3D Printing

When thinking about Hewlett-Packard (HP) people often associate the brand with what they are well-known: their front office IT technologies and wide-format printing. Now they are developing high-volume 3D-printed parts for Ford’s Super Duty F-250 trucks and also replacement parts for Nissan older models.

Courtesy of Ford.

HP has been part of many advanced manufacturing applications for a while so it was a matter of time to enter the automotive industry. With projects like Foxconn’s use of HPE Pointnext services to address quality assurance issues, they developed HP Metal Jet printer for mass manufacturing of production-grade metal parts. Now both Ford and Nissan announced their new sustainability programs by HP 3D printing technology.

Re- using 3D printed powders and parts for injection-molded fuel-line clips for its trucks has opened an entire door of opportunities for other fuel-line clips on other vehicles where these parts and processes can be used.

Courtesy of Ford.

“Many companies are finding great uses for 3D printing technologies, but, together with HP, we’re the first to find a high-value application for waste powder that likely would have gone to a landfill by transforming it into functional and durable auto parts.” According to Debbie Mielewski, Ford technical fellow.

According to Ford, “recycled materials from HP’s 3D have better chemical and moisture resistance than conventional fuel-line clips, are 7%lighter and cost 10% less.”

Courtesy of Ford.

Nissan applications

Hp 3D printing technology is being used to design and manufacture 3D-printed replacement parts for Nissan’s NISMO (the motorsports and performance division of the Nissan Motor Company). To produce all of these parts, HP is using its Multi Jeti Fusion platform. The first part is a plastic part of the harness protector for the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R which was first produced from 1969-1973, then from 1989-2002. The part is now being produced by HP using High Reusability PA 11 which provides high mechanical properties and design flexibility.

Automotive industry is being changed by implementing these projects to the table due to its full potential of creating replacement parts for extended periods. Also, producing and storing parts for vehicles that have been discontinued, updated, or overhauled can benefit from this, as manufacturers don’t often retain molds for these parts for storage and logistics terms, so re-creating them tends to be expensive or even impossible for some.

Courtesy of Ford.

“We are seeing leaders of the industry like Nissan recognize the massive cost implications of storage, molds, and logistics for replacement parts and how industrial 3D printing can help,” said Jon Wayne, head of global commercial business for 3D printing and digital manufacturing at HP Inc. “Digital manufacturing is a viable, long-term solution for accelerating production and transforming supply chains.”

It is definitely intriguing how the 3D industry has been taken to many other industries and how there are more and more applications to solve many different needs out there, even for high-volume pieces which was a little bit doubtful at first. We hope to see even more applications in the future.

Courtesy of Ford.

Published in 3D Printing
Tuesday, 06 April 2021 18:59

3D printing, Recycled filament

Plastic pollution has become one of the most persistent environmental concerns, as a constant increase of the demand and production of disposable plastic products, overpassing the environment’s ability to decompose them. Sadly, the plastics industry fails to recognize the propagation of social and political changes regarding single-use plastics, especially, plastics made from fossil fuels.


Today, single-use plastics account for more than 40 percent of the plastic produced every year (ourworldindata.org)

Plastic pollution is an issue that stresses worldwide cooperation, similar to climate change. Studies reveal that the production of plastics from fossil fuel is only cost effective when the components not used for plastics are used for energy production, treating plastic more as a byproduct of the industry. Therefore, if the industry transitions away from fossil fuels, and towards renewable resources, then the production of wasteful single-use plastic could be severely reduced, if not completely eliminated.


Plastic filament is one of the most used raw materials to 3D print, FDM (fused deposition modeling) 3D printers are the most common type of 3D printers available. There are several types of filament available with different properties, ranging from color, type of plastic and other mechanical properties, nevertheless some eco-friendly filaments do exist; varying from the CO2 footprint to the chemical properties and environmental impact when disposed.

Regardless of the benefits, 3D printing generates large amounts of waste, to enumerate some, starting from the result of failed prints to rejected support structures. Furthermore, the ability to create components without machining or tools causes that many prints are used as disposable prototypes.


Support material is generally required with complex geometry 3D prints, specially where overhangs exist.

