Archive for the ‘3D Printers’ Category

Researchers improve bioprinting resolution

Researchers in the UK have made significant strides in bioprinting resolution. Photo by Alexander D. Graham.

Scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol in the UK have developed an improved method of bioprinting that allows for the resolution needed to produce functioning organ creation. In an article in Scientific Reports, authors Alexander D. Graham, Sam N. Olof, Madeline J. Burke, James P. K. Armstrong, Ellina A. Mikhailova, James G. Nicholson, Stuart J. Box, Francis G. Szele, Adam W. Perriman, and Hagan Bayley have introduced a method of printing living tissue with the use of a pipette that allows for 200 micron and under resolution clarity and were able to produce materials with 90% viability.

The research, led by the Bayley Research Group and School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, was able to produce human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and sheep stem cells (oMSCs), wherein delicate constructs such as cartilage were successfully accomplished.

According to Dr. Alexander Graham of Oxford University, “To date, there are limited examples of printed tissues, which have the complex cellular architecture of native tissues. Hence, we focused on designing a high-resolution cell printing platform, from relatively inexpensive components, that could be used to reproducibly produce artificial tissues with appropriate complexity from a range of cells including stem cells.”

For more on this story, see the article at 3DPrinting Industry.com.

The University of Bristol was in the news last year for improvements they made to bioinks.

‘Ships run on diesel and coffee’

Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

Ensign Abigail Isaacs uses a 3D printer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy

Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

3D-printed coffee pot handle

Sarah Saunders has reported on the U.S. Coast Guard adopting 3D printing into its day-to-day operations in her article on Thursday at 3DPrint.com. She writes that five U.S. Coast Guard cutters currently have 3D printers onboard and this branch of the armed forces is also using them in their Surface Forces Logistics Center Engineering Services Division in Baltimore and at Base New Orleans for use in replacing broken or needed objects. In addition, studies at the Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) in Connecticut are being done to see how 3D printing can improve mission readiness for the Coast Guard.

Examples of naval use of 3D printing dates back to August of last year when we reported on the U.S. Navy saving thousands by 3D-printing radio clips. In Saunder’s story, we learn how the Coast Guard is saving money and staying functional with critical repairs, as in the coffee pot handle shown above for the Coast Guard Cutter James.

Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

3D-printed scullery nozzle

Saunders writes that according to James’ commanding officer Captain Mark Fedor, “’Ships run on diesel and coffee.’ I work alone in my office every day, and I still need caffeine each morning to feel like a functioning human; I can’t imagine being at sea with over 100 other people and no working coffee pot.”

Another example of part repair inarguably essential to the operation of a ship’s galley was a scullery nozzle 3D-printed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy.

Program Manager Capt. Joseph Dugan of the National Security Cutter Program stated, “Sometimes manufacturers no longer make the parts, and need to retool a production line in order to make us the part we need. This can be time-consuming, and very costly to the government.

“I think the utility of the 3D printer is the ability to print parts that are not normally kept onboard. Sometimes those parts have lead times of weeks… maybe months, depending on the workload of the manufacturer.”

We recommend reading the full article at 3DPrint.com and advocate active discussion on the practicality of 3D printing in all maritime use.

Rome uses WASP 3D printers for Opera House sets

Armed with five DeltaWASP 3MT 3D printers, theater designers created their set design for Rome’s famous Teatro dell’Opera.

Rome uses WASP 3D printers for Opera House sets

World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) 3D printers are large scale machines with a cubic meter build envelope first mentioned by our publication in July of last year regarding 3D printing classes held in Milan. Now the large-scale printers are in the news for producing 223 components for the set design of the theater’s upcoming performance of Fra Diavolo. The components, created by Corsetti and Massimo Troncanetti, were then installed upon the two-story wooden trestle support frames to produce a stunning display of art and design.

For more on this story, see Sarah Anderson Goehrke’s story at 3DPrint.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: How safe are 3D printer plastics?

Posted by Editor On August - 4 - 2017

How Safe are 3D Printer Plastics?

VOCs produced by melting ABS, PLA, nylon and PET.

According to a recent privately-funded study conducted in Poland on the dangers of heated thermoplastics ABS, PLA, PET, and nylon, the risk to human health is nominal, and even in the case of ABS, is well under the prescribed exposure limitations of work safety organizations. (Above image courtesy of The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.)

