3D printed steel pedestrian bridge

http://3dprint.com/72682/amsterdam-3d-printed-bridge/

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3D Printed Steel Pedestrian Bridge Will Soon Span an Amsterdam Canal

The oldest of Amsterdam’s approximately 1,280 bridges in use dates back to 1648. The city is famous for its beautiful canals and waterways, and Dutch engineers have long made their names in constructing ways around the “Venice of the North.” Tourists are encouraged to visit one particular bridge on the Herengracht canal, from which they can see 15 bridges in one view. In addition to bridges, the Netherlands has been gaining fame across the board for its reputation in the global 3D printing arena.

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Now, the two are being brought together in an amazing feat of engineering prowess asHeijmans, MX3D, and Joris Laarman Lab collaborate on a first-of-its-kind project: a 3D printed steel pedestrian bridge that will span one of Amsterdam’s historic canals.

“We came to the conclusion that a bridge over the old canals of Amsterdam would be a fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the city’s historic past, in a way which would reveal the best aspects of both worlds,” said Joris Laarman, who is designing the bridge. “I strongly believe in the future of digital manufacturing and local production – it’s a ‘new form of craftsmanship’. This bridge can show how 3D printing has finally entered the world of large-scale functional objects and sustainable materials, while enabling unrivalled freedom of design.”

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The ambitious project centers on startupMX3D’s technology, which uses 6-axis robotic machines to create structures from steel literally in mid-air. Plans for building the bridge involve using two (or more) of these machines to effectively begin construction on either bank of the canal and build toward one another, meeting in the middle.

While plans for the bridge’s location have not yet been made public, MX3D will, along with the city of Amsterdam, soon make this announcement. A visitor center will also be open to the public with extensive information available, starting in September.

“What distinguishes our technology from traditional 3D printing methods is that we work according to the ‘Printing Outside the Box’ principle,” said MX3D CTO Tim Geurtjens. “By printing with 6-axis industrial robots, we are no longer limited to a square box in which everything happens. Printing a functional, life-size bridge is of course the ideal way to showcase the endless possibilities of this technique.”

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For its part, Heijmans says, it will “contribute its knowledge of and experience in construction and technology to print the bridge.” Among other supporters in this project are Autodesk, whose technology Laarman has been using in the design process, as well as sponsors including ABB, Air Liquide, Delcam, Lenovo, and Within, and public partners Amsterdam City Council, AMS, and TU Delft.

Have you heard of other large-scale, usable construction projects going up around the world that rely on 3D printing technology? Let us know about them in the 3D Printed Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 11, 2015

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3D printed titanium bike!

http://www.cnet.com/news/how-a-3d-printed-titanium-bike-points-the-way-to-products-custom-fit-for-you/

How a 3D printed titanium bike points the way to products custom-fit for you

Design firm Industry has developed a bike that demonstrates how the lines are blurring in design, engineering and manufacturing. This shift will ultimately allow companies to tailor products to individuals.

PARIS – The Solid is an unusual bicycle: it’s 3D-printed out of titanium, it’s unusually streamlined, it will take you on routes designed to help you discover a city and it tells you where to turn by buzzing signals in the handlebars. It’s also a harbinger of how products will be built in the future.

But the Solid, designed by a Portland, Ore.-based firm called Industry and unveiled Thursday here for the Connected Conference, is unusual in another way, too. It’s not a product to be sold, but instead a project to help Industry figure out the future of design and manufacturing.

Figuring out that future is tough. In the old days, designers would come up with a product’s look on paper or clay, then hand it off to engineers who’d try to make it work in the real world. Nowadays, designers and engineers work simultaneously, scanning sketches, printing prototypes in plastic and iterating from one possibility to the next as fast as possible. And 3D printers, which fuse raw materials layer by layer into metal or plastic components, will open the door to new levels of customization.

The end result may not mean you can buy the Solid in a bike shop next year. But according to Industry co-founder Oved Valadez, it will completely transform the products you do buy.

“The future is about bringing ‘personal’ back to service,” Valadez said. Instead of buying something in size small, medium or large, you’ll buy it in “size me,” he said.

