New 3D printing jobs at University of Exeter, Simplify 3D, BigRep GmbH, and Sinterit

Additive manufacturing jobs are recently in high demand, and 3D Printing Industry provides you the best positions from leading enterprises to make your next career move.

Today’s jobs update includes roles from researchers and marketing specialists, to engineers, web developers, and business experts.

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Additive Manufacturing at University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

The University of Exeter is ranked in the top 200 of universities worldwide, and has achieved a gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2017.

Its Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) is currently recruiting a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to support a large cooperation project with a UK leading petrochemical company.

Candidates must hold a Ph.D. or possess relevant experience in a related field of study. The successful applicant will have knowledge in developing research programmes and methodologies; will be able to identify sources of research funding; and will make presentations at conferences or events. The selected candidate will also develop high-performance polymers for powder bed processes and freeform fabrication techniques.

The position is available immediately for 3 years with the possibility to renew for an additional 2 years. Closing date for application is September 18th.

Apply here to be Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Exeter.

3D printing positions at Simplify 3D, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Simplify 3D, a U.S.-based 3D printing slicing software company, has two open positions in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The first is a PHP Senior Web Developer position. To be considered, applicants must have more than 5 years of experience with OOP, PHP, MySQL, HTML5, CSS, or JavaScript, and more than 3 years of experience with Laravel or similar PHP MVC framework. Candidates must also possess experience in designing AWS solutions, familiarity with NoSQL or other data storage methods, practice with creating secure fluent RESTful APIs, and a strong understanding of SQL/PDO.

The successful applicant will be responsible for the design and the building of web applications, and will implement a consistent set of services and APIs that power web applications and 3rd party interfaces.

The company is also seeking a Reseller Channel Specialist. Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business or related field, and have from 1 to 3 years of experience in sales. Software or app sales experience is a strong plus.

The successful applicant will be responsible for analyzing and onboarding potential resellers, and communicating and cultivating relationships with them. Also, candidates should understand major 3D retailers and OEMs worldwide to find new opportunities.

Visit the pages to apply to be a 3D web developer and or a 3D reseller specialist at Simplify 3D now.

Head of Mechanical Engineering at BigRep GmbH, Berlin, Germany

Large-scale 3D printer manufacturer BigRep GmbH is currently recruiting a Head of Mechanical Engineering in Berlin, Germany.

Candidates must hold a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering or comparable degree, and at least 5 years of professional additive manufacturing experience, preferably in German-speaking countries. Team leadership experience, multidisciplinary product development experience, and expertise in technical specifications creation and management are also required.

The chosen applicant will be responsible for concept assessments, support for prototype and batch production, and validation of AM machines and systems. Also, will lead the teams and development department staff to achieve the product roadmap goals, and will plan and evaluate project milestones to ensure development progress and quality.

The 3D mechanical engineer role is fully described in German here, available only for candidates with a high professional proficiency in the German language.

Marketing Assistant/Specialist at Sinterit, Krakow, Poland

Sinterit is a Polish Selective Laser Sintering 3D printer manufacturer and is searching for a Marketing Assistant/Specialist in Krakow, Poland.

Candidates must have a C1 level of English language in both speaking and writing, and a technical education or experience in the B2B industry. A good knowledge of social media and online efficiency is considered a plus, though experience in marketing is not required.

The successful applicant will manage the company social media under the supervision of a specialist, will support the implementation of current marketing projects, and will be also responsible for creating materials and writing texts.

Apply to be a Marketing Assistant at Sinterit here.

Paweł Szczurek, Sinterit co-founder and CEO and the new LISA 2. Photo by Beau Jackson

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WashU’s 3D printed Lotus House debuts at China’s Solar Decathlon

Students from Washington University in St. Louis’ (WashU) Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and School of Engineering & Applied Science have designed and fabricated a 3D printed energy-efficient residence aptly named the Lotus House.

Unveiled earlier this month at the Solar Decathlon China 2018, the Lotus House takes inspiration from the Chinese symbol for purity, the Lotus flower, to achieve optimal energy efficiency in its design.

