After several years of research and development, Wayland Additive is now showcasing its new electron beam powder bed fusion (PBF) process dubbed NeuBeam. The U.K. company claims that its tech has numerous advantages over other metal PBF processes, including both laser PBF and other electron beam systems.
The company was spun out of Reliance Precision, a roughly 100-year-old engineering firm that relied on a series of Innovate UK grants to develop a new form of electron beam PBF based on processes related to electron microscopy and electron beam lithography. Licensing the technology from Reliance, Wayland is now in the process of commercializing its NeuBeam technology with the goal of delivering machines to six customers by 2021.
Parts printed by NeuBeam, without the formation of a “sinter cake”. Image courtesy of Wayland Additive.
Wayland CEO Will Richardson suggests that, using principles developed from the semi-conductor industry, NeuBeam is able to neutralize the charge accumulation that occurs with traditional electron beam PBF (hence the “neu” in NeuBeam), thus broadening the printing parameters of the system. The result is greater stability for electron beam PBF overall and opening up more flexibility than found with laser PBF. In turn, a wider range of materials can be used with NeuBeam than with other PBF processes.
Richardson describes NeuBeam as “a hot part process rather than a hot bed process,” in that heat is applied only to the part being printed and not to the whole bed. Instead of generating a “sinter cake” associated with electron beam PBF processes, Wayland’s technology allows for the free flowing of powder once the build is complete, reducing the amount of post-processing required, reduced energy consumption and, the company claims, parts free from residual stress. By eliminating thermal stresses, as well as gas crossflow, and by simplifying powder removal, Wayland suggests that much larger parts can be made than with traditional electron beam technology.
Geometric complexity offered by NeuBeam 3D printing. Image courtesy of Wayland Additive.
As a newer metal PBF company, Wayland Additive has jumped ahead of the stalwarts of the industry by introducing real-time in-process monitoring from the start, using structured light scanning, electron imaging and high speed infra-red cameras. This can be used to adapt the system during the printing process to tune microstructures as the part is being built. This also aids in material development, as the parameters can be changed on the fly for metal-specific optimization.
Electron beam PBF has been primed for new advancements for some time, with very few competitors in the field. The primary manufacturer of electron beam PBF systems is Arcam, now a subsidiary of GE Additive, whose electron beam melting (EBM) technology has been the standard bearer for electron beam PBF since the company first began selling systems in 2001.
However, the technology has been limited due to the reasons mentioned above and more. The charge accumulation that NeuBeam addresses, for instance, causes powder scattering and “smoke events” that distort printed layers when they occur and thus damage the entire part. Breaking up the layer cake and removing unused powder is an arduous process that necessitates the use of coarse materials to limit the risk of explosion when bead blasting parts. All of this limits the metals that can beeasily printed with the technology, mostly titanium alloys and cobalt chrome. In turn, Arcam itself has targeted just two industries with EBM, aerospace and medical implants.
More recently, however, new entrants like Wayland Additive are beginning to offer alternatives. In addition to a Chinese company called Xi’an Sailong Metals, JEOL , a Japanese maker of electron-beam based metrology and inspection technologies, is working with the Japanese Technology Research Association for Future Additive Manufacturing to develop an electron beam process.
This will certainly make the electron beam PBF market more interesting and will likely provide further competition for laser PBF companies that dominate the market, like EOS. And, because Wayland has reportedly developed methods for overcoming EBM’s drawbacks, there’s no doubt that GE is attempting to do the same.
“Sciaky is proud to work with the Saint Exupéry IRT, Aubert & Duval and Airbus on this exciting project. Industrial metal additive manufacturing technology continues to break new ground every day, and Sciaky is committed to keeping EBAM at the forefront of this movement,” said Scott Phillips, the President and CEO of Sciaky, Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, Inc. (PSI).
In terms of work envelope, Sciaky’s exclusive EBAM technology is probably the most widely scalable metal AM solution in the industry. It’s the only industrial metal 3D printing process that has approved applications for air, land, sea, and space, with gross deposition rates up to 11.34 kg of metal an hour, and is able to manufacture parts from 203 mm to 5.79 meters in length. Rather than just melting the outer layer of the metal powder, the EBAM process completely liquefies the metal wire feed.
The fast, cost-effective EBAM process offers a wide range of material options, including titanium, for large-scale metal applications, and uses its adaptive IRISS (Interlayer Real-time Imaging and Sensing System) to combine quality and control, as the patented system can sense, and digitally self-adjust, metal deposition with repeatability and precision. It is mainly due to the IRISS system that the Chicago-based company’s EBAM 3D printing process is so good at delivering, as the company puts it, “consistent part geometry, mechanical properties, microstructure, and metal chemistry, from the first part to the last.”
