The future of 3D printing by Bryan Crutchfield of Materialise North America

Today’s 3D printing industry is hardly recognizable when
compared to that of 1990 when

Materialise’s founder
, bought his first
printer and began writing software for additive manufacturing.
In just under 30 years, we have seen the industry evolve into
an integral part of the manufacturing process for industries
like healthcare, manufacturing and aerospace where
personalization, customization and precision are vital. As the
speed of industry innovation continues to increase, there are a
number of factors helping to bring this disruptive technology
to the forefront.

The model of Antwerp City hall features an impressive level of detail. Photo via Materialise.The model of Antwerp
City hall features an impressive level of detail. Photo via

Major Players Driving Education and Innovation

One of the defining moments for our industry is a rapid
increase in involvement from major industry players like GE,
HP, Adidas and Siemens. Their significant investment in 3D
printing technology has given them the capability to deliver
new product offerings and real benefits to their

As these organizations enter the industry, they are
building partnerships with experienced 3D printing companies
like Materialise and building pressure within the industry to
advance and innovate, to meet rising demand. One aspect of this
push for innovation across all industries is a shift in mindset
as more engineers and designers begin to think in terms of
additive, rather than subtractive manufacturing.

Since 3D printing is still a relatively new tool for
manufacturing, education and training systems are still playing
catch-up to traditional manufacturing methods in terms of
awareness. With the influx of Fortune 500 companies adopting 3D
printing technology, education and training programs will adapt
to meet the growing need for skilled additive manufacturing
workers. As industry innovators are trained in 3D printing
solutions for new applications, the speed of adoption of 3D
printing across industries will continue to increase.

The finished 3D printed titanium implant. Photo via MaterialiseA 3D printed titanium
implant. Photo via Materialise

Next Generation 3D Printers

Another impact of increased participation from large
industry players will come in the form of updated and improved
3D printing hardware. Companies are now deploying
second-generation machines, which boast improved reliability,
speed and cost-efficiency. A larger push towards industrial
production machines, in addition to rapid prototyping and
product development, has driven advances in machines, and even
hardware that is specifically tailored to meet individual
customers’ needs.

New Materials for New Applications

Innovation in printable materials is another one of the
fastest-moving aspects of 3D printing. New materials are being
developed every day, and the possibilities for 3D printing to
expand to new uses and industries increase with each
development. This is a difficult area of the industry to
implement solid parameters due to the rapid rate of change, but
in the near future we expect to see advances in the areas of
lightweight, porous and textured surfaces to help manufacturers
meet both performance and design objectives. These advances in
machines and materials open up further applications for highly
regulated industries and for those that demand mass
customization, such as aerospace, defense and consumer

3D Printing Software Innovations

While 3D printing software has become a crucial part of
the design process, it has not yet reached its full potential.
There is a race among companies in the industry to develop a
truly end-to-end 3D printing software solution that completes
the digital thread, a single path of data that stretches from
initial design to the completed product. We expect continued
progress towards the industry goal of automated processes that
include all aspects of product development, from design to the
printers themselves.

Materialise e-Stage for metal 3D printing. Photo by Michael Petch.Materialise e-Stage for
metal 3D printing. Photo by Michael Petch.

At Materialise, we not only create the software that
serves as the backbone of the 3D printing process, we also
provide 3D printing services. From design creation and
optimization to managing and automating workflows to printing a
completed product, our software and services represent the
complete digital thread in 3D printing. Our manufacturing
facilities serve as our ‘test kitchen,’ where we are able to
test and improve the software, materials and processes that we
pass along to our customers and partners. As 3D printing
becomes an even larger part of the manufacturing toolkit, we
will continue to leverage our extensive expertise developed
from 28 years of 3D printing experience, to work towards a
truly end-to-end solution. We look forward to increased
adoption and integration of 3D printing to help businesses
improve workflows and deliver benefits for their customers,
partners and end users. Learn more about

Bryan Crutchfield is Vice President and General
Manager of Materialise North America.

Read more insights into the
future of 3D printing
in our thought leadership series.

There is still time to vote in the
2018 3D Printing Industry Awards
. Follow the Awards
with the hashtag #3DPIAwards.

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Printing Industry newsletter
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and like us on

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Featured image shows Fried Vancraen, CEO and founder
of Materialise, watching the opening of the 2017 Materialise
World Summit. Photo by Michael Petch.

Bees put sting in Temple’s bioinspired 3D printed needle design

Design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) tools, such as

generative design
programs and
topology optimization
, are changing the way our world
looks. Airplane parts are now more organic-looking, taking on
the shape of
thick vines overarching a space
, rather than the
conventional blocks and right-angels. And, seeking inspiration
for new materials and devices, researchers are increasingly
taking cues from nature.

From the
innate toughness of a conch shell
, to the
iridescent quality of butterfly wings
, bioinspired designs
have been put to a range of uses, including the development of

smart sensors
next generation aircraft

At Temple University,
Pennsylvania, researchers have taken inspiration from the
humble honey bee to develop a solution for better patient care.

Associate Professor Parsaoran Hutapea (left) and PhD student Mohammad Sahlabadi. Photo via Temple UniversityAssociate Professor Parsaoran
Hutapea (left) and PhD student Mohammad Sahlabadi. Photo via
Temple University

3D printed surgical needles

Parsaoran Hutapea is an Associate Professor of Mechanical
Engineering at Temple. Together with PhD student Mohammad
Sahlabadi, the department developed a new design for a surgical

3D printed needle deigns. Screengrab via Temple University on YouTube3D printed needle
deigns. Screengrab via Temple University on YouTube

“The whole idea of a 3D printed needle came about six or seven
years ago, when we did a project looking at how to improve
surgery needles,” explains Hutapea, “The problem with the
surgery needle is when you go in, into human tissue, often
times the tip will deflect.”