Generally, most “Eco-Friendly” plastic filaments aren’t easy to find and neither a cheap alternative, but recycled filament could be an option that helps reduce the CO2 footprint, following the criteria of the 6R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacture), PLA (polylactic acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) are the most promising regarding the fabrication of “green” filament, ranging from a factory process to a domestic plastic extruder.

ABS is a petroleum derivate product, generally recyclable and PLA is biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic derived from resources such as corn, roots, sugarcane and other renewable resources.


PET Translucent Re-filament, made from old PET bottles, up to 90% recycled (re-filament.com)

Nowadays, market offers various filaments made from second hand PLA, PET, ABS, and HIPS. Re-Filament, a Dutch startup company made filament from recycled plastic bottles (PET) and old car dashboards (ABS), other commercially available filament spools from HIPS are made from old refrigerators or automotive parts.


ABS Recycled Plastic filament made out from old car dashboards, developed by Re-Fil. (re-filament.com)


There are other alternatives to make your own recycled filament, such as buying an existing Filament extruding machine or even building it by yourself. (filabot.com)

Published in 3D Printing
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 20:30

Sustainable homes

At first, when we started to hear more and more about 3D printed homes, I must admit I was a little skeptical for many reasons of how it could work. I’m sure if you’ve been into 3D printing for a while, you must have thought that too back then. Printing processes were too long and expensive, so it felt so far from being a good choice for a big product or project. Nowadays, the potential for 3D is huge and it’s clear there are lots of possibilities for it. High-scale prints are way faster and compared with other materials, they could be a much more sustainable and affordable option.


Courtesy of Mighty Buildings/EYRC Architects

Palari Group, which is a development company dedicated to offering innovative and sustainable building strategies for the real estate market, and Mighty Buildings, a construction technology company that is innovating the construction industry by using 3D-printing and robotic automation. They have recently come up with a plan to develop the first 3D-printed zero net energy homes community located in Rancho Mirage, California. Its plan is to develop a 5-acre parcel into a community of 15 eco-friendly homes.


Courtesy of Mighty Buildings/EYRC Architects

The first world’s planned community of 3D-printed homes will cost a total of $15 million and it revolves around the integration of technology and sustainability. The project aims to minimize its environmental impact by eliminating 99% of construction waste and utilizing solar energy and weather-resistant materials. So definitely sustainability-caring buyers will enjoy living in a smart and healthy home.

"We could not be more excited for this groundbreaking collaboration with Palari, and to be a part of the creation of the world's first 3D-printed zero net energy community," said Alexey Dubov, Co-Founder and COO of Mighty Buildings. "This will be the first on-the-ground actualization of our vision for the future of housing - able to be deployed rapidly, affordably, sustainably, and able to augment surrounding communities with a positive dynamic."


Courtesy of Mighty Buildings/EYRC Architects

Each property will have stone wall texture for the exterior and floor-to-ceiling windows. Mid-century modern architecture will be present on the design and each will be 1,450 square feet that consists in 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a secondary residence of 700 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Each backyard will feature a swimming pool with a deck and views of the mountains that surrounds the place. All energy will be solar supplied with the optional Tesla Powerwall batteries and EV chargers.

"We are thrilled to launch this first development of 3D printed sustainable homes and partner with Mighty buildings to realize our common vision of transforming the way we build homes of the future," said Basil Starr, Founder and CEO of Palari, "3D printing allows us to build faster, stronger and more efficiently, making it integral to our platform of streamlining home-building process centered on sustainability of construction, materials, and operations." Palari is planning to build communities of sustainable healthy smart single-family homes in suburban locations across California, introducing a new era of homebuilding. During the presale stage, prices start at $595,000 for a base 3BR/2BA model and go up to $950,000 for a two-home configuration with upgrades.


Courtesy of european business review

I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled about what’s next, not only for sustainable homes and lifestyle but also for what 3D printing possibilities are.


Mighty builings logo


Palari logo


Rancho Mirage, courtesy of Palari

Published in Green printing
Tuesday, 09 March 2021 03:32

3D Printing Food

For the inexperienced, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital 3D model. Objects are usually created layer by layer. 3D printing is revolutionizing the 21st century production industries, from shoes, to airplane and car parts, to medical devices, and more.

