3D printed stormtrooper suit

http://3dprint.com/92613/3d-printed-stormtrooper-suit/

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Entire 3D Printed Star Wars Episode VII Stormtrooper Suit Shown off at PAX Prime By Barnacules

What’s the most highly anticipated movie the year? Of course it’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the first movie in the series after Disney’s purchase of the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas in 2012. While Star Wars fans are certainly excited for the next episode, many are wondering just how well director J.J. Abrams will fare in his Star Wars debut on December 18th.

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Whether you are a Star Wars fan or not, since you’re at this site you likely are a fan of 3D printing, and what better way to enhance the excitement surrounding this upcoming film than with one of the more elaborate 3D printing projects we have seen in a while?

You may remember Jerry Berg, aka Barnacules, who is a bit of a YouTube sensation himself. Back at the end of last year, we partnered with Barnacules on a video in which he polished a handful of 3D printed bronzeFill ‘Bitcoins’ using various methods. Barnacules is now back to his old 3D printing habits, this time working with MyMiniFactory on a project which can only be described as awesome! Over the last several months, an entire Star Wars Episode VII Stormtrooper suit has been fabricated, which he has been chronicling on his YouTube channel over the last few months. After lots of printing, and some incredible design work on the part of MyMiniFactory, we are told that this suit is finally complete and will be officially unveiled at PAX Prime in Seattle this weekend by Barnacules himself.

The suit–which is the work of Lloyd Roberts, the lead designer on the project, who also happens to be one of MyMiniFactory’s most popular 3D designers–was created in pieces to specifically fit the build of Barnacules. Roberts was certainly not the only one who helped out on this mindblowingly awesome project. Another MyMiniFactory character artist named Francesco Orrù put his talents to use on the project as well, using Zbrush.

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While all the components making up the Stormtrooper suit have not been publicly released and have remained under wraps, MyMiniFactory has made two key parts of the costume available on their website for free download. The Stormtrooper helmet, designed by Roberts, with some special help from his friend Ricardo Salomao, is quite impressive and will certainly get all you Star Wars fans out there a bit more excited for the film’s December release. Additionally MyMiniFactory has made the Stormtrooper TFA blaster also available for download on their site. The weapon, which was designed by another very popular MyMiniFactory user, Kirby Downey, looks pretty spectacular if you ask me.

While we are sure that there will be plenty of quality images of the 3D printed suit over the next couple of days coming from PAX, we were able to obtain a handful of pictures so far, which you can see above as well as in the gallery below. Also we highly recommend following Barnacules’ YouTube channel where he is sure to show off the suit in its entirety very soon.

Let us know if you happened to attend PAX and bump into this Barnacules wearing this incredible piece of work. What did you think? Discuss in the 3D Printed Stormtrooper Suit forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 31, 2015

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3D printed Chi flute

http://3dprint.com/91641/ancient-chi-transverse-flute/

Ancient Chi Transverse Flute Gets 3D Printed Reincarnation

If you had been living the high life near the Marquis Yi of Zeng in 433 BC, you might have been lucky enough to hear a performance on the Chi (篪), a transverse flute that was most likely used for court and ritual music. Unfortunately, in the more likely event that you weren’t, the instrument declined in favor, for reasons not entirely certain, and largely disappeared from music history. However, over the last few decades, there has been a small, but devoted, interest in bringing this instrument back to life.

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One person who has shown an interest in this instrument is the musician Cheong Li who decided as part of studying the instrument that he would try to create a 3D printed one. This application of 3D printing technology opens up a world for the study of extinct instruments, as explained by Lee in an interview with 3Dprint.com:

“I’m a musician and a novice to 3D printing. I’m not that capable in woodwork, but 3D printing allows me to draw and design my own instrument easily. One thing I’m particularly interested in is music archaeology. There are quite a lot of ancient instruments that have been forgotten or abandoned in the course of history. It would be very interesting to make them and be able to actually hear what they sound like.”

