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

Local Motors Promises a 3D Printed Car by September

Most of the time when additive manufacturing (AM) professionals and pundits talk about how 3D printing is changing the manufacturing landscape, the discussion is limited to a few complex parts. Very few companies have yet to attempt use AM to build an entire finished product, unless that product is fairly small.

The Urbee is one of the few attempts at using AM for full-scale production, and it’s still a fairly niche product. Local Motors is attempting to match, or even one-up the Urbee, by delivering a 3D printed car to the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2014. Continue reading

Honda, Porsche and Ford Embrace Consumer 3D Printing to Promote Manufacturing

High-end 3D printing (aka, additive manufacturing) is fast becoming a fixture in the automotive design process. Now some car companies are trying to use the growing interest in consumer 3D printing to promote their car designs and manufacturing processes.

The latest company to draw a connection between their car designs and 3D printing is Honda Motor Co., Ltd., which recently released the 3D data for the exterior designs of several previously-released concept models as part of its “Honda 3D Design Archives,” campaign. The 3D-printable STL models, based on version 4.0 of Creative Commons licenses, can be downloaded from the Web, allowing interested parties to use their personal 3D printer to create their own novelty version of Honda’s concept cars. Continue reading

A Look Back at Additive Manufacturing in 2013

This year was an interesting one for additive manufacturing (AM), with plenty of big moves inside the industry and hints of upcoming changes to the landscape from without. Medical uses for 3D printing really started to gather steam, with prosthetics being one of the largest areas of development. In 2013, we also saw a general shift in AM from a pure prototyping tool to an increase in end-use production.

Stratasys moved into the home 3D printer arena with its acquisition of MakerBot in June. That particular move, along with the merger with Objet in 2012, helped Stratasys to diversify its portfolio, branching out into areas of AM in which the company previously had little or no presence.  Continue reading

GrabCAD Presents the Urbee2 Insignia Design Challenge

As the standard of living grows in countries like China and India, one of the first luxury items many individuals want to purchase is their own automobile. As more and more cars hit the road around the world, fuel consumption will increase drastically, potentially leading to fuel shortages. A couple billion cars could also propel negative environmental changes through the sheer volume of waste produced.

It seems fairly certain at this point that electric cars are part of the solution to this dilemma. The Urbee (Rapid Ready coverage) is a small, environmentally friendly vehicle being developed to address the fuel and environmental issues caused by traditional automobiles. It also happens to use additive manufacturing (AM), specifically ABS plastic, for its body. For the second iteration of the vehicle, the Urbee 2, KOR EcoLogic and GrabCAD have initiated an insignia design challenge open to anyone with a talent for design. Continue reading