Simplifying the definition, 3D printed food is nothing more than what Its name suggests, regular edible ingredients processed by means that they can be extruded through a nozzle onto a surface, the goal, to produce a meal on demand or with peculiar or complex shapes and geometries that are either impossible to reproduce manually or would take an extraordinary amount of time or resources.

Brill, Inc., has introduced a full-color, professional-grade culinary 3D printing system, powered by 3D Systems. (brill3dculinarystudio.com)

3D Printing Chocolate

The 3D printing industry has reached many food markets so it is no surprise that it made impact on the chocolate industry. Several big brands such as Hershey and Nestlé had been experimenting with 3D printed chocolate, 3D printing brings creativeness and innovation to the cacao based franchise, 3D models can be turned into an edible chocolate creation.

Hershey Kiss being printed by their CocoJet 3D printer. (www.3dsystems.com)

Most chocolate 3D printers work with the same principles of a regular FDM 3D printer. Instead of a filament, chocolate 3D printers use a syringe, which is loaded with molten chocolate and then it keeps the chocolate at temperature as it prints. The extruder head moves around and lays down the melted chocolate with the shape desired in layers. The chocolate eventually cools and becomes solid. The whole system needs to be compliant with food safety standards in order for the 3D printed figure to be edible.

Chocolate 3D printers haven been around for around 6 years, so the chocolate industry has yet to expand and learn what more could be done with 3D printers. Chocolate 3D printers aren’t suitable for mass production but it is perfect for gourmet, visually attractive food presentations, or just design new shapes. The main problem with chocolate 3D printers is the temperature, the chocolate has to be heated enough to melt and maintain melted in the syringe, at the same time it must be cool and dry enough to maintain its shape as it is laid into its final shape.

3D printing chocolate allow chefs make unique creations and reproduce them rapidly and affordably, no matter how intricate or specific the design (sculpteo.com)

3D Printing Meat

Meat alternatives are leaving a mark and some companies like Impossible Foods have already partnered with big franchises Like Burger King, plant-based meat went from something very few had heard of to something that now trends between vegans and meat eaters; this is a glimpse into a different future for meat. Total emissions from global livestock are around 7 Gigatonnes of Co2-equivalent per year, representing 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Promoters of meat alternatives say these meatless meats could help change and gradually help the climate crisis.

Redefine Meat is applying proprietary 3D printing technology, meat digital modeling, and advanced food formulations to produce animal-free meat with the appearance, texture and flavor of whole muscle meat (which they call Alt-Meat products).

The Israeli-based company conducted a largest-scale public blind-tasting. The food truck concept was named “There’s a new meat in town”. (redefinemeat.com)

Until recently, alternative meat has replicated ground beef or similar products that have a uniform consistency. 3D printing uniquely enables the production of precise geometries and patterns that can duplicate the muscle and fat structures found in cuts of meat. 3D printing also offers the flexibility to print different shapes, sizes, or combinations of fat and synthetic muscle without retooling or resetting the machines

NovaMeat have managed to reproduce a realistic fibrous fleshy meat alternative steak product. (novameat.com)

Another startup named NovaMeat creates realistic meat alternatives by 3D-printing plant-based proteins, one of the pioneers to simultaneously replicate both the texture and appearance of a cut of an animal’s muscle. Unlike burgers and meatballs, steak and other whole muscle cuts, such as chicken breast and pork chops, are difficult to imitate with only plant ingredients given their depth of texture.

NovaMeat employs protein from rice, peas and algae fibers, natural plant-based colorants, and some fats such as canola, olive and coconut oil in their meat paste formulation. (novameat.com)

It’s safe to consume 3D printed food as long as it has been prepared in an appropriate machine in a clean environment (as with any other kitchen). In addition to creating amazing-looking meals, there are other positives in 3D printing food such as the personalized meal and required daily diets (making food have the specific required nutritional values a person requires); with 3D printed meat we saw the potential global benefits to the environment, but another advantage to consumable 3D printed goods is the easy reproducibility of products, and the precision and time in which this can be produced. Only time will tell how things will work out for the 3D printed food industry but our hopes and expectations certainly aim high.