The goal of its combined MAMA project with Airbus and Aubert & Duval is to combine traditional metallurgy (high-power closed die forging) with new wirefed metal 3D printing techniques, such as Sciaky’s EBAM process, in order to come up with new processes for manufacturing titanium alloys that can be used to make aircraft parts. Based on the caliber of its partners, Sciaky made a good decision in joining the R&D initiative – Airbus is a 3D printing pioneer in the aerospace industry, and Aubert & Duval creates and develops advanced metallurgical solutions for projects in demanding industries, such as nuclear, medical, energy, defense, and aeronautics.
The project’s first phase has global funding in the amount of €4.2 million. 50% of this funding is supported by the French State as part of its “Investing in the Future” program (Programme Investissement d’Avenir, or PIA), while the other half is funded by industrial partners of the initiative.
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We’re starting off today’s 3D Printing News Briefs with a product launch announcement – 3YOURMIND launched the full version of its Agile MES software software this week at AMUG 2019. Moving on, Sintratec will present its latest SLS 3D printer at RAPID + TCT next month in Detroit, Tiamet3D has joined Ultimaker’s material alliance program, and Sciaky entered into an agreement with KTM Consultants. Xometry just announced some important certifications, and nScrypt is 3D printing titanium parts. Moving on to the world of art and theatre, the Zurich Opera House is 3D printing props, and artist Andrea Salvatori worked with WASP to create a 3D printed art collection.
3YOURMIND Launched Agile Manufacturing Execution System (MES) Software
After spending five years providing order management systems to scale for some of the industry’s AM leaders, 3YOURMIND has finally moved its software solutions to a production environment with the launch of its Agile Manufacturing Execution System (MES) earlier this week at AMUG 2019. The software uses smart part prioritization, rapid scheduling, order tracking, and custom AM workflow creation to improve machine utilization and make production more efficient, and an Early Access Program (EAP) allowed the company to receive direct feedback on its Agile MES software from representatives at companies like EOS and Voestalpine. The next step will be working to finalize machine connectivity.
“For Agile Manufacturing, the Agile MES will need to both GET and PUSH data from all major AM machines and post-processing systems. We are already integrating the data from several vendors into our software and expect to support all major machines,” explained 3YOURMIND’s CEO Stephan Kühr. “Receiving and processing machine data allows us to provide the documentation that is needed for quality assurance and to increase the repeatability of additive manufacturing. Pushing data directly to machines will be the key to automating production.”
Sintratec Showcasing New SLS 3D Printer at RAPID + TCT
A few months ago, Swiss SLS 3D printer manufacturer Sintratec introduced its scalable, modular Sintratec S2. Now, the company will be presenting the printer in the US for the first time next month at RAPID + TCT in Detroit, which will also be Sintratec’s first time attending the massive event. What makes the Sintratec S2 stand out is its closed-loop workflow, as the complete system covers every process with its three modules: the Laser Sintering Station (LSS), the Material Core Unit (MCU), and the Material Handling Station (MHS). The 3D printer offers quick material changes, a 4K camera for print monitoring, improved ergonomics, and effective heat distribution through its cylindrical printing area and ring lamps.
“The Sintratec S2 will boost the design of applications and gives the user the opportunity to set foot in small series production as well. And that for an unusually attractive price-performance ratio,” said Sintratec CEO Dominik Solenicki.
“With the Sintratec S2 solution we will be opening new opportunities for companies of any size.”
The price for the Sintratec S2 starts at $39,900, and you can see it for yourself at Sintratec’s booth 1753 at RAPID + TCT from May 20-23.
Tiamet 3D Joins Ultimaker’s Material Alliance Program
Reid Larson, the Director and Co-Founder of Tiamet 3D, told us about some of the highlighted specs of its ULTRA Diamond material, including no additional nozzle wear, 6300 mpa stiffness, low moisture absorption and friction, improved thermal conductivity, and twice “the temperature resistance of normal PLA, Annealed goes to 125C HDT.” You can purchase one kg of ULTRA Diamond filament for €59.
Sciaky Increasing Sales Efforts Through New Agreement
In an effort to increase the sales efforts of its Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) solutions in Australia, the Middle East, and New Zealand, Sciaky, Inc. has entered into an agreement with KTM Consultants, founded by metallurgist Trent Mackenzie in 2015. In terms of sheer work envelope, Sciaky’s massive EBAM systems are the industry’s most widely scalable metal 3D printing solution, able to produce parts ranging from 8 inches to 19 feet at gross deposition rates of up to 25 lbs of metal an hour. Additionally, its Interlayer Real-time Imaging and Sensing System (IRISS) is the metal 3D printing market’s only real-time adaptive control system capable of sensing and digitally self-adjusting its deposition.
“I was immediately drawn to Sciaky’s EBAM technology because of its unique and robust capabilities. Industrial manufacturers of large metal parts need to explore the significant advantages that technologies like EBAM offer. It is truly a game-changer,” said Mackenzie.
Xometry Announces New Industry Certifications
Digital manufacturing marketplace Xometry announced that it has just received ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications – some of the most rigorous, widely-recognized quality management designations in the industry. ISO 9001 helps organizations meet the needs and expectations of their customers in terms of quality management, while AS9100 meets customer demands in the exacting aerospace and defense industries. The company went through a major audit as part of the process, and its achievement definitely reflects how committed Xometry is to providing quality.
