Today Thingiverse, the 3D model repository of New York desktop 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Over the past decade, the Thingiverse community has grown to over 2 million registered users, racking up a total of above 340 million object downloads.
Nadav Goshen, President and CEO of MakerBot, says,”We’ve been at the forefront of 3D printing for a decade, but the industry of 3D modeling and printing is still in its infancy,”
“A deep connection to customer needs drives our view of the market, and Thingiverse serves as a central conduit in that regard.”
In efforts to boost the “infancy” of the industry as Goshen puts it, Thingiverse has become decidedly more education-orientated in recent years, inline of course with MakerBot Education and the Starter Lab.
The Thingiverse Education segment of the site is now populated with hundreds of lesson plans and project ideas to encourage more students to understand and adopt 3D printing in class. Projects are tailored for grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12 and university, covering all subjects from art and languages, through to engineering and technology.
“The feedback from our customers is a core part of our mission to deliver more than just a great 3D printer,” adds Goshen, “We’ve maintained a consistent approach, and we will continue helping educators to advance learning and make 3D printing a part of every student’s toolbox.”
According to the official release from MakerBot, Thingiverse has averaged a 149% year on year organic growth of registered users since its launch in 2008. The company also notes that site content “has changed from experimental usage to become an educational tool on one hand and a tool for agile rapid prototyping for commercial customers on the other.”
In addition to its growing STEM community, Goshen says, “On the other end of the spectrum, we will continue to democratize 3D printing for professionals by making it accessible and affordable without compromising quality or performance.”
Following his succession to the role of CEO of MakerBot in 2017 and Stratasys’ acquisition of the company, Goshen said, “As part of Stratasys, we believe in the long-term opportunities in desktop 3D printing.” 3D Printing Industry has contact MakerBot for comment about how Thingiverse fits into its plans for the next ten years of the company.
While the study maintains that there is much work yet to be done to help support teachers and pupils integrate 3D printing into schools, the preliminary findings prove promising.
Makerspaces in Primary School Settings
For the purpose of the Macquarie University research, 27 teachers from three schools in Australia completed the Makers Empire Learning by Design professional development course. Following that, the teachers then collectively taught 24 classes in 3D printing and design, using Makers Empire 3D software, to an accumulated total of over 500 students.
Opinions and observations of staff were recorded before, during and after implementation of the course and lesson plans, along with the apparent impact on students in and outside of class.
It was co-authored by Associate Professor Matt Bower, Dr. Michael Stevenson, Professor Garry Falloon, Dr. Anne Forbes and Dr. Maria Hatzigianni each with respective experience in early childhood studies, education, and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) practices.
Impact on students and teachers
According to a quantitative analysis of terms discussed in teacher feedback, 100% (31 out of 31) of 3D printing and modeling lessons had high levels of student engagement. In addition, creativity (recorded with a 71% frequency in responses) and design thinking (recorded at 64.5% frequency) were the top two skills demonstrated by students throughout the study.
A further, unanticipated, outcome was an increase in collaboration between teachers and technology, including a willingness by some to introduce similar pedagogies across other lessons. “Several teachers indicated that they had shifted to be more collaborative, flexible, and comfortable with technology,” state the authors, adding, “Many teachers entered learning partnerships with students, and as a result, students came to see their teachers as models of lifelong learning,”
Further, “Some teachers related how these changes had transcended beyond their makerspaces modules – for instance, in the form of more inquiry-based, problem-based, and collaborative units of work.”
The Likert scale below demonstrates the teacher’s attitudes toward the idea of makerspace before training, post training, and post implementation of the learning outcomes in lessons.
Recommendations for the future of 3D printing in schools
Following the results a series of “future considerations” are made by the researchers, taking into account the feedback of the teacher focus group.
The points made in this summary urge schools to support both their students and teachers with the time and qualifications where necessary to implement 3D printing and 3D design in lessons.
The researchers also assert that further research is required “to determine effective systems through which makerspace leadership capabilities can be developed and propagated within and between schools.”
Valuechain.com, a UK-based software company has received a £960k grant from Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body for accelerating innovation.