According to the authors of the study, Szymon Wojtyła, Piotr Klama, and Tomasz Baran:

“The conducted study has shown that ABS is significantly more toxic than PLA. The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) has been in the range of 0.50 µmol/h. Styrene has accounted for more than 30% of total VOC emitted from ABS, while for PLA, methyl methacrylate has been detected as the predominant compound (44% of total VOCs emission).

According to the World Health Organization, a report on the danger of inhaled plastic gasses, toxicity occurs at higher temperatures and in environments without adequate ventilation. The report outlines specific data on methyl methacrylate (MMA), the most prominent Volatile organic compounds (VOC) in PLA:

“The acute toxicity of methyl methacrylate is low. Irritation of the skin, eye, and nasal cavity has been observed in rodents and rabbits exposed to relatively high concentrations of methyl methacrylate. The chemical is a mild skin sensitizer in animals. The effect observed most frequently at lowest concentration after repeated inhalation exposure to methyl methacrylate is irritation of the nasal cavity. Effects on the kidney and liver at higher concentrations have also been reported. The lowest reported effect level for inhalation was 410 mg/m3 in rats exposed to methyl methacrylate for 2 years (based upon inflammatory degeneration of the nasal epithelium); the no-observed-effect level (NOEL) in this investigation was approximately 100 mg/m3.”

While the recent study recommends implementation of better filtering systems into future desktop FDM 3D printers for added safety, the results clearly indicate that under normal print operations, the exposure danger to operators fall well below any danger levels.

For more on the story, see this article at 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

Print with Multiple Filaments with Palette+

A simple method of multicolor prints is now available

Type A Machines has introduced a new way of printing in multiple filaments with an add-on device called Palette+. The device, produced by Canadian company Mosaic Manufacturing Ltd, sits aside conventional FDM 3D printers and fuses multiple filaments together through a rotary cutting method. This method than allows not only multiple colors in one print, but a mix of material combinations including PLA with a soluble support material, PLA with flexible TPU, and PLA with PETG.

Print with Multiple Filaments with Palette+

The new and improved slicing method, referred to by Mosaic as closed splicing, allows for a more even distribution of heat across the bound surfaces of filaments. This process is complemented with its own software, Chroma 2.0, which incorporates a functionality enhancement called Raft, a new G-code processing engine that supports slicing programs like Cura.

For more on the development of Palette+, visit Type A Machines.

The Daily 3D Detail: Safecracking robot showcased at DEF CON

Posted by Editor On August - 1 - 2017

Safecracking Robot Showcased at DEF CON

Thousands of engineers, IT professionals, and self-proclaimed hackers descended on Las Vegas from July 27-30 for the world’s largest series of cybersecurity conferences known as the Black Hat Conference and DEF CON. One of the talks at the conference received world-wide attention for its dazzling display of tech-savvy engineering by utilizing 3D-printed parts and a studied application of tumbler design to show off a homemade robot that was able to crack a safe in half an hour.

Safecracking Robot Showcased at DEF CON

The robot is the design of Nathan Seidle, owner of Boulder, Colorado-based SparkFun, purveyor of DIY electronic goods such as Arduinos and Raspberry PIs. The story first appeared in Wired magazine.

Safecracking Robot Showcased at DEF CON

The robot challenge began with a gift of SentrySafe brand fireproof safe to Seidle from his wife, who purchased it cheaply as the original owner had lost the combination. Over the past few months, Seidle and his team of designers, Rob Reynolds and Joel Bartlett, spent $200 on various parts to build a robot whose capacity to examine micron-level differences in tumbler notches was able to reduce the million potential combinations (100x100x100) into a third of the possible options. This then gave the robot a greatly reduced amount of time needed to brute-force the remaining options and open the safe within a time frame of 90 minutes.

At the DEF CON show, Seidle and his team purchased a brand new safe from SentrySafe and set their robot to work. Cracking the safe within 30 minutes brought gasps and cheers from the conference audience, providing a stunning display of how the designing of 3D-printed parts and clever robotics continue to challenge the complex world of cybersecurity.

For more articles on the story, See 3DPrintingIndustry.com and 3DPrint.com. For a tutorial on how to build your own safecracking robot, visit this page at Sparkfun.

The LightSpEE3D

As we all know, Australia is huge, and many parts are scarcely inhabited. Getting parts to manufacturing sites in these remote locations has always been lengthy and costly allowing for slow growth and job creation.