“We are thrilled to receive this designation. Our team members have a passion for providing great customer service while following the disciplines that give our customers peace of mind regarding on-time delivery, quality, and continuous improvement. It is yet another step towards achieving industry “best in class” status and being able to meet the expanded needs of our customers,” stated Xometry COO Peter Goguen.
nScrypt Develops Proprietary Method for 3D Printing Titanium
nScrypt 3D printed titanium gear, dogbone, and block
Florida manufacturer nScrypt, which develops high-precision Micro-Dispensing and Direct Digital Manufacturing equipment and solutions, is now focusing on repeatable 3D printing of metals for the medical, defense, and aerospace industries. The company has created a proprietary method for 3D printing titanium parts, which tests have shown display densities comparable to wrought parts. This method could easily work with other metals as well, such as copper, Inconel, and stainless steel, and nScrypt’s Factory in a Tool (FiT) systems can finish or polish areas with high tolerance features using its integrated precision nMill milling head. nScrypt’s Brandon Dickerson told us that the company expects to release more details on this later in 2019.
“The parts were printed with our SmartPump Micro-Dispensing tool head, which runs on any of our systems,” Dickerson told 3DPrint.com. “The parts shown in the photos were printed on our DDM (Direct Digital Manufacturing) system, also known as our Factory in a Tool (FiT) system, which can run 5 tool heads at the same time, including our Micro-Dispensing, Material Extrusion, micro-milling, and pick-and-place tool heads. The parts were sintered after the build and the current densities are in the high 90% range. We expect our system to appeal to customers who want to do Direct Digital Manufacturing and need strong metal parts, but cannot build them with a powder bed system (for example, if the geometry would trap powder inside) or prefer not to use a powder bed system (for example, if they want a cleaner system).”
Zurich Opera House 3D Printing Props with German RepRap
Finished tutu for “The Nutcracker”, which was produced with the help of the x400 3D printer
Switzerland’s largest cultural institution, the Zurich Opera House, puts on over 300 performances a year, but the behind-the-scenes magic happens in the studios and workshops, where the props and costumes are made. The opera house uses the x400 3D printer from German RepRap, with assistance from Swiss reseller KVT- Fastening, to support its creative work by fabricating props and molds. This affords the institution more creativity and flexibility, as they can design objects to their exacting needs in 3D modeling programs, which also helps save on time and money. The opera house currently uses PLA, which is easy to handle, offers a variety of colors, and is flame retardant – very important in a theatrical setting.
“Often, the wishes and ideas of costume and stage designers are very diverse and sometimes extraordinary. It often happens that props are not available in the way designers have it in their minds. This is where the 3D printer is perfect for,” said Andreas Gatzka, director of theater sculpture at the Zurich Opera House.
“There are a lot of great benefits. Special wishes of stage and costume designers can be realized quickly as well as a short-term change of the objects, for example larger, smaller, longer, shorter, or whatever is needed.”
3D Printed Art Collection
Artist Andrea Salvatori 3D printed the eye-catching pieces for his new collection, titled Ikebana Rock’n’Roll, using the Delta WASP 40100 Clay 3D printer – designed by WASP to be used by ceramic and clay artists. The collection just opened on stage at THE POOL NYC in Milan last week, and will be available to view until May 31st. With these 3D printed vases, Salvatori wanted to use “a miscellany of ceramic insertions” to mess with the high quality shapes 3D printing can achieve by adding asymmetry.
“The process of depositing the material and setting the spheres is a central theme in the Ikebana Rock’n’Roll collection, to the point of convincing Salvatori to name the works “Composition 40100”, as if they originated from a musical dialogue of the most varied tones. The artist upsets the algorithm reiterated slavishly by the machine with imperfect musical accents, the result from time to time of spontaneous actions and reasoned processes,” WASP wrote in a blog post.
“The ikebanes, proposed by Andrea Salvatori in the exhibition, transcend the experimental limits of an abstract investigation, representing a concrete territory in which 3D printing and ceramic art co-exist synergistically. The Master challenges the confrontation with the public, becoming also in this sector, precursor of a new genre in which WASP feels itself fully represented.”
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We’re starting with some information about a couple of upcoming shows in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, followed by some business and aerospace news. Sinterit is bringing its newly launched material to formnext, while Materialise has announced what products it will be presenting. Registration is now open for AMUG’s 2019 Education and Training Conference. Moving on, Sciaky sold its EBAM and EB Welding System to an aerospace parts manufacturer, while final assembly has been planned for the Airbus Racer, which features a 3D printed conformal heat exchanger. The Idaho Virtualization Lab is a leader when it comes to 3D printing dinosaurs, and the recently released movie First Man used 3D printed models during filming.
