USEED is a Korean startup headed by Jung Soo Lim. The eight-person company got its start making 3D printer kits, and specializes in the education market. The firm makes robotics kits, Prusa i3 type 3D printers, its own Creator 3D printer, and even an SMT placement machine. The company designs, develops and manufactures its machines in Korea and has been expanding steadily. Now they aim to undertake a bit of a quantum leap. The firm has been designing and testing its Thingi for months now. The Thingi is one of the, if not the most, adorable 3D printers I’ve ever seen. Specially designed to be accessible, safe and easy to use for children, the Thingi is meant to let kids easily 3D print. The 125 x 140 x 190 build volume machine can print over WiFi, has a 260C capable extruder, and can print up to 60 mm/s. The printer has a new trick up its sleeve, however. The voice-activated AI-powered printer can listen to kids’ commands and prints accordingly. If the voice activation works well and the company can accordingly automate the entire printing workflow, it would make 3D printing much more accessible and easier. Potentially it would make 3D printing much easier for all of us as well. It was refreshing to finally see something innovative happening again in desktop 3D printing. The company is testing the printer now and aims to go to crowdfunding in a few months. We interviewed CEO Jung Soo Lim to find out more.
Thingi - USEED's new AI 3D printer - YouTube
What is USEED?
Our company manufactures 3D printers and coding education kits for kids. We have 8 employees. Our company was founded to provide IT seeds that can be easily implemented if anyone has an idea.
Therefore, we are currently supplying educational 3D printers and related education services to Korean educational institutions. The big plan that our company has is to launch a voice driven AI printer. In Korea, 3D printing is not being popularized fast enough. We analyzed the of this causes through our experiences in selling technical products. There was pressure to learn 3D modeling in order to use 3D printers. Also, children between the ages of 5 and 10 want to use 3D printers. However, these purchases were not made because children had to use computers independently. With that background, our company developed the Thingi early last year and is currently preparing to mass-produce it. Also, to cover the costs of molds, we are looking for funds through crowdfunding platforms.
Our company will complete 3D printers and content that children can use for making their own toys. We hope to have is available this year at Christmas.
Why a voice-activated 3D printer?
I want kids to have fun while using 3D printers to make the things that they want. If a child wants to make a Hello Kitty patterned cup, the kid talks to our 3Dprinter. The Thingi recommends the best model file and will then print it out. We will simplify this process so that children can use 3D printers in a fun way. I think that if many people enjoy and use our products, the limitations of technology will be overcome.
Singapore-based metal Bralco Advanced Materials, a research, product development, and commercialization company specializing in metal 3D printing, just announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE Additive in order to speed up the development and manufacturing processes for 3D printed magnets and electromagnetic components in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Bralco often collaborates with academic research institution Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU). The company works to leverage the power of 3D printing to provide quicker, less expensive solutions for developing, prototyping, and customized mass manufacturing complex electromagnetic components for customers in the aerospace, energy, e-mobility, industrial automation/rotating devices, and robotics fields.
“Bralco is honored to be working with GE Additive in this very exciting space of digital industry 4.0. This collaboration is a major milestone for us, coming at a time when the demand for soft and hard magnets is growing rapidly due to their use in every aspect of modern life be it health care, mobility, personal communication devices, renewable energy or robotics,” said Amit Nanavati, the founder and CEO of Bralco Advanced Materials.
“Moreover, the adoption of additive manufacturing technology will save millions of dollars in material cost due to the additive nature of this technology compared to the traditional manufacturing processes.”
L-R: Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director, National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster, H.E.; Mr. Javed Ashraf, High Commissioner of India; Mr. Amit Nanavati, Founder & CEO of Bralco Advanced Materials Pte. Ltd.; Mr. Tan Czek Haan, General Manager, GE Additive; Mr. Wouter Van Wersch, President & CEO, GE ASEAN & NZ; Mr. Francis Chan, Trade Commissioner of Canada [Image: Bralco]
Combining its own expertise in magnetic materials with GE Additive’s 3D printing and powder manufacturing technology know-how, Bralco will be able to increase the speed of development for both hard and soft magnets and components with complex shapes, high mechanical strength, differentiated magnetic fields, high frequencies and torque conditions, and able to operate at elevated temperatures. These kinds of magnetic components for perfect for demanding applications, like electric vehicles’ traction motors.
“We are very excited to set up our first R&D Lab and Product Innovation Centre in Singapore, fully equipped with GE Additive machine and a state-of-the-art powder and built parts testing and characterisation lab,” Nanavati continued.
“We hope these steps will add to the growing importance of Singapore as a global center for the additive manufacturing industry and as one of the most attractive locations to set up a high tech R&D facility – an achievement largely due to the vision of the Singapore government in early adoption of Industry 4.0 and Additive Manufacturing and the untiring efforts of its nodal agencies National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and Enterprise Development Board (EDB).
The signed MoU will give Bralco access to GE Additive’s AP&C (Advanced Powders & Coatings) materials division, as well as its engineering consultancy team Addworks – enabling the company to decrease both the product development and commercialization cycles. Additionally, the MoU looks at the future potential of appointing Bralco an APAC service provider for 3D printing parts and components, based on its own magnetic material compositions, with GE Additive machines and powder materials.
