3D printing industry news sliced: Nexa3D, Lulzbot, Protolabs, Shapeways, Arkema, 3D Hubs and more. 

In this edition of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry news digest, we cover the latest business developments, partnerships, and acquisitions across our industry.  Today’s edition features supply chain updates, additive manufacturing partnerships, new 3D printing materials, a number of investments in the industry and a 3D printed  off-road electric vehicle.  Read on for the most […]

Lubrizol Buys into 3D Printing Parts and Services via Avid Acquisition

The Lubrizol Corporation has purchased Avid Product Development, a 3D printing and engineering services company, marking a significant development for additive materials and the larger industry as a whole.

While it may be best known for its engine oils, Lubrizol is a roughly $6.5 billion specialty chemical company owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. As such, it is one of a number of chemical producers that have been increasing their stakes in the 3D printing materials space, the biggest of which is BASF. The Ohio-based firm has already released its own additive feedstocks (specifically thermoplastic polyurethanes for fused filament fabrication and Multi Jet Fusion), but this acquisition marks a strong move for Lubrizol, as it expands from a material manufacturer to an engineering, 3D printing and post-processing service provider.

Samples demonstrating Avid’s post-processing capabilities. Image courtesy of Lubrizol.

Based in Loveland, Colorado, Avid offers design for additive manufacturing, as well as prototyping and production using selective laser sintering, Multi Jet Fusion, fused filament fabrication and stereolithography. Additionally, the company provides post-processing for 3D printed parts. The company serves the footwear, consumer goods, industrial and medical segments and won the 2019 Colorado Company to Watch award. According to a press release sent to 3DPrint.com, Lubrizol plans to combine its expertise in materials, applications and testing with the aforementioned offerings from Avid in order to accelerate 3D printing adoption in key industries.

Gert-Jan Nijhuis, General Manager of 3D Printing Solutions at Lubrizol Engineered Materials, said of the deal:

“Lubrizol continues to invest in opportunities that bring new differentiated solutions to our customers. The acquisition of Avid Product Development greatly enhances our ability as a 3D printing solution provider, offering complete product solutions from material development to printing and post processing services, delivering end-use products for our key markets.”

As industrialized nations purportedly strive to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, oil companies may be looking to supplement demand through petrochemical markets. ExxonMobil admitted as much in a 2018 investor report, stating an expected 30 percent increase in petrochemical demand by 2025.

A flexible TPU part 3D printed by Avid. Image courtesy of Lubrizol.

In turn, not only are we seeing an increasing number of major chemical companies enter the 3D printing industry, but we are seeing them diversify within that space as well. BASF has made the biggest movements, putting money into three different 3D-printed parts makers by partnering with Shapeways, investing in Materialise and acquiring Sculpteo. Mitsubishi Chemicals is also trying its hand at 3D printing parts through a pilot program with AddiFab.

By purchasing Avid, Lubrizol gets out ahead of a number of other chemical companies not described so far, including Dow/DuPont, Eastman, SABIC and more, who seem to be more focused on making materials at this point than using them. However, we have also witnessed a number of investments by companies like DSM and Arkema into new technologies and startups that could greatly expand their foothold in 3D printing once those startups take off.

All of these players are changing the landscape of the 3D printing industry, likely into a more industrially focused space. How that will look in the years to come is anyone’s guess, particularly given the uncertainty of global events at the moment, but the impact will be impossible to overlook.

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Customize Drones with 3D Printing to Suit Your Business

Drones, or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), are a growing technology used in many different sectors and their designs must suit their specific application. 3D printing facilitates drone innovation by enabling design freedom, as well as fast and affordable prototyping and printing of parts. It is possible to 3D print many of a drone’s parts including the frame, propellers, the landing gear, protective equipment and casings for the electronic components.

With the cost and time efficiency that 3D printing offers, each of these parts can be optimized, customized and upgraded to suit the exact needs of the business it is serving. If you are using or considering using drones for your business, 3D printing has the potential to substantially enhance your drone’s function.