Sinterit Launches New PA11 Powder
Military glass case 3D printed with PA11 Onyx
Desktop SLS 3D printing company Sinterit has launched a new material – PA11 Onyx – which it will be bringing to formnext next month, along with its Lisa and Lisa 2 Pro 3D printers. According to Sinterit, this is first powder that’s ready for use in desktop SLS 3D printers, and it delivers excellent thermal, chemical, and abrasive resistance, along with better flexibility and impact resistance. PA11 Onyx is a high performance, lightweight, polyamide-11 bioplastic produced from plant-based renewable resources. In addition, the material also has high elongation at break, which means that durable finished products, like a military glass case and custom casings, can be opened and closed thousands of times without getting damaged.
“Our clients use a lot of electronic devices, like Raspberry Pi, that need a proper, individually made housing that can endure in unfriendly conditions. They are looking for durable materials but also require some elasticity and high-temperature resistance,” said Sinterit Co-Founder Konrad Glowacki. “PA11 Onyx delivers that.”
Come visit Sinterit at booth G41 in Hall 3.1 at formnext, November 13-16, to see its 3D printers and newly launched powders, which also include Flexa Black and Flexa Grey TPU materials.
Speaking of formnext, 3D printing leader Materialise will also be attending the event in Frankfurt, and has just revealed what new product introductions it will be displaying at its booth C48 in Hall 3. Some of the highlights include new plastic and metal materials, like Inconel, Polypropylene, and Taurus, automotive applications, and the Materialise Magics 3D Print Suite; this last includes a new Simulation Module, the E-Stage for Metal 1.1 automatic support structure generation upgrade, and Magics 23, the latest software release.
Additionally, there will also be presentations from Materialise partners and the company’s own experts, like Lieve Boeykens, the Market Innovation Manager for Materialise Software. Boeykens will be presenting on the TCT Stage about “Reducing Costs and Speeding Up the Validation of AM Parts” on November 15 at 4 pm. Visit the Materialise formnext site for updates.
AMUG Conference Registration Open
The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) just announced that online registration is now open for its 2019 Education & Training Conference, which is now in its 31st year and will be held in Chicago from March 31-April 4. The conference is open to owners and operators of industrial 3D printing technologies for professional purposes, and welcomes designers, educators, engineers, plant managers, supervisors, technicians, and more to share application developments, best practices, and challenges in 3D printing. The program has been adjusted to include more hands-on experiences and training, and will include workshops, technical sessions, and even a new Training Lab. There will also be networking receptions, catered meals, the two-night AMUGexpo, a Technical Competition, and the fifth annual Innovators Showcase, featuring special guest Professor Gideon Levy, consultant for Technology Turn Around.
“As the AM community evolves, so will AMUG,” said Paul Bates, the President of AMUG. “We are excited to present the new program with the goal of continuing to act on our mission of educating and advancing the uses and applications of additive manufacturing technologies.”
Sciaky Sells EBAM and EB Welding System to Asian Aerospace Parts Manufacturer
VX-110 EBAM System
Metal 3D printing solutions provider Sciaky, Inc. has announced that an unnamed but prominent aerospace parts manufacturer in Southeast Asia has purchased its dual-purpose hybrid Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) and EB Welding System. The machine will be customized with special controls that allow it to quickly and easily switch from 3D printing to welding. The system will be used by the manufacturer, remaining anonymous for competitive purposes, to 3D print metal structures and weld dissimilar materials and refractory alloys for said structures, as well as for other aerospace parts. Delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2019.
“Sciaky is excited to work with this innovative company. This strategic vision will allow this manufacturer to reduce operating costs by combining two industry-leading technologies into a single turnkey solution,” said Scott Phillips, President and CEO of Sciaky, Inc. “No other metal 3D printing supplier can offer this kind of game-changing capability.”
Airbus Plans Final Assembly for Racer
Scale model of the Airbus Racer on display at Helitech International 2018. The manufacturer is aiming for a first flight of the demonstrator in 2020. [Image: Thierry Dubois]
Together with partners of its Racer demonstration program, Airbus Helicopters explained that it definitely expects to meet performance targets, and complete the first flight of the compound helicopter on time in 2020. The 7-8 metric ton aircraft, in addition to a targeted cruise speed of 220 knots and 25% lower costs per nautical mile compared to conventional helicopters, will also feature several advanced components, including a three-meter long lateral drive shaft. Avio Aero was called in to 3D print a round, conformal heat exchanger for each later gear box, which will help achieve reduced drag.
The preliminary design review was passed last July, with final assembly targeted to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019. The flight-test program will likely be 200 flight hours, with the second part focusing on demonstrating that the Racer will be able to handle missions like search-and-rescue and emergency medical services. The program itself is part of the EU’s Clean Sky 2 joint technology initiative to help advance aviation’s environmental performance.