“We were inspired by the beauty, delicacy and cultural importance of the lotus. But we didn’t start with the lotus. Our initial intention was to use emerging technologies, particularly additive manufacturing, to create organic form,” said Kinga Pabjan, Project Manager of the Lotus House.

An evening view of the Lotus House following its completion at the Dezhou, China site. Photo via WashU.
An evening view of the Lotus House following its completion at the Dezhou, China site. Photo via WashU.

Additive manufacturing and sustainable houses

In the northwestern city of Dezhou, China, the Solar Decathlon commences its biennial collegiate competition which challenges student teams to either design and build high-performance, energy-efficient buildings.

In eight months, the WashU team designed and created the highly sustainable, 650-square-foot Lotus House with 3D printing technologies, which eliminated steps in production, reduced material usage and waste, and enabled more lightweight infrastructure.

The production process included 3D printing surface molds and cellular meshes which formed the walls of the Lotus House. The cellular mesh is assembled into the surface mold and insulation is poured inside. Concrete is then cast into the mold, and after it dries, the product is demolded.

According to Pabjan, 3D printed molds can be used a minimum of 100 times, whereas wooden molds can only be re-used twice. With the recyclable 3D printed molds, the WashU team was able to save drastically on material usage and cost.

A wall sample for the Lotus House being 3D printed. Photo via WashU.
A wall sample for the Lotus House being 3D printed. Photo via WashU.

Optimizing a “healthy feng shui”

The single-story Lotus house is designed to encourage “a healthy feng shui,” thus, the WashU team created a center core, the dining room, to promote a spatial flow for rooms involved in “the daily cycle of living.”

According to the WashU team, the dining room is deemed as the most important space in Chinese culture as that is where families gather to spend time with one another. Considering this, the important spaces such as the kitchen, bedroom, and living area are built around the central core. The Lotus House also includes 3D printed furniture and fixtures within its interior.

“The exterior is composed of curved, overlapping panels, arrayed around a central axis like a blossoming flower,” added Pabjan.

“We wanted to challenge the possibilities of 3D printing, and the design possibilities are practically unlimited!”

An aerial view of the Lotus House. Photo via WashU.
An aerial view of the Lotus House. Photo via WashU.

Freeform 3D printed buildings

Branch Technology, a freeform building firm responsible for some of the largest 3D printed structures to date also encouraged designers to create innovative, and energy efficient housing through its Freeform Home Design Challenge

This challenge has birthed the Curve Appeal 3D printed house concept from WATG, which is now in the wall section testing, research, and development phase.

Companies demonstrating the capabilities of concrete 3D printing, include UK design firm Arup and Italy’s CLS Architetti fabricated its energy-efficient, 100 square meter, single-story home, the 3D HOUSING 05 project, earlier this year Milan Design Week 2018.

Following this, the University of Nantes’s Yhnova social housing project, which created a cement 3D printed, eco-friendly, four-bedroom house, has been inhabited for the first time by a French family this year.

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Featured image shows the Lotus House which was designed by WashU students: John Hampton, Shannon Mallon, Heewoong Yang, Yuejia Ying, Lu Yu, Kinga Pabjan, Leiquan Pan and Jian Zhu. Image via WashU.

Renishaw reports record £611.4M turnover for full FY2018

The UK headquartered metrology and additive manufacturing specialist Renishaw (LON:RSW) has published its results for the full fiscal year 2018.

Combining hardware sales and support with the company’s healthcare service line, headline revenue for FY 2018 was reported at £611.5 million. For FY2017, revenue was reported at £536.8m. By comparison, FY2018 sees a growth of 14% and record revenue for the company.

According to Sir David McMurtry, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Renishaw, “The Group is in a strong financial position and continues to invest in the development of new products and applications, along with targeted investment in production, and sales and marketing facilities around the world.”

