Amazing: 3D printed cool Doodle Clock perpetually writes time on a magnetic board

Professional architect and designing hobbyist Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi has just shared his very cool Doodle Clock that continuously writes the correct time on a magnetic board (and erases it again).

Ekaggrat is a project architect in Ahmedabad in India, but by night he is an avid 3D printer who loves to tackle unusual projects. And that is certainly a word you could use to describe some of his work.

His latest project is equally impressive, but a bit more tangible. While some other clock projects that rite down the time sometimes circulate the web, few are as impressive as the Doodle Clock. Built as a second generation of a previous project by Ekaggrat, this new version tackles the problem faced by most writing clocks. Typically, they all write down the time on paper or a whiteboard, but in all cases the pen or marker dries up, while the surface eventually also gets ruined.

3d printed clock
3d printed clock

The same happened with the first iteration of the Doodle Clock. ‘The biggest problem with the first clock was the drying up of the markers after just 30 minutes of working,’ he says on his website. Originally built as a bit of a fun project, the concept fascinated Ekaggrat, so he was very happy to find a solution to this common problem: Magnetic writing boards, often seen in toys. While even whiteboards or glass sheets will eventually get ruined by ink, this magnetic solution can go on writing the time perpetually. Two 2 mm cylindrical magnets inside a solenoid are key. One magnet passes over the board to draw lines, but when the other is passed over the other side, the lines are wiped out – perfect for a clock that news to change the result every single minute of the day.

The build itself is also farily straightforward. All parts are 3D printed, except for the small geared stepper motors that power the arms and the board itself. ‘The clock uses two 1:100 geared 15mm stepper motors to move the arms configured in a scara fashion. The motors are located at the base to keep the weight very low on the arms. The tip of the arms contains two solenoids with cylindrical magnets inside them,’ Ekaggrat explains. ‘I initially tried electromagnets but to get the text to be as dark as what is written by the magnet which comes along with the board needed a lot of power.’ The only problem is that the board eventually gets a bit scratched by the magnets, but the designer is looking to cover it with a very thin scratch resistant film to deal with this issue.


Smit Röntgen – Philips introduce pure tungsten components

Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is a hard, robust, rare metal and has the highest melting point of all the elements. Therefore Tungsten and its alloys have numerous applications, most notably in incandescent light bulb filaments, X-ray tubes (as both the filament and target), electrodes in TIG welding, superalloys, and radiation shielding.

Tungsten has a melting point of 3410+/-20°C and the lowest vapor pressure of the metals. At temperatures exceeding 1650°C, it has the highest tensile strength. Impure tungsten metal is quite brittle, making it difficult to work. But pure tungsten can be cut with a saw, spun, drawn, forged, and extruded.

Best, the Netherlands based medical Imaging component manufacturer Smit Röntgen, a Philips brand, started to research the potential of additive manufacturing pure Tungsten products, as a business opportunity a decade ago. By collaborating with specialists in the field, Smit Röntgen is able to offer pure Tungsten products made by Direct Metal Laser Sintering. This additive process constructs a 3D product from a digital design, by selectively solidifying thin layers of pure Tungsten according to a digital design.

With this unique technology freeform parts made out of pure tungsten can be manufactured. The laser sintering technology offers a great freedom of design and an unparalleled short design cycle: No expensive and inflexible moulds are required, and it takes only 48 hours to transform a CAD model into a final product. In addition, the process is sustainable and has low power consumption. Hardly any waste is produced during the production process and the product is 100% recyclable.

Pure tungsten is an excellent X-ray absorber, is resilient to high temperature exposure, and is environmentally safe (RoHS compliant). This technology enables high volume production of customized tungsten parts with primary advantages like design freedom, part variation and low set-up costs.

Smit Röntgen is now able to accommodate to individual customer needs and wants. “When talking to major players in medical and non-medical fields, it becomes evident that being able to 3D print pure Tungsten parts does attract global attention. By mastering this technique, the possibilities for creating new innovative products and niche markets are endless,” explains Pieter Nuijts, Marketing and Sales at Smit Röntgen.

NASA tests 3D printed Rocket engine

NASA said that it has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with 3D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The part is a rocket engine injector, a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine.

