WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 16 - 2017Comments Off on WESTEC 2017 Event Report

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

There was much to see and discover at this year’s WESTEC Conference

WESTEC 2017, the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show and expo, delivered an impressive selection of companies on display, with much to see and discover.
Geared toward the milling and fabrication crowd, the show was a cavalcade of robotic devices, cutting tools, software engineers, filtering systems, and, of course, 3D printing manufacturers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

VP of sales Marc Franz at Raise3D, a new 3D printer manufacturer promising superior resolution and affordable costs

A new appearance this year was 3D printing manufacturer Raise3D. Vice President of sales Marc Franz was there to promote the new company, and he was enthusiastic about the resolution quality of his company’s products, especially when their price tag is approximately $1,000 less than comparable 3D printers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

UnionTech representative Fred Kaplan, SOMOS’s Kevin Zarkis, and internationally-recognized industry expert Frank Speck at the UnionTech booth

Another company worth mentioning is UnionTech. The Chinese company has only recently begun marketing their products here in the U.S., but they are making a significant impact in the industry with the quality of their stereolithography prints. Jeremy Owen, midwest sales manager for RP America, mentioned that adding UnionTech to their list of companies they represent has given them a tremendous advantage in providing their customers with flawless SLA printing. And since UnionTech is open-source, material availability is unlimited and maintenance on the machines is a breeze.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Airwolf3D sales representative Paul Gallagher was swamped by WESTEC 2017 attendees at the Airwolf3D booth

Airwolf3D was also there, but it was hard to get a chance to speak to the staff through the student crowd that was three-deep at the booth. With the success of their Hydrofill water-soluable support material and the growing popularity of their Axiom 3D printer, it was easy to understand why they were a conference favorite. Other 3D printers there included 3D Systems, Stratasys, MarkForged, HP, Rize, and Ultimaker.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Taylor Dawson of Hexagon displays both the ease of use and robust functionality of the Hexagon scanning software

Matterhackers was available for guidance on materials and online rapid prototyping questions, as was Purple Platypus. 3D scanning companies were also present and they included Innovmetric, Zeiss, Creaform, FARO, Capture3D, and Hexagon. As high-end 3D scanning remains an expensive but necessary investment for companies to make, WESTEC proved to be a great venue for comparing scanning products.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang talks about his company’s recent landmark innovation in rotary cutting tools, an adapter that uses ultrasonic vibration for improved CNC performance

Every show has something new to discover, and WESTEC 2017 was no exception. This year’s surprise development in technological innovation goes to AccuServe.
While this product may not be directly related to the practice of 3D printing, the inspired genius of their newly patented device could not escape our attention.
We spoke at length with AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang regarding the creation of their CNC tool adapter and were amazed at what this device can do for milling and drilling operations.

“What we have created is the next step in the use of ultrasonic frequencies to improve the cutting tool operation,” said Huang as he held the tool. “Before this, there was UM, ultrasonic manufacturing, which uses sound waves to penetrate materials. This is RUM, rotary ultrasonic manufacturing.”

Huang pointed out that, when dealing with dense, hard materials such as tungsten and high-tempered glass or ceramics, machinists would have to increase their revolutions up to ridiculously high speeds to burrow into the material. Through the use of RUM and the application of ultrasonic frequencies directed to the cutting tool, machinists were able to burrow faster, at lower RPMs, with cleaner, tighter results. “Because the ultrasonic frequencies are able to ‘peck’ at the surface being drilled, the molecular structure of the material is weakened and the build-up of material on the cutting tool is shaken away. With the addition of this adapter, precision is increased dramatically, and the instance of material fracture is greatly reduced.” Huang went on to say that the companies using their product were reporting a 30% to 70% reduction in cutting time and a valued cost savings in their material inventory, thanks to the lessened rate of fracture. The price tag for the adapter is under $12,000 — a comparable savings to the $400,000 CNC machines that can do similar work with similar RUM technology.

To find out more about the RUM cutting adaptor, visit AccuServe at AccuSereMTS.com. And be sure to sign up now for next year’s WESTEC conference.

The Daily 3D Detail: WESTEC 2017

Posted by Editor On September - 12 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: WESTEC 2017

Westec 2017

Just one of the fun things to see at WESTEC 2017

WESTEC 2017 opens today at the Los Angeles Convention Center (1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles) with a wide assortment of booths and vendors all promoting the latest in industrial design. Billed as the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show, WESTEC provides everyone from aerospace to robotics a chance to showcase their latest developments and innovations. A host of speakers will also be on hand for the three-day event to provide much-anticipated seminar sessions for attendees.

