3D Printing Interview with John Hauer of Get3DSmart


3D Printing Consultant | Gonzo Journalist

John Hauer

John Hauer has founded and launched several tech-related businesses. In 2013, he co-founded and served as CEO of 3DLT. The company provided a platform for 3D printing as-a-service, helping Amazon, Walmart and other global retailers sell digitally manufactured products, online and in-store. In 2015, he founded Get3DSmart, a consulting practice which helps companies innovate with 3D printing and other related technologies.

Give us some background on how you’ve gotten to this point.

I spent 25 years in the 2d printing industry I worked for Xerox and several large commercial printers. I was involved in that industry up until about 2012.  In 2012, I was at the 2d printing industry’s biggest trade show and the writing was literally on the wall. Books, magazines, newspapers, and direct Mail were all dead or dying. I spent 25 years in the 2d printing industry I worked for Xerox several large commercial printers and following that was involved in that industry up until about 2012.  In 2012, I was at the 2D printing industry’s biggest trade show and the writing was literally on the wall. Books, magazines, newspapers, and direct mail were all dead or dying at that time. I started to wonder if maybe 3D printing was the future for the 2D printing industry because staples had just announced they were going to start putting m-core printers in the Netherlands and Belgium and there was some signs attraction so I started a blog called 3D for printers and began evangelizing 3D printing to 2D printing companies. It culminated with the first article that I wrote for TechCrunch about why 2d printing and 3d printing really are a lot alike. There was a lot of people at that time saying you can’t call it printing because it’s not printing. It’s not the same, but essentially the workflow is the same. A file gets created something gets sent to a device. It gets manufactured. It gets post processed or finished and then it gets shipped. So the workflow is pretty much the same. Some fellow Cincinnatians saw that and convinced me to start a business called 3DLT. We began as the first for-pay file marketplace in the United States and then we pivoted our business to become a platform for 3D printing as a service.

We worked with global retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Sears and others to help them sell 3d printed products online and in-store. We were the first to launch with Amazon and Walmart. We did it practically at the same time and it was right after we left an accelerator in Northern Kentucky called Up Tech. On that day we announced our partnership with Amazon.

We were featured in 250 press outlets in one day and I did my first national TV appearance on Fox Business. We got some amazing traction and started to take off. The business was venture funded and you know we were trying to build something really big and that takes a lot of money. It’s hard to do in the Midwest when 11 of the 20 billion dollars in venture capital is all coming out of Silicon Valley. So we were still able to do it and move forward. By about 2015, I had clients that were coming to me and asking me to help them with things that were related to 3D printing but weren’t in the retail space. I started a consulting practice called get 3d smart and began working with those clients by the end of 2015.That consultancy was self sufficient and I had a choice to make. I could continue you know working with this big opportunity at 3d LT which is probably a little early, in retrospect from a time perspective, or I could go and do the consulting thing and kind run my own show and you know control my own destiny. So I made a choice to exit 3DLT in December of 2015 and begin working at Get 3D Smart full time. Get 3D Smart helps clients identify and capitalize on opportunities in 3D Printing. Typically we do that from a marketing perspective. We do a lot of market assessments for our clients, helping them figure out which verticals and which segments of the industry they want to play in. Then we help them craft their strategy and communicate their strategy internally and externally. That can include everything from training sessions for their sales reps on different vertical markets, to white papers case studies interviews. As I mentioned before I write for several publications; Forbes, TechCrunch, 3D print, and a host of others.

Get 3D Smart

What initially got you interested in tech journalism in particular?

I’ve been blogging and writing for 15 years now and I write about all kinds of emerging technologies. I wrote a series for Forbes about IOT. I write about artificial intelligence,automation, virtual reality, and all of those are of interest to me mostly because they are platform type technologies. They can drive the development of many different types of new businesses, and I’m especially intrigued when people combine one or more of those platform technologies. I wrote an article about this for Futurism how when you look at things like artificial intelligence and 3D printing, or virtual reality and artificial intelligence, or IOT and 3D printing, and you start to look at those technologies and combine them, it creates all kinds of new but  interesting business opportunities. That is what’s most fascinating to me. How do you take some of those very disruptive platform technologies and bring them together to create a new business model?