With the help of a AU$400k government grant, Charles Darwin University, in Darwin, NT, acquired the LightSpEE3D to research additional applications for the device. According to co-inventor, Steven Camilleri from Spee3d, the LightSpEE3D has decreased additive manufacturing time of metal parts for an automotive client from 100 to 200 hours to around 20 minutes. Simultaneously, it reduced cost per part to US$30 from traditionally $US3,000 to $US5,000. The benefit for companies operating in remote areas would be immense. Not only would production be more efficient, but new innovations could be implemented almost instantaneously, putting Australia’s Northern Territory on the map as a leader in 3D metal printing. Find more information on this endeavor here at abc.net.au and at 3ders.org.

 

 

The Six Steps to a New Manufacturing Paradigm

Posted by Fred Kaplan On July - 8 - 2017

Can additive manufacturing deliver on a $12 trillion promise?

By Fred Kaplan

Delivering on Additive Manufacturing's $12 Trillion Promise

The quality and clarity of SL-printed parts gives the additive manufacturing a definitive advantage

The manufacturing world is in transition to additive manufacturing.

The promise of this transition is $12 trillion worth of goods. Trillion. With a T.

Recent advances in technology by HP’s (multiJet fusion), Carbon3D (CLIP technology) and Desktop Metals, have all successfully employed FDM production for short-run end-use parts with at the enterprise level of 3D printers. At the DIY level, desktop model manufacturers such as Markforged, Roboze, and AirWolf3D offer commendable end-use production with the same FDM method.

Stephen Nigro, HP’s President of 3D printing, speaking at the 2017 RAPID + TCT show, described the areas where the additive manufacturing industry can optimize the transformational future of additive manufacturing. While Nigro’s presentation was framed around HP’s multiJet fusion technology, it is a useful look at how these key points are being addressed across many technologies industry-wide.

Following are six essential keys that Nigro believes will transform additive manufacturing toward this $12 trillion goal:

    • World-Class Product and Technology Capabilities: Additive manufacturing has never been more innovative. HP, Carbon 3D, and Desktop Metals are at the very beginning stages of developing technologies that offer the possibility of disruptive short-run manufacturing. Improvements they to chose to address included printing speed, printer “up” time, and higher percentages of acceptable finished parts. While these new technological innovations are getting the media’s attention, another manufacturer, UnionTech entered the U.S. in a new product category showing great promise in both resolution and material strengths. Since 2000, this company’s large-format open source printers have been using stereolithography to produce unheard-of build times with impressive results.SL technology, as seen in the graphic below from Gartner.com, is shown on the very far right in the “Plateau of Productivity” as opposed to the newer technologies which could be located in either the bubble of “Inflated Expectations”or the “Trough of Disillusionment” before they are on their way to the “Slope of Enlightenment.”

Delivering on Additive Manufacturing's $12 Trillion Promise

  • Open Materials Platform to Drive Down Costs: The cost of proprietary 3D printing materials has made it almost impossible to calculate a profitable ROI in manufacturing end-use 3d printed parts. The traditional razor blade method that has been employed by 3D printer manufacturers doesn’t work in an environment in which OEM manufacturers need the broadest portfolios of available materials from the 3D printer. HP began a program to qualify open source material partners at the K2016 plastics and rubber trade show. DSM Somos, has a complete portfolio of SL materials designed to go with open source SL printers such as UnionTech. Since the late 1980s, DSM’s Somos group has earned a global reputation for stereolithography material innovation. Prototypes made from Somos resins closely replicate the functionality of engineered thermoplastics, but are delivered with increased speed and accuracy.Delivering on Additive Manufacturing's $12 Trillion Promise

    UnionTech printers, made in China, have developed a reputation for quality prints

    Another aspect of additive manufacturing materials that has to be considered is the difference in part construction which varies from one technology to the next. Processes such FFF which depend on the adhesion of one layer to next tend to have little strength in the Z axis versus isotropic construction of stereolithography.

  • Materials Diversity: A wide array of material availability is the foundation of successful manufacturing whereas the promise of new materials in the future is an innovation driver. Open-source desktop printers have broken down the barriers closed-source manufacturers have attempted to use to control their market. Open-source printers have brought us PET-G, TPE, and ASA polymers and a variety of other filaments. Matterhackers’ matter guide is a good example of the material range and Somos lists 14 open-source stereolithography resins currently available.
  • New Design Methods for Additive Manufacturing: The development of CAD programs has increased the functionality and provided ease of use for new users. Through these applications, successful designers and engineers are creating geometries optimized for additive manufacturing. The future of CAD is in algorithm-based design that is able to iterate using tradition CAD and 3D-scanned data with programs such as SolidThinking’s Inspire that optimize topology for strength, economic material usage, and weight of printed parts. Another example is Materialise Magics, which optimizes data preparation for 3D printing intended for casting applications.
  • The Reinvention of Supply Chains: As Additive manufacturing is being perfected by organizations looking at the possibility of emailing CAD files versus shipping parts across the globe. While that reality is here, the advance of this prospect waits for the resolution of other issues on this list. Local Motors is a business whose model is built around four microfactories creating automobiles from locally sourced components. The capacity to accommodate the demand for individual vehicles through localized production is an example of the way the future supply chain is headed.

