3D Printing

Assembly Line

AMGPT: a Large Language Model for Contextual Querying in Additive Manufacturing

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🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Large Language Model

🏢 Organizations: Carnegie Mellon University

Generalized large language models (LLMs) such as GPT-4 may not provide specific answers to queries formulated by materials science researchers. These models may produce a high-level outline but lack the capacity to return detailed instructions on manufacturing and material properties of novel alloys. Enhancing a smaller model with specialized domain knowledge may provide an advantage over large language models which cannot be retrained quickly enough to keep up with the rapid pace of research in metal additive manufacturing (AM). We introduce “AMGPT,” a specialized LLM text generator designed for metal AM queries. The goal of AMGPT is to assist researchers and users in navigating the extensive corpus of literature in AM. Instead of training from scratch, we employ a pre-trained Llama2-7B model from Hugging Face in a Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) setup, utilizing it to dynamically incorporate information from ∼50 AM papers and textbooks in PDF format. Mathpix is used to convert these PDF documents into TeX format, facilitating their integration into the RAG pipeline managed by LlamaIndex. Expert evaluations of this project highlight that specific embeddings from the RAG setup accelerate response times and maintain coherence in the generated text.

Read more at arXiv

Apple Watch to Use 3D Printing Components in Upcoming Models

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🔖 Topics: Partnership, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Apple, Bright Laser Technologies

Starting later this year (2nd half of 2024), some components in the Apple Watch will be manufactured using 3D printing technology. This comes after Apple’s growing confidence in 3D printing for mass production.

While Apple experimented with 3D printing for the Apple Watch Series 9 last year, it wasn’t mass-produced. Extensive testing during that time seems to have significantly improved the efficiency of 3D printing for large-scale manufacturing.

Bright Laser Technologies (BLT) is now supplying the 3D-printed components for the Apple Watch, a shift from its role as an equipment supplier last year.

The cost advantages of 3D printing seem to have been a major factor in Apple’s decision. With successful implementation, BLT’s shipments of 3D-printed components are expected to grow in the coming years.

Read more at MacObserver

Why 3D Printing Buildings Leads to Problems

Finnair upgrades its Airbus A320 fleet with new 3D printed components

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✍️ Author: Alex Tyrer-Jones

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: AM Craft, Finnair

Aviation manufacturing firm AM Craft is supplying 3D printed aircraft interior parts to commercial airline company Finnair.

The FDM 3D printed blanking panels will be installed into Finnair’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, replacing existing flip-down video monitors that are said to be heavy and outdated.

More than 300 of these 3D printed components are being delivered on a just-in-time basis, with Finnair looking to upgrade the Passenger Service Units (PSUs) of 17 A320s. The aviation firm believes this 3D printing strategy will minimize excess inventory and eliminate costs associated with its existing supply chain.

Read more at 3D Printing Industry

BMW Group expands use of 3D-printed, customised robot grippers

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🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: BMW, Synera

The BMW Group now also manufactures many work aids and tools for its own production system in various 3D printing processes. From tailor-made orthoses for employees, and teaching and production aids, to large, weight-optimised robot grippers, used for such things as CFRP roofs and entire floor assemblies. At the “Additive Manufacturing Campus” in Oberschleißheim, the BMW Group’s central hub for production, research and training in 3D printing, more than 300,000 parts were “printed” in 2023. Furthermore, over 100,000 printed parts were produced per year across all the plants that form the global production network, from Spartanburg and the German plants to sites in Asia.

Additive manufacturing processes have been used on a daily basis for a long time at BMW Group Plant Landshut. For many years, these have included moulds for the manufacturing of aluminium cylinder heads, which are printed three-dimensionally using the sand casting process. Here, sand is repeatedly applied in thin layers and stuck together using binders. This makes it possible to create moulds for the manufacturing of very complex structures, which are then filled with liquefied aluminium.

For a number of years, the BMW Group’s Lightweight Construction and Technology Centre in Landshut has been using a particularly large gripper element, which was made using the 3D printing process. Weighing around 120 kilograms, the gripper for a robot can be manufactured in just 22 hours and is then used on a press in the production of all CFRP roofs for BMW M GmbH models. The press is first loaded with the CFRP raw material. The gripper is simply rotated 180 degrees to remove the finished roofs. Compared to conventional grippers, the version manufactured using 3D printing was roughly 20 percent lighter, which in turn extend the operating life of the robots and also reduced wear and tear on the system, as well as cutting maintenance intervals. The combined use for two steps also reduced the cycle time. A unique feature of the robot gripper is the ideal combination of two different 3D printing processes. While the vacuum grippers and the clamps for the needle gripper to lift the CFRP raw material are made using selective laser sintering (SLS), the large roof shell and bearing structure are manufactured using large scale printing (LSP). LSP can be used to produce large components economically and sustainably. The process uses injection moulding granules and recycled plastics, while CFRP residual material can also be used and recycled. Compared to the use of primary raw materials, CO2 emissions when manufacturing the gripper are roughly 60 percent lower.

Read more at BMW Press

New Technique Improves Finishing Time for 3D Printed Machine Parts

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✍️ Author: Matt Shipman

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Quality Assurance

🏢 Organizations: North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University researchers have demonstrated a technique that allows people who manufacture metal machine parts with 3D printing technologies to conduct automated quality control of manufactured parts during the finishing process. The technique allows users to identify potential flaws without having to remove the parts from the manufacturing equipment, making production time more efficient. Specifically, the researchers have integrated 3D printing, automated machining, laser scanning and touch-sensitive measurement technologies with related software to create a largely automated system that produces metal machine components that meet critical tolerances.

When end users need a specific part, they pull up a software file that includes the measurements of the desired part. A 3D printer uses this file to print the part, which includes metal support structures. Users then take the printed piece and mount it in a finishing device using the support structure. At this point, lasers scan the mounted part to establish its dimensions. A software program then uses these dimensions and the desired critical tolerances to guide the finishing device, which effectively polishes out any irregularities in the part. As this process moves forward, the finishing device manipulates the orientation of the printed part so that it can be measured by a touch-sensitive robotic probe that ensures the part’s dimensions are within the necessary parameters.

Read more at NCSU News

MIT spin-off Rapid Liquid Print raises $7M for 3D printing

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✍️ Author: Dean Takahashi

🔖 Topics: Funding Event, Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Rapid Liquid Print, HZG Group, BMW, MIT

MIT spin-off Rapid Liquid Print has raised $7 million in funding for its novel liquid-based 3D printing technology. Boston-based Rapid Liquid Print was founded as an additive manufacturing startup in 2015 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Germany’s HZG Group led the investment round, joined by BMW i Ventures and MassMutual through MM Catalyst Fund (MMCF).

The name of the company says it all: Rapid Liquid Print is a new 3D printing process developed at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab in Boston. In this innovative process, a liquid object is “drawn” in three dimensions within a gel suspension. A gantry system injects a liquid material mixture into a container filled with a specifically engineered gel, drawing the desired object into three-dimensional space via a nozzle. The gel holds the object in suspension – as if in zero gravity – while the object cures during printing.

The entire printing process takes minutes and requires no additional support structures to be printed. The printed objects can be used immediately without post-processing.