The 3D printing process allowed rocket designers to create an injector with 40 individual spray nozzles, all printed as a single component rather than manufactured individually. Making the injector with traditional manufacturing methods would mean 163 individual parts need to be made and then assembled. But with 3D printing technology, only two parts were required.

NASA tested two 3D printed rocket injectors for five seconds each, producing 20,000 pounds of thrust. The two rocket injectors were manufactured by two separate companies — Solid Concepts in Valencia, California, and Directed Manufacturing in Austin, Texas. Each company printed one injector. Designers also created complex geometric flow patterns that allowed oxygen and hydrogen to swirl together before combusting at 1,400 pounds per square inch and temperatures up to 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,316 Celsius).

“We wanted to go a step beyond just testing an injector and demonstrate how 3D printing could revolutionize rocket designs for increased system performance,” Chris Singer, director of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate, said in a statement. “The parts performed exceptionally well during the tests.”

Additive manufacturing not only helped engineers build and test a rocket injector with a unique design, but it also enabled them to save time and money. The in-house 3D printers allows designers to produce parts quickly and apply quick modifications to the test stand or the rocket component.

“Having an in-house additive manufacturing capability allows us to look at test data, modify parts or the test stand based on the data, implement changes quickly and get back to testing,” said Nicholas Case, a propulsion engineer leading the testing. “This speeds up the whole design, development and testing process and allows us to try innovative designs with less risk and cost to projects.”

NASA’s goal is to reduce the manufacturing complexity and the time and cost of building and assembling future engines. “Additive manufacturing is a key technology for enhancing rocket designs and enabling missions into deep space.” states NASA.

Just bought a Lock, beware : Is 3D printing making your home unsafe ?

With 3D printing, it is possible for anyone to duplicate a key without going out to a hardware store. Recently lockpickers Jos Weyers and Christian Holler unveiled their technique to take the 3D printed key to the next level: they can 3D print a “bump” key in plastic that opens any pin tumbler lock in seconds.

Lock Bumping :

Lock bumping is an effective way to open over 90% cylinder type locks and it takes only an instant to open the lock.

According to Wikipedia :

“When bumping a lock, the key is initially inserted into the keyway one notch (pin) short of full insertion. Bumping the key inward forces it deeper into the keyway. The specially designed teeth of the bump key transmit a slight impact force to all of the bottom pins in the lock. The key pins transmit this force to the driver pins; the key pins stay in place. Because the pin movements are highly elastic, the driver pins “jump” from the key pins for a fraction of a second, moving higher than the cylinder (shear line of the tumbler), then are pushed normally back by the spring to sit against the key pins once again. Even though this separation only lasts a split second, if a light rotational force is continuously applied to the key during the slight impact, the cylinder will turn during the short separation time of the key and driver pins, and the lock can be opened while the driver pins are elevated above the keyway.”

A false sense of Security ?

Holler said that the manufacturer specific details about the lock series are easy to obtain, since the major key blank manufacturers provide software including large databases that list all the specific characteristics per manufacturer and system. From that information, Weyers and Holler can create a 3D model of the requested bump key using their own software “Photobump“. The 3D model can then be manufactured through 3D printing. Weyers says that his technique wouldn’t even require knowing the lock’s make or model. “I’m working under the presumption I’m starting with zero knowledge of the lock,” says Weyers.

Weyers and Holler said that they aren’t trying to teach thieves and spies a new trick for breaking into high-security facilities; instead, they want to warn lockmakers about the possibility of 3D printable bump keys so they might defend against it. And they don’t plan to release the Photobump software publicly.

While many lock makers rely on their keys’ restricted shapes, or their “key profile”, the two lockpickers say they’re trying show people that “3D printing has changed lockpicking in ways that may leave previously secure locks vulnerable.” “It’s a kind of false sense of security,” says Holler. “If a protected profile is your only protection, you should be aware that’s no longer enough.”

HP to enter 3D Printing Market soon…

Hewlett Packard, one of the leading manufacturers of Computers and peripherals is all set to enter the marketplace of 3D printing, by the fall of 2014. HP has nearly 40% of market share of 2D printing, so it is a natural progression for HP to enter into 3D printing business. As a lot of core patents have expired or are expiring this year, it will be a good timing for HP to enter the market so they won’t have to spend time and huge amount of money on developing the technology.