In addition to the keynote speeches by IBM and TITAN America MFG, there will be panel discussions on additive manufacturing and smart manufacturing. A smart manufacturing hub will be on display for businesses to tour, and a machining academy has been set up to help polish skills.

It’s Not Too Late to Register
Attendees can still register for free access to the WESTEC 2017 expo floor through a promo code available thanks to Polymer Molding on their Facebook page.

The Daily 3D Detail: The Periodic Table of Things

Posted by Editor On September - 11 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: The Periodic Table of Things

The Periodic Table of Things by Keith Enevoldsen

New interactive periodic table of things by Keith Enevoldsen makes learning about science fun for all

Boeing software engineer Keith Enevoldsen has produced a masterful work of art and science. Intended to instruct students in the use of the elements listed on the periodic table, the creation is welcome by all as a great way to look at the physical sciences.

The Period Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words explains the industrial application of even the obscure elements. With this chart, the mysteries of palladium (pollution control), rhenium (rocket engines), molybdenum (cutting tools), bismuth (fire sprinklers), and all the others are illustrated for a quick reveal, leaving one with a hearty afterthought of curiosity.

For more on Enevoldsen’s work, visit this article at TheMindUnleashed.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: Here come wearable electronics

Posted by Editor On September - 8 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Here come wearable electronics

Here come wearable electronics

Wearable electronics will soon be available for a variety of industries. Photo by Wyss Institute.

A new 3D printing method developed by researchers at Harvard University has made wearable electronic technology a reality. These “soft electronic devices of nearly every size and shape” can be custom-designed and impregnated in 3D-bioskins.

The recent article in the journal Advanced Materials called “Hybrid 3D Printing of Soft Electronics” available at the Wiley Online Library explains the nuances of this discovery, and how we’ll be able to get one step closer to being cyborgs.

Here come wearable electronics

Everything from fashion to healthcare will be affected. Photo by Wyss Institute.

Through the use of 3D-printed conductive and dielectric elastomeric materials (think plastic skins with internal flexible electronics) and the ability to implant chips and transmitters into the print, the capacity to produce a wearable cellphone or key fob is within grasp.

The wearable electronics are a part of the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering‘s plan to bring this technology to a variety of industries, including healthcare and aerospace, where the need for unobtrusive biosensory transmitters on high-risk individuals such as fighter pilots and astronauts can provide ground crews with more reliable and effective data.

Here come wearable electronics

The key to the process is robotic placement of micro-chips in flexible, skin-like thermoplastic polyurethane. Photo by Wyss Institute.

The research team, led by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Professor Jennifer Lewis and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s J. Daniel Berrigan, developed the system of 3D printing thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and silver electronic inks with placement of miniaturized chips and LEDs through the use of a robotic vacuum nozzle.

For more on this story see 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D printing tissues with blood vessels

Posted by Taila Rodrigues On September - 6 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: 3D printing tissues with blood vessels

The cardiovascular system is a complex network of tens of thousands of kilometers of arteries, capillaries, and veins that branch through the body.

Tissue researchers have spent decades exploring ways to create lab-made constructs with physical properties and similar biological functionalities of healthy blood vessels. Researchers have experimented with synthetic structures to replace irreparably damaged or clogged blood vessels, but have yet to present an approach that works as well as the real thing. However, some recent studies suggest that 3D-printed blood vessels that incorporate living cells may be the breakthrough in 3D bioprinting studies and whole synthetic organs.

University of California San Diego researchers have developed a technique to print a network of realistic and functional blood vessels using custom methods. Conducted by nanoengineering professor Shaochen Chen, the team created their own 3D printer, and produced intricate 3D microstructures that mimic the sophisticated designs and functions of biological tissues. Now they are working on building patient-specific tissues using human-induced pluripotent stem cells, which would prevent transplants from being attacked by a patient’s immune system.

This process could also offer faster, cheaper, and more efficient access to produce biocompatible materials than existing methods.

“Almost all tissues and organs need blood vessels to survive and work properly. This is a major bottleneck in performing organ transplants, which are in high demand, but they are scarce. 3D bioprinting organs can help bridge this gap and our lab has taken a big step toward that goal,” Chen said.

