Defective products could result from cyberattacks on industrial 3D printers

Many 3D printers lack cybersecurity features, which presents opportunities to introduce defects as components are being built, a new study shows.

TGE 3D printer jet enginehe study, performed by a team of cybersecurity and materials engineers at New York University, concluded that with the growth of cloud-based and decentralized 3D printer production supply chains, there can be “significant risk to the reliability of the product.”

 

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is creating a globally distributed manufacturing process and supply chain spanning multiple services, and therefore raises concerns about the reliability of the manufactured product, the study stated.

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Tools of the trade: choosing a 3D printer

With so many 3D printers on the market, just what are some of the considerations when looking to purchase one? And what value is it going to add to your business? Justin Cunningham finds out.

For some, the use of an office 3D printer has become an essential tool in developing and validating design concepts, for others no bid is complete without a 3D printed prototype to accompany CAD data. But, whether you are a one-man band, or a multi-national engineering firm, chances are if you are involved in design and development you are thinking about investing in a 3D printer.

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Is 3D printed titanium fatally flawed?

The question of strength in 3D printed materials is one which has held it back from exploding across manufacture.  The initial indicates from NASA-based research were promising, and other manufacturers, notably GE and Airbus, have embarked down the path to making end user parts out of metal.  New research, however, may change things.


Titanium has become a firm favorite for the medical and aerospace industries, but a worrying report from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that 3D printed titanium could be fatally flawed.

Deep X-rays have revealed a porosity to the material in 3D printed titanium that can be traced back to its powder-based production method.
Carnegie Mellon University is one of the world leaders in 3D printing research and has produced some stellar research over the years. It took the most common form of titanium, Ti-gAI-4V, to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory. There it analyzed the material with so called deep X-rays, or intense synchrotron x-rays, and an advanced rapid imaging tool.

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How expiring patents are ushering in the next generation of 3D printing

The year 2016 is quickly shaping up to be one of the hottest years on record for 3D printing innovations. Although there is still a lot of hype surrounding 3D printing and how it may or may not be the next industrial revolution, one thing is for certain: the cost of printing will continue to drop while the quality of 3D prints continues to rise.

This development can be traced to advanced 3D printing technologies becoming accessible due to the expiration of key patents on pre-existing industrial printing processes.

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Adding 3D Printing to manufacturing

Most engineering professionals know 3D printing technology isn’t new — it’s actually been around for several decades. As the technology has evolved, more industrial users are applying it to address product complexity, time and budget constraints, as well as prototyping. Industries leading the way for industrial applications include aerospace, medical, automotive and dental.

According to research firm Gartner, in its 2014 report titled “3D Printer Market Survey Reveals Enterprise Demand Drivers for Technology, Printer and Vendor Decision Making,” early adopters of the technology were able to easily identify cost savings. “Respondents felt overwhelmingly that using a 3D printer as part of their supply chain generally reduces the cost of existing processes, especially research and product development costs,” said Pete Basilier, research director at Gartner. “The mean cost reduction for finished goods is between 4.1% and 4.3%, which is an impressive figure. It shows that early adopters of the technology are finding clear benefits, which are likely to drive further adoption.”

The market doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. Wohler’s Report 2016 stated the industry grew to $5.165 billion with a CAGR of 25.9%, and the number of industrial-grade AM system vendors rose from 49 to 62.

An overview of how 3D printing materials and technologies combine for different outcomes and applications. Illustration courtesy of Additively.com. Technology key: BJ (Binder Jetting), EBM (Electron Beam Melting), FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), HP (Hybrid Processes), LM (Laser Melting), LS (Laser Sintering), MJ (Material Jetting), PJ (Photopolymer Jetting), SL (Stereolithography).

An overview of how 3D printing materials and technologies combine for different outcomes and applications.

Illustration courtesy of Additively.com.

Technology key: BJ (Binder Jetting), EBM (Electron Beam Melting), FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), HP (Hybrid Processes), LM (Laser Melting), LS (Laser Sintering), MJ (Material Jetting), PJ (Photopolymer Jetting), SL (Stereolithography)

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Military 3D printing applications to transform the industry

It is no secret that all branches of the United States military have been keeping a close eye on 3D printing technology. With the variety of uses across all industries, 3D printing has proven its versatility. Besides the ongoing research in a number of directions, such as 3D printing of replacement bones, battle armor, and vehicle parts, the Navy has already successfully tested ballistic missiles containing 3D printed components.

According to Business Insider, new interest is being shown in the field recently, as many patents on the original technology are expiring, thereby allowing for competition that will result in better quality products at a much lower cost. The first major patents expired in 2009 allowing new printers capable of using metal, wood, and fabric to become more available.

The US military is already investing heavily into research to print uniforms, synthetic skin and food, said ISH Technology analyst Alex Chausovsky.

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How HP wants to change the world, with 3D printing

HP is at present undergoing the biggest transformation in its history at the end of which it hopes it will have turned technology, and the rest of the world, on its head. The world’s largest startup, as the tech giant likes to call itself, is starting out on a new path of discovery and innovation.

“What we are driving for the next 75 years of HP is towards a vision we called blended reality, melding the physical with the digital, and doing it is a virtuous cycle,” explains Shane Wall, the Chief Technology Officer of HP who also runs HP Labs. In fact, HP Labs is developing the innovations that will go after the five big investments the company is banking on for the future — 3D printing, immersive computing, hyper mobility, IoT and smart machines.

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3D printing and the future of food

Printing out your meal may not sound appealing, but 3D technology could revolutionize food manufacturing. There could come a day in the near future when it’s a tablet to table kind of lunch.

It’s Friday night and you want a pizza, but instead of calling the local pizzeria for delivery, you just print out your dinner. Think that sounds a bit too farfetched? Think again.

Foodini from Natural Machines is a 3D printing kitchen appliance that makes pizza, pasta, breads and cookies. It assembles layers of fresh ingredients to take a complex process, like making ravioli, and simplifies the steps, as well as easing the kitchen clean up which is a big value-add.

Initially targeting professional chefs, Natural Machines’ co-founder Lynette Kucsma envisions a time in the near future when a 3D food printer will be a common kitchen appliance. Foodini, which is currently available in limited production with general availability in 2016, will cost about $1,500, according to the Natural Machines website. And, as competitors hit the market and prices start to plummet, a 3D printer could be a convenient way for consumers to make healthy meals on-the-go rather than turning to highly-processed foods packaged for the microwave.

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