Time and Costs By Turning to 3D Printing for Customized Drones

Commercial drones can be highly expensive and out of reach for smaller businesses that rely on the use of drones to grow their business. 3D printing cuts costs in many different areas including prototyping, customization and manufacturing and therefore makes specialty drones more accessible. It also speeds up the design and prototyping process so that changes can be implemented and the design can evolve more quickly. Kespry, a company that specializes in drones for mapping and surveying, were able to successfully grow their business thanks in part to the affordability of 3D printing their drone parts. Prototyping and printing the covers for their drones’ electronic components cost substantially less than traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding.

a Drone that Suits Your Business Perfectly

Even with the wide range of drones already out there, why rely on a ready-made drone that only suits some of your needs? If you need drones to transport supplies and other cargo, to perform reconnaissance in tight spaces or remote areas, or to catch stunning video footage from the sky, 3D printing can allow you to upgrade drones to suit your business specifically.

Optimize Your Drone Based on its Function

A drone transporting cargo would need a much sturdier, reinforced frame, for example, whereas an FPV drone carrying a small camera might benefit from a more lightweight body. Perhaps your drone needs to be weather resistant and be able to continue flying in unpredictable conditions. No matter what your business’s unique set of needs is, 3D printing allows you to make specific design choices.

Take Advantage of a Higher Level of Geometric Complexity

3D printing technology allows designs to incorporate a higher complexity, allowing parts to be produced more efficiently. Using 3D Printing, companies like Quantum Systems are able to consolidate their drone parts by taking advantage of the ability to produce more complex designs that integrate multiple functions into one part. This not only saves time and materials but also gives them the opportunity to add any needed features to their designs without compromising on the drone’s weight.

Your Drone Parts

Prototyping with 3D printing helps make customizing drones accessible even to smaller businesses. The process allows for unprecedented speed and cost reduction in making sure your drone is the best it can be. Instead of waiting months to test new iterations, changes can be made to 3D designs within hours, then printed and shipped to you in days. Implementing changes quickly allows for a faster evolution of a design and to find exactly what is right for your business.

Your Parts with the Appropriate 3D Printing Method and Materials

Selecting the right 3D printing technology and materials will depend on the drone. SLA printing provides a high level of precision and a wide range of materials to choose from. The material should be tough and versatile and be able to handle stretching, bending and impact. Nylon is another option as it is strong, temperature resistant and is also good for printing drone fuselages that resist collision damages.

Up with a Service To Achieve the Highest Level of Quality

For the most efficient printing process, it is important to have dedicated support and access to the highest quality results. Our services at Shapeways enable businesses of all sizes to develop specialty drones without incurring high equipment startup costs and navigating the trial and error of adapting to a new technology. That way your focus can be on your needs and your unique drone design while the production of prototypes and parts is taken care of.

            Drones are used for such a wide range of projects and functions that having specific enhancements to suit its purpose are hugely beneficial. Traditional manufacturing methods would have made unique alterations inaccessible to many smaller businesses but thanks to 3D printing, updating a drone’s design has limitless opportunities. Whether your business uses or produces and sells drones, customization will become more and more important and 3D printing is the best suited technology to facilitate it.

See how Shapeways can help you produce the best drones to grow your business.

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The post Customize Drones with 3D Printing to Suit Your Business appeared first on Shapeways Blog.

Singaporean Company Gets Certified for Aviation Printing

AFS logo featured imageSingapore-based Additive Flight Solutions Pte. Ltd. has received AS9100D certification, which will enable the company to provide parts to the aerospace industry. AS9100D is an aerospace quality management system akin to ISO 9001 (it actually contains ISO 9001, and a whole lot more), and having this certification is a requirement for doing business in the […]

GM invests in additional 17 Stratasys 3D printers, accelerates move from prototyping to tooling

Automotive manufacturer General Motors (GM) has added 17 Stratasys FDM 3D printers to its already extensive fleet, citing “speed, weight reduction, and cost efficiency” as key advantages of the technology. The news precedes an update from Stratasys on the companies most recent financial performance that is due tomorrow. Ron Daul, Director of Additive Manufacturing at GM, states: […]

U.S. Air Force engineers become first to engine-test 3D printed metal parts for USAF

Engineers from the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, a wing of the Air Force Sustainment Center, have become the first to successfully test a 3D printed metal component inside a U.S. Air Force aircraft engine. The “significant milestone” bodes well for aircraft that are powered by the TF33-P103 engine, such as the E-3 Airborne Warning […]

NASA Lets You 3D Print Your Own Mars Perseverance Rover

After a successful launch on July 30, NASA‘s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission is on its way to the Red Planet to search for signs of ancient life and collect rock samples to send back to Earth. Nearly a decade in the making, the 10-foot-long rover packs some breakthrough technology, loaded with scientific instruments and advanced computational capabilities for landing and surviving the frigid Martian nights. Unlike its four predecessors, this is the largest, heaviest robotic Mars rover NASA has built, and space fans are fascinated. The activities and events prior to launch have been virtually packed with people of all ages from all over the world joining for a behind-the-scenes look at the rover, immersive augmented reality virtual trips to Mars, 3D visualizations to explore the science instruments for the mission, and even the chance to 3D print a full-size replica of the Perseverance.

