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.

Note: a new report has just been issued about the safety of both filaments and the printers themselves. Here are some conclusions: 1. "toxic effects can be produced even with small levels of exposure"; 2. "It is unwise to touch models with bare hand"; 3. "Even though some resins may come with good cytotoxicity, they may still cause health issues after repeated exposure". Be sure to read the report in its entirety for your own safety..

The home of the future, we are told, will be constructed of recyclable and affordable bio-based materials. This house, built in Maine, will someday belong to a neighborhood of similar dwellings, 600 square ft and designed for the homeless. Its materials consist of living organisms like plants and other forestry, marine, and agricultural products. Further details are given in this article.

Aectual is making 3D printed wood from the residue of wood waste. The material is fully biodegradable and can be reprinted after being used. The company's first products using this new naterial are wooden screens, to serve as room dividers, wall paneling, or window blinds.

A new origami-shaped snake robot has been designed in Denmark. The device slithers using rectilinear locomotion and is meant to search for survivors at disaster locations or perhaps explore other planets. Its body is made of a lightweight composite utilizing what they call the world's strongest synthetic fiber which is laser-cut, folded like origami, and heat-pressed.

A company called DEEP is planning to install sub-sea stations that will allow researchers to operate continually down to 200 metres or 656 feet under the oceans. The project is scheduled to be ready by 2027. Also on the drawing board are underwater habitats that will sit on the ocean floor as well as 3D metal printing robots able to fabricate underwater housing.

Called "Standard is Boring", MIT's robot arm is able to make a dress using computer-enabled knitting and heat-activated yarns. The 4D Knit Dress sculpts the clothing around the wearer's body using a robot arm that blows the yarn. The dress can also be altered after being worn for months. The heat-activated yarns follow specific computerized commands like pintucks, pleats, or a cinched waist. No needles or other sewing implements are involved.

A woman has just received the first 3D printed windpipe transplant. The device took 2 weeks to 3D print and the surgery was completed in half a day. The new windpipe, made from someone else's stem cells, was surgically implanted at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital in 2023. The new organ is expected to last for 5 years, during which time it is hoped that the patient's body will regenerate her own trachea before the new windpipe biodegrades. Current technologies are complex and dangerous, so this new procedure will hopefully help patients with thyroid cancer, congenital malformations, or damage to the windpipe.

The world's first double hand transplant has taken place in Delhi, India. A 45-year-old painter underwent 12 hours of surgery. The patient had lost both of his hands in a train accident in 2020. Thanks to an organ donor who had pledged her organs to be used after her death the new hands were given to the painter on March 7. He is expected to be able to paint again shortly. The generous donor had also given her kidney, liver, and cornea to grateful recipients.

Uni Mostro is the name given to Puma's new 3D printed shoe shown at New York Fashion Week. The word is derived from the Italian name for monster. Mostro was originally conceived in 1999. The 2024 version has a mesh upper, an elastic strap closure, lycra lining, and metallic silver overlay.

Next to greet you at a supermarket may be CRISPRed Pork. For more than 30 years, pig farmers have had to deal with a virus that results in a reproductive and respiratory disease known as blue ear, which is airborne like covid 19. Young pigs get a high fever, hacking cough, and inability to gain weight. Pregnant sows frequently have miscarriages or give birth to dead or malformed piglets. In North America alone the virus is said to cost pork producers more than $600. million USD every year. The new pork, developed in the U.K., is resistant to the virus even when sick pigs are nearby. Permission to distribute the new meat widely is expected from the FDA by the end of 2024.

Scientists have 3D printed multi-layered living skin directly onto major injuries in rats in a test for scar-free skin repair. The full-thickness skin can grow hair and is expcted to be used in humans for damage to the head or face from disease or injury.

New 3D printed eyes have already benefited more than 200 patients treated at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Great attention to detail took place prior to the surgery: the new eye must be a good match for the existing other eye and must fit perfectly into the empty eye socket. The pre-surgical measuring process is said to be painless for the patient.

A new material inspired by the hollow stems of the Victoria water lily is expected to make a major change in the production of rocket or aircraft parts. The new material distributes stress, which reduces vulnerability, and deflects cracks along the frame. Its resilience may also be helpful in fields like bone implants. Both high strenth and light weight, as well as alleviating weak points, make this new lattice structure attractive.

Thanks to the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the Unversity of California, Berkeley, as well as other museums with vertebrate specimens, many of these reptile and amphibian skeletons will soon be 3D scanned and made available to the public in a searchable database. The project, called oVert, currently offers the skull of a horned lizard, available at MorphoSource, to be downloaded and sent to a 3D printer.

One note of caution: many companies are using high-tech and confusing language to disguise the fact that plastics are part of their product or their process, especially in the food industry. Buyer beware. Demand an easy-to-understand explanation before you eat or buy..

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 2024