GE to explore high-performance thermoplastic 3D printing with Roboze One+400 3D printer 

GE Additive, General Electric’s 3D printing-focused venture, recently increased its 3D printer arsenal at its Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York with the addition of a Roboze One+400 3D printer. The 3D printer will help GE to further its R&D of 3D printing technologies, as the branch is consistently searching for new and innovative ways to integrate additive manufacturing across GE.

Roboze, an Italy-based FFF 3D printer manufacturer, has become recognized within the 3D printing world for its innovative beltless 3D printing system. Not only beltless, the Roboze One+400 also integrates extruders that can heat up to 400 degrees Celsius, making the 3D printer compatible for use with a wide range of materials, including “techno-polymers” such as PEEK, polycarbonate, nylon 12, and more.

“We are excited to have this new 3D printer,” commented Scott Miller, Manager of the Material Systems Lab at GE Global Research. “It will let us explore ways to take advantage of 3D printing from high-performance polymers such as PEEK. We will also be able to evaluate new designs with greater complexity enabled by 3d printing in areas where we already use high-performance polymers.”

According to GE Additive, its first order of business with the Roboze 3D printer will be to explore the potential of PEEK for a range of applications, notably within the aviation sector. As a 3D printing material, PEEK has seen a rise in popularity, with companies such as Germany-based Indmatec manufacturing top quality PEEK filaments which have shown promise, most recently in the auto manufacturing industry.

Alessio Lorusso, Founder and CEO of Roboze, expressed excitement about providing GE with one of Roboze’s 3D printers, and plans to work with GE to not only promote the use of PEEK and other thermoplastic materials for 3D printed metal replacement parts, but to further improve his own company’s 3D printing technology. He said: “I’m very proud of what we have accomplished in the past year after tremendous effort in research and development. Successfully delivering our Roboze One+400 to the laboratories of GE Global Research in Niskayuna, points out to one main conclusion – our innovative 3d printing technology will be part of the global industrial revolution, offering ways to substantially reduce manufacturing costs, which is a primary goal of all large industrial corporations . We will work closely with our customers to follow their changing needs, and provide them with new solutions focusing on reinforced metal replacement materials. I’m honored to help and support GE in their journey of leading once again new industrial revolutions.”


Cypriot 3D printer company Ilios returns with new Photon 2 UV DLP 3D printer

Just before the new year, we reported that Cyprus-based 3D printer developer Ilios was regrettably closing its doors. The company’s founder, Demetris Zavorotnitsienko, attributed the closure to a lack of funds and operational difficulties. In a surprising turn of events, however, Zavorotnitsienko has just announced he is determined to keep his company going and is hoping to change his luck with the development of the new Ilios Photon 2 UV DLP 3D printer.

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Ferrari uses 3D printing to develop new engine for 2017 F1 season – 3D Printing Industry


Ferrari uses 3D printing to develop new engine for 2017 F1 season

Ferrari’s F1 team are ramping up preparations for the 2017 season by using 3D printing technology to develop pistons for their new engine. Ferrari has collaborated with fellow Italians Magneti Marelli to produce the new engine design. Magneti Marelli are a company focused on the “design and production of hi-tech systems and components for the automotive sector”. 

We’ve previously seen how 3D printing has been used in F1 with an interview with Force India’s Robert Fernley. Fernley explained how F1 teams use 3D printing as a prototyping tool. However, as the technology has advanced beyond prototyping and into production, particularly with additive manufacturing functional metal parts like this piston.

At the conclusion of the 2016 F1 season we reviewed the use of 3D printing technology and previewed upcoming car changes for this years F1 season. Preparing for this year, McLaren recently signed a four-year agreement with 3D printing company Stratasys. The 3D printer manufacturer will be the official supplier of 3D printing solutions to McLaren.

EOS F1 brake pedal with hollow design made from EOS Titanium Ti64 at Formnext 2016. Photo by Michael Petch.

EOS F1 brake pedal with hollow design made from EOS Titanium Ti64 at Formnext 2016. Photo by Michael Petch.