A deflecting tip creates inaccuracies when applying a precise
dose to damaged or inflamed tissue. Hutapea continues, “The
needle deviates from its planned path on the way to the target,
such as a cancerous tissue or tumor.”

Renowned for their stings, honey bees set the perfect example
for minimizing potential damage to skin and tissue, and
improving needle-point precision.

The stinger in the search

Through studying bees, Hutapea and Sahlabadi found that the
stingers are barbed rather than linear like a typical needle.
This is the secret to the bee’s ability to cleanly sting an

Adding barbs to the needle. Screengrab via Temple University on YouTubeAdding barbs to the
needle. Screengrab via Temple University on YouTube

Notches on the stinger decrease its insertion and extraction
forces, and therefore limit a needle’s ability to curve.

“It’s critical, because if the needle curves, you miss the
target,” adds Hutapea.

“With this shape, the curve is limited—it makes it easier to
control in a robotics setting.”

So far, the bee-like needles have been 3D printed in a unique
polymer mixture. Within the next two to three
years, Hutapea and Sahlabadi hope to have the technology
to 3D printed a hybrid metal-polymer needle in this shape.
Eventually, the goal is also to attain FDA approval for the
devices, though it may be some year’s yet before we see the
needles on the shelf.

A paper co-authored by Hutapea and Sahlabadi discussing
the “Novel
design of honeybee-inspired needles for percutaneous
” is published online in
journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.

For more of the latest cutting-edge 3D printing research
and other related news subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry
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2018 3D Printing Industry Awards

Featured image shows the 3D printed needle entering a
gel made to mimic human tissue. Photo via Temple

3D Printing News Sliced, ProtoCAM, Goceram, Filamentive and EnvisionTEC

This edition of our 3D printing
news digest
Sliced, asks the following
questions: How has 3D printing been used to bring the first
statue of a woman to the UK’s Parliament Square? How can
1st-century Roman helmets be recreated with 3D printing? How
long is the world’s longest 3D printed chain? All this and more
from EnvisionTEC, Massivit 3D, Boeing and Siemens PLM

Old world technology with a modern edge, 3D printing looms,
Roman helmets and more

Students from ÉCAL
, Switzerland, started a pop-up
factory during Milan Design Week, where they 3D printed a range
of objects on-the-spot. Named the ÉCAL Digital Market, the
pop-up explores how 3D printing is changing the nature of

, a Toronto-based 3D printing bureau, took first
place in
advanced finishing category for a metal 3D printed
1st-century Roman helmet. The helmet’s structure is 3D printed
in 316 stainless steel. A lengthy finishing process involved
manual and electro-polishing. The helmet was then plated in
copper, nickel, chrome and 24-carat gold.

Custom Prototype's metal 3D printed Roman helmet. Photo via Custom Prototypes.Custom Prototype’s metal
3D printed Roman helmet. Photo via Custom Prototypes.

“We wanted to avoid it being a 3D printing performance
exhibition, where you have crazy shapes and objects. We didn’t
want to focus on being amazed by the production technique but
instead on the usability of the objects,” said Christophe
Guberan, the project’s curator.

The U.S. National Science
has given an engineering
researcher, Prahalada Rao, at
a five-year grant to work on a new
process that Rao is calling “Smart Additive Manufacturing.”
Combining additive and subtractive processes with an array of
sensors, Rao hopes to produce flawless metal parts. “You’ve got
so many sensors. The trick is how do you use all of that data
you’re collecting to pinpoint when and where an error occurs
and then correct as you build,” said Rao.

, a producer of large-format 3D printers,
will have the European premier of its

Massivit 1500 Exploration 3D Printer
FESPA Global Print Expo 2018. The expo runs May 15-18, in
Berlin, Germany. Massivit CEO, Avner Israeli, said “With the
Massivit 1500, print shops of all sizes can benefit from the
limitless creativity and new business opportunities enabled by
large format 3D printing.”

company based in Pennsylvania, U.S.,
ProtoCAM to
improve the design the “master cylinder” used in its carpet
looms. The original cylinders were made of increasingly
threatened Cuban Mahogany, and were crucial to the
carpet-weaving process. ProtoCAM improved the design, making
each cylinder removable, easily replaceable, and significantly
lighter than the original.

A master cylinder 3D printed for Langhorne Carpet's loom (left). Photo via ProtoCAM.A master cylinder 3D
printed for Langhorne Carpet’s loom (left). Photo via ProtoCAM.

Researchers at Germany’s Chemnitz
University of Technology
, have fully 3D
printed an electrical motor, following two years of research. A
crucial step in the process was the successful 3D printing of a
coil capable of withstanding temperatures over 300°C. “The
motor that was printed in the Chemnitz University Laboratory
represents a breakthrough and is at the same time the proof of
principle – it demonstrates the feasibility – of our
technology,” said Joannes Rudolph, one of the

The UK’s Parliament Square features statues of many
important historical figures, but no statues of women. At
least, until this week, when a statue of Millicent Garrett
Fawcett was unveiled. Garrett Fawcett was the leader of the
National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), which was
crucial the fight for the women’s vote in 1918. Gillian
Wearing, a Turner Prize-winning artist, created the statue
using 3D printing as one of the many techniques.

