3D printed ‘super batteries’ from graphene ink!

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-08/10/graphene-3d-printed-super-batteries

‘Super batteries’ to be 3D printed from graphene ink

Manchester Metropolitan University is embarking on a project to 3D print “super batteries” from graphene ink.

Wonder material graphene has been widely talked about in terms of its suitability for use in batteries, due to its impressive conductivity, but scientists have struggled with the fact it also has a relatively small surface area, which affects capacity.

3D printing, where layers of graphene are assembled on top of one another, maximising surface area in the process, offers a solution. Now researchers at MMU are analysing techniques for printing with conductive graphene ink, in order to try and create batteries, supercapacitors and other energy storage devices with the help of a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

“We’re trying to achieve a conductive ink that blends the fantastic properties of graphene with the ease of use of 3D printing to be manipulated into a structure that’s beneficial for batteries and supercapacitors,” explains Craig Banks, a professor of electrochemical and nanotechnology and leader of the three and a half-year project. The batteries and supercapacitors would be used to power phones and tablets, or for solar, wind and wave power storage.

“Energy storage systems (ESS) are critical to address climate change and, as clean energy is generated through a variety of ways, an efficient way to store this energy is required,” says Banks, whose work on graphene’s conductivity has been cited over 9,000 times, making him one the world’s most-cited scientists. “Lithium and sodium ion batteries and super/ultracapacitors are promising approaches to achieve this. This project will be utilising the reported benefits of graphene — it is more conductive than metal — and applying these into ESS.”

The combination of the conductivity from the graphene and the 3D nature of the structures, which have “high surface areas, good electrical properties and hierarchical pore structures/porous channels”, should increase the storage capabilities of batteries to meet future demands.

As well as working on the graphene ink, the 3D printing process also must be refined. It currently relies on each layer of graphene being left to “cure” for an hour before the next layer can be applied. Banks is hoping to find a method to speed this process up, perhaps by using UV light. “Ideally, we could have the brilliant scenario where you just plug in and go — printing whatever structure you want out of graphene from a machine on your desk,” he says.

Graphene was discovered in 2004 at the University of Manchester, which has recently become the home of the National Graphene Institute — a £61 million building to house the university’s groundbreaking work. This particular research will be taking place at MMU rather than at the University of Manchester, but it is yet another project that shows the city remains a world-renowned centre for research graphene.

wired.co.uk

by KATIE COLLINS | 10 AUGUST 15

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3D printed organs!

http://www.businessinsider.com/3d-printed-organs-challenges-2015-8

Bioengineer reveals the biggest challenge to 3D printing organs

http://www.techinsider.io/3d-printed-organs-challenges-2015-8#ooid=tpcDNrdjowZcDnCdKyehG_RwH-9ZlGhg

Researchers at Bighamton University are working on a 3D printing process that will allow them to build tissues and organs in a lab. This could save lives as people who need an organ transplant would no longer have to wait for a suitable match to be found.

Video courtesy of Binghamton University and Andrew Hatling.

Follow Binghamton University: On Facebook and Twitter

Follow TI Video: On Facebook

References:

businessinsider.com

http://www.businessinsider.com/3d-printed-organs-challenges-2015-8

High-Res 3D printer!

http://gizmodo.com/a-new-high-res-3d-printer-can-print-objects-smaller-tha-1713352660

A New High-Res 3D Printer Can Print Objects Smaller Than Blood Cells

A New High-Res 3D Printer Can Print Objects Smaller Than Blood Cells

Those telltale layered stripe marks all over a 3D-printed object might soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new high-res printing technique that’s actually capable of creating 3D objects smaller than a red blood cell.

A team of researchers from South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, led by professor Park Jang-ung, have developed a new kind of 3D printing technique that works not unlike the color printer you have at home. Except that this electrohydrodynamic inkjet uses special inks that can be layered to form microscopic 3D shapes like arched bridges, zig-zag structures, and pillars.

A New High-Res 3D Printer Can Print Objects Smaller Than Blood Cells

The new 3D printing technique can actually create patterns as small as 0.001-millimeters in size. For comparison, a red blood cell measures in at 0.006 to 0.008-millimeters, so it’s actually capable of creating shapes too small for the naked human eye to see.