In general, why are you interested in 3D printing?

I come from a background of having been involved in digitization. When I started for Xerox in 1990, digital printing was just coming on the scene. It was a whole new world for people. There was no functional internet. All the things you take for granted in printing today like PDF and all those things, none of that existed. It had to be created, and I watched the market grow from being a small cottage industry within a really big industry. Digital was tiny and the overall print industry to a point. Now we’re here thirty years later. In some cases it represents 50 percent of the market share, and it depends on what side of the market you’re in. Digital is pervasive and one of the other things that we saw about it was the breakeven of when it made sense to use digital technologies versus when it made sense to use analog technologies continue to shift inward. When Xerox brought out one of their first digital color copiers it printed five pages a minute, blue looked like purple, and it cost five dollars a page. Everybody said there’s no way it’s going to be successful; No one’s gonna pay that kind of price yet. They did because they could have one of whatever they wanted. They didn’t need five thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred thousand. They could get one. 3D printing is doing that today, What digital printing eventually did is have a breakeven that went from five to fifty to five hundred to five thousand. HP has wide format inkjet presses that can compete with analog technologies that a half a million units or more we’re seeing the same thing happening in 3D printing already. HP just announced that it had printed its 10 millionth part off of their technology. That might seem like a lot, but in reality there’s some build boxes that might have a thousand or more parts in them so it’s not a huge endeavor to get to ten million parts. It is a harbinger of things to come when you look at what’s happening now. The breakeven for a product might have been fifty pieces. Now it’s 500 and with that next evolution maybe the 5200 series or whatever comes after. Maybe whatever Carbon brings to the table or you or any of the other manufacturers, we now get to 50,000 and that’s when it gets really interesting but that’s not the only reason 3d printing is compelling. It’s not just a price issue. Sometimes it’s personalization and customization. Sometimes it’s the ability to manufacture on demand like I talked about before. Sometimes it’s about speed to market and being able to get a product to market before any others. Before you could in any other way and if you’re talking about marketing in the moment that stuff is critical so all of those things were interesting for me in part because I saw the parallels to 2d printing, and in part because I know those use cases. Those scenarios where there’s a value add, there’s a significant opportunity to go out and build an industry, and for 30 years 3d printing was a cottage industry. Now all of a sudden that’s on the cusp of going mainstream, and it took big players like HP, Carbon, Desktop Metal GE, and others to help make that possible. Now that they’re here it’s game on.

Desktop Metal

How has journalism helped you in your entrepreneurial career?

It’s been great. I mean it’s forces me to soak in more knowledge to become an expert in areas that I wasn’t in the past you know because you start you come up with a concept and you say okay now I have to dig deep and understand what this industry really means. I have the research at my disposal to be able to talk intelligently about it. That’s one side of it, and then the other side of it is it’s just from a marketing perspective it’s been fantastic. It’s helped me build the name recognition and thought leadership that I want in the industry as kind of an outsider. My tag is that I’m a gonzo technology journalist. Hunter Thompson is one of my favorite journalists of all time. I love that approach. I want to take a different slant at it, and you know maybe it’s gonna ruffle some feathers along the way, but that’s alright. You can’t try to please everybody you’re probably not doing it right so journalism has been great for me for both perspectives it’s helped me become smarter and knowledgeable about topics within our industry but also it’s been a great marketing tool.

What are some big trends in 3D printing media that you are kind of looking out for in the media or with 3D printing in general in the media?