“We, at Bralco, are very excited to be right at the front of this leap into the digital future,” Nanavati concluded. “We look forward to exploring ground breaking discoveries through our work with GE Additive in this next chapter of our journey.”
Discuss this news and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.
Sintavia, headquartered in Hollywood, FL has just announced their official acquisition of QC Laboratories, Inc., located in Hollywood, FL—but also with sites in Orlando, FL, and Cincinnati, OH.
The purchase will expand Sintavia’s non-destructive testing (NDT) exercises in relation to aerospace applications and surface finish conformance testing; however, QC Labs will function as a standalone subsidiary of Sintavia, a leader in AM processes around the world—and the first independent manufacturer to offer end-to-end solutions.
“We have worked with QC Labs for a number of years to develop surface finish inspection metrics that are relevant for the additive manufacturing industry,” said Doug Hedges, Sintavia’s President and Chief Technology Officer. “Today’s announcement is a natural extension of this same process, and we are looking forward to deepening the relationship with QC Labs as we continue to develop acceptable NDT metrics for production AM components.”
QC Labs, both Nadcap and AS9110 certified, was founded in 1965 and has continued as a forerunner in NDT testing for aerospace and defense.
(Photo: Business Wire)
They specialize in the following testing:
Radiographic (X-ray & Gamma)
Eddy current inspections
They also hold approvals from companies like:
“For more than 50 years, QC Labs has been trusted by critical industries, including Aerospace & Defense, to deliver high-quality NDT services,” said John Ahow, QC Labs’ General Manager. “It is very exciting to apply these same services to the developing field of additive manufacturing through Sintavia.”
Sintavia specializes in metal additive manufacturing processes for aerospace and defense, operating a range of printers, post-processing equipment, mechanical testing equipment, and a lab for the development of metals and powders. Nadcap, AS9100, ISO17025 certified and ANAB accredited, Sintavia is dedicated to ‘the highest quality standards in the industry.’
(Photo: Sintavia)They have maintained a dynamic presence in the industry also, quickly earning themselves a reputation in metal 3D printing around the world—and not only in aerospace, but also other applications like oil and gas, auto, and energy. In just the past several years, the Sintavia team has been on an accelerated path, cementing their presence in additive manufacturing, including the development of a new process for 3D printing with aluminum alloys.
They have also opened a 55,000-square-foot AM facility in Hollywood, comprised of over $25 million in advanced equipment to include 3D printers, scanners, presses, furnaces, and more. Over 100 jobs have been created in the process of opening the new production site, and they expect this new facility to give Hollywood a more tech-savvy label as well. Sintavia was also the first company to receive approval for 3D printing production parts for Honeywell Aerospace.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
While doctors and students are provided with invaluable tools via 3D printing to pave the way for patient-specific treatment, the same models they are using can also be advantageous to their patients and their families, all of whom may be struggling to come to grips with a life-threatening health issue and impending surgery—along with trying to make the decision whether to go forward with a procedure or not.
For this study (approved by the Pusan National University Hospital Institutional Review Board), 20 patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms were divided into two groups. Ten patients were educated via the 3D printed model (created on the Nobel 1.0A with PLA), while ten others were given the traditional computed tomography angiographies (CTA).
The patients in the study were also asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding not only their satisfaction with the surgery—but also their comprehension level thanks to the model and explanation. These models allow patients and doctors, as well as junior surgeons and other students, to understand more about the positional relationship between the aneurysms and arteries, along with:
All 20 patients received identical information about aneurysm physiology, the medical procedure, and the risk involved.
A single doctor was not only responsible for all 20 surgeries, but also for the explanation of the procedure at hand—removing any concerns about bias regarding the educational process, or differences in the procedure. The model was used as an accompaniment to the preoperative consent, with the study proving to be conducive to a clear understanding of the patients’ understanding of the process due to new technology. Upon reviewing the results of the research, the authors found the data to suggest that the 3D printed models significantly improved the process, as patients had better understanding of what was happening, along with higher satisfaction regarding the surgery.
“The main limitation of 3D printing technology is that building a 3D model involves a 3D rendering and 3D printing, which are time consuming and costly. However, with the development of newer printers and the broadening of printed materials, the time and cost have been reduced. In this study, we used the Nobel 1.0A (XYZPrinting), which is small (280×345×590 mm) and lightweight (9.6 kg),” concluded the researchers. “The process time for making the 3D models is 3.7 hours on average. The material cost of each model is approximately 3500 Korea won. The time and cost will decrease as 3D printing technology advances. As 3D printing technology progresses and costs fall, patient-specific 3D printing may become standard for both clinical and educational purposes.
“Given that this was only a single-center experience and that there were only 10 patient-specific models used to evaluate patient understanding, additional larger prospective studies will be needed to confirm the usefulness of a patient-specific 3D print model for patient understanding and satisfaction with aneurysm clipping surgery.”
3D printed models have not only changed the face of medicine when it comes to diagnosing and understanding serious health conditions like cerebral aneurysms or brain tumors, but also in terms of training, allowing doctors and medical students to understand more about unusual or completely new procedures, and rely on models as surgical guides.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) of a right internal carotid artery bifurcation aneurysm before surgery. White arrows showed aneurysms on MRA. A : Anteroposterior view. B : Posteroanterior view.
Three-dimensional reconstruction of a right internal carotid artery bifurcation aneurysm before surgery using Materialise Mimics software (Materialise, Leuven, Belgium). A : Anteroposterior view. B : Posteroanterior view.