The Chi is a particularly unique instrument. Unlike the flute, fife, or recorder, the air is introduced into the instrument in the center and the holes for fingering are on either side of the mouthpiece. The ends of the flute are actually closed and the sound is produced as the air is blown into and then escapes from the holes that are used for fingering. Information about the flute is scarce and Lee is having to discover the instrument’s secrets the old fashioned way: trial and error.

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The position of the holes doesn’t seem to have much impact on the pitch but rather it is their size that has the greatest effect. The fingering itself is irregular, meaning that rather than playing a scale by lifting successive fingers, each note has a unique fingering configuration. As part of understanding the instrument, Lee has created a fingering chart in an effort to codify the relationships between pitch, frequency, and finger position.

He described the process of designing the instrument in preparation for 3D printing:

“I’ve been using Rhino for Mac. It wasn’t too difficult to draw a simple tube like this. However, the most difficult thing is to determine where I should put the finger holes. I’ve spent some time studying pictures of Chi from various sources and tried to figure out the exact measurements. The tuning is not quite accurate yet and I think I’ll need to rework it.”

He printed his instrument as a single piece with the exception of a final cap for the end which was printed separately and then glued into place. The printing was done via 3D Hubs on a FlashForge Creator Pro and took only a few hours to complete. The instrument Lee printed is created entirely in PLA and the interior dimension is 14.2 cm with an extra centimeter on each end that acts as the wall.

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Now that his flute is printed, it seems to have raised more questions than it resolved and Lee plans on diving further into understanding its mysteries.

“There are quite a few questions about this instrument that intrigue me,” Lee notes. “For example, why is the fingering so unpredictable? How does a closed tube sound different from an open tube? To understand these things, I may need to collaborate with a scientist to calculate the physics behind it. It may help to solve a mystery in music history, and if possible, I hope that this instrument can be mass produced and played by more musicians. I’d love to write a tune for it as well!”

This is the third instrument that Lee has created through 3D printing; the first was a Xun, which is an egg-shaped blowing vessel, and the second a sliding whistle. The opportunity to truly understand an instrument that is presented through creating the instrument itself adds a new level of interaction that is open to more and more people through 3D technology. We may never know the way this instrument sounded when it was played 2,000 years ago, but thanks to 3D printing, we can hear it as it has been reincarnated today.

What do you think about the use of 3D printing to re-create ancient instruments? Let us know your thoughts in the 3D Printed Chi Flute forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 27, 2015

Shuty 3D printed pistol

http://3dprint.com/89919/shuty-hybrid-3d-printed-pistol/

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The Shuty Hybrid 3D Printed 9mm Pistol Raises Questions About 3D Printed Gun Control

I say this as both a firearm enthusiast and an advocate for strong firearm regulation. It is becoming evident that there is a point when we as a society are just going to have to accept that 3D printed weapons are not going to disappear behind walls of legislation. Will that point be when entire guns can easily be 3D printed and constructed at home? Because it is pretty evident at this point that 3D printable firearms will be here soon, and both sides of the controversial issue are going to have to stop chipping away at each other’s platforms and start a real conversation about what kind of society we will have when they get here.

At this point, we have all heard of the Liberator created by Cody Wilson, the original 3D printed handgun that got gun nuts overly excited and anti-gun nuts wildly up in arms. For those of us in the middle, realistically the Liberator is a single shot firearm completely made of plastic and is probably not much of a real threat to anyone. And I don’t believe that even with subsequent upgrades and redesigns that have turned it into a much more reliable and dependable firearm, that has really changed. But firearms enthusiasts with 3D printers obviously weren’t going to stop with the Liberator, and they have turned to designing hybrid firearms made of 3D printed parts combined with more durable parts culled from traditionally manufactured guns.

One of the most sophisticated and impressive hybrid designs out there is the Shuty, a 9mm semiauto based on a combination of parts from a standard AR-15 and the homemade firearm designs of P.A. Luty. The design for the Shuty combines a metal bolt, an AR fire-control group and the barrel of a Glock combined with a 3D printed bolt carrier, upper and lower receivers and even a 3D printed magazine.