That’s a good question. The problem with 3d printing is it goes through hype cycles right, and we went through that and call it 2009 through 2012 and then maybe again over the last couple years like 14 to 16, where it gets the attention and hype of the mainstream press. Then it goes into a lull where it’s not quite as covered maybe as it would have been and then you know it goes back into one of these hype cycles again. I think we’re probably hitting a little bit of a lull to some degree with mainstream media, but that’s okay because you know what’s happened is there’s been a big shift in 3D printing from this concept that everybody was going to have a 3d printer in their home and make everything that they wanted to ever need to back to this is more of an industrial and commercial opportunity where it’s going to impact consumers because they’re going to be able to get better products faster and potentially less expensively. They’re not going to manufacture them in their home and that’s just not as glamorous to the mainstream media. Maybe you know it’s very important to industrial publications and trade publications and you know that kind of thing but it’s just not glamorous to Forbes in a Wall Street Journal and those kinds of publications and you know. I think it’s going to be that way for a long time even if 3D printing in the home becomes ubiquitous like inkjet printing where everybody has one. It’ll probably follow the same model. Less than 10% of all the pages produced are produced on those devices. The vast majority are printed for pay by somebody else, and the likeliness is that in 3D printing the same thing will happen now. Who that is and where and how are all up for debate but that’s the sign of a growing and big market. I mean look at how HP just did a deal with Smile Direct for 50 machines and that was big. Somebody made a lot of money on that deal and there are going to be orders that are five times that size as this market continues to grow. When you’re selling an order of five million or ten million dollars a pop that starts to build some scale pretty quickly. Even more than 50 million or 100 million versus you know small desktop printer, it’s just not the model that’s gonna work.

Customization is pretty cool it when it comes to 3D printing – what are you thoughts on specific industries that can really benefit from customization?

The medical industry certainly has been the leader in that charge so far. When you look at the hearing aid business or you look at dental aligners or you look at prosthetics or orthotics, all of those have been what I would tag as killer applications so far out of the gate.  Almost every one of them relies heavily on customization and personalization but you know there are plenty of other consumer products that are going to be a big. Automotive has a lot of potential. There are other markets where customization and personalization is gonna play. One value add people think of when they get a new technology a new digital technology like this is on-demand manufacturing. I firmly believe and I’ve written about this a lot, that speed to market is probably the bigger opportunity in the end. It doesn’t even matter whether or not it’s competitive with what you’re gonna pay to mass-produce something it’s a matter of how fast you can get it to market and if there’s any kind of sensitivity around timing whatsoever either a competitive environment or you know it’s marketing in the moment there’s some trend you’re trying to hit right now. I think speed to market is probably the one that drives the greatest growth and end-use production parts. There is always friction when you’re attempting to customize or personalize.

Industry Experts Interviews Dr. Joseph DeSimone CEO of Carbon

Dr. Joseph DeSimone

Dr. Joseph DeSimone is Founder & CEO of Carbon. He was also Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and of Chemistry at UNC. He has published over 350 scientific articles and over 200 issued patents with over 200 more patents pending. He recently gave a great talk at the mHub Fireside Chat for industry disruptors and we reached out to him while he was in Chicago. With a variety of entrepreneurial and technology experience, be sure to tune in and hear what he has to say about Carbon as a company and the future of additive manufacturing.

You have had a long career within academia. Could you explain how you are in this current state of life based on your time in academia?

Hmmmm.  How am I in this current state of life?  I could answer this several ways, but let me try it this way:  I feel like I have been training my whole life for this current opportunity to serve.  I am a polymer guy; We are transforming the polymer industry in a fundamental way. We are living at the intersection of hardware, software and molecular sciences; I’m a firm believer in the role of convergence to drive innovation.  We have a distinctive team and culture in the backdrop of Silicon Valley’s bro-culture; I have been leading with the realization that i) we learn the most from those we have the least in common with and ii) that diversity is a fundamental tenet of innovation.  I have been teaching entrepreneurship for 10 years at UNC; for the first time I am on the field with one of my companies. I hope this answers your question!

When was your first entrepreneurial venture?

Micell Technologies in the 1990s.

What is the most important part of entrepreneurship?

Respect.  Teamwork. Excellence.

Carbon M1

Can you give some background on how Carbon started as a company?

It started as an experiment in a garage with a former postdoc of mine at UNC.  However his “idea” to make 3D printers cheaper than everyone else was more of an activity than an idea.  But that triggered an idea to make a 3D printer that could operate continuously versus layer-by-layer. The rest is history!

What was the initial value proposition of Carbon and how has that changed or evolved to its current state?