Fast forward 21 years and additive manufacturing in space has a significant role to play for human colonization in orbit. If explorers will go on missions to space in the future, they will need shelters, vehicles, tools, raw materials, and machines to do so. The one machine that can make almost any shape, even the ones you didn’t know you’d need, is a 3D printer. 3D printing onsite in space is, therefore, important. It’s also certainly easier to create and construct things in space rather than build them on Earth and then launch them into orbit. In 2014, Silicon Valley startup Made In Space (MIS) became the first company to 3D print an object in zero gravity, and just two years later they launched their Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) which now resides at the ISS, where parts are made and used by astronauts.
AMF, the world’s first commercial 3D printer on the International Space Station, is the most versatile manufacturing facility operating in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). AMF was also the first facility to additively manufacture anything in microgravity. After nearly three years of successful operations, the printer has produced more than 200 tools, devices, and components for a variety of customers, from medical parts, specialized NASA parts, and commercial items to Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) projects for students. Most of them get brought back to earth and tested to investigate the long-term effects of a microgravity environment.
AMF machine by Made In Space
Around that same time, the company began developing Archinaut—an in-space manufacturing and robotic assembly platform—as part of a public-private partnership with NASA. The system was designed to 3D print large parts and uses advanced robotics to integrate them with other components for on-orbit manufacturing of satellites. Originally, Archinaut worked as a ground demonstration, and just a year later, in a unique NASA facility that mimics the conditions of space, successfully 3D-printed structural beams. The company was able to prove that the printing equipment and printed hardware can withstand the pressure, temperature, and other rigors of outer space.
So last week, NASA awarded 73.7 million dollars to Made In Space as part of the second phase of the partnership, to demonstrate the ability of the Archinaut One to manufacture and assemble spacecraft components in LEO, as part of the US’s Moon to Mars exploration. Archinaut One is expected to launch on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from New Zealand no earlier than 2022. Once it’s positioned in LEO, the spacecraft will 3D print two beams that extend 32 feet out from each side of the spacecraft. As manufacturing progresses, each beam will unfurl two solar arrays that generate as much as five times more power than traditional solar panels on spacecraft of similar size.
Through iterative design, the MIS technology suite has grown to include 3D printing in different polymers, 3D printing in free space, metal printing (additive and subtractive), as well as polymer recycling. Michael Snyder, MIS Chief Engineer and Co-Founder, discussed with 3DPrint.com how these exploration technologies can be used for long-duration space flight missions, on the Moon, and Mars.
“Every time we get to push the play button on the AMF, so to speak and watch it print it’s always new and fun, even though the operation is very consistent and routine. It’s been five years since our first technology demonstration with NASA, so for us it’s a special time. We went from an idea and a potential solution that will help space life in the future, especially when humans are going to be living and working up there on a more frequent basis, to being able to put it into practice in a commercial capacity. Also, the derivative technologies off of those payloads are now on other programs, like Archinaut, which is going to be the first in-space additive manufacturing and assembly demonstration in vacuum,” said Snyder.
At the ISS with the Additive Manufacturing Facility and Made In Space Fiber Optics
Still, the fun experience of creating things in space hasn’t come without its fair share of hurdles. Snyder claims that initially when they were trying out the 3D printer prior to launching it in space, they had a few challenges which they had to solve early and quickly. They tested for problems during parabolas of microgravity test flights, providing a weightless environment for 20 to 30 seconds, but since the effects of natural convection and buoyancy are effectively eliminated in microgravity, they had to make sure that hot things stayed hot and cold things stayed cold. Keeping the temperatures exactly where they wanted them was a learning experience and a solution through forced convection.
“The second problem you have in microgravity is something you don’t think about, but gravity tends to settle everything, and also dampen things, so that any vibration, big impact or force isnt felt as strongly. In microgravity, if you dont have something pinned down that needs to be there, its gonna move quite a bit. So we had to make sure our system was really rigid and robust and had high repeatability to get the kind of performance we were looking for. That took us quite a bit to prove out mainly because a lot of things we use to secure and keep things rigid are pretty expensive, but once we got our first contract going, those things were really easy to implement and we never had any major problems on orbit that we didn’t know about ahead of time,” Snyder continued.
So far, the AMF has successfully printed with three materials in space, traditional consumer plastic ABS, high-density polyethylene (consumer grade plastic used for food containers) and polyetherimide/polycarbonate, also known as ULTEM 9085. According to Snyder, the last material is really interesting for two reasons:
“It’s really high temperature so it can hold up in the vacuum environment without deteriorating like some other plastics, and it is also what we are using on some other programs like the Archinaut program and others.”
Model of Archinaut
This material is an aerospace-grade polymer that has previously been used in satellites, aircraft cabins, and rocket parts. In many ways, the AMF’s ability to print with various materials has influenced Archinaut’s development.
Made In Space’s VULCAN will take metal AM to space
Last year, MIS won a NASA contract to build a robotic metal space manufacturing system known as VULCAN that will build precision parts made of aerospace-grade metals. The company hopes their system will be able to make anything crewed missions may need, such as housings for life support systems, that couldn’t be made with any current systems. The hybrid additive and subtractive system basically uses additive manufacturing to produce a very rough net shape and then comes on with subtractive manufacturing and makes a very precise shape. In the lab, they have already tried out titanium, aluminum, and steel, in the hopes of launching it to space.
