3D printed parts for a car

http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/71751824/the-car-of-the-future-to-use-3d-printed-parts

Car parts could use 3D printing techniques in the future, according to BMW

The car of the future to use 3D printed parts

Car companies will soon make use of 3D printing to manufacture parts, bringing benefits in cost and strength that will improve the affordability and driving character of future vehicles, according to BMW’s head of lightweight design Florian Schek.

While most vehicle manufacturers use the advanced technology during the development and design phase to quickly create prototype parts or models, Schek believes it won’t be long before the technology is transferred into end-consumer production techniques.

He admitted that it is likely to be used on low-volume speciality vehicles first as the time needed to mass-produce parts by 3D printing is not as quick as conventional methods such as casting and forging for metals, or as affordable as plastics. But he said the rapid advances in the technology will ensure its future application is viable.

“We have that already in prototyping,” he told Drive.

“But there is definitely a future for it in mainstream production. It will come.

“I think it will take some time in high-volume production, but it is not that far away for specialist models like the i8. We can do some very interesting things with 3D printing that we cannot do with other methods and it is quite exciting about the benefits, both in terms of design and structure.”

Schek said the benefits of 3D printing structural elements – including major components such as shock absorber towers – could see improvements in weight reductions and rigidity, as the printing process could create components more intricately.

“With 3D printing we can see advantages in being able to build parts with strength where it is needed and not in places where it isn’t, and this will help improve decreasing weight. We can design the part according to the forces that are running through it, this will be a big step forward for some areas,” he told Drive during the launch of the all-new BMW 7-Series, which uses different materials in its skeleton – including steel, aluminium and carbon fibre – to reduce weight and increase overall strength.

“I can also see it eventually improving time to production in some circumstances too, because some components currently need to go through many processes to be ready for assembly whereas with 3D printing it is designed to be a finished product.”

stuff.co.nz

by ANDREW MACLEAN | 06:00, September 6 2015

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3D printing – the future of global food?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/is-3-d-printing-the-future-of-global-food/article24981139/

Is 3D printing the future of global food?

A few weeks ago, Londoners were able to eat at the world’s first 3D-printed pop-up restaurant. In early June, a German-based company introduced the word’s first plug-and-play food printer, which may be ready for shipping as early as next year. With the cost to produce this technology dropping, making it increasingly accessible, 3D printing could fundamentally change our relationship with food.

Simply put, the process uses ingredients to generate three-dimensional meals by placing layers of compounded food on top of each other. Since 2012, the food industry has used this technology to produce products, including candy, chocolate, pizza, noodles and even crackers. Despite its relative novelty, many companies are recognizing its potential – and recognizing how 3D food printing can revolutionize our global food systems.

In particular, 3D printing could radically alter food production practices by enabling companies to manage resources more responsibly and reduce waste across the food continuum – whether you are a processor, a distributor or a consumer with leftovers. Indeed, many well-known agribusiness corporations have already dedicated a great deal of time and research on 3D systems. There is a potential benefit to consumer health, as well. For example, PepsiCo recently announced that it is using 3D printing to develop a healthier potato chip.

Beyond manufacturing, 3D printing could also boost culinary creativity by allowing renowned chefs to create shapes and forms that were previously thought impossible. Some have argued that it can give the food-service industry the ability to customize products based on individual nutritional needs.

Given the demographic challenges we face in coming decades, this can become a key benefit. In Germany, many nursing homes already produce a pureed 3D-printed food product called smoothfoods to residents who have difficulty ingesting food, or even chewing them. Regular smoothies have been on the menu, but haven’t proved as popular. Elderly residents eating smoothfoods can receive all the nutrients they require while enjoying an aesthetically pleasing meal. As a result, they can live healthier, higher quality lives.

More significantly, some experts believe 3D printing could effectively address global food security challenges. Ingredients such as algae, duckweed and grass could be imbedded into familiar dishes. A recent study in Holland added milled mealworm to a shortbread cookie recipe through 3D printing – most would agree that a cookie-shaped food product is much more appetizing than the look and feel of a worm. By using insects and other protein sources, the growing need for protein the globe is currently experiencing, which adds increased pressure to beef and pork prices, could be mitigated.

3D food printing does still face major obstacles. The technology remains expensive and complex. The engineering required to produce food is much more sophisticated than producing objects with metal and plastic. Food scientists acknowledge how difficult it is to effectively make edible meals in 3D food printing – ingredients in food interact in many complex ways, particularly with meats. At this point, 3D food printers are not known to produce great tasting food, and still do not have the overwhelming endorsement of the culinary world.

However, the technology is improving at an incredible pace, allowing us to believe that very soon, anything might be possible.