A shot inside the build chamber of a RenAM 500Q. Photo by Beau Jackson for 3D Printing Industry
A shot inside the build chamber of a Renishaw RenAM 500Q. Photo by Beau Jackson for 3D Printing Industry

Revenue by division: Metrology

Renishaw’s revenue is recorded in two divisions Metrology, which accounts for all transactions related to systems/hardware, and Healthcare, relating to the company’s engineering, design and production services for medical and dental markets.

Metrology, which includes the sale of the company’s additive manufacturing systems alongside advanced measurement equipment, occupies the lion’s share of revenue. For FY2018, Metrology revenue was reported at £578.8 million, an increase of 14.3% on FY2017 Metrology revenue which was £503.3 million. According to David Lee, Renishaw CEO, this year “There was strong growth in our measurement and automation, co-ordinate measuring machine, machine tool and additive manufacturing product lines.”

One new introduction to the market within the year was the RenAM 500Q quad laser metal additive manufacturing system. Another addition, in metrology software, was the company’s InfiniAM Spectral for process monitoring in Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) 3D printing systems.

Revenue by division: Healthcare

Renishaw’s Healthcare division saw a steady growth from a revenue of £33.4 million at end of FY2017, to £35.7 million reported in FY2018. Some medical successes throughout the year include a 3D printed rib implant at Morriston Hospital in Wales, and a jaw reconstruction in collaboration with Cardiff Metropolitan University.

In dentistry, the company is also working with Cardiff University Dental Hospital (CUDH) to bring 3D printed partial dentures to the commercial market.

CoCr 3D printed removable partial dentures. Photo via Renishaw.
CoCr 3D printed removable partial dentures. Photo via Renishaw.

3D printing in the Far East

95% of Renishaw’s sales are made outside the UK. By regional comparison, the Far East, including Australasia is the biggest contributor to Metrology revenue in the past 12 months, accounting for £269.5 million in revenue for FY2018.

This region also proved to be the biggest market for Renishaw Healthcare in FY2018, contributing a revenue of £11.3 million.

Renishaw revenue by region FY2018. Image via Renishaw Annual Report 2018
Renishaw revenue by region FY2018. Image via Renishaw Annual Report 2018

 

Concluding his statement on the annual report, Sir McMurtry commented, noting the current political climate in the UK:

“We have experienced strong growth in 2018 and, whilst noting ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and currency exchange rate volatility, your directors remain confident in the long-term prospects for the Group due to our innovative product base, extensive global sales and marketing presence and relevance to high-value manufacturing.”

Summary of Condensed Balance Sheets

Renishaw’s gross profit for the FY2018 was reported at £326.6 million, compared to £285.4 in gross profit for FY2017. Net profit for the year ended June 30, 2018 was reported at £132.9 million, whereas, year ending June 30, 2017, was reported at £88.8 million.

FY2018 FY2017 Variance £ millions %
Metrology Revenue 575,839 503,378 72,461 14.39%
Healthcare Revenue 35,668 33,429 2,239 6.70%
Total 611,507 536,807 74,700 13.92%
Gross profit 326,618 285,423 41,195 14.43%
Profit for the year 132,937 88,827 44,110 49.66%

 

The full annual report of Renishaw’s fiscal year 2018 can be accessed online here.

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Featured image shows Renishaw’s RenAM 500M at IMTS. Photo by Michael Petch.

voxeljet’s James Reeves announces automotive additive manufacturing production line

Industrial 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet is working on an additive manufacturing production line for the automotive industry.

The so-termed “VJET X-IOB” system is reportedly “ten times faster” than the company’s currently available 3D printers, with full integrated pre and post processing capabilities.

Speaking to James Reeves, Managing Director at voxeljet UK who broke the news, I learn more about the V-JET X-IOB and its potential to reach truly mass, 3D printed production levels.

Line of voxeljet VX1000 3D printers. Photo via voxeljet
Line of voxeljet VX1000 3D printers. Photo via voxeljetvoxeljet

voxeljet’s mission

voxeljet is the manufacturer of the VX range of additive manufacturing systems. Applying binder jet based 3D printing technology, including High Speed Sintering (HSS), VX systems are capable of working with sand, plastics and ceramics.