The initial value proposition was to print fast and to make parts that had the properties to be final parts.  Once we cracked the code to do that, it was all about driving that capability to take 3D printing from a prototyping only technology to a transformative technology to change the way polymeric parts are designed, engineered, made and delivered globally.

What is the ceiling for the additive manufacturing sector?

The biggest challenge is that up until now, nobody has been able to deliver on the promise of 3D printing. We are limited by preconceived notions of the potential of the technology to manufacture real parts, at scale.

Explain how Carbon is applying differentiation as its main vertical for success within the additive manufacturing sector. What makes it different?

We are the world’s leading digital manufacturing platform and with DLS technology, we’re making it possible for companies to break free from the constraints of traditional polymer manufacturing methods to make what’s next now at speeds and volumes never before possible. We are finally fulfilling on the promise of 3D printing.  For the first time, companies can deliver real products at any volume. DLS makes it possible to form isotropic parts from liquid resin, with superior surface finish and unmatched performance suitable for end use– across many verticals from automotive, medical, dental, consumer applications, etc. Our modern software tools also make it possible to re-imagine products by creating designs that harness complex geometries and stand up to the most stringent impact and strength requirements. Best of all, we can do all of this in unprecedented timelines.

Digital Light Synthesis

Explain the importance of your Digital Light Synthesis Technology.

It is the most important piece of our technology! Digital Light Synthesis technology is the process by which we fuse light and oxygen to rapidly produce parts from a pool of resin. Powered by CLIP technology, DLS was THE critical breakthrough to making it possible to manufacture parts made out of polymeric materials, quickly and at scale.

In terms the success of Carbon there seems to be a great value on the team surrounding the organization. How important was your network in building the company from the start?

It was certainly important in terms of getting it off the ground and making some of our earliest hires! We have assembled an extraordinarily talented team of individuals at Carbon with diverse backgrounds, experience and skills. We’ve attracted talent from some of Silicon Valley’s top companies like Tesla, Apple, Yahoo and Google. When you hire great people, those people in turn attract great talent so it pays dividends to invest in hiring the best from the very beginning. People like Craig Carlson, our Chief Technology Officer, who was one of the original team members at Tesla responsible for the Roadster and Model S.

What sectors of additive manufacturing does Carbon believe can be disrupted in the future that are not currently?

Carbon is focused on reinventing the ways polymeric parts or designed, engineered, manufactured, and delivered, towards a digital and sustainable future. The auto industry is one example where I think digital manufacturing can have a profound impact. For example, digital manufacturing will enable more fuel efficient transportation (high strength, lightweight materials). Today, cars are made out of some 300 different polymeric materials, making recycling effectively impossible. I think cars could be made from 8 different materials. And it is enlightened approaches like this that could really drive a circular, cradle-to-grave and back again, physical-digital economy. Another example is the medical device and drug delivery industry.  We now have bio-absorbable resins that will enable new concepts for the local delivery of drugs and new approaches for medical devices.

What inspired you and others at Carbon to initiate a collaboration with Adidas? Take us through the creativity applied towards this particular strategic partnership.

Before we started there was a lot of expressed interest by the various running shoe companies to use 3D printing.  We partnered with Adidas because they were the most knowledgeable of the various 3D printing technologies, they were the most intentional to use 3D to lead a disruption to their business, and they had a great culture of “calling all creators”!

Could you give some parting advice to people within the entrepreneurial community on how to approach their startups and different initiatives?

 It’s not for the faint of heart. It sounds like a romantic journey from afar. But it’s really hard, all encompassing work. But there is something special about convincing others and showing others that a different, better future is possible.

3D Printing News Briefs: November 23, 2018

We’re starting with a little business news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs – Intech confirmed its first order for Additive Industries’ MetalFAB1 3D printer, and Roboze CEO Alessio Lorusso has won a prestigious Ernst & Young award. Moving on, researchers are working on 3D printable thermoelectric materials that can convert heat from the surrounding environment and convert it into electricity, while an architecture studio has developed a unique concept for a 3D printed, transportable toilet that converts something very different into electricity. Finally, if you’re looking for a unique gift this holiday season, check out Bloomingdale’s, which is working with Twindom and KODAK to offer 3D printed holiday portraits.