Snyder suggests that “this program is an example of how the AMF, 3D printing and Zero G technology have really been leveraged to produce new machines since a lot of the parts and methods we use on these programs are inside the hybrid manufacturing device.”
VULCAN builds on fused deposition modeling, the current method of additive manufacturing employed by MIS’s in-space systems.
“We are focused on building in-space infrastructure that involves manufacturing items that you can’t manufacture on Earth, but that we actually could use both in space and bring down to Earth for economic gain. So we have a few things in the works right now that are focused on materials and how they form in space to determine the differences between space and Earth formation. In some cases we already found some differences, like in the Made In Space Fiber Optics that we have launched a couple of times and is manufacturing the glass fiber optic lines (or high value-to-mass ZBLAN optical fiber), and in orbit you have a reduction in basically how rough the material is and there is less crystalization, so it has better attenuation and can transfer more information faster over longer distances than its Earth-based counter part, which has a couple of flaws when crystals appear in the fiber and significantly increase signal loss,” explained Snyder.
Made In Space Fiber Optics
The Made In Space Fiber Optics (MIS Fiber) miniature fiber-pulling machine harnesses the unique properties of the microgravity environment to produce an optical fiber order of magnitude better than what can be produced on Earth. The original plan was to pull at least 100 meters of ZBLAN in microgravity, via a cooperative agreement with the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) in 2017 aboard the ISS. Once manufactured, the payload returned to Earth, where the fiber was tested and used.
Snyder, who is also Executive Committee Assistant Secretary at the National Space Society, and chair of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space Colonization Technical Committee (SCTC), considers that the MIS team is doing everything they can to support long-duration space flights, but certain considerations about the next space frontier are important. The expert hints at the risky environment of one of the top contenders for space colonization in our Solar system: Mars, which “is hazardous”, and “what people aren’t talking about, and is probably the worst thing about the planet, is the high amount of perchlorates on the surface.” This basically means that the Martian dust is a powerful health concern that may kill any human who ventures outside of the shuttle or space habitat, making Mars a pretty dangerous place. Snyder also warns about moon colonization, claiming that “moon dust could kill you in an entirely different way, via inhalation hazard.”
According to NASA Ames Research Center pathologist Russell Kerschmann, “lunar dust, being a compound of silicon as is quartz, is extremely fine and abrasive, almost like powdered glass, and breathed into the lungs, they can embed themselves deeply into the tiny alveolar sacs and ducts where oxygen and carbon dioxide gases are exchanged.
“First, we have to solve those minor problems and get some habitats that are really self-sustaining and able to support people for a long time without any of them going crazy from living in complete confinement. Many people are considering terraforming other planets, but I like to solve things that can show results soon, which for MIS means that getting manufacturing ability that can use local resources so that the systems are a more closed loop, is worth working for. Those are the things that interest me and will actually pay off in the future,” he commented, and also suggested that in the long-term future, spaceship colonies that use asteroid materials to supply the essentials, is one of the most interesting hybrid approaches to consider.
“All these things are part of the iteration on our technology road map which is a collaborative process under constant revision. It’s fundamental to understand that different people in many industries really need to work together and integrate their technologies to create a really robust sustainable portfolio so that they can be used for the betterment of mankind.”
Making parts in space with AMF
This year MIS will start using their Commercial Polymer Recycling System (CPRS) in space. After being launched to the ISS, it will take plastic waste, like expended polymer parts and plastic bags, and process the excess material and plastic waste into uniform feedstock for 3D printers, taking sustainability to a whole new level and an out-of-this-world experience.
With so many projects on the works, if humans ever get to live in space, it seems like MIS will have the technology required to fully materialize the dream, one that started almost ten years ago when Mike Snyder, Aaron Kemmer, Jason Dunn, and Mike Chen, founded the company hoping that perhaps in the future humans might live in space. Today, their primary mission is to enable humanity to become a multi-planetary species, and for that, we will need a meaningful manufacturing capability.
“We don’t want to invent the wheel, we don’t need to, we want to use commercially available systems when possible and integrate them into platforms that are space capable. So when it comes to long duration living both in LEO and eventually on the Moon and Mars, we want to be there and we are making systems that are compatible for those environments,” concluded Snyder.
Our solar system is a challenging place for humans, but part of the goal of the company is to reduce the risks and make it more hospitable, and that’s one step at a time.
We’re starting today’s 3D Printing News Briefs off on a story with a deadline – LulzBot is currently having a two-day Amazon Prime Day Sale. Moving on with other business news, Robert Bosch Venture Capital has invested in Xometry’s Series D funding round, and Midwest Prototyping has announced an important industry certification. Finally, the ‘Nachtwacht 360’ reproduction, created with the help of 3D printing, is being presented.
LulzBot Offering Prime Day Discount on TAZ Pro
The two-day discount parade that is Amazon Prime Day ends tonight, and LulzBot is joining in on the fun by offering a 20% discount on its brand new TAZ Pro 3D printer. The industrial desktop printer creates large, functional prototypes just as easily as it can make manufacturing aids and on-demand parts. The 280 x 280 x 285 mm TAZ Pro, which normally costs $4,950, offers reliable multi-material and soluble support 3D printing.