Published in 3D Printing
Thursday, 04 February 2021 18:24

3D Printing in 2020

In 2020, 3D printing persistently advanced its path towards industrialization and innovation. The developments that pushed 3D printing to where it is today will continue further into 2021, indicating that new projects will surge, technological necessities will need to be satisfied, and new challenges will need to be overcome, all bringing forward new applications for 3D printers and expanding towards new horizons.

Let’s go through what the 2020 brought to the 3D printing world and what it implies for the future.

3D printing during the pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic brought challenges to almost every single country, the most difficult where how to manage and stop the spread of the virus and how to get enough medical supplies (valves for reanimation devices, etc.), we saw a fast response of the global 3D printing community aiding to these specific problems.

Ventilator valves where really scarce during the COVID19 outbreak, and thus the 3D community ran to model and print working prototypes to be used in hospitals. (REUTERS)

The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in a significant shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) worldwide. Professional additive manufacturing providers, makers, and designers in the 3-dimensional (3D) printing community have posted free COVID-19–related 3D printer designs on their websites.

In reaction to the acute shortage of protective wear for medical personnel during the pandemic situation, professional additive manufacturing providers, makers, and designers in the 3D printing community quickly developed and mass-produced protective face shields.

Prusa3D came out with a final design called Prusa PRO Face Shield, which meets the standard of EN 166:2001 for protection against drops and sprays (protection class 3) . (prusa3D.com)

3D printing communities across the world became a massive driving force in the effort to produce protective wear for those, who need it the most. (prusa3D.com)

Development for 3D printed structure on the Moon

ICON is a company that has won NASAS 3D printed habitat challenge, and has become the selected to develop a fully operational 3D printer capable of sustaining the harsh conditions of the moon’s surface, this while printing enhanced lunar structures and building a sustainable site for Off-Earth exploration. As part of its Artemis program, NASA is attempting to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024, and it has already used 3D printing to develop rocket engine part.

“Building humanity’s first home on another world will be the most ambitious construction project in human history and will push science, engineering, technology, and architecture to literal new heights,” said Jason Ballard, Co-founder and CEO of ICON. (iconbuild.com)

NASA has pointed that, through the Artemis program, the Moon will be the first Off-Earth site for sustainable surface exploration. Building a sustainable presence on the Moon requires more than rockets. Robust structures will need to be built on the Moon to provide better thermal, radiation, and micrometeorite protection.

Direct-to-Textile 3D Printed Clothing

3D printing continues to offer fashion designers greater freedom in creating complex geometries with fabric, the European Union has funded a research project called Re-FREAM, an effort uniting artists, designers, and scientists as they combine 3D printing and textiles to rethink the manufacturing process of the fashion industry.

The Re-FREAM goal is to develop new concepts for the future of fashion by means of new processes and aesthetics that are inclusive and sustainable.

Stratasys first introduced its PolyJet technology back in January 2020, a technology that creates objects by jetting fine droplets of photopolymers, materials that solidify when exposed to UV light. Last year, Stratasys started working with fashion designers to show their PolyJet direct-to-textile printing technology, from design through to production, demonstrating the possibility for localized manufacturing and mass customization.

PolyJet 3D Printers are scaled to meet diverse needs in capability and production capacity. The printers fall within two groups: single material at a time and multi-material simultaneously. (Stratasys)

This collaboration follows closely not only of their unveiling the new ability to 3D print onto regular textiles, but also onto sustainable fabrics in vivid colors, creating a shimmer effect when the clothing is in motion, while maintaining the comfortability of regular fabric outfits.

Japanese-style kimono designed by Ganit Goldstein using direct-to-textile PolyJet multi-color 3D printing. (Stratasys)

Another advantage of Stratasys PolyJet™ 3D Printers is that they are certified by Pantone, as meeting the PANTONE validated standards of color quality and realism. Backed by this authentication, PolyJet solutions are perfectly aligned to meet the strict requirements of design studios as they match the design-to-manufacturing process.

This validation allows for simple and accurate color communication between designers and manufacturers. (pantone.com)

High-volume 3D printing is around the corner

At the moment, 3D printing is generally viewed as a technology suitable for low level to mid-volume production. That it will most likely be the case in 2021, but every year we also see more opportunities and developments that will help us achieve higher-volume production with 3D printing.

