LLNL researchers use X-ray imaging to mitigate defects in metal 3D printed parts

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) and Ames Laboratory are researching X-ray imaging to examine metal parts during the laser powder bed fusion process. The research paper is part of a partnership between the laboratories to identify the causes of defects in metal 3D printed parts and understand how those flaws […]

VELO3D partners with Boom Supersonic to develop XB-1 Mach-speed aircraft

Californian metal additive manufacturing technology company VELO3D has announced a partnership with Boom Supersonic, a Colorado-based aerospace company, to 3D print flight hardware for the XB-1 aircraft. As the first independently-developed supersonic jet traveling at Mach 2.2 (1687mph), the XB-1 comprises of over 3,700 parts including custom composite structure, tricycle landing gear, flight control actuators, […]

Boom Supersonic Working with VELO3D to Make Metal 3D Printed Hardware for Supersonic Flight Demonstrator

Metal 3D printing startup VELO3D came out of stealth mode last year with its innovative, support-free laser powder bed fusion process that offers a lot more design freedom than most metal systems. Since the company commercialized in 2018, it’s made known that aerospace manufacturing is one of its largest target markets, and since that time at least two OEMs in that industry are using its Sapphire 3D printing systems to make parts. Now, it has just announced a partnership with Colorado-based Boom Supersonic – the company working to build the fastest supersonic airliner in history.

“Boom is reimagining the entire commercial aircraft experience, from the design, build, and materials used. Our technology is designed to help innovators like Boom rethink what’s possible, empower advanced designs with little or no post-processing, and enable an entirely new approach to production,” said VELO3D’s CEO Benny Buller. “Boom needed more than just prototypes and we’re thrilled to help them create the first 3D-printed metal parts for an aircraft that will move faster than the speed of sound.”

Boom, founded in 2014 and backed by several investors, employs over 130 people to help realize its vision: use supersonic travel to make the world significantly more accessible to the people who live in it. The company wants to bring businesses, families, and cultures closer together, and has recognized that 3D printing will help speed up the process. Recently, Boom renewed its existing partnership with Stratasys in order to create 3D printed parts for its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft, which is exactly what VELO3D will be doing as well.

“High-speed air travel relies on technology that is proven to be safe, reliable, and efficient, and by partnering with VELO3D we’re aligning ourselves with a leader in additive manufacturing that will print the flight hardware for XB-1. VELO3D helped us understand the capabilities and limitations of metal additive manufacturing and the positive impact it would potentially have on our supersonic aircraft,” said Mike Jagemann, the Head of XB-1 Production for Boom Supersonic. “We look forward to sharing details about the aircraft development and improved system performance once XB-1 takes flight.”

The 55-seat, Mach-2.2 (1,687 mph) aircraft is the first supersonic jet to be independently developed, and is made up of over 3,700 parts, combined with multiple advanced technologies, such as a refined delta wing platform, an efficient variable-geometry propulsion system, and advanced carbon fiber composites. Because the demonstrator aircraft – a validation platform called the “Baby Boom” – has such demanding precision, performance, and functional requirements in order to reliably provide safe and efficient travel, Boom is using VELO3D’s Intelligent Fusion technology to make the metal flight hardware for the jet, as it offers more design freedom, process control, and quality assurance; these qualities are essential in challenging design environments.

Boom is also working with VELO3D in order to leverage its customer support partnership, market expertise, and ability to guarantee consistent production quality. The supersonic flight company hopes that by utilizing metal 3D printing, it will be able to improve system performance and speed up the development of its XB-1 – which should eventually fly at twice the speed of sound – and any future aircraft as well.


The two companies have already conducted validation trials together, which were successful in their accurate performance and achieving the desired results. VELO3D developed two 3D printed titanium flight hardware parts, which will be part of the ECS system and make sure that the supersonic aircraft is able to conduct safe flights in any conditions; these parts will be installed on the prototype aircraft early next year.

In addition, the company also 3D printed some engine “mice” for Boom, which were used to validate the additive process.

Engine “mice” as 3D printed on the VELO3D Sapphire system

“The mice allow for high engine operating line testing, ensuring we can achieve safe flight at all conditions,” Ryan Bocook, a manufacturing engineer at Boom Supersonic, said in a VELO3D blog post.

“The 3D printed mice helped Boom execute the test plan and validate predictions, and furthers the success of the program.”

These mice helped to facilitate testing, which included flow distortion simulation at the inlet, by decreasing the nozzle area in order to help simulate stall conditions while the engine is running from part power to mil power.