The latest addition to the TAZ 3D printer line has a heated build plate, two active-lifting hot ends, dual filament runout sensors, and self-leveling. Additional features include automated calibration and nozzle wiping and a 5″ color touchscreen, as well as hardened steel E3D components for printing soft, flexible materials up to industrial-grade composites. This great deal – a savings of $990 – is only available during Prime Day sales, July 15-16. So if you’re interested in the new LulzBot TAZ Pro, now is the time to buy.
LulzBot TAZ Pro Overview - Features Explained - YouTube
Xometry Receives Investment from Robert Bosch Venture Capital
On-demand manufacturing marketplace Xometry announced that it has received another investment – Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC) joined the company’s Series D funding round with a $5 million investment. RBVC is the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group, and joins Almaz Capital, BMW i Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, the Foundry Group, GE Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Highland Capital Partners, and Maryland Venture Fund as investors in the round, bringing the full amount raised to $118 million.
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with a world class manufacturing brand like Bosch. Global expansion is one of our key upcoming initiatives and we look forward to leveraging Bosch’s deep manufacturing expertise as we launch in Europe,” said Randy Altschuler, the Co-Founder and CEO of Xometry.
Midwest Prototyping Achieves Important Aerospace Standard
Wisconsin AM service bureau Midwest Prototyping LLC has received its AS9100 Rev. D certification, which is a standard of operational excellence required for aviation and aerospace suppliers. This certification has opened a “new avenue for digital manufacturing” at the company, as it can now manufacture flight-ready components on all six of its offered 3D printing processes, in addition to finishing, post-processing, urethane casting, and CNC machining services, at all of its production facilities in Wisconsin and Colorado.
“The AS9100D certification process examines our entire operation. From the moment we quote a project or purchase raw material, to the finished product and the way we ship an order, our customers can have even more confidence in the quality of our work. I’m extremely proud of our team and their efforts to bring our organization to the next level and the benefits this program brings to both Midwest Prototyping and our customers,” said Nate Schumacher, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Midwest Prototyping, who oversaw the company’s AS9100 Rev. D and ISO 9001:2015 implementations.
3D Printing Used to Bring Life-Size ‘Night Watch’ to Life
Nachtwacht 360 is a full-sized photographic reproduction of Rembrandt’s masterpiece ‘Night Watch’ by photographer Julius Rooymans and fashion designer Hans Ubbink. The painting was reproduced, and the exhibition includes a ‘downside’ by Rooymans and Ubbink that lets viewers walk a full 360° around the piece, so they can see a reproduction of the 17th century background against which Rembrandt may have actually painted the piece. Rooymans and Ubbink found 25 lookalikes, including one of Rembrandt, and portraits of these people and their period attributes sit around the Nachtwacht 360 reproduction. The pair designed these attributes, which included weapons and harnesses, specifically for the project based off of multiple collections from around the Netherlands, but found that some of the helmets Rembrandt had painted never actually existed in real life. So artist Robin Bandari created 3D designs of these helmets, which were then 3D printed by Dutch 3D printing service bureau Oceanz.
“As a professional and Dutch 3D print company, we are proud that Oceanz was involved in the Nachtwacht 360 project,” said Frank Elbersen, sales engineer at Oceanz 3D printing. “How beautiful is it to be able to bring this Dutch masterpiece from the 17th century to life with the innovative and modern technology of today? 3D printing makes it possible to produce objects in the most high detail. For example, the helmets, collars and a partisan-which were seen 350 years ago by Rembrandt’s eyes, are exactly counterfeited to be able to show the general public now.”
You can see the Nachtwacht 360 exhibition Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 5:30 pm, until August 4th, at the Oostenburgermiddenstraat 101 in Amsterdam.
Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.
While bone defects are already a challenge to manage, obviously the problem is compounded in children, with smaller bones being even more difficult to repair in surgery. Currently, there are few options for a good device meant for small bone repair during pediatric osteotomies—making it difficult for surgeons around the world to correct both subluxated hip joints and deformed femurs in children.
The authors (and surgeons) performed corrective surgery on a four-year-old boy with a post-osteomyelitis deformity. In preparing for the surgery, they relied on a 3D printed model of the bone for studying the condition, surgery and preparing the site for the appropriate implant. Because this type of surgery requires ‘meticulous planning,’ the doctors required both 2D and 3D assistance, in the respective forms of axial images and 3D virtual models of patient anatomies.
Radiographs taken before corrective surgery. (a) Triple film showing the proximal femur deformity with osseous recovery. Three-dimensional computed tomography image: (b) anteroposterior and (c) lateral views
As the surgeons examined the patient and reviewed the CT, they noticed a genu valgus deformity (more commonly known as a ‘knock-knee’ condition). Another corrective surgery was scheduled, with 3D CT imaging examined for bone tissue analysis. The surgeons realized, however, that the procedure would be more successful overall with a life-size 3D model. They were able to outline a patient-specific plan, also bringing in additional assistance from an orthopedic consulting firm focused around 3D orthopedics and ‘patient-specific instrumentation.’
Customized-to-patient three-dimensionally–printed guide. (a) The patient-specific guide for our patient. (b) Two resecting osteotomies can achieve optimal joint congruency and varus angle correction. (c) Correcting the femoral rotation would result in joint translation in both the coronal and axial planes
What was also very valuable to the surgery—and the outcome for the little boy involved—was that the surgeons could use the model to practice on, exercising ‘simulations of possible osteotomy options.’