Intech Confirms MetalFAB1 Order with Additive Industries

On the last day of formnext 2018, Bangalore-based Intech, a leader in metal 3D printing in India, confirmed its first order of the MetalFAB1 system from Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Additive Industries. This order marks Additive Industries’ expansion into Asia, and will also help Intech accelerate its business. Application and process development and customer support will be handled from the new regional Additive Industries center in Singapore.

Accelerating adoption of additive manufacturing is the primary objective at Intech. Moving from prototyping to series production with focus on cost per part with repeatable quality is the way forward. This is a stepping stone for Intech in achieving its goal to meet the demands of customer requirements of printing large parts with excellent quality,” explained Sridhar Balaram, the CEO of Intech. “Intech has been working with various customers in different industry verticals by identifying parts for mass production as a proof of concept. With Additive Industries’ MetalFAB1 we can now scale for volume. The system is unique in the industry and we are excited to add this to our fleet of equipment.”

Roboze CEO Alessio Lorusso Wins Award from Ernst & Young

Alessio Lorusso

Alessio Lorusso, the CEO and founder of Italian 3D printing company Roboze, was recently awarded the prestigious 2018 Startup Award by Ernst & Young (EY) at its Entrepreneur Of the Year 2018 awards. Established for the first time during the 2015 awards, the Startup Award is awarded for contributing to a major growth of the Italian, and worldwide, economy, and is dedicated to an individual’s ability to create value with a spirit of innovation and a strategic vision. The award aims to make young, bright minds, who create a company from an innovative idea, more visible.

“In 2015, when we presented our first solution to the global market, I could not even imagine to achieve our goals in such a short time. We faced the logics of the machines design for additive manufacturing with clear, real and innovative competitive advantages. The market chooses us because our technology is definitely the best one, as specifically designed and produced to meet the real needs of the manufacturing companies,” said Lorusso. “This award is the result of the entire Roboze team’s hard work and constant commitment; so I want to dedicate this to each member of it. It was hard but we always believed it and this award does confirm that we are following the right way to conquer and revolutionize the whole global market.”

Thermoelectric Materials Converting Heat into Electricity

Flexible thermoelectric device embedded in a glove for generating electricity by body heat. [mage: Dr. Song Yun Cho, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology]

According to a review of new research in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials journal, a team of scientists are working to design thermoelectric materials that can harvest heat from the environment, then convert it into electricity in order to power appliances and devices. Products made with these materials, such as wearable devices, could be more cost-effective, as they won’t need to recharge, change, or dispose of batteries. The team, which published a paper called “Thermoelectric materials and applications for energy harvesting power generation,” is investigating three different types of conducting materials, including inorganic and organic.

The abstract reads, “Thermoelectrics, in particular solid-state conversion of heat to electricity, is expected to be a key energy harvesting technology to power ubiquitous sensors and wearable devices in the future. A comprehensive review is given on the principles and advances in the development of thermoelectric materials suitable for energy harvesting power generation, ranging from organic and hybrid organic–inorganic to inorganic materials. Examples of design and applications are also presented.”

Most organic thermoelectric devices involve polymers, and semiconducting ones are more lightweight and inexpensive, can hold heat better than conventional inorganic semiconductors, and are flexible enough to be 3D printed. Inorganic thermoelectric devices can convert heat into electricity, but aren’t that flexible. The researchers say that while thermoelectric devices could actually replace traditional batteries in many applications someday, a lot more work is required first. Time will only tell with this one.

Spark’s 3D Printed Toilet 

Speaking of electricity, architecture studio Spark has developed an innovative concept for a transportable toilet, made with 3D printed elements, that can actually convert human waste into electricity. Fittingly, the studio launched its Big Arse Toilet on Monday to coincide with World Toilet Day. The module was designed for use in remote villages in India, where the UN is working hard to tackle the sanitation and hygiene issues stemming from open defecation. The toilet elements would be 3D printed from bamboo fibers mixed with biopolymer resin, and the completed module would be anchored to a 3D printed reinterpretation of a traditional biogas dome buried underground, which uses waste to generate and store gas.

