HP plans to enter 3D printing market in June 2014

HP has finally revealed its plans to enter the 3D printing market or the additive manufacturing plane, as announced by President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Meg Whitman. In a recent meeting with shareholders, Meg Whitman, said “We are hot on the case of 3D printing.

This is however not the first time, HP has decided to foray into the 3D printing market. The company had an agreement in 2010 to market HP-branded Stratasys 3D printers, but the deal dissolved in 2012. More recently, HP has provided inkjet print heads to Z Corp, a 3D printing company that is now owned by 3D Systems. Meg Whitman also acknowledges that 3D printing as an industry has some areas it needs to improve before it goes main stream. She further pointed out that the quality of the 3D prints were not as good as it should be, however, she also noted that HP’s late entry into the 3D printing market may be a turning point, as she thinks HP has been able to finally solve the above problems.

Although Meg Whitman, did not disclose exactly what is the “Big announcement”, coming up in June, but she did say that whatever HP offers will focus on large scale manufacturing primarily, before HP enters the consumer 3D printing market.

We think the bigger market will be in enterprise space, that is, helping companies manufacture parts and test prototypes rather than helping regular folk’s 3D print Hershey Kisses at home.” said Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Verdict:

I think, HP’s enthusiasm and increased involvement in the 3D printing market space should provide fundamental support for 3D Systems and Stratasys near term as it validates the viability of 3D printing technology and shuns the increased abuse cases available to disrupt the $10 trillion global manufacturing industry.

ALTERGAZE – Virtual reality for your Smartphone

Altergaze is a new Virtual Reality interface that uses your smartphone power to deliver a high quality mobile Virtual Reality experience. Apart from the lenses and screw, it is completely 3D printed, with open-source design. It can be used either as a handheld or headset device.

Described in a very basic manner, the Altergaze is a simple and compact mobile phone accessory. You just slide your smartphone inside, and you’re good to go. The Altergaze design provides easy access to your smartphone in case you receive a phone call while using it.

Altergaze, is “crowd sourced” project, and is currently in a fund raising stage. The idea is simple: a fully 3D printed visor that will create up to a 110° field of view at high resolution (1136 x 640 on iPhone and 1920 x 1080 on Samsung S4). It will have “head tracking” to 6 degrees of freedom and will be easy to carry around (15.8 cm x 8.2 cm x 7.2 cm).

The design is open source and can be customized. Users can also choose to pledge £30 to receive the files and print it themselves. Or £50 and assemble it themselves. Or £100 and receive it fully assembled and ready to use. A successful funding campaign will also mean the team will develop an interactive website to access, preview and modify their Altergaze.

A few decades ago, this was just a dream, and then it became an idea, and now reality!!
WoW the world is moving fast!!

EnvisionTec – Perfactory ® Micro Advantage 3D Printer

“Bigger, is always better” – is what people say most of the times, but a true miracle, always comes in matchboxes. This is exactly the case with the new EnvisionTec Micro 3D printer – The Perfactory ® Micro Advantage.

According to EnvisionTEC, “The Perfactory ® Micro Advantage is a low cost, easy maintenance and user friendly professional desktop 3D printer for the jewelry market. The Micro Advantage provides an attractive entry-level solution for jewelry designers and retailers. It boasts a build envelope that is double that of competitive entries in the market, while maintaining an enhanced XY resolution of 50 microns and a Z resolution that is adjustable from 25 to 100 microns depending on the material used. This size makes the Micro Advantage the perfect companion to the original Micro for jewelry, allowing for larger pieces such as bangles and belt buckles to widen design capabilities. Impressive build speeds of up to 10 mm per hour for the full envelope are also possible depending on the material used.

Connectivity and Data handling –

With a Built in USB connection, the Perfactory ® Micro Advantage 3D printer can connect directly to a PC or Workstation, or even a Laptop or Tablet-PC. This not only multiplies it’s availability for multiple divices, but also boosts its productivity. The Perfactory ® Micro Advantage works just like a personal desktop printer.

Usablity / Industry acceptance?

As I said before, miracles always come in match boxes. This new Perfactory ® Micro Advantage is much like a boon for the 3D printed Jewelry industry. The build envelope will allow designers to print larger pieces of jewelry like bracelets without wasting space or resources with a build platform larger than a typical jewelry designer would need. With a build speed of 0.394 inches per hour on full capacity prints, the machine isn’t the fastest on the market, but it’s still pretty fast. The Perfactory ® Micro Advantage is also automated and self-calibrating, as is the industry standard, nowadays.

Mobile Fab – Environment friendly 3D printer from Fabraft

In my last post, we read about CATIA/DS and their Project Bleu. Today I have discovered another such marvel. A mobile human operated 3D printer, which can turn garbage into something worthy.

Mobile Fab – an ordinary bike kitted out with a computer and 3D printer.

Festooned with pumps, wires, tubes and display panels, the Mobile Fab cuts the plastic into strips before grinding it into fine powder. The operators feed the powder into the 3D printer on the front of the bike, using it as the “ink” to create a small medallion they attach to a colored light.