An obvious application of the new technology would be to further refine the 3D printing process to the point where objects have no visible layering or textures. They’d be—at least in theory—smooth to the touch as soon as they came off the printer. But a more immediate application involves using these new techniques for 3D printing electronic components and circuit boards, making it easier and faster to create, refine, and perfect prototypes.

gizmodo.com

by Andrew Liszewski | 6/23/15 2:15pm

3D printing a jet engine and car

http://singularityhub.com/2015/05/26/why-3d-printing-a-jet-engine-or-car-is-just-the-beginning/

Why 3D Printing a Jet Engine or Car Is Just the Beginning

The 3D printing (digital manufacturing) market has had a lot of hype over the past few years.

Most recently, it seems this technology arena has entered the “trough of disillusionment,” as 3D printing stock prices have taken a hit. But the fact remains: this exponential technology is still in its childhood and its potential for massive disruption (of manufacturing and supply chains) lies before us.

This article is about 3D printing’s vast potential — our ability to soon 3D print complex systems like jet engines, rocket engines, cars and even houses.

But first, a few facts:

  • Today, we can 3D print in some 300 different materials, ranging from titanium to chocolate.
  • We can 3D print in full color.
  • We can 3D print in mixed materials — imagine a single print that combines metals, plastics and rubbers.
  • Best of all, complexity and personalization come for free.

What Does It Mean for “Complexity to Be Free”?

Think about this: If you 3D print a solid block of titanium, or an equal-sized block with a thousand moving components inside, the time and cost of both 3D printings is almost exactly the same (the solid block is actually more expensive from a materials cost).

Complexity and personalization in the 3D printing process come for free — i.e. no additional cost and no additional time. Today, we’re finding we can 3D print things that you can’t manufacture any other way.

Let’s take a look at some of the exciting things being 3D printed now.

3D Printing Rocket Engines

SpaceX 3D printed main oxidizer valves (MOVs).

In 2014, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket with a 3D-printed Main Oxidizer Valve (MOV) body in one of the nine Merlin 1D engines (the print took less than two days —whereas a traditional castings process can take months).

Even more impressive, SpaceX is now 3D printing its SuperDraco engine chamber for the Dragon 2 capsule.

According to SpaceX, the process “resulted in an order of magnitude reduction in lead-time compared with traditional machining — the path from the initial concept to the first hotfire was just over three months.”

On a similar note, Planetary Resources Inc. (PRI) is demonstrating the 3D printing of integrated propulsion and structures of its ARKYD series of spacecraft. This technology has the potential to reduce the parts count by 100x, with an equal reduction in cost and labor.

3D Printing Jet Engines

GE recently engineers recently designed, 3D printed, and fired up this simple jet engine.

GE has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a complete, functioning jet engine (the size of a football), able to achieve 33,000 RPM.

3D printing has been used for decades to prototype parts — but now, with advances in laser technology, modeling and printing technology, GE has actually 3D printed a complete product.

Xinhua Wu, a lead researcher at Australia’s Monash University, recently explained the allure of 3D printed jet engines. Because of their complexity, she noted, manufacturing jet engine parts requires on the order of 6 to 24 months. But 3D printing reduces manufacturing time to something more like one to two weeks.

“Simple or complex, 3D printing doesn’t care,” she said. “It produces [parts] in the same time.”

3D Printing Cars

Last year, Jay Rogers from Local Motors built a 3D printed car.

Local Motors 3D printed car.

It’s made of ABS plastic reinforced with carbon fiber. As they describe, “Everything on the car that could be integrated into a single material piece has been printed. This includes the chassis/frame, exterior body, and some interior features. The mechanical components of the vehicle, like battery, motors, wiring, and suspension, are sourced from Renault’s Twizy, an electric powered city car.”

It is called “The Strati,” costs $15,000, and gets 80 kilometers range on a single charge. Today, the car takes 44 hours to print, but soon the team at Local Motors plans to cut the print process to less than 24 hours.

In the past, producing a new car with a new design was very expensive and time consuming — especially when it comes to actually designing the tooling to handle the production of the newly designed car.

With additive manufacturing, once you’ve designed the vehicle on a computer, you literally press *print*.

3D Printing Houses

WinSun 3D printed house.