“After a few osteotomy options had been analyzed, one osteotomy cut was made vertically to the femoral shaft on the subtrochanteric area, and another was made on the middle third of the femur to correct the bowing deformity of the midshaft,” stated the researchers. “Correction of femoral rotation can result in either joint translation in the coronal and axial planes or difficulty with fixation, both of which could be prevented with the help of the 3D model in the present case.”
The results of the surgeries were successful, with the patient able to stretch and begin other mobilization activity after four months.
Postoperative (a) anteroposterior and (b) lateral views. Fifteen-month postoperative (c) anteroposterior and (d) lateral views
“The result of our case suggests that the use of 3D printing models improves the postoperative performance as shown by both physical function and radiological evidence,” stated the authors in the concluding discussion.
“The use of a 3D-printed patient-specific guide is a safe, modern, affordable, and promising method that offers advantages including a shorter surgical time, optimally positioned implant placement, acceptable alignment, and a probable lower rate of complications. The utilization of 3D-printed models for skeletal deformity surgery, especially complex and difficult pediatric surgery, provides superior precision and foreseeably better outcomes. We strongly believe that with the promotion of 3D printing methodology, models for preoperative planning may soon become the gold standard for pediatric deformity correction surgery.”
With the use of progressive ‘bleeding materials,’ Sandia National Laboratories is creating methods for inspectors to realize penetration of material simply by looking at a tamper-indicating enclosure (TIE). Today, most traditional methods rely on high-maintenance, time-consuming examinations by inspectors. They may also use cameras, or other equipment or approaches.
General schematic of R&D concept. A two-phase material consisting of a sensing polymer and transition-metal encapsulated microspheres are 3D-printed or spray-coated on to a unique geometry. Upon tampering, the microspheres rupture and the two sensor components interact to form an irreversible visible color change.
Securing whole volumes includes:
Enclosures that are non-standard in size/shape.
Enclosures that may be inspectorate- or facility-owned.
Tamper attempts that are detectable but difficult or timely for an inspector to locate.
The requirement for solutions that are robust regarding reliability and environment (including facility handling).
The need for solutions that prevent adversaries from repairing penetrations.
In creating a new method, the scientists explored the idea of 3D printing microspheres that would become discolored upon a breach. They also explored a spray coating formulation, with typical TIEs falling into three categories of use:
Materials the inspector visually examines
Active electronics methods/materials
Externally deployed indicators of penetration or access to materials
“The limitations to these three categories are the subjective and time-consuming process of visually inspecting surfaces, the inability to deploy an active approach in some situations because of batteries or because of environmental conditions or facility requirements, and the limited materials able to be analyzed by eddy current and potential inability to bring external equipment into a facility. Further, some approaches rely more on post-mortem analysis rather than in-situ verification,” said the researchers.
The researchers envision a 3D printed material adding substantially to the TIE toolbox—currently ‘limited in options.’ It will also be available for customized inspection equipment, as well as spray coated equipment. The team expects 3D printed prototypes to be subjected to a range of environmental assessments, along with testing regarding durability and vulnerability levels.
Urea Formamide (UF) performed the best in terms of materials performance. The researchers noted details such as a ‘robust’ synthetic method, narrow size distribution, uniform particle properties, along with good compatibility of mobile phase materials which the team had already tested.
“The anticipated benefits of this work are passive, flexible, scalable, cost-effective TIEs with obvious and robust responses to tamper attempts,” explain the authors in their abstract.
Viable applications for this technique could include:
Spray coating on items or structures
Spray coating of circuit boards
3D printed seal bodies
3D printing has opened a wealth of knowledge about the countless materials available to scientists today seeking to improve industrial and other applications. Monitoring and sensing devices are becoming extremely popular in the 3D realm also, allowing for better performance of machines and higher quality prototypes and parts. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
Qualitative scoping study results on 3d transition metal color changes with the addition of organic sensor in methanol. All metal solutions get significantly darker, and many have a dramatic color change.
In a recent interview with Digilab‘s CEO Sidney Braginsky, Senior Applications Manager Igor Zlatkin, and John Moore, President and COO, 3DPrint.com got a glimpse of the focus, future, and advances of the company. Very popular in university research labs, pharmaceutical firms, and hospitals, Digilab has been providing spectrometry and photonics technology for the past 40 years, and even though times have definitely shifted, one thing remains the same, the company is innovative in both hardware and software. A pioneer in Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) Spectroscopy, they have also invested and partnered with institutions around the world to offer customers a broad range of molecular spectroscopy alternatives beyond FTIR, like UV/Vis, NIR, and Raman; as well as even incorporating blockchain technology.
“The body is a world of complexity, and a cell is a wonderful machine, but very delicate and intricate. People forget how complex organs are, even the simplest thing we were requested to print, which is skin, has muscle, pigmentation, hair follicles, sweat glands, layers, and more, it isn’t just a simple epithelial cell. At this time, bioprinters do not create organs, researchers and scientists can make parts of organs but not the organs themselves, something no one has done yet. Even though there has recently been literature from researchers claiming to produce a beating heart, for example, the images can be misleading. There are many labs and universities using 3D printing to make organoids, in other words, groups of cells that grow into a 3D structure, as well as developing assist-to-organs, like a heart patch used to assist an organ that already exists and has damaged cells that need mending,” said Braginsky.
