Archive for the ‘Mechanics’ Category

Combining Metamaterial Design with Multimaterials

As we reported on July 28, metamaterial design provides innovative solutions of functional movement to otherwise solid constructs in 3D printing.

According to a recent study published in MIT News, researchers investigating the properties of multimaterial 3D prints have been able to determine specific property capacities available within tiny cube structures utilizing materials combined by the printing process.

Thanks to MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), which is supported in part by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) SIMPLEX program, researchers have been able to use algorithmic calculations to determine design schematics involving the properties of the materials used and their likely result in terms of flexibility and endurance.

The algorithmic-generated designs are gauged for stress tolerances using Young’s Modulus and Poisson’s Ratio for uniaxial tension. The diagram below displays a variety of structural designs and the results of their tests.

Combining Metamaterial Cesign with Multimaterials

Examples of multimaterial patterns possible through optomization. Image via Zhu, Skouras, Chen & Matusik

CSAIL’s Bo Zhu, the primary author of the study, commented in the article, “Conventionally, people design 3-D prints manually. But when you want to have some higher-level goal — for example, you want to design a chair with maximum stiffness or design some functional soft [robotic] gripper — then intuition or experience is maybe not enough. Topology optimization, which is the focus of our paper, incorporates the physics and simulation in the design loop. The problem for current topology optimization is that there is a gap between the hardware capabilities and the software. Our algorithm fills that gap.”

For more information on the study, see this article at

The Daily 3D Detail: Making 3D printed parts stronger

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 24 - 2017

Brandon Sweeney and Blake Tiepel in action

Brandon Sweeney, a Doctoral Student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and his advisor Dr. Micah Green, discovered a new technique to increase the durability of 3D printed parts. The process welds the layers together with the use of microwaves, increasing the pieces’ adaptability to real life manufacturing demands.

3D printers create objects by layering filament in the desired shape. These thin layers increase the possibility of fractures, limiting the applicability of some objects in the real world. While working on a different project, Sweeney was inspired to use carbon nanotubes and microwaves to weld the layers into one solid, more stable, part.

By adding the carbon nanotube to the outside of the filament, the composite gets embedded in the part during the printing process. A monitored heat source bonds the layers together, without melting the entire object.

In cooperation with Essentium Materials, the team hopes to integrate the electromagnetic welding process into the actual 3D printers. Find the article and video on


The Autonomous Farting Octopus Robot

Posted by Editor On August - 28 - 2016

Studies conducted at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences 3D-printed a soft robot operating through microfluid technology

Here Come the Soft Robots

Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, commented on the project led by Robert Wood, the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences: “Through our hybrid assembly approach, we were able to 3D print each of the functional components required within the soft robot body, including the fuel storage, power, and actuation, in a rapid manner. The ‘octobot’ is a simple embodiment designed to demonstrate our integrated design and additive fabrication strategy for embedding autonomous functionality.”

The octobot’s farting, or gas emission, is a result of the microfluid technology involving hydrogen peroxide that went into the robot’s design to operate its limbs. Scientists are most excited however in embodying chip operation without requiring rigid circuitry.

For more on the report and its significance as a breakthrough into soft-bodied robots, see:

For the original study printed in the international weekly journal of science, Nature, visit:

MatterHackers Launches 3D Design Competition

Posted by Editor On August - 25 - 2016

Brandy Leigh Scott announces the Within Reach Design Challenge launched by MatterHackers that will give designers a chance to help others live better lives

The story made headline news on ABC7 with an interview with MatterHacker’s Mara Hitner and David Gaylord explaining the design challenge and its origin.

The challenge origin is on behalf of Hitner’s friend Brandy Leigh Scott, who suffers from Dupuytren’s contracture, a rare condition that causes the hands to bind into fists. Everyday items such as round doorknobs create challenges to function normally for people like Scott. MatterHacker has initiated the Within Reach Design Challenge for two categories of 3D designers, adult and youth-aged, to submit their ideas for design improvement of commonplace objects or original tools to assist people with limited use of their hands. Prizes include 3D printers from Ultimaker, MatterControl T10 3D Printer Controllers, MatterHackers PRO Series Filament, and MatterHackers gift cards.

To find out more about how to enter the Within Reach Design Challenge, visit MatterHackers at

    In pursuit of the world’s best bike.

    At an event held at the Renishaw Innovation Centre in Gloucestershire in May 2016, Robot Bike Co’s CEO Ed Haythornthwaite launches the R160, a customizable mountain bike frame.