In China, a company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering 3D printed 10 full-sized houses in a single day last year. They used a quick-drying concrete mixture composed mostly of recycled construction and waste material and pulled it off at a cost of less than $5,000 per house. Instead of using, say, bricks and mortar, the system extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and glass fiber material and prints it, layer by layer.

The printers are 105 feet by 33 feet each and can print almost any digital design that the clients request. The process is environmentally friendly, fast and nearly labor-free

Manufacturing Is a $10 Trillion Business Ripe for Disruption

We will continue to see advances in additive manufacturing dramatically changing how we produce the core infrastructure and machines that makes modern life possible.

singularityhub.com

by  | MAY 26, 2015

‘Membrane based’ 3D printer

http://3dprint.com/54864/super-fast-3d-printer/

pang1

Student Creates Super Fast ‘Membrane Based’ 3D Printer – Prints 40 x 40 x 100 mm Objects at 10 Microns in 12 Minutes

It is truly amazing how quickly the 3D printing space is developing. Just two weeks ago we stood stunned as a company called Carbon3D unveiled a new breakthrough 3D printing process called CLIP. This process can supposedly print objects 25-100 times faster than other SLA 3D printers. Then just a week after that, Gizmo 3D unveiled another super fast SLA-based 3D printer which looks to challenge Carbon3D as far as speed and resolution go. Then just earlier this week we reported on a Chinese company, called Prismlab, which has shown off their incredibly fast SLA line of 3D printers, rumored to be able to print 2,712.27 cm3 of material per hour.

Now, 3DPrint.com has discovered yet another super fast SLA 3D printer created not by a large company, but by a college student named Bo Pang. Pang, a University of Buffalo student, majoring in Industrial Engineering, and graduating with a degree of Master of Science in May, has been researching 3D printing for the past 2 years.

It was also 2 years ago that Pang got the idea of creating a “continuous 3D printing process,” one which could greatly speed up 3D printing in general. The printer Pang has created was designed and fabricated last summer, and it’s just now that he is unveiling it to the world.

“Our machine is mostly similar with Carbon3D’s, but there is one important way in which we are very different,” Pang tells 3DPrint.com. “The Carbon3D machine uses an oxygen-permeable window to create a ‘dead zone’ (a thin layer of uncured resin between the window and the object). This dead zone guarantees the part can grow without stopping, and this is the key to the CLIP process. For our machine, we don’t use that oxygen-permeable window, but we instead use a special membrane to create that thin layer of uncured resin. There are 2 advantages of this special membrane. First, this membrane is much less expensive than the oxygen-permeable window, as it only costs about 1/100 of the price of the oxygen-permeable window. Second, this membrane is very easy to mold, meaning we can make this membrane almost any shape we want.”

photo (3)

So how fast is Pang’s innovative new 3D printer? Very! Featuring a relatively small build volume, it can print with an incredible X-Y axis resolution of 15 microns, and a Z-axis resolution of just 10 microns. He was able to 3D print a miniature Eiffel Tower measuring 10 x 10 x 20 mm in just 7 minutes and 26 seconds, a cubed truss measuring 7 x 7 x 7 mm in just 2 minutes and 7 seconds, and a larger 40 x 40 x 100 mm Eiffel Tower in just 12 minutes and 6 seconds (seen on videos provided).

photo (5)

While Pang’s invention is quite impressive, he is still working out some issues that his new system is experiencing.

“There are still some short-comings, and I guess even Carbon3D can’t solve this problem now,” Pang tells us. “The continuous process can print truss structures very well because there is a very small suction force for these prints. But for solid parts, like a cylinder, this process doesn’t perform well. When you’re printing solid parts, the suction force between part and the bottom of the tank will be extremely large. How to overcome this force is the key to printing solid parts. We just got an idea today for a solution to this problem, but we need time to test it. I believe we can figure it out soon.”