It is worth mentioning that research in bioprintagem is not something completely new.

Researchers at a Chinese biotechnology company, Sichuan Revotek, led by scientist James Kang, are also exploring the printing technique using autologous stem cells to produce artificial blood vessels. The technique uses the proprietary bio-ink of Revotek, patented as Biosynsphere. The bio-ink is composed of stem cells derived from adipose tissue, along with nutrients and growth factors.

“Stem cells have turned into appropriate vascular cells within a few days and, after a month, works just like the original blood vessels. This is a big step since the bio-ink has the unique ability to develop collagen, which allows the tissue to develop in different forms. Using a patient’s own cells to produce the components of stem cell ink can lead to low-cost engineering fabrics that are not only compatible with the patient’s body but also become part of it,” said Kang.

This type of technique is opening up doors and valuable research opportunities previously unavailable to science. The big challenge now is to combine the techniques into one machine, so researchers and scientists will be able to use a 3D-bioprinting laboratory containing a more accurate print at a higher resolution with a larger print structure.

In the future, 3D printing technology can be used to develop transplantable tissues tailored to the needs of each patient.

You can see the full article clicking here.

The Daily 3D Detail: NASA goes green in space

Posted by Editor On September - 4 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: NASA goes green in space

NASA goes green in space

NASA announced plans to put Tethers Unlimited’s Refabricator into space next year. Photo courtesy of NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given.

NASA has announced plans to launch in 2018 the Refabricator, a large recycling and remanufacturing machine intended to shred plastics and metals into reusable material and then use the material to 3D-print new objects — all of this done within the same device.

The Refabricator project is the responsibility of Tethers Unlimited, a space tech firm based in Seattle, Washington Tethers Unlimited received $750,000 in award money from NASA to fund the program. Plans are now in place to have the Refabricator installed into the International Space Station (ISS) by next year.

The Refaabricator project is similar in function to other recycling innovations being sought around the world. 3Devo, from The Netherlands, is one such country pursuing recycling plastics with their SHR3D IT system for shredding and granulating plastics for reuse. The Precious Plastics project, the brainchild of Dave Hakkens, is another such foray into creating localized recycling systems for plastics. Precious Plastics is also being conducted as an open-source operation with free downloads of equipment plans and installation instructions.

Rob Hoyt, CEO of Tethers, commented on the Refabricator project for NASA by saying, “The Refabricator demonstration is a key advance toward our vision of implementing a truly sustainable, in-space manufacturing ecosystem. Astronauts could use this technology to manufacture and recycle food-safe utensils, and turn what is now inconvenient waste into feedstock to help build the next generation of space systems.”

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

The Daily 3D Detail: XYZ launches full color FDM printing

Posted by Editor On September - 1 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: XYZ launches full color FDM printing

XYZ launches full color FDM printing

XYZPrinting announces launch of color FDM printing

Taiwanese 3D printer manufacturer XYZ printing, said to be largest seller of 3D printers, has launched a model that produces FDM PLA spool-fed prints in full color with a range of 16 million colors. The Da Vinci Color model printer, which sells for $2,999.95, is looking at a significant section of the market share of schools and small businesses looking to print durable objects in color.

The device is being launched at Berlin’s IFA 2017 show this week, and hopefully more will be revealed on how coloring is applied to digital files prior to printing. The samples being promoted now show a range of colors and coloring intricacy. If everything XYZPrinting says is true, the printer stands to be a game-changer for 3D service bureaus and start-ups alike.

XYZ launches full color FDM printing

Color is achieved by use of inkjet cartridges applying color between layers

The process is a simple one in terms of innovation. The Da Vinci Color is a standard FDM printer that uses ordinary 2D color printing cartridges to deliver color between the layers of polylactic acid (PLA) plastic.

Simon Shen, CEO of XYZprinting comments, “With its 3DColorJet technology, the da Vinci Color is a breakthrough in 3D printing technology as it provides full color spectrum accuracy at an afford able, small business-friendly price, that is unmatched by any other color 3D printer in the market.”

For specs on the printer, see this article at 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: Key development made in 3D-printing copper

Posted by Editor On August - 31 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Key development made in 3D-printing copper

Key development made in 3D-printing copper

Researchers in Germany have made a breakthrough in the ability to laser melt copper. Image courtesy of Fraunhofer ILT.

