3D Printing Innovations

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

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

University of West England Fires Up a Ceramic 3D Printer

By this point, we expect additive manufacturing (AM) advances in areas such as aerospace and the medical field, but the technology is so flexible, it turns up in many other industries as well. Hollywood is using AM to build props and costumes for the movies, musicians have benefited, as have athletes. Slowly but surely, AM is working its way into nearly every field where with a need to build complex designs or for rapid manufacturing.

Researchers at the University of West England (UWE) Bristol have developed yet another use for AM, this time for creating ceramics. UWE’s ceramic 3D printing research first caught Rapid Ready’s attention in 2012 when the team discovered new uses for the ancient Egyptian ceramic called faience. Since that time, the team has perfected its ceramic printing process. Continue reading

High Speed Sintering Builds Small Parts in Seconds

Additive manufacturing (AM) offers a solution to any number of production issues, particularly for designs with complex internal geometries and, of course, for rapid prototyping. Beyond prototyping, the word “rapid” can get lost. For small production runs or one-off designs, it’s hard to beat the speed offered by AM. For large production runs, processes such as injection molding are faster than 3D printing.

Loughborough University and FaraPack Polymers (a subsidiary of the University of Sheffield) have developed the first AM system that may put the lie to notions that 3D printing is too slow for serious production. Able to produce finished parts in around 10 seconds, the High Speed Sintering (HSS) process could well represent the next step forward for full production AM. Continue reading

HP Releases More Details About Its 3D Printing Plans

Additive manufacturing (AM) has, so far, been an inside race with the biggest players, 3D Systems and Stratasys, making moves and counter moves, both trying to carve out its own niche in the market. Both competitors have made acquisitions to extend the company’s reach, though 3DS is certainly better known for the tactic. At this point the race is too close to call.

The wildcards in the mix are companies the likes of HP, which have shown interest in 3D printing. These are global entities that already have the resources in place to make a big impact in the AM market with the release of a single product. HP has begun to release more information about its plans for AM, and promises an announcement in June that will illuminate its future in the 3D printing business. Continue reading