The funding will go towards integrating Artificial Intelligence capabilities into Valuechain’s production management software for additive manufacturing called DNAam.
Tom Dawes, CEO of Valuechain, said, “with this project, we are looking to be able to model big data captured from multiple sources such as ERP systems; AM plant, equipment and sensors; and material analysis software; to understand correlations between powder properties, plant/sensor parameters, part complexity and production builds and generate AM optimization insights.”
Furthermore, FDM Digital Solutions, a Lancashire-based 3D printing solutions provider, will partner with Valuechain to open an innovation center at the Lancashire facility. The AI software will be tested there before commercial use.
Automated production management for AM
Valuechain’s DNAam is an automation software specially designed for additive manufacturing. It was developed in partnership with Airbus UK for use in the AM production processes in the aerospace sector.
The software offers various management and monitoring possibilities, such as inventory management, chemical analysis, and quality control.
One of its prime features is that the chemical composition of materials and test results can be recorded in the software. This data becomes available to the entire production team who can monitor changes in the material for chemical analysis and quality assurance.
DNAam can also be used with older management systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
With high profile clients like Airbus and Bentley, AI integration will bring new possibilities for Valuechain and DNAam.
Dawes explained, “this UKRI [Innovate UK] innovation funding and partnership with FDM, combined with some of the work we’re already doing will enable us to deploy AI to optimize and scale AM throughout the global advanced engineering sector.”
Artificial intelligence in additive manufacturing
As the manufacturing industry moves towards Industry 4.0, full automation remains ones of its prime focus.
However, DNAam’s integration with Artificial Intelligence points towards a wider trend in the industry. It signifies the convergence of digital technologies and equipping of software and hardware systems with AI.
French biotechnology company Poietis, has announced the launch of a new 4D bioprinting platform. Titled Next Generation Bioprinting (NGB), the technology incorporates automation, robotics and sensors, to improve performance.
It is also to be realized in two new 3D bioprinters from the company: the NGB-R, for research applications, and the NGB-C, to meet future clinical needs of its partners.
Laser assisted 4D bioprinting
Poietis’ 4D bioprinting technology is a laser assisted process. In it, a pulsed laser is used to deposit microscopic droplets of cell-laden ink onto a substrate.
The 4D element of technology, as with typical 4D printing, is time – as in the time taken for layered droplets to develop into tissues after 3D bioprinting. By adopting 4D instead of 3D, Poietis differentiates itself from a growing bioprinting market, though time to culture is still required of all current cell-based 3D fabrication techniques.
Industry 4.0 ready bioprinting
With the new NGB platform, Poietis has integrated several Industry 4.0 driven technologies into its 4D bioprinting operations. As such, the platform has been upgraded with features to facilitate automation, the use of robotics, and multiple bioprinting techniques. Numerous online sensors have also been added for process monitoring, including a module for timelapse imaging of cell development at a microscopic level, or “cell microscopy.”
Fabien Guillemot, President and Chief Strategy Officer at Poietis, explains “We have upgraded the NGB platform to an automated robotic system to improve the standardization of manufacturing processes and the functionality of biological tissues.”
Addressing the importance of interplay between 3D design and machine capabilities, Guillemot also adds, “The combination of multimodal bioprinting with the acquisition and the online processing of printed cell images at cellular resolution will also ensure that what we design is what we print.”
The idea of the improvements, is to expedite the pre-clinical level of 4D bioprinting research, with a knock-on effect to the clinical and eventual marketability of artificially produced tissues.
Speaking on his company’s release of the NGB platform, Brisson said:
“In parallel with our first applicative developments on bioprinted tissues for in vitro models, we continue to evolve our business model to meet the expectations of tissue engineering specialists and biology researchers.”
In this edition of Sliced, 3D Printing Industry’s news digest, we ask: How can 3D printing help visually impaired students? Can rapid prototyping mobilize soldiers on the battlefield? Are musicians using 3D printed instruments? Can a 3D printed activist halt the legalization of 3D printed guns?
