Live stream starts Wednesday, Janurary 22 2020 at 11am ET.
Mini Skinny NeoPixel Strip
Roll of mirror film
CircuitPython Downloads: https://circuitpython.org/
3D Parts Library on GitHub
Layer by Layer – Spheres and Cylinder Snap Fits
Researchers continue to reach from the 3D realm to the next level, seeking to master the comprehensive fabrication of 4D structures. Now, a team of scientists from Singapore is exploring new ways to create flexible, programmable passive actuators, outlining their findings in the recently published ‘3D Printing of Compliant Passively Actuated 4D Structures.’
For this study, the research team paired compliant mechanisms (CM) with water-responsive chitosan biopolymers. With CM, the scientists were able to take advantage of benefits such as:
- No hysteresis
- Ease of fabrication
- Light weight
- High reliability
- Frictionless, wear-free motion
CMs are beneficial today in applications such as:
- Soft robotics
- Building structures
- Space research
And while there is a long list of ‘pros’, CMs still offer a host of issues researchers, manufacturers, and industrial users must surpass in terms of both design and fabrication. With additive manufacturing being used in CM manufacturing, the goal is to provide the mechanical force required to spur on movement and possible deformation of the compliant part, which may respond to temperature, light, and moisture. Such products are categorized as 4D or ‘smart materials’ as they are able to respond to their environment accordingly.
Materials such as chitosan, an extremely common polymer, have been used more often with 3D printing, in examples like bioprinting neural tissue. Materials bordering on the 4D have been tested and used many times also with soft robotics, reinforced composites, and more.
Initially, a single design was created for the actuator nodes, with a ‘truss-inspired cantilever fitted with hygroscopic chitosan films.’ Chitosan biopolymers allow for the necessary deformation in this project design, as well as many applications today like textiles, cosmetics, agriculture, bioprinting, and more.
As they began working to create four compliant designs, researchers used cotton gauze to strengthen the chitosan, structuring it into thin pieces of film with a specific solution that is filtered, degassed, and then cast into molds. They put the films through another washing and drying cycle and then began experimenting with their designs, on a mission to make strides in achieving suitable and programmable shape deformation. In their prototype, the researchers used an ‘intuitive physical’ concept as they investigated several different CM designs to meet the necessary range of motion in a variety of shapes, layer thickness, and more.
Several ‘springy’ designs were developed to spread the load for each flexure, along with allowing for better control with programmable bending in the system. Strength was evaluated also with a load test, and static non-linear structural FEM analysis.
3D printing of the research project’s actuator was performed on a Stratasys Fortus 450mc FDM 3D printer, using ASA—a propriety model material by Stratasys that is similar to ABS. The team spent 4.5 hours printing the part, and then it was placed in a solution to assist in removal of support materials. In testing, the researchers noted good performance from the actuator, with no signs of mechanical failure at all; however, there were still ‘significant variations from the expected results.’
“The average total deformation between the two states of the actuator was calculated to be 71.2mm, measured by changes in height of the cantilevering end of the actuator. This 71.2 mm represents nearly one-third of the total actuator length, which points to the ability of the CM to accommodate a relatively large range of motion. The expected deformation from 2D simulation was 95.6mm, and so evidently the chitosan did not expand to their 12.8 % capacity as expected,” concluded the researchers.
“It is possible that even though the films lose much of their stiffness when saturated, that there was still insufficient driving force to cause significant mechanical strain of the films. One potential workaround would be to implement another tensile element to the assembly that, when added on top of the assembly’s self-weight, could encourage the full elongation of the chitosan films.”
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: ‘3D Printing of Compliant Passively Actuated 4D Structures’]
This week, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore officially opened the doors to a new corporate lab that will help manufacturing companies as they work towards adopting digital technology. This new lab, created through a collaboration between the university and HP, will offer a digital manufacturing skills development program for Industry 4.0.
The facility has been dubbed the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab, and features a variety of technologies, such as supply chain models that enable faster time to market and intelligent design software tools that automate advanced customization, that will help make manufacturing operations more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable. Members of tomorrow’s workforce can then become better equipped for work in the future manufacturing industry.
The partnership between the university, HP, and the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) was first announced last October, and this new facility is HP’s first university laboratory collaboration in Asia. Using the lab’s intelligent design software tools, engineers will be better able to customize and optimize the mechanical properties of their materials, while the automated technology will allow for designs that use the best combination of these properties so the resulting 3D printed parts have the necessary flexibility, strength, and weight. Then, manufacturers can rapidly scale production of custom goods even when the demand is high.
“HP’s passion for innovation, together with NTU’s world-class research capabilities, allow us to achieve new breakthroughs and unlock new solutions for both business and society,” said Shane Wall, Head of HP Labs and the company’s CTO.
One of NTU and HP’s joint goals is to recruit 100 researchers to work in the new lab, which already employs 60, in order to create new and innovative products. One current research project taking place there is focused on designing and optimizing end-to-end supply chain operations, so that manufacturers can use better business models and analytics to reduce how much time is needed to find parts that may be good candidates for fabricating with 3D printing, and also better measure their impact on the world’s carbon footprint.
This proof-of-concept project, and others, were presented at the opening of the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab, along with several technology demonstrations. Additionally, the grand opening was part of HP’s anniversary celebration of 50 years of growing its business in Singapore,
In conjunction with opening the new lab, NTU and HP worked together to create six SkillsFuture courses for manufacturing professionals.
