MOONRISE: LZH and TU Berlin bring 3D printing to the Moon with laser and AI

3D printing on the Moon: Scientists from the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Technische Universitat Berlin (TU Berlin) are planning a flight to the Moon to melt lunar dust with laser beams.

In the MOONRISE project, the research team wants to explore the question of how we can use lasers to build landing sites, roads or buildings out of lunar dust in the future. To do this, the researchers want to bring a laser system to the lunar surface and melt the lunar dust, a material that is available everywhere on the Moon.

Artificial intelligence will support the laser process. The goal is to demonstrate that laser melting works on the Moon – and, in perspective, can be used to produce 3D-printed infrastructure for a lunar base.

From both a scientific and an economic perspective, our terrestrial satellite is a coveted target. Billionaires are not the only ones who want to fly well-paying guests around the Moon; the European Space Agency (ESA) also has plans for a “Moon Village”. The Moon’s dark backside would be suitable for powerful space telescopes.

In addition, the lower gravity and lack of an atmosphere make the Moon an ideal stopover for setting up missions to more distant destinations in space. But how will launch pads, landing sites and buildings be constructed on the lunar surface? “At a cost of up to a million dollars per kilogram, a complete transport of the material from Earth to the Moon would be extremely expensive”, explains Jorg Neumann, MOONRISE project manager at LZH.

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New 3D Printing Tech Spits Out Whole Robots All at Once

By Tony Ho Tran

A swarm of tiny robots might just save your life one day—or at least that’s the idea with a new type of tiny robot that can be 3D printed all at once.

In a new study published in Science today, a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles developed a new 3D printing method that can create working robots made from metamaterials (synthetic materials from elements not found in nature). The resulting machines, which the scientists have dubbed ‘meta-bots,’ are capable of moving, sensing, and navigating terrain all on their own.

The meta-bots are each roughly the size of a fingernail. The team believes that it has the potential for a number of different applications including exploring hazardous environments like collapsed buildings or other areas with rubble to aid in rescue efforts. They could even be built in smaller sizes to assist in medical procedures by delivering drug doses to specific sites in the body.

“We envision that this design and printing methodology of smart robotic materials will help realize a class of autonomous materials that could replace the current complex assembly process for making a robot,” Xiaoyu (Rayne) Zheng, a UCLA engineer and the study’s lead author, said in a press release.

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Nanotech breakthrough prints human tissue from stem cells

Israel’s Nano Dimension uses an inkjet process to print living human tissue in 3D. Next step, a printed liver or heart?

It’s the stuff of science fiction: technology that can print a human organ. But the first step towards turning big-screen fantasy into everyday reality has been taken by Israel’s Nano Dimension,  which makes 3D printers.

Through a collaboration with another Israeli company, biotechnology firm Accellta of Haifa, Nano Dimension has been able to mix human stem cells into its 3D printer ink. When expelled through the more than 1,000 tiny nozzles of a Nano Dimension DragonFly 3D printer, the ink can form into human tissue.

While the technology is still at the proof-of-concept stage – and going from simple tissue to a full organ is a daunting and uncharted process – the possibilities for saving lives by “printing” a new liver or lung are staggering.

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Airbus is sending Metal 3D Printer to International Space Station; Plans to set up an Orbital Satellite Factory

Above: International Space Station/Image Source: European Space Agency

Airbus, a European multinational aerospace corporation, is preparing to send a metal 3D printer to the International Space Station as early as next year, as the first step in its plans to establish an orbital satellite factory.

Metal3D printers can work with metals that melt at temperatures of up to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius). The company was overjoyed to announce that its printer will be the first metal 3D printer on the space station, allowing astronauts to print parts like radiation shields and various tools.

Future versions of the 3D printer, according to the company, will be able to create objects out of lunar soil and recycle parts from decommissioned satellites onboard an orbital satellite factory.

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RESEARCHERS DEVELOP NEW METHOD OF 3D PRINTING MAGNETIC CORES FOR ELECTRICAL MACHINES

A ferrite inductor comprises a magnetic core surrounded by a copper coil. Image via Jurgis Mankauskas.

By KUBI SERTOGLU

Researchers from the Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian University of Life Sciences are investigating the use of 3D printing technology to produce soft magnetic cores.

Magnetic cores are pieces of magnetic material with high permeability. They’re commonly used to guide and direct magnetic fields in a wide variety of electrical systems and machines, including electromagnets, transformers, electric motors, generators, inductors, and other magnetic assemblies.

Until now, the 3D printing of soft magnetic cores has been a major challenge due to difficulties in preserving core efficiency. The research team has now proposed a comprehensive laser-based additive manufacturing workflow that they claim can yield superior magnetic properties to soft magnetic composites.

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3DBIO CONDUCTS SUCCESSFUL HUMAN EAR RECONSTRUCTION WITH 3D BIOPRINTED AURINOVO IMPLANT

By HAYLEY EVERETT

Regenerative medicine company 3DBio Therapeutics and the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute have successfully completed a human ear reconstruction using the former’s novel 3D printed AuriNovo living tissue implant for the first time.

The first-in-human Phase 1/2a clinical trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of AuriNovo for patients with microtia, a rare congenital deformity where one or both outer ears are absent or underdeveloped. 3DBio’s patient-specific living tissue implant was developed using 3D bioprinting technology to provide a viable treatment alternative to rib cartilage grafts and traditionally-used synthetic materials.

