Music of bronze-age and 3D printing

http://www.cnet.com/news/the-music-of-bronze-age-celts-revealed-through-3d-printing/

The music of bronze-age Celts revealed through 3D printing

A bronze artefact previously thought to have been the butt of a spear has been revealed to be the mouthpiece of an ancient horn.

Primitive music may not have been so primitive after all, as discovered by an archaeologist and Ph.D. candidate at the Australian National University College of Asia-Pacific. Billy Ó Foghlú, who believed that the bronze- and iron-age musical horns found in Ireland must have had mouthpieces, has 3D printed an object that vastly improves the sound of the instruments.

His research has been published in the ancient Celtic culture journal Emania.

The model for the mouthpiece, however, was something quite unexpected: a bronze artefact dating back to 100BC to 200AD called the Conical Spearbutt of Navan. Found in the early 20th century, the artefact (as the name suggests) was thought to have been mounted on the butt of a spear.

3D printing technology has been improving at a rapid pace in the past few years. While it has primarily been used for the manufacture of custom designed objects, it’s increasingly seeing use in the fields of paleontology and archaeology as a means of studying objects without damaging the fragile original artefacts. It’s also allowing museums to create replicas of artefacts that can be handled by the public.

In this case, the object wasn’t printed directly, but cast in a 3D printed mould. Using the exact measurements of the so-called Spearbutt, Ó Foghlú created a 3D model, which he then used 3D print the mould and cast the replica in bronze. He also created a 3D printed replica of a horn over two metres long, copying the thickness of the metal of the original object. He then put the two together and blew.

“Suddenly the instrument came to life,” he said in a statement.

“These horns were not just hunting horns or noisemakers. They were very carefully constructed and repaired, they were played for hours. Music clearly had a very significant role in the culture.”

The artefact would likely have been misclassified because it was excavated separately to the horns. Many iron- and bronze-age horns were discovered across Europe and Scandinavia, but very few mouthpieces were found in Ireland. This led to the impression that music in Ireland had regressed.

However, Ó Foghlú believes that so few mouthpieces were found with horns because they may have been ritually dismantled and separated when the horn’s owner died.

“A number of instruments have been found buried in bogs. The ritual killing of an instrument and depositing it in a burial site shows the full significance of it in the culture,” he said.

“Tutankhamen also had trumpets buried with him in Egypt. Contemporary horns were also buried in Scandinavia, Scotland and mainland Europe: They all had integral mouthpieces too.”

cnet.com

by  | September 1, 2015 7:47 PM PDT

 

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Injured toucan

http://www.cnet.com/news/injured-toucan-gets-new-beak-courtesy-of-3d-printing/

Injured toucan gets beak repair courtesy of 3D printing

A custom prosthetic beak-piece helps a toucan rescued from animal smugglers eat and groom normally once again.

3D printing isn’t just for people to make tchotchkes, buildings and Kraken dice. There’s a whole realm of the 3D-printing world involved with helping out animals who need a leg (Derby the dog), face (Akut-3 the turtle) or foot (Ozzie the goose). We can now welcome Tieta the toucan to their ranks.

Tieta was rescued in Brazil from an illegal animal seller. Half of her upper beak was missing. If you’ve ever seen a toucan, you know how magnificent their beaks are. Those bills are also practical in the wild, helping the birds reach for food and regulate their body temperature.

Tieta got a 3D-printed plastic prosthesis in late July to repair her bill. The process of creating the prosthesis was intensive. Designers used a taxidermy toucan as a model and several prototypes were printed. The lightweight final design received a coat of nontoxic varnish and a castor-oil-based polymer for durability. Collaborators on the project included wildlife preservation group Instituto Vida Livre and the Federal University of Rio de Janiero.

It took Tieta three days to adjust to the repaired appendage, but she is now able to eat normally. “We were feeding her fruit and she was ignoring the new beak. But when we gave her live animals, like maggots and cockroaches, she ate normally immediately,” Instituto Vida Livre director Roched Seba told BBC News.

It’s not known how Tieta lost part of her bill. It could have been an accident in the wild or through mistreatment by wildlife smugglers. The bird will spend the rest of her life in the safety of an animal sanctuary.

cnet.com

by | August 25, 20153:32 PM PDT

Baseball – first pitch with 3D printed hand

http://www.cnet.com/news/adorable-5-year-old-throws-out-first-pitch-with-3d-printed-hand/

Adorable 5-year-old throws first pitch with 3D-printed hand

A little girl born with a rare medical condition throws out the first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on Monday thanks to a 3D-printed hand designed and printed by UNLV students.

Baltimore Orioles fans got quite a treat before Monday’s Major League Baseball game between the Orioles and the Oakland Athletics. Hailey Dawson, an adorable 5-year-old Orioles fan, threw out the first pitch with her custom-made, 3D-printed robotic hand.

