The Next Industrial Revolution - 3D Printing

The 3D printing field is expected to grow more than 14% annually to become an $8.4 billion industry by 2020

Printed Perforated Lampshades for Continuous Projective Images

From Haisen Zhao, Lin Lu, Yuan Wei, Dani Lischinski, Andrei Sharf, Daniel Cohen-Or, Baoquan Chen: We present a technique for designing 3D-printed perforated lampshades, which project continuous grayscale images onto the surrounding walls. Given the geometry of the lampshade and a target grayscale image, our method computes a distribution of tiny holes over the shell, such that the combined footprints of the light emanating through the holes form the target image on a nearby diffuse surface. Our objective is to approximate the continuous tones and the spatial detail of the target image, to the extent possible within the constraints of the fabrication process.  To ensure structural integrity, there are lower bounds on the thickness of the shell, the radii of the holes, and the minimal distances between adjacent holes. Thus, the holes are realized as thin tubes distributed over the lampshade surface. The amount of light passing through a single tube may be controlled by the tube's radius and by its direction (tilt angle). The core of our technique thus consists of determining a suitable configuration of the tubes: their distribution across the relevant portion of the lampshade, as well as the parameters (radius, tilt angle) of each tube. This is achieved by computing a capacity-constrained Voronoi tessellation over a suitably defined density function, and embedding a tube inside the maximal inscribed circle of each tessellation cell. The density function for a particular target image is derived from a series of simulated images, each corresponding to a different uniform density tube pattern on the lampshade... (full paper)

MIT Food Computers

From MIT:   The Food Computer is a controlled-environment agriculture technology platform that uses robotic systems to control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth inside of a specialized growing chamber. Climate variables such as carbon dioxide, air temperature, humidity, dissolved oxygen, potential hydrogen, electrical conductivity, and root-zone temperature are among the many conditions that can be controlled and monitored within the growing chamber. Operational energy, water, and mineral consumption are monitored (and adjusted) through electrical meters, flow sensors, and controllable chemical dosers throughout the growth period. Each specific set of conditions can be thought of as a climate recipe, and each recipe produces unique results in the phenotypes of the plants. Plants grown under different conditions may vary in color, size, texture growth rate, yield, flavor, and nutrient density. Food Computers can even program biotic and abiotic stresses, such as an induced drought, to create desired plant-based expressions... (project homepage)

The Additive Manufactured Excavator Design Competition

The additive excavator cab design competition had very few limitations on the cab design and essentially encouraged students to showcase our skills and ideas. We could create something totally unique, aesthetically pleasing, yet functional to showcase the capabilities of additive manufacturing

Computational Hydrographic Printing

From Yizhong Zhang, Chunji Yin, Changxi Zheng, Kun Zhou's paper:   Hydrographic printing is a well-known technique in industry for transferring color inks on a thin film to the surface of a manufactured 3D object. It enables high-quality coloring of object surfaces and works with a wide range of materials, but suffers from the inability to accurately register color texture to complex surface geometries. Thus, it is hardly usable by ordinary users with customized shapes and textures. We present computational hydrographic printing, a new method that inherits the versatility of traditional hydrographic printing, while also enabling precise alignment of surface textures to possibly complex 3D surfaces. In particular, we propose the first computational model for simulating hydrographic printing process. This simulation enables us to compute a color image to feed into our hydrographic system for precise texture registration. We then build a physical hydrographic system upon off-the-shelf hardware, integrating virtual simulation, object calibration and controlled immersion. To overcome the difficulty of handling complex surfaces, we further extend our method to enable multiple immersions, each with a different object orientation, so the combined colors of individual immersions form a desired texture on the object surface. We validate the accuracy of our computational model through physical experiments, and demonstrate the efficacy and robustness of our system using a variety of objects with complex surface textures...  (full paper)

Direct Marking for FDA UDI Compliance

Understanding Permanent Marks and Methods for UDI Marking and Verification

The Advantages Of Using 3D Printing For Creating Your First Product Prototype

Why is accessible 3D printing so beneficial for first-time entrepreneurs? Read on for some answers.

New dual-step method provides 3D printing of conductive metals.