Read more at VentureBeat

UMaine’s new 3D printer smashes former Guinness World Record to advance the next generation of advanced manufacturing

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🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: University of Maine

Surpassing its own 2019 Guinness World Record for the largest polymer 3D printer, UMaine unveiled a next-generation printer that is four times larger than its predecessor to catalyze the future of sustainable manufacturing in a number of industries.

The new printer, dubbed Factory of the Future 1.0 (FoF 1.0), was unveiled on April 23 at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) to an audience that included representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, the Maine State Housing Authority, industry partners and other stakeholders who plan to utilize this technology. The thermoplastic polymer printer is designed to print objects as large as 96 feet long by 32 feet wide by 18 feet high, and can print up to 500 pounds per hour. It offers new opportunities for eco-friendly and cost-effective manufacturing for numerous industries, including national security, affordable housing, bridge construction, ocean and wind energy technologies and maritime vessel fabrication. The design and fabrication of this world-first printer and hybrid manufacturing system was made possible with support from the Office of the Secretary of Defense through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Read more at UMaine News

3D-Printed Molds Speed New Unilever Bottle Designs to Market

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✍️ Author: Matt Reynolds

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Packaging

🏢 Organizations: Unilever, Serioplast Global Services

For Unilever, bottles that are stretch blow molded with a 3D printed tool are nearly indistinguishable from the final product produced through traditional metal tooling processes, and get product to market more quickly.

Stefano Cademartiri, CAD and prototyping owner at Unilever and Flavio Migliarelli, R&D design manager at packaging supplier Serioplast Global Services have worked hand in hand to test the viability of 3D-printed molds for low-volume stretch blow molding applications. This practice has accelerated prototyping and pilot testing, cutting lead time by six weeks and costs by as much as 90%.

Typically, Serioplast would either directly 3D print Unilever bottle mockups for prototypes, or blow mold them. But until recently, 3D-printed mockups didn’t represent the right feel or transparency and were not reliable enough to be sent to consumers. However, building production-quality samples through SBM requires expensive metal tooling, adding six to nine weeks of lead time to a typical pilot testing phase due to the complexity of the process and outsourcing the production of the mold.

These SBM molds are traditionally machined from metal by CNC, which requires specialized equipment, CAM software, and skilled labor. The production of metal tooling is generally outsourced to service providers offering four- to eight-week lead time that cost anywhere from $2,000 to over $100,000, depending on the complexity of the part and the number of parts per mold.

Read more at PackWorld

Formlabs Form 4 Beats Injection Molding Machine in Speed and Quality

Holcim launches Phoenix, the first-of-its-kind circular 3D-printed concrete bridge

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🔖 Topics: 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏢 Organizations: Holcim, ETH Zurich, incremental3D

Holcim launches Phoenix, the first-of-its-kind 3D-printed concrete masonry bridge built with 10 tons of recycled materials, at its Innovation Hub in Europe. Using its proprietary ECOCycle® circular technology, Holcim developed a custom concrete ink for Phoenix with recycled materials inside. Phoenix demonstrates how circular construction combined with 3D concrete printing can enable low-carbon infrastructure applications.

Circular construction, using computational design and 3D printing, allows for a reduction of up to 50% of the materials used with no compromise in performance. Circular by design, Phoenix stands solely through compression without reinforcement, with blocks that can be easily disassembled and recycled. Holcim and its partners are now exploring how Phoenix could be scaled up to provide more generalized sustainable infrastructure solutions.

Read more at Informed Infrastructure

Metal steam turbine blade shows cutting-edge potential for critical, large 3D-printed parts

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🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Siemens, Lincoln Electric

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory became the first to 3D-print large rotating steam turbine blades for generating energy in power plants. Led by partner Siemens Technology, the U.S. research and development hub of Siemens AG, the project demonstrates that wire arc additive manufacturing is viable for the scalable production of critical components exceeding 25 pounds. These parts have traditionally been made using casting and forging facilities that have mostly moved abroad.

While the wait for large castings and forgings has decreased to seven or eight months, ORNL was able to print the blade in 12 hours. Including machining, a blade can be finished in two weeks, Kulkarni said. Although wire arc is a prominent 3D-printing technology, it had not previously been used to make a rotating component of this scale.

Read more at Oak Ridge National Lab News

A backyard factory: How robots empower you to create your own products

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✍️ Author: David Gewirtz

🔖 Topics: Backyard Factory, 3D Printing

Traditional machine shops have been in decline for years, especially in the US. In part, that’s due to the exporting of skills to other countries, and part is due to the rise of more modern technologies, like robotic-based fabrication. While robots have certainly transformed large factories, they are also making it possible to create very sophisticated production facilities in spare bedrooms, family garages, and backyard sheds. Most smaller-scale robotic manufacturing devices will fit on a desk, which is why we call this category desktop fabrication. In fact, most prosumer-level 3D printers will fit on the corner of a desk.

All told, in the seven years since ZDNET’s editor-in-chief encouraged me to start exploring 3D printing, I’ve designed and built 176 projects. Obviously, we don’t have time to survey them all, so we’ll look briefly at some of my favorites and show how each of the robots helped make them possible, starting with 3D printers.

Read more at ZDNET

This 3D printer can watch itself fabricate objects

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✍️ Author: Adam Zewe

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: MIT, Inkbit, ETH Zurich

Researchers from MIT, the MIT spinout Inkbit, and ETH Zurich have developed a new 3D inkjet printing system that works with a much wider range of materials. Their printer utilizes computer vision to automatically scan the 3D printing surface and adjust the amount of resin each nozzle deposits in real-time to ensure no areas have too much or too little material.

Since it does not require mechanical parts to smooth the resin, this contactless system works with materials that cure more slowly than the acrylates which are traditionally used in 3D printing. Some slower-curing material chemistries can offer improved performance over acrylates, such as greater elasticity, durability, or longevity.

In addition, the automatic system makes adjustments without stopping or slowing the printing process, making this production-grade printer about 660 times faster than a comparable 3D inkjet printing system.

Read more at MIT News

HP and Materialise Partner to Drive Volume 3D Printing

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🔖 Topics: Partnership, Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: HP, Materialise, AM-Flow

As an HP preferred partner, Materialise will provide the industry with an end-to-end manufacturing solution that is integrated with an additive technology that is designed for productivity and scale — MJF and Metal Jet systems. As part of this partnership, HP will help customers identify meaningful use cases for the software platform, as well as showcase the solution at HP demo facilities and public events.

The seamless connectivity between HP AM technology and Materialise CO-AM enables users to create workflows that improve traceability, quality control, and machine utilization. Optimized 3D print job management allows production leads to track planned and actual printer activities and optimize machine time. To ensure continuous production, real-time machine monitoring provides operators and engineers with critical process data, including build status, material usage, and machine sensor data. This data can be collected and stored in log files of 3D-printed jobs to enhance traceability and quality control. In addition to their 3D printers, Metal Jet users can connect process-relevant HP machinery to the CO-AM platform, such as the Powder Management Station, Curing Station, and Powder Removal Station. This integration allows Metal Jet users to streamline the post-processing of metal parts within the manufacturing process.