Conveyor belt 3D printers, have max printing size limitations on X-Y axis but with a theoretically infinite sized z-axis print size or even a continuous production of 3D printed parts, the limitation of this technology is its speed and supported materials, thus not a viable alternative for High-volume 3D printing.

Continuous production of 3D printed parts is a possibility with this technology, it isn’t required that all the printed parts are of the same model. (Blackbelt3D)

Another approach to achieve a high-volume production of 3D printed parts is deploying hundreds of 3D printers and making a Printing Farm, large scale 3D printing is generally less expensive than injection molding below an average of 50000 units/parts, the downside of this continues to be the manufacturing speed (of each 3D printer) and the increase in control required for all the deployed printers, this to ensure quality and reduction of errors.

The whole point of a 3D printing farm: On-demand, efficient manufacturing. (all3dp.com)

On the long run, the on demand nature of additive manufacturing can make production cheaper than other large volume processes, it even has the advantage of customization and personalized production batches, as each printer can lay-out different 3D models, another advantage is the no tooling costs involved, meaning products are brought to market at a much faster rate.

Published in 3D Printing
Wednesday, 03 February 2021 18:00

How will 3D printing industry step up its game

3D printing definitely has its own market and with time, people are more and more willing to invest in a printer so they can print anything at home like a regular 2D printer. Also, there are some good competitive prices out there and nowadays buying one is more accessible and cheaper than some years ago.

3D printers were really impressive since their beginning, but not everything was perfect, and 3D printed pieces had a lot of improvements in order to function well and deliver reasonable printing parts. In the present, prints have a lot to improve when it comes to quality, but the truth is that the most inconvenient issues are printing timings and that is because they are way too prolonged and some prints could even take more than 24 hours to be ready so obviously this has been one thing to keep in mind before you even consider to print something.

3D printing sample at APPPEXPO 2018 in Shanghai, FLAAR-REPORTS archive

3D printers normally start to print from the bottom of the object and they start adding a layer at a time as they prin. When objects are irregular at the top or any other area needs it, the printer and the software add support material to these parts and it can easily be removed and thrown away after the print is ready. Creating this support material makes a print to take much more time than having the printer print just the piece itself. So it is more costly and time-consuming, especially for metal or any other material besides plastic.

Luckily for us, two researchers at Penn State have created a new system that reduces the amount of support material needed on each print by having a system with five axes instead of just having the typical x, y, and z.

3D printing sample at APPPEXPO 2018 in Shanghai, FLAAR-REPORTS archive

Xinyi Xiaoa and Sanjay Joshi proposed in a paper called “Process planning for five-acid support free additive manufacturing,” using a 3D printing with a movable build plate or extrusion arm to create objects in 3D space as they are printed, therefore making each surface flat while it is been extruded.

Screenshot courtesy of Penn State University

“Using a five-axis deposition machine has the potential to build structures without the need for supports,” the researchers wrote. “However, there is a lack of automated process planning software to support the full use of five-axis machines. [We introduce] an automated method that allows reorienting the part during the build using a five-axis machine.”

The main idea is that this process could cut objects into separate pieces that must be printed on a different axis, so prints won't need support material and therefore can be produced faster. For example, in the image below the software cuts the rabbit into 4 pieces dividing it into different axis.

Screenshot courtesy of Pennsylvania State University

On the other hand, if you print the rabbit on a regular 3D printer, it probably would be completely covered by support material and some parts would have difficulty being removed entirely.

Screenshot courtesy of Instructables In-House Art

“Large metal components, using traditional additive manufacturing, can take days and waste lots of materials by using support structures,” said the creators. “Additive manufacturing is very powerful, and it can make a lot of things due to its flexibility; however, it also has its disadvantages. There is still more work to do.”

Right now there aren’t many 5-axis printers available in the market and definitely not for home printers, but imagine having to say goodbye forever to the annoying process of removing support material… I bet many people would be pleased.

Published in 3D Printing
Wednesday, 16 December 2020 13:22

BIGREP Pro, Fast Industrial 3D Prints

Founded in Germany, 2014, BigRep’s vision is to innovate the 3D printing and manufacturing business. Opening to a new dimension of 3D printing and 3D manufacturing.