That approach will apply to footwear, bicycles, cars and more, he predicted. “You’ll scan yourself with your handheld [phone], and it’ll give you a recommendation about what is your perfect size.”

Valadez’s profession changed dramatically decades ago with the gradual spread of computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM), but the arrival of 3D printers means the technological transformation isn’t over. Another big shift is the spread of computing hardware and software beyond personal computers and smartphones and into cars, toys, thermostats, streetlights, traffic signals and myriad other devices – a trend broadly called the Internet of Things.

Competitive pressure

The computing industry’s appetite for competitive, fast-paced change also has helped bring the once-separate disciplines of design, engineering and manufacturing closer together, said Marc Chareyron, co-founder of French design firm Enero.

“If you have a designer who hands the work to an engineer who hands it to the software engineer, then the iterations are so long, it takes years to build something,” Chareyron said. That’ll doom a project: during that wait, products will be overtaken by competitors’ models or by new technology trends.

For Valadez and Industry, the Solid bike project was a way to bring new hardware, software, and collaborative approaches into the business. They’d photograph life-size sketches and import them into Autodesk‘s Fusion 360 and Alias software. They’d make old-style cardboard and use new-era 3D printers to create components for the bike. And when it was time for manufacturing, they combined 3D printing with traditional hand-finishing and hand-welding techniques drawing on the expertise of titanium bike frame maker Ti Cycles.

“It’s the new way. It’s more iterated and collaborative. It allows you to quickly bring form and function to the same level,” Valadez said. “Unlike 10 years ago, utility and beauty are now one.”

They built a bike with software, too. A smartphone app lets people select routes through a city that spotlights interesting attractions, shopping areas, restaurants. And inside the bike itself is an Arduino-based electronics board that handles the bike’s GPS position tracking and signals to the rider when it’s time to turn right or left by buzzing the appropriate handlebar grip.

Among Industry’s clients are Nike, Intel, Starbucks and InCase, a maker of bags and cases for carrying delicate electronic products.

3D printing still immature

3D printing is good for making prototypes, but the technology can’t handle everything yet when it comes to manufacturing, he said. There are size limits to fusing parts out of titanium powder, for example, and 3D-printed parts still require a lot of finishing.

But 3D printing opens up new options. For one thing, it permits much more complicated shapes that can do multiple jobs. Some of the Solid’s components have interior walls that both increase strength in high-stress areas and serve to route brake and gear-shifting cables internally for a sleek look, for example.

Building complex parts that serve dual or triple functions is important, especially in areas like the automotive industry where durability is important. A part that serves multiple jobs means designers can avoid bolting together components that over time can rattle loose and break.

For Industry, the 3D printing was a learning experience — for example in understanding how much the titanium needed to be finished with grinders and bead-blasting and how much that would change the dimensions of the product.

Despite the rough patches, though, Valadez is a convert. As with early technologies like molding and computer-controlled machine tools, 3D printing is maturing. “There are limitations,” Valadez said, “but it is the future.”

cnet.com

by | May 28, 20155:30 AM PDT

Rise of the 3D printing machines

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fc2b257a-d90f-11e4-b907-00144feab7de.html#axzz3WzqJMGIV

Rise of the 3D printing machines

‘Terminator’ technology threatens manufacturing pioneers.

From a red puddle of liquid plastic, a three-dimensional sphere of connected hexagons and pentagons begins to rise, taking only six minutes to be lifted by mechanical arm into its final geometric form.

It is a phenomenon known as “continuous liquid interface production”, and has been developed by Carbon3D — a Silicon Valley start-up backed by technology investment group Sequoia Capital. But while it was inspired by a scene from the science fiction film Terminator 2, when the T-1000 android rises from a small pool of metallic liquid, the new technique is very much a reality — and set to shake up the 3D printing industry by making the process of forming plastic objects up to 100 times faster.

Since 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, was pioneered in the 1980s, it has been widely expected to revolutionise the manufacturing of complex components, from medical implants to jet engine parts. But growing competition from start-ups, such as Carbon3D, and household names such as HP, is now putting pressure on the tech companies that developed the fledgling industry.