Kamm Kai-yu, co-founder of the Taipei-based company and maker of Mobile Fab, Fabraft, said – “We wanted to do something to bring both recycling and 3D printing closer to average people.

Cycling through the streets of Taiwan’s capital, staff from Fabcraft, turned discarded plastic cups and bottles into pieces of art on the spot with Mobile Fab, and then gifted the outputs to their owners. Taking Mobile Fab to the bustling streets of Taipei, Kamm and his colleagues said they have been bombarded with interest from curious bystanders – so much so that they plan to build a bigger version with more printing power.

The standard output at the moment is a medallion, however almost any design can be printed. The Mobile Fab, does have a few limitations to the type of plastic or garbage it can recycle. Especially in the case of plastic, it can only use Polypropylene, due the variance in melting points of different types of plastic.

Mobile Fab’s concept of combining environmental awareness with cutting-edge technology has raised Fabraft in the ultra-competitive Taiwan tech scene. The contraption was partly funded by the government in line with efforts to foster homegrown talent as Taipei gets set to become the World Design Capital for 2016, an annual designation by the Montreal-based International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.

Project Bleu and a Stratasys 3D printer

For those who have been associated with 3D printing and relative services, CATIA is not a new name. For others, it is 3D CAD software from Dassault Systèmes (DS), which goes far beyond other software’s to deliver, a truly unique digital product experience.

Project Bleu, led by Xavier Melkonian, was CATIA/DS‘s way of showing off semi functional Automobile prototypes created, using their own software and an Objet260 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer from Stratasys. Designed and built over the course of 2013, by a team of one Creative designer, two Concept modelers, two Visualization experts; two Class A surfaces modelers, and one Mechanical modeler, the concept car was 3D printed at various stages to verify its integrity.

The team printed a speedform model, for wind tunnel testing. Stripped of wheels, mirrors and the interior of the car, the model was placed in a wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing. The next step was to enlarge Bleu as much as possible, complete with mirrors and bumpers, filling the entire area of the Objet260 build tray. Satisfied with the result, the team was ready to modify the chassis of the car so that the wheels could rotate, making Bleu into something of a functional toy. Using TangoBlackPlus rubber-like material for the wheels, rigid opaque VeroWhitePlus for the undercarriage, and VeroClear transparent material for the windows, Bleu became a stunning physical reality.

The primary goal of Project Bleu was to create our own in-house show car from scratch, demonstrating our latest modeling technologies from the CATIA design suite.” said, CATIA/ (DS).

Hyphen to promote 3D printing research in a Canadian University

Canada has taken the next leap forward in promoting 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Hyphen, a division of Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc., has partnered with the Canadian University of Guelph, as a part of the effort.

Hyphen will now have access to the Canadian university’s Digital Haptic Lab (DHL), geared towards the design and prototyping of haptic devices, and, in exchange, the school’s researchers and students will be able to use Hyphen’s 3D printing technology and expertise at a reduced cost. This new partnership also allows students and researchers to have access to Hyphen’s 3D printing and environmental testing for research purposes, it will also allow Hyphen to further entrench itself in Canada’s educational institutions.

The use of 3D printing is applicable across all of the research streams we work with at the university, including art, engineering, robotics, biology, horticulture, and aerospace. Typically, you use the tools you have at your disposal to find solutions to design problems. With our new partnership with Hyphen, we now have access to a greater set of tools so we will be able to offer a greater variety of solutions to our researchers. This will dramatically change the way we approach and tackle problems and opens up new possibilities for how we combine the use of 3D printing with haptic technology.” – said Philips, Design engineer and Manager of the DHL facility.

Advances in rapid prototyping and 3D printing are opening up new ways of thinking and doing things within the manufacturing industry worldwide. People are starting to see the significant benefits, including speed and efficiency, of taking a computer generated model and turning it into a physical object as part of the design and review process. This is a great way for Hyphen to educate others on the benefits of additive manufacturing, and to demonstrate the depth of Canadian knowledge and expertise within the additive manufacturing industry. We are excited to work with arts, science and engineering teams through this partnership and look forward to pushing the boundaries of rapid prototyping together.” – Said Mr. Mark Barfoot, Managing Director – Hyphen

This new partnership is an indication of Canada’s growing value as an Additive Manufacturing hub, which is clearly indicated by the intentions of Mr. Mark Barfoot, Managing Director – Hyphen.

Francis Bitonti – 3D Printed Bristle Dress

Francis Bitonti a fashion designer cum architect, from New York City has created a 3D printed bristle dress, to be released in, fall 2014.

Previously, Francis Bitonti ‘s work has been published internationally in many prestigious institutions including the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and most recently has garnered media coverage for the 3D printed gown created for fashion icon – “Dita von Teese”, which received numerous accolades and a great deal of public attention when it was debuted at Ace Hotel in New York City in 2013.

The Bristle Dress is his second work of couture developed in his New Skins computational design workshop and made on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer. Like his previous effort, the Verlan Dress, the Bristle Dress uses MakerBot Flexible Filament and MakerBot Natural PLA Filament, only this time, Francis Bitonti lined the tessellated skirt with fake rabbit fur.