Shalini Saxena for ArsTechnica:  Customizable, wearable electronics open the door to things like heart-monitoring t-shirts and health-tracking bracelets. But placing the needed wiring in a complex 3D architecture has been hard to do cheaply. Existing approaches are limited by material requirements and, in the case of 3D writing, slow printing speeds. Recently, a research team at Harvard University developed a new method to rapidly 3D print free-standing, highly conductive, ductile metallic wires. The new method combines 3D printing with focused infrared lasers that quickly anneal the printed nanoparticles into the desired architecture. The result is a wire with an electrical conductivity that approaches that of bulk silver.   Cont'd...

How Custom Warehouse Labels Increase Efficiency

With the right warehouse labeling strategy, a facility manager can greatly improve operations and increase efficiencies at every level.

A Soft Control Architecture: Breakthrough in Hard Real-Time Design for Complex Systems

In the relentlessly changing world of technology, several important advances and trends have emerged that allow OEMs to transition to a soft control architecture that will not only move them away from dependence on FPGAs and DSPs, but also change the basis of competition in the equipment and machine tool industries.

Inside the Gigafactory That Will Decide Tesla's Fate

From Bloomberg: To get to Tesla’s Gigafactory, you drive east from Reno, Nevada, turn into a sprawling industrial center, and make a left on Electric Avenue. The high desert landscape dwarfs everything, even the vast white building with the red stripe along the top. As you reach the gate with the security guard, the breadth of Tesla’s ambitions becomes clear. Even the name itself suggests more to come: Gigafactory 1... ...The $5 billion Gigafactory was born of necessity. Tesla needs a hell of a lot of batteries, for both the forthcoming mass-market Model 3 sedan and the Tesla Energy product line. The timeline for getting those batteries made just became much shorter, too. On Wednesday, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk stunned investors by announcing a sped-up production schedule that calls for a half-million electric vehicles per year by 2018, not the previously stated goal of 2020. For a company that delivered just 50,658 vehicles in 2015, the ramp looks like a hockey stick... (full story)

The MakerBot Obituary

From Brian Benchoff at Hackaday:   MakerBot is not dead, but it is connected to life support waiting for a merciful soul to pull the plug.  This week, MakerBot announced it would lay off its entire manufacturing force, outsourcing the manufacturing of all MakerBot printers to China. A few weeks ago, Stratasys, MakerBot’s parent company, released their 2015 financial reports, noting MakerBot sales revenues have fallen precipitously. The MakerBot brand is now worth far less than the $400 Million Stratasys spent to acquire it. MakerBot is a dead company walking, and it is very doubtful MakerBot will ever be held in the same regard as the heady days of 2010. How did this happen? The most common explanation of MakerBot’s fall from grace is that Stratasys gutted the engineering and goodwill of the company after acquiring it. While it is true MakerBot saw its biggest problems after the acquisition from Stratasys, the problems started much earlier... (full article) (fist hand account from Isaac Anderson)

Disney files patent for near instantaneous 3D printing

Lucas Mearian for ComputerWorld:  Disney Research has filed a patent for a 3D printing technology that uses high-intensity light to harden photo-sensitive resin in a single process, removing the need for layer-by-layer printing. The patent describes a machine for printing in "a nearly instantaneous manner." "Presently, 3D printing is extremely slow and time consuming. For example, it may take several hours to print a single 3D object even if the 3D object is relatively small (e.g., several inches in diameter and four to 12 inches tall)," Disney stated in its patent filing. "The 3D printing process that uses conventional 3D printers ... is limited in its speed by the speed of the mechanism moving the print head to each new position on a print layer."   Cont'd...

A Swarm Of 3D Printing Spiders Could Build Your Next Home

IDO LECHNER for PSFK:  Watching an object being 3D-printed is a spectacle to behold; the speed at which intricate geometries unfold before your eyes is enough for anyone to reckon that this is the future of manufacturing. While both consumer-grade models and more advanced versions are capable of whipping up objects made from different materials, each with their own aesthetic and subsequent properties, the scale of what can be fabricated is entirely based on the size of the printer at use. For this reason, a research team based out of Siemens’ Corporate Technology’s Princeton campus has developed mobile 3D printers in the shape of spiders, which are both autonomous and capable of working in sync to expedite the printing process. PSFK spoke with Siemens’ Director of R&D of Engineering Livio Dalloro on why the team decided to shape their printers like spiders, the implications such a technique might have on the industry, and how Siemens sees the device unfolding in the foreseeable future.   Cont'd...

Low Volume Production Using 3D Printing

If you are new to the 3D printing industry, dont rush to buy the least expensive printer. Some of these might be too simple for your manufacturing requirements and lack some important features like print bed auto-calibration or Wi-Fi connectivity.

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