The 3D printed parts are all made from standard PLA printed on an Orion from SeeMeCNC. The design intentionally combines metal parts that will be exposed to repeated use with its printed parts that will encounter less wear and tear. With so many plastic parts the Shuty is obviously going to have a rather short period of usability, but because of the clever mixing of metal and printed parts it will be far longer than the one-and-done Liberator.

The unassembled Shuty.

One of the fears of those in favor of banning 3D printed guns is that they might be used in crimes, mass shootings or even for political assassinations. Anyone who has used or 3D printed a gun, regardless of their stance on the issue, is going to be able to tell you with some authority that that isn’t a fear that is based in reality. In terms of actual, practical usability the Shuty really isn’t going to score many points there, especially with no stock or sights. It also looks like a brick, and isn’t going to be comfortably or surreptitiously tucked into any waistbands without looking like an idiot.

But while the Shuty isn’t the prettiest gun on the block, it is certainly a cleverly designed one, and most importantly not only does it work, but it actually works pretty well. But it is still a work in progress, so it will undoubtedly be improved with each new iteration. So while right now 3D printed guns are probably the last firearm anyone would choose when planning to commit a crime, that is likely to change at some point. Especially as more advanced 3D printing materials far stronger than standard PLA become available.

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However, as Derwood says in the description of one of his test videos, at this point the Shuty “is now functioning perfect” and certainly looks intimidating despite its clumsy appearance. If the plastic parts are replaced with more durable and advanced 3D printing materials then it could become a little more of a threat. And even now it is an excellent example of a homemade firearm proof of concept.

Gun control advocates insist that eliminating guns in the United States would save lives and reduce (our already record low) crime rates, and they have the Facebook memes about gun availability in European countries to prove it. But you simply can’t erase the last 200 years of our history and culture, and those same European countries don’t have the right to own firearms written into their constitutions. Not to mention the fact that there are an estimated 8.8 guns for each 10 people in the country, so even banning guns isn’t going to result in a gun shortage. They’re going to have to understand that guns aren’t going away, and neither is the culture that surrounds them.

But firearms enthusiasts and gun owners are also going to have to face up to some hard realities. They can quote the second amendment all that they want, while trying to pretend that the words “well regulated” aren’t in it, but it simply does not mean all or nothing no matter how much you want it to. The Supreme Court has already ruled that regulation doesn’t violate the Constitution, and because of the fragmented nature of our country, each state sets its own gun laws that are often wildly out of sync with each other. Rather than fighting the inevitability of gun regulation, the smarter move is to implement sane, logical and effective legislation that preserves gun owners’ rights but puts a system in place to help prevent those who would misuse them from getting their hands on them.

What Congress thinks a 3D printed gun is.

As much as both sides of the gun debate, as well as the 3D printed gun issue, want their problems with it to go away, that simply isn’t going to happen. The fact that both sides can be less than mature when responding to the opinions of the other certainly isn’t helping settle the issue either. (As I can attest with the hate mail from both sides that I often receive after I write anything on the issue.) Ultimately, some things are going to have to change with the way that we debate and discuss the politics of firearm ownership, especially as it relates to the 3D printing industry. If we don’t, then history has taught us that the option for us to debate the issue is going to be replaced with poorly thought-out laws rammed through Congress.

How long until laws are passed requiring manufacturers to include blocks for 3D printed firearm parts? The fact that it is almost un-implementable wouldn’t alter the fact that it has already happened with other technologies. And beyond guns, I’m extremely uncomfortable with the law regulating what someone can and cannot print on their printer. It isn’t as far a leap from preventing the printing of gun parts to preventing materials considered obscene, or preventing trademarked materials from being printed at home. 3D printing is still highly emergent technology that, while opening entirely new possibilities, is still struggling to find its proper place in our world. Things rarely go well when governments step in to regulate technology that they don’t understand.

Let us know what you think of the 3D printed firearm issue (or call me a pinko scum or a fascist or a micro-penised gun nut, depending on your political ideology) over on our Shuty 3D Printed 9mm Pistol forum thread at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 19, 2015

3D printing with light

http://3dprint.com/89024/calarts-3d-printing-with-light/

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CalArts Student Experiments with 3D Printing Light

Not all 3D printing is meant to last. When CalArts student Aaron Bothman decided to print something for his short film The Red Witch, his thesis project, he wanted it to be less permanent. Having seen the work of Beijing-based artist Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi, who has used a modified 3D printer to ‘print’ in light, he found his inspiration.

