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3D printing with metal: The final frontier of additive manufacturing

3D printing with metal: The final frontier of additive manufacturing
The holidays are a great time to sit back, relax, and watch the world happen around you. Few areas of technology have seen as much development in one year as that of 3D printing. Undoubtedly, the most dramatic and challenging has been printing with metal. The first attempts to print with metal can be traced back to the 1880s when the first welders used carbon electrode arcs to fuse two pieces of metal. The real breakthrough that has enabled 3D printing for the masses has been the laser. NASA recently used a technique called selective metal melting (SLM) with great success to build rocket motor components out of steel. To compete with modern manufacturing methods, perhaps the fastest method of metal printing is to deposit a powder metal matrix that contains binders. One of the premier organizations to capture public attention is Shapeways, which has streamlined the process to be able to provide a (metal or plastic) printed part in the shortest time possible. Related:  Additive Manufacturing Technologies3D future

A Simple, Low-Cost Conductive Composite Material for 3D Printing of Electronic Sensors 3D printing technology can produce complex objects directly from computer aided digital designs. The technology has traditionally been used by large companies to produce fit and form concept prototypes (‘rapid prototyping’) before production. In recent years however there has been a move to adopt the technology as full-scale manufacturing solution. Figures Citation: Leigh SJ, Bradley RJ, Purssell CP, Billson DR, Hutchins DA (2012) A Simple, Low-Cost Conductive Composite Material for 3D Printing of Electronic Sensors. Editor: Jeongmin Hong, Florida International University, United States of America Received: August 23, 2012; Accepted: October 11, 2012; Published: November 21, 2012 Copyright: © 2012 Leigh et al. Funding: This work was funded by the EPSRC project: Novel 3D Printing Technologies for Maximising Industrial Impact (Subproject # 30821) and by the EPSRC UK Research Centre In Nondestructive Evaluation. Introduction Results and Discussion Material Formulation and Testing Figure 1.

A brief review of the 3D printers of 2012 - Design World The avalanche of popular news stories has propelled 3D printing into the minds of consumers. However, the major manufacturers of 3D printers have released a number of systems for professional uses. Here’s a quick look at what became available this year. A number of technical advances are demonstrated by this year’s new 3D printing systems. Sheet lamination using paper entered the market. Sheet lamination According to the ASTM International standard definitions, sheet lamination is a process in which sheets are bonded together to form an object. Primarily geared to form and fit applications, some industries can have paper objects serve as the final product. A Selectable Layer Thickness (S.L.T.) technique allows the printer to run in two different modes, draft or presentation. The company also announced the Mcor IRIS, which prints in full 600 dpi color. Matrix 300+ Technical Specs Build Size: A4 Paper: 256 x 169 x 150 mm; Letter Paper: 9.39 x 6.89 x 5.9 in. Laser sintering Stereolithography

Cheap, polymer-coated cotton automagically captures water from desert air Just like how people end up living in the bitter, frostbitten cold, other people end up living in hot, arid regions. In the cold you need heat — something easily remedied with proper clothing and heating equipment — but in the heat, you need water, which is something you can’t quite create out of man-made components. However, researchers have created a new special coating that, when applied to cotton, can suck water right out of the air. On top of that, once the cotton gets hot enough, it can automatically drain itself. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and Hong Kong Polytechnic University teamed up and created a special polymer, called PNIPAAm, that is applied to a cotton fabric. In theory, this water-collection system can be set up in arid areas, and essentially be forgotten about while it does its work. Another advantage of the cotton and polymer duo is that cotton fabric is cheap to make, and you can make it just about anywhere.

What is 3D printing? 3D printing is a method of manufacturing everything from shoes to jewelery, to guns and aerospace parts, using a computer-controlled printer. The fundamental rule of 3D printing is that it’s an additive manufacturing technique, unlike machining, turning, milling, and sawing which are subtractive. While there are different kinds of 3D printing, all 3D objects are generally built out of layers. A 3D printer starts with the bottom layer, waits for it to dry or solidify, and then works its way up. Industrial vs. commercial While consumer- and small business-oriented 3D printing is only just taking off, mostly thanks to the MakerBot and RepRaps, 3D printing has been used in an industrial setting for 30 years. Consumer-oriented 3D printers are cheaper, smaller, slower, and are usually lower resolution than their industrial counterparts. Different printing techniques Fused deposition modeling – The most common 3D printing method is fused deposition modeling (FDM). The future of 3D printing

Cubify Wants To Domesticate The 3-D Printer Amongst other surprises at CES this year, young 3-D printing company Cubify took home the Best Emerging Tech award for their second-generation printer, the CubeX. Launched only a year after their first machine, the CubeX and its little brother, the Cube, sell at a significantly lower cost than competitors and are geared toward kids, artists, and other consumers who might not have a ton of experience with the technology. They’re your mother’s 3-D printer--and I mean that in a very good way. The irony behind their friendly, primary-colored marketing materials is that Cubify is actually the consumer brand of the first 3-D printing company ever: 3D Systems, a 30-year-old company founded by inventor Chuck Hull. It took nearly three decades for Hull to bring the Cube to market, and he’s done so in a very deliberate way. I got in touch with Cubify’s Alyssa Reichental to ask about the company’s idea of what 3-D printing will look like down the road.

New plastic could revolutionise 3D printing of electronic products News: engineers at a UK university have printed working electronic devices for the first time using a standard 3D printer fitted with a new type of plastic that conducts electricity. The team used the material, called "Carbomorph", to print a simple computer game controller (top), a glove containing flexible sensors and a mug that knows how full it is. "This technology could revolutionalise the way we produce the world around us," said Dr Simon Leigh (above), who led the research team at the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick. Carbomorph is a carbon-rich composite material that can be used in existing 3D printers to print electronic circuits. Using Carbomorph alongside a regular plastic in multi-headed printers could one day allow the printing of the physical forms plus the electronic innards of objects such as mobile phones and remote controls in one go. Until now, the exterior form and interior workings of electronic devices have had to be manufactured separately.