Read more at Materialise Press

RIP 3D Printing: The Cart Before the Horse

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✍️ Author: Joris Peels

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

For over a decade, the industry has largely relied on investor funding, but the time has come to focus on generating genuine revenue and profits. This presents a challenge. Few companies in the sector are highly profitable; others might be profitable but are burdened by debt. Additionally, there’s a limited pool of firms experiencing both high revenue and growth.

The most promising avenue for industry growth lies in “rapid applications.” These would allow consumers to easily purchase 3D-printed goods directly from the additive manufacturing (AM) industry itself. This approach enables quicker design iterations, leading to better products. Selling these products could generate revenue more rapidly than selling machines or services would, providing us with the funds needed to expand the industry based on these profitable applications.

Several challenges are holding the 3D printing industry back, as many have pointed out. One major hurdle is the limited accessibility of CAD software: it’s expensive, difficult to master, and complex. Because so few people can create CAD files, the vast majority can’t effectively use 3D printing or design the products that are needed. In fact, the number of people proficient in CAD is roughly equivalent to the number who speak Esperanto—another “revolution in stasis,” so to speak.

The issue is with the way the market operates. The pace of profit is glacially slow, akin to a drop of tree sap crystallizing around trapped prehistoric insects. We introduce a novel twist on an old concept—left-handed stereolithography with ovens, for thin items—and spend six months developing it. We then secure a million dollars from an individual whose primary talent lies in charming pension funds out of other people’s money. Obtaining funds from a sovereign wealth fund isn’t like taking candy from a baby; it’s like taking money from generations of unborn babies. This financing process alone can take months.

Read more at 3Dprint.com

Automated AM Production Line for Polymer Parts at BMW x DyeMansion, EOS & Grenzebach

How Data-Powered 3D Printers Will Change Manufacturing

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✍️ Author: Julie Van Der Hoop

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing, Manufacturing Analytics

Similar to how autonomous vehicles collect and apply data to continuously improve a car’s ability to drive, connected 3D printers can use collected data for artificial intelligence-powered automation. During each print job, 3D printers produce large quantities of data that are sent to and stored in the cloud. The print job data—ripe for AI, machine learning, and automation-based product features—can then be fed to algorithms, which printers and users can access through the cloud. Among other things, these data help businesses make decisions about what parts to print and how best to print them, while improving the quality of print jobs.

Read more at Quality Digest

🖨️ Redwire BioFabrication Facility Successfully Prints First Human Knee Meniscus on ISS

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🔖 Topics: In-space Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Redwire, NASA

Redwire Corporation announced that it has successfully 3D bioprinted the first human knee meniscus on orbit using its upgraded 3D BioFabrication Facility (BFF) on the International Space Station (ISS). This milestone opens the door to improved treatments for meniscal injuries, one of the most common injuries for U.S. Service Members.

The print returned to Earth onboard the SpaceX Crew-6 Mission for analysis following successful print operations in July. Before returning to Earth, the print was cultured for 14 days on the ISS in Redwire’s Advanced Space Experiment Processor (ADSEP). The print was conducted as part of the BFF-Meniscus-2 Investigation with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center for Biotechnology (4D Bio3), a biomedical research center that explores and adapts promising biotechnologies for warfighter benefit. The investigation was conducted by NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Warren “Woody” Hoburg, and Stephen Bowen, and UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi.

Read more at Redwire Newsroom

🖨️ Apple Tests Using 3D Printers to Make Devices in Major Manufacturing Shift

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Mark Gurman

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏭 Vertical: Computer and Electronic

🏢 Organizations: Apple

The new technique uses a type of 3D printing called binder jetting to create the device’s general outline at close to its actual size, or what is known in manufacturing as the “near net shape.” The print is made with a powdered substance, which afterward goes through a process called sintering. That uses heat and pressure to squeeze the material into what feels like traditional steel. The exact design and cutouts are then milled like in the previous process.

Apple and its suppliers have been quietly developing the technique for at least three years. The work is still nascent and, for the time being, will be reserved for lower-volume products. Most Apple Watch casings are aluminum, not stainless steel. The company hasn’t made headway on mass-producing 3D-printed enclosures with that material, which is also used for Macs and iPads, as well as lower-end iPhones. But the company is discussing bringing materials that can be 3D-printed, like steel and titanium, to more devices.

Read more at Bloomberg

AI Optimization: New Opportunities for 3D Printing

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✍️ Author: Lucia Gartner

🔖 Topics: Simulation, Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: PhysicsX, Velo3D

AI accomplishes this feat by solving the CFD or FEA equations in a non-traditional way: machine learning examines, and then emulates, the overall physical behavior of a design, not every single math problem that underlies that behavior. This uses far fewer computational resources while achieving an extremely robust evaluation of the design in every applicable environment. Hundreds of thousands of design candidates can be simulated and evaluated in less than a day. Bottom line: Applying AI amplifies the typical 10-20% performance improvements of simulation tools alone—up to 30% and higher. (Of course it follows that real-world testing of finished parts remains an essential task to ensure that all quality and performance metrics are met.)

Velo3D requested PhysicsX to design and simulate a solution. PhysicsX has deep experience in simulation, optimization and designing for tight packages (from considerable work in F1 racing and expertise in data science, machine learning and engineering simulation), plus proprietary simulation-validated tools that can automatically iterate on designs using machine learning/AI-based simulations. The PhysicsX approach involves creating a robust loop between the CFD, generative geometry creation tools and an AI controller to train a geometric deep learning surrogate. The surrogate’s speed, producing high-quality CFD results in under a second, is then exploited with a super-fast geometrical generative method in another machine learning loop, which deeply optimizes the design towards whichever multiple objectives the engineer decides are important. The fidelity of the deep learning tools and robust workflow enables a highly accurate solution for final validation of the results against the validated CFD model.

Read more at 3Dprintr

Optimizing Agriculture’s Spare Part Production with 3D Printing

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✍️ Author: Melina Bluhm

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Agriculture

🏢 Organizations: Replique

When it comes to integrating 3D printing in agriculture, there are three main options to consider, with the farmer integrating 3D printing, the farmer ordering the part via a 3D printing service, or the equipment manufacturer itself integrating the technology.

The third option of integrating 3D printing in agriculture involves the hardware producers themselves adopting a 3D printing platform. This option provides the added benefit of the hardware producer having complete control over the design and quality of the parts produced.

To streamline the process, companies can integrate a digital inventory platform such as Replique. This allows them to store all their 3D printable parts in one place, already ready for production with fixed print parameters. When a farmer orders a part, they can place the order via their usual ordering system, such as a webshop or ERP system. This order is then processed in the digital inventory, triggering the printing of the part at the print farm. Once printed, the part is shipped directly to the end-user.

Read more at Replique Blog

This 3D Printed Gripper Doesn’t Need Electronics To Function

We 3D Printed End-of-Arm Tools with Rapid Robotics

3DGPT - your 3D printing friend & collaborator!

🖨️ How Will The Apple Reality Pro Headset Boost 3D Printing?

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✍️ Author: Michael Molitch-Hou

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Computer and Electronic

🏢 Organizations: Optomec, Apple, Meta

While most AR/VR companies certainly rely on 3D printing to some extent, at least at the level of product design, Apple’s latest product, specifically, may kickstart a niche segment of the industry known as “additively manufactured electronics (AMEs).” To those who have been following the 3D printing industry, the most obvious method for squeezing electronics into small spaces is to use AMEs. With 3D printing, it’s possible to spray conductive traces onto curved surfaces using a technology called Aerosol Jet, from Optomec, which allows electronic features to be incorporated into the structure of a product, rather than force entirely separate components into already tight spaces.