Two of the largest 3D printing companies, US-based 3D Systems and Israel’s Stratasys, are already finding that investors are questioning their continued dominance. 3D Systems shares have fallen 71 per cent, from a high of $96 at the start of 2014 to $28 today. Similarly, Stratasys’s Nasdaq-traded shares are down 61 per cent over the same period, from a high of $136 to $56.

“There’s a possibility that you look at the current crop of public 3D printing companies and they will be like the computer companies of the 1980s — brands that are footnotes in computer history,” warns Carl Bass, chief executive officer atAutodesk, the US-listed software company.

“It’s not obvious that being first to market really means you lead forever.”

Both 3D Systems and Stratasys, as well as their smaller rivals ExOne, Arcam and Voxeljet, have endured a tough 15 months, in which their revenue growth has failed to live up to the hype.

Pieter Busscher, manager of the RobecoSAM Smart Materials fund, says they failed to live up to their stock market valuations. “Essentially, what we saw up until 2014 was a bit of a bubble in the works. Multiples at the end of 2013 were anywhere between 60-100 times earnings.”

Slower than expected revenue growth also coincided with a need to spend more to sustain their competitive positions, notes Scott Schmitz, an analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Over the past three quarters, organic revenue growth at 3D Systems has been between 7-12 per cent, well below guidance of 30 per cent. Stratasys achieved a better organic growth rate of 31 per cent in 2014.

However, it unveiled an accelerated investment plan that is likely to keep operating margins in the 10-14 per cent range for the next couple of years, compared with its own long-term guidance of 18-23 per cent, Mr Schmitz points out.

Nevertheless, these margins and growth rates have still been enough to attract the attention of conventional printing groups.Hewlett-Packard has revealed plans to enter the sector in 2016, with a 3D printer that it claims will be faster and cheaper than existing machines.

Pete Basiliere, an analyst at consultancy Gartner, believes HP is not the only household name eyeing up the space. “By the end of 2016 we’ll see at least three of the big printer makers in the market with their own branded 3D printer,” he predicts.

But with at least a year until these rival products appear, competitors have time to respond, Mr Schmitz says. “HP needs to develop new go-to-market channels as 3D printers target a different audience than PCs and office printers.”

3D Systems and Stratasys have so far tried to maintain their competitive position by buying up other companies, making about 60 acquisitions between them in the past five years — including providers of 3D printing materials, hardware and software. In 2013, Stratasys bought MakerBot, a New York start-up that produces cheap, easy-to-use 3D printers, for about $403m, although it has since booked a $100m impairment charge following disappointing performance.

Both companies require the use of their own materials with their printers, but Weston Twigg, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, suggests that in future there will be separate specialists selling printers, software and materials.

He points to Germany’s SLM Solutions, which focuses on making metal printers and partners with various materials companies. It increased its unit orders by 138 per cent in 2014, and its revenue by 56 per cent. Conversely, software provider Autodesk is adopting an open approach by teaming up with materials and printer companies.

Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, a 3D printing consultancy, agrees that it will become increasingly difficult for companies to compete with products that are “closed and locked to prevent third-party products and solutions”.

However, the big incumbents will be reluctant to open up their business models while they can achieve such high profit margins on materials sales. In 2014, 3D Systems achieved a margin of 73 per cent on materials, compared with 36 per cent for its printers.

And demand for 3D printing materials is only going to rise. Gartner expects worldwide shipments of 3D printers to reach 217,350 units in 2015, and then take off to 2.3m by 2018.

ft.com

by Tanya Powley, Manufacturing Correspondent | April 9, 2015 11:55 am

Home of the future

This article brings together some of the recent engineering and construction achievements that have come about as a result of 3D printing, and gives a glimpse into what 3D printing and architecture may produce together in the future!

Still the question remains; Would you live in a 3D Printed House?

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/12/would-you-live-in-a-3d-printed-house/

The potential of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, to change the way buildings are made is indisputable. It’s being touted as a solution to challenges in our cities ranging from the need for affordable housing to infrastructure modernisation. The process has been slow, but it may well be a key ingredient in the future of the building industries.

In the last two years, technological advances in scalability are allowing 3D printing to move beyond small-scale architectural models and prototypes. It is now being used in actual housing and infrastructure construction—achieving lower labor costs and finally delivering those long-promised economies of scale.

