Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

3D Systems Unleashes a Flood of 3D Printers

When 3D Systems first started on its acquisitions spree, there were whispers wondering if the company could successfully integrate so many different corporate cultures into a meaningful whole. If 3D Systems’ display of additive manufacturing (AM) might at Euromold is anything to judge by, it seems as though the company’s strategy of expansion by acquisition has been successful.

Joining its previous announcement of the ProJet 4500 and 5500X, 3D Systems offered up three more new 3D printers during its new product announcement video stream, direct from Euromold. The ProX 300, ProX 500 SLS, and ProX 950 SLA have been added to the company’s burgeoning portfolio of AM systems and services. Continue reading

C.ideas Showcases the Power of Additive Manufacturing

Recently I’ve noticed a shift in a fair amount of the mainstream media coverage of additive manufacturing (AM). It appears as though people are bored with writing about the capabilities of 3D printing and the pendulum has swung to focus on the shortcomings of the technology. Words like “overhyped” and “limited” have begun to pop up with some regularity.

Obviously AM isn’t going to solve every design or manufacturing challenge, but I find such a rapid 180° turn in point of view to be somewhat disingenuous. It was with that general thought floating around in my head that I watched C.ideas‘ first video with delight. The video showcases how the differing AM processes can be used together to create a near-perfect replica of the 1927 Miller 91 race car. Continue reading

Get Tight with a 3D Printed Ratchet

One of the first “big” news stories to catch the mainstream media’s attention was about a wrench built through additive manufacturing (AM). People just couldn’t get their heads around the idea that an object with moving parts could be built in basically one step. Time and the emergence of actual 3D printed oddities have faded recollections of the wrench from the public mind, but tool creation is still one of the strongest applications of AM.

A company named Roller Clutch Tools has gone back to the basics of AM and used the technology to build a new version of the venerable ratchet. Called the “New Ratchet 3rd Generation”, or NR3G for short, the wrench has a patented design that employs compression rather than sheer to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. Continue reading

UAVs Soar on 3D Printed Wings

If you’ve ever put together a model airplane or at least seen a model sprue of some kind, you know the kits come with a bunch of small pieces that have to be assembled to produce the product pictured on the box. Putting together a kit is an exercise in patience and, in the case of particularly complex models, frequently results in as much glue ending up on your fingers as on the model.

Imagine if the kits could be produced with the really complex parts in one piece, instead of 20, making the construction process that much simpler. That’s basically what additive manufacturing (AM) offers for the production of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Even when only used for rapid prototyping, AM speeds up the building of a UAV by reducing the number of parts that have to be put together. Continue reading

Rapid Ready Roundup: Nike, Solidoodle, Royalty, and Gummi Men

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.

Let’s start today’s Roundup on the right foot. Nike is using AM not only for prototyping, but to manufacture new shoes, specifically the brand new Vapor Laser Talon (VLT). The VLT (sounds like a sandwich) is a football cleat that has been optimized for the 40-yard dash, with selective laser sintered soles designed to help athletes keep the proper stride. Continue reading