Fast-as-lightning 3D microprinting with two lasers

In light sheet 3D printing, red and blue laser light is used to print objects precisely and quickly on a micrometer scale. Credit: Vincent Hahn, KIT

Printing objects from plastic precisely, quickly, and inexpensively is the goal of many 3D printing processes. However, speed and high resolution remain a technological challenge. A research team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Heidelberg University, and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has come a long way toward achieving this goal. It developed a laser printing process that can print micrometer-sized parts in the blink of an eye. The international team published the work in Nature Photonics.

Stereolithography 3D printing is currently one of the most popular additive manufacturing processes for plastics, both for private and industrial applications. In stereolithography, the layers of a 3D object are projected one by one into a container filled with resin. The resin is cured by UV light. However, previous stereolithography methods are slow and have too low a resolution. Light-sheet 3D printing, which is used by the KIT researchers, is a fast and high-resolution alternative.

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UAE unveils the first prototype of its Smart 3D Printed Bridge that can build and design itself

Autodesk & Dar Al-Handasah collaborate to design a smart 3D printed bridge

Dar Al-Handasah, a Lebanese engineering firm, collaborated with American software company Autodesk to create a smart 3D printed bridge that builds and designs itself using 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). The bridge was unveiled recently in the UAE.

The five-metre bridge’s first prototype was designed in the UAE as part of the engineering firm’s efforts to introduce a safer, more sustainable, and smarter design to the country as a result of its digital capabilities and innovations.

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First 3D printed multi-storey home in North America completes

After 80 hours of printing concrete, Ontario-based Nidus3D has finished a two-storey 3D printed home in a test of how technology could speed up construction and ease a shortage in trade skills.

The home, Nidus3D’s second, is a 2,300 sq ft space with a studio on the ground floor and residence above.

Using a COBOD BOD2 printer, the company cut construction time by more than half from its first 3D printed home, which took 200 hours to build.

Another innovation, it said, was 3D printing a horizontal beam on site and lifting into place by a crane.

Although there are other 3D printed homes in the US and Canada, these have either been one-storey houses or included a second non-3D printed storey.

In Europe, a company called Kamp C built the continent’s first two-storey 3D printed house in July 2020. Created entirely on site, the building in Westerlo, Belgium also used a BOD2 printer.

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This startup 3D prints tiny homes from recyclable plastics

And their method is faster, cheaper, and more sustainable.

By Nergis Firtina

Recently, many projects have been carried out using recyclable materials for sustainability. One of these projects was implemented by the Los Angeles-based architectural startup Azure.

Azure is using recycled plastic to 3D print prefab homes. The startup is now selling many house models ranging from a backyard studio to a two-bedroom ADU.

“The construction sector is the largest global consumer of raw materials, responsible for approximately 11 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. Our responsibility to our customers and future generations is to use the most sustainable practices imaginable,” said Ross Maguire, the CEO of Azure, in April.

Azure also unveiled what it called the world’s first 3D printed “backyard studio” made with recycled plastic materials in the same month. 

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Montana becomes first state to OK 3D-printed house walls as replacements for concrete masonry units

An Apis Cor 3D printer for building houses and other structures. Apis Cor

Montana has become the first state to approve 3D-printed walls as an equivalent replacement for walls made from concrete masonry units (CMUs) or standard cored concrete blocks.

The approval was granted to Tim Stark, a contractor based in Billings, Mont., after filing documents, specifications, and testing reports developed by Apis Cor, a Melbourne, Fla., construction company that 3D-prints houses and buildings.

“In so many states, regulations are getting in the way of building more homes,” said Stark. “I’m proud of my home state of Montana for being so forward-thinking and leading the way with this approval of 3D printing as a modern construction method on par to CMU block construction, which opens the door instead of closing it.”

A finished home printed with an Apis Cor printer can cost up to 30% less than a traditionally built concrete block or wood-framed house.

The company has completed multiple pilot homes in the United States and in the United Arab Emirates.

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India’s first 3-D printed cornea developed by scientists from Hyderabad

Developed indigenously through government and philanthropic funding, the product is completely natural, contains no synthetic components, is free of animal residues and is safe to use in patients.

For the first time in India, researchers in the city have successfully 3D-printed an artificial cornea and transplanted it into a rabbit eye. Researchers from L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IITH), and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), have collaborated to develop a 3D-printed cornea from the human donor corneal tissue, a press release issued on Sunday said.

Developed indigenously through government and philanthropic funding, the product is completely natural, contains no synthetic components, is free of animal residues and is safe to use in patients, it said. With recent advancements in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, the researchers from LVPEI, IITH and CCMB used decellularised corneal tissue matrix and stem cells derived from the human eye to develop a unique biomimetic hydrogel (patent pending) that was used as the background material for the 3D-printed cornea.

As the 3D-printed cornea is composed of materials deriving from human corneal tissue, it is biocompatible, natural, and free of animal residues, it said. Dr Sayan Basu and Dr Vivek Singh, lead researchers from LVPEI, said this can be a groundbreaking and disruptive innovation in treating diseases like corneal scarring (where the cornea becomes opaque) or Keratoconus (where the cornea gradually becomes thin with time).

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MIT researchers create 3D printed sensor for satellites at a fraction of the cost

It is well known that one of the most expensive fields of engineering is aerospace, and specifically, anything that goes into space. Recognising the challenges faced by low-cost space systems, MIT researchers have recently developed a 3D printing process that can create sensors at a fraction of the cost of existing solutions while still offering the same performance. What challenges does spaceflight present to engineers, what did the researchers demonstrate, and how could 3D printing technologies help to lower the economic barriers faced by spaceflight?