About the translucent top of the dress, Francis Bitonti commented, “I wanted to bleed the body into the atmosphere“.

Ica Paru, an accessories designer and model, is the first person to wear the Bristle Dress from Francis Bitonti Studio. Paru put it on a couple of weeks ago, at a photo shoot in Brooklyn. The dress is cloudlike, in two pieces, and as much an armature that poses the body as a garment to pose in.

The Friday evening photo session, which yielded the striking images above, was the first time designer Francis Bitonti saw anyone wearing the dress. “The computer is able to visualize everything accurately, I don’t really feel the need to do fittings.” he says. “I wasn’t surprised about how it fit; I wasn’t really surprised about anything.

Stratasys expanding operations in China

Stratasys, one of the leading manufacturers of 3D printing equipment, achieved a global revenue share of 359 Million Dollars (US), last year. This year, Stratasys is all set to meet the rising demand of additive manufacturing in China, and is planning to set up a Research and Development Centre in the mainland.

Stratasys founder, Scott Crump said – “From an industry standpoint, the odds are pretty good that China will become the second-largest market for 3D printers after the US within five years.

The Chinese market currently makes up 5-10% of Stratasys’ business each quarter. Stratasys is present in China’s automotive, aerospace, medical, dental, jewelry, consumer electronics packaging and education sectors. In meetings last month with officials of the Chinese government in Beijing, Crump said Stratasys discussed potential collaboration with China to initiate and accelerate research, development and adoption of 3D printing.

We want not only to expand our business, but to do some development or co-development in China. We’re also interested in teaching industrial and business applications.” Crump said.

Stratasys has seen exponential growth of sales and interest over the past 24 months, a context supported by the massive investments made by the USA in manufacturing institutes, some USD$200 million, and US President Obama’s supportive enthusiasm of 3D printing in his last, State Of The Union Speech.

Nanoscribe prints Nano grade 3D models

Since a long time Nano – technology has been confined to the range of those things that will probably happen in the future. Now there is so much, NanoTech material around us that it is almost a common element. The same is now happening for Commercial Nanofabrication. The ability to 3D print Nano grade Photonic Wire Bonds (PWB) will allow computer scientists to overcome communication bottlenecks in data centers and high performance computers. In biotechnology Nano-Scaffolds are making it easier than ever to grow all types of living cells.

Nano – fabrication will have applications in the development of mechanical meta – materials and of new Nano surfaces that will, for example, replicate a Gecko’s setae, giving any one and any object Spider-man like climbing (or clinging) abilities. Another application is in filtration systems: with Nanoscribe’s machine it is possible to create Nano – fluidic filters inside channels that are only a micrometer wide.

How is Nano fabrication done?

The technology used to 3D print at a Nano scale, is called Two Photon Polymerization or Two Photo Lithography. It is very similar to regular stereo lithography, except that it uses femtosecond laser pulses (a femtosecond is 10 to the -15th seconds or 0.000000000000001 seconds) to cure the polymers at the Nano – scopic level).

Nanoscribe has developed a range of software that, just like in any desktop 3D printer, can make all the difference both in quality and accessibility.

Nanowrite is an easy to use GUI, while the Nanoslicer software transforms the “*.stl” files into the Photonic Professional GT native data format: “*.gwl”. Through the DeScribe software users can edit the GWL files, check them for printability and even monitor the writing process by means of an SEM (scanning electron microscope) connected optical camera.

Nano – printing will allow for the creation of Nano – circuits and Meta-materials and also printing Organic tissue at the Nano – scale. 3D printing’s utility in such a diverse set of fields proves that it will indeed be a ubiquitous technology in the coming years.

Classic Indian Motorcycle Resurrected with 3D Printing

Over a hundred years ago America got its first motorcycle, and it was an Indian Motorcycle. While the brand has always been sought after and popular, at one time they were the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. Unfortunately during World War 2 they had devoted so many of their resources to producing motorcycles for the army that their bikes became extremely difficult to get in the states. Many of their dealers abandoned them, and this allowed their nearest competitor Harley Davidson to overtake their market share, a blow that they would never recover from. Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company and their iconic bikes disappeared in 1953 due to bankruptcy.

While the name was purchased by multiple companies and slapped on bikes for decades the brand had never even flirted with its previous success. In 2011 when Polaris Industries purchased the rights to the brand that all changed. Already well-versed in creating highly sought after and extremely high quality motorcycles, they managed to get done what no one had been able to do previously, reinvent the Indian brand. When designing the new bikes, standard clay sculptors were employed, but their work was aided by in-house Stratasys 3D printers. This ability to rapid prototype just about every part of the motorcycle while they designed was integral to the speed that the new bikes were brought to market, if they had used the traditional designing and tooling techniques that were the only available options as little as ten years ago the prototype would have taken over 15 months to complete

In a time when venture capitalists and investments bankers run so many corporations and they’ve stripped so many iconic American brands of their originality in order to make a quick buck, it’s nice to see a company treating a part of American history with a little bit of respect. While the bikes were debuted last summer, they are expected to go on sale in 200 dealers within the next few months.