HP is one of the largest computer companies in the world, with 317,000 employees and $112 billion in annual sales. In the past years, Meg Whitman – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – HP, has focused on reducing costs and has now returned the company to profit. HP has also focused on introducing new products, such as water-cooled servers and 3D printers. Whitman announced earlier this year that company is planning to enter the 3D printer space by the end of this Fiscal year (31st October.), so many people have been waiting for HP’s entry into this market.

Meg Whitman said HP’s in-house researchers have resolved limitations involved with the quality of substrates used in the process, which affects the durability of finished products. She said that the company is solving a number of technical problems that have hindered broader adoption of the 3D printing process, including the slow speed at which things print, and the quality.

Is this the first Announcement?

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”, 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.

Aerojet Rocketdyne gets U.S defence contract

Aerojet Rocketdyne announced on August 18, 2014 that the company was recently awarded a contract by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base through the Defense Production Act Title III Office. Under the contract, Aerojet Rocketdyne will make parts ranging from simple, large ducts to complex heat exchangers, and include metals such as nickel, copper and aluminum alloys. The program scope is expected to replace the need for castings, forgings, plating, machining, brazing and welding.

The contract will secure multiple large selective laser melting machines to develop liquid rocket engine applications for national security space launch services. Aerojet Rocketdyne and its subcontractors will design and develop larger scale parts to be converted from conventional manufacturing to 3D printing.

“We have developed and successfully demonstrated additive-manufactured hardware over the last four years but the machines have been limited in size to 10-inch cubes,” said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

“These next generation systems are about six times larger, enabling more options for our rocket engine components. We are extremely honored to have received this contract, and foresee the day when additive-manufactured engines are used to boost and place important payloads into orbit. The end result will be a more efficient, cost-effective engine.”


U.S. Army using 3D printing to create safer helmets

Using 3D printing technology, ARL researchers are developing the skull simulant using synthetic materials. Researchers have used images from a CT scan to get the geometry and structure of the skull right, and will use these images and 3D printing technology to produce models of bone-like surrogates which will be used to test new helmet padding materials in simulated blast and impact conditions.

U.S. Army helmets provide the best known defense against ballistic weapons but no one knows how well they can stand up against combat’s shock waves. Army Research Laboratory scientists are using different approaches to study the impact of shock waves inside, on and outside of the skull, and one of them is 3D printing.

In a battlefield, high-order explosive such as C4 or TNT produces overpressure shockwaves and can cause significant brain injuries. To discover how, and to what degree, these waves cause brain damage, and what’s needed to make Army helmets go beyond protecting the head to protecting the brain, ARL researchers are creating synthetic cranial bones that look and behave like the skulls of 20- and 30- year old Soldiers. These synthetic cranial bones will be tested in laboratory experiments that mimic combat-like blast events to develop new prototype of military helmet pads, shells, and other protective equipment.

More information on this latest development, can be found here.

The Blind Photographer & his 3D printer

Australian-based photographer Brendon Borellini sees and feels the world different than most of us. Borellini was born with congenital deafness and partial blindness, which later developed into complete blindness, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing what he loves: to become a photographer.

Photography is a special way for Borellini to “see” the world. When he was young, being disabled was frustrating for him. He couldn’t hear the world around him and he didn’t know what was happening. He struggled to overcome them all. But he learned a great deal about the world with the help from the Special Education Unit at the Cavendish Road State School in Brisbane. And later he became the first deaf and blind student to graduate and head on to college. His accomplishments won him the 1989 Australian of the Year award.

After moving from Brisbane to Mackay he met his friend Steve Mayer-Miller, the artistic director of Crossroads Arts, an organization that helps those with disabilities make changes in their life through the arts. Mayer-Miller decided to help Borellini.

It started out as a joke, as mentioned in the video below, with Borellini picking up a camera and snapping shots throughout the day. Mayer-Miller found it a good beginning to explore photography together with Borellini. He showed Borellini how the buttons of the camera works and what they do, Borellini quickly learned how to use it and began taking some photos.