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How 3D Printing Is Set to Revolutionize Personalized Healthcare

By Cathy Ma 

Additive manufacturing technology — commonly referred to as 3D printing — continues to make impressive inroads into a myriad of industries across the manufacturing spectrum. Maximizing what is known as factory physics, additive manufacturing has the capacity to transform digitally rendered designs into lighter, stronger, and safer products with reduced lead times and lower costs.

From cosmetics to rocket ships and nearly everything in between, these new technologies are redefining how things get made. According to Global News Wire, the global 3D market is revolutionizing nearly every facet of manufacturing today and is projected to grow from $18 billion in 2022 to $84 billion by 2029.  

Perhaps the most inspiring applications of these new technologies have been in the health and medical industry, where the individualized nature of patient care makes the customization capabilities of 3D printing an ideal fit.

Researchers have discovered a way to bio-print living skin with functioning blood vessels, a crucial step toward creating artificial grafts that look and respond like natural skin. Scientists are also experimenting with the use of 3D technology to manufacture critical organs, including kidneys, heart, and liver.

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From Boeing Starliner to Goodyear Tesla tire, 3-D printing is becoming manufacturing reality

A picture shows a non-pneumatic tire (NPT), an airless tires, during the presentation of the NPT tire of Goodyear in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, on May 17, 2022, where the tire manufacturer has a new plant where it is experimenting with 3-D printing.

By Rebecca Fannin

  • Goodyear opened a $77 million plant in Europe that uses 3-D printing in its tire manufacturing and recently tested new 3-D printed airless tires on a Tesla.
  • The use of 3-D printers by industrials, also known as additive manufacturing, has been rising and includes Boeing, GE, Caterpillar and Cummins.
  • But it’s still a relatively small part of manufacturing, just 2-3% of the $12 trillion production market, according to a McKinsey estimate, though it is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.

Additive manufacturing is on the cusp of being adopted more widely by industry, as large corporates Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Boeing as well as small innovative start-ups prove it can work well at scale in manufacturing.

In May, Goodyear opened a $77 million plant in Luxembourg that centers on 3-D printing and can make tires four times faster in small batches than with conventional production. Goodyear also is testing its new 3-D printed airless tire technology on Tesla electric vehicles and Starship Technologies’ autonomous delivery robots. It has been working for the past several years on improved manufacturing techniques at an R&D center near Columbus, Ohio.

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Space startups turn to 3D printing to meet expected demand

By Shouvik Das

Indian space technology startups, which are starting to put funds towards manufacturing facilities, are turning to 3D printers to achieve scale. For startups like IIT Madras-incubated Agnikul Cosmos, Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace, Pixxel Space and more, 3D printers are going to help achieve initial scale before they can move towards traditional processes like injection molding.

While 3D printers will never help achieve industrial scale, executives from these firms said that their current production needs will be met using 3D printers.

For instance, Agnikul Cosmos unveiled its own rocket engine facility in Chennai on July 13. Srinath Ravichandran, chief executive of Agnikul, told Mint that the company initially plans to fully 3D print two rocket engines every week, and a total of eight engines per month — all of which will be required to assemble its in-house launch vehicle, called Agnibaan.

Skyroot Aerospace, too, will use 3D printers to build rocket engines, Pawan Kumar Chandana, CEO of the firm, said. Presently the firm is partnering with manufacturing vendors in Bengaluru and Chennai who use 3D printers, but it plans to set up its own factory in future, according to Chandana.

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3D Printed Space Habitat Lands at Institut auf dem Rosenberg

HÖHENWEG, Switzerland, July 20, 2022  —  Institut auf dem Rosenberg  and SAGA Space Architects unveiled the world’s tallest 3D printed space habitat, an extraterrestrial learning environment. The Rosenberg Space Habitat (RSH), which will serve as an experimental lab for students to explore and actively shape the future of humanity on our planet and beyond. Co-created by Rosenberg students and SAGA Space Architects with sustainable materials to intentionally fit inside SpaceX’s Starship rocket, the structure is the world’s tallest 3D-printed polymer structure measuring 23-feet high.

The RSH will be a site of research for students to learn about the fundamental conditions and architectural designs humans need to thrive, whether on Earth or in space. The project is based on the vision of planet-centered and need-lead innovation, teaching students not to fear new technology, but to embrace it and design it to its next generation.

“At Rosenberg, infusing education with real-life context is at the heart of what we do, rather than focusing on pure academics alone,” said Bernhard Gademann, Director General of Rosenberg. “Our aim is to provide future leaders with early exposure to the question of advanced space exploration, allowing our students to approach and solve these complex questions from a collaborative and holistic point of view.”

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Engineers Have Grown a Major Piece of The Human Heart in Miniature, And It Beats

By MIKE MCRAE

Though research into treatments for cardiovascular disease has come a long way in recent decades, heart problems still claim the lives of nearly 18 million people around the world each year.

A tiny working model of a human ventricle could open fresh new ground in developing novel drugs and therapies, and for studying the development of cardiovascular conditions, giving researchers an ethical, more accurate alternative to existing approaches.

Researchers from the University of Toronto and University of Montreal in Canada reverse-engineered a millimeter-long (0.04 inches) vessel that not only beats like the real deal, but pumps fluid just like the muscular exit-chamber of a human embryo’s heart.

“With our model, we can measure ejection volume – how much fluid gets pushed out each time the ventricle contracts – as well as the pressure of that fluid,” says University of Toronto biomedical engineer, Sargol Okhovatian.

“Both of these were nearly impossible to get with previous models.”

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