GM Opens Its First Major 3D Printing Facility for Production Car Parts

BY ROB STUMPF

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YOUR NEXT NEW CAR COULD HAVE 3D PRINTED PARTS INSIDE.

General Motors announced on Monday the opening of a new ground-up facility dedicated to additive manufacturing. That means GM’s engineers will have access to an entire branch whose main purpose is rapid prototyping, which will not only speed up vehicle development but also significantly cut down on the costs required to design a new car.

The new 15,000-square-foot facility, called the Additive Industrialization Center (AIC), houses 24 3D printers capable of printing parts using different manufacturing techniques to produce components in both polymer and metal solutions.

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AI plastering robot developed for construction sites

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Amid the ever-increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) robots at construction sites, a new robot that can perform concrete plastering work on its own has been developed.

 Hyundai Engineering Co., a plant engineering affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, announced on Wednesday that it had developed the nation’s first AI plastering robot that can flatten concrete floors by itself, adding that it has applied for related patents.

The AI plastering robot, which was developed in collaboration with Robo Block Systems, is a device that rotates two motors with four micro blades to flatten a floor infilled with concrete.

Compared to existing floor plastering machines, the newly-developed AI robot features a lighter design and a greater usability. By making use of an electric motor, the AI robot generates less noise compared to existing machines that use gasoline motors.

The patented ‘AI plastering robot floor flattening technology’ precisely measures the concrete-infilled floor space with a 3D scanner.

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‘Like having billions of tiny 3D printers’: Scientists train BACTERIA to build complex microscopic structures

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Researchers at Finland’s Aalto University have successfully turned bacteria into a microscopic workforce of nanobots, using molds made of hydrophobic material to create incredibly intricate three-dimensional objects.

The researchers placed the Komagataeibacter medellinensis bacteria in a mould with water and the requisite amount of nutrients like sugar, proteins and air. Once sufficiently fuelled-up, the bacteria begin to produce nano cellulose structures, in line with the hydrophobic (water repellant) mold in which they were placed.

Cellulose is the main component found in the cell walls of plants and substances like wood and cotton.

This type of guided growth through the use of superhydrophobic materials, which also minimize the accumulation of dust and microorganisms, could soon be used for extremely intricate tissue regeneration and organ repair in the human body.

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Scientists 3D Bioprint a hybrid tissue construct for cartilage regeneration

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Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine scientists (WFIRM) have developed a method to bioprint a type of cartilage that could someday help restore knee function damaged by arthritis or injury.

This cartilage, known as fibrocartilage, helps connect tendons or ligaments or bones and is primarily found in the meniscus in the knee. The meniscus is the tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in the knee joint. Degeneration of the meniscus tissue affects millions of patients and arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is one of the most common orthopedic operations performed. Besides surgery, there is a lack of available treatment options.

In this latest proof-of-concept strategy, the scientists have been able to 3D bioprint a hybrid tissue construct for cartilage regeneration by printing two specialized bioinks – hydrogels that contain the cells – together to create a new formulation that provides a cell-friendly microenvironment and structural integrity. This work is done with the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System, a 3D bioprinter that was developed by WFIRM researchers over a 14-year period. The system deposits both biodegradable, plastic-like materials to form the tissue “shape” and bioinks that contain the cells to build new tissues and organs.

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Tunisian Startup 3D prints solar-powered bionic hands

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A Tunisian startup is developing a 3D-printed bionic hand, hoping the affordable and solar-powered prosthetic will help amputees and other disabled people across Africa.

Unlike traditional devices, the artificial hand can be customised for children and youths, who otherwise require an expensive series of resized models as they grow up.

The company Cure Bionics also has plans to develop a video game-like virtual reality system that helps youngsters learn how to use the artificial hand through physical therapy.

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Scientists create artificial, ‘living aneurysm’ outside the human brain in extraordinary first

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 For the first time, researchers have 3D printed a ‘living’ model of an aneurysm outside the body, using human brain cells. The breakthrough could one day assist brain surgeons in both training and high-risk decision-making.

An aneurysm occurs when a bulge or bubble develops at a weak point in a given blood vessel, which can take place in the heart or brain. The weakened wall can eventually rupture, with catastrophic and life-threatening consequences for the patient.

Given the highly sensitive and delicate areas in which aneurysms take place, they are often extremely difficult to both find and treat.

As a potential solution, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), including scientists from Duke University and Texas A&M, have created an external, artificial replica which mimics the particular environment in which aneurysms occur.

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Researchers 3D-printed a cell-sized tugboat

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The aim was to see how microorganisms like sperm or bacteria swim.

 Physicists at Leiden University in the Netherlands have 3D printed what could be the world’s smallest boat, a test object known as Benchy (via Gizmodo). At 30 microns long, it’s a third smaller than the thickness of a human hair and about six times larger than a bacteria cell. It’s not only small but surprisingly detailed, with an open cockpit that features some tricky geometry. The goal is to understand how “microswimmers” like bacteria and sperm move through liquids.

