A metal laser sintering system may be coming soon to a dental office near you. Dental applications for rapid manufacturing equipment are exploding. Up to 500 bridges and crowns can be manufactured in a day in a single build on an EOS direct metal laser sintering system. EOS expects to ship 20 machines for dental applications in the next 18 months. So far, Europe is ahead in implementing the technology, with about 25 installed machines and only three in the United States. The metal used is a cobalt chrome alloy.
Dental implants traditionally have been made out of metal through a time-consuming casting process. A technician can produce about 20 dental frames per day. In the new approach, a dental technician can concentrate on post-processing the metal structure and its aesthetic upgrade: ceramic veneering.
The technology will also come into play for other types of implants, Martin Bullemer, the EOS account specialist for medical, told me today in a walk through the EOS stand at Rapid 2009 in Schaumburg, IL. The best fit will be for custom implants for spines. Cobalt chrome is widely used for knee and hip replacements, but they are mass-produced stock sizes.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
This month will mark the launch of the SpeedFoiler, a super-fast, ultra-lightweight foiling catamaran that can fly short distances over water faster than other foiling designs, in part because of its carbon composite materials.
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