Category Archives: Uncategorized

RapidMade Has a Booth 744 at NW Machine Tools Expo

In addition to our speaking engagement at this year’s Northwest Machine Tool Expo (Oregon Convention Center – 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Portland OR), RapidMade picked up booth 744 at the last minute!  Please come visit us at the show.  We will have all the latest samples of Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, and 3D scanners in the booth.

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As Athletes Compete, So Do their Cobblers – 3D Printed Shoes

In Formula 1, the driver gets the credit for winning the race even though the win was a massive team effort between engineers, mechanics, lab technicians, researchers, and scientists.  Technology has a similar effect on “pure” sports like track and field or football,  from new understandings of the body helping develop better diets and training regimens to new swimsuit materials being so advantageous in reducing drag in the water that they are banned from competition.

In a similar way, 3D Printing can help shape the future of athletic footwear for a number of reasons:

Nike 3D Sole

1: Dynamic Material Designs – Imagine a shoe sole made up entirely of thousands and thousands of micro-springs.  Even if the original material were rigid with little impact absorption, complex micro-structures could give new properties to that material.  For instance, if impact from running or jumping could be reduced right at the point of contact, it could decrease wear and tear on the athlete’s joints, muscles, and bones.

2: Lightweight Lattice Structures – An 1/8th ounce of weight reduction in the athlete’s gear could mean a 1/100th of a second cut in finish time.  That could mean the difference between first and fifth place.  3D Printing allows for material only to exist where it is structurally necessary, eliminating all extraneous material on the shoe meaning that they are as light as possible.

3: Biologically Optimized, Custom Designs – 3D printing means better economies of scale for “one-off” production. Couple that with the ability to 3D scan the body and create custom fits right to that organic shape and we have a technology that can make optimal shoes for any athlete.  Not only can they be produced for best fit to maximize ground contact and traction for athletes, but custom cleat spikes can be placed in any location, with any shape or size to fit that athlete’s preference.  Athletes could have an arsenal of custom shoes optimized for them and the conditions of a particular competition (dirt vs. grass, wet vs. dry).

This is not speculation.  As I write this, Nike and New Balance are some of the first pioneers to announce the amazing shoes are producing thanks to 3D printing to advance athletic competition.  They use Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) to make custom nylon soles for their athletes.  Click the following to read about Nike and New Balance and their 3D printing endeavors.



This is the 3Doodler. Even though it would take hundreds or thousands of hours to master quality-made objects (and I’m sure some hobbyist will impress us all soon,) this device should provide for great fun. It is nice to see innovators take an interesting spin on already existing products.

Click the photo to see a video and the kickstarter page.

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Modern Machine Shop Additive Manufacturing Quarterly Magazine

Hey All,

Since you read this blog, you probably are as interested in reading up on the newest innovations in 3D printing, like me.  Lucky for us, Modern Machine Shop has put their whole first year of their Additive Manufacturing magazine online for your perusing pleasure.

Follow the above link to check out all 4 (short) issues from 2012 and learn a little about the wide-ranging applications gaining acceptance within many new industries and markets.

Cheers, and have a happy New Year.


Design to Part Show at the Portland Expo Center.

Design to Part Show at the Portland Expo Center.

RapidMade had a fantastic time at the Design to Part Show at the Portland Expo Center. The room was filled with innovative companies that were helpful and outstanding.

An Amazing 3D Stone Printer!

A new machine called the Stone Spray uses natural sand or soil to build solid objects and aims to be the starting point for building much larger infrastructure like buildings or even bridges through 3D printing. According to Gizmag, the Stone Spray works much like your typical 3D printer in that it uses a computer to follow a 3D design and uses a mechanical arm to build objects by layering material. The device was developed by architects Petr Novikov, Inder Shergill, and Anna Kulik who wanted to bring 3D printing concepts to construction work and with eco-friendly materials.

Read the full article here!

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Bionic Beak for Eagle?!?

This is a truly beautiful story about how advancements in technology help the little critters we share our planet with. In 2007, an Alaskan bald eagle named Beauty was shot in the face and she lost her top beak. Beaks are essential for preening feathers and feeding, she was found nearly dead when she was rescued by Jane Fink Cantwell, a bird conservationist near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. When mechanical engineer Nate Calvin heard about Beauty’s tragedy, he wanted to help. He proposed to create a prosthetic beak for her. 18 months after he began, he made a prototype using nylon-based polymer with the help of 3D scanning and Stereolithography technology, a most common rapid prototyping procedure.

Read the full article here!

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Airbus Explores Building Planes With Giant 3D Printers

We already know that 3D-printing has revolutionized the way we can make everyday objects from Lego pieces, to guitars, and from car bodies to artificial livers. But the scale of this change could be much, much bigger if the “printers” themselves scale up enough to incorporate structures as large as airplanes.

Bastian Schaefer, a cabin engineer with Airbus, has been working for the last two years on a concept cabin that envisions what the future of flight would look like from the passenger’s perspective. From that came a radical concept: build the aircraft itself from the ground up with a 3D printer that’s very large in deed, ie. as big as an aircraft hangar. That probably sounds like a long shot, since the biggest 3D printers today are about the size of a dining table. But the Airbus design comes with a roadmap, from 3D-printing small components now, through to the plane as a whole around 2050.

Read the full article here!

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The new Monolith 3D Printer is a thing of beauty!!

3D printers come in all different shapes and sizes and can look like refrigerators or tinker toys. This new 3D printer developed by Monolith is absolutely stunning and looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The Monolith uses a process called “stereolithography” to create the three-dimensional object, layer by layer, out of a tray of special liquid resin in the machine. This resin is exposed to ultraviolet light, solidifying lit areas into a thin layer of plastic, leaving unexposed areas liquid. Each layer adheres to the previous and subsequent layers, as the platform moves upward, separating it from the bottom of the tray, but not the build platform.

Read the full article here!


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3D Printer Used to Print Vascular Networks

A major challenge in tissue engineering is the integration of blood vessels among cells to uniformly supply them with nutrients.

Researchers from University of Pennsylvania and MIT just reported in journal Nature Materials the ability to print 3D filament networks that may serve the role of vessels in the future.  They implemented the open source RepRap 3D printer with a few of their own changes, including a customized extruder and control software.

Read the full article here!


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