The Sandia National Labs spinout has sold Aerosol Jet printers to Google, Meta, Samsung and has all-but-confirmed that Apple is using the process, as well. By 2016, Taiwanese manufacturer Lite-On Mobile used these systems to spray antennas onto millions of mobile phones before its then-senior manager of Technology Development for Antennas, Henrik Johansson, left to work for Apple.

However, it isn’t Aerosol Jet alone that may be used by these companies to shrink devices. In December 2022, Meta acquired optics firm Luxexcel with a goal of using its lens printing process to create AR glasses. Luxexcel’s method produces optically clear polymers with the ability to integrate waveguides, necessary for transparent displays, into its lenses. It’s no coincidence then that the social media-turned-metaverse giant will be releasing the newest version of its Quest Pro headset late this year, a device said to rival Apple’s Reality Pro.

Read more at Forbes

🖨️ Oakland County Awards $15M for Phase 2 of World’s Largest 3-D Printing Network

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🔖 Topics: Funding Event, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Oakland County, Automation Alley

Oakland County today announced it is designating $15 million in funding for Phase 2 of Project DIAMOnD, a program that was launched in 2020 to accelerate digital transformation by distributing 300 3-D printers to small and medium-size manufacturers at no cost.

Project DIAMOnD, which stands for Digital, Independent, Agile, Manufacturing on Demand, was founded to support regional manufacturers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was the creation of the world’s largest 3-D printing network and what the county is calling “the most significant effort of its kind to take small and medium-sized manufacturers to the next level of manufacturing.

Automation Alley and Project DIAMOnD say they will continue to work with existing partners, Markforged Inc., Giggso, and 3YOURMIND, and are seeking additional partners, printer manufacturers, and funders to join the program.”

Read more at DBusiness

🖨️ Senvol to lead U.S. Army program focused on consistency of 3D printing performance

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✍️ Author: Oliver Johnson

🔖 Topics: Funding Event, 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Defense

🏢 Organizations: Senvol, US Army

Senvol has announced that it has received funding from the U.S. Army to lead a program focused on demonstrating that consistent part performance can be achieved on different additive manufacturing machines located at different sites.

The program is titled “Applying Machine Learning to Ensure Consistency and Verification of Additive Manufacturing Machine and Part Performance Across Multiple Sites”, and commenced in March 2023, running through March 2025.

Aaron LaLonde, PhD, Technical Specialist – Additive Manufacturing at the U.S. Navy said “For additive manufacturing to be successfully implemented into the Army’s supply chain, it is essential to be able to produce parts of consistent performance even if different machines are used at different locations. Today, that is much easier said than done. During this program, we are pleased to work with Senvol to demonstrate the use of its machine learning technology to aid in achieving what everyone in the additive manufacturing industry strives for, a truly flexible supply chain.”

Read more at TCT Magazine

3D Printing Materials Explained: Compare FDM, SLA, and SLS

3D Printed Generative Design Drone Chassis

Enabling 3D Printing Automation with HP and Siemens

3D printing has a complex relationship with sustainability

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✍️ Author: Jim O'Donnell

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Sustainability

🏢 Organizations: Jabil, Wohlers Associates

“Anything that you can do to reduce the cost of production is always a greener solution because costs are directly related to carbon footprint,” Rodgers said. “Everything that we derive – whether it’s forging in metals to all the raw materials we utilize – is CO2 related.”

Although 3D printing can reduce waste in some cases, it also has waste generation issues, Wohlers said. For example, the polymers for powder bed fusion, a popular 3D printing process, need to be continually replenished with virgin material, which results in 30% to 50% waste, he said.

Read more at TechTarget

🖨️ Replacement Parts are a 3D Print Away

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✍️ Author: Eric Utley

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Protolabs

The first and largest hurdle to 3D printing a replacement part is getting a 3D CAD of the part to accurately describe the part’s geometry. In rare circumstances, you may get lucky and find such a file on the internet or find a technical drawing identifying the dimensions. For a simple part you could recreate the design by taking careful measurements with calipers, but often for more complex or organic parts, the part will need to be 3D scanned. This process can cost a few hundred dollars with a company that offers a professional service. Increasingly, there are solutions to 3D scan using smartphones, but the results are quite inaccurate. The 3D scan data may require some additional work to get it a clean, 3D-printable file. An STL file can be used for 3D printing, but STP files are better because they can be used for a myriad of other manufacturing processes outside of 3D printing.

3D printing can be used to satisfy demand for low volumes of custom parts that may be lighter or personalized. For many industries, there is a small segment of the market willing to pay more for a custom version of the product, and 3D printing gives an avenue to explore and satisfy that market demand.

Read more at Machine Design

Direct-write technology drives additive manufacturing

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✍️ Author: Ramsey Stevens

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Direct-Write Print

🏢 Organizations: nano3DPrint

Direct-write 3D printing technology uses a micro-dispenser to precisely deposit nanoscale multi-materials over a substrate and produce complex shapes in layers. The direct-write additive manufacturing method employs materials such as metals, composites, and ceramics and offers several benefits, including reduced build times, minimal waste, and lower production costs.

With the ability to integrate materials seamlessly and directly embed electronics, industries such as healthcare, professional sports, and automotive can expect direct-write 3D printing technology to develop new smaller smart objects.

Read more at Make Parts Fast

🖨️ Nagami, on printing the sustainable future of interior architecture

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✍️ Author: Edward Wakefield

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, XaaS

🏢 Organizations: Nagami

Nagami was founded in Manuel’s mind during a research cluster, focussed on searching for a more sustainable way of building, at The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment. While “rethinking architecture from the very core”, the team started to explore the use of automation within the industry, something that was already very much relied-upon in other industries such as car manufacturing. Naturally, the use of robots was a worthwhile direction of exploration.

Nagami’s team is currently working on a ‘furnishing and architecture as a subscription’ model. For example, a retail store that updates its physical space every six months or so can do so through a ‘Nagami membership’. At the end of the season, this offering will enable these companies to return the 3D printed panels to Nagami, where they will be recycled, and reprinted in the design of the new shopfit, at a discounted rate.

Read more at VoxelMatters

🖨️ On the Ground at Zeda’s New 3D Printing Facility with Shri Shetty and Greg Morris

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✍️ Author: Sarah Saunders

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏢 Organizations: Zeda, Makino, AddUp

Zeda, originally PrinterPrezz, primarily works with medical implants and related instrumentation, and Morris explained that when PrinterPrezz acquired his Vertex Manufacturing company, they were “brought on board to continue to do what we do with aerospace and the DoD, and energy, and other industries, but also a significant medical focus and making the actual cervical spinal implants and instrumentation.”

Walking through the large factory, Morris said that, save for a few aisles, the concrete floors would all soon be covered with epoxy, some of which you can see in the above image. In terms of automation being used, we passed by a Makino a51nx 4-axis CNC machining center, and a system of “carrier pallet mobile systems,” which allows operators to set up different jobs on the steel pallets. Morris said this was “a good example of trying to take and automate equipment in order to really perform lights-out manufacturing.”