Not something that you can pick up with your hands, the product of this technique is something that can be captured on film, which is exactly the medium in which Bothman works.

He and his father worked together on building the printer, a small delta model constructed from a kit but with a particular twist. When assembled, an LED was placed where the hot end would usually have been installed. This allows Bothman to capture the light on film by using a long exposure while the printer runs the model, tracing out the shapes as a 3D light painting.

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This isn’t the first 3D printing project that Bothman junior and Bothman senior have worked on together. In an interview with 3DPrint.com, Aaron talked about his experience printing with his father and how it has influenced his work both while at CalArts and after graduation:

“I’m an animator and artist based in Los Angeles. I graduated from the animation program at CalArts a couple months ago, and am currently working as an artist at JibJab, a small studio in LA. I originally learned about 3D printing in middle school from my dad, who teaches mechanical engineering at UCSB, and who helped a lot in thinking through this project. As a stop-motion filmmaker, 3D printing allows me to tackle more ambitious projects on a short production schedule than I might be able to otherwise.”

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In order to create the light animation, each Maya image to be captured is sent to the printer one frame at a time. Over time, these images create the illusion of movement, just as is done in more traditional stop motion filming. The result is a piece that is built up in layers, requiring the same mode of conceptualization as a 3D printing project but with the option for movement and, of course, no support materials. In fact, no materials at all, something that makes this a particularly appealing way to engage in a 3D printed project if there is no need for the product to be tangible.

Somewhat akin to the old question about a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it, the question that could be asked of this technique could be: when a 3D printer creates something that cannot be touched, is it still 3D printing? The creations don’t truly occupy space or at least they only do for a fleeting moment but as they dance before your eyes, I think you may be willing to set that debate aside for a moment. Just think of it this way: with this technique, you could print all you want and never run up a bill for filament and never have to worry about storage space.

And that sounds pretty ideal to me.

Let us know what you think about this concept in the 3D Printing with Light forum thread at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 15, 2015

Galactic Civilizations III !

http://3dprint.com/88731/galactic-civ-iii-3d-print/

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Galactic Civilizations III Shakes Up the Universe for Gamers with 3D Printing & Mega Events

“What do you search for? Do you seek friends and allies, or will you take what is yours?”

“Space isn’t empty…it’s waiting.”

While you are busy exploring new galaxies within the vast universe opened up by Stardock’s Galactic Civilizations III, a new opportunity allows you to explore the world of 3D printing as well with release of update 1.2, which offers a number of new features for gamers.

While 3D printing and gaming are certainly not a new pairing, it is a new addendum to this particular video game which has a focus on serious space travel, navigation, creating galactic territories, and but of course–some major battles with enemy factions.

After completing the challenging task of creating their own ships within the game, users are able to click their way to a new area and site that actually assesses the design of their ship, performs several standards checks, and then it can be 3D printed from the desktop of through the ordering of a 3D print that can be delivered shortly after, straight to the doorstep via Sculpteo.

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For gamers entrenched in the excitement of Galactic Civilizations III, the 3D printing aspect offers a new journey within the game, and is also accompanied by numerous ‘mega events’ and more. It’s all a pretty big deal for everyone hooked on this game.

“Mega Events,” says Galactic Civilizations III designer Paul Boyer, “are galactic events that shake up the game. You might be heading toward diplomatic victory when suddenly a leader is assassinated. Maybe you’re trying for a conquest victory when the Dread Lords return. Each event is an unexpected incident that will require your skill and strategy to overcome if you hope to be victorious. ”

Mega events, generally random occurrences according to specific conditions, are special and affect the entire galaxy as new challenges occur with, according the game’s site, certain anomalies, new enemies, other planets, and emerging resources.

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The update also leads into other new venues like allowing for greater navigation and sharing of maps in Steam workshops. Players make the maps themselves, so sharing them just allows for more fun, learning, and bonding between fellow gamers.

