3D Printing: Should You Go Open Source?

Michael Molitch-Hou for Engineering.com:  Although it’s possible that patents have existed since the time of the Ancient Greeks, the Venetian Patent Statute is more widely recognized as the first official patent system. Established in 1474, the statute declared that 10-year patents could be granted to "any new and ingenious device, not previously made.”

Along with all of society’s rules and mores, patent law and intellectual property (IP) have changed over time. We are now living in the post-Internet era, in which ideas and files are exchanged all around the world on a regular basis. It is now possible to download Phil Collins’ entire discography, whether it’s legal or not. It’s also possible to download 3D printable guns, legal or not.  Full article:

Race For 3D Printing Capacity Could Revive M&A

Harry Brumpton for Forbes:  It’s an industrial breakthrough destined to transform manufacturing, from the production of entire space shuttle rockets right down to dental implants. It’s only a matter of time before the technology will make it to homes too, experts say, giving you access to on-demand, customizable basketball shoes, toys, housewares and more.

3D printing builds solid objects of almost any design by zapping out tiny melded layers of plastic, metal or whatever else, much like a drip in freezing weather incrementally forms an icicle. This simplifies the complex assembly of heavy objects and intricate designs, in essence reinventing the traditional economics of production.

One darling stock of the 3D printing world is 3D Systems, which has posted a whopping return since the start of the new year of 27.54%. But its three-year record is even more eye popping:

Minus 77%.  Cont'd...

This 3D-Printer Uses Holograms for Super-Fast Printing

Patrick Lynch for Arch Daily:  One established 3D-printing technique is using laser to cure light-activated plastic, building up layers one at a time in a time-consuming process. But now tech start-up Daqri has discovered a way of speeding up that process: by using a 3-dimensional hologram.  The printer works by projecting a 3D light field into a dish of the light sensitive monomer “goo.” The plastic quickly hardens, allowing it to be extracted using a screen. The whole process takes just 5 seconds, compared to the several minutes than would be required by an ordinary 3D printer.

In addition to its increased speed, the printer also creates monocoque objects that don’t suffer from the weaknesses found in the “grain” between layers of 3-D objects. The process would also eliminate the need for supporting structures currently required to create some 3D objects.  Cont'd...

MakerBot is laying off a third of its staff, narrowing focus under Stratasys

Shawn Knight for TechSpot:  3D printing ordinary household goods may be able to save users a bit of coin but consumers aren’t buying it – literally – and that’s forcing one company to downsize its workforce.

In what is becoming a common occurrence, MakerBot recently announced additional restructuring that’ll see the company shed 30 percent of its staff.

CEO Nadav Goshen said greater focus on long-term goals is key to their success and to get there, they must reduce the “pressure and distraction” of chasing short-term market trends and focus on their core products.

The executive didn’t say which divisions would be hit hardest, nor do we know exactly how many employees are being let go although TechCrunch estimates the figure is probably between 80 and 100.

Specifically, MakerBot will be integrating hardware and software product development under one team that’ll be led by VP of Engineering Dave Veisz. Current Director of Digital Products, Lucas Levin, is also being promoted to VP of Product, we’re told, and will lead product management across hardware and software.  Cont'd...

Beyond the Hype: What's Next for Industrial 3D Printing

Vicki Holt of Proto Labs via The Huffington Post:  It wasn’t long ago that 3D printing was one of the buzziest technologies around.  We watched as a 3D printer recreated a bust of Stephen Colbert on TV. We heard from industry analysts who were bullish on adoption of the technology. We imagined a future with a 3D printer in every home when major retailers began selling them online and in stores.

Fast forward to today. The potential of 3D printing remains enormous. Global spend on the technology is expected to climb from $11 billion in 2015 to nearly $27 billion in 2019. But with all of the early excitement now behind us, where does 3D printing stand today? And where will it go in the future?  It can be summed up in three key developments.  Cont'd... 

Oerlikon expands additive manufacturing R&D and production capacity in the US

Oerlikon announced today that it is expanding its global additive manufacturing (AM) business with a state-of-the-art R&D and production facility for additively manufactured advanced components in the Charlotte metro area in North Carolina, USA. Oerlikon will invest around CHF55million in this facility in 2017 and 2018, and expects to create over 100 new jobs at this site over the longer term. 
As part of Oerlikon's strategy to become a global powerhouse in surface solutions and advanced materials, the Group has identified additional growth areas such as additive manufacturing, which leverages its strong materials heritage, service reputation, access to markets, applications across industries and core competence in intelligently engineering and processing advanced materials and surface technologies.   Full Press Release:  
 

Stratasys launches new rapid prototyping Engineering-Grade 3D Printing Solution: The F123 Series

"Today there is a vast market opportunity in product prototyping that we feel is not being addressed by current 3D printing systems. The launch of the Stratasys F123 Series targets these product design workgroups, industrial designers, engineers, students and educators who demand a professional quality rapid prototyping solution that's simple to use, produces reliable, engineering-quality results, integrates perfectly within an office or lab setting, and is affordable to own and operate," said Zehavit Reisin, Vice President, Head of Rapid Prototyping Solutions, Stratasys. "As the company that invented FDM, Stratasys brings a rich pedigree to the F123 Series, providing our customers an optimal balance between usability and high performance." Full Press Release.

Google Ventures, BMW, Lowe's Invest in Desktop Metal

Desktop Metal, an emerging startup with the mission to bring metal 3D printing to all design and manufacturing teams, announced today it has raised a total of $97 million in equity funding since its founding in October 2015. The announcement comes as the result of the latest Series C investment of $45 million, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), as well as BMW i Ventures and Lowe's Ventures. Desktop Metal will use the funding to continue to develop its technology and scale production as the company prepares for its product launch later this year. 
Driven by invention, Desktop Metal is committed to accelerating the adoption of metal 3D printing in design and manufacturing through the creation of innovative technology that produces complex parts. Previous investors include NEA, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lux Capital, GE Ventures, Saudi Aramco, and 3D printing leader Stratasys.   Full Press Release.