Ferrari’s 2017 engine

The engine using this piston is expected to be ready for Ferrari’s car launch at the end of February. The new engine changes Ferrari are perfecting for the upcoming season will put an increase strain on the engine, testing every component. F1 cars this year will experience increased pressures and higher temperatures following the use of new turbulent jet ignition technology.

To handle more these demands Ferrari turned to 3D printing to create a new stronger piston made from steel alloy. Traditional methods use the lighter material aluminium, however aluminium has a greater likelihood of failure when subjected to high temperatures and stress. While heavier, the steel alloy will provide greater strength and heat resistance. 3D printing can be used with topology optimization to create components in materials like steel with the same, or better strength characteristics but with less material. This means the component can have a comparable weight.

The F1 team are understandably guarded about the specifics of the design but hope 3D printing will propel them to a higher finishing place in 2017. The team came third in the constructors championship last year and driver Sebastian Vettel expressed concern about the car mid-season saying, “we’re not as competitive as we want but we know to what to do.”

Speaking about the 2017 F1 season Vettel said, “It is a different project and the cars will be very different but there are still some things that we can learn and understand this year which will help us next year.”

A conventional F1 piston from 2010. Photo via Matthieu Lambert/Auto123.

A conventional F1 piston from 2010. Photo via Matthieu Lambert/Auto123.

How additive manufacturing has helped development

Using 3D printing technology means Ferrari were able to develop this piston quickly and efficiently, iterating the design and adjusting according to performance data.  3D printing enables the creation of complex geometrical structures that can provide more strength while reducing weight. This would not have been possible using traditional manufacturing techniques such as casting.



Firefly Pro – Fully 3d printed racing drone 

Firefly Pro - Fully 3d printed racing drone

This is the all new Firefly Pro.Its a 250 size quad thats designed for the race track.

In this intractable you will find all necessary information to build the frame of the Firefly Pro.

You can find all STL files you’ll need for this build on thingiverse:

Have fun building and flying the Firefly Pro.

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Millebot creates huge concrete 3D printer housed in 40-foot shipping container


Construction startup Millebot has introduced Mille, an industrial-sized 3D printer and mill housed within a shipping container. The company sees the giant manufacturing machine being used in construction, disaster relief, aerospace, and more.


Use of 3D printing or additive manufacturing technology in the construction sphere is increasing on a daily basis. Thanks to a wider range of 3D printable materials than ever before, construction and architecture companies have been able to fabricate huge 3D printed structures, including houses and offices, that will be able to withstand prolonged use. There are, however, a few obstacles left to overcome for construction-focused 3D printers, one of which is mobility. Since the kind of 3D printer required to print parts of a building is usually on the larger side, getting those printers onto a construction site can be a mammoth task—and that’s before considerations like powering and weather-proofing the printer are taken into account.

Companies in the additive manufacturing industry are approaching this mobility problem in different ways. Dutch company CyBe Construction, for example, has developed a concrete 3D printer that moves around on caterpillar tracks—perfect for navigating the difficult terrain of a construction site. But there are other solutions too: Millebot Inc, a company based in Winter Park, Florida, recently created a massive 3D printer and mill hybrid that is housed within a standard shipping container, making it transportable via sea, rail, or other means. The incredibly cool-looking manufacturing machine was exhibited at Maker Faire Orlando back in October 2016.

The standardized shipping container system, developed after World War II, has enabled companies from all over the world to greatly reduce shipping costs, and has served to massively increase global trade. Since shipping containers have standardized measurements, they can be loaded, stacked, and transported easily over long distances, while numbering and tracking systems ensure that each unique container is easily identifiable. By buying into the containerization system, Millebot can send its unique 3D printer anywhere in the world with ease, while the recipient can also be confident that the machinery inside will remain undamaged over its many journeys, before and after delivery.