Recently, Digilab has been working with Israel-based biotechnology company Orgenesis, to develop a live cell printing process and systems designed to automate the production of 3D live cellular structures and tissues. The initial focus will be on liver and liver-derived cells for autologous clinical applications for point-of-care processing services. Basically, they will be trying to encapsulate insulin-producing liver cells so they can start looking at an assist to the pancreas for diabetics, which would be used to augment an organ that already exists. The partnership between the two companies will hopefully take the technology even further, the cell printer will have the ability to not only dispense cells but, for the first time, assemble living cells within a 3D matrix. Digilab’s technology, which includes a valve-free fluid path, greatly reduces cell damage. In the preliminary trials, they were able to print liver cells from the cell bank in the CellJet Live Cell Bio-Printer, which was specifically designed by Digilab to print live cells and hydrogels in any 2D and 3D configuration on any surface, microtiter well dish, or culture dish with minimal loss in cell viability. It allows for delivering of tiny volumes of liquids with cells retaining high viability of more than 95 percent after bioprinting. All printing channels on the CellJet are filled from end-to-end with a sterile buffer solution, such as PBS, to form a water-tight column in each channel.
The CellJet Live Bioprinter from Digilab
Braginsky went on to say that “we provide the hardware and software that can work with the living cells, but many of the challenges in bioprinting are tied to the creativity, imagination and skill of the user. Thousands of researchers at institutions all over the world are using our machines, from Harvard to MIT, to a great number of universities in China and major hospitals in the US. I consider that now the speed of discoveries in the field will be picking up, specially with stem cells, which have two advantages: being able to be converted into many different types of cells and the fact that they come from the patients, so there will be no rejection.”
Most applications performed thus far on the CellJet have used a combination of two major modes of dispensing from different channels. The aspirate-followed-by-print mode, where bioinks are drawn into each of the channels from their source containers, similar to using a handheld-pipette to aspirate biological samples, except that the channels are mounted on a motorized ‘dispense head’. Then, the bioinks are dispensed either drop-by-drop or continuously in the 2D/3D pattern as programmed by the user in a method file on the AxSys software This bioprinting method is preferable for live cell printing when the exposition of the cells to minimal hydrodynamic stress is essential and relatively small volumes need to be dispensed in a single print run. The other mode is the flow-through-bioprinting mode whereby bioinks are stored in large reservoirs at the back end of each channel, which is great for bulk-dispensing of matrix or cell-free samples with volumes greater than 5 milliliters, or when repeated dispensing of the same types of bioinks is required for an application, such as tissue-based assays for high-throughput-screening in drug development.
According to Moore, two major areas of bio-printing may become the most beneficial. “Skin regeneration, which is already a part of bioprinting and has accounted for 100 million dollars in 2013 or 10% of that total bioprinting market, is expected to reach $2,412 million by 2024 at a CAGR of 21.5 percent. And bioprinting of organs (which has not yet fully developed) that are believed to (theoretically) have certain advantages over the current patient’s dependency on donor organs including: reduced possibility of organ rejection; no need for lifelong medication to suppress the immune system of the patient, thus making the patient more resistant to infections; potentially shorter waiting time before the transplant, so the patient is healthier at the time of surgery, and reduced requirement for life-supporting interventions (like dialysis), which shortens bedtime patients spends in hospital,” he said.
The goal at Digilab is to create the machines, but the company is going well into other disruptive technologies to further enhance bioprinting. According to Zlatkin, robotics driven software, CAD capabilities, and blockchain-compatible instruments are among contributors to the company’s vanguard approach to bioprinting. They believe that if Digilab instruments are blockchain compatible it will be extremely important to the security and safe-keeping of intellectual property. “Today, people are talking about security issues in the financial world, where blockchain technology is very important, but we also have other sectors that could seriously benefit, like hospital health information and patient records, pharmaceutical and drug discovery companies, research methodologies and results, all of which are intellectual property worth millions of dollars, and in need of protection. So the data is kept on a blockchain for security,” suggested Zlatkin. While blockchain is often mentioned in conjunction with cryptocurrency platforms like Bitcoin, the underlying technology goes way beyond digital currencies. Blockchain is a digital ledger technology (DLT), which focuses on recording and storing transactions of any type in a shared platform. This means that if the CellJet printer is being used for testing toxicology or pharmaceuticals, that information would be kept secure within the blockchain data ledger. “This is quite innovative in bioprinting and I believe it will become one of the main components of many scientific devices, although we may be one of the first companies in the field to incorporate it,” he proposed.
“We also consider that robotics, AI and the new capability of sensors are going to change the face of the instrumentaion world. Robotic automation can dispense a very minute amount of cells in a particular position far more accurately and precisely than a human could, and its reproducible every time. Science is suffering from irreproducible outcomes of research, and we know that you can’t use a manual pipet and compare it to a liquid handling system that is being run by a computer. If a person has to manually dispense small volumes throughout the day, the results, accuracy and precision are bound to decrease as the day goes by, just because people get tired, but machines don’t, they can do the same thing every time, all the time,” explained Braginsky.
