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 may be toxic.

If I seem to be linking to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) frequently it is because their work in 3D printing is so innovative. Now their researchers have come up with a method of 3D printing robots in very little time. Called "Interactive Robogami", the system lets you design a robot in minutes and then print it and put it together in under 4 fours. Anyone who has worked seriously in 3D printing will understand what a breakthrough this represents.

An unusual 3D printing application has been developed that enables more rapid and realistic monitoring of the pulp temperature and history of fresh fruit like apples. To achieve this, the researchers produced an artificial fruit that copies the size, shape, surface texture and color of the real thing, while the interior repeats the thermal properties. The interior also includes self-powered data sensors. The data is useful in the transport of fresh fruit, indicating which vehicles and which parts of each vehicle can be optimized for fresher delivery. Obviously the sensors are meant to be removed before the customer gets the fruit.

New research presented at the American Chemical Society expo showed a method of producing plastics from urine during trips to outer space. The method utilizes not only urine but CO2 from breathing and a yeast that metabolizes carbon and nitrogen. The implications for space travel are huge.

Those of you who follow Nintendo and its ramifications will be interested in a new 3D printed cabinet that cools and also charges the console. Called the Nintendo Switch Arcade Cabinet, its angled construction makes it easy to play when placed on a table. The design can be downloaded for free, and includes instructions for using the additional components necessary to complete the project. Commentators who have seen the mini-model are impressed by the amount of detail achieved, including faucet fixtures and table tops.

Scientists in England have figured out how to 3D print high-resolution living tissue that could eliminate the need for animal testing in medical and biomedical research. They appear to have overcome the main obstacle in prior efforts, the ability to correctly position the cells in a 3D mechanism since the cells are known to move around and cause the scaffolding to collapse. How the researchers achieved this are discussed in detail at this site.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have succeeded in 3D printing collapsible robots that bend and twist. The tiny strucures are collapsible and expandable, making them easy to store and nest.

A new project called oVert, meanng Open Vertebrate, has been funded by the National Science Foundation. It offers more than 20,000 vertebrate images free to download. Over 80% of currently living vertebrates are included, so that, for example, you can look at circulitory systems, or see what a frog had for dinner last night. The project uses 3D scanning to externalize the inner workings of vertebrates, offering a virtual encyclopedia of vertebrate anatomy. The grant complements iDigBio, which itself offers over 106 million biological specimems for study and research.

If you were wondering what stereolithography (SLA) is and how it works, this site will give you a clear explanation and description of the process as well as some suggestions for available materials.

A Japanese company called id.arts has designed and fabricated a miniature kitchen "simulation model". They had to use a number of 3D printing processes to complete the project, including SLA, FDM, SLS and others. Those who have seen the models marvel at the precise detailing of things like faucets and sinks.

An Italian company called WASP is designing 3D printed theatrical sets for a production of "Fra Diavolo" by Rome's Teatro dell'Opera, with an opening night sceduled for October 8. WASP had previously 3D printed gluten-free food, casts of Vesuvius victims, and an entire 3D printed village. By July, hundreds of scene pieces filled the warehouse being used for the sets. The 3-act opera will continue through the 21st of October. High-speed 3D printers are increasingly being used in the entertainment industry, for the creation of costumes particularly.

Check out the products of a company called "Print the Future". They are producing furniture and home goods that rival any traditionally manufactured article you can buy. The products will be sold under the brand name Kabuni, if the SEC approves their CF (crowd funding) application. Print the Future plans eventually to open over 200 brick and mortar stores.

Had your eye on a high-end Mercedes Benz sedan? How about a beautifully printed 3D model 280S instead. Looking at the photographs here, can you tell the original from the copy? The W116 was part of the original S series produced from September 1972 to 1980 and considered a classic luxury sedan. Sebastian Pot, the designer, had previously 3D printed a stunning replica of the Cobra MKIII. He is currently working on the Ferrari 250 Testarossa, which will have over 450 3D printed parts.

Note: we review 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 2017