Idaho Virtualization Lab is 3D Printed Dinosaur Leader
The Idaho Virtualization Laboratory (IVL), a research unit housed in the Idaho Museum of Natural History on the Idaho State University campus, has long been a leader in using 3D printing to digitize and replicate fossils and skeletons. Museum director Leif Tapanila said that IVL’s 3D printing program has been ongoing for the last 15 years, and while other labs in the country are more driven by research, the IVL is operated a little more uniquely – it’s possibly the only program in the US that goes to such great extent to 3D print fossils.
Jesse Pruitt, lab manager of the Idaho Virtualization Lab, said, “Everybody does a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but no one really does [everything we offer].
“We do our own internal research, we digitize our collections and we also do other people’s research as well.
“It’s not something you see at a smaller university. For this to exist at the level that it exists here is pretty remarkable in my mind.”
The IVL is also one of the only programs to have a large online database of the 3D models it creates, and works to spread knowledge about its 3D printing processes to students and researchers.
While many movies swear by CGI to create special effects, there are some directors and production crews who still prefer to use old school miniatures and models. But old school meets new when 3D printing is used to make these models for practical effects. Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle used some 3D printed miniature model rockets for his new movie First Man, which was just released a week ago and is all about Neil Armstrong and his legendary first walk on the moon. The movie’s miniature effects supervisor Ian Hunter, who won an Oscar for Visual Effects for Interstellar, was in charge of creating and filming the models, which included a one-thirtieth scale miniature for the giant Saturn V rocket and one-sixth scale miniatures of the Command/Service Module and Lunar Excursion Module.
“We had banks of 3D printers running day and night, running off pieces. We also used a lot of laser-cut pieces,” Hunter said about the Saturn V rocket miniature. “The tube-like shape of the rocket came from PVC piping, with the gantry made of acrylic tubing, along with many 3D printed and laser cut parts.”
The 3D printed model of the Saturn V rocket even made it into one of the trailers for the film, and the film itself.
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We’re bringing you the latest 3D printing business news in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, plus a little 3D printed art to round things out. FATHOM is partnering with SOLIDWORKS software reseller GoEngineer, while L’Oréal is working with INITIAL, a Prodways Group company. Kickstarter and Autodesk are releasing a new open source 3D printing test, and 3D LifePrints has renewed its collaboration with the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Fargo 3D Printing has formed a new spin-off business, a metal 3D printed parts bureau has purchased an EBAM system from Sciaky, and 3D Systems’ SLA technology is being used to deliver customized dental solutions. Finally, we take a look at some fun and creative 3D printed artwork.
FATHOM and GoEngineer Announce Strategic Partnership
SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software and Stratasys 3D printer reseller GoEngineer has announced a new strategic agreement with 3D printing company FATHOM. GoEngineer has purchased FATHOM’s 3D printing equipment reseller business, so that FATHOM can focus solely on its digital manufacturing services. Thanks to the agreement, the two partners will be able to scale their respective businesses in different, but significant ways, leveraging their strengths in order to create a large product development ecosystem of hardware, software, engineering, design, manufacturing, and training solutions that customers can use to drive innovation.
Michelle Mihevc, the Co-founder and Principal at FATHOM, said, “It’s exciting for our industry because both FATHOM and GoEngineer are uniquely positioned to meet the ever-increasing demand for advanced tools and services that enhance and accelerate a company’s product development and production processes.”
L’Oréal and INITIAL Increasing Development of 3D Printed Thermoplastic Parts
The cosmetics industry has a constant challenge in quickly marketing new products to meet the many specific demands of customers. That’s why L’Oréal is teaming up with INITIAL, a Prodways Group subsidiary – the two are ramping up development of 3D printed thermoplastic parts. More specifically, INITIAL’s new solution, 3D Molding, uses 3D printing to make plastic injection molds for “final material” parts at less cost and in record time. Recently, L’Oréal needed 14 resin test molds, along with 20 injection molding test runs and several hundred molded parts. By using Prodways’ patented MOVINGLight 3D printing technology and PLASTCure Rigid 10500 resin, the company was able to achieve accurate 3D prints in just two weeks.
“We produce the 3D Printing mould and the final material parts are then directly injection-moulded,” said Yvon Gallet, INITIAL’s Chairman. “With our 3D printing and injection expertise, we were best placed to develop this unique solution. It is aimed at designers in the development phase and complements our traditional machining and injection solutions. It is an innovative alternative that meets the needs of manufacturers, like L’Oréal, that could benefit from this technological advance to reduce their time to market.”
Kickstarter and Autodesk Releasing Open Source 3D Printing Calibration Test
Prints of the test file from Cubibot and Robo printers.
The evidence speaks for itself – Kickstarter is a great place for 3D printing. The popular crowdfunding site requires that 3D printer creators demonstrate the functionality of their systems through various means, but it can be hard to compare the performance of different machines, because not everyone shows off the same test prints, like the 3D Benchy. So Kickstarter is working at Autodesk to address this lack of a common standard for assessing FDM 3D printer performance, and will soon be releasing a new open source 3D printer test for Kickstarter creators, developed by Autodesk research scientist Andreas Bastian.