Read more at 3DPrint.com

Vitriform3D’s Story: How Glass–an Infinitely Recyclable Material–is Fueling a Startup

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing

🏭 Vertical: Nonmetallic Mineral

🏢 Organizations: Vitriform3D, University of Tennessee

Pulled from the Latin word vitri for glass, Vitriform3D is forming new products through 3D printing. With their patent-pending technology, they plan to make coasters, tiles, countertops, even architectural accent walls by embedding recycled glass into 3D printing. It’s a small start-up for now of only Alex Stiles and Dustin Gilmer, who may have never met without IACMI – The Composites Institute. We joke, “All roads lead to Uday Vaidya,” and in this case, it’s true. Dr. Vaidya, Chief Technology Officer for IACMI, was Alex’s advisor during his PhD program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). In one of Uday’s many collaborations with outside research groups, Dustin and Alex first worked together on novel methods for 3D printing washout mandrels for composites

So, what gives them hope their startup will succeed? Dustin and Alex have discovered that by reducing glass to a powder, their 3D printed product is more predictable than conventional thermoplastic printed parts. Low expansion and contraction during heating makes it an excellent potential material for autoclave tooling. The binder jetting process can maintain high resolution at large scale, requiring less post-production than a typical large scale thermoplastic 3D print. The finishing process is often what adds considerable time and therefore costs to additive manufacturing. Not here. All that’s left is proving they can scale up for commercialization, which admittedly takes time and money..

Read more at IACMI

Automating 3D Printing with AI Vision: PrintPal’s PrintWatch System

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Kerry Stevenson

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Computer Vision, Defect Detection

🏢 Organizations: PrintPal

PrintPal is a startup company launched in 2021 that has been developing a machine learning-based vision system for 3D printer monitoring. The PrintWatch concept is that a camera feed of the print surface is relayed to an AI analysis system that can classify artifacts at 93% accuracy within each image in only 5ms. Defects are automatically detected and allow the operator to stop failing jobs before they waste additional material or worse, damage the equipment PrintWatch runs 24/7, removing any need for a human operator to monitor print progress, and can do so better than humans who often stray elsewhere to work on other things.

Read more at Fabbaloo

Protolabs Unveils Advanced Capabilities and Volume Pricing through Digital Network of Global Manufacturers

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Cloud Manufacturing, CNC machining, Injection molding, 3D printing, Fused deposition modeling

🏢 Organizations: Protolabs

Digital manufacturing leader Protolabs (NYSE: PRLB) has significantly expanded its manufacturing capabilities and pricing options available to designers, engineers, and buyers worldwide. By leveraging the company’s digital network of manufacturers at Hubs, customers can access advanced capabilities, reduce part cost, and increase part quantities across CNC machining, injection molding, and 3D printing services. The expansion complements the low-volume, on-demand manufacturing services already available from Protolabs.

Read more at PR Newswire

The state of open-source in 3D printing in 2023

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Josef Průša

🔖 Topics: Open Source, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Prusa3D

The above and many other things we’ve been doing at Prusa Research for over ten years were only possible thanks to the great 3D printing community and open-source philosophy. However, the new printers and software releases have made me think again about the current state of open source in the 3D printing world. How sustainable it is, how our competitors deal with it, what it brings to the community, and what troubles us as developers. Consider this article as a call for discussion – as a kick-off that will (hopefully) open up a new perspective on the connection between open-source licensing, consumer hardware, and software development.

Read more at Prusa3D Blog

Everything you need to know about polymer powder bed fusion

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Davide Sher

🔖 Topics: Polymer Powder Bed Fusion, 3D Printing

Polymer powder bed fusion 3D printed parts are used in multiple segments, from aerospace to automotive. At the same time, the ability of high-productivity processes such as SLS, MJF, HSS and SAF to produce stacked parts has had a dramatic impact on the consumer products segment. Now, AM is accelerating mass customization and on-demand manufacturing in areas such as eyewear, toys, design, accessories and electronics, for products and parts manufacturing.

Read more at VoxelMatters

3-Step-Guide to Selecting the Perfect Parts for 3D Printing

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Replique

3D printing (Additive Manufacturing = AM) has revolutionized the manufacturing industry, allowing businesses to create complex and customized parts with ease and move towards on-demand production. However, finding the right parts for additive manufacturing can be a challenging task, especially for those who are new to the technology. The quality of the parts chosen to print can greatly impact the outcome of the 3D printed part. In this article, we therefore want to give a 3-step-guide from a supply chain perspective that can help lead companies through the selection process and maximize the benefits of 3D printing, from the assessment stage to a technical validation and TCO analysis.

Read more at Replique Blog

Manufacturing Companies Convinced of 3D Printing, but Struggle to Get it Right

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Materialise

A survey by Materialise, a global leader in 3D printing solutions, reveals that manufacturing companies are familiar with the unique benefits of 3D printing but face challenges as they onboard the technology and scale up to volume production. According to the survey, companies recognize 3D printing as a leading manufacturing trend and are taking a more strategic look at using 3D printing to produce final products. However, the lack of a skilled workforce and the expertise to integrate 3D printing with existing production processes may slow down future adoption.

Read more at Materialise Press

🖨️🚙 How to Build a 3D Printing Setup in Automotive Industry

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Zortax

Depending on the performed task, whether it is developing an entirely new vehicle, making custom parts on demand, or renewing classic cars, 3D printing is a reliable solution in several ways. First, it facilitates the prototyping stages where each iteration can be flexibly redesigned when required and 3D printed for pre-production evaluation. This can relate to a variety of car components in the chassis, interior, or engine. Also, 3D printing is a cost-effective method employed when restoring or personalizing vehicles to specific needs. In car-tuning projects, 3D prints can substitute damaged and worn parts, as well as components which are too expensive or no longer available on the market. Therefore, 3D printed parts can be found in cars’ interior, dashboard, bodywork, and even under the hood.

Read more at Zortrax Blog

Lights-Out 3D Printing

See How Whirlpool Maximizes Its Stratasys 3D Printing Technologies

🖨️ Venture Investors Are Pumping Capital Into 3-D Printing Startups. Here’s Why.

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Marc Vartabedian

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

Investors are drawn to these companies because they are on the verge of being able to use their technology to manufacture components at scale for critical sectors such as semiconductors and aerospace. For many, that would mean transforming from being a niche product manufacturer to being a mass producer, investors say.

Investors are also attracted to these startups’ ability to provide industrial companies with a simpler supply chain, which could help them address parts shortages amid geopolitical challenges and reduce dependency on foreign suppliers, Prof. Toyserkani said. Additive manufacturing startups also say their methods can help companies cut costs and have lower environmental impacts because less waste goes into producing things, he added.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

‘Pushing the limits of innovation’ - 3D printed footwear showcased by Dior at Paris Fashion Week

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Oliver Johnson

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Laser Bed Power Fusion, Sustainability, Circular Economy

🏭 Vertical: Apparel

🏢 Organizations: Dior

The two different types of shoes created by Dior, derbys and boots, were printed using laser powder bed fusion technology, but the brand did not disclose the specific system used. The footwear was just about visible on the catwalk beneath long pants that models were wearing, but close-up images have now been released.