According to Reeves, “voxeljet’s mission has always been to replace convention manufacturing with new technical developments. We have always led in terms of throughput, productivity and quantities, this has resulted in an increasing demand from our Global customer base for higher volume capabilities.”

Higher volume in particular is in significant demand as the technology attempts to move towards industrialization. In recent years, a number of projects have been launched in attempt to ramp up additive production, and integrate more automation into the process. Such efforts include Next Gen AM from Premium AEROTEC, EOS and Daimler, and the Stratasys Infinite Build system.

Reeves adds:

“We therefore set ourselves a strategic R&D challenge to develop a system that is both capable and cost effective to print >100k parts.”

Full end to end, automated additive manufacturing

More than simply multiple voxeljet 3D printers in a line, VJET X-IOB is concerned with the singular productivity of the machines themselves.

“We took a fundamental look at all the steps in our process and identified opportunities for innovation,” explains Reeves, “This has resulted in printers that are running 10 times faster than our current printers and, along with partners, we have automated post processing to take out the manual interventions.”

The result is a complete end to end additive manufacturing system, producing a high volume of parts.

Nested turbine impellers, ready for 3D printing inside the VX220 system. Image via voxeljet
Nested turbine impellers, ready for 3D printing inside a VX220 system. Image via voxeljet

3D printing production for automotive

The VJET X-IOB production line has been developed for the initial purpose of producing casts for critical engine components.

When, eventually, further details are released, Reeves expects to see “significant interest from automotive and aerospace customers in this production system” as “these markets are already well invested in AM and they have been waiting for such a system to make production viable.”

Across automotive, a great deal of effort is being applied to the development of additive manufacturing solutions. Recently, BMW Group invested €10 million to establish a specialist Additive Manufacturing Campus, and the technology is improving invaluable to saving thousands of dollars in tooling production.

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Featured image shows a line of voxeljet VX1000 3D printers. Photo via voxeljet

3Dcopysystems’ 3D full body scanner makes waves in the fashion industry

3Dcopysystems, an Austria based company that specializes in developing and designing 3D scanning systems, has made its American market debut with its large full body scanner, BIG ALICE, at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

The scanner, BIG ALICE, is a full body scanner capable of digitizing people and large, objects within a few milliseconds and at an accuracy of 1mm or less. 3Dcopysystems made the market debut for its line of ALICE branded full body 3D scanning systems back in 2016. Now after its initial European success, the company has brought its scanner to the American market.

3Dcopysystems plans to take BIG ALICE and its smaller counterpart, little ALICE, on tour to Miami and Philadelphia in the near future.

BIG ALICE. Photo via 3Dcopysystems
BIG ALICE. Photo via 3Dcopysystems

Coming soon to a shopping mall near you

Co-founded in 2015 by Andreas Schwirtz and Christof Kirschner, 3Dcopysystems has developed and designed 3D scanning systems in order to achieve a faster, more accurate scanning procedure.

BIG ALICE costs €80,000 and comes with an adjustable focal length, 2400 Watt white light, 64 DSLR cameras that can capture still or moving subjects, and dimensions of 5m x 4m x 2.5m, giving it enough space to hold up to 6 people. The scanner can take high resolution, full body3D scans which can be used to measure the body or make digital edits on a design.

BIG ALICE provides fast and accurate scanning, allowing fashion designers to forgo time consuming measurement taking and allowing them to make quick adjustments to designs. It also comes with a high resolution texture map, making the scanner more viable for application in film and video games. Additionally the device can be used for medical purposes, i.e. if a patient requires a customized back brace or other support.

Recently, the BIG ALICE scanner was initially set up at FIT’s interior design and tech lab where students and teachers were able test out how the machine could benefit fashion design. The unit was then brought back for FIT’s Annual Awards Gala, where it was used by a number of fashion designers and models to take high resolution photographs.

