The Daily 3D Detail: Researchers improve bioprinting resolution

Posted by Editor On August - 23 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Researchers improve bioprinting resolution

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

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

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printed robot uses sign language

Posted by Editor On August - 23 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printed robot uses sign language

3D-printed robot hand uses sign language

Photos courtesy of Project Aslan is reporting on the development of Project Aslan (ASL is the acronym for American Sign Language; ASLAN itself is the acronym of “Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node”), a robotic device capable of interpreting spoken language into sign language for the benefit of deaf people.

Created by a team at the University of Antwerp in The Netherlands, in conjunction with 3D Hubs, Project Antwerp at this stage is a robotic hand that is able to sign letters and words spoken to it. Developers are attempting to create a full-body model to use both hands and an expressive face for its translation functions.

3D-printed robot hand uses sign language

This is not the first robot created to address sign language needs in society. Toshiba developed a signing robot in 2014 to help the elderly. Project Aslan is notable as much of the physical components are 3d-printed.

According to the story, the robot hand is made up of 25 plastic parts 3D-printed from an entry-level desktop printer, plus 16 servo motors, three motor controllers, an Arduino Due microcomputer and a few other electronic components. The plastic parts reportedly takes about 139 hours to print, while final assembly of the robot takes another 10.

Guy Fierens, Stijn Huys and Jasper Slaets are the three master’s degree students who began Project Aslan in 2014. Huys commented on the undertaking by saying, “I was talking to friends about the shortage of sign language interpreters in Belgium, especially in Flanders for the Flemish sign language. We wanted to do something about it. I also wanted to work on robotics for my masters, so we combined the two.”

For the full article, please see this page at

The Daily 3D Detail: Shapeways CEO steps down

Posted by Editor On August - 15 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Shapeways CEO steps down

Shapeways CEO steps down

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Peter Weijmarshausen during ribbon cutting of Long Island City facility

Peter Weijmarshausen, co-founder and CEO of Shapeways, has announced his departure. COO Tom Finn will assume CEO operations until a permanent CEO can be installed.

Weijmarshausen began the online 3D service bureau in 2007 with fellow founders Marleen Vogelaar and Robert Schouwenburg, whom have already left the firm.

The service bureau was formed in The Netherlands as a way of providing 3D printing to a wide range of modelers and engineers who were unable to create prints on their own. Shapeways, as part of the Royal Philips Electronics business incubator, trailblazed the 3D printing industry with their services and has been instrumental in providing rapid prototyping to designers all over the world. It has been estimated that there are nearly 37,000 outlets providing Shapeways services in the world.

Weijmarshausen commented on his departure by saying, “I am proud of all we have accomplished during ten years at Shapeways and am excited about everything that I see on the horizon for the company.”

Albert Wenger, Shapeways director, had this to say about Weijmarshausen’s years of service, “I want to thank Pete for the decade he has spent building Shapeways. Pete has really pioneered consumer 3D printing and built Shapeways into the leading marketplace. He will continue to guide the future as a director of the company.”

For more on the story, see this article at

The Daily 3D Detail: Turn a smartphone into a portable health lab

Posted by Editor On August - 14 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Turn a smartphone into a portable health lab

3D-printed device can be made for $550

Turn a smartphone into a portable health lab

Spectral transmission-reflectance-intensity (TRI) analyzers are devices costing thousands of dollars. Their purpose is to provide a number of diagnostic health tests including, to name a few, detection of various proteins and antibodies in a blood sample, pre-term birth biomarkers in pregnant women, and evidence of PKU in newborns. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been able to provide, through the use of a 3D printer, a way of turning a smartphone into a TRI analyzer for the production cost of $550.

The brainchild of Brian Cunningham, a professor of bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering at UI, the newly devised device will not only be able to provide a low-cost alternative to expensive blood, urine, and saliva tests in developing countries, but may even bring efficiency to modern labs as the smartphone’s LED flash and camera is able to test multiple samples at once.

The announcement of the device first appeared in the scientific journal Lab on a Chip. An article detailing the report has appeared at the site In the report, developers are pointing out that their device may have broader applications in the field for the purpose of animal health applications, environmental monitoring, drug testing, food safety, and even manufacturing quality control.

Cunningham explains, “Our TRI Analyzer is like the Swiss Army knife of biosensing. It’s capable of performing the three most common types of tests in medical diagnostics, so in practice, thousands of already-developed tests could be adapted to it.”

For more details on the new device, see this article at

The Daily 3D Detail: Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

Posted by Editor On August - 13 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

‘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 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 and advocate active discussion on the practicality of 3D printing in all maritime use.

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D printing in space now on grand scale

Posted by Editor On August - 12 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: 3D printing in space now on grand scale

3D printing in space now on grand scale

The Made in Space team working on Archinaut

Made in Space, the NASA approved company responsible for printing tools aboard the International Space Station, has been able to prove printing in space is possible on a grand scale by 3D printing a beam structure 30 meters in length in a vacuum chamber under zero gravity.