The update, also referred to as a patch, also includes improvements to the AI side, in allowing for better defense, and better building and re-building mechanisms. Visuals are also improved; for example, planets are now able to reflect what their specific class is. Lots more is included, along with a variety of bug fixes. The Mega Events DLC is free for Elite Founders users, and also available at a nominal fee of $4.99 for regular players.

Mixing the two technologies of 3D printing and gaming has always been a no-brainer as makers are often gamers too, and vice versa; no matter the case, both groups have a tendency toward great enthusiasm in trying out new technologies that offer another angle of fun and interest–and especially those that offer a way to bring the game into physical form via figurines and 3D models. 3D printing is, in fact, quite a boon to the marketing angle for industries like gaming, movies, and more, as consumers are thrilled to have mementoes in physical form–and production companies are able to invent and expand on their brands, with the sky being the limit for related consumer offerings.

Are you a player? Discuss your thoughts on the integration of 3D printing with gaming, as well as other exciting aspects of this update in the Galactic Civilizations III forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 12, 2015

US Navy 3D prints custom drones

http://3dprint.com/85654/us-navy-3d-printed-drones/

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US Navy is 3D Printing Custom Drones Onboard the USS Essex

Back in April of last year,we reported that the United States Navy had installed a 3D printer onboard the USS Essex. This was quite a significant move at the time, allowing sailors to print replacement parts and surgical tools when needed, at sea.

Boy, has a lot changed within a year. Today we get word that the US Navy is now 3D printing custom drones onboard their ships. They’ve apparently been testingthe use of the onboard 3D printers to print out parts used to construct and assemble the drones.

The idea of printing drones, as needed, is one which could greatly improve intelligence while also decreasing the likelihood of Navy personnel being put into harm’s way, and has been on the minds of military planners around the world for some time now. In fact, just last week we reported on a story in which the British Royal Navy had launched 3D Printed SULSA drones from their ships.

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Data files and models of the drones can be sent via satellite from land to the USS Essex, and eventually other ships within the Navy fleet, and then these files can be 3D printed in a matter of hours. Once printed, the parts can be assembled together with other electronic devices held in storage on these ships, to create virtually any type of drone that may be required.

The project, which is being carried out by researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School, looks to provide sailors with modern-day technology which could benefit them and the United States in more ways than one.

“The challenge aboard a ship is logistics,” explained Alan Jaeger, faculty research associate at the Naval Postgraduate School. “Once a ship leaves, getting additional parts to that ship becomes difficult.”

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The idea that ships can leave port with just a small supply of electronic components and parts, common to the majority of drones, means that completely custom bodies can be designed on land and then quickly sent to the 3D printers on these ships for quick fabrication. While the drones could be designed to perform many different tasks, the example drone that was 3D printed on the USS Essex, this past December, was designed to carry a transmitter and tiny camera that was capable of sending live video back to a head-mounted display worn by one of the sailors on the ship. Its mission was to fly over ships in order to help stop piracy and drug smuggling at sea.

“This kind of concept — the flight controller and the major parts — doesn’t matter if it is a four-bladed or six or eight(-bladed drone), or whether it is 18 inches across or four feet across, as long as the electronics stay the same, the sailors can essentially create a platform, based on what their need would be,” explained Jaeger.

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While the testing of this process onboard the USS Essex has been deemed very successful, there have been some problems that the researchers have run into.

“Even with a small amount of wind, something this small will get buffeted around,” explained Jaeger.

This isn’t exactly an issue with the 3D printing process, but rather an issue with tiny drones in general. Certainly continued research into the 3D printing of drones will result in better, more well equipped UAVs for the US Navy in the future. What do you think about this latest breakthrough? Discuss in the US Navy 3D Prints Custom Drones forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | JULY 30, 2015

3D printed Donald Trump butt plug

http://3dprint.com/80787/donald-trump-butt-plug/

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Mexican Immigrant Creates a 3D Printed Donald Trump Butt Plug, Available Now for Purchase

Whether you love him or you hate him, you have to admit that Donald Trump is one controversial figure, both as a business man and as a political candidate. Many people believe that Trump’s numerous attempts at running for office are nothing more than high-profile marketing campaigns for his own brand. While he has considered running for president just about every opportunity he has had since 1988, this year seems to be the year in which he is causing the most controversy, yet he also seems to have a large following of supporters. The GOP polls were released on Friday, and to the surprise of some, Donald Trump is in a virtual tie with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in the race for the GOP nomination.