As for the cost of creating this unique 3D printer, Pang tells us he would estimate that it costs much less than $3,000. As for when he would plan to bring this printer to market, that still remains up in the air. Currently he just considers it a research project, but says that if he can obtain the right resources, he will consider mass production. He also said that he may consider using crowdfunding in order to raise money for the project.

photo (2)

Without a doubt, this is another super fast 3D printer that could challenge the likes of Carbon3D. While the build volume is pretty small, Pang tells us that he thinks that with some calibration he can expand this quite a bit. His next project is to attempt to 3D print a part measuring 50 x 50 x 140 mm in dimensions.

part size (2)

Pang himself is set to graduate from the University of Buffalo this May, and he has hopes of finding a job somewhere related to 3D printing. He feels that he has a very in-depth knowledge of the technology and could help many companies looking for someone with an interest and education in the field.

“I mainly focus on design, as well as build and calibrate new concept 3D printers, especially for the hardware and testing part,” Pang tells us. “I am also skilled in CAD software and hand-on skills. I have enthusiasm within the realm of 3D printings, I really hope I can work in this area for my whole career.”

Certainly any employer would be lucky to obtain the experience and knowledge that Pang has to offer. If anyone has any interest in speaking to Pang about a job opening, you can contact him via phone at (716) 435-7766, or on his LinkedIn account.  (Note: the test was initially started on an EnvisionTec 3D printer, which Pang tells us is a very reliable printer).

What do you think about Pang’s new 3D printer? Will this be something that revolutionizes the desktop 3D printing space? Discuss in the Super Fast SLA 3D printer forum thread on 3DPB.com.

photo (4)

photo (6)

pangfeatured

3dprint.com

by  | APRIL 2, 2015

3D printing and economic impact

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-01/3d-printing-impact-bigger-than-internet-expert-says/6365296

3D printed jet engine

3D printing will have a bigger economic impact than the internet, technology specialist says

Manufacturing industries need to embrace 3D printing, which will have an even bigger impact on economies and society than the internet, an Australian technology specialist says.

Steve Sammartino is a digital entrepreneur and venture capitalist who advises business on how to adjust to disruptive technologies and the digital revolution.

While most of us have heard about 3D printing and its potential to improve medical treatments and manufacturing processes, Mr Sammartino says 3D printing will be far more than a niche tool.

He says it will transform everything about the way we live within a matter of years.

Speaking to The World Today, Mr Sammartino said 3D printing represented an extraordinary technological shift.

“The first time I saw it, it blew my mind as well because to see actually something physically get made layer upon layer in front of you is quite astounding. I think that 3D printing will be even greater than the information revolution because it democratises manufacturing for the first time.

“We’re going to see desktop manufacturing in the same way that we saw desktop publishing and information transfer and so we can actually transfer physical products to other people who can print it at the other end, just like we would send an email or send a video.”

But while that may be good for individuals, it will be hugely disruptive for industry, and Mr Sammartino said business leaders could not afford to ignore it.

“I think you need to embrace it. Like we’ve seen with the social web, the companies that moved quickly to embrace the new tools and collaborate with their audience have been the major beneficiaries.

“In fact, the idea of making and selling items is not nearly as important as the idea of providing platforms and collaborating with your end consumers.

“So trying to fight the tide is kind of like — it’s not a strategy that’s effective for the manufacturing industry.

“The best thing they can do is work out how to use it as a platform and collaborate and get faster and quicker innovation by working with their customers and their supply chains rather than trying to fight the tide of the things that they used to make.

“Because we’ve seen with the social and informational web that’s a strategy which simply doesn’t work.”

‘It will change everything we do’

Mr Sammartino said even businesses that did not manufacture anything needed to pay attention to the technology.

“It’s just a little bit like the internet. When it arrived we thought, ‘Oh, that may be interesting for media’, but as we’ve seen it’s transformed every type of business no matter what industry.

An ear is fabricated with a 3D printer in a laboratory at Cornell University.

“The internet is an important part of our business, and 3D printing, while we can’t see exactly how that might manifest itself, there’s no doubt that it’ll change everything we do from just simple operations and the spaces we work in and in unforeseeable ways it’ll impact, I think, most businesses.

“Even the way our homes are furnished will change and the type of things that we print at home. It’ll even have an impact on our foods — we’ll be 3D printing food. Smart brands will be selling components.

“Just like the ink jet printers get sold, you might have a chocolate company selling you the ingredients that go into your 3D printing machine to print things exactly the way that you want.”

But making 3D printing more accessible will come with risks, Mr Sammartino said.