“Partnerships with shopping centers and fashion shows are in the cards, and a few international US companies have expressed their interest in cooperating with us.” said Christof Kirschner, co-founder of 3Dcopysystems.

Michael Ferraro at the Annual FIT Awards Gala. Photo via BFA.com
Michael Ferraro at the Annual FIT Awards Gala. Photo via BFA.com

3D scanning and fashion

Several other companies have also started to utilize 3D scanning technology in fashion, such as luxury fashion brand Balenciaga. Demna Gvasalia, the creative director for Balenciaga, took 3D scans of his models’ bodies and then adjusted them in a CAD program to improve the design. Last year, Amazon purchased software company, Body Labs, for its 3D scanner technology, which will allow the user to virtually try on new clothes.

Similarly other companies have begun to create their own brand of 3D full body scanners. Earlier this year, Kodak, in partnership with 3D body scanning technology company, Twindom, launched the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner, a mobile scanning booth capable of holding up to 14 adults.

When describing how 3Dcopysystems scanners could change the market, Kirschner stated “The extraordinary quality of our high-resolution 3D scans and the associated texture surprised and inspired the fashion experts at FIT and introduced them to new possibilities for the individualization of fashion products,”

“In the medium term it could revolutionize personalized textile production and the online shopping experience.”

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Featured image is the BIG ALICE photo lab. Photo via 3Dcopysystems.

WSU National Institute for Aviation Research joins Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence

ASTM International, a worldwide technical standards organization, has announced Wichita State University’s (WSU) National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) as a new strategic partner for its Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence.

Earlier this year, ASTM International and founding partners NASA, EWI, and Auburn University, established the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence within EWI’s North American facility and Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering in Alabama. 

Now, NIAR has joined the consortium to accelerate certification for aerospace 3D printing materials.

“Building on its strengths, NIAR will lead efforts to qualify additively-manufactured materials and to further strengthen relationships with key aerospace regulators worldwide,” said Dr. Mohsen Seifi, Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs at ASTM International.

“Leveraging their expertise in R&D, we will develop much-needed standards that will significantly enhance certification in aviation and other industries. We’re thrilled to have the NIAR team on board.”

Dr. Nima Shamsaei is a primary investigator for operation at the National Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence. Photo via Auburn University
Dr. Nima Shamsaei is a primary investigator for operation at the National Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence. Photo via Auburn University

Accelerating additive manufacturing in the aerospace sector

NIAR is an industry-focused research institute at WSU, which hosts numerous aerospace engineering programs. The institute has previously aided Stratasys with the certification of its  Fortus 900mc Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution system through repeatability testing of complex parts.

With its experience, NIAR will engage in the center of excellence’s R&D activities, education and workforce development efforts. The institute will also lead programs to ultimately enable the 3D printed customizable parts and components for spacecrafts, thus improving production and supply chain efficiency. Dr. John Tomblin, WSU Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer stated:

“We’re proud to be the first strategic partner in this globally-recognized center of excellence that will help build the technical foundation for the future of additive manufacturing. The center is attracting an array of leading industry players to the table to speak with one voice and make an impact.”

Metal 3D printed samples at Auburn. Photo Auburn University
Metal 3D printed samples at Auburn. Photo Auburn University

MTC joins ASTM International’s Center of Excellence

Coventry’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), was also been selected by ASTM International earlier this year, to be the first non-founding partner of its Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence.

The MTC’s role within the consortium is to improve the standards of research and development and build industry gaps within additive manufacturing on an international scale.  

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Featured image shows metal 3D printed samples at Auburn. Photo Auburn University.

U.S Army lab converts water bottles into 3D printer materials

Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) are using recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, found in water bottles, yogurt containers, and other recyclable waste materials as 3D printing feedstock.

With such reclaimed materials, service members can utilize 3D printers within frontline bases to speedily fabricate replacement parts for military vehicles, weapons, and equipment. This practice will cut costs, shorten military supply chains, and increase the independence of troops on forward operating bases.