Billed by Millebot as a “factory of the future” concept, the Mille 3D printer gives users on-demand additive and subtractive manufacturing capabilities, thanks to its multi-head fabrication tool that can both print and mill. Using a proprietary clay material that is self-curing and hardens on demand (or other materials, such as a sand mixture or a recycled glass and plastic mix), the Mille 3D printer can create objects and structures that are purportedly 3-5 times harder than cement or red brick. Moreover, these structures can measure up to 70” x 265” x 70” (on the company’s “light duty” 40’ 3D printer). The proprietary clay material was developed by Millebot and Dr. John Pojman, a cure-on-demand polymer expert and president of Pojman Polymer Products.

According to Millebot, the Mille 3D printer and mill hybrid offers another advantage in addition to creating large and strong structures: speed. The new machine can reportedly print at 200 mm/sec or mill at 500 inches per minute, making it surprisingly fast for such a large and versatile machine. The Millebot team are also pretty fast themselves, as they claim they can deliver one of the huge printers to a customer in 60-90 days—presumably via standard shipping container routes. The 3D printer and mill hybrid is available either in a 20-foot or 40-foot container, and can be optimized for heavy duty or light duty use.

Despite being a fairly complex and substantial piece of manufacturing equipment that offers both additive and subtractive capabilities, the Mille 3D printer is apparently fairly easy to use. “With any new machine, there is a slight learning curve,” Millebot says. “But with Millebot’s easy-to-use interface and easy-to-follow user guide, learning to use the Mille won’t be difficult.”

Millebot hopes to have the Mille 3D printer and mill available for commercial use within the year.

Mille 3D printer build sizes:

  • 40’ heavy duty: 65” x 265” x 65”
  • 40’ light duty: 70” x 265” x 70”
  • 20’ heavy duty: 65” x 132” x 65”
  • 20’ light duty: 70” x 132” x 70”


Cornell researchers use 3D printing to create soft robotic hand that ‘feels’ like a human

Cornell researchers have used a 3D printer and four-step soft lithography to create a soft robotic hand that can feel surfaces just like a human. Stretchable optical waveguides act as curvature, elongation, and force sensors in the 3D printed hand.

Touching, feeling, and grasping are things we start doing from the day we are born. That makes them easy to think about in a loose sense, but also difficult to truly put our finger on. How do we experience the sensation of touch? How could we replicate that sensation in a nonhuman entity? Is touch an internal or external sensation? A research team at Cornell University, led by assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Robert Shepherd, is concerned with these very questions, and has used 3D printing to try and answer them.

While most robots achieve grasping and tactile sensing through motors, Shepherd and co have devised a soft robotic hand, built using 3D printed molds, which uses the external tips of its fingers to gather information while actually “feeling” the sensation internally—much like humans do. Doctoral student Huichan Zhao is lead author of the paper, “Optoelectronically Innervated Soft Prosthetic Hand via Stretchable Optical Waveguides,” which is featured in the debut edition of Science Robotics.

“Most robots today have sensors on the outside of the body that detect things from the surface,” Zhao said. “Our sensors are integrated within the body, so they can actually detect forces being transmitted through the thickness of the robot, a lot like we and all organisms do when we feel pain, for example.”

The researchers created a clever system that is able to feel its surroundings through light. As the soft robotic hand deforms, more light is lost through the core, and that loss of light is detected by a photodiode. The team employed a four-step soft lithography process to produce the core (which light passes through), and the cladding (the outer surface of the waveguide), which also houses an LED and the photodiode.

In addition to soft lithography, 3D printing also plays an important role in the process: “We 3D print the molds using a PolyJet printer (Objet30) for our optical waveguides,” the researchers explain in the paper. “This fabrication process generates a surface roughness of 6 nm between the core and cladding. This relatively rough interface causes scattering and thus more loss of propagation; however, the design freedom of 3D printing allows for complex sensor shapes.”

Optical waveguides such as those used by the Cornell researchers have been in use since the early 1970s for tactile, position, and acoustic sensing, amongst other things. Making these devices used to be difficult, but the rise of soft lithography and 3D printing over the last two decades has given rise to the rapid production of elastomeric sensors for soft robotic applications.

The optoelectronic hand, made from 3D printed molds, has been able to perform a variety of tasks, such as grasping and probing for both shape and texture. Interestingly (for both scientists and food lovers), the hand was able to scan three tomatoes and determine, by softness, which was the ripest.