Delivering on Additive Manufacturing's $12 Trillion Promise

An example of the quality of SL prints

  • Regulations and Standards: One of the obstacles to the adoption of additive manufacturing is the uncertainty regarding 3D printing materials. There are currently few certifications for 3D printing materials due to the expense of certifying proprietary materials and the absence of regulatory groups. Typically 3D printer materials are referred to as “ABS-like,” as opposed to being actually ABS or any specific material. This lack of definition can lead to unexpected parts failure if produced without significant testing. Companies such as 3D Systems, Envisiontec, StrataSys and Somos are leading the industry with medical-grade and aerospace-approved materials. In order for manufacturing to embrace additive manufacturing, the industry needs to provide better materials information and a standardized rating system of material properties from the additive material suppliers.

There are a couple basic points to look at when choosing a 3D printer or a new 3D printing material:

  • Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT): which is the temperature at which a material deforms under a specific load. The importance of the number is a reflection on the functionality of the 3D printed part; such as whether the part will be functional under the hood of an automobile. Carbon- or silica-filled materials have a high HDT while PLA has a low HDT which makes easier to be printed on an FFF printer.
  • Tensile Modulus is the measurement of stresses that a material can take along an axis and return to its original shape or the measurement of the stiffness or brittleness of a solid material. Rubber is an example of a material with a low tensile modulus and glass or ceramics have a high tensile modulus.
    • Flexural Strength: is depicted in the graphic below. The “F” arrow is the force at the fracture point when factoring the length and width of the material. Flexural Strength is the stress a material can tolerate before yielding. ABS has a flexural strength of 75 MPa compared to StrataSys’ Nylon12 PA flexural strength of 47 MPa.

Delivering on Additive Manufacturing's $12 Trillion Promise

While Additive Manufacturing is experiencing one technology breakthrough after another, the prospect of one 3D printer being replaced by the fleet of 3D printers will take the combination of 3D printer reliability, along with material functionality, to provide a dependable and predictable manufacturing process. As the industry awaits the roll out of HP’s, Desktop Metals’, and Carbon3D’s new printers, time will show if they are pushing the envelope of dependability and functionality. While open-source 3D printers provide more functionality by being able to print multiple materials, there may an additional benefit: the competition which open-source provides can only result in more user-friendly operations and more reliable 3D printers.


Fred Kaplan is a 3D printing material specialist, who has worked with SLA, SLS, FDM, ColorJet, ADAM, DLP, LOM, FFF, MultiJet, Polyjet, and SDL 3D printers. Specializing in matching the best technology to a particular 3D printing application, he has also worked with many brands of 3D scanners and many CAD packages.

Prior to his work in additive manufacturing, Fred received a Los Angeles-area Emmy and other awards for documentary filmmaking.

The $200 3D Printer That Rocks

Posted by Editor On June - 6 - 2017

Chinese-made 3D printer may be the best buy on the internet

By Taila Rodrigues

The $200 3D Printer That Rocks

Are you looking for a great 3D printer under $200? How about the Anet A8.

The Anet A8 is a useful, yet affordable, 3D printer that is perfect for beginners — a completely do-it-yourself 3D printer anyone can put together. Produced by the Anet company based in China, the A8 is priced at around $160-$200. The design can be compared to a Prusa i3 3D printer — a sturdy, reliable model.

As a good entry-level 3D printer, the assembly is technically easy, in that all the steps are fairly simple to follow and straight-forward in direction with the provided Youtube videos clearly showing how to do everything in a way that eliminates all guesswork. There is no soldering or any advanced assembly knowledge required. It is mostly screws — but there are a lot of steps which makes it a big project. When fully-assembled, it enables one to print 3D objects from a large array of different kind of materials and provides an impressive build envelope.

