3D Printing News

A note of caution to our viewers: many of these products are only available for pre-ordering and have yet to be manufactured. Others are only hopes/dreams. Hyperbole is the language of choice, so be careful!

Additionally, be forewarned that some of the materials you intend to work with, as well as particles and fumes from the printer itself, may be toxic. You may want to read this article for a further discussion of the potential problems. Additionally, here is a later review of some of the known health hazards.

Read an extraordinary interview with the CEO of Moderna on the moment that he first realized that his company could make a covid 19 vaccine. In a rare behind-the-scenes discussion, Stephane Bancel describes the first realization of the vaccine's potential, the way the vaccine is fabricated, and how covid 19 and its vaccine differ from other viruses. An additional report on the vaccine and its implications for the future have been reported in the Atlantic magazine.

3D printing is being used in Dayna, an electric motorcycle designed for rescues in difficult terrains. Dayna was created by students at Barcelona's University School of Design and Engineering as part of their "Barcelona Smartmoto Challenge". The competition asked students to come up with smart designs to be used off-roads. The machines had to be off-road tested as well. Dayna has GPS, Bluetooth, and proximity sensors, and is eco-friendly - ie electric - also. The fender was 3-D printed and then reinforced with glass fibre.

Scientists at Yale University have developed a new bioplastic made from wood powder. This project, like others utilizing egg shells, plants, and tequila waste, aim to solve the main problem with most thermoplastics in use today: they are petroleum-based and can take centuries to break down. They are also toxic to humans. The powder is a standard waste product found at wood mills. Sheets of it were buried in soil, where they started fracturing in two weeks and had entirely degraded in three months. The new material was found to be strong, resistant to UV light, and able to hold liquids. The buried sheets could also be recovered and reused. The full report can be found at Nature Sustainability.

For the first time, 3D printed "bones" have been made at room temperature. Using a special gel made from the patient's own living cells, researchers at Australia's University of New South Wales-Sydney have created a bio-ink gel in a calcium phosphate solution. The technique is called ceramic omnidirectional bioprinting in cell suspensions (CIBICS). The gel IS 3-D printed right into the patient's bone cavity rather than having surgeons remove a piece from somewhere else in the body. The material hardens within minutes of being exposed to body fluids. It then turns into "mechanically interlocking bone nanocrystals". The unique feature is being able to achieve the conversion at room temperature. According to the researchers, you basically create a dry material, bring it into a clinical setting, wash it extensively, and add living cells to it. The conversion is rapid and non-toxic.

I try to avoid advertising media, but Runner's World has provided a useful overview of shoes made with 3D printed parts. They tested laces, midsoles, stability, breathability, cushioning, impact absorption, comfort, and toe spring. Note: Runner's World receives a commission for shoes bought through links on their site.

A company called Relativity Space set themselves a goal of 3D printing a rocket and using it to launch into orbit. They have now released a video showing the second stage of the manufacturing process, which takes place at about one foot per day. The next step involves adding Aeon engines, additional testing, and then welding the entire rocket together using a robotic arm. The company hopes to launch later this year.

Here's a bit of sci-fi coming to your living room. Microsoft has just released a mixed-reality platform called Mesh. It features real-time holograms of people being beamed into work. Unlike their HoloLens 2, which costs $3500. USD, Mesh will be available on smart phones, PC's, and tablets. Another company called PORTL is developing a hologram booth it calls HoloPortation: it sells for $60,000 USD. Epic HoloPortl, according to its founder, has received more than a thousand pre-orders for the device.

We are starting to see examples of 3D printing that move out of the laboratory and into our lives. Aqua Knuckles for swimmers foster open-finger swimming. The advantages of this type of swimming are laid out in this article, as well as the role that 3D printing plays in their manufacture. Basically the device is made with 3D printers, silicone molds, and hand finishing. Apparently they are useful for beginning swimmers, including children, as well as professionals, and they seem to take noticeable time off of your swimming performance. The name, by the way, is a spoof of "brass knuckles".

People who attended the 8th Techno-Urology Meeting were asked to fill out a questionnaire about how they perceived the efficacy of different procedures available for 3D imaging technologies in the field of prostate and kidney cancer surgery. The results indicated that the preferred option was AR (Augmented Reality). HoloLens was chosen as the best imaging technology when planning the surgery. Printed models were felt to be best for advising patients. In 3D printing, fused deposition models were chosen to best represent kidney anatomy and the location of renal tumors, while silicon and polyjet models were best for prostate anatomy and cancer location. It was also demonstrated that attendees had a poor understanding of the cost to 3D print and the amount of time involved.

A new method has been developed to more easily make 3D printed scaffolds to guide tissue regeneration. In a detailed description, the authors provide information on the equipment necessary and the reagents used. The article appears in the Journal of Biological Methods and is titled "Fabricating spatially functionalized 3D-printed scaffolds for osteochondral tissue engineering". It comes from the department of Bioengineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The researchers aim to correct the problems that occur with the current process called surface functionalization, which often causes "biomaterials with homogeneously distributed chemistries that fail to mimic the biochemical organization found in native tissues".

We review many hundreds of articles each month, culling the most significant for you. We also welcome suggestions from our viewers for products and processes that we may have missed.

c.Corinne Whitaker 2021