New Patent Filing by Stratasys Possibly Shows Next Steps

New Patent Filing by Stratasys Possibly Shows Next Steps

FDM with Invisible Seams While there are a huge number of variations on the basic design of 3D printers, most printers either use an extruder to distribute the material onto a build plate, which is known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or use a high-powered device to fuse together liquid particles of material in a build tank, called stereolithography (SLA). Regardless of the method of production, both types of printers produce pieces layer by layer. While layers are clearly visible with FDM, however, you get a much smoother finished product with printers that use SLA technologies. If the recent patent filing by Stratasys comes to fruition, this might be about to change. The Debate Since nearly the beginning, 3D printers have chosen their side in the debate between FDM and SLA. FDM fans love that the machines produce less mess and SLA advocates believe that the process makes stronger parts without the visible seams found in FDM. If, however, an FDM process was able to produce the solid exterior found in SLA prints, this could upend the entire debate. The Patent Filing by Stratasys In Stratasys’ recent patent filing, the company proposes technology that would hide the seams of an FDM printer. According to 3dprint.com, the filing explains,”The method includes generating a contour tool path that defines an interior region of a layer of the 3D model, where the contour path comprises a start point and a stop point, and where at least one of the start point and the stop point is located within the interior region of the layer.” Essentially, this means that the printer would print...
What Can Be Done about the 3D Printed Gun?

What Can Be Done about the 3D Printed Gun?

The fact that a 3D printer can produce something out of nothing is what makes them so revolutionary and intriguing. It is also, however, what makes them a little bit scary. Once the manufacturer turns the printer loose into the world, there is little that they can do to regulate what is created on their machines. In a recent example, however, the a number of companies have stepped in to try to keep their machines out of the hands of at least one group, Defense Distributed, the makers of the notorious 3D printed gun. The Gun In May of 2013, Defense Distributed announced that they had developed and printed the world’s first 3D printed gun. Led by Cody Wilson, the radical libertarian group believes that arms should be freely distributed. Their first downloadable gun, the Liberator, was the organization’s solution to creating universal firearm access. The Liberator is assembled from 16 printable pieces and a basic nail that is used as the firing pin. When Defense Distributed prints their version, they insert a small piece of metal into the gun so that it complies Undetectable Firearms Act. This piece, however, can easily be omitted, which means that the gun can pass through metal detectors undetected. Later that month, Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg was invited to see the Liberator in action. Test-fired with the help of a 20-foot rope, the 3D printed gun was successfully fired. Immediately, the gun caused quite a stir. Gun advocates showed their support by downloading the files more than 100,000 times in the first two days it was available. On the other side of the...
Coming Soon: a 3D Printed Jet Engine

Coming Soon: a 3D Printed Jet Engine

Future of 3D Printing Although we have already seen 3D printed cars and the innovation of a 3D printer that can print parts that have the electronic components already embedded inside, many manufacturers still see 3D printing as a way to produce prototypes and trinkets, rather than fully-functional parts. Today’s announcement that a company has 3D printed a fully functioning jet engine, just may be able to change this perception. The Engines Created by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne Australia, the two printed jet engines are fully functional, air craft-quality parts. The group used a gas turbine engine as a model, which they carefully scanned and reproduced. The creation time from start to finish for the two models was approximately one year. Now, however, they can produce duplicate parts in about six days. Typically, a similar part built with traditional manufacturing methods would take about three months to create. Right now, the main purpose of the two jet engines is to showcase the power of 3D printing manufacturing. The first stops for the engines are to the Australian International Airshow and Microturbo, a French aerospace company in Toulouse. Although Monash has yet to release very many details about the production process, what is known is that Monash believes that they will have jet engine components in test flights within the year and commercially available between two and three years from now. While there are already 3D components in many commercial jet planes, a fully functional 3D printed jet engine is a true manufacturing revolution. With innovations like the research done from Monash and the fact that the country...
Winners of YouMagine Contest Seek to Advance the 3D Printing Industry