Africa: Climate Conversations - Could 3D Printing Be a Climate Revolution? Dissertation student Jan Torgersen of Vienna University of Technology tries to make a laser beam visible on a newly developed 3D laser printer, in Vienna March 29, 2012. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer Humanity has lived through many ages and transformations. But as we stare at our computer screens, a new age is sneaking up on us quite unexpectedly - one that combines the durability and strength of the industrial age with the flexibility and adaptability of the virtual age. It is an age that will be built not with hammers, but with printers - 3D printers. And these 3D printers could play a role in addressing complex 21st century challenges such as climate change. 3D printing, also known as "additive manufacturing" is the printing of physical 3D objects from a digital plan. Additive manufacturing allows designers to create intricate structures that in some instances would be impossible to construct otherwise. A notable use of the technology is by the U.S. military's new Expeditionary Lab - Mobile.

Magnetic logic makes for mutable chips Software can transform a computer from a word processor to a number cruncher to a video telephone. But the underlying hardware is unchanged. Now, a type of transistor that can be switched with magnetism instead of electricity could make circuitry malleable too, leading to more efficient and reliable gadgets, from smart phones to satellites. Transistors, the simple switches at the heart of all modern electronics, generally use a tiny voltage to toggle between ‘on’ and ‘off’. A research group based at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Seoul, South Korea, has developed a circuit that may get around these problems. The bridge has two layers: a lower deck with an excess of positively charged holes and an upper deck filled predominantly with negatively charged electrons. The ability of a magnetic logic gate to hold the switch on or off without a voltage “could lead to great reduction of energy consumption”, says study co-author Jin Dong Song, a physicist at KIST.

The first 3D-printed human stem cells The shortage of transplantable organs has spawned a fascinating science and market. A liver, for example, is often split among two recipients, while for a cystic fibrosis patient in need of two lungs, it is technically preferable to just swap out both the heart and lungs as a combo unit. The extra heart can then be domino donated to a third party. Bioprinting complete organs en masse is a tough proposition because the identity expressed by each component cell must be individually programmed. It was announced at the end of last year, that Autodesk, the makers of CAD software like AutoCAD, would be partnering with a new startup by the name of Organovo to make 3D organ printing a reality. So, in 20 years, will replacement organs be printed, grown, or built? While stem cells from a mouse have been printed before, human stem cells have proven to be a bit more fragile and generally more difficult to work with. Now read: The first open-source 3D-printed gun

New Zealand Man is 3D-Printing a Fully-Functional 1961 Aston Martin Replica New Zealander Ivan Sentch is 3D printing an entire 1961 Aston Martin DB4 replica! Using a CAD rendering from TurboSquid, which he modified to suit his design goals, Sentch has so far produced 2,500 fiberglass molds and four four-inch sections that he has mounted on a wooden frame and glued into place. He spent about $2,000 on plastics for the 3D printing, and now plans to build a mold for a fiberglass exterior shell. There are only 1,200 existing models of the 1961 Aston Martin DB4 in the world, each costing between several hundred thousand to $1 million on the auction circuit. It may not look like it, but Sentch has been using the 3D printing technology only since last December. So far he’s spent about $2,000 on the 3D printing material and still plans to create the exterior shell out of fiberglass. + Replica DB4 Project Via Wired

Will 3D printers make food sustainable? Before the end of the year, if Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University gets his way, the world's first test-tube burger will be flame-grilled by Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck in Bray and served to a celebrity guest. Meals at this restaurant don't come cheap, but this one will be the climax of a €250,000 research project – and a milestone in Post's quest to find new ways of feeding the world, without destroying the planet. His petri-dish patty will be made from a mixture of fat and cow muscle grown from stem cells in a culture of foetal calf serum (that's blood plasma without the clotting agents) – a technology trialled in February. Meanwhile, at Cornell University in New York, PhD candidate Jeffrey Lipton has developed a 3D food printer that lays down liquid versions of foods, dot by dot and layer by layer, to build up edible meals. It's a brave new world of scientific endeavour, but are these technologies sustainable? One drawback is uncertainty over safety.

3D Printing Pioneer Joins Harvard Faculty A leader in 3D printing and bio-inspired materials, Jennifer Lewis’ research explores microscale 3D printing for engineering and translational biology. CAMBRIDGE/BOSTON, MA– Jennifer A. Lewis,an internationally recognized leader in the fields of 3D printing and biomimetic materials, has been appointed as the first Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and a Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Lewis is the first senior faculty to occupy a Wyss-endowed professorial chair. 3D printing—also known as additive manufacturing—is the process of fabricating three-dimensional solid objects from digital computer models. Lewis’ research, however, has expanded 3D printing to a far more sophisticated level. “We are delighted that Jennifer is joining us,” said Cherry A.

Researchers successfully grow defect-free graphene, commercial uses now in sight The imagined industrial applications for graphene are currently constrained by two things — cost and quality. There is no concrete roadmap to predict how quickly graphene-based devices will become available and how common they will be. The quality of a sample of graphene depends not only on purity but also on the nature of defects in the geometry. A new method to control the orientation, edge geometry, and thickness of vapor-deposited graphene has just been discovered by a pan-European group of researchers. With continued advances and some newly announced funding initiatives graphene’s full potential as a commercial material is now beginning to come into focus. The legendary strength of graphene is a strict function of the quality of the sample. Getting this kind of performance out of graphene is a little easier said than done. Growing atomically perfect structures, like mono-crystalline sapphire or silicon, is an excruciatingly slow process.