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3D Printing: The Stories We Didn’t Cover This Week — July 4, 2015

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This week’s 3D printing news takes us from 3D printed penny boards to human organs and a Hyphae-based plant leaf structure. Also, a Norwegian man has discovered how to convert a 3D printer into an etching machine. Leapfrog and CGTrader are sponsoring a “3D printed spare parts” challenge in which you could be the winner of a $2,500 Leapfrog Creatr 3D printer. A new service, ascribe, allows digital artists to copyright and display their creations. Finally, in filament news, Polymaker has partnered with Graphene 3D Lab to carry and distribute established filaments, while developing new ones in a potentially game-changing business arrangement for the 3D printing industry’s filament sector.

3D Print Your Own Penny (Skate) Board

rew0There are many 3D printable projects that result in a highly practical object, and it’s hard to imagine one more practical than a skateboard. A MyMiniFactory tutorial, from Simone Fontana, shows you how to 3D print a Penny Board. The board is broken up into five pieces and pulled together with metal rods and 3D printed pegs. The board is easily assembled into one piece, and you can make it fully functional simply by adding store bought wheels. Voilà! What’s cooler than riding around town on your own 3D printed penny board, which won’t cost you more than pennies to make?

Norweigan Turns 3D Printer into Etching Machine

rew6Arvid Mortensen, a Norwegian maker, has figured out a way to transform his 3D printer into an etching (PCB) machine. To do this, Mortensen relies on a magic marker and a steel rod. He uses a copper plate with a magic marker to cover all the parts that shouldn’t be etched away, and his printer is also equipped with the steel rod to scratch away the PCB ink pattern. (He generated the PCB’s GCode using FlatCAM, special software for milling PCBs.) The copper plate is dowsed in ferric chloride to etch away the copper and create the pattern of the PCB. You can view a video of this process here.

Design Studio Displays Ember’s Fine 3D Printing Resolution

rew1The design studio Nervous System used Autodesk’s Ember 3D printer to print fine resolution Hyphae structure modeled after a plant leaf’s veins. The studio claims that it has developed an algorithm to three dimensions, and has used this Hyphae algorithm to generate patterns for jewelry, lamps, sculpture, and even architecture. The Ember has a small build volume, which proved compatible with the Hyphae software used to 3D print a spiral with branches down to as small as .35 millimeters in diameter. These branches were all printed with no supports, taking about 4 hours on Ember’s medium print settings. The studio credits Ember’s use of DLP projection to cure resin layers into detailed objects, and its own innovative software, for its successful print job.

One Step Closer to Stem Cell Injected 3D Printed Organs

lungAlready the second highest paid female CEO in the US from satellite radio services, Martine Rothblatt initially developed United Therapeutics Inc. in the hope of solving a very personal problem. This is the need for a lung transplant for her daughter, who suffers from pulmonary arterial hypertension. United Therapeutics Inc. is dedicated to developing drugs and machinery focused on treating this and other chronic conditions, and one of its projects is to develop machines that allow the use of discarded lungs for transplants. The ultimate goal for her company, however, is organ harvesting using 3D printing technology. This process involves printing an organ scaffold from materials compatible with the human body before isolating the sick patient’s cells. One of the easiest ways to avoid rejection of the transplanted organ, this method uses a patient’s own cells to create the transplanted organ.

Win a Leapfrog Creatr HS Printer in a Spare Parts Challenge

spare partsIn addition to human organs, another thing that 3D printing is used for is making device components that break easily: these are parts you wish you had a spare for. Well, Leapfrog and CG Trader are challenging you to enter your own “spare parts” designs and possibly win a Leapfrog Creatr HS Printer, worth $2,500, among other prizes. All you have to do is enter your own spare parts designs by the deadline on August 30, 2015. There’s still time to mull over what spare parts are hard to replace and in demand: then put your design skills to work making parts that will make friends, family members, and contest judges happiest.

New Service, ascribe, Aimed at Digital Artists

ascribeA new service, ascribe, is aimed at providing digital artists with intellectual property protections by allowing them to authenticate, transfer, loan, and allocate their digital work. They can also use the service to track digital property, and buy and sell digital work over a secure marketplace. Ultimately, the goal is to bring digital art more legitimacy and authenticity. Already, over 600 artists have registered more than 2,600 digital works. This includes 3D printing-related work. For example, ascribe works with Stilnest, a marketplace selling 3D printed jewelry, registering designs and enforcing exclusivity agreements. Ascribe has plans to expand its digital intellectual property protections to media, health, and software sectors in the future.

Polymaker Partners with Graphene 3D Lab

rew2In filament news, Chinese company Polymaker has partnered with Canada’s Graphene 3D Lab to carry and produce more of its filaments. Beginning in July, the new partners’ online stores will each begin selling the products and the two businesses are in the process of developing more graphene filaments. Polymaker benefits from this arrangement by receiving new filament to their product line and Graphene 3D Lab receives greater production and distribution capacity; the company will also be carrying Polymaker’s filaments, such as PolyMAX PLA, PolyFlex, and PolyWood on its website.

What do you think of these stories? Let us know in this week’s Stories We Missed forum thread over at

stories we missed july 4


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