Speaking to
Wearing said “Making it was very
complex. Many different techniques were used, such as 3D
printing [and]photographic machine etching. I wanted something
owned by Millicent in the sculpture [so]settled on a brooch
she was given from the NUWSS. It was scanned and printed so
it’s an exact replica of the original.”

Millicent Garrett Fawcett statue, in Parliament Square. Photo via Getty Images, by Dan Kitwood.Millicent Garrett Fawcett
statue, in Parliament Square. Photo via Getty Images, by Dan

Boeing investing in Metal 3D printing from Morf3D

, based in Sweden, is a supplier of
production lines for Pressure Powder Injection Molding (PIM)
and feedstock technology for 3D printing. The company has
partnered with the Smart Materials & Manufacturing
Laboratory at the
Hong Kong Productivity
(HKPC) for prototyping and production
development in the Asian-Pacific. Dr Robert Pompe, Goceram CEO,
said “HKPC appears, to our experience, to be the most complete
resource in terms of machinery and competence, both within the
PIM and AM, that we have seen, anywhere, not only in

Kanfit Ltd
is an Israeli aerospace company using 3D printing to
produce high-quality metal parts that are ready-to-fly. The
company has been recertified to AS9100 Rev. D., after an audit
conducted by the
Institution of Israel
. AS9100 Rev. D. is a
widely adopted quality management standard for the aerospace

, a 3D printing bureau based in Cheshire,
UK, has partnered with
PLM Software
, which will see Europac 3D sell
Siemens’ software, providing its customers with a complete 3D
scanning, design and printing solution. Martin Hassenstrauch,
Siemens PLM Software’s Channel Marketing Manager for Northern
Europe, said “We are pleased to work with Europac 3D to provide
open, integrated solutions that improve the productivity of our
mutual customers.”

Australian metal 3D printing company, Titomic Ltd,
has completed a $12 million private placement. The placement
was completed at $1.25 per share, equal to the 10-day volume
weighted average price. The funds will be used to fund
Titomic’s expansion in areas such as a new metal powder
facility, and the expansion of the company’s industrial scale
metal 3D printing capabilities.

is a UK-based, producer of sustainable 3D printing
filaments. The company’s range of products is to be sold and
distributed by
3DGBIRE ltd, an
online store for 3D printers and equipment also based in the
UK. Filamentive has been nominated for the

2018 3D Printing Industry Awards
“Material company of the year.”

Boeing, the
world’s largest aerospace company, has invested in

Morf3D, a
California-based manufacturer of 3D printed parts for aerospace
applications. The investment was made through Boeing’s

venture arm. “We are excited to be a distinguished and
trusted partner of Boeing’s additive manufacturing supplier
base, as we continue to industrialize our processes for the
high-rate production of flight-worthy additively manufactured
components,” said Ivan Madera, CEO of Morf3D.

Morf3D's R&D Innovation Centre. Photo via Morf3D.Morf3D’s R&D
Innovation Centre. Photo via Morf3D.

New releases from EnvisionTEC, and a metal resin from Tethon

, a Nebraska-based producer of ceramic
materials for 3D printing, has released a new UV curable metal
resin, Ferrolite. The material was introduced for the first
time at this week’s

event. Karen Linder, CEO of
Tethon 3D, said “We want to provide this experimental metal
material to those who wish to disrupt the metal 3D printing
market, change how metal parts are designed and produced, and
break boundaries.”

is a developer of 3D printers for medical, professional
and industrial markets, headquartered in Michigan. The company
recently launched the E-Rigid Form material, a
polyurethane-like resin that 3D prints hard and stiff parts.
With a tensile strength of 68-73 MPa at 7% elongation, the
material is one of the strongest 3D printing materials
available. The company demonstrated the material’s strength
with a 328-foot long 3D printed chain, the world’s longest 3D
printed single-piece chain.

EnvisionTEC has also released new medical-grade 3D
printing materials compatible with its 3D-Bioplotter
bioprinter. UV Silicone 60A MG and HT PCL MG are now offered by
the company. 60A MG is a bio-compatible, bio-inert, and
non-biodegradable silicone rubber, cured with UV light. PCL MG
is a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester, for processing at
high temperatures.   

Two of EnvisionTEC’s largest 3D printers have received
hardware updates improving their resolution. The Vector UHD
3SP, and Xede UHD 3SP, are now capable printing with an XY
resolution of 25 microns.

The world's longest 3D printed single-piece chain. Photo via EnvisionTEC.The world’s longest 3D
printed single-piece chain. Photo via EnvisionTEC.

Keep abreast of the latest 3D printing news. Subscribe
to the
3D Printing
Industry newsletter
, follow us
and like us on

Advance your career in 3D printing, or post a job.
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Vote in the
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, before it closes.

Featured image shows Custom Prototype’s metal 3D
printed Roman helmet. Photo via Custom Prototypes.

Accelerating additive manufacturing: Oerlikon and IABG partnership, SME ITEAM launches

Two pieces of 3D printing news show how the additive
manufacturing industry plans to increase adoption of the
technology. Oerlikon and IABG are addressing certification,
while SME has announced a platform for evaluating the
feasibility using industrial 3D printing for manufacturing.