In a video shared by the official Dior Twitter account, a member of the design team spoke about the sustainability of the shoes: “What interested us here is that, once the tongue has been unstitched and the undersoles and laces have been removed, 80% of the material can be entirely reused for other purposes. It’s a circular approach.”

Read more at TCT Magazine

This 3-D Printed Icelandic Fish-Gutting Machine Contains the Secret of a Future, Less-Globalized Economy

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Christopher Mims

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏭 Vertical: Food

🏢 Organizations: Curio, Desktop Metal

Tucked away in a nondescript 10,000-square-foot building there is a manufacturing facility that runs 24/7, producing parts for fish-processing machines in a way that was, even a few years ago, impossible. Elliði Hreinsson, the founder of Curio, which owns the building, says the machines he designs and makes would be difficult or in some cases impossible to produce without 3-D printing.

“In Iceland, we are a small stone in the ocean, and we cannot so easily run around to get help,” says Mr. Hreinsson. “You have to be able to do it all in-house.” His machines, which he sells to clients around the world, include more than 100 parts that he prints on seven 3-D printers made by a company called Desktop Metal. Printing the stainless-steel parts this way skips all the steps required for conventional manufacturing, from prototyping to casting or injection molding—the last of which generally happens in Asia, and can add weeks or months to the time between product design and delivery.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

From Boeing Starliner to Goodyear tire, 3-D printing is becoming manufacturing reality

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Boeing, Humtown Products, Goodyear

By 2030, Goodyear aims to bring maintenance-free and airless tires to market, and 3-D printing is part of that effort for the Akron-based tire-making leader founded in 1898 and named after innovator Charles Goodyear. Currently, about 2% of its production is through additive manufacturing and more integration into the mix is in sight.

Humtown Products, a 63-year-old, family-owned foundry near Youngstown, Ohio, adopted 3-D printing in 2014 as an efficient way to make industrial cores and molds. Today, its additive manufacturing division accounts for 55% of overall revenue and is growing by 50% annually. Pivoting to 3-D printing was the company’s “Kodak moment,” said owner and president Mark Lamoncha. “If you are not in the next space, you are out of business,” Lamoncha said. “This industry is at a tipping point to commercialization and in many disciplines it is the equivalent of driving a race car,” he said.

“For industry, it’s most definitely a competitive advantage because you can design in ways that you can’t with traditional production,” said Melissa Orme, has been vice president of additive manufacturing since 2019, a role that cuts across Boeing’s three business units making commercial airplanes, satellites and defense systems. She works with a team of 100 engineers, researchers and other specialists in advancing the technology’s development. Orme cited advantages in reduced lead times for production by a factor of ten, streamlined design into one large piece for assembly, and increased durability.

Read more at CNBC

AM Ventures closes venture capital fund with focus on industrial 3D printing

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: AM Ventures

AM Ventures, one of the global leaders in venture capital for additive manufacturing (AM), has announced the final closing of its oversubscribed venture capital fund focused on industrial 3D printing, closing at 100 million EUR hard cap.

Read more at TCT Magazine


Right to re-print: What role could 3D printing have in right to repair?

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Laura Griffiths

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Reshoring

Where the volumes are right or a redesign beneficial, the case for AM can be made but for many parts, traditional methods of manufacture are still the way to go. Reeves recalls a visit to the warehouse of one of Europe’s largest white goods spare parts suppliers almost a decade ago. An analysis of the millions of SKUs on-hand was conducted but Reeves concluded “you could literally count on one hand the ones that were viable 3D prints.”

“The ‘right to repair’ legislation is likely to cause logistical headaches for manufacturers globally who face having to stock hundreds of thousands of spare parts,” Dickin said. “However, the law could also finally move the dial in reversing the “throwaway society” trend of the last 60 years by creating goods that last longer - producing savings for both the consumer and environment.

Read more at TCT Magazine

Making High-Performance Parts Inexpensive and Durable

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Idaho National Labs

In the past, these advanced materials were typically manufactured from powder that was poured into a die, subjected to high pressure and slowly heated in a process called hot pressing. However, hot pressing results in waste heat, contributing to high costs. Those costs have limited the widespread use of advanced materials in industries that manufacture everyday items such as automobiles.

More recently, engineers have developed a cost-saving process called spark plasma sintering (SPS). Instead of heat, SPS sends electricity through the die, and sometimes the material itself, to fuse the molecules of powdered metals, ceramics, or a mixture of both.

Now, Idaho National Laboratory has developed world-class capabilities to help industry design efficient SPS manufacturing processes. The lab’s newest addition, one of the largest machines of its kind in the world, makes it possible to manufacture new materials at industrially relevant scales. INL has designed and built four custom SPS machines that range from supporting small experiments on the bench-scale to industrial-scale, large-format, high-throughput systems.

Read more at Tech Briefs

🖨️ Lincoln Electric Works With Chevron to Accelerate Refinery Maintenance Using Lincoln Electric’s 3D Metal Printing Solution

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Lincoln Electric, Chevron, Stress Engineering

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., (Nasdaq LECO) – Lincoln Electric utilized its proprietary large-scale, metal 3D printing solution to deliver just-in-time parts to Chevron USA, Inc. to help bring a refinery back online according to schedule. During a recent routine maintenance shutdown, extended lead times and supply chain delays on traditionally manufactured parts challenged Chevron’s planned restart schedule. Chevron’s Additive Engineering team worked with Lincoln Electric to get back on schedule using additive manufacturing to print critical replacement parts that would meet production and quality standards.

The two teams worked together, along with industry experts from Stress Engineering Services, Inc., to print eight nickel alloy replacement parts that averaged approximately 3 ft. (0.9 m) in length and over 500 lbs. (226 kg) each in a total of just 30 days.

Read more at GlobeNewswire

Ford rolls out autonomous robot-operated 3D printers in vehicle production

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Paul Hanaphy

🔖 Topics: Robotic Arm, 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Ford, KUKA, Carbon

Leveraging an in-house-developed interface, Ford has managed to get the KUKA-built bot to ‘speak the same language’ as its other systems, and operate them without human interaction. So far, the firm’s patent-pending approach has been deployed to 3D print custom parts for the Mustang Shelby GT500 sports car, but it could yet yield efficiency savings across its production workflow.

“This new process has the ability to change the way we use robotics in our manufacturing facilities,” said Jason Ryska, Ford’s Director of Global Manufacturing Technology Development. “Not only does it enable Ford to scale its 3D printer operations, it extends into other aspects of our manufacturing processes – this technology will allow us to simplify equipment and be even more flexible on the assembly line.”

At present, the company is utilizing its setup to make low-volume, custom parts such as a brake line bracket for the Performance Package-equipped version of its Mustang Shelby GT500. Moving forwards though, Ford believes its program could be applied to make other robots in its production line more efficient as well, and it has filed several patents, not just on its interface, but the positioning of its KUKA bot.

Read more at 3D Printing Industry

Making the Call in Mass Production: 3D Printing or Traditional Manufacturing?

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive manufacturing, 3D printing

🏢 Organizations: Shapeways

When focusing on plastic components and products, there are traditionally few manufacturing methods available, the oldest and most common being injection molding. While injection molding has dominated the manufacturing landscape for decades, newer techniques like 3D printing, have begun to gain traction by offering an alternative, as well as advantages over traditional methods; for example, a company may go straight to injection molding to manufacture plastic products in a high volume of 10,000 parts or more–or they may choose 3D printing for greater flexibility in making designs, multiple iterations, and the ability to make complex geometries not possible before.