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Bulleit introduces futuristic 3D printed cocktail

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Different groundbreaking digital tools have infiltrated just about every aspect of the modern world as technology continues to improve at an ever faster rate. But one area that’s been largely untouched by tech is the bar scene. You can still find bartenders crafting drinks the same way they have for hundreds of years at the local watering hole.

That may change soon with the help of 3D printed technology recently debuted to the public as a part of Bulleit’s Frontier Works program, a series of projects and collaborations with cultural creators.

A crowd filled with industry insiders and social media influencers gathered at an abandoned train station in Oakland, California to get a glimpse into the potential future of the alcoholic beverage industry. Guests were served drinks at a giant bar made completely of 3D printed plastic but managed to look like rustic copper, an achievement its architects took pride in after completing the largest node-based printing structure they’d ever taken on.

“[Bulleit] wanted us to go bigger in scale, which is really uncommon and something they deserve credit for,” said Machine Histories principal Jason Pilarski. Computational designer Ryan Oenning compared the task to turning in a rough draft for your master’s thesis.

Impressive as the structure was, a much smaller booth adjacent to it drew more attention as the night went on. That’s where German robotics pioneers Benjamin Greimel and Philipp Hornung supervised a robotic arm making 3D printed cocktails.

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3D printing for residential in market-ready: Germany’s first building is under construction

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The first 3D printed residential building in Germany, built by PERI GmbH, and designed by MENSE-KORTE ingenieure+architekten is undergoing construction in Beckum, North Rhine-Westphalia. The two-story printed detached house with approx. 80 sqm of living space per floor is using a system put into practice in Germany for the first time. In fact, the construction technique has come through all of the regulatory approval processes over the last few weeks and months.

3D printing technology for residential construction is now market-ready. Part of North Rhine-Westphalia’s “Innovatives Bauen” or innovative construction development scheme, the first residential 3D printed building is under construction in Germany. In collaboration with Schießl Gehlen Sodeikat, the Technical University of Munich, and MENSE-KORTE ingenieure+architekten, the two-story house is being built for the client Hous3Druck GmbH. A milestone for 3D construction printing technology, the construction of the 3D-printed residential building in Beckum, has engendered other residential printing projects to be drawn up in Germany, according to Thomas Imbacher, Innovation & Marketing Director at PERI GmbH.

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3D-printed pharmaceuticals pave the way for customizable drug therapies

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Personalized pills created by 3D printers will help treat complex diseases cheaply.

Since its inception during the later decades of the last century, 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) has moved far beyond merely fabricating simple plastic parts. Today the technique can be used to produce much-needed medical supplies such as personal protective equipment for health care workers fighting COVID-19. Among other advances, 3D printing is now also considered a serious tool to advance medicine and pharmacology through bioprinting. Bioprinting can create anatomical models of patients prior to surgery and some biological tissues, with the goal of progressing to printing whole complex organs such as the heart. However, another emerging and potentially revolutionary use for 3D bioprinting is the production of pharmaceutical drugs that are tailored to meet the needs of specific patients.

In 2015 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first 3D-printed pharmaceutical, SPRITAM (levetiracetam), created by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of seizures. Although the drug remains the only 3D-printed drug currently approved by the FDA, the many advantages of 3D-printed drugs place them at the forefront of what’s ahead for medicine as the FDA works on formulating a regulatory framework for them.

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Project Olympus : ICON chosen by NASA to develop moon base 3D printing tech

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The hype around additive construction continues to grow. Unlike the days in which WinSun would “3D print” a six-story apartment building, we’re seeing numerous projects undertaken by a variety of firms around the world. All of this seems to demonstrate that, despite the hype, there is real technological value there. When that same value will be exhibited for the new space industry and 3D printing buildings on the moon remains unclear, but we can’t rule the possibilities out entirely.

The latest news combining the yet-to-be-fulfilled new space frontier with additive construction is called Project Olympus, a NASA-funded initiative aimed at developing a method for robotic building on the moon. Olympus is being driven by a firm that has been steadily making a name for itself in construction 3D printing: ICON. Adding to its $44 million raised from investors so far is the recent Small Business Innovation Research government contract from NASA to 3D print habitats on the moon using local materials and creating no waste.

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All-electric race car made possible with electron beam metal 3D printing

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Supported by Innovate UK, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) works to speed up industrial growth in the UK by creating and embedding future skills and developing and proving manufacturing processes, such as 3D printing. The latter is specifically what the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM), part of the MTC, focuses on, and its DRAMA research project spent the last three years setting up a stronger AM supply chain for aerospace. But the NCAM also supports automotive and motorsports AM applications: a perfect example of this can be found in the recent work its Coventry team has done to help Oxford Brookes Racing (OBR), the Oxford Brookes University‘s formula student racing team, reach its 2020 all-electric goal.

OBR is one of the top UK formula student racing (FSUK) teams, and has worked with the MTC on a number of projects before. So the team knew that its NCAM would be the perfect partner to help them take things to the next level.

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