by General Fabb
This week's selection is an incredible 3D printed table by Ole Hermann Godø. It's not entirely 3D printed, but as you'll see, the "guts" of this table were definitely 3D printed.
The table's innards have been replaced with several dozen intricately arranged 3D printed gears - that move! Combined with interior lighting, the effect is incredible.
According to Godø, the complex gears were designed using Autodesk Inventor and printed on a Mendel personal 3D printer. The number of pieces and manner in which they interact meant the project took several months to complete.
Once printed, the gears had to be precisely positioned in order to achieve the full motion effect.
The result is a brilliant animated table. You MUST watch the video to see it in action:
This week we're traveling to Frankfurt, Germany to take in this year’s EuroMold trade show. If you don't know, EuroMold is the world’s largest event focused on mold-making and prototyping equipment - and that means 3D printers, too.
What do we expect to see? There will be displays from all the large commercial 3D printer manufacturers! including Stratasys, 3D Systems, VoxelJet, EOS and many others. Software providers will demonstrate their 3D modeling tools. There will no doubt be many types of 3D scanners on display, and certainly several personal-level 3D printers, too.
We will be visiting all the manufacturers, speaking to company representatives and taking far too many pictures of equipment. And perhaps a bit of equipment shopping.
Will you be attending EuroMold? Have something to show us? If so, let us know!
There are not a lot of details, but an agreement was reached between 3D Systems and Motorola, whereby 3D Systems would produce 3D printed "modules" to be used in Motorola's modular smartphone venture, Project Ara.
Project Ara intends on devising an open source, "free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones", in which, presumably, one could plug in or combine different functions to create unique specialized mobile devices.
But if the innards are changeable, what kind of housing should you make? The answer: simply 3D print the right kind of case as designs emerge. This is what 3D Systems is doing: developing a "continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfilment system".
This could be the first of many new forms of manufacturing deals.
Via 3D Systems
The University of Liverpool has developed a different approach to 3D printed skin, which had been previously accomplished. The problem with prior techniques is the appearance: manufactured skin was entirely uniform, without the bumps, wrinkles, freckles and curiosities of actual human skin.
The new approach involves scanning a subject's surviving skin to prepare a way to texture and color the skin in a more representative manner. The technique is also able to match skin under different lighting conditions.
This is, of course, a perfect application for 3D printing technology: a custom, one-time, highly personalized object is manufactured.
It's so personalized it's actually part of you.
In a recent press release, Lomiko Metal, a Vancouver based firm, announced its intention to create a laboratory dedicated to the development of “graphene-enhanced” 3D printing materials.
Graphene, which recently proved to be the world’s strongest material, has been of keen interest to a wide range of industries since its first isolation in 2004. One reason for this interest, aside from its strength, is that graphene is both more conductive than copper and the thinnest material known to man.
As part of their announcement, Lomiko Metal outlined their plan to enter into a strategic alliance agreement with Graphene Labs. Together, the two organizations will create a joint venture named Graphene 3D Labs. As part of the agreement Lomiko will be the sole supplier of graphite to the new lab, which will immediately begin researching and engineering graphene-based 3D printing materials.
Read More at ENGINEERING.com
In a recently released report, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has stated that the amount of patent filing related to 3D printing has increased dramatically since the year 2000.
After analyzing 9000 patent records filed since 1980, a team of IPO researchers pinpointed a rapid upswing in 3D printing related patents; particularly in the fields of biomedicine, circuitry and electrode fabrication.
While the US is still, by far and away, the top IP generator when it comes to 3D printing patents, multinationals based outside of the US have shown a strong interest in developing 3D printing related technology. Chief among these are Fujitsu and NEC Corp which hold 92 and 67 patents respectively.
Industry giant 3D Systems filed its first 3D printing patent in 1990 with competitor Stratasys following suit some three years later. Surprisingly though, while the two companies have recently seen an increase in the number of patents they’re filing each year, it was Fujitsu that filed the first 3D printing related patents way back in 1980.
Read More at ENGINEERING.com
It's happened. We reported earlier that MakerBot intended to open not one, but two additional retail outlets to add to the initial store located in lower Manhattan.