It is fun to build your own printer and rewarding in that, in case something brakes, you can tinker with it yourself. It took me five days to assemble the 3D printer — around 20 hours in all including the reading of instructions and the watching of videos. The key to success is everything needs to be perfectly level. The building process is intuitive, and it is not too difficult but it does require concentration and patience.

When calibrated and upgraded properly, it can print like the more expensive printers producing really good results. The quality of the prints is amazing. You can find a list of upgrades online for the A8 that you can download for free from Thingiverse.com. Some of the new parts provide better performance for the A8 and are recommended first prints. Interestingly there is no glass provided for the bed, but that is a simple and cheap addition made possible by using the glass from a photography frame from Ikea.

Building this printer not only helps keep the cost down for the aspiring printr but it also gives one a great sense of accomplishment. Understanding all the components will help one truly understand 3D printing at a personal level.

The user interface driving the 3D printer is very simple. There is an easy-to-read screen and five buttons (up, down, left, right, and select).

The recommended software to run with the printer is Cura or Repetier-Host for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS.

The community support for the A8 is amazing. There is a lot of crowd-sourced options for improvements, mods, upgrades, tweaks, and maintenance tips, as with all the upgrades. Also, the Facebook group helping with advances and sharing experiences.

So far so good, in terms of using this printer after two months since assembly everything is running well. It certainly exceeded my expectations.

The $200 3D Printer That Rocks

This printer is great for anyone who has interest in 3D printing and can not spend that much.

Description
● Hot Bed Size: 220 x 220 x 240mm
● Frame material: Acrylic
● Platform board: Aluminum Base
● Nozzle quantity: Single
● Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
● Layer thickness: 0.1-0.3mm
● Memory card / offline print: SD card
● LCD screen: Yes
● Print speed: 100mm / s
● Supported Printing Material: ABS, Luminescent, Nylon PVA, PLA, PP, Wood
● Filament diameter: 1.75mm
● Supported File format: G-code, OBJ and STL


Taila Rodrigues is the Portuguese Editor for 3D Printr Magazine. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Ourinhos Integrated Faculties (FIO) in Sao Paulo. In Paraná, she served in the Office of Social Services as director of the Municipal Department of Psycho-Social Assistance, helping people in situations of social vulnerability. She moved to Los Angeles, California in search of a personal development in technological skills.

Adventurous and inspired by curiosity, her motivation is her belief that technology can be accessible for people worldwide. Besides a passion for 3D modeling, her loves are photography, music, nature, yoga, and cats.

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

Posted by Editor On May - 30 - 2017

Companies looking to be in space include GoEngineering, THK, Additec, Proto Labs, Purple Platypus, Airwolf3D, Splunk>, and more

By Gregory van Zuyen

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

The talking robot at the THK booth was an international hit

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

Next year’s event only promises to be more engaging

The most important thing you need to do right now is book travel and lodging to be in Pasadena, California between the dates of May 22-24, 2018. That is when SpaceTech Expo is happening at the Pasadena Convention Center and you will not want to miss it. Bring the kids. This event deserves the Governor’s Award for STEM Development. It’s the closest thing anyone can get to hanging out with astronauts themselves. All the people there are all qualified geniuses. And they are developing technology you want to discover. It’s nothing short of awe-inspiring.

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

The show had something for everyone at any age

Why Pasadena? Because that’s where Caltech resides. And anyone who knows will tell you that you have a satellite’s chance in the sun of getting into JPL without having graduated from Caltech with honors. Space exploration lives here.

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

Every aspect of space exploration was displayed for people to experience first-hand

SpaceTech Expo is expanding like the universe. The vast number of booths and offerings of this year’s expo were too numerous to mention in full. We had to limit this article to 3D printing specifically. We begin with GoEngineering.

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

GoEngineering’s 3D printing specialist Glen Chancellor demonstrates the Creaform’s ease of use

GoEngineering displayed their HandyScan Creaform scanner integrated with their editing software VX Elements to maximize their position in the scanning market, and frankly, they may be succeeding. Their device is barely over a pound and scans an object to within 30 microns of accuracy. Perfect for reverse engineering any spacecraft. It’s like waving around a baggie ziplocked with air. It’s LASER beams are precise, producing 480,000 measurements a second which is harmless to human exposure, and amazingly accurate. Patching the holes in the VX Elements software was a piece of cake. If I was running a city crime lab looking for the best means of recording forensic evidence, I would snag two for busy days. Price? $35,000.

