costs down because it has replaced expensive hardware for advanced software. Sensors and cameras are installed in the Glowforge, which relies on cloud-based supercomputers. Is it the wave of the laser cutting future? We’ll know soon, as it is due out later this year.

June Kickstarter Campaign for Kast 3D Printer

PhotonFluid is one step closer to launching its June Kickstarter campaign to fund its Kast 3D kast-3D-printer-in-room-1024x682printer, which promises to be the fastest light-based 3D printer out there (except the Carbon 3D System.) The trick is that the new printer does not rely on oxygen, allowing for the same fast-paced printing of both solid and hollow objects, according to PhotonFluid’s co-founder Jerry Liu. The rumored secret to the Kast printer’s success is that instead of a laser or a projector it relies on a special light engine as its light source. We’ll know more details about this high speed printer very soon since once the Kickstarter campaign has launched. Stay tuned for more details!

PyroGenesis Begins to Deliver Metal Production Systems

PyroGenesis Canada is a clean-tech company that specializes in the design, PyroGenesis-Buy-Metal-Powder-Plant-for-3D-Printing-Purposes-418239-2manufacturing, and marketing of plasma waste-to-energy systems and plasma torch products. The company has just announced its first shipment of ten metal 3D printing powder production systems to a major (and anonymous) international manufacturer in Asia. And there was a lot riding on this deal — $12.5MM to be exact. Last year the company signed a contract to provide ten plasma based 3D printing powder production platforms in the 2015-2016 year. Good news for all involved. The delivery is in process, with the contract honored, and some lucky group on the receiving end of a very lucrative deal.

Let us know your thoughts on any of these stories we failed to cover throughout the week.  Discuss in the 3D Printing Stories We Missed Forum thread on


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