“Ideally, soldiers wouldn’t have to wait for the next supply truck to receive vital equipment,” said Dr. Nicole Zander, Research Chemist at the ARL.

“Instead, they could basically go into the cafeteria, gather discarded water bottles, milk jugs, cardboard boxes and other recyclable items, then use those materials as feedstocks for 3D printers to make tools, parts and other gadgets.”

Operational readiness through 3D printed waste materials

According to the U.S.Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has an inventory of 5 million items, including food, fuel, ammunition and replacement parts,  distributed through eight distinct supply chains. These items are often stockpiled at frontline bases causing material shortages for troops.

Although many of these bases are equipped with 3D printers to make replacement equipment such as hot cup handles and door latch components, the filament must be requisitioned which can take over a month to arrive. Thus, recognizing the strength of waste plastics, Dr. Zander, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Anthony Molnar and ARL researchers began developing a process for converting such materials into 3D printing filament. Capt. Molnar stated:

“As our enemies have shown us, they can often outpace our ability to react to their new tactics and equipment. This new technology will enable the warfighter to more rapidly develop tools necessary to defeat an ever-changing enemy technology.”

The U.S Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) has also previously integrated 3D printing to improve military readiness as seen with its portable 3D printing part replacement system, the PackBot.

Dr. Nicole Zander demonstrates the filament converting process for Capt. Anthony Molnar. Photo via U.S. Army/ Jhi Scott.
Dr. Nicole Zander demonstrates the filament converting process for Capt. Anthony Molnar. Photo via U.S. Army/ Jhi Scott.

Recycled composites

Using a process called solid-state shear pulverization, ARL researchers generated composite thermoplastic filaments. In this process, shredded plastic and paper, cardboard and wood flour was pulverized in a twin-screw extruder to create a fine powder. This powder was then melt-processed into 3D printer filament.

After testing, the researchers concluded that the new composites had improved mechanical properties, as well as improved strength for 3D printed materials. Dr. Zander added:

“In terms of mechanical properties, most polymers used in FFF have bulk strengths between 30 and 100 MPa[ megapascal]. Recycled PET has an average strength of 70 MPa, and thus may be a suitable 3D printing feedstock.”

Chemical testing of recycled filaments

The researchers tested the recycled PET filaments by printing a vehicle radio bracket, a long-lead-time military part, which used approximately 10 water bottles and took about two hours to complete.

ARL researchers and the U.S. Marine Corps are now collaborating to build a mobile recycling trailer for specially trained soldiers to fabricate 3D printing filaments from plastic waste. Dr. Zander is also seeking ways to print materials from plastic pellets instead of filaments, which could produce larger 3D printed parts and machinery.

“We still have a lot to learn about how to best process these materials and what kinds of additives will improve their properties,” said Dr. Zander. “We’re just scratching the surface of what we can ultimately do with these discarded plastics.”

This research will be presented at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition on August 23rd at the American Chemical Society (ACS), in Boston.

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Featured image shows Dr. Nicole Zander demonstrating the filament converting process for Capt. Anthony Molnar. Photo via U.S. Army/ Jhi Scott.

3D Printing News Sliced Xometry, Relativity Space, Union Tech, Siemens, ABB

In this edition of Sliced 3D printing news digest a prop maker is arrested on a 3D printed gun charge; we look at 3D models in high definition; and manufacturers expand to meet materials demand.

All this and more from Xometry, Relativity Space, Union Tech, Inc., ABB, Siemens.

Xometry goes high definition

The Maryland-based company Xometry, known for providing software platform for has launched a high definition version of its proprietary instant quoting engine.

Combined with the 3D visualization toolkit HOOPS communicator, Xometry software platform now enables the users to see the designs in clear and precise detail for manufacturability feedback.

Last year, Xometry secured a $15 million investment in a funding round. The funding round was headed by BMW i Ventures and GE Ventures and Highland Capital Partners. Earlier this year, Xometry acquired MakeTime, also a on-demand manufacturing platform, to move one step closer to its goal of becoming the largest on-demand manufacturing platform.  

