Wood Based 3D printing material to lead 3D printing market in 2014

Handcrafted solid wooden furniture has been popular because it’s unique aesthetic. But wooden furniture has always been expensive because of the high costs of quality wood, experienced craftsman as well as the high demand from the market.

Could wood-based material lead 2014 3D printing priorities?

Usually when we think of materials that can be used in 3D printers, we think of substances like plastic, resin or metal. But now the 3D printing community is toying with wood, a more natural material with a unique aesthetic.

Voxeljet, a company that provides high-speed, large-format 3-D printers is currently developing new material sets, including additional sands, ceramics, cement and wood powder. Voxeljet’s printers use powder binding technology, which involves chemical binding agents used to bind together the material being printed. But why are they developing wood powder materials? It certainly suggests a larger market for 3D printed wood products.

In addition to its obvious application of creating natural looking objects, things made with the material reportedly won’t warp, and can be painted, ground or cut like wood. The development of wood material enables more applications in design and furniture industry and material developers see the opportunities. This year, a few startups have demonstrated their new wood-filament with different characteristics.

For example ColorFabb’s WoodFill. The WoodFill is made from 20% recycle wood that is combined with polymer binders.

Another wood-based material, the Pop Wood filament from Chinese manufacturer PopBit, is a new composite material made up of original poplar powder. The processing temperature of the Pop Wood is 170-230C, and similar to WoodFill, it will take on a different shade of brown, depending on the temperature at which it’s printed.

Verdict:

With every passing day, more and more developers and researchers are discovering new uses for their 3D printers. However the possibility of using wood based materials to print 3D models is an attractive option, especially because of its Eco-Friendly nature.

In a world, where we are manufacturing tons of 3D printed plastic utensils every day, wood based materials could be the next big leap for the 3D printing industry.

Nike Vapor HyperAgility – 3D Printed Cleat

Nike seems to be 3D printing patron, hard to dismiss. Nike has continued to push the limits of innovation and design by debuting its third football cleat built using 3D printing technology. Last year, Nike’s “40 Yard Dash Project” redefined the game with new 3D plate construction built for linear speed through the Nike Vapor Laser Talon 3D Printed Cleat.

In January this year, Nike unveiled its new Nike Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite – 3D Printed Cleat as part of the NFL Nike Silver Speed Collection for Super Bowl XLVIII hosted this year. This week, Nike has come up with a new Nike Vapor HyperAgility 3D Printed Cleat, featuring a re-engineered amplified, tri-star stud shapes that Nike claims will enable maximum speed on turf while creating the optimal traction needed to decelerate and change direction quickly.

The new Nike Vapor HyperAgility 3D Printed Cleat, features a proprioceptive compression collar providing a closer fit as well as protection from the studs. The cleat’s upper is constructed using dynamic Nike Flywire cables, individually hand threaded through the plate and under the foot, providing maximum lockdown to prevent slippage inside the 3D Printed Cleat.

The overall design was heavily influenced by the original Vapor Laser Talon 3D Printed Cleat and its performance during the 40 Yard Dash Project. This new 3D Printed Cleat is said to improve an athlete’s timing miraculously, during a “Shuttle” drill. The Vapor HyperAgility 3D Printed Cleat once again, adopts Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology in the production of its 3D printed cleat plate. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D printing technology that uses high-powered lasers to fuse small particles of materials into a 3-dimentional shape. It allows designers to make updates within hours, instead of months, to create fully functional plate and traction system at a fraction of the weight.

Industrial grade 3D printed concrete

Additive manufacturing technology used in 3D printers, is opening up new applications in the field of architecture. Architect Philippe Morel from Studio EZCT Architecture & Design Research in Paris is using 3D printed sand molds to create ultra-high-strength 3D printed concrete.

This new type of 3D printed concrete is a steel-fiber reinforced cement composite material that is six to eight times stronger than conventional concrete, and also much lighter. Its high density structure also provides excellent material quality with no pores and micro tears.

German 3D printer manufacturer Voxeljet printed a total of 130 sand mold halves of this 3D printed concrete casting as an example, at an architecture trade fair in the FRAC Centre in New Orleans. After printing, the inside and outside of the various halves were infiltrated with epoxy resin and subsequently glued together to create a very fine 3D printed concrete structure. This process was followed by casting using ultra-high performance 3D printed concrete, and the assembly of the individual parts.

Philippe believes that in the future it would be possible to 3D print structures using ultra-high performance 3D printed concrete as material. According to Voxeljet, its development departments have been doing research on 3D printed concrete structures and designs for some time now.

We needed a quick and cost-effective process for manufacturing molds for UHPC casting. Currently the only economic alternative for our research is to print sand molds on the Voxeljet machines using 3D printing technology.” says Philippe.

Research in the field of 3D printed concrete is still ongoing, however Philippe claims that the current 3D printed concrete are already industrial grade, and far more stronger than their commercial counterparts. He further revealed that part of his research is to look for lighter and stronger 3D printed concrete structures, which will provide a whole new level of design freedom for architects in the near future.

India – Mitsubishi 3D metal printers coming…

3D printer manufactures have opened their doors to the average person, provided he could afford one. 3D printers are not hard to come by these days, and can create anything from Shoes to Torso’s. However, a 3D printer cannot be called a household item yet.

