Items tagged with 3D-Printing

It appears as though researchers at NC State have taken 3D printing a whole new level. A team has developed a way to print free-standing 3D structures out of liquid metal--at room temperature. “It’s difficult to create structures out of liquids, because liquids want to bead up,” said Dr. Michael Dickey, co-author of a paper describing the technology and process. “But we’ve found that a liquid metal alloy of gallium and indium reacts to the oxygen in the air at room temperature to form a ‘skin’ that allows the liquid metal structures to retain their shapes.” Here’s a video showing the 3D printing process in action. (We think the bit where they... Read more...
Speaking of 3D printing, researchers at Harvard University have developed a 3D-printable battery that’s just 1mm wide; the tiny component will ostensibly be used to power computers and even robotic drones of commensurate size, from hearing aids to the (frankly, quite terrifying-sounding) Robobees that have also been developed at the university. The team built the tiny battery with a custom 3D printer and ink, according to Gigaom, with a nozzle that’s just 30 microns wide. As you can see in the brief video, the machine prints comb-like parts, using multiple layers of “nanoparticle-packed paste”; when two “combs” are interlocked, they form an electrode and can... Read more...
In the 3D printing world, MakerBot is as strong a brand name as there is on the desktop side of the industry, and now it’s been acquired by Stratasys, a company that’s made its mark on the heavier-duty side of things such as additive manufacturing. The deal is worth $403 million in a stock-for-stock transaction. MakerBot will become a separate subsidiary of Stratasys, and CEO and nerd quasi-celeb Bre Pettis will remain head honcho of the MakerBot group. Even better, the company will retain all of its exciting partnerships with the likes of Autodesk, Adafruit, and OUYA, as well as industry behemoths Nokia and Amazon, and Thingiverse.com will continue to thrive under the new ownership.... Read more...
It was just this past autumn that MakerBot opened a 3D printing retail outlet, and the New York store was a first of its kind (a novelty, or a marvel) for those who are into this emerging technology. Staples also recently added Cube 3D printers to its inventory, and suddenly, things have gotten significantly more mainstream for 3D printing, as Amazon opened up a 3D printing section of its online megastore. The “3D Printers and Supplies”page is actually nestled under the Industrial & Scientific--> Additive Manufacturing Products subsection, but the whole area is dedicated to 3D printers, their parts and accessories, and print media. There are 29 printers in the stable as of... Read more...
Little Kaiba Gionfriddo was born with a condition where his bronchus would collapse and cut off airflow to his lungs. He would stop breathing from time to time, and eventually he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with tracheobronchomalacia. His parents were told that he had a low chance of survival. Baby Kaiba’s doctors reached out to doctors Glenn Greene and Scott Hollister at the University of Michigan, who were developing a 3D printed bioresorbable device that could save Kaiba’s life (and anyone else born with that particular affliction). The tiny tracheal splint essentially widens the bronchus and also provides support and stability so it doesn’t collapse. 3D-printed... Read more...
Last year, we caught wind of a one-man operation called Defense Distributed run by Texas law student Cody Wilson that was developing a 3D-printable handgun. At the time he was thwarted from prototyping the weapon as the company that leased him the necessary 3D printer, Stratasys, promptly reclaimed the printer. Even so, plans for 3D-printable gun parts such as ammunition magazines and receivers were proliferating online; 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot noticed this trend and purged all gun-related blueprints from its Thingiverse database. The Liberator - Image credit: Forbes In response to Makerbot’s takedown, an undeterred Wilson launched his own online repository for 3D-printable weaponry... Read more...
From the first time any of us saw a replicator on Star Trek, we’ve been dreaming of the day when we could just dial up whatever we wanted and watch it magically appear in front of us thanks to a powerful machine. We’re obviously a ways off from that reality even with the advent of 3D printing, but according to Gartner, 3D printing capabilities are going to skyrocket in the near future, even as prices drop. To put a number on it, the research firm believes that enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for a price tag under $2,000 within three years’ time. Still, it’s reasonably affordable even now. “The hype leads many people to think the technology is some... Read more...
If 3D printing wasn’t intriguing enough already (just check out our roundup), there’s now technology in the works that lets you scan and replicate a real-world device in 3D. MakerBot’s Bre Pettis made the announcement at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, where he said, “It’s a natural progression for us to create a product that makes 3D printing even easier. With the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, now everyone will be able to scan a physical item, digitize it, and print it in 3D – with little or no design experience.” The scanner will work just as you’d expect: You place an object in the scanning area, let the machine take its readings,... Read more...
When you watch the video of the 3Doodler in action, it looks like a camera trick, but the 3D printing pen is a real thing and is quickly gaining backers on Kickstarter. The device uses 3mm ABS or PLA (corn-based) plastic wire that is heated and cooled as it’s fed through the pen, allowing the user to “write” with the soft, melty plastic that quickly hardens into 3D shapes. There are three basic ways you can use the 3Doodler. You can draw or trace flat shapes on a surface such as paper and then peel it off, build 3D wireframe-type shapes or models, or add some flair to an existing item such as your phone case. The guys behind the project also note that you could use it to patch... Read more...