“As a physician who has treated thousands of children with microtia from across the country and around the world, I am inspired by what this technology may mean for microtia patients and their families,” said Arturo Bonilla, a leading pediatric ear reconstructive surgeon who performed the procedure. “This study will allow us to investigate the safety and aesthetic properties of this new procedure for ear reconstruction using the patient’s own cartilage cells.

“MY HOPE IS THAT AURINOVO WILL ONE DAY BECOME THE STANDARD-OF-CARE REPLACING THE CURRENT SURGICAL METHODS FOR EAR RECONSTRUCTION REQUIRING THE HARVESTING OF RIB CARTILAGE OR THE USE OF POROUS POLYETHYLENE (PPE) IMPLANTS.”

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‘Hope for a better solution’: Scientists make medical breakthrough using 3D-printed technology

Scientists have made a medical breakthrough using 3D-printed technology.

Doctors at a New York City-based biotech company called 3D Bio Theraputics said they have successfully implanted a 3D-printed ear onto a human patient that was made out of the patient’s own tissue.

According to them, this technology could change the lives of people with ears that are improperly formed.

“Microsia patients have very limited options and, for decades, have been hoping for a solution that delivers them natural, living tissue from their own cells, matching their other ears,” said CEO and founder Dr. Daniel Cohen.

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3D printed, bioinspired heart valves: Scaffolds created by melt electrowriting aim to support new tissue formation

Close-up of a cylinder in a Melt Electrowriting system showing a printed heart valve scaffold. Credit: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

Researchers have developed 3D printed artificial heart valves designed to allow a patient’s own cells to form new tissue. To form these scaffolds using melt electrowriting—an advanced additive manufacturing technique—the team has created a new fabrication platform that enables them to combine different precise, customized patterns and hence to fine-tune the scaffold’s mechanical properties. Their long-term goal is to create implants for children that develop into new tissue and therefore last a lifetime.

In the human body, four heart valves ensure that blood flows in the correct direction. It is essential that heart valves open and close properly. To fulfill this function, heart valve tissue is heterogeneous, meaning that heart valves display different biomechanical properties within the same tissue.

A team of researchers working with Petra Mela, Professor of Medical Materials and Implants at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), and Professor Elena De-Juan Pardo from The University of Western Australia, have now, for the first time, imitated this heterogeneous structure using a 3D printing process called melt electrowriting. To do this, they have developed a platform that facilitates printing precise customized patterns and their combination, which enabled them to fine-tune different mechanical properties within the same scaffold.

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3D printed bone implants give patient new lease of life after head injury

The implants were used for Lin’s cranioplasty surgery in July last year.

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): When Danny Lin fell in a carpark in November 2020, he injured his head so badly that he could remember only slipping into a coma for about 10 days.

The memory of how the incident happened was completely wiped clean.

“The next moment, when I woke up, the doctors told me that there was some swelling in my brain and that I needed a craniotomy,” the 46-year-old headhunter told The Straits Times.

A craniotomy is an operation which involves temporarily removing parts of the skull to ease pressure on the brain due to swelling or bleeding.

Recalling the first day Lin was admitted to hospital, his doctor, Assistant Professor Sein Lwin, a visiting consultant neurosurgeon at National University Hospital, said he found a small blood clot in the right side of the brain.

“He was slowly losing consciousness,” noted Prof Sein. “So we repeated the scan, and the clot grew bigger.”

This was because the swelling led to pressure building up within the brain, he added.

Bruises were also seen on both sides of the brain due to the impact of the injury, said Prof Sein.

To relieve this pressure, two bone flaps in the skull were removed to help reduce swelling.

Luckily for Lin, the swelling came down in about a week.

“Only 40 per cent of patients fully recover from such injuries and can resume normal activities, while the majority still end up bed-bound. So he’s really lucky,” said Prof Sein.

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See how a huge 3D printer is going to build 200 concrete homes in Virginia’s tech hub within the next 5 years

By Brittany Chang

A 3D printing home construction company will build 200 3D-printed homes in southwest Virginia.

Project Virginia will take up to five years to complete and will span six to seven communities.

Alquist’s CEO believes more homes will be 3D printed than built “traditionally” by 2027.

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CHINA TO BUILD AI-POWERED 3D PRINTED HYDROELECTRIC DAM IN TIBET

A schematic of the ORNL ‘SkyBAAM’ 3D printing system. Image via FedInvent. 

By HAYLEY EVERETT

A new project on the Tibetan plateau is aiming to build a hydroelectric dam by means of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing in just two years.

According to reports, the dam will be constructed entirely by AI-powered robots which will act as a giant 3D printer to build the 180-meter structure layer by layer. 

While details of the exact additive manufacturing process used for the project are scarce, scientists involved in the project said the technology had matured enough for mass “large, filled infrastructure” applications.

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Desktop Metal launches S-Max Flex – a Robotic Sand 3D Printing technology

Above: ExOne S-Max® Flex is an affordable and easy-to-use robotic additive manufacturing system/Image Source: Desktop Metal

Desktop Metal, a leader in mass production and turnkey additive manufacturing solutions, announced the launch of ExOne S-Max Flex, a scalable, large-format binder jetting system for sand 3D printing used by foundries to quickly cast complex metal designs for the aerospace, automotive, and energy industries, among others.

ExOne (now a part of Desktop Metal) is the leading provider of digital sand printing solutions for foundries. The new S-Max Flex combines ExOne’s sand printing expertise in process and materials with proprietary Desktop Metal SPJ technology in an affordable architecture to bring new value to foundries that have long desired an S-Max but have found the premium price out of reach.

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