Jurong Bird Park Hornbill with cancer saved by 3D-printed prosthetic casque

via mothership

The approach consisted of performing a surgical resection of the casque and replacing it with a 3D prosthetic. It took almost two months of designing and discussion before a model was deemed a perfect fit for the hornbill.

To do so, the veterinary team engaged the help of Keio-NUS CUTE (Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments) Centre, NUS Smart Systems Institute, and NUS Centre for Additive Manufacturing to produce the prosthesis with 3D-printing.

The 3D models were then assessed by honorary consultant Dr Hsu Li Chieh from The Animal Clinic.

Part of the casque was removed with an oscillating saw and the affected tissue was cleared too.

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Comparing 3D Printed Parts to Parts Produced by High Pressure Die Casting

Additive manufacturing has, in many studies, been compared with traditional manufacturing techniques like, for example, injection molding. In a study entitled “The Use of Selective Laser Melting to Increase the Performance of AlSi9Cu3Fe Alloy,” a group of researchers compared parts made with 3D printing to parts made with die casting, using the same material.

Aluminum and its alloys have an excellent strength to weight ratio, and AlSi9CuFe is frequently used in the automotive industry because of its mechanical strength. It is easy to machine and is usually processed by high pressure die casting, but the method has its imperfections.

“High-pressure die casting (HPDC) enables high production volumes of parts showing high surface quality,” the researchers state. “Compared to gravity casting, even more complex shapes are possible to be produced, but still, the current demands for porous structures or very small dimensions are hardly attainable. Additionally, the HPDC process is limited by the formation of defects, such as oxide films, shrinkage cavities, air porosity, etc., which cannot be eliminated. Such defects then weaken the castings structurally and exclude them for use in the field of safety applications.”

Therefore, the researchers conducted a study in which SLM 3D printing and high pressure die casting were used to produce parts using the same alloy. They then compared the properties of the parts. Porosity was examined in the samples, and transmission electron microscopy was used to observe nanoscale microstructural features. Uniaxial tensile tests were conducted, as were compressive tests and hardness measurement. Fracture surfaces were studied using scanning electron microscopy.

TEM bright field images obtained in the area of (a) a melt pool boundary and (b) a melt pool interior.

“Compared to as-cast microstructure consisting of α-Al dendrites and lamellar Al-Si eutectics, SLM yields in hierarchically heterogeneous microstructure,” the researchers conclude. “Grains are arranged in melt pools representing material melted and solidified by single laser tracks in the direction of the highest temperature gradient. They exhibit very fine cellular substructure in which the cells of α-Al solid solution oversaturated in Si and Cu are separated by eutectic network formed by cubic particles of pure Si, here 30–70 nm in size.”

The 3D printed parts showed a very fine microstructure, and overall, the parts produced by additive manufacturing exhibited greater strength than those produced by die casting, as well as greater plasticity. This is notable because it shows that 3D printing can overcome the strength-ductility tradeoff that is present in so many metals and alloys. The researchers conclude that 3D printing can improve the performance of the alloy compared to high pressure die casting, as well as produce more complex and lightweight structures, opening up new applications.

Comparison between (a) as-cast (HPDC) and (b) SLM microstructures.

This study is another example of how 3D printing can improve upon traditional manufacturing techniques. 3D printing is often hailed for its ability to speed up production, save money, and produce more complex and lightweight components than traditional manufacturing, but the researchers’ study shows that the very microstructure of 3D printed materials can be superior to that of the same materials fabricated in a traditional way.

Authors of the paper include Michaela Fousova, Drahomir Dvorsky, Marek Vronka, Dalibor Vojtech and Pavel Lejcek.

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Solukon Launching Metal Print Post-processing Machine With Siemens

Solukon Maschinenbau GmbH is teaming up with Siemens to release the SFM-AT800S post-processing system. The machine will allow users to finish up their metal prints and clean up the powder residues the process incurs. The system also features the latest developments in smart powder removal technologies. Metal print post-processing systems can help mitigate some of the issues of […]

The post Solukon Launching Metal Print Post-processing Machine With Siemens appeared first on 3D Printing.