Big brand Mitsubishi is entering the arena by selling metal 3D printers. You might not think much about this initially, but the metal 3D printer, dubbed Metal Laser Sintering Hybrid Milling Machine, LUMEX Avance-25, is not meant to be installed in one’s workshop. Instead, this metal beast is targeted at commercial grade applications.

This metal beast realizes, one-machine one-process manufacturing of complex molds and parts using fusing metal laser sintering (3D SLS) technology and high-speed milling technology. The printer melts metal powders and sinters with laser while surfaces are milled in high speed to form metal parts with complex surface shapes.

Dimensions:

Matsuura Machinery’s metal printer can fabricate dies and molds of very complex geometry with dimensions as large as 250 x 250 x 180 mm.

Laser oscillator: Yb fiber laser

Laser Power: 400W

Spindle Speed: 45,000 min

Travel (X/Y/Z): 260/260/100 mm

Feed Rate (X/Y/Z): 60/60/30 m/min

Verdict:

In the end it always boils down to the obvious question “So what?” well “so this” that better commercial manufacturing techniques means more efficiency, which hopefully translates to better access to items and cheaper price tags.

Now, an Anti – Gravity 3D metal printer

A Dutch designer, in collaboration with ACOTECH, has developed a new 3D printer – MX3D Metal.

The setup uses an industrial robot, together with an advanced welding machine. The MX3D-Metal printer can print with metals, such as steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze or copper without the need for support-structures. By adding small amounts of molten material at the time, the MX3D Metal 3D printer is able to print lines in mid-air. The team uses different types of software that work closely together to control the welding torch on the robot arm.

The Material:
The team is developing different kinds of print heads and printing strategies for the different kinds of metals. Stainless Steel, for example, melts/fuses at very different temperature from Aluminum or other metals. Hence vertical, horizontal or spiraling lines require different settings. So the printer might need to adjust pulse times, layer height or tool orientation during a metal print. All this information is currently being incorporated in the software.

Verdict:

We have seen lots of developments in 3D printers recently, including one, which can print Carbon Fiber. However the major downside to 3D printing metal, is that it takes its own time to cool down and fuse together, before further layers can be built upon it. Then again, we must not forget the big advantage of it all; this 3D metal printer can create structures of almost any size and shape and it could lead to a new form language that is not bound by additive layers.

Considering the pros and cons, I think, it would be wise to say that this technology, no doubt innovative and fresh, needs to develop further.

Mark One – Worlds first Carbon Fiber 3D printer

3D printing has entered a new dimension with Mark One, the world’s first 3D printer, which can print using a Carbon Fiber filament.

Carbon Fiber has long been the material of choice for automotive, aeronautics and various other industries, due to its light weight and extreme durability and strength. So far, 3D printing Carbon Fiber was nearly impossible, until now. The ©MarkForged – Mark One, is the world’s first 3D printer designed to print composite materials, thereby overcoming various strength limitations.

The Mark One uses Composite Filament Fabrication (CFF), in harmony with the traditional Fluid Filament Fabrication (FFF). The parts printed using this technology, are reinforced with continuous strands of Carbon Fiber, and embedded in a thermoplastic matrix. MarkForged, the company behind the Mark One 3D printer, claims that the parts printed, are up to 20 X stiffer and 5 X stronger, as compared to basic 3D printed parts using ABS plastic. The strength depends on the type, orientation and volume of the reinforcing fibers.

The magic is in the print head, says MarkForged. CFF utilizes a thermoplastic matrix that solidifies immediately after extrusion. CFF parts are ready for use as soon as they have finished printing. No nasty chemicals, no post curing. Aside from carbon fiber, the Mark One can also work with other composites, like fiberglass, nylon and PLA plastic.

The printer will be able to achieve a layer resolution of up to 100 microns for materials such as plastic and nylon. For composite materials such as carbon fiber, the resolution is 200 microns.

You can print parts, tooling, and fixtures with a higher strength-to-weight ratio than 6061-T6 Aluminum. According to the company, the Mark One can print to a maximum size of 305 x 160 x 160 mm (12 x 6.25 x 6.25 in).

3D Printed Shoes – Coming Soon

This is perhaps the most interesting news on the internet, which caught our eye recently. Shamees Aden, a London based designer has developed a new concept for creating 3D-printed shoes from synthetic biological material that repair themselves overnight.

The Protocell shoes can be printed to match the exact size of the user’s foot from a material that fits like a second skin, ‘Dezeen’ magazine reported. Continue reading “3D Printed Shoes – Coming Soon”

Researchers 3D-print working loudspeaker with new multi-material method

Led by an Indian-American student Apoorva Kiran, scientists at Cornell University in New York have 3D-printed a working loudspeaker – seamlessly integrating the plastic, conductive and magnetic parts – that is ready for use almost as soon as it comes out of the printer.

The successful implementation of the new 3D printing technique implies that rather than assembling consumer products from parts and components, complete functioning products could be fabricated at once, on demand.

Continue reading “Researchers 3D-print working loudspeaker with new multi-material method”