Clip of HOOPS in HD. Image via Xometry
Clip of HOOPS in HD. Image via Xometry

3D printed prop gun maker’s sentence suspended

Cosplayer and video game fan, Sicen Sun, has avoided jail time for 3D printing prop guns and advertising it for sale for a “negotiable” $1 million AUD on a Facebook group for swapping and selling military items.

New South Wales District Court judge, Penelope Wass, suspended the sentence acknowledging that never had the intention to sell the gun, he only wanted “his work as a craftsman acknowledged.”

Earlier this month Facebook banned discussion of 3D printing guns on news feed, messenger, and Instagram. Recently, the discussion surrounding 3D printed firearms has reached a fever pitch in industry as a ban was lifted, and temporarily reinstated, over Cody Wilson’s Defence Distributed.

3D printed prop pistol's made by Sicen Sun. Image via IBTimes
3D printed prop pistols made by Sicen Sun. Image via IBTimes

New launches for Relativity Space, UnionTech and Siemens

Yesterday, California-based aerospace startup, Relativity Space announced that they will be hiring the veteran aerospace executive Tim Buzza as an adviser. Tim Buzza will oversee the launch of company’s launch vehicle. His duties will also include selection of a US-based launch site and the development of ground launch.

Buzza previously worked at Elon Musk’s commercial spaceflight company SpaceX for 12 years where he became the vice president of launch operations.

Last year, Relativity Space used its Stargate 3D metal printer to 3D print a large metal fuel tank.

Relativity Aeon Engine Epic from Relativity on Vimeo.

Brüggemann Chemical KG, a German chemical and materials company, is to spend €25 million to expand its additive material production capabilities. The company will install a new manufacturing plant in Heilbronn in 2019, to produce additive manufacturing materials, industrial chemicals and alcohols.

Continental Motors Inc., an Alabama-based aircraft engine manufacturer, has announced the construction of its new factory in Mobile, Alabama. The new project is estimated at $75 million, and includes a designated area for the exploration of additive manufacturing technologies.

Union Tech, Inc. has opened a new stereolithography demonstration Center in Chicago.

Robotic arm manufacturer and automation provider ABB, and Siemens have been named in FORTUNE’s 2018 “Change the World” list. The list chooses and ranks 50 companies around the world who have contributed to social change through their core business strategy.  Additive manufacturing is listed as one of the innovation’s behind Siemens’ addition to the list. As the article states, “Building prototypes for machinery takes a lot of time and creates a lot of waste. Additive manufacturing, a.k.a. 3D printing, reduces both, and Siemens, which makes everything from locomotives to medical X-ray machines, has embraced it avidly.”

Imperial Mining Group Ltd., headquartered in Quebec, Canada, has started field exploration activities at a site in Crater Lake believed to hold great potential for scandium mining. If successful, the project is hoped to yield further materials for additive manufacturing, which has seen a growing demand for scandium-aluminum alloys in recent years.

The Airbus APWorks Lightrider. Photo by Michael Petch.
The Airbus APWorks Lightrider 3D printed using Scalmalloy – a scandium aluminum alloy. Photo by Michael Petch.

Products of 3D printing education

Sastra Deemed University, Thanjavur, India launched its indigenous laser bioprinter named “Shristi”. The printer was designed and built by the Tissue Engineering and Additive Manufacturing (TEAM) department of the university. The printer will be marketed by the Indian-based instruments and technology corporation AIMIL.

Addition Design and Research, a Sheffield-based service bureau, has launched its first 3D printing training programme. The training course will be one day long and will be held at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre, Sheffield, on September 20, 2018.

As always, 3D printing continues be the topic of many recent research papers. Here are some of the latest pieces that have caught our eye:

Clinical comparison of conventional and additive manufactured stabilization splints from the University of Oslo and Tannlab Dental Laboratory.

A fundamental study of parameter adjustable additive manufacturing process based on FDM process from the University of Florida.

