LM Industries Group Introduces Disruptive Transport Concepts Using 3D Printing

Local Motors has recently formed the LM Industries Group with the express purpose of altering the way transportation works. Their goal is to disrupt the industry with all sorts of new methods of production and communication, like crowd-sourcing and 3D printing. The ambitious project has netted them a fair number of high-profile partners, such as […]

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LM Industries launches Local Motors’ car 3D printing microfactories

Local Motors, known for developing the 3D printed Strati car and Olli bus, and its spinout co-creation platform Launch Forth have restructured under new parent company LM Industries Group Inc. Based in San Francisco, CA, LM Industries is launching as “the world’s first digital OEM.” Operating from microfactories rather than large facilities, LM Industries aims to […]

Lockheed Martin’s Contributions to 3D Printing

The aerospace industry was one of the first major advocates of 3D printing, as the industry has been a driving force in the evolution of this technology. The industry covers a wide range of commercial, industrial and military applications that demand state-of-the art technology for mission critical needs. At the forefront of 3D printing is Lockheed Martin, which serves as a clear leader through their ability to rapidly implement innovation and use of 3D printing across prototyping, tooling and production of components. Lockheed is able to create significant varying parts and designs that are cost effective, reliable and durable more so than traditional machining methods, due to the improvements of 3D printing technology.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  • Must be technological in nature
  • Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
  • Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
  • Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives

Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax, for companies with revenue below $50MM and for the first time, pre-profitable and pre-revenue startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll taxes and cash rebates.

Remote Interface Unit

Lockheed Martin is planning, for the first time, to use additive manufacturing to develop a part that will be on a military satellite. The complex unit is an aluminum electronic enclosure designed to hold avionic circuits, and is a part that would require multiple components and processes to manufacture under regular machining. But with 3D printing, the parts total is reduced to just one, which in turn reduces manufacturing time from six months down to 1.5 months, as well as reducing assembly time from 12 hours to just 3 hours. Lockheed hopes this successful part can open more 3D printing opportunities for their several other extensive aerospace programs.

Orion Spacecraft

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is a program designed to send astronauts to the moon and beyond in a series of exploration missions. The craft is going to be made of more than 100 3D printed parts, the majority of them made by Lockheed Martin and using state-of-the art materials, like the new Antero thermoplastic material, which is designed to meet NASA’s requirements for heat and chemical resistance. The use of 3D parts was crucial for this program as nearly every piece that was 3D printed was more efficient than traditional parts and reduced costs to the spacecraft overall.

Fuel Tanks

Lockheed Martin, in partnership with Stratasys’ RedEye 3D printer, were able to develop large fuel tanks that store propellant for satellites. The largest fuel tank was as large as 15 feet long, the largest piece ever manufactured by a RedEye printer and one of the largest aerospace parts ever made by a 3D printer. The fuel tanks themselves are the first ever successful ones to be produced through additive manufacturing, and were done in a highly condensed time frame for nearly half the cost of machining the parts. Due to the sheer size of these parts, Lockheed built several smaller parts to fuse together and finalize the product in time to market a competitive contract bid process. They would not have been able to do this had they machined the parts.

Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile

Lockheed Martin has been the primary ballistic missile contractor for the US Navy since 1955 and nothing has changed as they remain the primary supplier. Lockheed was called upon to develop another ballistic missile that would be known as the Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile. This is a three-stage missile that can travel an average range of 4,000 nautical miles while carrying multiple independently targeted missiles. Within the missile is a 3D printed component that is similar to the one used on Lockheed Martin’s satellites. The one-inch wide aluminum alloy piece is a connector backshell component that protects vital cable connectors in the missile. The component was designed and fabricated using only 3D design and printing methods that allowed engineers at Lockheed to produce this part in half the time it would take with machining methods.

Our articles published in Lockheed’s major business areas are presented below:

Aerospace Aerospace Mega Trends Driving 3D Printer Usage
Satellites The R&D Tax Credit Aspects of 3D Printed Telecommunications
Helicopters The R&D Tax Credit Aspects of 3D Printing Helicopter Parts
Drones 3D Printed Drones and the UAS Integration Pilot Program
Avionics The R&D Tax Credit Aspects of Avionics


Lockheed Martin is undeniably a leading manufacturer of all things relating to the aerospace industry. Not only do they produce high quality and critical products, but they consistently find ways to innovate and stay steps ahead of the field with the use of additive manufacturing to bolster their already highly advanced product lines. Lockheed expanded this vast production through the acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft, the leading helicopter manufacturer, which will gain a boost in their existing additive manufacturing capabilities after joining the Lockheed portfolio. The continued integration of 3D printing and large acquisitions is allowing Lockheed to develop parts that are giving aircraft extended service lives, reduced fuel costs, weight reduction and increased strength.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

Charles Goulding & Ryan Donley of R&D Tax Savers discuss Lockheed Martin. 


Researchers 3D Print Tissue That Mimics Human Bile Duct

[Image via Cancer.org]

A bile duct plays a crucial role in the body, carrying bile from the liver to the intestine to facilitate digestion. Cancer of the bile duct has an alarmingly low survival rate, and treatment requires that the disease be caught early enough for the affected part of the bile duct to be removed. But there’s some good news for those suffering from conditions of the bile duct, as researchers at Northwestern University have 3D printed a mini-tissue that mimics it.

The research is documented in a study entitled “Tailoring nanostructure and bioactivity of 3D-printable hydrogels with self-assemble peptides amphiphile (PA) for promoting bile duct formation,” which you can access here. Lead author Ming Yan and colleagues 3D printed a nanostructure consisting of peptides amphiphile, or PAs, bioink and bile duct cells, or cholangiocytes.

