Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

curve ups free-form objects

A team of Austrian computer scientists has advanced the way of creating 3D objects on a 2D printer, calling it CurveUps. By inserting small tiles between stretched layers of latex, this technique allows for free-form objects featuring curves and round shapes. Formerly, similar objects were limited to sharp edges.

Get the whole article with video here before catching the official release at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles.

RAPID + TCT 2017 Event Report

Posted by Fred Kaplan On May - 21 - 2017

Confessions of a 3D printing nerd at 3D printing’s biggest show of the year

By Fred Kaplan

RAPID + TCT 2017 Event Report

I admit it, I have an unhealthy obsession with 3D-printer tradeshows but the 2017 Rapid + TCT show, held May 8-11 in Pittsburgh, signaled the next iteration of 3D printing. All right, so what’s the big deal? How about a seemingly endless supply of new functional end-use 3D-printing technologies, and materials that had to be seen to be believed.

Carbon 3D
The best example of 3D-printing end-use parts was at the Carbon 3D booth. Carbon 3D burst onto the 3D-printing scene with a 2015 TED talk that has been viewed more than 700,000 times. After two years of anticipation and speculation during which Kodak announced that it would be providing materials for the printer, Carbon 3D is now leasing printers to end users.

Carbon3D Shoe Lattice

Carbon 3D recently partnered with Adidas to develop the first  3D-printed part that will be mass produced for consumer use; the midsoles of Futurecraft 4D shoes. Midsoles of shoes traditionally can’t be injection or compression molded in one piece with variable flexibility in a single piece. Carbon 3D experimented with a variety of lattices that were printed with a variety of production grade elastomers that don’t require support or excess materials — which reduce the manual post-processing steps of traditional 3D-printing. Adidas will have 5,000 pairs available in the fall/winter of 2017.

Carbon3D Shoe

Desktop Metal
All the buzz at Rapid + TCT 2017 was about the Desktop Metal printers whose booth was at the geographic center of the David L. Lawrence Convention Hall. Desktop Metals used some of the $97 million funding it received from Google, BMW, Saudi Aramico, GE, and others to sponsor the nametag lanyards, the convention hall wireless, and everything else that held still long enough to be branded. The anticipation for a desktop printer capable of printing in metal materials has hit an all-time frenzy.

Desktop Metals announced two systems the Studio and the Production systems. The Studio printer will be available in the fall of 2017, is designed to print individual metal parts. The Production system, designed for large-scale production, will be available in 2018.

Along with the announcement of the Studio Printer, Desktop Metals has announced an office-friendly sinter oven that reaches a peak temperature of 1400 celsius to post-process printed parts. With a price tag more than $120K, the printers promise to safely and easily print many metal alloys at a fraction of the cost of previous metal 3D printers. Among the advantages, Desktop Metals offers the raw material encased in a rod of metal and binder, instead of powdered metals that are possibly flammable — and definitely dangerous — and the ability to affordably and easily print a wide variety of different alloys. I was excited to see sample parts in all three stages of the process.

The first step in the process is the extrusion of metal and binder that is printed larger than the final product. The next step is the binder is removed, and the third step is the part is sintered in a sintering oven which shrinks the printed part to the expected size. The temperature of the sintering will vary depending on the metal alloy,but the temperature could be as high as 1400 C. Markforged also offers a similar product, the Metal X which has been said will be available in the fall of 2017.

The HP booth featured their Jet Fusion 3200 and 4200 printers which leverage HP’s history of jetting inks and fluids in traditional 2D desktop printers. The build area of the HP printers is 2,440 cubic inches (15″ x 11.2″ x 14.6″) and its ability to print on a voxel by voxel basis (the 3D equivalent of a screen pixel) simultaneously on the X and Y axis which yields high-quality printed parts ten times faster than a traditional FDM 3D-printer. HP have used the advantages of printing in powder (speed plus printing with no attached support structure) to create a profitable return on investment on 3D-printing projects similar to mid-size injection molded runs.

The HP Jet Fusion printers use a new series of processes developed by HP which include thermal control, fusing, and detailing agents printed in the X-Y axis on a layer of the printing material which is currently a low-cost nylon, PA12 powder. Future material developments will include full color parts and a variety of materials including ceramics.