Helped along by the increasing prevalence of digital 3D modelling software for building and infrastructure design, some of the new results are pretty mind-boggling, too.

Here are three of the latest examples from around the world, which reveal the ways in which 3D printing is changing approaches to architecture, engineering and construction.

1. Kurilpa Bridge, Brisbane

Road and bridge infrastructure is just as important as housing to make cities liveable and workable. Until recently, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), essentially 3D printing metal parts, was used extensively in the aerospace and automotive industries. But it was not explored thoroughly for usability and cost-effectiveness for bridges and other types of urban infrastructure. The primary reason is because each bridge is a unique design and the savings from prototyping and manufacturing aren’t as obvious.

Moving now to Australia, global engineering firm Arup was tasked with creating components for an unconventional pedestrian bridge. Arup decided to use 3D printing as an internal research project to determine how a laser-sintered, printed metal part could hold up to structural standards. The parts for such a bridge also had to be load-bearing connections.

Arup’s engineers came up with a complex design with “root” supports and extra struts were added to the part to support it during printing. The struts allowed for a hollow design that reduced the overall weight of the bridge node and was more aesthetically pleasing than a traditionally machined one. The design and production of the bridge nodes allowed new degrees of design freedom and Arup is already using the research on other projects.

2. Canal House, Amsterdam

The first entrant in the race to build a fully 3D-printed house is Amsterdam’s DUS Architects. Using The KamerMaker (room builder), a 20-foot-tall custom 3D printer created by DUS and Ultimaker, the architecture firm has been printing a house along one of Amsterdam’s famous canals bit by bit for the last year-and-a-half and expects to have it completed in 2015.

The KamerMaker works essentially like a larger version of a desktop Makerbot. The printer head extrudes the melted plastic material along the programmed path on the X and Y axes and when finished moves up one step along the Z axis. Unlike its desktop cousin, it can print whole rooms.

The exterior walls of the Canal House cover a range of sustainable materials, including Hotmelt—a type of industrial glue developed by German chemicals manufacturer Henkel. Comprised of 80 per cent vegetable oil, Hotmelt is used to form bio-based plastics. DUS and Henkel are also experimenting with eco-concrete. They are testing out a variable concrete mix that allows the team to add insulative material and colour to the wall sections. Once printed, the wall sections fit together sort of like Lego.

While the Canal House won’t be completed until next year, it has already created several innovations, including one of the largest-scale 3D printers in the world and advances in sustainable materials.

3. WinSun Houses, Shanghai

On the other side of world comes an entirely different perspective on 3D-printed housing. While the Canal House is experimental, architecturally elegant and pushes the envelope of materials science and constructibility, it will take three years to complete.

Meanwhile, Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering claims to have erected 10 3D-printed houses—each costing about $4,800—in less than 24 hours.

There’s some debate over whether Shanghai WinSun’s houses are genuinely a 3D creation because they were printed not as a single item, but in parts that were then assembled onsite. But the feat is impressive nonetheless.

The simple, concrete-framed buildings were made using an enormous 3D printer that is 150 meters long, 10 meters wide and 6.6 meters high. The houses each cover an area of 200 square meters and were designed to someday provide affordable housing to the homeless.

The 3D-printed “ink” of each structure is a combination of recycled construction and industrial waste materials formed into structural concrete and wall panels.

These houses may not win any design awards, but the manufacturing concept that delivered them so cheaply and quickly is a leap forward in sustainable tilt-up construction. The process contains costs and could be applied to solving housing crises in major cities around the world.

New Uses For 3D Printing

The above examples are just three among the many new uses of 3D printing at building scale that are popping up around the world. They clearly point to a world where advances in 3D-modelling software in combination with advances 3D-printing technologies (both in terms of size and materials like concrete and carbon fibre) will allow architecture and construction professionals to more efficiently and more sustainably design and implement building solutions for our rapidly urbanising planet.

As the organic form of Arup’s root supports suggest, 3D printing may also indicate a future of beautiful new architecture and infrastructure in our cities.

GIZMODO.COM.AU
by  | 11 DECEMBER 2014 2:30 PM