Oerlikon AM and IABG

Oerlikon AM, Swiss
technology group Oerlikon’s additive manufacturing Business
Unit, has signed an agreement with IABG, a leading European
technology and science service provider, to cooperate in
accelerating equipment and process certification, as well as
equipment testing for additive manufacturing (AM) parts.

New qualification process for AM

The new partnership aims to ensure that European manufacturers
are able to provide customers with AM-qualified components
through a certified process developed as part of the

This partnership also aims for their AM qualification,
inspection and testing methods to become new standards in 3D
printing, fostering the the industrialization of additive
manufacturing and leading to enhanced component reliability.
Florian Mauerer, Head of Oerlikon AM, says:

“Oerlikon AM is taking a collaborative approach to
integrating the whole AM value chain. Partnering with IABG
will allow us to accelerate certification of parts and
original equipment manufacturers to introduce more AM
components into the market. Leveraging our materials,
manufacturing and R&D competencies in AM, customers can
benefit from the advantages that AM brings, without having to
invest heavily in AM equipment, training, people and

Oerlikon’s broader goal is the adoption of AM as a
manufacturing process for aerospace,
power generation, automotive, and other leading industries
The new partnership was announced just two months after

Oerlikon signed a five-year collaboration agreement with
leading aircraft manufacturer Boeing

3D printed titanium
component for cooling. Image via Oerlikon

Dr. Oliver Kosing, Head of IABG’s Tests & Analyses
department, adds:

“Additive manufacturing is gaining more and more importance
for our customers. The partnership with Oerlikon, a global
company with a clear and sustainable AM strategy, allows IABG
to offer even more integrated solutions along the entire AM
value chain.”

SME launches AM evaluation platform

SME has given an update on a project announced last year. In
May 2017,  Michigan-based SME announced they were
collaborating with 3D printing industry experts
to create
the Independent Technical
Evaluation of Additive Manufacturing Consortium (ITEAM)

evaluation platform.

Conceived as a virtual database of 3D printers and materials,
the purpose of ITEAM is to help manufacturers determine whether
3D printing is right for their project.

ITEAM is now available as an online platform, although in
beta-testing mode. Florida Institute of Technology’s
Michael Grieves, PhD, is also working with SME.

ITEAM offers evaluation tools and a repository of machine and
material capabilities to help users make informed decisions in
additive manufacturing. The tool is intended to assist in the
decision of whether a component should and can be 3D printed.

The launch was announced prior to the opening keynote at the

RAPID + TCT 2018.

ITEAM’s function is to compare and determine the best machine,
material and process for any particular application. It
utilizes the new SAM-CT methodology (Size, Accuracy and
Materials + economic evaluation of Cost and Throughput). SAM-CT
allows companies can upload their part file to a secure
platform and assess whether something 3D printing can be
applied to a specific project, and whether it is the best
method for the project.

This virtual methodology enables manufacturers to avoid risking
time and resources on trial and error in the manufacturing
process. Dr Grieves, executive director at the Center for
Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design at the Florida
Institute of Technology, says:

“To truly take advantage of the benefits and opportunities
created by additive manufacturing, companies need the ability
to quickly and easily judge the suitability of the process
for making their products. The beta launch of the ITEAM
platform now provides users with an accurate and reliable
tool to make the best technical and economic decisions about

The Florida Institute of
Technology, home to the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and
Innovative Design, where Dr Grieves is conducting ITEAM research.
Image via BBR Education

Debbie Holton, Vice President of Industry Strategy and Events
at SME, adds: “Manufacturers are continuously looking for new
ways to reduce waste, improve productivity, produce better
parts, and cut their time to market while cutting costs and
eliminating expensive tooling. Additive manufacturing not
only enables manufacturers to reach these goals, it allows
products and geometries not possible with traditional
manufacturing processes.”

These recent partnerships indicate an industry focus on
assessing and optimizing production process, but also a drive
to harness wide-ranging technologies as they become available,
new horizons for 3D printing

From April 25 to 29, IABG is exhibiting at the ILA Air Show Berlin. IABG
will host ILA visitors at stand 402 in hall 2.

For more of the latest 3D printing news – subscribe to
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Industry newsletter
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and like us on
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Printing Industry Jobs
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Featured image shows Oerlikon 3D printed titanium parts for
Boeing. Image via Oerlikon.


The best medical, dental and healthcare applications of 3D printing 2018

With the 2018 3D Printing Industry Awards only a few
weeks away, we take a look at what our readers consider the
best medical, dental and healthcare applications of 3D

Make your vote for these, or another application, on

voting form now

Medical applications of 3D printing presented by Jay Morris M.D. Codirector Clinical 3D Printing Lab of the Mayo Clinic during the 2017 Materialise World Summit. Photo by Michael Petch.Medical applications of
3D printing presented by Jay Morris M.D. Codirector Clinical 3D
Printing Lab of the Mayo Clinic during the 2017 Materialise World
Summit. Photo by Michael Petch.

Digital dentistry, disruptive technology and functional

Medical, dental and healthcare applications of 3D
range from saving surgeons time and
improving patient outcomes with 3D printed anatomical models
based on medical image data to enterprises using additive
manufacturing to make the next generation of prosthetic

Our readers are also voting for the largest specialist
medical 3D printing service company in the UK and a digital
dentistry pioneer who was one of the first to demonstrate the
disruptive potential of 3D printing, a feat backed by
commercial results.

Additive dental and medical applications on display at the GE Additive booth during TCT 2017. Photo by Michael Petch.Additive dental and
medical applications on display at the GE Additive booth during
TCT 2017. Photo by Michael Petch.