The theme of producing functional end-use part has expanded and the UnionTech booth showed all four of their SLA printers. The largest build size is the RSPro 800 which has a build platform of 31.5″ x 31.5″ x 19.7″.

What I find most interesting about the UnionTech printers is that they offer the highest quality SLA printing with open source materials — which means that there is an almost endless selection of material options, including DSM materials, BASF and any other SLA printing materials on the market. The printers are assembled in China with globally-sourced parts. By increasing their laser power, UnionTech is able to increase the print speed of their 3D printers by 100% over competitive printers.

What makes a trade show like Rapid + TCT 2017 so great is the opportunity to see a technology, and feel the sample part of that technology that hitherto seems to be internet lore. XJET is an Israeli company whose CEO was the CTO of Objet Geometries — the original PolyJET 3D printer. XJET uses the concept of jetting microscopic particles of material to form an object, replacing thermoplastics with solid metal nanoparticles, suspended in a liquid ink, in a process called “NanoParticle Jetting.” The sample parts I felt were completely smooth with no visible or tactile evidence of layer lines on the sample parts.

I was pleased to see technological surprises in every row of vendors at the show. I have been anxious to see the Roboze 3D printer that prints in Ultem/PEI and PEEK, as well as 14 other industrial grade materials with more to come. Printing in PEEK and Utem requires extremely high temperatures which triggered my expectation of seeing a 3D printer reminiscent of a Soviet-era monstrosity, but instead, I found the Robooze printers to be sleek and elegantly designed. They are office-friendly printers that emit no heat on the exterior surface of the printer despite internal temperatures. Roboze is a completely gear-driven FDM printer that is accurate to within 25 microns across the print bed.

Do you think the world of additive manufacturing materials is limited to thermoplastics and metals? Wrong! Admatec, a Dutch company has combined DLP (digital light projection) 3D-printing with ceramics in their new Admaflex 130. The materials that the Amdaflex print are alumina, zirconia and fused silica. The advantages of ceramics include extreme hardness and excellent electrical insulation. They are also lightweight parts that are functional in high temperature, and under high pressures.

After walking the Rapid + TCT 2017 show, my head was exploding with the brilliance of the technological and material options at all price points of 3D printing. The fall of 2017 promises to be an amazing time, in which we will see the amazing new printers hit the streets. The original technology of the SLA system that Chuck Hull developed 30 years ago is being adapted to be perhaps the most functional technology yet.

I left Pittsburgh knowing that rate of innovation is not slowing down and looking forward to next trade show with enthusiasm.

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.

GABA Industry 4.0 Event Report

Posted by Franka Schoening On May - 14 - 2017

GABA Industry 4.0 Event Report

Industry 4.0 — Is a future without warehouses and trucks an imminent reality?

By Franka Schoening

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the German American Business Association hosted their Industry 4.0 event “A Future without Warehouses and Trucks?” exploring the impact of 3D printing on manufacturing and supply chains.

Hosted by Georg Fischer in Irvine, attendees were able to gain an insight into the piping systems industry, explore the warehouse and discuss how 3D printing is supplementing milling and laser texturing. As a global player, the Swiss company thrives to be a first mover on emerging technologies to provide superior products at competitive prices.

GABA Industry 4.0 Event Report

Georg Fischer provided the Industry 4.0 venue with tours of its operations

The main event featured a panel of five industry professionals sharing their perspectives on additive manufacturing and its applicability to management consulting, marketing, manufacturing, software, and cyber security. Moderated by Charlie Duncheon, acting general manager North America of AP Works, an informative discussion emerged.

GABA Industry 4.0 Event Report

GABA Industry 4.0 panel from left: Charlie Duncheon, Klaus Brisch, Frank Speck, Chris Langdon, Oliver Schuh, and Max Eils

Dr. Oliver Schuh, managing director of Real Difference Management Consulting, pointed out the importance of managing people when introducing new technologies. Change management is crucial for a successful design evolution, as engineers are functionally fixated and need help to let go of their old ways and embrace a new way of thinking. Frank Speck, IG chair of Industry 4.0, GABA Southern California Chapter and Business Development Manager at Authentise added that Authentise is providing software solutions that are highly tailored. These solutions allow clients to tackle one specific problem and seamlessly integrate into companies’ existing systems. Most employees get overwhelmed by too many concurrent changes, which can lead to unexploited software. To foster successful technological changes, Speck stressed the importance of creating custom-made solutions, as supposed to pushing large software packages. Max Eils, area sales manager West at EOS of North America, furthermore agreed that learning opportunities have to be readily available for engineers.

