3D printed terahertz circuits boost for 5G comms and satellite sensors

Car radars, 5G communication systems and satellite-based atmospheric sensors could all be improved as a result of a UK project to develop 3D printed terahertz and microwave circuits.

terahertzAlthough 3D printing is widely used in many areas of manufacturing, its use in microwave and terahertz circuits has so far been limited by the level of precision required to build devices at such a small scale.

However, the accuracy of 3D printers has significantly improved in recent years, with some now able to print down to a resolution of five microns or less, according to Michael Lancaster at Birmingham University, who is leading the EPSRC-funded project.

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Machine Learning makes metal 3D printing more efficient

An aerial view of the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. Image via mun: planetRussian researchers have used machine learning to make metal 3D printing more efficient.

3D printers require fine tuning of positioning and control algorithms using mathematical models to reach optimal performance. This is a lengthy and arduous process and it could take weeks to set printing parameters. Even then, the possibility of printing error is always present.

To overcome such problems scientists at the Laboratory of Lightweight Materials and Structures of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have developed a neural network for a metal 3D printer.

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3D printing advances overshadowed by lack of machinery

LONDON (ICIS)–The true take off for 3D printing is on the horizon but a lack of machinery capable of production is holding the technology back, according to Evonik’s head of new 3D technologies.

Sylvia Monsheimer said that, while the company is happy with the growth it has seen in the 3D printing industry in the last 20 years, there is a lack of machinery capable of production available on the market.

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3D method uses patients’ own cells to repair tissue damage

OCTOBER 17, 2018: A technician at OrganOvo works with a bioprinter in one of the labs clean rooms to create a 3-D tissue sample. Courtesy of OrganOvo.Patients waiting for an organ transplant may soon have a new treatment option — print out the organ or tissue they need using a revolutionary form of 3D printing that may one may day eliminate the need to wait on transplant donations.

Organovo, a biotech company in San Diego is leading the revolution in bioprinting and Boston area researchers are weighing the benefits of 3D-printed tissue.

“It’s about personalized and customized treatment,” said Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said 3D printing could eventually eliminate the need for transplant donations.

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3D printing with recycled plastic to replace soldier’s supplies

US military researchers have developed a way to use recycled bottles and other refuse materials to 3D-print replacement parts for soldiers in the field.

US Military 3D printed bracket

Military personnel stationed around the world often have a long wait when they need a critical replacement part. Now, the US Army Research Lab (ARL) and the US Marine Corps have partnered to develop a way to kill two birds with one stone by recycling the plastic bottles and bags the military uses and 3D-printing needed materials in the field.

Nicole Zander, a researcher at ARL, and US Marine Corps Capt. Anthony Molnar are working on a joint project to break down recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic into filament to use as a starting material for 3D printers. The material then can be fabricated into plastic parts for radios, canteens, and other items soldiers can use in the field.

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Interview with Fabian Alefeld of Additive Minds on 3D printing training, consulting and application development

One of the things holding 3D printing back is the lack of Application Development Consultants. Imagine the dawn of the asphalt age, bitumen production increases as maps are filled with squiggly lines where fields once stood. Cars roll off of vastly expanded production lines while workers who built them on cue, queue in lines for new automobiles. Where do we see the constraints of this automotive revolution? We don’t really see them at the time, just like we can’t fathom the effects. Decades on suburbs emerge, nations have changed and the citizens of the first world are all connected by a web of white lines on hardened petroleum, a new future being patrolled by cars propelled of earth’s crust cured dinosaur. We are, I believe, at the forefront of just such a revolution. But, rather than connecting all the points of the known world we will connect all the points of our imaginations with the makable.

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‘Without ceramics almost nothing would function’ – barriers to 3D printing

Although ceramics are perhaps best known as materials for pottery, they are useful for many high-tech applications (Credit: Shutterstock)

Aspirational visits to disappointing evening classes, damp garden centres – the word ceramic does not, perhaps, immediately conjure up high-tech thoughts.

Ceramics are nonetheless used in a huge range of advanced applications. Generally defined as non-metallic and inorganic materials, they stop spacecraft from disintegrating and burning across the sky as they re-enter the atmosphere, replace ageing and damaged bones and one variant protects soldiers in bulletproof vests.

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What lies ahead for 3D printing?

As 3D printing starts to bridge the gap between prototyping and production, some companies are looking at streamlining CAD software, and making it more accessible.

3D design and printing technology has advanced at an alarming rate. We can now print complex objects from different materials, in different colors, in rapid time — even in the comfort of our own homes.

Then there’s the varied commercial applications for 3D printing (3DP). One survey of US manufacturers found that two out of three companies are already adopting 3DP in some way. Some of these companies include General Electric, Nike, Airbus, Amazon, Hasbro, Hershey’s, Boeing, and Ford. And we hear countless stories of 3D-printed houses, cars, aircraft components, musical instruments, shoes, robots, and body parts, just to give a few examples.

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Common processes and materials in 3D Printing

3D Hubs’ Q2 report shows what 3D printing processes and materials are being used and where.

3D printing

In our previous coverage of 3D Hubs’ Digital Manufacturing Trends Q2/2018 report, we talked about the top-ranked 3D printers. However, the company kept tabs on more than just printers. By tracking all data on its platform, 3D Hubs has helped shine a light on the state of 3D printing itself. While powder bed technology is poised to grow, currently extruding standard black PLA is dominating this one online platform.

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It’s too soon to call 3D printing a green technology

Over the past decade 3D printing has captured the imagination of the general public, engineers and environmental visionaries. It has been hailed as both a revolution in manufacturing and an opportunity for dramatic environmental improvement.

3D printing has two key attributes that lead enthusiasts to call it a “green” technology. First, many 3D printing systems generate very little waste, unlike conventional manufacturing techniques such as injection molding, casting, stamping and cutting. Second, 3D printers in homes, stores and community centers can use digital designs to make products onsite, reducing the need to transport products to end users.

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