Georgia Tech and Beida 3D print engineering strength origami

A 3D printing research collaboration between Georgia Institute of Technology and China’s Peking University (Beida) has yielded transformable structures that can support up to 100 times their own weight. A continuation of previous studies demonstrating self-assembling tensegrity structures, the results of this research is a step forward for engineering applications of origami structures. Origami engineering principles As pointed […]

3D Systems releases ProJet MJP 2500 IC 3D printer for investment casting

3D Systems has released the ProJet MJP 2500 IC, a wax 3D printer for investment casting (IC). An ideal choice for customized metal parts, and low volume production, the system takes only a fraction of time and cost to produce 100% wax patterns, compared to traditional methods. Mike Stanicek, Vice President of Product Management at […]

Xjet Opens Additive Manufacturing Center Gives Details on Nanoparticle Jetting 3D Printing We Interview CEO Hanan Gothait

316L Stainless Steel part

A number of journalists and partners have been taken on a whirlwind tour of Israel by Xjet. The ceramics and metal printing company wanted to show us their homeland as well as their new Carmel 1400 AM System and the opening of their Additive Manufacturing Center was the occasion. We stay in Tel Aviv amidst gleaming towers, bustling sidewalk cafes, markets and an impossible number of young people zooming by on electric scooters. A passionate tour guide extols the virtues of the land and her people as our bus drives to Rehovot.

3D Printed Xjet Ceramics

The Carmel 1400 has a 500 by 140 by 200 mm build volume, 10 to 15 micron layer thickness and ways two and three-quarter tonnes. That’s almost two Toyotas. The printer is capable of printing zirconia parts with features of a 100 microns at 1 mm per hour build speed at a part density of 99.95%. The Zirconia Zr02 comes with a support material that let one have a high degree of geometric freedom with this technical ceramic. Part shrinkage is uniform in every direction and predictable. Another new material is Stainless Steel, 316L. Both support and build material are supplied in cartridges in a liquid suspension form.

316L Stainless Steel parts no post-processing apart from support removal and sintering.

Xjet’s technology NanoParticle Jetting has been designed as an inkjet-based technology to make parts at high volume and througput. The nanoparticle build material is then jetted with both support and build material to be jetted simultaneously. The liquid suspension that contains the nanoparticles then evaporates due to a heated chamber. Then parts are sintered, and support is removed. Support is soluble and is dissolved in a solvent bath.

Xjet’s Material Cartridges

Various 3D Printed Xjet Parts

The crowd at the speeches.

Xjet is a product of a number of industry veterans in inkjet, some of whom played pioneering roles in creating Objet Polyjet, the Stratasys inkjet technology. The team and the machine are impressive as well. Their ambition complements this with a sated claim to move into metals and ceramics printing for production. Ceramics 3D printing so far has been limited in build volume and throughput. You could print technical ceramics but could not make thousands of Zirconium parts per day.

This is precisely what companies want to do with the materials, however. Extremely high wear parts with extremely high-temperature and abrasion resistance are used widely in industry. Nozzles, high wear machinery surfaces, medical components, teeth, and other dental replacements are all candidates for Zirconium parts. As for stainless steel, that application area is much much broader, but that would have to be determined at a later date. The stainless materials would depend much more on the cost to be viable. There are also several metal printing technologies that could make them.

We are lead into a meeting room and listened to some presentations. Xjet founder Hanan Gothait told us to “enjoy the future of 3D metal and ceramics.” He was proud of the Xjet team completed the project on time and on budget. He also said that “Additive Manufacturing is moving from theory to real, ideas to products, prototypes to real parts.” He also mentioned that “the metal 3D printing, “market is boiling, and we are ready to deliver.” Next Professor Oded Shoseyov gave a presentation detailing his attempts to make a collagen replacement through getting tobacco plants to grow collagen using expressions of five human genes. He is also working on Nanocellulose as a biological additive with a wide array of applications in material science. Perry Davidson the CEO of SyQue an innovative metered dose marijuana and other botanicals inhaler then took us on a fascinating journey to see how their company used 3D printing. Mr. Andreas Berkau of engineering company Oerlikon then explained to us that “Xjet is a truly disruptive technology” and that the future of 3D printing is in “closed value chains” that have “systems beginning to end” and have “whole ecosystems for additive manufacturing.” Dror Danai Xjet’s Chief Business Officer then went on to also talk how important the Xjet team is while decrying the powder bed fusion systems. Dror believes that liquids can provide much better results than traditional powder bed systems. He mentions that powder bed fusion parts are typically limited to 50 micron parts while in the lab Xjet has printed 10 nanometer particles. He stated that the “Digital manufacturing dream vanishes” with post-processing. Manual post-processing slows part production and increases costs significantly. With Xjet’s easier post-processing using soluble support parts will be a fit for manufacturing.