Digilab, based in Hopkinton, Massachusets, is one of over 100 hundred bioprinting companies in the world and has scientists researching the areas of genomics, protein analysis, nano-liter dispensing application-based expertise, live cell printing, Raman spectroscopy (Melamine detection studies), and high content imaging. Although the CellJet is their star machine, they also produce the Digilab Identity Raman Plate Reader, an innovative microplate reader based upon the power of Raman Spectroscopy; the Digilab MIAS-2, the first high-throughput high-content microscopy reader with fully automated brightfield and fluorescence microscopic reading; liquid handling systems; DNA shearing to fragment DNA strands, and more.
In the last few years, the CellJet has been successfully printing human embryonic stem cells, human mesenchymal stem cells, human muscle stem cells, human hepatocytes, mouse smooth muscle cells, and bacterial cells such as E.coli. One of the reasons why the CellJet bioprinter is popular at labs and research centers is because it can use as a reservoir any standard sterile lab-ware such as conical tubes, sterile plastic or glass bottles, which in contrast to proprietary cartridges used in inkjet-based bioprinters, reduces costs and work burden on the customer. Users also have the freedom to choose the surfaces or substrates onto which the samples can be printed as long as they can be accommodated on the deck, as well as freedom in terms of the protocol that can be used for bioprinting. Also, any type of live cells suspended in culture media, buffer solutions such as PBS (Phosphate-buffered saline), matrix materials like Matrigel, or any other liquid material can be aspirated and printed using the CellJet.
Gentle handling of cells by the CellJet bioprinter
So what can we imagine will be the uses of the machines in the next ten years? According to Moore,“3D printing has opened a revolutionary era in biology and medicine and many experts believe that it is emerging as the leading manufacturing paradigm of the 21st century. There are two major medicine-related applications for bioprinting. Tissue Engineering is one of them, bringing great hope to patients who are desperate to look for tissue and organ substitutes. Assay and test development is the second one. Numerous studies on various cell lines showed that 3D-printed cell cultures represent advanced, more complex systems because they involve cell-cell interactions mimicking more realistically the native tissue and its microenvironment. Additionally, regulatory pressure to ban animal testing and concerns with respect to the significance of animal experiments to model human health are strong factors to create a demand for in vitro alternative. While the largest areas of 3D applications in pharmaceutical development are expected to be cancer, toxicity assays, and testing efficacy of cosmetics.”
International startup Wikifactory, established in Hong Kong last June, is a social platform for collaborative product development. Co-founded by four makers and counting 3DPrint.com Editor-in-Chief Joris Peels until recently as a member of its advisory board, Wikifactory also has locations in Madrid and Shenzhen, and is dedicated to makers and DIY projects. It’s an all-in-one workspace designed for open source communities to help connect product developers to useful tools, such as 3D printing.
Recently, the platform launched the Docubot Challenge to help inaugurate the first Distributed Hardware Hackathon in the world. The global open source community was charged with finding a hardware solution for an issue that every maker faces – documentation.
This is a very prevalent issue in the maker community in terms of open knowledge for the purposes of digital fabrication. Documentation makes it possible for community members to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to further contribute to an ever-growing base of information. But just because it’s useful doesn’t mean it’s easy – while documenting fabrication methods may be a necessary evil, it can be a painstaking and tedious process that can slip through the cracks if you’re not meticulous about updating your work.
“Every product developer faces the task of having to document their work, but it’s a painful process. When your hands are full with what you are doing, it’s hard to take a step back and jot down the steps. That’s why documentation is often written after the process has already been completed, so there will always be missing photos or information,” the challenge states.
“We should strive to make the process of documentation easier, because Documentation in itself is an amazing thing. As a resource, it helps a broader community learn the skills and acquire the knowledge to contribute to a growing open source knowledge base.”
The Wikifactory team really wanted to turn the first edition of its Docubot Challenge into a distributed event; it is, after all, tagged as being “designed for makers, by makers.” Due to support from makerspaces around the world – specifically Pumping Station One in Chicago, Makerspace Madrid, and TroubleMaker in Shenzhen, China – this hope became a reality. Wikifactory is a great tool when organizing maker community events like workshops and hackathons, as it makes it simple to bring teams together online so they can contribute before, and even after, the event.
The goal of the challenge was to, according to WikiFactory, “accelerate a solution to a common problem faced by product developers” by collaboratively building a real-time documentation assistant that will take photos and videos on command, and could even convert speech to text. As someone who spends plenty of time transcribing recorded interviews, I want to know when this documentation assistant will be commercially available!
“With a hardware solution, doing documentation can be made into a more interactive, assisted process which can help accelerate engagement and collaboration in open source design and hardware,” the challenge stated.
The Docubot Challenge was originally instigated by Wikifactory members Gianluca Pugliese and Kevin Cheng. The participants were connected through Wikifactory to host project events in their own cities, engage with other teams around the world, and accept feedback and advice from other problem solvers. While it was definitely a learning experience, Docubot is now officially an open source hardware initiative, and great progress has already been made.
The worldwide maker community is invited to get involved and contribute to the Docubot initiative. Whether you’re working on design ideas, developing the app and OS, or the hardware integration, the collaborative project needs your help in further extending the ideas by the team members who originally started it.
“With interactive and intercity sessions, participants will get to build relationships with creative problem solvers from around the world. It is an opportunity to apply skills in digital fabrication machines like 3D printing, hardware, electronics, programming and robotics for a relevant cause.”