The concept of 3D printed food is foreign to many of us, and may challenge our collective appreciation of where food comes from, and how it is produced. Let’s face it – when it comes to food, we are all traditionalists to some extent, protective of our food heritage. Printing food is a drastic departure from the art of cooking as a way of celebrating nature’s bounty.

But the reality is that in just a few years, we will have more than nine billion people to feed. One way to responsibly address global food security challenges is to consider technology as a primary source for sustainable solutions. Treating alternatives to established food production systems as mere fads may not be the best approach.

After all, the future of the dinner table may be as different, and as simple as “Press print and eat.”

theglobeandmail.com

by SYLVAIN CHARLEBOIS | Jun. 17, 2015 10:39AM EDT

3D printed eggs used to study the art of deception among birds

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/6777/20150528/scientists-use-3d-printed-eggs-to-study-the-art-of-deception-among-birds.htm

Scientists Use 3D Printed Eggs to Study the Art of Deception among Birds

3D printing has already established itself within the scientific community. It’s been used to produce tools aboard the International Space Station, replicate body parts for surgical procedures, and now it’s found a new niche among biologists studying bird behavior. It turns out, 3D printers produce mighty fine eggs.

Animal behaviorists at Hunter College of the City University of New York are using 3D printers to produce eggs used in experiments that examine nesting behavior among birds. They’re particularly interested in brood parasites – birds that lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, for the behavior of such birds offers insight into the evolutionary arms race between species.

Successful brood parasites are well-adapted to their deceptive practice, laying eggs that resemble those whose nests they target for takeover. But the foster birds have evolved means of detecting such eggs, based on their size, shape, color, and pattern, and will cast them out of the nests when the interlopers are identified.

“Hosts of brood parasites vary widely in how they respond to parasitic eggs, and this raises lots of cool questions about egg mimicry, the visual system of birds, the ability to count, cognitive rules about similarity, and the biomechanics of picking things up,” says Prof. Don Dearborn, chair of the Biology Department at Bates College, a brood parasitism expert who was not involved in the 3D printing study.

Biologists have been studying brood parasitic behavior for decades, but it was always a challenge to produce realistic eggs for use in their experiments. They tried a variety of materials, such as wood and plaster, but the eggs were expensive and time consuming to produce and a challenge to reproduce consistently.

And that’s where the 3D printers come in.

The scientists from Hunter College used a 3D printer to produce model eggs based on those of the Brown-headed Cowbirds, a North American brood parasite. Some eggs were painted beige to match real cowbird eggs; other were painted blue-green to match eggs of the American robin, a typical target of cowbirds. They were able to fill the model eggs with water or gel, so that the eggs retained the weight and properties of real eggs.

Their experiments were a rousing success. The robins accepted 100% of the blue-green eggs while they rejected 79% of the beige eggs. Similar results were achieved using plaster eggs, but the 3D printed eggs are more consistent and easier to produce. And since they are based on digital models, it makes for easy sharing across scientific communities, which improves the reproducibility of experiments.

“For decades, tackling these questions has meant making your own fake eggs — something we all find to be slow, inexact, and frustrating,” says Dearborn. “This study uses 3D printing for a more nuanced and repeatable egg-making process, which in turn will allow more refined experiments on host-parasite coevolution. I’m also hopeful that this method can be extended to making thin-shelled, puncturable eggs, which would overcome another one of the constraints on these kinds of behavioral experiments.”

“3D printing technology is not just in our future – it has already revolutionized medical and basic sciences,” says Mark Hauber, an animal behaviorist at Hunter College and the study’s senior author. “Now it steps out into the world of wild birds, allowing standardized egg rejection experiments to be conducted throughout the world.”

sciencetimes.com

by May 28, 2015 11:29 PM EDT

3D printed future – did you think about it ?

https://hbr.org/2015/05/the-time-to-think-about-the-3d-printed-future-is-now

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The Time to Think About the 3D Printed Future Is Now

3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, is likely to revolutionize business in the next several years. Often dismissed in the popular mindset as a tool for home-based “makers” of toys and trinkets, the technology is gaining momentum in large-scale industry. Already it has moved well beyond prototyping and, as I explain in a new HBR article, it will increasingly be used to produce high-volume parts and products in several industries.

Since I prepared that article, new developments have only strengthened the case for a 3-D future – and heightened the urgency for management teams to adjust their strategies. Impressive next-generation technologies are overcoming the last generation’s drawbacks while adding new capabilities. This progress will speed up adoption and propel more experimentation and practical application. What was a niche technique is morphing into a broad-based movement driven by multiple technologies and many kinds of companies.