Xjet CEO Hanan and Formnext VP Sacha Wenzler

We then as a group of over a hundred descend to wait before the Xjet Application center. Sacha Wenzler of Formnext opens it. Once open we can find operational Carmel 1400 Xjet systems. We are shown highly accurate and very smooth metal and ceramics parts as well as the support removal process. The machines look very complicated indeed. They hum and with a swoosh deposit every new layer from two mixing jars, one for support and one for build material. The machines are big beasts of things and dutifully lay down each layer in turn.

The Xjet Additive Manufacturing Center

Later on, we will go on to see where the Xjet systems are assembled. There whale carcasses lie of machines that will be made as well as nearly finished systems for Oerlikon, Carfulan and the University of Delaware. Larry Holmes of the University of Delaware poses for the machine his university will receive. Then we head off with dervish-like speed for a tour of Jerusalem. All in all, it was a lovely trip and an excellent chance to have a lot of in-depth contact with the Xjet team. The team are all very open and responded to in-depth technical questions with deep understanding.

3DPrint.com got the chance to interview Xjet CEO and founder Hanan Gothait. He told us that

“The significance of Xjet is that is is a new and innovative powderless nanoparticle inkjet technology which is safe, easy to use and gives you totally accurate parts with smooth surfaces. Everyone is using 50 micron layer thickness and we are using 7 micron layers which leads to better surface quality. In addition we have fine features that no one else can do. Support material is also a different material which can be removed by immersing the part in water. This dissolvable support means that you can make more complex geometries in metal. The big breakthrough is to make 3D printing for ceramics and metals safe and simple while making support easy to remove.”

He also stated that,

“The fine particles we use also create high-resolution parts while simplicity means that you don’t need to be a Ph.D. to operate the machine.” 

and that,

“Medical devices, dental, industrial companies, automotive and aerospace companies are already customers. We want to partner with customers and help them grow.”

Hanan has a multi-decade in 3D printing starting with his founding of Objet, now a Stratasys unit. Since then..

“In the Objet days no one spoke of manufacturing, the dream was to become a prototype supplier. Still today most of the market is prototyping but we are targeting production now and we see ourselves as one of the leaders.” 

This is a company steeped in inkjet and 3D printing. Compared to a lot of US-based startups this company has many people with ten of twenty years experience in 3D printing. Dozens more have decades of experience in inkjet. As we pass by the Intel Fab and large HP Indigo buildings where printers and inks are made we can see that near the Xjet assembly location there is a vast inkjet ecosystem. Sitting in the middle of this ecosystem, Xjet has access to a very deep and very experienced talent pool of people. Where a US based start usually throws a bunch of very bright kids at the problem, Xjet has dozens of employees who have seen this problem before and also has the bright kids as well. Especially the deep involvement with originating the Polyjet technology is a massive plus for the Xjet team. At one point Objet was nearly dead because an engineering team had not managed to turn a slick idea into a working machine and software combination. Resolute management steps and a re-engineering of the system brought the easiest to use and slickest software, materials and machine combo of the day. This kind of sophisticated engineering approach and the skills needed for it are vital to producing high-quality 3D printers. It is easy to make 3D printers and very difficult to make good 3D printers. By understanding the need to know how the complex interplay of software settings and materials interact to form the part high-quality machines can be crafted. It is not the highly detailed parts or the engineering in the machine that inspires confidence but rather the paths that the team has taken to get here. By focusing on ceramics and trying to create a highly productive solution to manufacture them Xjet has taken an interesting turn towards the future of 3D printing. A segway to metal parts could also deliver a lot of value to customers as could an investment in BMG’s or 3D printed circuits. For now, 3D printing ceramics at volume is a tremendous opportunity. If done well this is precisely the kind of technology and part that could widely expand the scope of the possible in 3D printing and Xjet may just be the company to make that happen.

Technical Possibilities for Making 3D Printed Engineering Components Based on Reused Polypropylene

Tested specimens for the three print directions.

From bacteria and metamaterials to shape-shifting and support-free, the innovative researchers at TU Delft have worked with a wide variety of 3D printing materials over the years. Now, their focus is shifting to polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer used in a variety of applications, though engineering is not typically among these.

TU Delft researchers Fred Veer, Foteini Setaki, and Ton Riemslag, together with P. Sakkas from The New Raw, have published a new paper, titled “The strength and ductility of glass fibre reinforced 3D-printed polypropylene,” that discusses the technical possibilities for making 3D printed engineering components based on reused polypropylene.

The abstract reads, “The possibility of using a mix of recycled polypropylene (PP) with new glass fibre reinforced polypropylene as a materials source for 3D printed engineering components is investigated. The strength and elongation to fracture are determined for various grades of material and in relation to the print direction. The measured values are compared with literature values for these materials in an as new condition. It is shown that the use of recycled PP degrades the material properties. PP recycled from house hold waste has significantly worse properties than PP recycled from industrial waste.”