For those of you familiar with 3D printed political satire, one man’s name stands out. That would be Fernando Sosa, an artist who is known for his own form of controversy. Sosa has created numerous 3D printed figurines which take aim at various political figures, such as Hillary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Chris Christie, among many others. However, one political candidate took a bit of a personal stab at Sosa, in a recent speech that he gave. As most of us are aware, Donald Trump gave quite the inflammatory speech earlier this month, taking aim specifically at Mexicans.

“These people wreak havoc on our population,” Trump stated. “I respect Mexico greatly as a country. But the problem we have is their leaders are much sharper than ours, and they’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us on trade. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting.”

Sosa, who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was just 11 years old, took Trump’s remarks as a pretty significant personal insult.

“When I saw Trump demonized all immigrants from South America especially people from Mexico, it made my blood boil,” Sosa tells 3DPrint.com. “So I decided to let Trump jump the line on my list of 3D printed homophobes and world dictators.”

WARNING: If you are a political candidate, don’t get on Fernando Sosa’s bad side!

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Sosa resorted to his own form of payback, by creating a 3D printable model of a Donald Trump butt plug. Using a combination of software, including Photoshop, Maya, and Mesh Lab, he set out to make quite an accurate looking Donald trump model. In order to recreate such a spot-on representation of Trump’s face, he used Photoshop to create a realistic looking “3D skin.”  This was done through the use of photos of the politician/business man, as well as various brush techniques and textures.

“Donald Trump’s actual face underneath the TV make-up is pretty disgusting,” Sosa tells us. “It’s a combination of sunburn, and melanoma-like skin, so using the right shade of sunburned wrinkles made this piece extremely realistic. The only thing I’m not too happy about with this piece is that the thing on his head actually looks decent, unlike that thing that actually lives on Donald Trump’s bald head.”

The design process took Sosa from 8PM on a Thursday night until 5AM the following morning to complete. He then sent the file over to Shapeways, and it is now available for purchase. The 3D printed Donald Trump Butt Plug is available for just $27.99.

“So my response to Donald Trump’s remarks, who says Mexico sends their worst, their rapists, and their drug dealers; I say ‘scr*w you and your Republican Party,”‘ Sosa commented. “I was not sent here by the Mexican Government. I came here with my family thanks to my stepfather. We came here looking for the American Dream and my parents worked their butts off so my brothers and I could go to college or serve the armed forces. I’m no rapists and no drug dealer. I have a college degree in 3D animation and run my own 3D printing business, and guess what! I can make you into any shape I want, 3D print you and sell you to others who share their dislike of you. You can threaten to sue me like you have done hundreds of times to others. However, you are a public figure and me making you into a shape of a butt plug is Freedom of speech.”

What do you think about this “interesting” creation by a Mexican immigrant who certainly does not take a liking to Mr. Trump? Discuss in the 3D Printed Donald Trump Butt Plug forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | JULY 13, 2015

3D printing and climate change

http://3dprint.com/71924/3d-print-climate-change/

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What is 3D Printing’s Role in Combating Climate Change?

We already have heard enough about climate change that I don’t have to drag you through the litany of weather-related changes we have already seen or the futuristic scenarios that anticipate rising sea levels and an increase in extreme weather events such as tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. There’s also been a lot of talk that humanity will not be able to work its way out of these issues via quick technological fixes: there needs to be a great shift in social priorities that seek ways to turn the situation around, and some think it may already be too late.

Well, although it would be a mistake to presume we can fix our way out of the problem, it is interesting to consider how 3D printing can be a positive part of the solution. But this makes sense when you consider how efficient 3D printing can be. As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists explains, “the ability to print replacement parts for generators, water filters, or temporary shelters—on site—may become a critical and inexpensive tool of climate adaptation, particularly in zones of instability and conflict.” And another advantage 3D printing has in the fight against climate change is that it can allow for cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction for societies seeking greater energy efficiency in manufacturing processes and products.