The unprecedented achievement means NASA and other space programs can begin planning large-scale production in the unforgiving circumstances of the space environment. In fact, it is proving to be a simpler task than 3D printing under the conditions of the environment and gravity on Earth.

When printing in zero gravity, for instance, support structures are not needed to prevent the collapse of overhangs beyond the usual 45 degree angle commonly accounted for in normal 3D printing operations. Also, the vacuum conditions of space are ideal for the 3D printing of some metals, which would otherwise be an expensive operation.

The experiments were conducted by using a thermal vacuum chamber (TVAC) at NASA Ames Research Center’s Engineering Evaluation Laboratory (EEL). To accomplish the task, Made in Space created an Extended Structure Additive Manufacturing Machine (ESAMM) to simulate the conditions of space.

According to Andrew Rush, Made in Space President & CEO, “These successful demonstrations mean that on-demand, adaptable manufacturing of complex structures in space has been significantly derisked.”

More tests are ensuing as Made in Space develops their large scale in-space assembly module called Archinaut. For more information regarding this story, see the article published by

The Daily 3D Detail: Additive manufacturing and space agriculture

Posted by Franka Schoening On August - 12 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Additive manufacturing and space agriculture

As we all know, 3D printing has increasingly gained importance in space exploration due to its versatility and adaptability. To facilitate a permanently staffed space station by 2022, the Chinese have started exploring options to improve astronauts diet. Nutrition is crucial to functioning in a highly demanding environment like a space station.

Astronauts farming in micro-gravity environment

With the help of 3D printed plant boxes, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong cultivated lettuce in the micro-gravity environment. The 30-days spent on board were considered a huge success, and likely to inspire major agricultural opportunities for future long-term space exploration.

Growing lettuce in 3D printed flower boxes in space

Before anyone can taste the space-grown lettuce, bio-testing is necessary to ensure safety for human consumption. Bon Appetit, Chewbacca! Read more here at


The Daily 3D Detail: Rome uses WASP 3D printers for Opera House sets

Posted by Editor On August - 10 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Rome uses WASP 3D printers for Opera House sets

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

The Daily 3D Detail: Combining metamaterial design with multimaterials

Posted by Editor On August - 9 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Combining metamaterial design with multimaterials

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

Using 3D Printing to Create Industrial Quality Molds

Posted by Editor On August - 7 - 2017Comments Off on Using 3D Printing to Create Industrial Quality Molds

Using 3D Printing to Create Industrial Quality Molds

Superior strength and chemical property durability comes to desktop 3D printing

By Fred Kaplan

While the history of mold making goes back to the Bronze Age, injection molding was patented in 1872 by John Wesley Hyatt, four years after he patented the first celluloid plastic that was used as an ivory substitute in billiard balls. The injection molding market is expected to reach $162 billion dollars by 2020.

Among the disadvantage of additive manufacturing has been the high cost of proprietary materials. While the return on investment for open-source 3D-printing materials is better, it can’t compete with the return on investment of printing molds and casting urethanes or the wide variety of other materials.

3D printing could be a great way to create high quality molds faster, but 3D-printing high-quality molds require high-end 3D printers with specialized materials which made it impossible to get a reasonably return on investment until now.

Avante Technologies has introduced FilaOne gray injection molding filament for desktop printers. FilaOne is a proprietary, composite material formulated for high mechanical performance, resilience, water and chemical resistance, and is safe for easy printing on FDM 3D printers.

A true “engineering grade” material, FilaOne offers a unique combination of mechanical and chemical processing attributes. It provides a higher strength-to-weight ratio than other 3D printer materials attributed with an engineering grade reputation. FilaOne Gray is easier-to-print than polycarbonate, nylon, and ABS.

FilaOne key attributes include:
• Ultralight weight: 0.86 grams per cubic centimeter when printed with 100% solid infill.
• Flexural strength 48% higher than ABS.
• Resilient: FilaOne bends and recovers with minimal crazing.
• Hydrophobic: repels water, resists salt-water, and is not affected by humidity.
• Chemically resistant to acids, bases, solvents and selected gases.
For more on the specifics of its properties, see the Avante Technologies website for additional information.

Using 3D Printing to Create Industrial Quality Molds

FilaOne contains proprietary carbon nanotubes that reinforce the material like microscopic support rods to add strength and resilience to injection molds. To that extent, FilaOne has been tested on AirWolf, Roboze, and German RepRap 3D printers with notable results.

FilaOne prints at 225-230 degrees celsius but the print bed must be heated to 95C. It also requires high-torque stepper motors for feeding filament. For complete set of print settings see this report.

Fred Kaplan is a 3D-printing material specialist, who is currently working with UnionTech. He 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.