Represented in the 2018 Awards are companies making use
of 3D printing to improve the performance of medical devices
and working high grade thermoplastics such as

3D printed PEEK
for the medical sector.
3D printing technology is in use at multinational medical
devices and pharmaceutical enterprises, while smaller ventures
are active in creating affordable and easy to use 3D printing
solutions for dental clinics, others are building a global
network producing low cost prosthetics.

3D printing has application for precision instruments and
orthopedic implants, with one nominee using the technology to
make a 99% reduction in material waste for orthotic

Innovative photopolymers for dentistry, a single-cell
bioprinting platform and a company boosting the confidence

prosthetic limb users
are all nominated.
Our readers have told us about a new workflow for making 3D
printed hand braces, the world’s first CE-certified 3D printed
prosthetic feet. biocompatible dental implant guides and
innovative trabecular and complex lattice features that allow
spinal manufacturing to mimic the human body and manufacture
effective solutions.

The MOJAVE PL 3D spinal lumbar cage. Image via K2MThe MOJAVE PL 3D spinal
lumbar cage. Image via K2M

All primary material classifications are represented
including a ceramic 3D printer for dental applications.

These are some of the medical, dental and
healthcare applications of 3D printing
, as voted
for by our readers:


printed hearts at Phoenix Children’s

3D printed prosthetics from

3D Printed Ribs at Morriston
Hospital Wales, Renishaw

Printing Studios

Align Technology

New E-OrthoShape resin for 3D printing models for thermoforming clear aligners. Photo via EnvisionTEC.New E-OrthoShape resin
for 3D printing models for thermoforming clear aligners. Photo
via EnvisionTEC.

Stratasys & Autodesk

Anatomics Sternum Ribcage
Composite Implant for patient Penelope

Apium Additive Technologies




Custom Captain America ‘Raptor Hand’ prosthetic Photo via: e-NABLECustom Captain America
‘Raptor Hand’ prosthetic Photo via: e-NABLE

E-Nable Low-Cost
3D Printed Prosthetics

EnvisionTEC E-IDB for indirect
bonding trays, for placement of orthodontic

4 and NextDent, 3D Systems


Piotr Sajdak holds a skateboard with his prosthetic arm. Photo via Glaze Prosthetics.Piotr Sajdak holds a
skateboard with his prosthetic arm. Photo via Glaze Prosthetics.

iOrthotics and HP

Johnson & Johnson’s Tissue
Regeneration System Bone

K2M CASCADIA AN 3D Interbody

Kulzer cara

VisionPlatform for ophthalmic lenses

Luxexcel 3D printed lenses. Photo via LuxexcelLuxexcel 3D printed
lenses. Photo via Luxexcel

ManoMetric hand


Shape GmbH

SprintRay Surgical Guide
Material for Guided Implant


3D Systems Figure 4 3D printer. Photo by Michael Petch.3D Systems Figure 4 3D
printer. Photo by Michael Petch.


Prodways ceramic 3D

WASP with Digital
Orthopedic Laboratory

Vote now in the
2018 3D Printing Industry Awards

The winners of the 2018 3D Printing Industry, as decided
by our readers, will be announced on May 17th at Nuffield Hall
in central London. If you would like to join the leaders of the
3D printing industry at this black-tie gala dinner, then we
have a very limited number of tickets remaining. Please

to reserve your place.

Read more about how voting in the 2018 3D Printing
Industry Awards is progressing. Who do our readers think are

best 3D printing startups of 2018

leading aerospace or automotive applications of additive

For all the latest 3D printing news – subscribe to
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Industry newsletter
, follow us
and like us on
Follow the Awards with the hashtag #3DPIAwards.

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I took a SolidWorks training course with Solid Solutions

SolidWorks is
a CAD and CAE program published by Dassault Systèmes. Solid Solutions, a
SolidWorks reseller, ran a training course for the software in
London, promoting their subscription service.

3DXpert for SolidWorks. Image via SolidWorks.3DXpert for SolidWorks.
Image via SolidWorks.

SolidWorks training courses

As someone with limited experience of using CAD software, it
was interesting to use SolidWorks. Going into the event I had
some preconceptions about what using CAD software was like, I
imagined I would be frustrated by obtuse interfaces, with
simple objects requiring many steps to create.

The training was led by Terry O’Reilly, Pre-Sales Manager at
the SolidWorks reseller NT CADCAM. The class took us through
creating 3D parts, 2D design drawings, putting together
assemblies, and the many ways that SolidWorks makes this as
easy as possible.

Part assemblies in SolidWorks. Image via SolidWorksPart assemblies in
SolidWorks. Image via SolidWorks

The training itself followed a step-by-step process, similar to
many online tutorials available for using CAD, but with
professional help on hand ensuring there was never any
ambiguity about the process.

Laptops with SolidWorks Premium installed were provided for the
training. O’Reilly led us through the design of a simple 3D
component for use in a clamp assembly.

We started by extruding a rectangle into a cuboid shape, which
would form the main body of the part.

ISO standard threaded holes were added using SolidWorks’ Hole
Wizard, which allowed us to select the standardized holes from
a drop-down menu.

Selecting the corners of the part with the fillet tool produced
bezels with easily defined parameters. Finishing the shape of
the model, we drew a circle onto the part and selected extruded
cut from the top toolbar to produce the arch on the part you
can see below.

The part was added to a clamp assembly using the mating tool.
2D design drawings, shareable and able to be marked-up by those
without SolidWorks, were created by exporting the model into
eDrawings Professional.