Although able to process data just like a human hand, it is essentially the presence or absence of light which enables the device to understand the surfaces it touches. “If no light was lost when we bend the prosthesis, we wouldn’t get any information about the state of the sensor,” Shepherd said. “The amount of loss is dependent on how it’s bent.”

The unusual research project, which involved 3D printing, soft lithography, and the use of optical waveguides, was supported by a grant from Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and made use of the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility and the Cornell Center for Materials Research, both of which are supported by the National Science Foundation.


Polish 3D printer company Verashape licenses Siemens PLM Parasolid Communicator software

Polish 3D printer and software company Verashape has announced it has licensed Siemens’ Parasolid Communicator, part of the company’s product lifecycle management (PLM) Software. The licensing agreement will help Verashape’s R&D department to further its support and development of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing technology through a new software program. More specifically, Siemens’ Parasolid Communicator software will help Verashape users to import and prepare 3D models for printing.

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Mechaduino: an open-source industrial servo motor for 3D printers & CNC machines 

Tropical Labs, an electromechanical systems lab based in Washington, DC., has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Mechaduino, an open-source industrial servo motor for 3D printers and other machines. Mechaduino can be used as a drop-in replacement for NEMA 17 stepper motors and drivers.

Dubbed the “Arduino for mechatronics”, Tropical Labs’ Mechaduino servo motor looks set to bring affordable, closed-loop motion control to a new generation of 3D printer and CNC mill users—in two distinct ways. The device can function either as a self-contained motion control platform for developing custom servo mechanisms or as a drop-in servo motor for 3D printers and CNC machines, and having already smashed its $7,500 Kickstarter Campaign goal, the clever gadget will be in the hands of backers by September.

Servo motors are used in robotics, CNC milling, 3D printing, and other disciplines in order to precisely control the motion of moving parts. For many consumer machines, cheap and simple servos will suffice, but a far greater degree of accuracy can be attained by using industrial servos, which often support advanced motion control modes. Unfortunately, industrial servos can be incredibly expensive. That’s why Tropical Labs has developed the Mechaduino, an affordable open-source industrial servo which leverages the low cost of mass-produced stepper motors while achieving high resolution via 14b encoder feedback.

Initially conceived as a personal project, the Mechaduino story goes back to when members of Tropical Labs were looking for affordable servo motors that performed at a high level. Having little success in their search, the tech experts started to develop their own servos, documenting their progress on Hackaday and accruing a significant fanbase in the process. As the project gathered steam, the team’s ambition’s grew, with further objectives made for the new servo. These included anti-clogging capabilities, PID auto tuning, and adjustable commutation profiles. The team decided to launch a Kickstarter in response to the positive messages coming from Hackaday, and reached their target goal long before the close of the campaign.

The Mechaduino has already been tested on a RepRap Prusa i3 3D printer, functioning as a drop-in replacement for each stepper motor and stepper driver of the printer. “Closed loop motors run more efficiently since they only apply the required torque to track a position command,” explained Tropical Labs’ [jcchurch] in a Hackaday project log. “Stepper motors must apply their maximum torque all the time. This means that the closed loop motor will run much cooler and can apply much higher peak torques.”

While Tropical Labs has already raised more than double its Kickstarter goal, backers from anywhere in the world can still secure early copies of the Mechaduino until the campaign closes on July 21. A Mechaduino PCB can be secured for $45 and a Servo for $60, with discounts on offer for larger orders. Estimated delivery for all orders is September 2016.



Carbon Fiber 3D printing today

While metal 3D printing has been skyrocketing in terms of popularity, market share, and high-demand applications for the past year, and will certainly continue to do so, 3D printing with carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) offers unique properties that are increasingly sought out in the aerospace, military, motorsports, robotics, automobile, and energy sectors. Namely, carbon fiber composites, which are made of extremely thin carbon fibers measuring about 5-10 microns in diameter, have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than almost any other manufacturing material. Imagine a conductive 3D printed part that is stronger than steel yet as light as plastic, and with a beautifully smooth surface finish: that’s carbon fiber 3D printing for you.

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