Spark told Dezeen, “The Big Arse toilet reinterprets the use and organisation of traditional bio-gas domes to create electricity and gas for those communities that have no access to power networks and utility infrastructure that we take for granted.

“Bio-gas is a product of the breakdown of organic matter, in the case of the Big Arse Toilet the biogas is a product of human waste, food waste and agricultural waste. The biogas can be used directly for activities such as cooking or can be used to drive a micro CHP turbine that converts the gas into electricity.”

Bloomingdale’s Offering Personalized Holiday 3D Printed Portraits

3D body scanning leader Twindom, a brand licensee of Kodak, is offering a unique gift promotion this holiday season to shoppers at the Bloomingdale’s stores in San Francisco and New York City: personalized, 3D printed holiday portraits, made with the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner until the end of December, just in time for Christmas. Shoppers who want to have a 3D printed portrait made can either make an appointment or just walk in to the store.

Once there, simply enter your information, walk into the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner, and pose for the scan, which only takes 1⁄4 of a second to complete. Then, review the 3D capture, choose your size – 3 to 14 inches – and place your order, which will be 3D printed in full color and ship in about 1-2 weeks. Pricing starts at around $69 for the 3D printed portraits, and local support at each store location is provided by Twindom’s local partners: PocketMe, PeoplePrints 3D, and Memories in 3D.

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

3D Printing News Briefs: October 13, 2018

We’ve got business and education news galore in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. First, Voodoo Manufacturing has launched its new Shopify app, and BeAM Machines is partnering with Empa, while Sculpteo is working with a property developer to provide 3D printed apartment models. VSHAPER has signed an agreement with educational publisher Grupa MAC, and the United Arab Emirates is introducing 3D printing into over 200 of its primary schools. The US Navy will be testing the first 3D printed ship component, and Lufthansa Technik has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. Finally, maker Thomas Sanladerer shared on YouTube about his recent visit to the Prusa headquarters.

Voodoo Manufacturing Launches Shopify App

This spring, high-volume 3D printing factory Voodoo Manufacturing began its full-stack manufacturing and fulfillment service for 3D printing entrepreneurs, which allows users to outsource work like quality control and assembly for their products through its easy shopfront integrations with online marketplaces like Shopify. Now, the company has launched its own Shopify app, which will allow online sellers to create and customize 3D printed products and sell them on their own Shopify stores. Once the app is installed, users can make their first product in less than 5 minutes, which is then automatically added to their store, ready for purchase.

“We wanted to make it ridiculously easy for ecommerce stores to diversify their product offering with 3D printed products. By applying 3D printing to the print-on-demand business model, we are opening up an infinite range of product categories for Shopify merchants,” said Max Friefeld, the Founder and CEO of Voodoo Manufacturing. “The Voodoo app provides a new source of high quality, customizable, on-demand products, that don’t require any 3D design experience.”

Before the official launch this week, Voodoo piloted the service with a group of beta users, including It’s The Island Life by graphic designer and Guam native Lucy Hutcheson. She is already successfully selling six different products made with the help of the new Voodoo app.

BeAM Machines Partnering with Empa

BeAM, recently acquired by AddUp, has signed a research and development agreement with Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. Together, the two will develop novel applications for BeAM’s powder-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology, which uses focused thermal energy to fuse materials by melting them while they’re deposited. This makes parts manufacturing much faster. The partnership has come on the heels of Empa’s acquisition of a BeAM DED 3D printer, which is located at its Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing in Thun and is used to integrate and test out innovative components.

Patrik Hoffmann, who leads the laboratory, said, “We are very excited to collaborate with BeAM’s engineers to push the boundaries of this innovative additive manufacturing technology and to develop a whole new range of applications for Swiss industries and beyond.”

Sculpteo 3D Printing Apartment Models

Together with Sculpteo, French property developer Valoptim is working to improve customer experience by providing clients with miniaturized 3D printed models of their future apartments when they sign their contracts, so they can better visualize and prepare for moving into their new home. These small, exact replicas give new owners an immersive experience, which is a definite value add. In addition, production of the 3D printed models is local, and can be done fast.