Many of the new developments have to do with broadening the science underpinning additive manufacturing. Early generations drew from physics and engineering. The new technologies are expanding the playbook into chemistry.Continuous light interface production, or CLIP, uses chemical reactions to better control the transformation of liquids into solids. Instead of slowly putting down a layer of material and then curing it, CLIP creates a monolithic product in what is essentially a continuous process. CLIP greatly speeds up production and boosts the material strength of the final product by cutting down on the problems created by layers. The inventors, who publicly announced this new approach in March, say they were inspired by the film “Terminator 2”  – specifically the scene where a robot reshapes itself after having melted into a puddle.

Another promising development is multi-jet fusion. This technology starts with a plastic or metal powder, but instead of solidifying the powder with a laser, it uses chemicals sprayed from 30,000 tiny nozzles at a rate of 350 million dots per second. These chemicals speed the shaping and hardening of the powder by a UV lamp. But importantly, in the future, the chemicals can also change the powdered material’s properties – adding color, elasticity, bacteria-resistance, hardness, and texture to the final product. And because the high-tech nozzles spray so quickly and precisely, the curing takes only a tenth of the time of existing 3D processes. Typical of next generation advances, it integrates a number of techniques that had been used separately.

Even more intriguing, though probably still years away, is what MIT calls 4-D printing, where the fourth dimension is time. These are objects embedded with “memory materials” that react to light or heat to form new shapes after delivery to the consumer. Imagine a piece of furniture that arrives flat, but then reshapes itself into a chair when exposed to sunlight.

And these are just the general-purpose technologies. Also emerging isxerographic micro-assembly, which promises to greatly improve computer chip manufacture by implanting components of chips with electrical charges and putting them in a highly conductive fluid. Electrical fields can then assemble these “chiplets” into full chips with greater capabilities and fewer defects than conventional chip production. Likewise in bio-printing, researchers are adding magnetic nanoparticles to living cells and then using magnetic fields to assemble the cells into artificial tumors and functioning tissues.

Big players are involved now in pushing additive manufacturing to the next level. Early phases of 3D printing involved startup companies with investments in the low seven digits. Stratasys and 3D Systems grew into industry leaders with approximately $1 billion in revenues each. Now we’re seeing much bigger stakes. Hewlett-Packard developed multi-jet fusion, leveraging its expertise in printer head technology to leapfrog the industry. CLIP comes from a startup,Carbon3D, but one with $40 million in funding from a VC group led by mainstay Sequoia Capital. MIT is investing heavily in 4-D printing. Xerox, which invented xerographic micro-assembly, had been testing the waters with an investment in startup 3D Systems. Once it saw the potential, it launched a major internal program leveraging many facets of its electronics expertise as well.

These organizations are putting their reputations as well as major capital investments on the line, and have a lot to lose if these technologies turn out to be vaporware. Carbon3D promises to release its first commercial printer by December of this year, while HP has a target date of January 2016.

The market is taking these claims seriously, as well. Both 3D Systems and Stratasys have seen their stock prices slide in recent months, in part because the market is worried about the next generation of technologies and the resources that giants like HP are putting behind them. Realizing they can’t spend like the giants, the early leaders have started shifting their R&D away from hardware and moving toward software, services, and consulting. The 3D printing ecosystem is still very much in flux.

In the midst of all this change, new strategies are required. Even if some of these new technologies fail to pan out, there’s so much activity going on, so much money and creativity now being applied, that we can safely expect the pace of additive manufacturing to pick up. That has two major implications for strategists. One is that timelines based on earlier generations of additive manufacturing may be too conservative. If the new technologies dramatically boost the speed and strength of 3D printing, then adoption rates will jump. The cost advantage of conventional “subtractive” manufacturing will disappear sooner than expected. The new capabilities to customize products will also be highly attractive. Digital platforms that coordinate 3D printing ecosystems will emerge sooner. Instead of moving incrementally to adopt 3D techniques into their organization, companies may need to pick up the pace.

Second, strategists will have to consider not only which technology to run with, but also whether to collaborate with these next generation pioneers. By partnering with, say, HP or Carbon3D, companies stand to gain earlier access. But they may also increase the risk if their chosen technology fails to meet its promise on schedule. Working with current 3D technologies, such as extrusion-, stereolithographic- and sintering-based methods has better odds but a smaller payoff. Such decisions could lead to internal strife between converts to each camp.  Companies could invest in both, but then they face the challenge of timing the switch over to the next generation, and the complexity of transitioning people and the organization from one to another, as well as the specter of writing off investments before they have been recaptured.

All of this is on top of the new level of complexity that 3D printing has brought to manufacturing generally.  What’s the proper mix of traditional “subtractive” methods with the new additive approaches. How much risk should a firm take on now, versus what’s the risk if you wait? And all of this raises the possibility of reshoring some operations, affecting established relationships with host governments and local unions.

Strategists, fasten your seat belts for a fun but bumpy ride.  Here’s where you show what you’re made of.

hbr.org

by Richard D’Aveni | MAY 06, 2015