The scanner market is huge. Huger than huge and few have grasped the importance of it’s impact on the future economy. Read driverless cars. Companies that get that will succeed for sure. SpaceTech taught us that this year.

Contributing Editor Fred Kaplan on scanning: “3D scanners produce point clouds of positional data. The point clouds are geometric samples of the object being scanned and often contain billions of points which require software to optimize the data and to export the data to a solid model such as a .STL file. 3D scanner software can smartly interpolate the point cloud to fill holes, merge meshes, optimize meshes, decimate meshes and create water-tight models ready to be 3D printed.

“3D scanners divide into two types of technologies. Laser Scanners that use a laser source that defines space by emitting laser light from two sources and recorded on camera in a process called triangulation and Touch probes or contact scanners recording positional data in 3D space by touching the surface of the object and clicking the device. Another technology that is used to record the surface imagery and the geometry of an object is call photogrammetry. Photogrammetry used an array of still cameras all pointed at an object or person. Software aligns the images, creates a visual reproduction of the surface and interpolates the geometry. Photogrammetry is used to create human reproductions because the process is recorded the duration of still camera shutter. There are also a variety of medical applications such as CT scans that are scans based upon the volume of an object.”

To be specific, understanding the scanning market takes foresight:
3D scanning is used in:
1) Inspection: to measure the size of an actual part to compare to the CAD that was original designed to increase the accuracy of the part and quality control.
2) Engineering: Creating CAD from an existing part to re-create something no longer being produced or to adapt something new from something old or replace old parts
3) Product Development: Feet and faces are commonly scanned for sizing shoes or eye glasses
4) Medical applications
5) GIS, mapping
6) LIDAR in autonomous cars

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

GoEngineering’s William Huertas shows how their software makes Creaform so effective

Kaplan went on: “Creaform scanners are hand-held that are fast and easy to use. The HandyScan scanner is made to scan the interior or the space stations as well as the auto, healthcare and manufacturing applications. The company originated as a scanner service provider but the HandyScan and GoScan packages have set the standard as the highest quality handheld scanners on the market. Creaform’s robotic mounted optical system is MetraScan which are 3D scanners that have been seamlessly integrated into automobile and other manufacturing assembly line operations.”

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

Additec — one of the many companies present at this year’s show

Technical Editor Tsion Asmamaw had this to say about the show: “Proto Labs was the company to visit at the show. This company provides injection molding, CNC machining, and 3D printing for customers who wish to budget themselves conservatively. They can see the proto type design before going ahead with any production or large scale manufacturing. I think the flexibility of this company will quickly create a good stream of customers exploring their vision in no time.”

Asmamaw also pointed out that GoEngineering wasn’t the only company sponsoring Stratasys products: “The second company I was interested in was PurplePlatypus. They displayed the impressive machines from Stratasys. The preciseness of the prints displayed at the booth were handheld examples of accuracy. One example was a human hand displayed with all the blood vessels in true color — all done with injection polyjetting by these incredible machines — the level of detail and realism can only help the medical education industry beyond measure.”

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

Julie from Airwolf3D in a brief moment between speaking with the many aerospace engineers who visited the booth in the busy three days of the expo

Airwolf3D also presented at the show and, as has been written previously, is a company worthy of taking into space. Their Axiom made a hit with engineers, who although celebrated in their mechanics, have yet to experience 3D printing. Credit goes to Airwolf3D for speaking to this awe-inspiring level of genius it takes to do rocket science. This company is closer than most to being in space. That’s all I go to say.

Lastly, I want to bring your attention to a company that, by all aspects, is not 3D printing related. It is my hope 3D printing companies will seize upon this aspect of technological innovation to improve their products at exponential rate. That company is called Splunk>.

3D Printing at SpaceTech Expo

Devon Bolton, account manager for aerospace & defense for Splunk>

Splunk> does data-mining and analytical feedback on levels that make one ponder what cannot be done. Their team has grown steadily in their application of brilliance in what they are achieving. Keep in mind, this is SpaceTech Expo. This is NASA-grade data-mining analysis. Talking to the team at Splunk> is like trying to have a conversation with a genius cousin on scholarship to MIT. These guys see data in ways that make the notion of cosmic-shift likely. Their story on developing better subway braking systems makes me proud to have met them. Remember you heard of them here first.

Plan now for next year’s SpaceTech. Make a family trip of it and develop a love of science in even the youngest of keen investors.


Gregory van Zuyen is managing editor of 3D Printr Magazine and an instructor is 3D printing at Santa Monica College.