Additive manufacturing (AM) is a rapidly evolving industry. The past few years have seen a number of new developments, with AM becoming a cornerstone of diverse industries including dental, medical and architecture. Part of my job here at Rapid Ready is to keep you informed about current trends in AM, and I would be remiss not to announce the release of Wohler’s Report 2013.
The report, produced on an annual basis by Wohler’s Associates, tracks the 3D printing industry as a whole and offers analysis and company information pertaining to AM along with other useful information. If you happen to be unfamiliar with Wohler’s Associates, the company is run by Terry Wohlers, a recognized expert in AM. Last year I had a conversation with Wohlers about the industry, which you can find here. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is in the business of saving lives. The medical field has enthusiastically embraced the technology, using it to plan surgeries, manufacture vaccines, and are on the verge of leveraging AM to create synthetic human tissue. Now, doctors at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital have used 3D printing to save a child’s life.
Kaiba Gionfriddo was born with a rare medical condition named tracheobronchomalacia. From the time Kaiba was six weeks old, the bronchus responsible for moving air to his left lung would collapse, leaving him unable to breathe. Doctors weren’t optimistic about the baby’s chances. Continue reading
Most of the CAD programs used to create designs for additive manufacturing (AM) aren’t what you might call user friendly. You can find some stripped down products (such as Doodle3D) that make the process easier, but many of these programs lack functionality. What if someone could build a design tool that allows the user to make anything they can imagine, by thought alone?
Thinker Thing is a company that has taken on this ambitious project, with startup funding from the Chilean government. Instead of controlling the evolution of a design with a mouse or touchscreen, the company is developing a method of using an Emotiv EPOC EEG reader to build 3D objects. From the website: Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) seems to have its fingers in almost every pie these days. From rapid prototyping to large-scale production to medical and dental usage; 3D printing is everywhere. With that in mind, it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that AM has designs on your dinner plate.
Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) has received a six month, $150,000 grant from NASA to investigate the potential of using AM to build meals. The basic idea follows the standard pattern of AM. In this case, instead of slowly building up layers of metal or plastic, the RepRap style printer will build up layers of protein, sugar and carbohydrates. Continue reading
3D printers can create all kinds of marvels, ranging from objects with complex internal geometries to the simple Yoda bust. No matter what you want to make, the one thing you need (beyond the printer) is material. In the case of most desktop or hobbyist additive manufacturing (AM) systems, the material you’ll be using is plastic filament.
The fly in the ointment is that most plastic filament isn’t produced specifically with AM in mind. Filaments that retain moisture or contain contaminants of any sort can result in a misshaped object or clogged extruder head. An Indiegogo project is seeking to remedy this problem by producing filament that is as pure as possible. Continue reading