BigRep has developed machines that prints with engineering-grade materials to ensure users can manufacture the applications they need, in large scale.

BigRep printers are designed for industrial applications, BigRep developed its proprietary Metering Extruder Technology (MXT®), unlike from regular FDM (fused deposition modeling) also known as FFF, MXT is a faster and more accurate extrusion technique, this helps reduce regular FDM extrusion issues and helps to produce faster prints, thus eliminating some limitations of FFF extrusion.

MXT® technology relies on a chamber of fused filament that is later pushed by a highly accurate servo motor.

The inclusion of a Bosch Rexroth CNC Control System brings new IoT features to industrial additive manufacturing for industry 4.0 integration. With tools like remote operation, data collection, cloud-based analytics and more, the BigRep PRO ensures seamless production by enabling print quality monitoring and fleet management anytime and anywhere.

Most recently BigRep introduced a 3D printer rental service, this leasing platform is available across North America.

“For the first time, our service makes a large-format industrial 3D printer available to new customers or small- to mid-sized businesses looking for a hassle-free and flexible turnkey AM solution at an affordable rate,” says Frank Marangell, BigRep CBO and President of BigRep America. “Facing a challenging economic environment and volatile markets, customers today want quick and flexible solutions without big investments or long-term obligations. By making 3D printing available today, BigRep is helping companies stay ahead of the curve with an agile manufacturing solution to be even more competitive tomorrow.”

BigRep has a variety of 3D printers, for different industrial needs , from left to Right, BigRep Studio (special for abrasive material Industrial 3D printing), BigRep One (large format accessible Industrial 3D printer) and BigRep Pro (fast and reliable large format industrial 3D printer).

All in all, the BigRep machines are a viable option for small businesses and manufacturers looking for an industrial-grade 3D printer that is relatively affordable and has a larger build volume, especially to industries and processes where reliability and repetitive prints are a must.

BigRep studio is a large format 3D printer with a fully enclosed, temperature-controlled chamber, with a build size of 1000 x 500 x 500 (mm).

Published in 3D Printing
Friday, 23 October 2020 17:54

3D Printing Magnets

Most off the shelf magnets have a simple design and work with one side as the north pole and the opposite as the south pole. Programmed magnets or polymagnets on the other hand are customized structures of magnets that alternate polarity in a specific designed patter to achieve a desired behavior, by designing different magnetic fields on the same side is possible to achieve different mechanical performances as a latch or spring without requiring a physical spring or many movable parts.

Correlated magnets have the unique characteristic of having alternating North and South poles on one side, resulting in simultaneous attract and repel forces or event to attract or repel at a certain spatial orientation. Correlated magnets can usually be designed to interact only with other specific programmable magnets. Correlated magnets can even be programmed to attract and repel at the same time. Compared to conventional magnets, the correlated magnet provides five times stronger holding force (attraction force) and thus higher shear resistance.

There are four main functions that correlated magnets can achieve: align, attach,
latch, and spring. (ifixit.com)

Correlated Magnetics Research (CMR) was developed to pursue research and development of the programmable Magnets technology, CMR co-founder and Chief Scientist, Larry Fullerton, was inspired by youthful imagination to create a self-assembling toy to spark his grandchildren’s interest in math, science, and physics; Fullerton inspired by this idea experimented and finally created this programmable magnets, the idea is so unique that CMR has already filed over 100 patents.

One of their more promising developments are magnetic gears, where conventional gears use mating surfaces of mechanical interlocking teeth, magnetic gears employ alternating magnetic fields to transmit torque removing friction by contact; nevertheless, the achievable torque density of magnetic gears is indeed considerably lower than the one of their mechanical counterparts, although, on the plus side, they also do not suffer irreparable damage if their specified torque is exceeded.

The programmable magnetic gears developed by CMR may allow for smaller, more efficient
magnetic gears with higher torque density in the future (polymagnet.com)

The world first's 3D magnetizing printer was developed by CMR, which is called MagPrinter. This printer consists of a magnetizing coil in a cabinet with a motion-control system. A polymagnet can be easily made from reprogramming a conventional magnetic material in a few minutes.