Exploding animations of the entire assembly were created with
the animation tool, providing a quick overview of the parts

All the tools were accessible from a clearly defined toolbar at
the top of the SolidWorks window.

Overall, I left the event feeling confident that the training
had provided me with a solid base for continuing to learn the
software. Of course, actual SolidWorks training courses are far
more in-depth, covering the full range of SolidWorks’
applications. Solid
Solutions offers over 1,250 training courses available across
the UK
, in 21 locations.

Creating 2D design drawings from 3D models created in SolidWorks. Image via SolidWorksCreating 2D design
drawings from 3D models created in SolidWorks. Image via

Three tiers of SolidWorks subscriptions

SolidWorks is available in three different tiers: Standard,
Professional and Premium. All subscriptions now feature

 from 3D Systems as a plugin. 3DXpert
was shortlisted in the Software of the Year
category in
last year’s 3D Printing Industry Awards.

Some of the key features of each package are described below:

The Standard suite, at £4,500 plus a £1145 yearly subscription,
is a complete CAD package, offering some Finite Element
Analysis (FEA) capabilities, static stress analysis on parts,
and animation.

The Professional suite costs £5,750 plus a £1,445 yearly
subscription, and adds photo-realistic rendering capabilities
with SolidWorks Visualize, a library of standard parts such as
nuts, bolts and connectors, and eDrawings Professional which
allows design drawings to be viewed and marked-up by customers
without SolidWorks.

SolidWorks Simulation is fully enabled in the Premium Suite,
enabling static, stress and motion analysis on entire
assemblies. A wider range of FEA capabilities are also
available, amongst many other features. The Premium suite costs
£7,000 with a £1,745 yearly subscription fee.

SolidWorks subscribers have exclusive access to automatic
upgrades, live technical support from SolidWorks resellers,
exclusive software enhancements, and content such
as learning modules and cloud storage.

30 Day trials of SolidWorks subscriptions are available through
SolidWorks resellers.

Full range of features available in SolidWorks Premium. Image via SolidWorks.Full range of features
available in SolidWorks Premium. Image via SolidWorks.

SolidWorks added a plugin for 3D printers from Rize
, this
February. The feature streamlines 3D printing with Rize’s
patented Augmented Polymer Deposition process.

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SolidWorks is nominated in the
2018 3D Printing Industry awards
for 3D software of the

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Featured image shows part assemblies in SolidWorks.
Image via SolidWorks.

3D Systems Figure 4 selected for US Air Force research

The Figure 4 3D printing platform from 3D Systems
continues to find new applications. Under a new
initiative announced today, US Air Force-sponsored research
will look at how 3D printing can be used in the aircraft
maintenance supply chain.

Figure 4 is high accuracy and
high speed modular 3D printing platform

that permits a significant increase in throughput when
compared to earlier additive technology.

Father of 3D Printing, Chuck Hull and 3D Systems CEO watch Figure 4 demoFather of 3D Printing,
Chuck Hull and 3D Systems CEO watch Figure 4 demo

The research will be overseen by America
, the US national additive manufacturing
innovation institute that frequently serves as a collaborative
partner and facilitator between industrial 3D printing
enterprises and wider industry.

Other America Makes initiatives include the

additive manufacturing technology
, a pathway intended to,
promote inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and technical
advancements across the industry.”

The University of Dayton
Research Institute
(UDRI) will lead the
Figure 4 research project. Other participants
3D Systems,
Lockheed Martin
, Orbital ATK and
Northrop Grumman.

3D Systems Figure 4 3D printer. Photo by Michael Petch.3D Systems Figure 4 3D
printer. Photo by Michael Petch.

Industrial 3D printing for aircraft

The participants intend to explore how the Figure 4
system can be used to 3D print aircraft components across a
range of older planes. This includes aircraft where the supply
chain of replacement may have been disrupted.

With the focus on maintaining an older fleet, the project
has echoes of the Deutsche Bahn ‘mobility goes additive’
initiative. Under the German additive manufacturing program
Deutsche Bahn is also seeing how spare parts can be additive
manufactured, the project has had significant success in

digitizing and 3D printing replacement

3YOURMIND prototype for Deutsche Bahn. Photo by Michael Petch3YOURMIND prototype for
Deutsche Bahn. Photo by Michael Petch

Like that initiative the Air Force sponsored research
hopes to reduce the need for keeping high volumes of inventory
in warehouses. This in turn is anticipated to allow the rapid
delivery of parts on demand, and thus reduce the time aircraft
are kept out of service.

Dr. Tim Osborn, research scientist: additive
manufacturing, multiscale composites and polymer division,
University of Dayton Research Institute said, “We were pleased
with the speed, resolution, surface finish, and scalability
that we achieved utilizing 3D Systems’ solution.”

Our goal is to further explore this technology and
establish a clear development, vetting, and transition
pathway for the emerging DLP technology in the Figure 4
machine for transition to the U.S. Air Force.

The project is part of an ongoing Air Force program,
“Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low-cost Sustainment”
(MAMLS). MAMLS is now moving to Phase III.  3D Systems has
participated in previous phases, although this is the first
time the Air Force has deployed, “Digital Light Processing
(DLP) technology,” for 3D printing low criticality components.
Potential candidates for 3D printing on the Figure 4 include
electrical connectors, knobs, elastomeric grommets, and spacers
for legacy sustainment equipment.   

Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology will be used to supply low criticality components for legacy sustainment equipment. Credit: University of Dayton Research InstituteDigital Light
Processing (DLP) technology will be used to supply low
criticality components for legacy sustainment equipment. Credit:
University of Dayton Research Institute

Expanding arsenal of Figure 4

Chuck Hull, co-founder and chief technology officer, 3D
Systems said, “Additive manufacturing is the perfect lean
solution because it avoids the need for time-consuming and
costly tooling,”

Continuing Hull added, “We are pleased to support the Air
Force in its effort to reduce production costs and delivery
times through Figure 4, our novel additive manufacturing
technology.  We look forward to our continued
collaboration with UDRI and other partners – helping expand
their arsenal of Figure 4 applications.”

The most recent data on Figure 4 shows final part print
speeds up to 65mm/hr, while in prototyping mode speeds of up to
100 mm/hr are possible. The Figure 4 platform also uses a UV
curing to further decrease the time taken to get a final

3D Systems describes the Figure 4 as yielding, “the
world’s fastest additive manufacturing throughput and
time-to-part” and cite this as a primary factor in the
selection of the technology for testing by the research

Figure 4 is nominated in the
2018 3D Printing Industry Awards.
Make your vote now.

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Featured image shows 3D Systems Figure 4
configuration. Photo by Michael Petch.

New Microsoft open source 3D printing tech creates multi-device workspaces

Microsoft has released open-source hardware designs and
software for SurfaceConstellations,
a semi-rigid modular mobile system using 3D printing.

The SurfaceConstellations platform provides an extensive
database of 3D printed link modules to configure connected
tablets into modular workspaces and includes various setup
patterns as well as a visual configuration tool for generating
link modules.

Made-to-measure workspaces

The designs were developed by engineers at Microsoft
and University
College London (UCL)
. They enable users to configure
tailored cross-device workspaces by linking multiple tablets
with the 3D printed brackets ‘link modules’ that coordinate
information between the connected devices.

The researchers have illustrated 23 different configurations
involving up to eight screens in a “circle” or “trading desk”
setting. Other options include a including a three-tablet setup
for a two-player game, a six-tablet trading desk, and
three-tablet setup for multiscreen music editing, a six-tablet
wall for a trading desk, and a “composed workstation” combining
tablets with a laptop and a smartphone. 3D printed brackets
hold each configuration together, and the 30-degree connective
angle of the brackets allows for self-standing structures.

The combinations
offered by SurfaceConstellations. Image via Microsoft Research

Attached to the brackets are capacitive links that help
establish a connection between each device. Called
“CapacitiveLink” by the research team, this method works by
covering a small part of the screen as a unique touchpoint so
the conductive material connects the devices more reliably. The
researchers explain:

“Similar to capacitive widgets, our brackets are recognized
without the need for a person to touch the conductive
material. Our 3D-printed bracket design, which includes an
inner core of conductive 3D-print material, overlaps with the
touchscreens of connected tablets and triggers a touch
contact on each screen.”

Four of the possible
configurations, linked together with 3D printed brackets. Image
via Microsoft/Youtube

MyMiniFactory, a
social media platform for 3D printable
has made the
bracket link designs available online
, including
measurements for multiple devices as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2,
Apple’s iPad Air tablets, an iPad 3, and iPhone 7.
MyMinyFactory CEO Romain Kidd commented:

“This clever customisable accessory by Microsoft is a great
example of how 3D printing can enhance the capabilities of a
core central product, in this case giving more reasons for
customers to buy a Surface tablet in the first place.

Much like how Android and iOS have won the mobile platform
war by
building the healthiest developer communities (and ironically
Microsoft lost with Windows phone), the winning physical
products of the future will be the ones with access to the
best high quatity 3D printable accessories. Through Design
Challenges in particular, MyMiniFactory will continue to
provide the tools for brands to build out these libraries.”

Open source availability

Open sourcing hardware designs asks the question: what happens
when tangible goods become digitalized and free-flowing?
According to IP attorney John Hornick, 3D printing is fostering
the “democratization of manufacturing.” As he explains open
sourcing goes directly against production regulation, and means
“the ability to make a part or product without anyone knowing
about it or being able to control it”. Michael Weinberg,
General Counsel at Shapeways and Open Source Hardware Association
(OSWHA) board member, comments that this decade has
seen “an explosion of new content that is 3D printable,
and a lot of it is tied to open licenses or permissive
licenses.” For Weinberg,

“3D printing fits into a larger social legal pattern of
technology empowering people to make use of the world around
them and there is not a way under traditional IP structures
to really deal with that.”

In these circumstances, open sourced content in the public
domain remains a debated issue, and 3D printing stands at the
forefront of the discussion due to its democratizing potential.

The research,
SurfaceConstellations: A Modular Hardware Platform for Ad-Hoc
Reconfigurable Cross-Device Workspaces,
was conducted
by Nicolai Marquardt, Frederik Brudy, Can Liu, Benedikt
Bengler, and Christian Holz.

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Featured image shows a modular setup using the 3D printed
brackets. Image via Ben Bengler/Microsoft


SME releases 2018 Medical Additive Manufacturing Report

SME, an
organization working closely with manufacturing professionals,
companies and educators to generate solutions to manufacturing
industry challenges, has announced the release of the Medical AM3DP 2018 Annual
at SME’s RAPID + TCT event in Fort Worth. The report
provides an overview of
the impact of additive manufacturing/3D Printing (AM3DP) in the
medical field
, underlining the importance of technological
innovation to improve cost-effective patient care.