Not only did Boom Supersonic receive 3D printed flight hardware out of its partnership with VELO3D, but the company’s engineers also had the chance to familiarize themselves with the limitations and capabilities of 3D printing in terms of supersonic aircraft.

Discuss this story, and other 3D printing topics, at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Source/Images: VELO3D]

Marco Valenzuela of Additive Design Studio Makes an Innovative 3D Printed Pipette

Marco Valenzuela is a designer who specializes in crafting innovative and new 3D printed products. Originally coming from the gaming world, his Additive Design Studio now is focused on using Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing exclusively in product design. The team works with Design for Additive Manufacturing methods and also works with services to deliver parts to customers in FDM, SLA, Polyjet, MFJ, and metals. Valenzuela made a pipette for a customer and this new design for a tried and true lab stalwart really interested us. We really believe that a wave of innovation will come to medical devices, medical supplies and even things like disposables through 3D Printing the right solution in medicine, and spoke with Valenzuela about his creation.
Why did you print it? 
The dual pipette was designed and 3D printed to fulfill specific needs in the fluid piping process. These needs were previously met. However the process was time consuming. The combining of the two pipettes into one provides for a speedy and more efficient workflow when processing large amounts of medicine.
The need was for two different functions:
1.The ability to suction a single fluid mixture into separate reservoirs for individual ejection into separate containers.
2.The ability to suction two different fluid mixtures separately and eject them into a single container together.
How does it work?
The dual pipette utilizes the same principles of pulsion and suction as a common syringe. The plungers are pulled up to create a vacuum and draw fluid up the spout and pressed down to eject fluid from the spout. The 3D printed plungers are fitted with normal rubber plunger tips to ensure an air-tight seal.
What is different about it?
The pipette is a 3d printable, simplistic design. The primary difference is the ability to 3D print this pipette quickly.  This means that we’re producing copies without the need for large-scale manufacturing. Reducing production time and availability to technicians by weeks.
What materials and processes were used to print it?
A variety of materials have been experimented with. The most suitable 3D printed material for the device will be EnvisionTEC’s E-Shell 200. A liquid photopolymer designed for DLP 3D printers that produces strong, tough, water-resistant ABS like parts with high detail that are Class IIa biocompatible according to ISO 10993/Medical Product Law and are CE certified for use as hearing aid products, otoplastics, and medical devices.
What software did you use?
I utilized a variety of 3d CAD design software in the development process. The final design was created in Lightwave 3D. I find a mix of traditional CAD and Polygon based modeling software helps me produce better more ascetic product designs.
Why is it a good design?
I enjoyed the creation of the dual pipette and consider it a good design because it has succeeded in fulfilling a specific need without otherwise costly measures. The dual pipette design aids in the development of medicines related to many medical treatments including Cerebral palsy.
We think that there is a bright future for 3D printed medical devices and medical supplies. Yes, this is a high touch regulatory environment so operating in it will never be simple. Medical supplies and devices have a lot of niche products however and a lot of comparatively low volume high priced goods. On the whole it will be exciting to see real low-cost innovation come to the medical world via 3D Printing.

Introducing Three Tough SLA Plastic Materials

Shapeways is excited to announce the launch of three new SLA Plastic materials that provide extreme durability, high resolution and detail as well as a smooth surface.

One of the first 3D printing technologies developed, Stereolithography (SLA) has been widely used for creating models, prototypes and patterns. To produce parts using SLA systems, a laser selectively cures liquid resin in a resin bath above it, moving up layer by layer until the part is complete. Using large format SLA technology, you will be able to produce much larger parts than other resin-based technologies while achieving similar fantastic surface quality.

Our SLA Plastic launch includes the following three acrylate-based materials:

Accura® 60

This clear plastic produces rigid and durable parts with similar properties to molded Polycarbonate (PC). It has the ability for fine details making it apt for tough, functional prototypes, lighting components, medical instruments and fluid flow and visualization models.

Accura® Xtreme™

A material with similar physical properties to polypropylene and ABS, Accura® Xtreme is an ultra-tough grey plastic with outstanding durability, accuracy, moisture and thermal resistance and the ability for great detail. It is ideal for snap fit assemblies, enclosures for consumer and electronic products, master patterns for vacuum casting, and general purpose prototyping.

Accura® Xtreme™ 200

This white plastic is the toughest SLA material available and can replace CNC-machined polypropylene and ABS articles. It is perfect for projects that must withstand extreme, harsh conditions making it ideal for challenging functional assemblies. It can be applied to similar projects as Accura Xtreme as well projects that demand the highest durability like automotive parts, drill/tap applications, assemblies with self-tapping screws, enclosures for consumer electronic components, general purpose prototyping, and master silicone molding.