Test setup: Zwick z10 universal testing machine with Test Expert 4.12 software.

A lot of primary material is used to create disposable molds out of virgin plastic for construction purposes, which is not great news from an environmental standpoint. It’s far more practical to use recycled plastics as raw materials, and research has been conducted in the past regarding the use of recycled high density polyethylene. But PP has better mechanical properties, and has the correct thermal properties for 3D printing.

Unfortunately, recycled PP is far less strong than unused PP. In order to achieve the desired properties, recycled PP is often mixed with the virgin material and fibers.

“For this research different mixtures of recycled, re-recycled and virgin polypropylene with short glass fibres were tested to look at the various factors influencing the overall properties,” the team wrote. “This research focussed on the failure strength and strain of the material as these are good indicators for materials performance and are also suitable to compare the different mixtures.”

The researchers blended mixtures of recycled, re-recycled and virgin PP with short glass fibers, then inserted the material into a heated extruder with four chambers to be 3D printed into sheets. The sheets were then laser cut into dog bone-shaped specimens and tested using a Zwick z10 universal testing machine.

“For mixtures 1 and 2 the properties were determined in the print direction, 0°, at 45° to the print direction and at 90° to the print direction,” the researchers explained. “Mixtures 3, 4 and 5 were only tested in the 0° direction in order to allow comparison between the mixtures.”

The results show clearly that the predictability of the strength of a material mixture was degraded by the use of recycling, unfortunately. In addition, it’s implied that the print direction has to be taken into account in any design, and that the structure must be modeled using direction dependent properties. Because we’re dealing with composite materials, the researchers explained that “the engineering effort will be much greater than with conventional materials.”

Test specimen; dimensions are in mm.

Another important factor to take into account is the quality of the recycled material: the average of mixture 1’s strength was only about 85% of the average strength of the virgin 10% glass fiber-filled PP homo polymer. There’s also a major decrease in properties – a 35% loss of strength – when a print was recycled. Properties were also significantly degraded when household waste was used as a recycled PP source, as opposed to industrial waste.

“Adding more glass fibres and using less recycled polypropylene gives a mixture that more clearly approaches that of virgin material. An eco-friendly design using large amounts of recycled material will thus always have significantly decreased properties, leading to the use of more material,” the researchers concluded. “In itself this does not have to be a problem, using a larger amount of waste material also means less waste to burn. It is, however, also clear that reusing the material more than once leads to more significant loss of properties as is evident from the loss of properties of mixtures 3 and 4 compared with mixtures 1 and 2. Using recycled polypropylene for products with a short service life is thus counterproductive as it produces unusable waste which can only be burned, as it will not biologically degrade in a land fill. It is thus important to use recycled polypropylene in such a way that a sufficiently long life time is achieved with a clear route for final disposal at the end.”

The team also stated that there appeared to be no clear relation between strain at fracture and failure stress, and determined that properties at 45° or 90° to the print direction are much lower than in the print direction.

Discuss this research and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

3D Printed Metallic Glass Demonstrates Benefits of Both Metal and Thermoplastics

A team of researchers led by Jan Schroers, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale, has developed a way to 3D print objects from metallic glass. The material is stronger than metal yet has the pliability of plastic, which makes it extremely valuable. The research is published in a paper entitled “3D printing metals like thermoplastics: Fused filament fabrication of metallic glasses.

Extrusion-based 3D printing of metals is still a challenge, but bulk metallic glasses, or BMGs, can undergo continuous softening upon heating, like thermoplastics can. The research team, which also included researchers from Desktop Metal as well as MIT, demonstrated that BMGs can be used to create solid, strong metal components under ambient conditions similar to those in thermoplastic 3D printing.

“It was even surprising to us how practical this process is once we had the processing conditions figured out,” Schroers said.

Metal 3D printing, while gradually becoming more accessible and affordable, is still quite costly, and powder-based 3D printing is prone to flaws and imperfections, which make it even more expensive. The BMG research could save a lot of money and resources for manufacturers, and also eliminate the need to choose between the benefits of thermoplastics and metals.

The researchers worked with a well-characterized and readily available BMG material made from zirconium, titanium, copper, nickel and beryllium. They used amorphous rods one millimeter in diameter and 700 millimeters in length. They used an extrusion temperature of 460°C and an extrusion force of 10 to 1000 Newtons to force the softened fibers through a 0.5 diameter nozzle. A surprise came when they characterized the 3D printed parts.

