Most of us were lucky enough to have at least one box full of Lego bricks as children. Along as serving as an unintentional caltrop for unsuspecting adults, Lego was an early way of expressing ideas in a physical form. Additive manufacturing (AM) operates in much the same manner. 3D printers can build nearly whatever a designer or engineer can imagine and build in a CAD program.
Lego and 3D printing have been in the news a fair amount recently, following an article in the Financial Times about the potential threat to the toy maker from AM. Both Time and The Washington Post have covered the story, talking with people at Lego and in the AM industry about the potential for later complications. Continue reading
3D printing is well on its way to revolutionizing manufacturing around the world. Rapid Ready provides near daily examples of breakthroughs in nearly every major manufacturing field, including automotive, aerospace and medical. While the technology has only gained some measure of popular appeal in the last few years, its roots go back 30 years and can be traced to 3D Systems’ founder and CTO, Chuck Hull.
This year Hull’s achievement will be officially recognized as he’s inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Hull’s name and likeness will join luminaries of invention such as Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney, and the Wright Brothers. The formal ceremony will take place May 21, at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA.
If asked to list the fields in which additive manufacturing (AM) has had a big impact most people probably wouldn’t think to add music. 3D printed instruments are a thing, as are reproductions of vinyl records, and MakerBot is making the mixtape cool again by printing out a cassette tape body for a flash drive filled with music.
Artiphon is using AM to help create and share music with the introduction of the INSTRUMENT 1, a music machine that has carved out a new product category the company has dubbed the multi-instrument. With assistance from an iPhone or iPod, the INSTRUMENT 1 can be strummed like a guitar or banjo, placed on a musician’s shoulder like a violin, or placed flat across the lap to produce steel drum and drum pad sounds. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is moving to make life better both at work and at play. Most businesses could profit from having a 3D printer around the office both for advertising purposes and for rapid prototyping. AM is also beginning to be a part of leisure activities outside the office, such as surfing and snowboarding.
Bicycling has already benefitted from 3D printing by producing various parts for competitive cycling. Renishaw and Empire Cycles have pushed the envelope further, designing and printing the entire frame of a bike using AM. The completed titanium mountain bike frame is not only as strong as a frame built using traditional methods, but is 33% lighter, making for an easier ride. Continue reading
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.
We’ll start today’s Roundup with some patent news. Royal DSM has won a patent dispute in Europe concerning the development of materials for stereolithography. The patent in question, EP1232198, titled, UV Curable Compositions, was held by 3D Systems. The successful challenge allows DSM to expand its Somos brand of stereolithography materials, and opens the door for other companies to do the same. Continue reading