You’re probably thinking to yourself that how Borellini ‘sees’ the subjects and takes all the photos. While we normally focus on what our eyes see, Borellini relies on his feeling: he must feel for the image. He moves his fingers over different settings, and feel the lens adjusting, he touches things, he senses his surroundings, and sees rocks and sea in a different way than most of us. He only needs help guiding the camera in the right direction while he takes photos.

So “What is Borellini seeing?” At the beginning he could only send his photos for others to see and got feedback from them via a device that convert text to braille.

This led to a few research projects that attempted to find a device to turn his 2D photographs into 3D photographs, so he would be able to at least ‘interpret’ the textures in those photos, said Mayer-Miller.

With the help of a special printer, Mayer-Miller was able to turn his 2D photographs into 3D topographical prints. The texture of the image gives Brenden a chance to see the image in a very different way. Brenden can now feel his photographs, learning about photography technique like composition, light, shutter effect and depth, as he progresses. The process is not about how beautiful these photos are, it is more about the experience of taking the photograph, helping break Brenden feelings of isolation and getting him connected with the society.

3D printed shoes designed for Cube 3 3D printer

3D Systems announced today a collaboration with fashion brand United Nude to deliver a new line of 3D-printed wearable shoes. The “Float” shoes are uniquely designed for immediate home printing on the new Cube 3 desktop 3D printer.

The Float shoes will début at United Nude’s flagship retail installation in Soho, Manhattan. United Nude plans to offer live, in-store manufacturing and feature continuous shoe printing in the store window. This is the first fashion-focused 3D printing retail experience in the United States, expanding on United Nude’s successful Regent Street, London installation.

“After pioneering wearable, 3D-printed shoes using a state-of-the-art Selective Laser Sintering 3D printer, we are thrilled to deliver fully functional, 3D-printed shoes designed for an affordable home desktop printer,” said Rem D Koolhaas, Founder of United Nude.

Priced at $999, Cube 3 is a dual material, plug-and-play 3D printer that is easy to operate. Cube 3 prints with recyclable ABS and compostable PLA plastic so you could image the 3D printed shoes will not be very comfortable to wear. Koolhaas explains, “This design is about creating something beautiful and interesting; it’s about experimenting, moving forward and learning along the way.”

The Float Shoe is available at United Nude’s website.

3D printing makes it possible to create ceramic filled polymers for electromagnetic applications

Of all the magnificent things 3D printing has done for ages, this new application, may dwarf it all – endless possibilities lie beyond its discovery. We may soon witness the creation of a 3D printed polymer (plastic), which has an ability to influence or bend electromagnetic pulses.

What’s the Idea?

The basic concept behind this technology is similar to way a Semiconductor material functions. Semiconductors are materials, which are incapable of transmitting electromagnetic pulses, until “doped” with some other conduction materials; like Ferrous, Copper, etc.

In this case, Ceramic or TiO2 is being used as the “Dope”, to non-conducting polymer or plastic. TiO2, increases the permittivity of the polymer to a value of approx. 7 units. This allows the designing and printing of 3D structures which will have a strong influence on electromagnetic fields. Examples are antennas, or to print wave guiding or filtering structures. As mentioned, for achieving this, polymers are filled with dielectric, magnetic or conductive “Dopes” or fillers.

What are the Applications?

It is possible to locally adjust the fill ratio it is possible to locally vary the permittivity of the resulting material. A 100% fill will lead to a permittivity of 9, which can be reduced to nearly 1 by reducing the volume fill ratio. This can be realized by either designing a locally varying inner structure, or using slicer settings that change the fill ratio throughout the volume. This tapered structures allow to guide waves within the highly filled sections and allow them to transition gently to the lightly filled regions from which they can be radiated. This type of tapering was used to create a dielectric antenna. Traditionally, multiple layers of different polymers would have to be extruded to guide the waves resulting in reflections between the layers and in a complex production process. Instead a locally varying density of air filled pockets was selected to create a dielectric antenna. Due to the consistency achieved in material production and printing it is possible to predict the antenna performance by simulation.

While the prediction is not perfect it still indicates the success in designing FDM-printable materials that have defined electromagnetic properties.