The engineers that built the rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have released free print-ready STL files and assembly directions, found here, to make your own mini, simplified Perseverance. This is the latest addition to the 110 3D printable models that NASA has already made available to the public, which includes a variety of space-related models, from Saturn rockets and International Space Station tools to the Orion capsule and even landing sites for many of the Apollo missions. To make one mini rover, users will have to 3D print 39 parts, many of them more than once, to then assemble several components. All of the sub-assemblies are represented, including mobility and robotic arms, chassis, wheels, and the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG).

Mars 2020 Perseverance ATLO Rover Drive Test (Image courtesy of NASA/J. Krohn)

Nearly a decade in the making, the real Mars 2020 mission rover weighs more than a ton and hosts seven scientific payloads, a robotic arm, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter (which can also be downloaded as STL files for 3D printing), 25 cameras, and the first microphones to record sound on the Red Planet. Some of the major hardware in the car-sized Mars explorer, such as the cruise stage, descent stage, backshell, and heat shield were built upon the success of NASA’s Curiosity rover—part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission—and thereby includes many heritage components.

The nuclear-powered Mars explorer will become NASA’s ninth mission to land on Mars and the first since the Viking landers of the 1970s charged with seeking evidence of life. Prior to landing on Jezero Crater, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator, the rover will travel 290 million miles over seven cold, dark, unforgiving months aboard the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket that launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Mars 2020 mission with the Perseverance rover lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 (Image courtesy of United Launch Alliance)

2020 has turned out to be a very busy year space-wise, with dozens of missions going to orbit, the Moon, and Mars. In fact, Perseverence will be joined by two other interplanetary missions to the Red Planet: the United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter which launched on July 14 and will study the planet’s atmosphere and climate from above, and China’s first-ever fully homegrown robotic spacecraft, the Tianwen-1. All missions are currently on route and expected to arrive in February 2021.

“With the launch of Perseverance, we begin another historic mission of exploration,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This amazing explorer’s journey has already required the very best from all of us to get it to launch through these challenging times. Now we can look forward to its incredible science and to bringing samples of Mars home even as we advance human missions to the Red Planet. As a mission, as an agency, and as a country, we will persevere.”

The Perseverance rover carries seven instruments to conduct its science and exploration technology investigations (Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)

As part of America’s larger Moon to Mars exploration approach, the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is to prepare for future human exploration of the Red Planet. The Martian rock and dust Perseverance’s Sample Caching System collects could answer fundamental questions about the potential for life beyond Earth. Two future missions currently under consideration by NASA, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), will work together to get the samples to an orbiter for return to Earth to undergo in-depth analysis by scientists using equipment far too large to send to the Red Planet.

The Perseverance rover’s astrobiology mission is to seek out signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the diverse geology of its landing site, and demonstrate key technologies that will help future robotic and human exploration. According to NASA, while most of Perseverance’s seven instruments are geared toward learning more about the planet’s geology and astrobiology, the MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) instrument’s job is focused on missions yet to come. Designed to demonstrate that converting Martian carbon dioxide into oxygen is possible, it could lead to future versions of MOXIE technology that become staples on Mars missions, providing oxygen for rocket fuel and breathable air.

“Jezero Crater is the perfect place to search for signs of ancient life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Perseverance is going to make discoveries that cause us to rethink our questions about what Mars was like and how we understand it today. As our instruments investigate rocks along an ancient lake bottom and select samples to return to Earth, we may very well be reaching back in time to get the information scientists need to say that life has existed elsewhere in the universe.”

