This is the fourth blog in an occasional series on 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM).
A lot has been going on since our last blog about advances in materials for 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM). This time, we'll tell you about architects 3D printing with ice and marble, some firsts in 3D printing titanium, and a university R&D team with a faster way to print multimaterial objects.
3D printing with ice isn't as new as you might think. Researchers at Montreal's McGill University have been developing this technique for a few years, originally to discover methods for building small to large objects out of ice using computer-controlled techniques. One of the main ideas is to use a commercial and industrial prototyping and modeling material that, in the far north anyway, is plentiful, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly. The other is to build temporary inhabitable structures for use in the ice-tourism industry. The machine is called the Cobra 600 Rapid Freezing Prototyping (RFP) system.
Click the image below to start the slideshow.
Researchers at Montreal's McGill University have been developing 3D printing with ice for use as a commercial and industrial prototyping and modeling material, as well as for making temporary inhabitable structures. Shown here, the construction process for making a chain from ice. (Source: McGill University)
Making things out of recycled marble dust with 3D printing is the goal of Marble Eco Design. The group was formed by an architect and a graphic designer in Italy 's Corena Ausonio marble district as a research project. Their goal is to develop a novel 3D-printing technique that can use high-quality, recycled, waste marble dust from local quarries. This would eliminate the quarries' disposal costs and provide new materials that could be used in art and fashion, as well as architecture, by mixing the marble dust with UV light-sensitive resins. The group demonstrated some objects it had made with this technique at the 2013 Maker Faire in Rome.
It turns out that the first-ever 3D-printed metal bike frames we told you about from UK-based Renishaw, made of titanium, were preceded by the first-ever 3D-printed titanium car parts. These were also made using Renishaw machines, but by an R&D team at the UK's University of Sheffield. The team used titanium powder made by UK-based Metalysis. Unlike most titanium powder, this is created from sand, making it much less expensive, according to a press release.
An R&D team at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering have invented a faster 3D-printing process, which they've recently applied to printing multiple materials that cure at different rates. The team, led by associate professor of industrial and systems engineering Yong Chen, announced that they have decreased fabrication time to minutes instead of hours. Their process is based on mask image projection-based stereolithography (MIP-SL). Earlier, they had improved this process using a single material, which you can read about here, by developing a two-way movement design for bottom-up projection that spreads the resin much faster.
You can watch a video here of Chen describing the team's achievement and a test case combining hard and soft materials. In the video, he says:
Instead of using given material properties, we can have control of properties by combining two different materials together. We are expanding the material options available for the product designer, such that we can improve the product performance dramatically.
I think "additive" manufacturing is one of the fastest growing technologies in the scientific and manufacturing community today. The video was excellent and even though as a fairly simple "tweezer" design; it points to a multiple possibilities relative to additional components. I can think of several in the medical field. Let me ask a question: are the materials blended into rods or coils and then fed into the printer? Is this the way the material is distributed in the process? Thank you Ann for keeping us up to date on what's happening with rapid prototyping.
I was especially impressed by the ability to combine multiple 3D materials to create different physical properties. I truly believe that this is a significant breakthrough and that this technique will become more and more common as 3D printing technology continues to advance. This ability will be a very valuable option for the printing of future designs.
You're welcome, William. But the problem with comparing what we can do now to Star Trek replicators is, they created food and drink and tools and whatnot out of, well, we don't know. Presumably pure energy or something. But today, to get 3D-printed chocolate or other food output, you have to already have that food as a material for the machine.
It appears that we may actually be at only the beginning of the wave of game changing creations as far as the 3D printing concept goes. Now I am anticipating the creation of actual "replicators", like those on the Star Trek series. At this point it is difficult to imagine what may not happen, given the wide realm of new processes and equipments.
The grab bag of plastic and rubber materials featured in this new product slideshow are aimed at lighting applications or automotive uses. The rest are for a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, oil & gas, RF and radar, automotive, building materials, and more.
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
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