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There are many examples of the military’s knowledge, testing, and use of 3D printing in extreme conditions; these conditions give us a glimpse of possible scenarios attached to climate related catastrophes. Since 1997, the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to predict and prepare for weather events in the Global South. (Some critics would say that this preparation is nowhere near what it should be today.) Recently, as an example of an application of 3D printing, 3D printed weather stations are cutting costs and increasing the ability to print replacement parts quickly in remote locations. This makes sense, right?

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But we don’t just want to kick back and think that it’s all in the military’s hands and that poor countries of the Global South can rest assured that wealthier countries have their backs when it comes to climate disaster preparedness.  In fact, the great thing about 3d printing is that it empowers civilians to take things into their own hands and design and print the devices and items they envision using to confront extreme weather conditions. The ability to share open-source designs and empower grassroots knowledge of the technology is probably 3D printing’s greatest overall contribution to combating climate change.

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, there are other characteristics of 3D printing that make it amenable to climate change preparedness: it can de-globalize hazards, making it easier to enact on-site local production of parts instead of shipping costly items around the world. It can increase accessibility of goods in more remote areas that are difficult to reach. It can enhance energy efficiency since on average additive manufacturing uses 50% less energy and can save up to 90% in material costs. Also, it allows you to only print the parts required, and shipping costs are greatly reduced with on-site production capabilities. Also, 3D printed parts can be made lighter than original parts, and lighter objects require less fuel.

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While the verdict is still out on how seriously the world’s wealthiest governments are taking climate change science and recommended preparation measures, it’s clear that 3D printing can contribute in multiple arenas in helpign us prepare for the possibility of increasing catastrophic weather events. We only hope that all of this can be done in time.

Do you think that 3D printing will have a major role in combating climate change?  If so how?  Discuss in the 3D Printing and Climate Change Forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 22, 2015

 

3D printing on an inflatable substrate

http://3dprint.com/73830/3d-printing-on-inflatable/

Fergal Coulter

3D Printing on an Inflatable Substrate

Fergal Coulter is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the College of Art & Design and Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University. He has experience in the additive manufacture of tubular, dielectric, elastomer Minimum Energy Structures, cardiac assist devices, auxetic structures, soft robotics and printed electronics.

His latest project, 3D scanning and printing on inflated structures, uses multiple layers of hard silicone – Shore A 73 hardness to be precise – to create seamless, hexachiral structures on an inflated silicone balloon.

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The soft silicone is sprayed onto an air-permeable mandrel which is then inflated and 3D scanned. Those scans are used to calculate geometries for 3D printed forms which are then extruded on to the inflated mandrel using a much harder silicone. The specific geometries being printed are auxetic, ‘hexachiral honeycomb’ structures.

Such auxetic structures have the potential to be used in a wide range of applications from deployable and morphing structures to various medical treatments, soft robotics and artificial muscles.

In this particular case the structures are used to constrain some of the pre-stretch that is imparted in the balloon during inflation. The entire printed structure is to be used in artificial muscles (or more specifically ‘Dielectric Elastomer Actuators’) for in-vivo prosthetics. Rather than using a conventional external actuator of some sort, dielectric elastomers can be made to change form and size through the application of a voltage across a thin rubber membrane. Their efficiency is greatly increased if they are held in a stretched form.

The “auxetic hexachiral structures” can be tailored and tuned for a stiffness response, by varying material hardness, thickness or the tangent angle of the straight line ‘ligaments’.

When the extruded layers of silicone are cured, the balloon mandrel is deflated finally settling into what is termed a Minimum Energy Structure (MES).

Coulter is also working on what are called “smart aortic grafts,” which researchers hope can one day be implanted into a removed section of the ascending aorta to improve the heart’s efficiency. Using “smart materials” that expand when a voltage is applied to them, these origami-esque auxetic techniques can be made to collapse and expand.