Illustration NASA’s Perseverance rover uses its Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) instrument to analyze a rock on the surface of Mars (Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Deep space exploration remains one of the most appealing undertakings of humanity. Rovers like the Perseverance, and the others before it, engage the curiosity of thousands of people. Today, 3D printing can help recreate these unique explorers at home and has proven to be a great mechanism to engage students and educators in space-related activities, giving them new tools to understand faraway terrains, spacecraft engineering, and technology. Thanks to NASA’s JPL learning space, anyone can explore the world and beyond through projects, toolkits, and many real-life models that give people the chance to touch, feel, and interact with advanced space technology like never before.

The post NASA Lets You 3D Print Your Own Mars Perseverance Rover appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

Additive Flight Solutions Awarded AS9100D Certification for Commercial Aircraft 3D Printing

With increasingly stringent standards and regulations governing the aircraft industry, MRO providers must obtain the latest certifications in order to serve their customers, as well as to ensure compliance within their organizations and supply chains. The AS9100 certification standard governs quality management systems in the aerospace industry, and its latest revision AS9100D, updated or changed more than 98% of the previous standard. The revision had broad implications for MRO providers, and introduced a particularly strong focus on accountability, to ensure strict safety protocols and to introduce preventive risk-based thinking, and measures to prevent the use of counterfeit products.

Image courtesy of Additive Flight Solutions.

In a boost to the Singapore-based company’s growing reputation as a provider of additive manufacturing part solutions for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), Additive Flight Solutions (AFS) has received the AS9100D Certification. It is also now registered with the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), the global body that governs quality management within the worldwide supply chain of the aerospace industry.

This is all the more relevant as additive manufacturing solutions, such as those from AFS, increasingly transform or complement the traditional MRO business in providing parts and services that meet the quality requirements for end-use in aircrafts. A joint venture between major Asia-Pacific MRO provider, SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC), and Stratasys, AFS brings Stratasys’ additive manufacturing expertise and solutions to more than 80 international carriers and aerospace OEMs through SIAEC. AFS provides AM solutions for aerospace certification (such as the Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution), prototyping, manufacturing aids and tooling, and production parts using thermoplastics.

Composite Tooling. Image courtesy of Additive Flight Solutions

In particular, it supplies industry grade parts and services for airplane cabin interiors (sanitizer holders for example) to local and global manufacturers. The AM parts are primarily used as replacements for interior cabin parts, which are low volume, and can often be obsolescent. Regarding the certification, Stefan Roeding, DGM, AFS said,

“From individual part weight reduction to a more comfortable layout and design, the future of aircraft interiors is set to take off in innovative ways. Apart from being a competitive advantage, achieving the AS9100D is a significant milestone for AFS and our parent companies. This certification validates our commitment to drive the development of aerospace applications and deliver reliable and precisely engineered solutions. It gives us immense pride in attaining this globally recognized mark of excellence.”

With the AS9100D certification for an AM part provider, aerospace manufacturers can enable partnerships and strengthen confidence in collaborating with AFS to advance next-generation aerospace MRO solutions. AM parts have proven their improved material properties, to deliver better performance, efficiency and flexibility in aerospace manufacturing, design, and supply chains. These parts must also meet requirements from international organizations such as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

                                                                                                                Image courtesy of Additive Flight Solutions

In other partnerships to advance AM in aerospace MRO, Oerlikon is working jointly with Lufthansa Technik to accelerate AM in MRO applications, EOS is doing the same with Etihad Airways Engineering for cabin parts, and so is Pratt & Whitney working with ST Engineering for aero-engine components. Similarly, Air New Zealand is working with Arcam EBM to produce metal AM parts for aircraft interiors, MRO tooling and product development. Premium Aerotec and Materialise have partnered with Airbus to supply metal and polymer parts respectively. Stratasys has also partnered with Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group to 3D print flight-ready parts as well as ground-running equipment.

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You’re Using Too Many Software Applications to Run Your 3D Printing Business

Consolidate your applications into one collaboration platform to run your business more efficiently By Mike Moceri, founder, and CEO, MakerOS Every year, companies across all industries are relying more and more on multiple software applications to get the job done. On average, companies with under 1,000 employees use 22 custom applications in their business. As you’d […]

U.S. Marines use ICON 3D printing to create concrete structures at Camp Pendleton

Texas-based construction firm ICON has partnered with the U.S. government-backed Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), to demonstrate the military applications of 3D printing at the Camp Pendleton Marine base. Working with the DIU, ICON trained a crew of eight Marines to use its concrete 3D printers. Despite their limited engineering experience, the troops managed to print a vehicle hide […]