Winners of YouMagine Contest Seek to Advance the 3D Printing Industry

What’s New in 3D The world of 3D printing is in a state of constant innovation. As new companies pop up and announce their take on the additive manufacturing process, they create technologies that look at the entire printing process in a slightly different way. While this can make it difficult for new entrants into the market to really decide which printer is right for them, it is also paving the way toward better products that truly solve customer needs for larger build spaces or more fully functioning parts. The recent YouMagine contest, “Develop a New 3D Printing Technology Challenge” is one great example of how organizations around the country are helping the 3D printing industry develop future technologies. On February 13th, YouMagine announced their two winners, who also received Ultimaker Original printers. The Contest With this contest, YouMagine looked at both the level of innovation found in the new technology, as well as the actual practicality and achievability of the design. The online publication then examined the open source community to ensure that the chosen design was unique and not already being worked on in open source circles. Finally, the projects were chosen based on the fact that they opened doors to new possibilities in 3D printing. The Winners The first of the two winning technologies comes from Laird Popkin who designed a dual nozzle 3D printer. Intended to reduce the time it takes to print large-scale items, one nozzle is very large and the other is smaller. This design allows the printer to utilize the small nozzle for more detailed work and the larger nozzle for print...
Voxel8 Develops First 3D Electronics Printer

Voxel8 Develops First 3D Electronics Printer

Advancements in 3D Technology While the 3D printers currently available on the market are great for prototyping and creating models, it is difficult to create pieces with fully functioning electrical components. With the development of Voxel8’s 3D electronics printer, this just may be about to change. The Print When printing a piece on the Voxel8, the process starts out similar to a traditional additive manufacturing printer, with the piece being created layer by layer. It is when you are ready to insert electrical components, however, that the machine truly sets itself apart from other printers. If a circuit board is required in the piece, the machine simply pauses until you are able to insert the component. With a kinematically coupled bed, users are able to simply remove the piece in order to make insertion of the components easy. Then, the printer uses a special type of conductive ink in order to make the piece electronic. While most printers limit the types of materials, the Voxel8 system allows you to co-print matrix materials for greater functionality. With the ability to add electrical components and have greater control of your materials, an electrical piece can come off the Voxel8 fully functional. The Design While it may seem as if designing a piece that has the circuitry printed right in may be a complicated process, the developers explain that the software is actually rather simple to use. Autodesk has been working with Voxel8 to create a program from their Spark platform that allows users to easily insert electric components right into a traditional CAD design. With the functionality of the printer and...

Autodesk Well Positioned in 3D Printing Market

Advancements in 3D Printing In order to take your 3D part from concept to tangible piece, the part must first be modeled in 3D software. Autodesk, the company behind software like AutoCAD, Maya, 3ds Max, Inventor, and Fusion 360, has been rapidly incorporating 3D modeling capabilities into their existing software. Between Autodesk’s well-established software programs and new software in development, Autodesk is charging head first into the 3D printing market. Over the last year, Autodesk has released a variety of app-based software that is specifically designed for 3D printing. These apps include 123D Catch, a program that allows users to take a series of photos of a model that are transformed into a 3D design, 123D Design, a basic 3D modeling program, and 123D Make, a program that allows users to create 3D models in slices from individual layers. With these apps combined with Autodesk’s Spark, an additional software platform, Autodesk has been described as the “Android of 3D printing.” Autodesk Talks About the Future Recently, IDG Connect was able to sit down with Aubrey Cattell, the Senior Director of Business Development and Operations. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits about the interview. Cattell reiterates that, although the printing industry is 25 years old, it hasn’t yet blown up. In fact, there have only been 250,000 3D printers sold over the last 25 years. Despite this, Cattell believes that we are on the cusp of huge growth, citing studies that predict that the industry will grow to $16 billion in 2018. Cattell compares the current state of 3D printing to a “Homebrew Computer Club.” Essentially, at this...