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.

In case you hadn't heard it, the big news in the 3D printing world this month is that Israeli scientists say they have successfully printef a human heart complete with blood vessels, cells, ventricles, and chambers. Developed at Tel Aviv University. the world's first 3D printed heart is about the size of a cherry. The researchers write that other labs have 3D printed hearts before, but this is the first time that anyone has included the associated parts. They remind us that huge challenges remain until this major medical breakthrough is available to the public, although they hope that in about 10 years 3D printed human hearts will be routinely available in hospitals.

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley speculate that freezing might well be the answer to faster 3D printing. They liken the process to cooking a hamburger in a cryogenic solution and feel that it could be used on "simple coherent structures". Essentially, instead of building up layers as in the standard 3D printer, they would break up or deconstruct the model into a series of individual 2D layers. The 2D layers are laid down next to each other and frozen. Afterward they are re-assembled and bound together. Unlike other 3D bioprinting methods that use hydrogels and bioinks, this freezing process keeps the cells alive and maintains their basic structure. Other institutions like Imperial College of London are experimenting with cryogenics as well but the results appear to be inconclusive.

A fashion and design firm called COS has used 3D printing to create a large-scale installation for Milan's Salone del Mobile. The architectural style project was designed digitally and composed of 700 interlocking bio-bricks. Called Conifera,it uses wood and bioplastic materials to create a pedestrian path from a courtyard to a garden. French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani calls his structure "futuristic high-tech" and also "deeply poetic and human".

A group of researchers at the Mayo Clinic have experimented with 3D printed models of the spine. They were able to create 3 lumbar vertebrae and 20 C2 vertebrae models. They could also use PVA, which is usually spongy and water-soluble, by adding PLA, which makes parts that are less brittle. The result was a model that seemed to have no failures in either materials or hardware and was superior to the single-material process.

Laika, the stop-motion studio that produced Kubo and the Two Strings Coraline, was determined to make its puppets more human-like for its newest movie, The Missing Link. They first lopped off the face of one of their existing creatures, and replaced it as many as 24 times for one second of filming. Their method involved photographing the new creature to see which face gave the desired emotion, a technique called replacement animation. They also use more violent methods of disrupting the faces and in fact, for the new movie, 3D printed more than 106,000 faces in color to choose from. Another challenge involves getting the head and the body to move naturally together to achieve a natural range-of-motion.

A company called ColorFabb has created a foaming 3D printed filament that can expand up to 3 times it original size. The company reports that the foaming begins at roughly 230 degrees centigrade, so that users can reduce their use of materials by up to 65%. Some instruction is required to use the material properly, but basically the user can change the temperature, speed and flow during the printing process. At the moment, the new filament is available in neutral and black only.

The world's first 3D printed smash-proof guitar has been created by Sandvic. The Swedish engineering company made the guitar for Yngwie Malmsteen, a Swedish musician described by Time magazine as one of the world's all-time greats. According to the company, one innovation was to use ILS, (Isotropic Lightweight Structure) made from their Hyper-duplex steel which was installed between the instrument's neck and fretboard.

A 3D printed Chromat dress wil expand or contract according to whether you feel stressed. Chromat is working with Intel on a fabric that will expand when you experience an adrenaline rush, making you look larger and more threatening.

An attempt is being made in the fashion industry to figure out what fashion will look like in 20 years. The conclusions seem to be that consumers will want the new, with an eye to planetary responsibility. In this article, some ideast are offerec as to what will survive as well as what will be innovative.

3D printed bone is the subject of intense scrutiny in the biomedical field right now. Solutions are being sought not only for athletes and their injuries but also for natural processes like arthritis. At Rice University and UMD (the Uniersiyu of Maryland), the focus is on materials that mimic both natural bone and cartilege using both polymers and ceramics. At the NYU School of Medicine and the NYU College of Dentistry, they are studyind how 3D printed implants can regenerate small holes in the skulls of mice and rebuild small missing pieces in rabbitt jaws and limbs.

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 2019