“Our joint work in 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, security and sustainability will produce disruptive technologies that define the future of manufacturing,” stated Wall. “Working together, we can create the workforce of the future and ensure the fourth Industrial Revolution is also a sustainable revolution.”
The skills development program will offer training in additive manufacturing and digital design under SkillsFuture, covering topics like AM fundamentals, automation, user experience, digital product designs, business models, and data management. About 120 workers each year can participate in these courses.
“The advanced technologies and automation solutions jointly developed by NTU and HP are expected to impact businesses in Singapore and beyond, as these innovations are geared towards efficiency, productivity and most importantly, sustainability,” said Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Senior Vice President of research.
“The new SkillsFuture courses developed jointly with HP also bring valuable industrial perspectives to help upskill and train a critical talent pool for Singapore.
“This will support the country’s drive towards becoming a smart nation as it faces the challenges of the fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.
[Source: The Straits Times / Images: NTU Singapore]
Shared on Charlyn Gonda’s Blog:
I made a ring! It’s using this special material that looks opaque but it actually lets light shine through beautifully. This was a pretty simple project, and you can do it too!
This Sparkle Ring project uses an Adafruit Gemma M0 with CircuitPython to control a Neopixel Jewel inside a laser cut ring enclosure I designed. It requires some soldering, so it’s great to practice if you’re just starting to learn.
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!
While 3D printing has been around for quite some time, it has only recently come of age as manufacturers are realizing that the technology can be used for more than just prototyping. In fact, today’s forward-thinking manufacturers are implementing 3D printing to accelerate their entire product development processes.
Nowadays, 3D printing technologies can quickly produce functional and highly complex objects from hundreds of different types of materials—with none of the cutting, bending and injection limitations of traditional fabrication methods. Moreover, 3D printing applied to manufacturing can reduce total investment in machines, tools, assembly, and materials.
However, while additive manufacturing has definitely changed the way products are made and offers unprecedented versatility, inspection, and quality control issues nevertheless remain. How can quality control teams verify if objects with complex shapes are made according to original design intent, technical specifications and required norms? And while new 3D printers are designed specifically for additive manufacturing to ensure quality repeatability for long production runs, what are the solutions to mitigate defects and material waste?
This is where 3D scanners come into play. 3D scanners are a non-contact means to quickly characterize object surfaces so as to test and control part quality. Non-destructive testing using coherent light can find minuscule defects, discover when materials deviate from standard, measure and report on surface issues, and more. Unlike more manual methods, including coordinate-measuring machines, portable 3D scanners often don’t require hard setup and the part doesn’t have to go to a metrology lab.
The latest models gather millions of measurements in seconds, supplying the results automatically into interpretive software. The Creaform HandySCAN BLACK|Elite, for example, features high-end cameras, blue laser technology and advanced algorithms for fast metrology-grade measurements. It is a handheld scanner, usable in any environment and on any surface. It captures 1.3 million points per second, automatically generating a 3D mesh twin of the scanned object.
High-resolution, handheld 3D scanning brings inspection to the production line. These new optical solutions introduce innovative concepts like self-positioning and dynamic referencing, which enables the measuring device to be continuously locked to the part by an optical link. Specialized accompanying software turns these millions of points into coherent 3D mesh models, easily incorporated into other software tools as required.
Taking 3D scanning to 3D printing makes it possible to more rapidly test for quality. Research shows QC issues will vary according to the 3D printing process in use, the amount of copies made in one production run, and more. Warping is a problem, for example, in thermoplastic products with elongated horizontal rectangular shapes but not as much for vertical shapes. Such warping is usually not found in the first part printed, but happens when the printer is used for long periods. Such issues are not simple to predict; the potential for deviation from the norm is a four-part problem of 3D printer make and model; the material in use; the specific 3D print method; and the length of the production run.
Time compression is one important reason manufacturers turn to Additive Manufacturing, so it is important the time gained using high-resolution 3D scanning isn’t lost during the subsequent inspection phase. To streamline the QC process Creaform offers its VXinspect software as part of 3D scanning suite. It automates the process of setting up and running a full geometric dimensioning and tolerance (GD&T) inspection. The mesh created with their 3D scanners can be compared directly against the CAD data used to create the 3D printed object.
The HandySCAN BLACK is ready for use in creating new quality control processes for additive manufacturing. Scanned data converted to a 3D mesh in VXinspect can be exported to a variety of leading engineering and modeling software products including various 3D Systems Geomagic solutions; InnovMetric Software PolyWorks; Dassault CATIA V5 and SOLIDWORKS; PTC Creo; Siemens NX and Solid Edge; and Autodesk Inventor, Alias, 3ds Max, and Maya. The scanner is set to calculate positioning based on reflective targets to guarantee accuracy regardless of the environment. Part size can be anywhere from 0.05 meters to 4 meters with a measurement resolution of 0.05 mm.
All traditional manufacturing processes now include built-in quality control; there are yet no commonly accepted processes for QC in additive manufacturing. The leading national and international standards agencies are working on a common set of guidelines, but the final details suitable for all additive manufacturing processes are years away. For now, digital inspection using 3D scanning allows progressive manufacturers to create internal, repeatable, and accurate inspection workflows for their additive manufacturing projects. The body of data gathered with 3D scanning will be essential in the creation of artificial intelligence deep learning algorithms, required to take quality control in additive manufacturing to the next level.