All three of these SLA materials produce rigid, robust parts that resist breakage and are durable enough to create functional parts as well as provide excellent detail and accuracy. SLA Plastics are printed on large format 3D printers which is great for creating more sizable parts for visual prototypes, short-run production and mass customization including specific applications such as:

  • Master patterns for vacuum casting
  • Shell investment casting patterns for metal casting
  • Complex assemblies
  • Wind tunnel models
  • Rapid production of flow test rigs
  • Mass customization production (orthodontic, dental)
  • Custom assembly jigs and fixtures

These materials have a larger build volume than standard SLA technology, which means your projects  will have less limitations. We are excited to see what you create!

The post Introducing Three Tough SLA Plastic Materials appeared first on Shapeways Magazine.

Boom Supersonic & VELO3D Printing Parts For XB-1 Aircraft

In the realm of supersonic airplanes, the name that stands tallest is probably the Concorde. This once novel name became associated with speed, having broken the sound barrier to win its fame. Now, Boom Supersonic and Velo3D are looking to bring its successor to life with a little help from additive manufacturing. Both companies will […]

The post Boom Supersonic & VELO3D Printing Parts For XB-1 Aircraft appeared first on 3D Printing.

Nanoscribe introduces Quantum X, a two-photon 3D printer for microoptics

Nanoscribe, a German manufacturer of two-photon additive manufacturing systems has introduced a new machine, the Quantum X. The latest system uses two-photon lithography for fabricating nano-sized refractive and diffractive micro-optics which can be as small as 200 microns. Breaking the law According to Dr. Michael Thiel, co-founder and CSO of Nanoscribe, “Beer’s law imposes strong limitations […]

voxeljet enters alliance to industrialize core tooling production using 3D printing

German 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet has entered into an alliance with Loramendi, a Spanish tooling maker, and ASK Chemicals, a global foundry material-science company, to develop the Industrialization of Core Printing (ICP) technology. Reportedly the “world’s first fully automated 3D printed core production solution”, ICP has been designed to produce complex sand core tooling for […]

Additive Manufacturing Processes Improve NDFeB & Organic Magnets

In ‘Analysis of 3D printed NDFeB polymer bonded and organic based magnets,’ Chimaobi Ibeh—a thesis student from New Jersey Institute of Technology—explains that industrial users in many cases today are more interested in miniaturization of electronics, allowing for maximum latitude in design as well as reducing cost, and wasted materials. Ibeh’s goal is to promote additive manufacturing processed with NdFeB bonded and organic based magnetic materials, hoping to ‘open doors to new applications in magnetism.’

“Recent research studies have made magnets the future candidates for new sensor and actuator applications, electric motors and smart materials/systems,” explains Ibeh.

“The improvement of permanent magnets (PM) have shown the ability to slow down the energy consumption and increase energy efficiency,” state the authors. “PM with the combination of the advancements of semiconductor electronics such as MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors) and IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistors) have brought 3 innovations to the electric motors, power electronics and intelligent controllers.”

Ibeh also adds that with greater knowledge about SmCo and NdFeB, common magnetic materials, energy efficiency can be greatly improved. Nd2Fe14B is the most powerful PM available in the world but is extremely costly. In terms of techniques used to create magnets, AM processes have good potential, beyond the obvious benefits of prototyping with plastics like PLA and ABS. Miniaturization is in greater demand, and Ibeh sees the application of AM methods opening the door to applications like sensors.

“Organic based magnets are a new emerging class that bring unique material properties and will further the development in magnet fabrication,” states the author, also going on to point out that extrusion printing of NdFeB bonded magnets has been successful previously.

NdFeB is an RE-Fe-B bonded composite, consisting of melt-spun RE-Fe-B powder and polyamide (PA12) binder, and offering the ‘best overall magnetic performance in the classes of hard magnets.’ Previous research and experimentation with net shape NdFeB magnets resulted in complex, small-scale designs, which the author points out is hard to achieve with other techniques—especially because the alloy is delicate. Parameters must be just right to achieve the correct density and quality.

NdFeB Bonded Composites Granules used for the experiment.

In attempting to fabricate magnets from RE organic materials, researchers seek the following properties:

  • Low density
  • Transparency
  • Electrical insulation
  • Low-temperature

    Magnetic and Physical Properties of the NdFeB bonded composite fabrication

“The next big challenge for scientists is to create many new high-spin molecules that possess energy gaps, an order of magnitude greater, at room temperature as well as kinetic stability that rivals the most stable organic monoradicals,” concluded Ibeh.

“Combining the development of organic based magnets with AM methods will further bring new and interesting innovation to the technological world we live in.”