Addressing Unmet Clinical Needs with 3D Printing Technologies from the University of Utah and Boston University.

3D printed polyamide membranes for desalinationfrom the  University of Connecticut.

Interfacial Targeting of Sessile Droplets Using Electrospray State University of New York at Binghamton.

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Featured image shows Sliced logo over an ABB robotic arm. Original image via ABB.

Researchers explore limitations of patient-specific, 3D printed guides for breast surgery

Plastic surgeons at Radboud University in the Netherlands have demonstrated how 3D printing can be used to help reconstruct the breast tissue.

The findings, published in the European Journal of Plastic Surgery, discuss the applications and limitations of using patient-specific 3D prints as intraoperative guides.

Autologous reconstruction guides

The Radbound University study focuses on autologous “flap” reconstruction. In this procedure tissue from one part of the body, such as the abdomen or thigh, is used as material to rebuild another body part. It is a common practice for all types of breast correction surgeries, in cases of asymmetry and augmentation, and even following tumor removal.

As the researchers point out in this case, “Finesse and intuition are needed to harvest and establish the ideal flap shape and volume” of a breast. Therefore, “Providing aid in this process,” in the shape of a 3D printed guide, “can be beneficial for both surgeon and patient.”

Types of breast surgery. Image via Wonjin Aesthetics
Types of breast surgery. Image via Wonjin Aesthetics

Patient-specific 3D printing 

Breast shape guides in the paper are automatically 3D modeled in Autodesk 3ds Max via 3D stereophotogrammetry.

As in photogrammetry, a stereophotogrammetic image is created from the stitching together of photographs around different angles of the breast. The “stereo” aspect of the technique means that points on each of the photographs are linked together to provide an accurate representation of the surface of the tissue.

Only one of the patient’s breasts is modeled for 3D printing, and so the guide is essentially a mirror image and negative impression of the remaining/desirable breast.

The process of producing a 3D printed breast guide. Image via  European Journal of Plastic Surgery.
The process of producing a 3D printed breast guide. Image via  European Journal of Plastic Surgery.

The results

In total, the Radbound University study used this method to model the breasts of 6 test patients. Each patient then underwent a procedure and surgeons used the 3D printed models to guide the shape of reconstruction.

Six to nine months after the operations, each patient had photos taken for assessment. The effect on each patient was different. Some patients experienced minimal differences in the symmetry of their breasts. For others, the difference was more pronounced. This was due in part to the unavailability of sufficient donor tissue, or a request for a reduction in the construction of the new breast.

Accordingly:

“For the template to be utilized to its full potential, patient selection for the creation of 3D printed breast molds is crucial.”

As the study concludes, “The most potential of this technique would lay in unilateral patients who are satisfied with the shape of their unaffected breast and have adequate donor site volume,”

“In bilateral recon- structions a symmetric breast reconstruction may be obtained more conveniently.”

3D printing uptake in healthcare

3D printed surgical guides have proven useful in a number of patient case studies around the world. In February 2018, a team at the University Hospital of Wales successfully completed a jaw reconstruction procedure using guides 3D printed by Renishaw. In July 2017, the British National Health Service (NHS) also appointed its first ever biomedical 3D technician for such purposes, evidence of the uptake of 3D printing in healthcare.

Next steps for the team at Radbound University include conducting a larger study to consider clinical outcomes such as “patient satisfaction, surgery time, breast volume, size and symmetry.”

Overall, at present, “According to surgeon’s opinion, 3D printed breast templates could be a useful tool during the operation for assessing the flap volume, shape, and orientation.”

Applications and limitations of using patient-specific 3D printed molds in autologous breast reconstruction” is available open-access in the European Journal of Plastic Surgery. It is co-authored by Stefan Hummelink, Arico C. Verhulst, Thomas J. J. Maal and Dietmar J. O. Ulrich.

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Featured image shows a breast anatomy diagram. Image via Glasgow Uni Medicine ILOs

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