The MagPrinter imprints Polymagnets in batch mode on a large, movable stage with maxel (magnetic pixels) sizes ranging from 1mm to 4mm. By overlapping maxels, the printer can produce very high-resolution patterns and even images embedded in the magnetic material itself. The MagPrinter produces Polymagnets on the strongest Neodymium magnets, flexible materials, ferrites and specialized materials such as Samarium Cobalt.

The Mini MagPrinter. Half the size of the original MagPrinter (polymagnet.com)

CMR Mini MagPrinter could be the most fantastic toy to hit Makerspaces since desktop 3D printers. The only downside is that even this mini version is still quite expensive at $45,000, but on the other hand, a batch of traditional made-to-order magnets cost will quickly elevate to thousands of dollars too. CMR’s technology will largely be limited to research institutes and universities, but well-funded makerspaces might also have a shot at it.

The Mini MagPrinter. will do for magnetics what 3D printing systems did for mechanical prototyping (polymagnet.com)

Published in 3D Printing

ALTANA announces the acquisition of TLS Technik GmbH & Co. Spezialpulver KG, a manufacturer of metal powders for 3D printing, and thus strategically expanding its ECKART division.

“By acquiring the TLS business, we are expanding our portfolio in 3D printing for industrial additive manufacturing and positioning ourselves in a technology market of the future,” Martin Babilas, CEO of ALTANA AG. “With this step we are continuing to implement ALTANA's strategy of generating value-creating growth through targeted acquisitions, even in difficult economic times.”

“TLS’ expertise in the production of metal powders and alloys for metallic 3D printing complements ECKART’s strengths as a specialist in the atomization of metals,” Dr. Wolfgang Schütt, head of ALTANA's ECKART Division. “We are also strengthening ourselves in a targeted manner for functional applications.”

In addition, ALTANA announced the acquisition of the British company Aluminium Materials Technologies Ltd. (AMT). Besides others, the company developed the patented special alloy A20X for 3D printing that enables the manufacturing of significantly lighter components.

Published in Inside the Business
Friday, 04 September 2020 23:18

3D Printing Glass

Additive manufacturing is the base of 3D printing, it has several methods but the most used and common are SLA (Stereolithography) or SLS (selective laser sintering) and FDM (fused deposition modeling). Both generally use polymers as the main material to produce prints and here is where things can get complicated, in this article we will cover the use of glass and its raw materials used to produce 3D prints.octype html>

Back in 2015, MIT researchers developed a 3D printer that melts glass to later extrude it to a desired form (mit.edu)

3D printing glass is not an easy task, there have been a few organizations and scientists that were able to produce a 3D printed glass piece. Most of these methods rely on high temperature to help reach the glass melting point to later mold it into the desired form, glass will require temperatures around a 1000 ºC to reach its fusion point.

MIT 3D printed glass pieces are beautiful and of complex shapes. (mit.edu)

A team of engineers from the University of Washington succeeded by using glass powder and a binder solution to make particles react and thus being able to lay them and form a desired glass object. The technique allows a new type of material (glass) to be used in a typical powder based 3D printing system.

This 3D printing method was named Vitraglyphic process and was created in 2009 (washington.edu)

In 2017, a German group of researchers from KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) used an SLA process to create intricate glass objects. In SLA printing, light is used to selectively harden liquid materials into solid parts, layer by layer. The team applied the SLA process to a special ink containing glass nanopowder suspended in a photocurable polymer, and then they fired the piece at 1,300 ºC to burn off the polymer and densify the glass.

Complicated high-precision structures made of glass can be manufactured with this method (kit.edu)

Most recently (November 2019), ETH Zürich have used a similar method as the KIT researchers, they have developed a special resin that contains a plastic and organic molecules to which glass precursors are bonded, the resin can be cured by UV Light using commercially available DLP 3D printers.

Complex objects can be made from different types of glass, or even combined in the same object using the technique (ethz.ch)

After the resin is cured into the desired form, the piece is subjected to two different temperatures: at 600˚C to burn off the polymer framework and then at around 1000˚C to densify the ceramic structure into glass. During the firing process, the objects shrink significantly, but become transparent and hard like window glass.

Published in 3D Printing
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