Read more at Shapeways Blog

Machine-learning system accelerates discovery of new materials for 3D printing

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Adam Zewe

🔖 Topics: materials science, 3d printing, additive manufacturing

🏢 Organizations: MIT

The growing popularity of 3D printing for manufacturing all sorts of items, from customized medical devices to affordable homes, has created more demand for new 3D printing materials designed for very specific uses.

A material developer selects a few ingredients, inputs details on their chemical compositions into the algorithm, and defines the mechanical properties the new material should have. Then the algorithm increases and decreases the amounts of those components (like turning knobs on an amplifier) and checks how each formula affects the material’s properties, before arriving at the ideal combination.

The researchers have created a free, open-source materials optimization platform called AutoOED that incorporates the same optimization algorithm. AutoOED is a full software package that also allows researchers to conduct their own optimization.

Read more at Phys.org

U.S. Army’s New Expeditionary 3D Concrete Printer Can Go Anywhere, Build Anything

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: David Hambling

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3d printing

🏭 Vertical: Defense, Construction

🏢 Organizations: US Army, Caterpillar

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (ACES) program is a game changer for construction in remote areas. The project will supply rugged 3D concrete printers that can go anywhere and print (almost) anything. The project started several years ago when concrete printers were very much in their infancy, but even then it was obvious that commercial products would not fit the Army’s needs.

ACES has produced multiple printers working with different industry partners. For example, ACES Lite was made in partnership with Caterpillar under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. It packs into a standard 20-foot shipping container and can be set-up or taken down in 45 minutes, has built-in jacks for quick leveling and can be calibrated in a matter of seconds, making it more straightforward than other devices. Overall the printer resembles a gantry crane, with a concrete pump, hose and a robotic nozzle which lays down precise layers.

The new technology is not magic, as 3D-printed construction is still construction. It does not do everything. A printed building still requires a roof and finishing touches like any other construction work. In areas with good logistics where equipment, labor and materials are all plentiful, there may be little advantage to the ACES approach. But in expeditionary environments, where all these things are likely to be in short supply, ACES could make a real difference.

Read more at Forbes

Improving the Manufacturing Process Through 3D Printing

The Genius of 3D Printed Rockets

The Challenge with AM Process Substitution

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: @PSUMakerProf

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3D printing

🏢 Organizations: Pennsylvania State University

I have lost track of how many times I have stressed the economic (and technical) challenges companies face when attempting process substitutions with additive manufacturing (AM), or what I often refer to as “replicating” a part with AM. In short, everyone thinks a metal AM part is going to be cheaper than the machined, cast or forged version of the part (or as strong as the injection-molded part for those working in plastics) based on the hype, only to find that it is not. The “sticker shock” and disappointment that ensue often dampens the enthusiasm for AM and can undermine future AM investments, creating an uphill battle for AM.

Read more at Modern Machine Shop

3D Search Unlocks Part Database Potential

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: @David__Lyell

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏢 Organizations: Physna

A variety of digital formats can be leveraged as input, anything from CAD files to photographs, with the system’s algorithms that the Physna team developed creating a “digital fingerprint” of the 3D object. This fingerprint describes the object and enables the user to search a database of parts using a 3D part as the search term.

Physna is capable of interpreting assemblies and the parts associated with the assembly. In the 3D viewer, the user is able to inspect the assembly and search for similar parts from the database.

For instance, if an engineer at has modeled a flange that features a 1-inch ID, a common search using language would be “1-inch flange”, but if the engineer uploaded the model to Physna, the fingerprint would include aspects of the flange like its bolt pattern, whether or not it incorporated a bearing and contours of the flange design. This may lead to discovery of previously designed parts or even compatible third party parts if the database is connected to other vendors.

Read more at Modern Machine Shop

How startups can hit it big by thinking small

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Benny Buller

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏢 Organizations: VELO3D

I estimated what the size of the market might be for seemingly impossible parts and calculated that the potential reward was worth the risk. Someone needed to undertake this quest. And even though it embarasses me now to think about how naive some of my original assumptions were, I decided that person should be me. So I launched Velo3D, aimed at using 3D printing to make the parts that innovative companies need to create the future.

We realized that we didn’t have to solve the entire problem. Instead, we could succeed with a much smaller focus by identifying the most valuable, specific problems to solve for customers and tackling those.

Suddenly our entire mindset changed. We were no longer looking for a solution to make any shape possible. We were looking for a way to create one specific type of turbopump. It sounds less exciting, I know. But it was the best thing we could have done.

Read more at Fast Company

BMW-led study highlights need for AI-based AM part identification

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Davide Sher

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3D printing

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: BMW, AM Flow

With time-to-market in the automotive industry steadily decreasing, demand for prototyping components is higher than before and the vision of large-scale production, delivering just-in-time to assembly lines, is emerging. This is not only a question of increasing output quantity and production speed but also of economic viability. The process chain of current available AM technologies still includes a high amount of labor intensive work and process steps, which lead to a high proportion of personnel costs and decreased product throughput. Also, these operations lead to bottlenecks and downtimes in the overall process chain.

Read more at 3D Printing Media

Scientists Set to Use Social Media AI Technology to Optimize Parts for 3D Printing

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Kubi Sertoglu

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, additive manufacturing, AI, genetic algorithm

🏢 Organizations: Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory

“My idea was that a material’s structure is no different than a 3D image,” he explains. ​“It makes sense that the 3D version of this neural network will do a good job of recognizing the structure’s properties — just like a neural network learns that an image is a cat or something else.”

To see if his idea would work, Messner designed a defined 3D geometry and used conventional physics-based simulations to create a set of two million data points. Each of the data points linked his geometry to ‘desired’ values of density and stiffness. Then, he fed the data points into a neural network and trained it to look for the desired properties.

Finally, Messner used a genetic algorithm – an iterative, optimization-based class of AI – together with the trained neural network to determine the structure that would result in the properties he sought. Impressively, his AI approach found the correct structure 2,760x faster than the conventional physics simulation.

Read more at 3D Printing Industry

Nissan Accelerates Assembly Line with 3D Printing Solution

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Nissan, BCN3D

Previously Nissan outsourced all of its prototypes and jigs to mechanical suppliers who used traditional manufacturing methods, such as CNC and drilling. Although the quality of the finished product was good, the lead times were long and inflexible and the costs were high. Even simple tools could cost in the region of 400€ for machining. By printing some of these parts in-house with 3D printers, Nissan has cut the time of designing, refining and producing parts from one week to just one day and slashed costs by 95%.

Eric Pallarés, chief technical officer at BCN3D, adds: “The automotive industry is probably the best example of scaling up a complex product with the demands of meeting highest quality standards. It’s fascinating to see how the assembly process of a car – where many individual parts are put together in an assembly line – relies on FFF printed parts at virtually every stage. Having assembled thousands of cars, Nissan has found that using BCN3D 3D printing technology to make jigs and fixtures for complex assembly operations delivers consistently high quality components at a reduced time and lower cost”.