“3D-printing has expanded our ability to produce reproducible and more complex scaffold architectures for tissue engineering applications,” the abstract states. “In order to enhance the biological response within these 3D-printed scaffolds incorporating nanostructural features and/or specific biological signaling may be an effective means to optimize tissue regeneration. Peptides amphiphiles (PAs) are a versatile supramolecular biomaterial with tailorable nanostructural and biochemical features. PAs are widely used in tissue engineering applications such as angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and bone regeneration. Thus, the addition of PAs is a potential solution that can greatly expand the utility of 3D bioprinting hydrogels in the field of regenerative medicine.”

The PAs and cholangiocytes were mixed with thiolated gelatin at 37°C and 3D printed at 4ºC using an EnvisionTEC 3D-Bioplotter, one of the most-utilized bioprinters on the market. The material retained integrity as the bioinks printed into filaments capable of supporting multi-layered scaffolds. The researchers stabilized the scaffold by cross-linking a derivative of ethylene glycol with calcium ions; scaffold stability was observed in culture for more than a month at a temperature of 37°C.

First author Ming Yan. [Image: Northwestern via Physics World]

The researchers also explored the use of a laminin-derived peptide (Ile-Lys-Val-Ala-Val, IKVAV) and the influence its inclusion in the bioink would have on the bile duct cells. Laminin is a molecule necessary for cell adhesion, and after bioprinting, the bile duct cells remained viable in vitro. Staining revealed the formation of functional bile-cell-based tube structures; when cultured in IKVAV bioink, the structures showed enhanced morphology, forming functional tubular structures.

This is the first time that a bioink-based system supplemented with PAs was used for bile duct tissue engineering. The research shows a lot of promise; the bioprinted bile ducts as well as in vitro systems created with the bioinks have the potential to be valuable for research into bile duct cancer as well as the testing of treatments. Right now, bile duct cancer is a grave diagnosis to receive, but the enhanced research that could be made possible by this work offers hope for better understanding and more effective treatments.

As a next step, the researchers now want to optimize the peptide concentration and test other signaling molecules within the bioinks to enhance the formation of functional tubular structures that mimic those found in the liver.

Additional authors of the research paper include P.L. Lewis and R.N. Shah.

[Source: Physics World]


Future of Commerce: Step-by-Step Creation of Spring & Wonder

More good news from Shapeways!

Today we launched Spring & Wonder, a brand, storefront, and jewelry collection that our in-house team built in 2 months.

For the collections, we created go-to, everyday pieces while also incorporating technology that allows you to make them your own. This enables you to decide shape, size, message, material, and any combination in between, unlike ever before in customized jewelry in an easy-to-use online store. That’s the real innovation.

We are proud of the collection and hope you love the jewelry. But Shapeways didn’t do this to become a jewelry store, we did it for you.

Spring & Wonder shows what’s possible. It demonstrates what our platform can do for your business. We published a blueprint to showcase the future of commerce with the step-by-step creation of Spring & Wonder. It’s a guide to design, make and sell products manufactured via 3D printing. You can download it here.

Because we are doing something no one has done before, we thought it would be helpful to show not just tell. With Spring & Wonder, you can use the customizer technology we developed to embed in a Shopify site. You can order seamlessly from our factory. You’ll receive custom packaging and fully assembled jewelry. You’ll see the high quality of 3D printing at market prices.

Whether jewelry, gaming, drone parts, prosthetics, glasses, home decor or anything you can imagine, the Shapeways platform turns ideas into physical products and helps you sell them to the world.

The previous generation of commerce innovation made it simple for anyone to set up a business with Shopify, Squarespace, Etsy… Shapeways enables you to connect your business to sophisticated prototyping, manufacturing, and shipping logistics in one online platform. 3D printing enables unlimited customization and end-product ready quality. And Shapeways is the largest 3D printing service for entrepreneurs and consumers in the world.

Create a product. Build a business. We’d love to help.


CEO of Shapeways


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Sampling Oceans: How 3D Printing Helps Measure Biodiversity

In accordance with increasing environmental concerns, the need to measure biodiversity in any habitat is key. A major aspect of any environmental research is the gathering of DNA and samples. Since traditional methods, for example collecting samples in trawl nets or expeditions with remotely operated vehicles are costly, researchers have turned to 3D printing. In this […]

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WASP Unveils 2 New Ceramic Printers

Italian 3D printer manufacturer WASP just unveiled their newest line of liquid deposition modelling ceramic printers. They also showed off the impressive capabilities of the line with by faithfully recreating Michaelangelo’s David. The company hopes that the machines will serve as a game-changer in the world of ceramic printing. WASP have formally launched the DeltaWASP […]

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Chinese scientists conduct ceramic 3D printing tests for off-world construction

Scientists at the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have successfully completed an experiment to 3D print ceramic parts containing lunar dust under microgravity. Using Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology on board the Airbus ZERO-G parabolic flight aircraft run by Novespace of Switzerland. The 3D printing experiment further explores […]

Shanghai commits to Divergent 3D printed electric vehicle production

The Divergent 3D node-based additive manufacturing technology, used to make the Blade supercar, is to be the driver of a new electric vehicle (EV) production plant in Shanghai. The forthcoming factory is a joint development between EV investment firm We Solutions, and Shanghai Alliance Investment, a private equity and venture capital arm of Shanghai Municipal Government. […]

SUTD Uses Fungal-like Additive Material to Create Bio-degradeable Plastic

Plastic waste causes a lot of headaches for a wide range of organisations and governments. Proposed solutions usually note the need to decrease usage, however, a university in Singapore may have found another alternative. According to research by SUTD (Singapore University of Technology and Design), they may have cracked the code on bio-degradeable plastic. Javier […]

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