One of the new stores is located in Boston, a city of some technological innovation activity, particularly in 3D printing.
The other store is located in Greenwich, CT. (Image above)
Um, what? Why Greenwich? We can tell you it's a city of just over 62,000 people. We're quite certain it's a terrific place, but it's not exactly a major hub.
So why open there instead of, say Los Angeles? Or San Francisco? London?
We found out the reason. It turns out that several of the big-wigs at MakerBot live in Greenwich, CT. We presume they're keeping close watch on the shop's operations.
It was inevitable, but the personal 3D printing community is not reacting well to the announcement by Stratasys that it was suing Afinia for patent infringement. It seems that the feeling is that other new 3D printer manufacturers might also become legal targets as patented technology could be found in their equipment.
The image above is a portion of a larger graphic screaming an appeal to stop buying products from the main patent holders, 3D Systems and Stratasys. Recent events may not be desirable for the open source community, but in the USA the patent laws do exist and both companies are legally within their rights.
We suspect campaigns such as pictured here will not significantly affect the sales of either company. Their market is those new to 3D printing, people who have no idea of the issues and laws involved. They are typically amazed to see any 3D printer and will buy machines that are easy to use - which is precisely what the two companies are doing.
At this year's 3D Printshow we were excited to visit the large display of 3D prints by Legacy Effects. If you don't know about Legacy Effects, they are one of the premier special effects shops in Hollywood, and have produced numerous famous characters for motion pictures you've no doubt seen.
While much of Legacy Effects' work is entirely digital, they also produce physical models and props for movies and subsequent promotions. Much of that physical production is done by using 3D printing in combination with traditional model-making techniques. The fellow who behind the physical production is Lead System Engineer Jason Lopes, who showed us the collection.
These parts were 3D printed on a commercial Objet Connex 3D printer at IPF 3D printing services.
This is how they were put together to form a rather detailed Roman Legionnaire outfit.
The life-size Avatar reproduction was scarily realistic, in spite of its alien nature. It also looked "too big", until we remembered that the Na'vis from planet Pandora were eight feet tall.
This life size item seemed to be looking back at us. The details of these models were startling.
Of course on display was the actual Iron Man suit worn by Robert Downey Jr.
The suit had clearly been used. One can imagine the damage suffered when battling an evil nemesis.
Perhaps it's the absence of skin that makes these models seem quite real.
By now you've no doubt heard that Stratasys has launched a major lawsuit against Afinia for alleged violations of several Stratasys patents. We examined these patents previously, but we believe there are implications that travel far beyond simply Afinia, as the patents describe methods commonly used in many personal 3D printers.
The concept of partial interior fill is used by almost all 3D printers, and is a key feature to be selected when starting any print job. Does this mean no other company can offer "fill options" in their devices? Perhaps. If Stratasys is successful in defending their patent, other companies might be forced to remove this feature. Will we have to buy more plastic to print solid models only from now on?
The second patent involves use of a heated bed to prevent warping, or at least that's Stratasys' take on it within the Afinia claim. If you read the patent, it is a lengthy description of how plastic may be heated and cooled to effect printing. This implies not only heated beds, but could perhaps be interpreted to include heated chambers, cooling fans or any other temperature-related apparatus. These approaches are commonly used by many personal 3D printers. Again, if Stratasys is successful in defending this patent, it could force many emerging 3D printer manufacturers to remove such features.
While one can debate the other two alleged patent violations, we're most concerned with these two, since they apply to almost every plastic extrusion printer in existence.
But we think there's more to the story. Stratasys apparently selected Afinia as the first target perhaps because their successful product was beginning to get traction. Afinia was set to appear in multiple mainstream retailers - thus competing directly with Stratasys' new MakerBot division.
While the many smaller manufacturers may escape legal action due to their size, we're wondering about 3D Systems' Cubify products, which may indeed violate these patents in the same way. And they have a lot more money at stake than Afinia.
We're not sure how this will play out, but with any luck the incredibly rapid progress of 3D printing over the past several years will continue.