“We believe this test procedure will support greater transparency in our community,” Zach Dunham wrote in a Kickstarter blog post. “We started with FDM printers because they’re the most common model on Kickstarter. Our goal over time is to expand this calibration test to other printing technologies like stereolithography. Though this test is optional for creators to share on their project pages, electing to do so opens a frank conversation about quality. And backers of any 3D printer project can share images of their own tests by posting them with the hashtag #FDMtest.”
Creators can download the single, consolidated STL file and instructions to test their 3D printers’ alignment, dimensional accuracy, and resolution on Github.
3D LifePrints and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Renew Collaboration
The Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has signed a long-term collaboration agreement with 3D LifePrints, a UK-based medical 3D printing company and a founding member of the hospital’s Innovation Hub. The company has had an embedded 3D printing facility at the 1,000 square meter underground co-creation space since 2015, and was supported by the hospital for its first two years there, showcasing the impact of its work and establishing its unique 3D printed offerings. Under the agreement, the company will continue supplying the hospital with its specialized 3D printing services.
“I am really proud of this milestone in our ongoing partnership. Incubating a start-up company in a hospital, to the point where they have series A funding, a multi-year contract with the NHS and diffusion to other medical centres around the country is an enormous vindication of what the Innovation hub was set up for,” said Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director and a paediatric surgeon at Alder Hey. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see 3DLP help integrate this emerging technology into clinical practice.”
Fargo 3D Printing Forms 3D Printer Repair Business
North Dakota-based Fargo 3D Printing has formed a new business out of its 3D printer repair segment, called Fargo 3D Printer Repair. While its parent company continues to focus on multiple aspects of the industry, the five-person repair team at the new Fargo 3D Printer Repair can devote 100% of its time to providing 3D printer repair and service to individuals, schools, OEMs, and businesses. The new spin-off company currently provides production-scale warranty servicing, maintenance, and repair services for multiple OEM 3D printing companies across North America; service and repair requests can be made through an intuitive form on its website.
“We don’t sell any 3D printers ourselves, so we are able to remain brand impartial when recommending and performing 3D printer repairs,” said John Olhoft, the CEO of Fargo 3D Printer Repair, who started working in the original shop as a repair technician. “Original Equipment Manufacturers like that they can trust us to provide high quality repairs with a quick turnaround, and not push a competing brand on their customers.”
Sciaky Providing EBAM System to Metal 3D Printing Bureau
Metal 3D printing solutions provider Sciaky will provide one of its Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) systems to Michigan-based FAMAero (Future Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace), a privately-owned metal 3D printed parts bureau. According to Sciaky, this custom EBAM system will be the largest production metal 3D printer in the world, with a 146″ x 62″ 62″ nominal part envelope that will be able to produce metal parts over 12 feet in length. FAMAero will use the massive new EBAM system to provide metal 3D printing services to customers in the aerospace, defense, oil & gas, and sea exploration industries.
Don Doyle, President of FAMAero, said, “FAMAero is entering the market as the first private, dedicated parts bureau in North America for large-scale 3D printed metal parts. Our Factory as a Service concept, combined with Sciaky’s industry-leading EBAM® technology, will provide manufacturers a new avenue to significantly slash time and cost on the production of critical parts, while offering the largest build platform and selection of exotic metals to choose from in the 3D parts service market.”
Creating Customized Dental Solutions with 3D Systems’ SLA 3D Printing
In order to make over 320,000 invisible dental aligners in a single day, Align Technology uses SLA 3D printing from 3D Systems. The company’s technology allows Align to create the unique aligner forms so that they are customized to each individual patient’s dental data. So far, Align has treated nearly 6 million patients, but using 3D printing technology is helping the growth of its business accelerate.
“What makes Align’s mass customization so unique is not only are we producing millions of parts every month, but each one of these parts that we produce is unique,” said Srini Kaza, the Vice President of Advanced Technology for Align Technology. “And this is really, as far as I know, the only true example of mass production using 3D printing.”
Ben Fearnley Uses SLA 3D Printing to Bring Artwork to Life
SLA 3D printing isn’t just good for use in dental applications, however. Ben Fearnley, a designer, illustrator, and 3D artist based out of New York City, uses the technology to, as he told 3DPrint.com, “bring my work to life from the 3D world to the real world.”
One interesting piece of 3D printed art Fearnley creates is Good Vibes Only Typography – script style typography lettering sculptures modeled in Cinema 4D and 3D printed on his Form 2. But my personal favorite are his Sculptmojis, which look pretty much exactly how they sound. These pieces, which are a combination of traditional sculpture art forms and modern emojis, originally began as a digital art project, and have now been brought to amusing, quirky life through 3D printing. You can purchase Fearnley’s unique 3D printed artwork here.