Chris Langdon, PhD, president of Pacific Coast Research Inc. and a research associate professor at Claremont Graduate University’s Peter F. Drucker and Masatoni Ito Graduate School of Management stressed the importance of data analysis to create smart products. These products “adapt themselves to fit customers and sell themselves based on knowing/understanding the customer.” In his opinion, the products that are the most convenient and easiest to use will be the most successful. Collection of real-time feedback is a challenge, however crucial as 3D printing allows for immediate adaptation in the manufacturing process.

Using data can improve all processes, the product itself, and even make recommendations on which printer to use. CAD files are already entirely constructed of data and can be quickly and easily improved through the analysis of collected statistics. Traditional manufacturing on the other hand is not digitized and slow to improve.

The statement of immediate product improvement was also supported by Max Eils, who added that data received during the printing process can decrease the waste of resources, as well as needed warehouse space as less unnecessary parts are created.

Not surprisingly, audience questions regarding personal privacy arose, as data sharing goes hand in hand with personal consumer information being collected and stored. Klaus Brisch, Partner and Certified IT Lawyer at DWF Law, was quick to point out that cyber security is essential for the commercial practice of additive manufacturing. Sensitive date and knowhow are constantly floating through the cloud with most consumers unaware this is happening. He admitted that ensuring datatheft protection will be an ongoing challenge.

After Frank Speck summarized the prominent advantages of additive manufacturing, namely: higher accuracy, faster production, adaptability, and part reduction the question of potential monetary savings was posed. Charlie Duncheon used an example from current developments at Airbus, where AP Works is using 3D printing to manufacture armrests and partitions. Interestingly, while the production cost is initially higher for either part respectively — the armrest as much as 75% — the reduced weight will result in millions of savings in fuel costs over the lifetime of the Airbus 320. Max Eils supplemented this observation by sharing that a fuel nozzle that used to be assembled of 19 parts can now be printed as one, which does not only signify time savings, but also facilitates fuel injection. This consequently enhanced engine performance and is reflected in millions of dollars saved over a jets lifespan.

As a closing thought, Speck touched upon the potential of the industry as a whole. While the growth might look linear at the start, and while we are still only touching the surface of possibilities, he is certain that developments in additive manufacturing will exponentially grow over the years. Don’t we all hope for that?

To find out more about membership in GABA, visit the German American Business Association.

Franka Schoening, a German native, moved to sunny Southern California in 2011 to attain her Masters of Communications Management at the University of Southern California. Since graduating she has worked in operations in the medical industry and as group events coordinator in eco-tourism.

In her free time you can find her in the rabbit room at the South Los Angeles Animal Shelter, cooking vegan feasts, treasure hunting at estate sales and thrift stores, or picking up a random new hobby, lately sewing. She also organizes events and fundraisers for LA Rabbit Foundation and has a small rabbit boarding business.

Join GABA in Irvine, CA to Discuss the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Posted by Franka Schoening On April - 11 - 2017

Join GABA in Irvine, CA to Discuss the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Recognize the latest developments and how they will affect your business

On May 10, the Southern California Chapter of the German American Business Association will present a panel discussion on the effect of 3D printing on the manufacturing supply chain. GABA will host high-ranking technology experts as they challenge the status quo and prepare consumers and businesses alike for “A Future Without Warehouses and Trucks.”

The creative use of additive manufacturing is revolutionizing entire industries. This is forcing manufacturers to rethink their strategies and adapt their production and revenue streams to changing consumer demands. As Frank Speck, co-chair of Industries 4.0, puts it, this event will help your company disrupt itself “before someone else does.”

To learn more about GABA check their website at

To RSVP for the Industry 4.0 panel discussion, click here.

The panel will be held at:

Georg Fischer Piping Systems
9271 Jeronimo Rd
Irvine, CA 90818

— FS