Online 3D printing service Sculpteo and software maker Autodesk have teamed up to develop an iPad app that lets you create your own custom 3D creatures and have them printed and mailed to you. The Autodesk 123D Creature app lets users sculpt a “skeleton” with virtual clay and then manipulate the design further with multitouch gestures (by stretching, thickening, and so on), add textures and colors, and even create lighting and filters to further show off the creature’s design. Then, users can select a size and order a real-life 3D print of the creature through the Sculpteo service, which is built into the app. In addition to multiple size options, users can choose different... Read more...
For as amazing as it is that 3D printing technology can produce small plastic items such as toys and parts for medical appliances, a Dutch architect envisions an entire house printed in 3D. Janjaap Ruijssenaars is that visionary, and together with a 3D printing expert named Enrico Dini, he believes he can do it. Ruijssenaars apparently already has the design in mind, too--a “Landscape House” that is essentially a large mobius strip and is intended to bring together the indoors and outdoors. Obviously, the project requires a special printer; models such as the ones we looked at recently are a mite too small for such an endeavor. Landscape House Enter Enrico Dini’s giant D Shape... Read more...
Perhaps a sign that 3D printing technology is edging ever further into the mainstream is that a company like Nokia is using it in a PR stunt. In this case, pun intended, Nokia is releasing 3D templates, case specifications, and handy best practices so that people can print their own Nokia Lumia 820 cases. The phone’s shell can actually be removed and replaced with others that are ruggedized, or have wireless charging capabilities built in, or what have you, but Nokia has decided that letting users print their own custom shells is a good way to engage its community of users. For users (with access to a 3D printer), this is nerd-tastic news. For Nokia, it’s also a way to quickly prototype... Read more...
Oh Raspberry Pi, is there no end to the fun and creative projects of which you are a part? The latest nifty implementation of the tiny $35 Linux computer is a mobile Raspberry Pi machine called the Pi-to-Go. The brainchild of a fellow named Nathan Morgan, who dug into his nearby stack of Dell laptop parts for the battery he used to make the computer. Morgan, in true open source fashion, is making his project’s schematics and step-by-step instructions available to anyone who would deign to attempt the same thing. He was resourceful in finding components. For example, his LCD is actually an after market camera used to help cars back up safely, and he bought a simple tiny wireless keyboard... Read more...
As guns and their associated violence dominate the current headlines in the wake of the unimaginable tragedy in Connecticut, the focus on and debate over the ability to print gun parts using 3D printing technology has intensified. Though not explicitly motivated by current events, 3D printing company MakerBot has deleted schematics for gun parts from its Thingiverse website. According to Forbes, weapons and weapon component designs had never been allowed on the site, but lax policing allowed them to remain posted, until the last days that is. Lower receiver of an AR-15 (Image from Thingiverse via Forbes) Aside from the obvious danger--that you can print some gun parts at home and buy others,... Read more...
A couple of months ago, we caught wind of a curious and somewhat dark story about a law student who was attempting to develop schematics for a 3D-printable gun (only to have his 3D printer seized when the leasing company, Stratasys, caught wind of what he was doing). Wherever you fall on that particular issue, it brought to mind some of the potential dangers and pitfalls of the burgeoning 3D printing industry. This story is the exact opposite of that. A little girl named Emma was born with a congenital disorder known as arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) that results in hooked or curved joints and muscle weakness. Emma struggled to move her arms and in fact didn’t have the strength... Read more...
We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re enamored of 3D printing--all the more after visiting Maker Faire 2012 a couple of months ago--so a new 3D printer joining the market is something that piques our interest. Solidoodle, a company that has grown to 60 employees after a year in the 3D printer-making business, announced its third-generation Solidoodle 3D Printer, and the price tag is a comparatively low $799. For as inexpensive as the new Solidoodle 3 is, the company’s second-gen printer (which is still available) actually costs just $499, which is an astounding price for a 3D printer. However, this latest iteration offers twice the cubic volume with printable dimensions... Read more...
3D Printing is without a doubt one of the most intriguing emerging technologies--just check out our coverage of the recent Maker Faire in New York--and it was only a matter of time before the (well, any) new technology clashed with current laws and ideals. Second-year law student Cody Wilson runs a site called Defense Distributed whose purpose is to develop designs for 3D-printable guns called “Wiki Weapons”--which are pistols that would be fully 3D-printable, unlike the partially printed AR-15 pictured above. After apparently raising the $20,000 his group needed for the project, Wilson leased a uPrint SE 3D printer from Stratasys to test out Defense Dist’s designs. After becoming... Read more...
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