“We expected high strength in the parallel-to-the-printing orientation, but were very surprised by the strength in the perpendicular orientation,” said Jittisa Ketkaew, a co-author and graduate student in the Schroers lab.

In theory, a wider range of BMGs can also be 3D printed using the researchers’ method.

“We have shown theoretically in this work that we can use a range of other bulk metallic glasses and are working on making the process more practical and commercially usable to make 3D printing of metals as easy and practical as the 3D printing of thermoplastics,” said Schroers.

There is potential for this method to be used in numerous applications, said Punnathat Bordeenithikasem, a co-author and recent Yale graduate who is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.

“Beyond prototyping, the achievable properties of the printed parts accompanied by the versatility in part design makes this 3D printing technology suitable for fabricating high-performance components for medical, aerospace, and spacecraft applications,” said Bordeenithikasem.

Authors of the paper include Michael A. Gibson, Nicholas M. Mykulowycz, Joseph Shim, Richard Fontana, Peter Schmitt, Andrew Roberts, Jittisa Ketkaew, Ling Shao, Wen Chen, Punnathat Bordeenithikasem, Jonah S. Myerberg, Ric Fulop, Matthew D. Verminksi, Emanuel M. Sachs, Yet-Ming Chiang, Christopher A. Schuh, A. John Hart, and Jan Schroers.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Source/Images: Yale]

Chloe Rutzerveld Reflects on Four Years of Mini 3D Printed Vegetable Garden Edible Growth

Imagine not only holding a tiny ecosystem in your hand, but then eating it, in just a bite or two. That’s the concept behind Edible Growth, a 3D printed “mini vegetable garden” created by Eindhoven-based designer Chloé Rutzerveld. Rutzerveld designed the idea back in 2014, and since then, Edible Growth has grown in popularity, having been displayed in North America, Asia and Europe. Currently, the design is being showcased in Brazil’s Museum of Tomorrow, and is also featured in Rutzerveld’s new book, which was published last week.

Chloé Rutzerveld [Image: Paul Bellaart]

Edible Growth consists of a spherical 3D printed crust with several holes in it. Inside is “edible soil” filled with yeast, seeds and spores that, within days, grow into plants and mushrooms that poke through the holes in the crust, becoming a bite-sized garden that is both adorable and nutritious.

One issue with 3D printing things like fruit and vegetables is that processing them into printable paste causes a significant loss of nutrients. By growing plants inside a 3D printed case, Rutzerveld allows them to keep their original form and all of their nutritional value, while employing 3D printing to create something new and exciting. Four years after introducing the concept for the first time, Rutzerveld reflected upon the fame of Edible Growth.

“Edible Growth was my graduation project at the TU/e  in 2014,” she told the Dutch Institute of Food and Design. “It is a critical project about the use of additive manufacturing techniques which proposes to use the technology as a means to enhance natural growth instead of using the printer merely as a form-machine to create crazy shapes of chocolate, sugar and pasta. I think it went viral because it was the right time to show a skeptical and different view on 3D food printing. Also the picture of my roommate eating the prototype and a very realistic stop motion of how it grows, made people think that Edible Growth was not a prototype / future food concept but that we could already print edible ecosystems.

“Now, 4 years after the launch of the project the TEDx presentation (Calgary 2015) has over 52.000 views and at least once every two weeks I get an email concerning a question, invitation or proposal related to Edible Growth. Crazy! When I just started my studio in 2014 I didn’t want to be known as the 3D food printing girl – I thought it was very limiting but it also created a lot of pressure to come up with something new, which was as good or even better. But after a while I embraced it, because who cares how people find you. It matters that they find me somehow and are interested in the way of thinking to start something new, together.”

Edible Growth shows not only how food can be creatively 3D printed, but how it can be eaten while still growing, and how food can be grown inside the home to lessen the demand for huge agricultural tracts of land.

Rutzerveld’s other works include a plant-based stroopwafel and an experimental meat cookbook. She may not have wanted to be known as the “3D food printing girl,” but Edible Growth has opened up plenty of doors for her to explore the way food is prepared, eaten, and considered. Her book, Food Futures, will be available worldwide beginning in early 2019.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

Lufthansa Technik opens Additive Manufacturing Center to develop lightweight 3D printed aerospace parts

Lufthansa Technik, the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) division of aerospace company Lufthansa, has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center in Germany to develop lightweight aircraft parts. “The new AM Center will serve as a collaborative hub where the experience and skills that Lufthansa Technik has gained in additive manufacturing can be bundled and further […]