The following stories features PostProcess Technologies, EOS, Evonik, America Makes,Manufacturing Technologies Association, Additive Industries, Asiga, the University of South Florida(USF) Advanced Visualization Center (AVC), and more.
A 3D printed activist
Manuel Oliver, the father of a victim of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has 3D printed a sculpture of his son which remains in Times Square, to protest the legality of 3D printed guns.
The 3D printed commemorative sculpture of Joaquin Oliver is said to be the first “3D printed activist as its aim is to bring awareness on the need for gun safety.
Additive manufacturing and the dental & medical sector
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, 3Shape, develops 3D scanners and CAD/CAM software solutions for the dental and medical sector. The 3Shape Implant Studio CAD software has been integrated by Australian 3D printer manufacturer Asiga into its range of stereolithography systems for an optimized workflow.
“Sighted individuals have maps, which we use all the time. Those are typically 2D printed maps,” Kaplan explained. “With the availability and access to 3D printing, I figured this might be an area where I could use 3D printing to apply some sort of touch-based encoding system for the purpose of creating maps for the blind.”
“For manufacturers, the best news was the expansion of the Annual Investment Allowance from £200,000 to a whopping £1,000,000. This was a specific ‘ask’ from the MTA and we are very pleased that the Chancellor agreed with us that it was a wise move to boost investment in a difficult climate.”
“The change, which will apply to any purchase made on or after the 1st of January 2019, is a potentially huge boost for machinery and equipment suppliers over the next two years and should encourage more of our member’s customers to invest in the latest technology.”
The link to the MTA’s Report into the True Impact of Manufacturing is available here.
“The user interface of the previous version was complex and developer-driven, so our goal from the offset was to create an outstanding user experience that makes it easy to reap the rewards of additive manufacturing technology,” said Markus Frohnmaier, Team Manager Data Preparation Software at EOS.
The EOSPRINT 2 software suite, integrated into industrial EOS 3D printers, includes an intuitive data preparation tool designed to assign and optimize build parameters for CAD data. The software also defines laser paths during the part build process, which affects surface finishes, tensile strength, and build speed.
Ronald Rael, co-founder, and CEO of Emerging Objects, a San Francisco Bay Area 3D printing “MAKE-tank”, will present the lecture “Alternative Materials for 3D Printing in Design, Art and Architecture” at Western New Mexico University (WNMU) as part of its Emerging Technologies and Creative Commerce lecture series.
The lecture, which takes place on November 12th, will discuss how additive manufacturing can expand the capabilities of construction – demonstrated by Emerging Objects’ 3D printed Cabin. Find out more about the Rael’s talk here.
Mixed reality company Magic Leap has revealed a variety of Augmented reality (AR) software at its first creator conference in Los Angeles, California. This included Onshape 3D CAD, a cloud CAD system app and SketchUp, used for live 3D modeling and product design. Explore the full selection of Magic AR experiences here.
New York’s PostProcess Technologies has opened its first international office and the launch of its product line in Sophia-Antipolis, a European technology park in France, after exclusively operating in North America.
“While we have an immediate solution to automate post-printing for support removal and surface finish, the real power of the PostProcess technology is its capability to enable digital manufacturing in a factory 4.0 environment,” said Bruno Bourguet, Managing Director at PostProcess Technologies.
“There is high interest from companies in Europe in our solutions and the role that automated post-printing plays in unleashing the power of 3D printing.”
Advancing additive manufacturing with machinery
In a recent interview with ICIS, Sylvia Monsheimer, Head of New 3D Printing Technologies at Evonik, a German specialty chemicals company, addressed the lack of machinery in the advancement of additive manufacturing.
“For the technology to really take off, machine availability is crucial – and here I am talking about machines capable of production. The target [for machinery]is changing from quick to reliable and economical,” explained Monsheimer.
“The 3D printing process itself has to be incorporated in the production chain; it cannot be a standalone situation. All of the requirements for a safe and sustainable production chain have to be met.”