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The idea is that the grafts will create a counter blood-flow by aping the ‘beating’ response of the heart out of phase with the diseased heart. As the heart fills with blood, the woven tube contracts to increase pressure in the heart. When the heart pumps oxygenated blood around the body, the tube is essentially stimulated to expand and release the pressure, thereby increasing blood flow.

Coulter and his fellow researchers use 3D printing techniques which can be tailored to a patient using MRI scan data.

Working with team leader “Dr Anton Ianakiev, Coulter says the findings are groundbreaking stuff which has the potential to be more effective than current therapies.

Can you think of any applications for this 3D printing on an inflatable substrate technique? Let us know in the Inflatable 3D Printing Substrate forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 17, 2015

3D printed model car shop

http://3dprint.com/72827/ford-3d-store-printed-cars/

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Ford Launches Online 3D Printed Model Car Shop – Print Your Favorite Ford Car or Truck Today

The automobile industry has long been known to be one of the most aggressive when it comes to using 3D printing technology. In fact, car manufacturers were some of the very first businesses to utilize 3D printing in order to rapidly prototype various automobile parts and designs. This has been going on literally for decades, but in recent times, we have begun to see car manufacturers take the idea of 3D printing a few step further. There have been car parts which have been completely 3D printed, entire cars — in the case of Local Motors — that have been printed in plastic, and various other innovations going on within the automobile industry. 3D printing certainly has its place not only in current car manufacturing but in the future as well.

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Today, Ford Motor Company has informed 3DPrint.com that they are taking things to a whole new level when it comes to 3D printing. No, they aren’t 3D printing an entire car, nor are they allowing people to 3D print replacement parts, but what they are doing will certainly appeal to both fans of the company as well as car enthusiasts and collectors in general.

“Just in time for Father’s Day! Today Ford announced that it is the first automaker to open a one-stop 3D digital shop – the Ford 3D Store,” Ford Motor Company tells 3DPrint.com. “Now, with the help of Turbosquid, Ford fans can use advanced technology to make their own models of Ford vehicles or opt to purchase a 3D digital file from a growing library of more than 1,000 Ford vehicle images.”

Available to order models include the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST, and Fiesta ST with plenty more models coming in the very near future. These models are printed at 1:32 scale in plastic and are priced at $39.00. However, if you own a 3D printer yourself, or have access to one, you can purchase the 3D design files for a measly $4.99. This allows you to scale the car to whatever size you wish and print it out yourself.

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“3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” explained Mark Bentley, licensing manager of Ford Global Brand Licensing. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.”

So what exactly spurred Ford into making these incredibly detailed and accurate replicas available to 3D print? Seemingly it is the fact that researchers are predicting that sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units within the next 3 years, over twenty times the number sold last year.

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The Ford 3D Store website has been built by Turbosquid, a company that specializes in selling 3D models and stock images. They have extensive experience when it comes to selling similar models which are capable of being 3D printed, so they have a clear understanding of IP laws and various methods of securing files. When users purchase a 3D model, they must agree not to distribute it elsewhere.  This has the potential of bringing up an issue which certainly has been looming for the 3D printing space for the past few years. It should be interesting to see how companies like Ford and Turbosquid ultimately deal with such IP conflicts that may arise if people begin to freely share these files, without providing Ford with any royalties.

“TurboSquid already allows customers to purchase more than 1,000 unique, licensed digital images of Ford products ranging from the Model T to the all-new Ford GT,” said Bentley. “We’re at the forefront of licensing 3D automotive images, and it made sense that TurboSquid help us complete that connection to the consumer.”

Without a doubt, this is huge news for the 3D printing space. The idea that individuals can now purchase 3D printed models of licensed replicas, or the design files for these vehicles and then print them out themselves, is something that no other car manufacturer has yet to do. It should be interesting to see how well this business model works, and we will certainly be keeping an eye out for future models which are released to the Ford 3D Store.

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What do you think about this announcement? Will you be downloading and printing your own Ford vehicles anytime soon? Should other car manufacturers contemplate doing the same thing as Ford has? Discuss in the Ford 3D Store forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 11, 2015