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

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 24 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

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 Daily 3D Detail: 3D printer vs. childhood obesity

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 24 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Vegetables in their natural state – often rejected by children

Obesity is on the rise worldwide. Enabled by fatty fast food and sugary drinks that are constantly available, flavorful and advertised to children at a young age. Getting kids to eat their veggies can be a constant battle for parents. Professor Carla Severini, and her team at the University of Foggia, are here to facilitate sneaking veggies into your family’s dinner. Using a 3D printer, the study turned blended banana, white beans, mushrooms and milk into octopus-shaped treats. Treats that are not only fun to eat, but also nutrient-rich. The team is furthermore experimenting with fish, cauliflower and insects, a source of protein commonly rejected in Western cultures. Allowing children to experiment with food, will hopefully transform them into vegetable lovers from an early age on. Read the whole article here.

Is this how we will ensure that our children eat a healthy diet? What do you think?

Matthew Rockwell with one of his patients in Nepal. Photo courtesy of

Using your talents to do good in the world is what we all strive for. One tech company, Disaster Hack, a San Francisco- based non-profit led by Matthew Rockwell, is using its 3D printing expertise to help Nepalis affected with disabilities. In 2015, after a big earthquake shook the country, Rockwell brought a 3D printer to Kathmandu. His goal was to manufacture low-cost prosthesis for victims of the disaster, or illness. 3D printing will be a game changer for the critically underfunded Nepali health sector by reducing costs significantly. Limited to hands at the moment, the company nevertheless has identified 7,000 people that could benefit from the $30 functional prothesis. In the future, Disaster Hack hopes to use recycled plastic bottles as filament to expand their impact without requiring more funding, while positively impacting the environment.

Furthermore, Rockwell has trained 20 prosthetists at Nepali hospitals and is currently setting up a biomedical printing lab in Kathmandu’s largest university. These actions will create independent growth for the nation through jobs and manufacturing. Read the whole article here and find even more info at


The Daily 3D Detail: Water safety through 3D printed sensors

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 20 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Embedded sensors

Your water supply could become a lot safer through 3D printed sensors developed at the University of British Columbia. The devices aim to reduce the possibility of disease outbreaks with the help of ongoing testing for contaminants in drinking water. As supposed to hand testing, which only allowed for periodic sampling, the 3d printed sensors will be collecting samples on an ongoing basis. Results will be communicated wirelessly to a central computer. Changing levels of parameters such as turbidity, pH, conductivity, temperature, and residual chlorine will be detected early. Citizens’ exposure to toxic chemicals in drinking water can be diminished.

The devices can be installed at any point in the water distribution center, are cost efficient and more reliable that traditionally manufactured sensors. Read the whole article here.

Several universities are researching the potential of 3D printing in detection of threats. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia is developing prototype sensors for early warnings of forest fires and floods. University of Bath, UK is working on 3D printed devices that actually filter out water contaminants.




The SES-15

As reported yesterday, Airbus is including 3D printing in the construction of their A350 XWB aircraft. It should come as no surprise that Airbus’ main competitor, Boeing, is no stranger to using additive manufacturing for their operations. More specifically, the company is applying 3D printing to make the production of Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites more efficient. The SES-15, which was launched in May to provide WIFI access on flights across North and Central America, contains 50 3D printed metal parts. This technique facilitates cost and time savings and increases Boeing’s flexibility in meeting changing customer preferences. According to Mark Spiwak, Boeing Satellite Systems International President, additive manufacturing has become part of the standard design process and enabled the SES-15 to be launched ahead of schedule. Read the full article at

The Daily 3D Detail: Stratasys awarded contract for Airbus

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 18 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Airbus announced today that it will cooperate with Stratasys to 3D print polymer parts for installation on the new A350 XWB aircraft. The non-structural parts will be printed on Stratasys’ FDM printer out of a heat-resistant thermoplastic resin, called ULTEM™ 9085. Airbus expects this collaboration to enhance supply chain flexibility and achieve significant reduction of production waste and cost.

After recording a $77m loss last year, Stratasys has put a focus on commercial 3D printing, due to higher earning potential than selling personal printers. The company announced three new aerospace partnerships last month alone.

Read more here.

ULTEM™ 9085 Photo Credit: Stratasys



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 and at



The Daily 3D Detail: Self-healing 3D printed gels

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 14 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

Self-healing 3D printed gel sea star

If you have friends that still doubt the usability and purpose of 3D printing, we have the story to convince them. A team at University of Melbourne in Australia is developing gels to print self-healing screens for smart devices. Considering the frustrating condition of having a shattered iPhone screen, all we can hope is that they hurry up already!

Based on PHEMA, a water-based gel used to create the first soft contact lenses, the team created twelve variations of gels with differing characteristics. Check out the whole article on to find out what this invention has to do with butterflies, cigars and sea stars.

A 60-year old woman, who admitted to Rashid Hospital in Dubai for cerebral bleeding, was successfully treated with the help of 3D printing. An x-ray showed cerebral aneurysm in four veins – a complex surgery. A 3D model of her brain helped doctors figure out how to reach each clocked vein before starting the rare procedure, resulting in a considerable risk reduction for the patient and cost savings for the hospital.

3D printed model of a brain

The surgery took six hours and was considered a success. Without access to the model, the surgery is estimated to take longer and pose a higher risk for the patient. The used model was constructed by 3DVinci Creations, a local Dubai 3D printing company. Providing dimensional perspective, the model allowed for a an increasingly accurate diagnosis and enabled pre-planning of the procedure, based on patient-specific anatomy. Read the full article at



The Daily 3D Detail: Meet the 3D Printing Nerd…

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 12 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

YouTube’s 3D Printing Nerd

… and subscribe to his channel while you are at it. Joel uses YouTube videos to discuss and review 3D printers, analyze polymers and generally advocate for the industry. Check out his video about the Kodama Obsidian Prototype or watch him interview fellow 3D printers like Ben Heck or Josef Prusa. Some of his videos are applicable to practical printing, as he fixes his Subaru’s gas cap and prints and reviews his own feetz. But he also enthusiastically responds to fan mail. If you are lucky, he might respond to your question, showcase items you send him, or take your suggestion on videos you would like to see next. And if you are REALLY lucky, he will send you some stickers, as that seems to be the going currency in the 3D Printing Nerd’s universe.

His passion and curiosity make his videos informative and engaging. While nerd used to be an insult, it certainly is rather a certificate of knowledge when it comes to the 3D Printing Nerd.