Survey indicates 3D printing is on the rise

The report includes the findings of a survey of medical AM3DP
professionals to provide a insights into how additive
manufacturing in the healthcare sector is being harnessed,
which processes and materials are being used, what challenges
arise, and what is expected to impact patients next.

The study finds 11% of industry revenues were derived
from Medical/dental pieces, i.e. 3D printed implants,
medical devices and other components for healthcare.

Healthcare is set to continue as a leading practical
use of 3D printing with 97% of AM professionals
confident of an increase in Medical AM/3DP

The SME Medical AM3DP workgroup also identified several
developments, from collaborations to improve workflows to
growth in future technologies and applications.

Survey shows
percentage of technologies used in the industry over the
past year. Image via SME

Device Manufacturers Help Transform Healthcare

According to Dan Fritzinger, Manager at Global
Instrument Innovation for DePuy Synthes, part
of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, the
use of medical 3D printing technology has the potential
to transform healthcare delivery to reach personalized
healthcare solutions for patients and consumers. He

“3D printing was once an innovation of the future and
is now an exciting reality. This technology presents
enhanced career growth opportunities for each new
generation of engineers and manufacturers entering
the workforce.”

Stratasys 3D
printed anatomical heart. Photo via: Stratasys on

Lauralyn McDaniel, Industry Manager at SME, said:

“Collaboration between companies and organizations, and
particularly between medicine and engineering, was a big part
of the story this year. Everyone is working together to
continue to grow the millions of patients already directly
impacted by the benefits of AM/3DP-enabled precision

Activities from regulatory agencies, industry and clinical
groups, and technology providers are helping to expand the
impact of medical 3D printing which already extends to millions
of patents. These groups include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
, SME Medical
Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing Workgroup
, RSNA 3D Printing
Special Interest Group
, DICOM Workgroup-17
3D Manufacturing
, and
Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative

You can read more  of our coverage from Texas at this
weeks RAPID + TCT 2018. New printers included the
Arcam EBM Spectra
, GE Additive’s new additive manufacturing
system, Aleph Objects’
LulzBot Mini 2 3D printer
, and
new metal 3D printers
presented this year.

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Featured image shows surgeon holding 3D printed medical
device. Image via cmfenews

New Stratasys F900 production 3D printer, extended capacity for J750 color 3D printing

Stratasys, a leading
manufacturer of 3D printers, has unveiled a host of new and
improved products at this year’s
 event, including new 3D printers and an
update for its GrabCAD software.

F900, three 3D printers built on the Fortus 900mc

The company has unveiled the F900 Production 3D printer,
built on the company’s Fortus 900mc platform. The F900 supports
a wide range of applications through three available variants:
the F900, the F900 AICS (Aircraft Interiors Certification
Solution), and the F900 PRO.

The F900 is the third generation of Stratasys’ flagship series
of FDM 3D printers. It features an MTConnect-ready interface
with end-use product level accuracy and repeatability.

The AICS model was first announced at the
2017 Paris
Air Show
, and delivers the performance and traceability
necessary for flight-worthy parts.

The F900 PRO produces parts with the highest FDM
repeatability and performance in ULTEM 9085 resin. It features
all the benefits of the F900 AICS, expanding them into other

Upgrades to any of the three variants are available to
current owners of the Fortus 900mc.

The new F900 Production
3D Printer. Photo via Stratasys.

J750, now with over 500,000 colors

Stratasys has also announced enhancements for the J750 3D
printer, as well as the release of the J735 3D printer.

Users of these 3D printers now have access to over
500,000 color combinations through a new color package, along
with accurate color matching. Previously 360,000 colors were
possible. The two 3D printers give manufacturers greater
confidence in what they can expect from finished products by
producing parts with performance and aesthetics similar to
final production parts.

“Some of the biggest challenges designers and
manufacturers face are 3D printed prototypes that fail to
deliver the realism necessary to make them actionable. The
advanced Stratasys J750 and newly announced Stratasys J735 3D
Printers were engineered to eliminate these roadblocks,” said
Rich Garrity, Stratasys Americas President.

Over 500,000 new color combinations for the J750 and J735. Photo via Stratasys.Over 500,000 new color
combinations for the J750 and J735. Photo via Stratasys.

GrabCAD print support for VRML files

Stratasys’ GrabCAD print software is also being used to
extend the capabilities of the J750 and J735. The software now
supports the 3D printing of VRML files, powering more realistic
textures and graphics on parts. Detailed views of model, tray
and slice previews will reduce the time-to-design of 3D

A new component, Jigs and Fixtures for GrabCAD Print,
automates print preparation for rapid tooling applications. The
component streamlines the toolpath planning process, improving
ease of use and reducing the time and costs of creating jig and
fixture parts.

Stratasys says the software will be simple enough to
eliminate the need for formal software training as well as the
use of third-party software, such as STL-file fixing

Stratasys is showcasing all of these advancements and
releases at this week’s
, April 23-26.

Earlier this month, the company officially announced the

formation of two subsidiaries, Vulcan Labs, Inc. and Evolve
Additive Solutions
, developing PBF and Selective Toner
Electrophotographic 3D printing processes, respectively.

Jigs and Fixtures for GrabCAD Print. Image via Stratasys.Jigs and Fixtures for
GrabCAD Print. Image via Stratasys.

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Featured image shows The new F900 Production 3D
Printer. Photo via Stratasys.