The photograph of printed magnets of various shapes. The left object, expanded view on the bottom image, demonstrate the full power of 3D printing very complex shape, a novel functionality to the hard magnets

SEM images of samples bonded magnet NdFeB with variation of rubber binder.

Individuals new to 3D printing may be floored by the countless innovations being introduced into nearly every industry around the world today, but in delving further, the depth with which the science of materials is being explored—and mined—is even more fascinating. And the learning continues for users on every level. Composites are becoming more popular than ever, from materials meant to promote thermal management to bioprinting, along with efforts to further miniaturization. Learn more about magnetization in 3D printing here. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

Periodic table highlighting the rare earth minerals.

[Source / Images: Analysis of 3D printed NDFeB polymer bonded and organic based magnets]

3D Printed Continuous Flow Reactor Analyzes Degradation of Acetaminophen in Urine

In ‘Ultraviolet photolysis of acetaminophen in a 3D printed continuous flow reactor,’ thesis student John Goetze is not only exploring the benefits of urine as fertilizer but also experimenting with 3D printing devices that could be used in the field to pinpoint degradation of chemicals like pharmaceuticals that are harmful to agriculture. While many consumers may be leery about their potential food supply being sprayed with a supply of urine from the public, even worse would be ingesting the surprising amounts of unmetabolized pharmaceuticals. Degradation of residual medications could render the use of urine as a possibility, however.

Farmers rely on fertilizers rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) to encourage the growth of healthy plants. Human urine contains all these nutrients, and especially phosphorus. Goetze explains that numerous studies have shown that while phosphorus is necessary to many different applications, it is expected to be depleted in as little as 50 years.

“Phosphorus is the most important of NPK when considering urine for its fertilizer value. Source separation of urine maximizes its value for fertilizer. Obtaining phosphorus from wastewater is more difficult, as it is diluted and possibly contaminated with other materials auxiliary to those in urine. Widespread source separation in developed countries would require retrofitting of current sanitation facilities,” states Goetze.

Pharmaceuticals do present an issue, however, posing ‘ecotoxicological risk,’ mainly by NSAIDs, antibiotics, and carbamazepine. And while much of the benefits of prescribed (or not) drugs are metabolized, large portions may still be left to pass through the urine.

The concentration of selected drugs in the general population sourced urine and drug concentrations in lettuce and soil after urine was added to field plots.

For the purposes of this study, Goetze used acetaminophen, which is also commonly referred to as paracetamol. The author used this over-the-counter pain reliever for the following reasons:

  • Measured consistently in wastewater
  • Easy to obtain
  • Can be measured with UV spectroscopy
  • Absorbs UV light

For this research, the author used Kroger 500 mg acetaminophen caplets. They were crushed and mixed with deionized water, then stirred and heated, until the solution was diluted enough for analysis. Aqueous acetaminophen concentrations were chosen at 2.5 ppm, with the consideration that previous research shows urine from public events measuring 0.5 ppm.

Goetz 3D printed most of the parts (nine, in total) for the continuous flow reactor, designing them in SOLIDWORKS and then using a MakerBot Replicator 2 FDM printer with PLA.

“Trials showed that more acetaminophen is degraded as residence time and light intensity increase. Continuous flow reactor performance is comparable to MFR and PFR idealized models with respect to residence time. Data corresponds more closely to the ideal reactor models as light intensity decreases. Pseudo-first order rate constants (k’) were determined using a best fit of MFR and PFR models to the data at each separate intensity. Rate constants increased linearly with light intensity,” concluded the author.

Up to 80 percent of the acetaminophen was degraded in the experimental conditions of the continuous flow reactor. This demonstrates that levels of the pharmaceutical can be significantly reduced via UV photolysis. The reactor design can be easily scaled up, since the specialized components can be produced quickly with 3D printing. Artificial light sources producing an intense 254 nm wavelength are commonly available on the consumer market. The lack of catalysts and oxidizers reduces costs and eliminates some materials access barriers. The reactor, artificial light, and pump apparatus can be applied quickly and cost-effectively in laboratory or industrial settings. The photolysis data from this study can inform the design of future applications.”

Experimental apparatus for continuous flow trials. Equipment includes 254 nm light source (A), syringe
pump (B), 3D printed reactor (C), and UV-vis flow cell (D).

3D printing has been connected with innovation in diagnostic devices due to the ease in design and production, and affordability in manufacturing—especially in the medical field, from innovations for detecting cancer to malaria and even tuberculosis. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: ‘Ultraviolet photolysis of acetaminophen in a 3D printed continuous flow reactor’]