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In the first 3D Printing News Briefs for this month, we’re starting with some education and business, followed by some how-to videos and a couple of things to ponder. PrintLab’s curriculum is going global, while the province of Victoria in Australia has invested in 3D printing. A Ukrainian company has introduced a new type of metal 3D printing, and you can learn how to cast concrete 3D printed molds and make an etched glass build surface for your 3D printer by checking out two new YouTube videos. There could be even more uses for construction 3D printing than previously thought, and a thermal view of a model being 3D printed on an Ultimaker begs an important question.
PrintLab Portal Available in Polish
3D printing curriculum provider PrintLab, based in the UK, set up an online portal in January, called PrintLab Classroom, to help teachers better integrate 3D printing into their lesson plans. Now that the English version of the learning platform has been successfully launched, PrintLab is working to offer the curriculum portal in multiple languages. Now, thanks to a collaboration with Polish 3D technology and education supplier Paxer, a new PrintLab reseller, the platform is available in Polish, with translations in Spanish and Chinese in the works.
“After a great deal of initial interest and success, we are very pleased to be able to offer our curriculum to Polish students and educators. Our mission has always been to prepare the next generation for their future careers by addressing the widening skills gap and we are now able to do this across multiple regions. Our focus is on finding partners that share our belief and vision and in Paxer, we have found a motivated team that has technology in education at its core,” said Nick Mayor, Co-Founder at PrintLab.
“The aim is to inspire students and teachers around the world to adopt technology into lessons. We have started with Polish, however that is just the beginning. Spanish and Chinese translation is currently being undertaken which is part of our plan of inspiring minds on a global scale and providing teachers worldwide with comprehensive lesson packages, developed alongside teachers.”
New Virtual 3D Printing Hub in Victoria
The manufacturing industry in Victoria, the second most populous state in Australia, contributes $27.7 billion to the Victorian economy. Now, businesses there will be able to connect with additive manufacturing technology and produce products more easily and quickly, thanks to a new dedicated virtual hub. Ben Carroll, the Minister for Industry and Employment, joined Member for Carrum, Sonya Kilkenny, at the Carrum Downs facility of 3D printing company Objective3D to make the announcement this week. The hub, supported by $2 million from the Victorian Government and delivered by Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited – a national body representing manufacturing technology suppliers and users – should improve access for local companies to the state’s 3D printing infrastructure.
Carroll said, “3D printing is a game changer for manufacturing – which is why we’re backing the technology so more local companies can reap the benefits.
“This new hub will help local manufactures innovate, become more productive and excel in future industries.”
xBeam Metal 3D Printing
Ukrainian company NVO Chervona Hvilya has a new form of metal 3D printing it calls xBeam, which it says “was born to make the best features of Additive Manufacturing available for wide industrial community and to prove that definition of Additive manufacturing as the Third Industrial Revolution is reality.” The company has spent roughly four decades developing electron beam technologies for multiple applications, and its exclusive xBeam technology was born from this experience.
With xBeam, the company says you won’t have to decide between high productivity, accuracy, and a defect-free metal structure – its patented solution delivers all three. xBeam is based on the ability of a gas-discharge electron beam gun to generate a hollow, conical beam, which can offer “unique physical conditions for precisely controllable metal deposition and forming of desired metal structure in produced 3D metal part.”
Using 3D Printed Molds to Create Cast Concrete Products
Industrial designer Rob Chesney, the founder of New Zealand-based bespoke design and fabrication studio Further Fabrication, recently published a tutorial on the studio’s YouTube channel about creating cast concrete objects and products with 3D printed molds and no silicone at all. For the purposes of the video, Chesney used 3D printed molds for faceted candle holders.
“In the first half of this video we’re gonna deal with the design and the creation of the molds using the computer and 3D printing,” Chesney said. “In the second half we’ll show you how you go about casting products with some tips and tricks thrown in there along the way.”
To learn how to make your own cast concrete candle holder with a 3D printed mold, check out the Further Fabrication video:
Etched Glass Build Plate
Another new video tutorial, this time by YouTube user MrDabrudda, shows viewers how to make an etched glass build surface for a 3D printer. What’s even better, the plate does not require you to use tape, a glue stick, or even hairspray to get your prints to adhere to it.
“So I’m tired of having to respray the hairspray on my glass bed for my 3D printer, so what I’m doing is taking a 180 grit diamond stone and a tub of water, and I’m going around on here and roughing this up,” MrDabrudda said.
To learn the rest of the process, check out the rest of the video:
Construction 3D Printing Uses
A 3D printed Volvo CE workshop tool
While there are still those who may think that construction 3D printing is all hype, that’s not the case. Sure, maybe it’s not possible to create a fully 3D printed house in a day in every country in the world, but we’re already able to create large-scale, 3D printed objects, with impressive lifespans and tensile strengths, out of a multitude of materials. There are also other applications in construction 3D printing than just houses. Caterpillar has long been interested in 3D printing, and thanks to its early work in research engineering cells, prototyping, and 3D printing tools for the assembly line, it’s now moved into commercial production of nearly 100 components; however, all but one were made of polymers.