“One of the unforeseeable externalities is that I think that we have already seen 3D printed guns and one of the problems with those is that when they get used there’s no safety concerns in the manufacturing process,” he said.

“Is there a duty of care of the person sending the file or is the duty of care with the printing manufacturer or is the duty of care with the software designer that designed or scanned the file?”

He said it was an issue that needed to be considered by the Government.

“So you get all of these other legal issues that we’re going to need to be very speedy on from a government perspective so that we’re across it and we protect consumers.”

abc.net.au

by Sarah Sedghi and Eleanor Hall | 1 Apr 2015, 3:07pm

The recovery of vision thanks to 3D printing!

3D printed bionic eyes; providing vision to those that once had and lost it! Follow the link below to learn more! 🙂

http://3dprint.com/24398/3d-printed-bionic-eye/

bioniceye-projet1200

3D Printing is such an amazing technology. I can’t emphasize it enough. Each and every day I am surprised by the ways in which this technology is being used. As a journalist covering 3D printing news on a daily basis, there are days when I get goosebumps on my arms just writing a story, while other days I am presented with material that can be quite humorous. One thing is for sure though; I never have a boring day.

Today, in preparation for covering this particular story, I actually had tears come to my eyes; the very eyes, that thanks to my contact lenses, have nearly 20/20 vision, and the very eyes that many of us take for granted. Unfortunately, not everyone can see with clarity. There are those who have lost their eyesight almost completely due to macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, or some other condition or events. These people only wish that they could one day see again.

Thanks to researchers at the Bionics Institute, 3D Systems’ ProJet 1200 3D printers and a company called evok3d, some of these people may one day get their vision back . Researchers have been working for several years on what they call a ‘bionic eye’, which aims to provide new vision to those suffering from retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. In order for a patient to see results from this device, which remains in its testing stages, they will need to still have some remaining retinal ganglion cells, a healthy optic nerve and visual cortex, and they must at one point in their lives have had the ability to see.

bioniceye1

The bionic eye has already been tested on a select few individuals and it has been shown to work. It is able to provide enhanced vision to those experiencing both partial and total vision loss.

In order to generate the prototypes for these bionic eyes, as well as the molds used to create the silicon version, the Bionics Institute has been utilizing a ProJet 1200 3D printer, with help from evok3d, which specializes in 3D printing, scanning, and advanced additive manufacturing technology.

The Prototype

Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute Chris Williams has been tasked with using the ProJet 1200 printer in order to create verification models which are used to test for functionality, fit, and size. They also use the printers to create pre-production molds from the models which they use to cast silicon prototypes.

“We can now get a prototype out in 4 hours using the ProJet 1200,” explains Williams. “Before 3D printing it would take us weeks or months. We found it takes 20 iterations to reach an upgrade, in terms of going through iterations, the machine justified itself in the first week.”

These bionic eyes have been researched and worked on for 10 years now, and just recently, thanks to the precision and efficiency of 3D printing technology, the first clinical trials have been completed.

The bionic vision system includes a camera which transmits radio signals to a microchip in the back of the eye. These signals are then converted into electrical impulses, which are able to stimulate cells in the retina and connect to the optic nerve. They are then transferred to the vision processing areas of the brain, where they can be interpreted as an image which the patient can see. With the current prototypes, patients don’t exactly see the same way that we do. Instead they see blob-like shapes and lights, but the technology has proven to work in allowing blind individuals to walk around unassisted.

bioniceye2

While the technology still has a ways to go before we see it hit mainstream use, there is an extraordinary amount of hope for those who have unfortunately lost their eyesight, thanks to the Bionic Institute, those individuals involved in the project, 3D printing, and evok3d.

“It was quite promising, their vision was optimized, obviously they want better vision and fully wireless power, but the eye surgeons were pleased with the process and that’s a platform for future trials,” Williams said.

What do you think about this incredible use of 3D printing to fabricate working prototypes for the creation of bionic eyes? Discuss in the 3D printed bionic eye forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | NOVEMBER 24, 2014

Comic Book Conventions

Join us for live demonstrations at BOTH Comic Book Conventions in October and November!

We’re proud to participate in these exciting events and preparations are already in full-swing.

Unleash the geek within at Malta 3D Printing’s stand – observe the 3D printing process first-hand and browse our products whilst benefiting from special offers too!

