Tag Archives: New Technology

3D Printing and the Army

Since my last post about 3D printing in the Navy garnered more likes than any other post to date, I figured we should continue the military trend and discuss how the Army uses the technology.

Actually, the Army has just as many uses for similar applications of 3D printing.

State-of-the-art 3D printers cut costs, turnaround time

Much like isolated ships having trouble accessing key components on the high seas, forward Army bases often find themselves weeks away from their supply chains.

Recently, a shortage of parts was delaying delivery of Harris radios. The radios required the installation of small dust caps prior to shipping to the customer. Finding and getting the part from a vendor could have taken weeks; so instead, Mechanical Engineer Eugene Haikes designed a 3-D model of the part and the depot printed 600 dust caps in 16 hours.

“If the depot wanted to produce the dust caps but didn’t have a rubber mold for them, we could have expected to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for the mold,” said Mead. “Because Eugene was able to come up with the model, we were able to produce the caps for only a dollar apiece while trimming days, if not weeks, off of our anticipated delivery date.”

Just like the Navy, advantages don’t stop there, as 3D printing can create objects too complicated for traditional machining and casting processes.

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Facial Reconstruction through 3D Scan, Print

UK Doctors are reverse engineering and reconstructing a man’s face, thanks to 3D technologies. Warning – some images could be graphic.

Eric Moger lost half of his face to cancer and as a result could no longer eat, drink or speak.  Doctors scanned his face and mirrored the “good” side over the “bad.”  The result is a model of the face very similar to how it used to look.  From that the team of doctors was able to develop a prosthesis that allows the patient use of his mouth again.

For the first time in five years, Eric Moger is able to speak clearly without holding his mouth, eat without a feeding tube, and hold his head high while going to the pub with his friends.

In the words of Mr. Moger, himself, “It is a great feeling to look in the mirror and see a whole face again. I am amazed at what they have done  – it just looks so like me. I also have something to look forward to, as Karen and I are planning to finally get married this summer.’

Mr MogerMr Moger

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3D Printing and the Navy

Navy, sea, ship, build, piping, ducting, parts, Proceedings

Even the Navy is getting involved in 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing.

Highlighted advantages include making complicated hulls with complex internal geometries in one fell swoop, as well as having print manufacturing on board vessels to deliver on demand replacement parts.

 

 

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RapidMade Speaking at the Northwest Machine Tool Expo

RapidMade, Inc. proudly invites you to attend a one hour seminar on 3D printing next Wednesday at the Northwest Machine Tool Expo starting at 9:30 AM.  Admission to the expo and seminars is completely free and the event takes place at the Oregon Convention Center (777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland OR.)

Erin Stone, president, and Matt Garrett, VP of Operations will give the presentation.  Topics covered include:

  • What is additive manufacturing (AM)?
  • Where has AM been and why is it getting so much attention now?
  • What’s new in AM technology & materials?
  • What does this mean for your business and how can you leverage AM for a competitive advantage?
  • Where does your business fit in the national and regional AM landscape?
If this topic is of interest to you (likely since you are reading this blog) and you can make it out (less likely), we would be happy to see you there!
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75% of Skull Replaced Due to 3D Printed Plastic Implants

Thanks to FDA approval of the process just last February 18th, Oxford Performance Materials replaced 75% of a patient’s skull using a 3D printed replica as an implant.

They were able to take a digital scan of the patient’s skull and turn it into a 3D plastic part.  This plastic was printed so that the edges had very high porous detail, allowing for the bones to grow into and fuse to the plastic.  This allows for lower chance of rejection and an overall stronger new skull than traditional implants.

Skull

The plastic is a high performance medical grade polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) developed by Oxford Performance Materials for the EOS P800, a plastic selective laser sintering (SLS) machine.  Selective laser sintering fuses layers of thermoplastics together using an extremely precise laser.

Immediately, the company envisions that 300 to 500  patients could use this implant every month in the United States alone.

But don’t just stop at skulls.  OPM’s president, Scott DeFelice says, “If you can replace a bony void in someone’s head next to the brain, you have a pretty good platform for filling bony voids elsewhere.”

The company is submitting for FDA approval of bone implants for many other parts of the body.  Each individual bone, including the skull, could be between a 50 and 100 million dollar market.

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iRobot: All in One 3D Printing

iRobot has just filed a patent for the next step in 3D printing.  They are trying to offset one of the biggest problems with the technology, automated machine level finishing.  Though high end additive manufacturing machines can be quite accurate, they cannot hit the sub .001” tolerance that many mills can.  On top of that, most processes cannot make smooth surfaces like bearing holes or tap threads.

This patent is interesting because companies like Matsura have already created machines like this, and are much further along with prototypes rather than just the idea.  Also, iRobot is forbidden to use any technology but plastic filament extrusion, generally a lower quality printing process, with it’s machine because of other industry patents.

Still, it is an interesting and necessary idea because one must merge additive manufacturing and traditional manufacturing to expand the range of applications and industries, and as other manufacturers strive to make easy all-in-one machines, they will likely butt heads with this patent.

We as a company do post machining all the time, manually.  It is generally not a big deal or too costly, but it would be nice for machine we use to do all the post processing automatically.

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GE Agrees with Me

GE Agrees with Me

Just as I was posting the below article, I found out I have some like-minded company.  Jeffery Immelt went into less detail because, well, as head of GE his reputation carries a little more weight than an unknown blogger.

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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!

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/46765251%5D

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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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3-D printing will remake U.S. manufacturing

About 20 miles east of Pittsburgh, the former heart of the nation’s steel industry, a small company called ExOne is churning out a new generation of stainless steel boat propellers, oil pump parts and door knobs. Manufacturers are increasingly using 3-D printers, made by ExOne in Irwin, Pa., to make production parts, rather than just product prototypes. But there are no clanging hammers, wheezing presses or even computer-controlled milling machines. Instead, a dozen 3-D printers quietly stitch together industrial parts by meticulously spreading hundreds or thousands of layers of powdered metal onto a canvas until they form three-dimensional shapes.

Read the full article here!

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