Read more at Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine

How 3D Printing Impacts The Maritime Industry

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Doug Walker

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Ship and Boat

🏢 Organizations: Wilhelmsen, thyssenkrupp, Tru-Marine, Thermwood

3D printing has penetrated a range of sectors and industries to a point where it is being adopted by mainstream organizations in their manufacturing processes. However, one sector that has been left behind in this adoption is the maritime industry.

There are a stream of applications for 3D printing in the maritime industry, such as product innovation and customization, spare part manufacturing, on-demand manufacturing, and much more.

Read more at Fabbaloo

3D Printing Technologies in Aerospace and Defense Industries

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Dick Slansky

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace, Defense

🏢 Organizations: Boeing

Currently, AI is an integral part of the design process for AM in aerospace. In designing parts for aircraft, achieving the optimal weight-to-strength ratio is a primary objective, since reducing weight is an important factor in air-frame structures design. Today’s PLM solutions offer function-driven generative design using AI-based algorithms to capture the functional specifications and generate and validate conceptual shapes best suited for AM fabrication. Using this generative functional design method produces the optimal lightweight design within the functional specifications.

Read more at AutomationWorld

Circular Economy 3D Printing: Opportunities to Improve Sustainability in AM

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Hayley Everett

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3D printing, sustainability

🏭 Vertical: Machinery, Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Ford, Renault, Reflow, Recreus, HP, Materiom

Within the 3D printing sector alone, there are various initiatives currently underway to develop closed-loop manufacturing processes that reuse and repurpose waste materials. Within the automotive sector, Groupe Renault is creating a facility entirely dedicated to sustainable automotive production through recycling and retrofitting vehicles using 3D printing, while Ford and HP have teamed up to recycle 3D printing waste into end-use automotive parts.

One notable project that is addressing circular economy 3D printing is BARBARA (Biopolymers with Advanced functionalities foR Building and Automotive parts processed through Additive Manufacturing), a Horizon 2020 project that brought together 11 partners from across Europe to produce bio-based materials from food waste suitable for 3D printing prototypes in the automotive and construction sectors.

Read more at 3D Printing Industry

How Materialise Research Makes Multi-Laser 3D Printers Accessible with Future-Proof Software

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Madeleine Fiello

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3D printing

🏭 Vertical: Machinery

🏢 Organizations: Materialise

A major goal for many in the 3D printing industry is boosting productivity to ultimately scale operations. Materialise’s software research team predicts that multi-laser machines will be key in enabling 3D printing factories to accomplish this goal.

In this blog, we’ll dive into this topic with Tom Craeghs, Research Manager within our Central Research & Technology department. Read on to discover the advantages and challenges of multi-laser machines, as well as how advancements in software will enable these printers and their associated productivity to become a reality.

Read more at Materialise Blog

Exploring Additive Manufacturing Opportunities: Optimizing Production with Hyundai Lifeboats

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Kristel Van den Bergh

🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3D printing

🏭 Vertical: Ship and Boat

🏢 Organizations: Materialise, Hyundai

This project was the epitome of Explore. Just as myself, Director of Innovation at Materialise, and others from the Mindware team, had no experience or knowledge of producing lifeboats, the Hyundai team was unaware of the capabilities and limitations of 3D printing. So, the first step in this project was bringing our two worlds together to pinpoint a relevant business challenge for Hyundai Lifeboats that we believed could best be solved via additive manufacturing.

Easier said than done. We dove into an interactive workshop session in which we discovered each side’s perspectives, expectations, and blind spots. We first discussed how AM could increase the boat’s value — with enhanced speed, performance, functionality — but we were met with hesitancy from the Hyundai team.

Read more at Materialise Blog

How Additive Manufacturing Adoption Brings Business Gains

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Tim DeRosett

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Machinery

🏢 Organizations: Jabil

Analysis from Jabil’s 2021 3D Printing Technology Trends survey revealed that additive manufacturing is already enabling unique and better ways for manufacturers to serve their markets. In the last few years, highly regulated industries with precise and rigid standards for safety and quality, such as healthcare, aerospace, defense and automotive, have positioned themselves enthusiastically among those championing the strategic benefits of additive manufacturing.

Read more at Jabil

How Artificial Intelligence Can Automate 3D Printing Decision-Making

GE to advance competitiveness of wind energy with 3D printed turbine blades

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Hayley Everett

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Electrical Equipment

🏢 Organizations: General Electric, Boeing

The project will initially produce a full-size 3D printed blade tip for structural testing, in addition to three blade tips to be installed on a wind turbine, with the hope of reducing manufacturing cost and increasing supply chain flexibility for the components.

“We are excited to partner with the DoE Advanced Manufacturing Office, as well as with our world class partners to produce a highly innovative advanced manufacturing and additive process to completely revolutionize the state of the art of wind blade manufacturing,” said Matteo Bellucci, GE Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Leader.

Read more at 3D Printing Industry

Guide to Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D Printing

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🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Machinery

🏢 Organizations: Formlabs

Selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing is trusted by engineers and manufacturers across different industries for its ability to produce strong, functional parts.

In this extensive guide, we’ll cover the selective laser sintering process, the different systems and materials available on the market, the workflow for using SLS printers, the various applications, and when to consider using SLS 3D printing over other additive and traditional manufacturing methods.

Read more at Formlabs

Get ready for metamorphic manufacturing

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✍️ Author: Karen Haywood Queen

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, robotics

🏭 Vertical: Machinery

🏢 Organizations: Formlogic, Machina Labs

A new wrinkle in blacksmithing is hailed as the third wave of the industry’s digitization.

Metamorphic manufacturing, also known as robotic blacksmithing, is poised to bring about faster time to market, less material waste, more available materials, less energy used and more control.

Read more at SME

Speeding the Adoption of Additive Manufacturing

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✍️ Author: Ashley Eckhoff

🔖 Topics: 3D printing, additive manufacturing

🏭 Vertical: Machinery

🏢 Organizations: Siemens

Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing offers a number of potential innovations in product design, while its flexible manufacturing capabilities can support a distributed manufacturing model - helping to unlock new business potential. However, when companies begin to consider all that is needed to make additive a reality— such as generative design, part consolidation, and topology optimization—it becomes clear that the traditional ways of designing and manufacturing parts are falling away.

Read more at Manufacturing.net

3D printing in metal resulted in fewer bacteria and greater food safety

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🔖 Topics: additive manufacturing, 3d printing

🏭 Vertical: Food

🏢 Organizations: Danish Technological Institute, Marel

3D printing in metal was chosen as a solution and Marel quickly began to redesign the support element specifically for 3D printing, so that it took full advantage of the technology’s possibilities. The support element is in direct contact with food, so bacteria can accumulate in all cleaves, joints and openings, and these bacteria can be transferred directly to the meat. That’s why we were really excited about the possibility of 3D printing the support element in one piece, and the weight reduction was also a positive element, as the support element moves MANY times a second, says Matias Taul Hansen, Technical Designer at Marel

3D printing is a much cheaper solution than cutting out the item, and compared to laser cutting, 3D printing is also preferable, as we avoid joints where bacteria can accumulate. By 3D printing in titanium, we also achieve a lower-weight item that is cheaper to produce and that can work faster, says Kristian Rand Henriksen, consultant at the Danish Technological Institute.

Read more at Danish Technological Institute