With not one, but two, comic book and pop culture conventions on the horizon, TEODOR RELJIC takes a peek into a burgeoning local subculture.
Autumn has apparently become the Season of the Geek in Malta, as not one but two comic book – and ‘pop culture’ – themed conventions are set to take place over the pre-Christmas period.

While the Malta Comic Con – taking place on 28 and 30 November – is now entering its sixth edition, it has suddenly found itself facing what could be a competing celebration of comic book, film and cartoon fandom: the ‘Malta Comics Expo’, debuting over the Halloween weekend this year and featuring The Hobbit, Game of Thrones and A-Team actors among its guests-cum-attractions.

That the Malta Comic Con – a consistently well-attended yearly attraction at St James Cavalier, Valletta – continues to attract high profile names in the field while catering to an ever-expanding audience of fans of all ages is not to be sniffed at, given Malta’s size.

So it’s even more surprising that a new ‘Con’ – of sorts – has arrived on the block.

But far from wanting to carve an entirely new niche for themselves, the organisers of the Malta Comics Expo – taking place on 31 October and 1 and 2 November at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta – are ambitious in their plans for the newly minted event.

“We don’t want to carve a niche. We’re looking to build a platform for all fans of comics and pop culture,” a spokesperson for the Expo said, adding that “unlike any existing events in Malta,” the organisers of the Expo did not limit themselves to “just one branch of the hobby nor restrict ourselves to a specific age bracket”.

Indeed, unlike the Malta Comic Con, which is organised by Wicked Comics, the Expo is placing film and television stars front-and-centre in its bid to attract a more wide-ranging audience. Among them will be A-Team star Dirk Benedict (aka ‘Faceman’ from the cult 80s TV show), former Dr Who Sylvester McCoy (more recently Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit) and Joseph Gatt – the London-raised, LA-based actor who, born to Maltese parents, subsequently went on to appear in Thor (2009) and shows like Banshee and, more recently, Game of Thrones.

“We hope that the fans will enjoy the opportunity to meet their favourite stars and artists. That we give the attendees value for money,” the spokesperson said, adding that the Expo also hopes to exploit an entrepreneurial angle to local fandom.

“We are targeting enthusiasts and stakeholders. Malta has a large fanbase and has also proven in the past to be popular with video game companies and film producers as a popular destination. We want to help promote Malta as an ideal destination for these industries to work in.”

A spokesperson for Malta Comic Con said that, “the organisation of a similar event by third parties does in part reflect the growth experienced in the local comic scene, and may perhaps even offer a valid contribution towards it. Ultimately it all depends on the quality of the event in question”.

They however added that the timing of the event is somewhat unfortunate, owing to the fact that from a marketing perspective, the events appear to be catering to similar audiences and interests, which “may lead to some confusion”.

Starting off as a relatively modest showcase of comic books and related fandom in 2009 (though it did boast one star guest, V for Vendetta’s David Lloyd), the organisers of the Comic Con are proud of how far the Con has come.

Significantly, the Con has served to not only provide local comic book fans with an opportunity to meet some of their favourite creators, but also as an incubator of local talent – among them Daniela ‘Iella’ Attard, an artist currently working for Cartoon Network’s European Branch, and Stefan Agius, who is doing colouring work for British publisher Wizard’s Keep.

London-based comic book podcaster Chris Thompson – who has visited every single edition of the Malta Comic Con barring its first – finds this aspect of the Con refreshing.

As host of the Orbital Comics and Pop Culture Hound podcasts, Thompson has interviewed a number of luminaries in the field and been a veteran of the largest international Cons.

“The Malta Comic Con is unique, and I like it. There’s nothing else quite like it, nor should there be. There are similar cons like NICE in the UK and DICE in Ireland, which value a more intimate setting for both creators and fans, but the setting in Malta makes it a real destination,” Thompson told MaltaToday, adding that “there’s a genuine innocence and appreciation there which other places sometimes lack”.

Though the meteoric rise of superhero blockbuster films over the past few years may have helped to galvanize the comic book industry across the globe, it has also smothered comic book conventions around the world, with movies taking precedence over comics.

According to Thompson, this is far from the case with the Malta Comic Con.