The selective laser melting (SLM) method of 3D-printing is effective for most metals and many alloys, with the unusual exception for pure copper. While copper alloys have been used in the past, using SLM for copper has failed to the high degree of reflection affecting the laser attempts.

A new development being announced at the formnext 2017 trade show in Frankfurt, Germany by Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has changed that outlook. The research project, funded by AiF German Federation of Industrial Research Associations, indicates that by using laser light in the green spectrum range, in the 515 nanometer wavelength, the absorptivity grows, thereby requiring less power needed to achieve consistent melting results.

Because pure copper is more electrically and thermally conductive than most metals and alloys, the need for pure copper parts is substantial and proves to a lucrative aspect of 3D-printing. But copper reflects up to 90% of laser radiation, so only a small amount of the energy is received by the material. Also machine components can be damaged by the reflected radiation, and when the copper transitions to a liquid state, it results in an unstable remelting process.

“We are hoping for a more homogeneous melt pool dynamics so that we can build components with high material density and achieve other positive effects, such as a higher detail resolution,” said Daniel Heussen, a Rapid Manufacturing group research fellow, of the new SLM approach.

Fraunhofer ILT is building its own green laser source as a result of the studies. The project is referred to as “SLM in green,” the goal of which is to produce a laser with an output of 400 watts in the green light wavelength (515 nm). If successful, devices will be able to 3D-print intricate objects in pure copper, which will be a boon for the construction of electrical components.

For more on the story, see Sarah Saunders’ article at 3DPrint.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: JPL searching for 3D printing interns

Posted by Editor On August - 30 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: JPL searching for 3D printing interns

JPL searching for 3D printing interns

Opportunities now exist to be a part of JPL’s manufacturing team

Jet Propulsion Laboratories, located in Altadena, California, near Pasadena, is on the lookout for students interested in robotics and space exploration.

The posting on the job website Indeed.com is soliciting applications for work in their Mechanical Systems Engineering, Fabrication and Test Division. Duties include working with a team to develop mechanisms and mechanical systems; building prototypes to prove out mechanism design concepts; running tests to help inform design decisions; and analyzing test data to ensure that the team finds the most important results.

Applicants must be currently enrolled in full-time courses in a college or university pursuing a bachelors, masters, or PhD in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, material/science, physics, robotics, structural engineering, operations research, or related technical discipline. Applicants must also have a 3.0 grade average to be considered.

Visit Indeed.com for instructions on applying.

The Daily 3D Detail: Condos on Mars

Posted by Editor On August - 29 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Condos on Mars

Condos on Mars

Artist vision of Mars habitat. Photo courtesy of dezeen.com.

Someday we’ll be living in space. At the rate of current of testing, Branch Technology and Foster + Partners may very well be the developer of your moon unit housing or Mars condo.

Condos on Mars

Members of Branch Technology’s NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge team

NASA’s efforts to produce sustainable housing off planet has concluded its competitive testing of third-party submissions. The top award of $250,000 was given to the combined efforts of the two research and development teams of Branch Technology, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Foster + Partners of California, for their efforts in producing a 3D-printed habitat. This challenge is the culmination of three levels of challenges in the Phase Two stage of NASA’s attempts to create “advance construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.”

Condos on Mars

Competition for NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge was held at Caterpillar’s Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center in Peoria, Illinois

Referred to as NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, the competition has elicited the efforts of five separate teams attempting to best each other in the ever-increasingly more difficult requests. Cash prizes have been given out to the top three contenders in each level of each phase. In the three levels of Phase Two, Branch Technology and Foster + Partners were in the top three of each event. They garnered top prize in level one, a challenge of printing a cone and a cylinder subject to endurance testing; third prize in level two involving the 3D-printing of a support beam (top prize went to South Korea’s Team Moon X); and now the top prize in 3D-printing a dome structure holding 3,726 pounds of ultimate load.

These challenges have brought space structures closer to a viable reality, admits NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate Jim Reuter. “The advancement and innovation in additive construction that we’ve seen from these teams is inspiring,” said Reuter. “Meeting the technology goals of this challenge proves that competition can push boundaries, and their work puts us that much closer to preparing the way for deep space exploration.”

Branch Technology and Foster + Partners also credited Techmer Polymer Modifiers for their work in material support.

For more on this story, see these articles at 3DPrint.com and 3DPrintingIndustry.com.