At the 4th edition of the CII Smart Manufacturing Summit, Honda Cars India emphasized its shift into adopting industry 4.0 technologies. “Our welding shop has already started using the 3D printing technology and sooner than later we will expand its use across our manufacturing facility,” said Mukesh Manocha, Assistant General Manager, Welding Division, Honda Cars India in a recent interview.
Moreover,Camp Humphreys, a United States Army Garrison, located in South Korea, has demonstrated the value of additive manufacturing on the battlefield by 3D printing Humvee ignition switches and M4 rifle butt-stocks.
As David Redl, NTIA Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, writes in the official press release on the amendment, “Protecting intellectual property rights is a critical government responsibility that helps grow our economy,”
“It is equally as important to ensure that measures intended to protect these rights aren’t misused to stifle innovation or the free flow of information.”
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Passed in 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is intended to protect intellectual property (IP) and extend the reach of the nation’s existing copyright law within the digital sphere. Activity deemed criminal under the DMCA includes:
– The production and distribution of devices, services or technology that bypass existing measures to protect access to copyrighted works.
– And the act of circumventing such access control whether copyright infringement is committed or not.
One example case of alleged DMCA violation is Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc. In this case Timothy S. Vernor attempted to sell used Autodesk software via eBay. Autodesk opposed his sale and Vernor attempted to sue the company for abusing the DMCA. When heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals, the final ruling was that software users are merely licensees of the programs without the authority to resell the software.
Exemptions for innovation
Rather than leaving the power exclusively in the hands of IP holders however, there are a number of exemptions to the DMCA.
Initially exemptions included nonprofit libraries, encryption, protection of minors, personal privacy, security testing and reverse engineering. To keep the act up to date, the exemptions are reviewed by the NTIA every three years, after which it sends advice to the U.S. Copyright Office for amendment.
According to the NTIA, this most recent update to the exemptions “help balance intellectual property rights and the right to make non-infringing uses of lawfully obtained works, both of which are critical to innovation.”
In one amendment, the DMCA now allows people access computer programs that control cars and farming vehicles for the purpose of repair. With reasoning that has potential impact for the 3D printed spare part community, “The expanded exemption,” as explained by the Disruptive Competition Project, “thus prevents automobile manufacturers from monopolizing the market for repairing their vehicles.”
In a further amendment directly related to 3D printing, 3D printers that produce goods subject to regulatory oversight are now exempt from a restriction on access to the filaments they use. The exemption now means that all users, whether 3D printing for personal use or market use, are free to use third party or homegrown feedstocks and access the relevant controls that would allow them to do so. In the case of production grade products, the process and objects must still of course be compliant with other relevant regulations.
3D printing needs materials
Materials is still a much-needed area of innovation for the 3D printing industry. As such, some OEMs have adopted “open materials” approaches for their hardware actively encouraging users to formulate and trial their own feedstock for 3D printing.
This material is composed of Polycarbonate (PC) and Polymethacrylate (PMMA) for optical and mechanical properties, high heat, scratch, and abrasion resistance as well as high light transmission and UV resistance.
“Verbatim’s goal is to drive new markets within the 3D printing industry and a key part of this is the introduction of specialist 3D printing materials that have been developed by Mitsubishi Chemical with DURABIObeing the latest exciting addition,” said Hidetaka Yabe, President of Verbatim GmbH.
A renewable, transparent engineering filament
Initially, Mitsubishi Chemical developed DURABIO as a glass substitute. The biobased engineering plastic is free from BPA and its main monomer is based on a renewable source, i.e, isosorbide derived from the commonly used sorbitol feedstock.
DURABIO’s environmentally-friendly properties have led to its adoption in the automotive and mobile phone sectors for the production of touch screens, console and dashboard trims and exterior radiator grilles.
Mitsubishi Chemical added: “DURABIO is particularly designed for applications requiring exceptional durable transparency and visual appearance with scratch and impact resistance as well as chemical inertness.”
The filament will be available in transparent and high gloss piano black and piano white. Mass volume shipments of DURABIO will be available from January 2019 and new products are expected to follow from Verbatim including PET-G and high-speed PLA. Samples of DURABIO will also be available at Formnext in Messe, Frankfurt, where 3D Printing Industry will be reporting live.
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