GIGTANK Startup Accelerator Drives Additive Manufacturing Innovation

Every year thousands of innovators work to bring their ideas to fruition. Those who succeed do so through a combination of hard work, technical prowess and maybe a little bit of luck. Innovators can also receive a helping hand from a number of sources, including contests, angel investors, and crowdsource funding websites such as Kickstarter.

GIGTANK is a program designed to help new startups by offering them access to the tools, capital and connections needed to bring a product to market. Based in Chattanooga, TN, the name GIGTANK comes from the city’s status as one of the first US cities to offer a gigabit internet service. This year’s GIGTANK features 12 finalists, many of which involve additive manufacturing (AM). Continue reading

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Staples and 3D Systems Partner for In-store 3D Printing

It’s sometimes easy to forget that additive manufacturing (AM) isn’t really a brand new technology. 3D printers toiled away in labs and back rooms for years cranking out prototypes and the occasional custom part without receiving much in the way of attention. Only recently, with the rollout of home AM systems, has the technology entered the general consumer’s consciousness.

One expression of increased awareness is the push to move 3D printers from the back of the shop to the front. Staples has been at the forefront of this movement, adding AM systems to store shelves, and offering AM printing services in Europe since last year. Now a new partnership with 3D Systems (3DS) will bring AM services to Staples in the US.

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New Blood Recycling Machine Contains 3D Printed Parts

Behind the explosion in interest in additive manufacturing (AM) are a few simple facts that make the technology so appealing. Parts built through AM waste less material, are often quicker to produce, and can be much more complex than parts built using traditional manufacturing methods. These facts have led companies in every field, around the world to embrace 3D printing and experiment with new applications.

One of those new applications is a new blood recycling machine developed by Brightwake. Based in Nottinghamshire, UK, Brightwake is a “… creative development, engineering, production and research company specializing in the development of innovative solutions for all kinds of manufacturing, operational and logistical problems.” In this case, the creative development is called Hemosep and it was built in part using a Stratasys Dimension 1200es. Continue reading

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Develops New Additive Manufacturing Process

Our electric grid would look very different if Nikola Tesla hadn’t looked at Thomas Edison’s plans for direct current and thought he could do better. In a similar vein, although it might seem like there is an additive manufacturing (AM) process for almost any type of production, there’s always room for fresh ideas. In this case, the new idea comes in the form of a different method for using an existing technology.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has developed a way to use electrophoretic deposition (EPD) for AM in a new process the lab is calling light-directed electrophoretic deposition. EPD itself has been used for almost 100 years as a way of coating materials through deposition. As an example, new cars can be primed using EPD by moving a positively charged car body into a negatively charged dunk tank. Continue reading

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Rapid Ready Roundup: Stratasys, 3D Systems, Project Ara

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

Today we’ll start with a couple pieces of news from Stratasys. First up, the company has released a new AM material called Endur. The new material is a simulated polypropylene for use with all Objet EdenV, Objet Connex, Objet500 Connex3 and Objet 30Pro AM systems. According to the company, Endur offers both high impact resistance and elongation at break, and has a heat-deflection temperature up to 129°F / 54°C (HDT @ 0.45MPa per ASTM D-648-06). Continue reading

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