MIT Builds Invisible Fish Grabbing Robot

Matthew Humphries for PCMag:  Catching a fish can be tough, even if you are just trying to net a goldfish in a small tank. That's because the fish spots the danger and makes a swim for it. But what if you didn't need a net because you're controlling an invisible grabbing robot?

That's what Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT succeeded in creating, but its applications go way beyond catching and releasing fish unharmed.

The robot is constructed of a transparent hydrogel, which is strong and durable but mostly made of water. As the video below explains, each arm of the robot is constructed from 3D-printed hollow cubes of hydrogel, which are then linked together. By injecting water using a syringe it's possible to make the arms curl and uncurl quickly in a grabbing motion.  Cont'd...

The 9 unit Winbo 3D printer is an all-in-one micro factory

Beau Jackson for 3D Printing Industry:  Winbo smart manufacturing company is determined to provide a 3D printer for everyone’s needs, and with the Vertical 9 units 3D Printer, the Chinese company may have an all-in-one answer for small businesses.

FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) with the power of 9 units gets the job done faster, but without compromises to quality. Each unit is loaded separately and managed individually so 3D prints can be timed perfectly without interfering with each other.

Such integrated productivity is ideal for businesses who need to perform rapid prototyping or, for example, in a 3D printing bureau with a stack of orders to produce. It could even be installed within a specially made makerspace in schools or colleges to keep on top of student demand for 3D printed projects.   Cont'd...

Adidas reveals plans for 3D printing 'Speedfactory'

Corey Clarke for 3DPrintingIndustry:  Adidas is moving closer to a 3D printing shoe manufacturing revolution. As previously reported the sports shoe manufacturer used 3D printing to produce the Ultraboost Parley and 3D Runner releases in 2016. This year, Adidas are keen to up the tempo with their Speedfactory concept.

Industrial factories where 3D printing and robotics manufacture sneakers on-demand are at the core of the plan. Manufacturing will also become localized, eliminating costs associated with logistics and supply chains. Large-scale production at German Speedfactory in Ansbach is set for mid-2017, with Adidas expecting to create 500,000 shoes a year in the future. While in the U.S, Adidas has announced plans to create a Speedfactory in Atlanta in late-2017.  Cont'd...

ASU site of largest academic additive manufacturing center in the southwest US

Gail Overton for LaserFocusWorld:  By forming a partnership with Concept Laser (Grapevine, TX), Honeywell Aerospace (Phoenix, AZ), and Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT; Tempe, AZ), the largest additive manufacturing (AM) research facility in the Southwest is now on the Polytechnic campus of the Polytechnic School at Arizona State University (ASU; Tempe, AZ). The 15,000 square foot center holds over $2 million of plastic, polymer, and 3D metal printing equipment and the Polytechnic School at ASU offers the only manufacturing engineering undergraduate degree in Arizona and is one of only 22 ABET accredited manufacturing engineering programs in the United States.

The lab has a Concept Laser M2 cusing and Mlab cusing machine which are dedicated to 3D metal printing, also known as metal AM. Unlike conventional metal fabrication techniques, AM produces fully dense metal parts by melting layer upon layer of ultrafine metal powder. The Polytechnic School is using the machines for a wide range of research and development activities including materials development and prototyping complex mechanical and energy systems.  Cont'd...

The 3D Printers of CES

Brian Benchoff for HACKADAY:  CES is over, and now we can take a step back, distance ourselves from the trade show booths, and figure out where 3D printing will be going over the next year.

The Hype Cycle is a great way to explain trends in fads and technological advances. VR and autonomous cars are very early on the Hype Cycle right now. Smartphones are on the plateau of productivity. 3D printing is head-down in the trough of disillusionment.

For this year’s CES, 3D printing is not even a product category. In fact, the official documentation I found at Prusa’s booth listed their company in the ‘Assistive Technologies’ category. These are dark days for the public perception of 3D printing. 

The perception of 3D printing has been tied inexorably to Makerbot. Makerbot presented the only 3D printer on The Colbert Report. Only Makerbot had their 3D printing storefronts featured on CNN. It’s been like this for half a decade, and hopefully things will get better.  Cont'd...

3D graphene: MIT scientists develop super-light, super-strong structure

Weston Williams for The Christian Science Monitor:  Many scientists consider graphene to be one of the most potentially useful materials ever created. The atom-thick chain of carbon atoms are strong, light, and promise many applications, from energy storage to pollution removal to waterproof coating.

While graphene has been studied since the 1940s, scientists have had considerable trouble constructing it into a structurally useful form on a three-dimensional level. But now, scientists at MIT have figured out how to build up graphene into useful, 3-D shapes with the potential to be lighter and stronger than steel.

The new research marks an important step forward for the material. The hexagonal structure is essentially an "unrolled" carbon nanotube only an atom thick, usually only functional on a two-dimensional level. Despite this limitation, graphene is more than 100 times stronger than steel, and converting that two-dimensional strength into a structure usable for three-dimensional building materials has for years been something of a holy grail for graphene researchers. And now, scientists may be one step closer to that conversion.  Cont'd...

CES 2017 - MarkForged 3D prints metal

From CES 2017: From the company that revolutionized 3D printing with composite carbon fiber, comes a breakthrough in metal. The Metal X greatly accelerates innovation, delivering metal parts overnight using a new technology at a fraction of the cost. Leave 20th century manufacturing in the dust and create anything from industrial replacement parts to injection molds to working prototypes.

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