“It’s not a show that’s been diluted by celebrity and cheap tie-ins – it’s a genuine comic con, which is something I appreciate most of all.”

Having visited consecutive editions of the Con, Thompson is heartened to observe what seems to be a burgeoning culture of Maltese comic book creators, as well as fans.

“To meet someone at one con, and then have them turn up with their own comic at the next show is beyond exciting… I live for that stuff, and it energises me,” Thompson says.

“Even if their stuff isn’t yet that accomplished, it’s the gumption to have a go and take part which inspires me. Plus, practice makes perfect, and I’ve seen such incredible growth. This is due in no small part to the organisers of Malta Comic Con, and I just hope the local community recognises and understands this.”

MALTATODAY.COM.MT
by Teodor Reljic | 8 October 2014, 8:13am

3D printing used in Opel cars

Take a look at how Opel are using 3D printing to make life at their assembly plants cheaper yet better!

http://www.engineering.com/…/Tools-from-3D-Printer-Make-Car…

opel, jigs, fixture, automotive

For some, it may still seem like a long way off, but it’s already part of everyday life at Opel: assembly tools produced by a 3D printer are an increasingly important part of the production process. A six-strong team led by Virtual Simulation Engineer Sascha Holl prints plastic assembly tools in Rüsselsheim which are used in Opel manufacturing plants across Europe. Cheaper and quicker to produce, these tools are being used at Eisenach for the assembly of the ADAM and its new ADAM ROCKS stable-mate. And this is just the beginning – Opel experts predict the use of tools from a 3D printer will continue to grow. “In the future, more and more 3D assembly tools will be integrated into the production process,” says Sascha Holl.

For production of the ADAM ROCKS, to be launched in September, the Eisenach carmakers use an assembly jig – a specific, fixed frame – made by a 3D printer to produce the vehicle name logotype on the side window. And for the windshield, a 3D-printed inlet guide is also used to simplify the mounting process and help ensure a precise alignment. Other tools from the printer are used to fasten the chrome step plate on ADAM ROCKS door openings and install the standard Swing Top canvas roof. Around 40 such assembly aids and jigs are used in Eisenach.

This equipment was developed on the computer during the development phase of ADAM ROCKS. “It enables us to quickly adapt the parts. If something changes on the vehicle, we can easily modify the tool with just a few clicks,” explains Holl. “The 3D printing process enables us to produce every imaginable form and shape. Unlike conventional manufacturing technology, we don’t have to accept any limitations.”

The Virtual Engineering Team in Rüsselsheim only has to reach into their bag of tricks when it comes to the maximum size of parts built. Using sophisticated technology to join a number of smaller elements, it is possible to produce larger parts. For instance, when developing an assembly aid for the side sill or the rear spoiler of ADAM ROCKS.

During 3D printing, plastic is melted and laid down in successive layers, each just 0.25 mm thick. The plastic used is light, robust and versatile. Hollow spaces and overhangs are automatically treated with a filling material, which is later washed away in a type of dishwasher. “The process is comparable to bridge or balustrade construction,” says Holl. “There high or protruding elements must also be shored up and supported until everything has hardened off. Only then is the supporting framework removed.”

The small number of jigs required in final assembly was previously made by hand in an elaborate process using a milled cast and resin. Thanks to 3D printing, the production cost of these aids is now reduced by up to 90 percent. In addition, the printed tools are ready to use after just about eight hours, and are up to 70 percent lighter in weight. Another advantage is that these aids can be mechanically and chemically processed. For example, they can be drilled, milled, sanded, varnished and bonded, or connected and combined with various other materials. Ergonomic fine-tuning can also be carried out on a PC in a matter of minutes. “We can adapt the tools for each assembly situation, as well as make them user-friendly for our colleagues on the line,” adds Holl.

Production of the Opel Insignia and Cascada convertible also benefits from 3D printer tools, which will be introduced step-by-step for the assembly of other Opel models. The new Corsa, Vivaro and Mokka, which will begin rolling off the assembly lines in Zaragoza later this year, will be among models built with the help of tools from a 3D printer. Their increasing use makes Opel a leader in this field within the GM Group.

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ENGINEERING.COM
by http://www.engineering.com/Author/ID/8/TheEngineer | August 21, 2014