“Sculpteo uses the best machines and 3D printing processes on the market today. At first, we had the ambition to test the feasibility of 3D printing in the real estate sector. This innovative process has proven to be extremely interesting: the realistic rendering, with high-end finishes, allowed our clients to discover a miniaturized version of their future apartment enabling them to realistically imagine themselves living in it,” said Edouard Pellerin, CEO of Valoptim. “This innovation contributes to our business dynamic: constantly improving the customer experience.”

VSHAPER and Grupa Mac Sign Agreement

Polish 3D printer manufacturer Verashape has signed an agreement with Grupa MAC, the country’s top educational publisher, in front of Poland’s education curators at the recent Future of Education Congress. Per the agreement, Grupa MAC will use a network of educational consultants to distribute the VSHAPER GO 3D printers to kindergartens and other schools in the country. Grupa MAC recognizes that 3D printers are a good way to quickly present the effects of students’ learning, and the VSHAPER GO is the perfect choice, as it is easy to use and comes with an intuitive interface of SOFTSHAPER software.

“Classes with students are a perfect environment for the use of 3D Printing. Creating a pyramid model for history lessons, the structure of a flower or a human body for biology lessons are just a few examples, and their list is limited only by the imagination of students and teachers,” said Patryk Tomczyk, a member of the Grupa MAC Management Board. “We are happy that thanks to our cooperation with VERASHAPE, 3D Printers have a chance to reach schools through our network of educational consultants.”

3D Printing to be Introduced in UAE Primary Schools

Speaking of 3D printing in education, the Ministry of Education (MoE) for the UAE has announced that in early 2019, a country-wide introduction of 3D printing into over 200 primary schools will commence. As part of this new technology roll out, Dubai education consultancy company Ibtikar is partnering with Makers Empire, an Australian education technology company, to deliver a program that implements 3D printing and design. Makers Empire will supply 3D software, curriculum, teacher resources, training, and support to Ibtikar, which will in turn train MoE teachers to deliver the program.

“Through this rollout of 3D technology, our students will learn to reframe needs as actionable statements and to create solutions to real-world problems,” said HE Eng. Abdul Rahman of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education. “In doing so, our students will develop an important growth mindset, the skills they need to make their world better and the essential ability to persist when encountering setbacks.”

US Navy Approves Test of First 3D Printed Shipboard Part

USS Harry S. Truman

The US military has long explored the use of 3D printing to lower costs and increase the availability of spare parts. Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilder in the US, has also been piloting new technologies, like 3D printing, as part of its digital transformation. In collaboration with the US Navy, the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division has worked to speed the adoption of 3D printed metal components for nuclear-powered warships. This has led to an exciting announcement by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA): a metal drain strainer orifice (DSO) prototype has officially been approved as the first 3D printed metal part to be installed on a US Navy ship. The assembly is a component for the steam system, which allows for drainage and removal of water from a steam line while in use. The 3D printed DSO prototype will be installed on the USS Harry S. Truman in 2019 for evaluation and tests. After one year, the assembly will be removed for inspection and analysis.

“This install marks a significant advancement in the Navy’s ability to make parts on demand and combine NAVSEA’s strategic goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines while maintaining a culture of affordability. By targeting CVN 75 [USS Harry S. Truman], this allows us to get test results faster, so-if successful-we can identify additional uses of additive manufacturing for the fleet,” said Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, NAVSEA Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, and Naval Engineering.

Lufthansa Technik Opens New Additive Manufacturing Center

Lufthansa Technik, a leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for civil aircraft, has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. The goal of the new AM Center is to bundle and expand the company’s experience and competence with the technology, which can be used to make individual parts more quickly and with more design freedom. As the world of aircraft is always aware of weight, making more lightweight parts is an excellent benefit of 3D printing.

“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 expanded,” said Dr. Aenne Koester, the head of the new AM Center. “The aim is to increase the degree of maturity of the technologies and to develop products that are suitable for production.”