“We’ve made a lot of progress with this technology, but not to the point where we are comfortable putting it into, for example, safety equipment or the manufacture of large metal parts, although we are doing a lot of research in that area,” said Don Jones, Caterpillar’s General Manager, Global Parts Strategy and Transformation.
Another OEM with developed 3D printing capabilities is Volvo CE, which stands for Construction Equipment. As of right now, the company has 3D printed spare parts such as plastic coverings, cab elements, and sections of air conditioning units.
“It’s especially good for older machines where the parts that have worn out are no longer made efficiently in traditional production methods,” said Jasenko Lagumdzija, Volvo CE’s manager of Business Support. “Producing new parts by 3D printing cuts down on time and costs, so it’s an efficient way of helping customers.”
Can Thermal Imaging Improve 3D Printing Results?
Usually when I think of thermal imaging, the movie Predator immediately comes to mind – the alien creature tracked its human prey by their body heat signatures. But this technology can also be applied to 3D printing. About two years ago, CNC machine manufacturing company Thermwood Corporation added real-time thermographic imaging as a standard feature on its LSAM (Large Scale Additive Manufacturing) systems. This imaging makes it far easier to adjust and control the entire 3D printing process, which will result in excellent 3D printed structures as a result.
Using thermal imaging can help create high-quality, large tools that are solid and void-free enough to maintain a vacuum, without any necessary surface coating or sealing. To ensure good prints, the temperature of the print surface needs to be controlled, which is tricky to do. But thermal imaging can help operators remain in the optimal range of temperatures. Thermwood seems to be ahead of the times with its thermal imaging capabilities.
A new video was recently posted by YouTube user Julian Danzer showing a large BFR winged rear section model being fabricated on an Ultimaker 3D printer; the video switches about 30 seconds in to a thermal view of the print job. The quality isn’t great, but it makes me think – should all 3D printers come standard with FLIR cameras now? If thermal imaging can really help improve the results of 3D prints, my answer is yes. What do you think?
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In order to hold up under difficult launch conditions and decade-long missions in the zero gravity conditions of outer space, satellite fuel tanks need to be both lightweight and strong. Titanium is an obvious choice of material, but it can take over a year to acquire 4-foot-diameter, 4-inch-thick titanium forgings, which also increases the overall cost of the tank. Additionally, if traditional manufacturing methods are used to fabricate these forgings, over 80% of the material is wasted.
This infographic shows the scale of the 3D printed domes, their placement on the tank, and overall location within an LM 2100 satellite.
That’s why Lockheed Martin chose to employ 3D printing to create a record-setting, 46-inch-diameter titanium dome for its satellite fuel tanks.
“Our largest 3-D printed parts to date show we’re committed to a future where we produce satellites twice as fast and at half the cost. And we’re pushing forward for even better results,” Rick Ambrose, the Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Space, explained. “For example, we shaved off 87 percent of the schedule to build the domes, reducing the total delivery timeline from two years to three months.”
The new fuel tank for Lockheed Martin’s largest satellites have 3D printed domes integrated into the body to cap them off.
The tank is made up of a traditionally manufactured, variable-length titanium cylinder, which is capped by two 3D printed domes; these three pieces are then welded together to make up the final product. Technicians at Lockheed Martin’s Denver facility fabricate the domes using Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) technology on a large 3D printer.
By 3D printing the domes, there is no longer any material waste, and the titanium is available to use with no wait time, which lowers the delivery time of the satellite tank from two years to just three months. This in turn helps the company cut its satellite schedule and costs by 50%.
“We self-funded this design and qualification effort as an investment in helping our customers move faster and save costs. These tanks are part of a total transformation in the way we design and deliver space technology,” said Ambrose. “We’re making great strides in automation, virtual reality design and commonality across our satellite product line. Our customers want greater speed and value without sacrificing capability in orbit, and we’re answering the call.”
These 3D printed tank domes are far bigger in size for the company’s qualified 3D printing materials – previously, its largest part was an electronics enclosure for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite program that was only the size of a toaster. That makes these domes, which are large enough to hold nearly 75 gallons of liquid, a pretty big leap.
A Lockheed Martin engineer inspects one of the 3D printed dome prototypes at the company’s space facility in Denver.
The final rounds of quality testing for the satellite fuel tank and its 3D printed domes were completed earlier this month, which finally ends a multi-year development program with the goal of successfully creating giant, high-pressure tanks to carry fuel on satellites. Lockheed Martin technicians and engineers spared nothing on their quest to ensure that the tanks would meet, and even exceed, the reliability and performance required by NASA, as even the tiniest of flaws or leaks could spell disaster for a satellite’s operations.
The structure of the vessel was “rigorously evaluated,” according to a release, and the company’s techs ran it through an entire suite of tests in order to demonstrate its repeatability and high tolerances. Lockheed Martin is now offering the large satellite fuel tank, complete with its two 3D printed domes, as one of the standard product options for its 2100 satellite buses.
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