The design flexibility offered by additive manufacturing (AM) makes the technology uniquely suited to a number of applications where the shape of an object is as (or nearly as) important as the functionality. Rapid prototyping obviously comes to mind where getting the shape of something right is frequently the only concern, but functional end-use products can also benefit from 3D printing.
Desert Star Systems has created a line of tags, called SeaTags, built using molds developed through AM and designed for use in the ocean. The benefit to using AM to construct the SeaTags is that each tag can be tailored for a specific species. A tag designed for use on turtles, for example, would need to be designed to have as little drag as possible, while one designed to fit on a shark’s fin would have completely different dimensions. 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.
If you follow AM news you’ll almost certainly be aware of the controversy surrounding Defense Distributed’s successful firing of a 3D printed firearm. The US State Department apparently heard about it as well and sent the company a takedown order, along with a suggestion the “Liberator” breaks international gun control laws. Continue reading
I’m not sure what it is about ears and additive manufacturing (AM) that’s grabbed the attention of researchers, but apparently the two work well together. It wasn’t all that long ago that Rapid Ready reported on Cornell University’s bioprinted ear, and now Princeton University has performed the same feat, albeit with a different focus.
Where Cornell researchers were focused on creating a prosthetic for children who suffer from a congenital deformity, Princeton’s team has put its efforts toward battling hearing loss. Princeton’s ear was built using AM to combine biology and electronics. The result is a prosthetic that could not only boost a user’s hearing, but also allow him to pick up radio signals. Continue reading
Rapid Ready has been covering the idea of building guns and firearm-related peripherals using additive manufacturing (AM) for about as long as it’s been a twinkling in the eye of gun enthusiasts. Defense Distributed has realized its goal of designing, printing and test firing the world’s first 3D printed gun. Plans for the weapon are already available online. This achievement was immediately met with both cheers and boos, depending on which side of the gun control issue people stand on.
The gun rights crowd cheered the success of the “Liberator” as another step forward for freedom. Senator Chuck Schumer isn’t as big a fan. No sooner had the story gone out that the first 3D printed gun would indeed fire, than Sen. Schumer was already proposing a new bill called the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, which would make using AM to build firearms illegal. Continue reading
While major news agencies have been running stories about additive manufacturing (AM) for a goodly amount of time now, you can still find plenty of people who have never heard of the technology. Unless your place of work uses a 3D printer or you are a technophile (or know one), the odds of running across an AM system in the wild isn’t all that great, even with some of the retail stores that have begun popping up. That might well be about to change.
Last December, Rapid Ready ran a short piece about a new partnership between Staples and Mcor Technologies that would bring 3D printers into the stores. The first Staples Experience Center featuring the Mcor Iris opened for business on April 29 in Almere, The Netherlands. Other locations are set to follow, including American stores. Continue reading