Tom’s 3D Visits Prusa Headquarters 

Maker Thomas Sanladerer, who runs his own YouTube channel, recently had the chance to tour the Prusa Research headquarters in Prague. Not only did he get the opportunity to see how the company makes its popular MK3 and and MK2.5, but Sanladerer was also able to see early models of the company’s recently announced SL1 resin 3D printer, as well as the Prusament filament production line.

“I always find factory tours like this super interesting because it’s the only chance you really get of seeing behind the scenes of what might really just be a website, or you know, a marketing video or whatever,” Sanladerer said in his video.

Sanladerer took the tour of the Prusa factory right after Maker Faire Prague, which the company itself organized and sponsored. To see behind the scenes of Prusa for yourself, check out the rest of the video below:

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Take That, Quagga Mussels: Student Turns an Invasive Species into 3D Printer Filament

The quagga mussel is an invasive species that has caused a great deal of trouble in the Great Lakes. It’s an aggressive creature, native to eastern Europe, that kills other species, breeds quickly, and messes up ecosystems. But Davidson College sophomore Lorena James has found a use for quagga mussels – 3D printing them. When James was in high school, she came up with an idea in an entrepreneurship class – creating 3D printer filament out of the shell of the quagga mussel. Previously Spanish designer Carmen Brio also created a PLA filament from the shells of muscles and oysters from restaurants. In that case, the shells were ground down and the idea was to recycle restaurant waste and turn it into a higher impact filament. Laura James is doing this specifically with one kind of muscle local to her.

After pitching the idea to her class, James entered her Z Spools concept in the Cleveland Water Alliance Erie Hack competition and won. Now she has applied for a utility patent for the product, and is thinking about how to mass produce it.

Lorena James

3D printer filament has been made out of all sorts of bizarre materials, from the byproducts of beer brewing to another problematic species, algae. Creating filament from quagga mussels won’t solve the issue of the invasive species, but it’s an interesting concept, and an eco-friendly one.

“I do help relieve the issue of making the beach unsanitary and unpleasant for beach goers,” said James. “And bring attention to other issues. I’m also bring attention to invasive species issue, providing new method for sustainable 3D printing.”

Quagga mussel shells have the potential to produce attractive 3D prints, too – they may be a menace to the Great Lakes, but filament made from their shells is unique, producing a pale gray color.

To make the filament, James crushes up the quagga mussel shells and mixes them with PLA pellets, which she then extrudes using a filament extruder she purchased from Filabot. She plans to reach out to Filabot to see if they will mass produce her filament once she returns from Shanghai, where she is currently studying abroad. After that, James may pursue ideas that involve the use of other invasive species; she’s very interested in the idea of a circular economy. Her first idea, before she came up with the Z-Spools concept, was to sell hydrilla verticillata, an invasive water plant, as food. She scrapped that idea, however, after realizing how much pollution the plants absorb from the lake.

James’ passionate pursuit of her idea came from disappointment – her entrepreneurship class had no interest in her idea, preferring instead “startups involving pillows, cruises and ice cream, none of which solved any problems I viewed worth pursuing,” she said. She admits she was somewhat bitter, but she took that bitterness and channeled it into bigger things, like taking her idea to Erie Hack. That competition ended up being a catalyst for her business pursuits.

“Without Erie Hack, there’s no way I would have wanted to pursue entrepreneurship as early as I did,” she said.

James is only 19, but she has a strong vision and passion for helping the environment and making the world a better place. Her Z-Spools idea is an ingenious one – rather than simply getting quagga mussels off the beach, she is creating something useful with them. If she continues pursuing her ideas about turning invasive species into useful products, she could end up with a successful business, catering to the many people who feel the same way that she does about the environment.

“When I came to Cleveland for Erie Hack, I thought people in Cleveland appreciated Lake Erie more and found more uses, than people in Buffalo,” she said. “But it’s changing. People are appreciating lake more. When I return from Davidson I’ll be spending a lot more time on the lake. I think Z Spools has definitely brought me closer to the lake.”

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[Source: Cleveland.com/Images courtesy of Lorena James]