Hailey has Poland syndrome, a disorder that causes children to be born with either missing or abnormal muscles on one side of the chest wall. Many with Poland syndrome – including Hailey – are also born with abnormalities of the hand, making it difficult or impossible to use their hands without prosthetics.

Prosthetics aren’t cheap — the functional myoelectric hands can cost tens of thousands of dollars — especially when they need to be replaced several times as a child grows. So, Hailey’s family turned to the engineering department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) for help.

The faculty and students in the department delivered, designing and 3D-printing a robotic hand that lets Hailey do things like grip and throw a baseball, a talent she was more than happy to show off at Monday night’s game.

Hailey’s hand is based on the Flexy-Hand 2 project, and anyone can download plans for the customizable hand on Thingiverse, a site for discovering and sharing 3D-printed objects. The UNLV engineering department customized the Flexy-Hand for Hailey’s needs and size.

Hailey’s already on her third hand — the first one needed repairs and was then too small, and the second one accidentally broke when Hailey’s mother, Yong, was replacing the fishing line that functions as retractors for the fingers. The UNLV team is already working on her fourth, adding robotic functionality with each new iteration to make her arm even better.

In the video below, you can see that functionality in action as Hailey uses her custom Orioles-themed robot hand to throw out the first pitch. The pitch was caught by Hailey’s favorite player, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.

If you want to see even more about Hailey’s adventures with her 3D-printed robot hand, you can check out some images from her trip on the Haileys_Hand Instagram page.

Because a hand that awesome definitely has to have its own Instagram account.

cnet.com

by | August 18, 2015 9:34 AM PDT

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

3D printing with Easy Cheese !

http://www.cnet.com/news/3d-printing-with-easy-cheese-isnt-so-easy/

Turns out 3D printing with Easy Cheese isn’t so easy

Delve into the complicated and messy world of spray-cheese 3D printing as a maker attempts to produce gooey cheese forts and cracker toppings. No, it’s not an April Fools’ joke.

Innovations in 3D printing are coming fast and furious these days. There seems to be particular interest in food-related printers capable of making anything from pizza to pancakes. But the world has really been crying out for a spray-cheese printer, and now we have one in the form of the Easy Cheese 3D Printer.

The printer uses a special mechanism to trigger the cheese can while the print head moves around to position the cheese in the correct location. At least that’s the idea. It doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the trigger puller slips off, resulting in no cheese being dispensed. Sometimes the cheese bubbles up around the print head, creating a gooey mess.

There are a couple of minor moments of triumph. The printer does a decent job of squeezing a mound of cheese out onto a cracker, though it fails to cleanly disconnect the cheese stream. It also creates a passable spray-cheese fort in the form of a square with layers of cheese. Let’s face it, this innovation isn’t likely to attract NASA’s attention.

The experiment comes from the creative mind of Andrew Maxwell-Parish, manager of the Hybrid Lab at the California College of the Arts. Previously, he designed an interactive tip jar called the Wu-Tang Can and a High Five Camera for capturing high fives with strangers. Suddenly, the Easy Cheese 3D printer concept doesn’t seem so out there anymore.

cnet.com

by | April 1, 2015 11:18 AM PDT

Italian fashion wear

Breathing Life Into High Quality Italian Fashion Wear

http://www.cnet.com/news/multimaterial-3d-printing-brings-italian-fashion-to-life/

Gruppo Meccaniche Luciani has created a six-piece fashion collection built using multi-material 3D printing.
Multimaterial 3D printing is opening up a brave new world of fashion possibilities, and the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 is leading the charge. Gruppo Meccaniche Luciani – a Corridonia, Italy-based manufacturer of moulds and other tools for making footwear – has designed a collection to showcase its new service called rapid prototyping.

“3D printing enables us to offer a new line of items to our clients. We can design and 3D print realistic prototypes in a matter of hours and incorporate any required design iterations before starting full production,” said Gruppo Meccaniche Luciani’s Elisa Luciani.

The collection consists of six items: thee pairs of shoes, a bustier, a bracelet and a rigid, single-material handbag, designed to showcase the intricate work that can be achieved with 3D printing – both with multiple materials, in different colours and textures, achieved with the printer’s triple-jet design; and in the complexity of the designs themselves.

The bustier features a cutout in the middle, bordered by black curves contrasted with a pointed prism pattern, and filled with curved lines, in a soft, flexible material – Stratasys’ family of rubber-like materials – that is more comfortable to wear than hard PLA material.

“Our main requirement was to produce a highly-detailed, realistic wearable. Using Stratasys’ materials, we were able to 3D print a top with varying levels of softness that could be worn in direct contact with the skin,” Luciani explained. “The ability to combine rigid and soft materials simultaneously is unique and would have otherwise entailed manual manufacture and individual assembly of each material.

Meanwhile, one of the pairs of shoes is printed in both rigid and soft materials in two colours for a visually compelling, brightly coloured look; another has a complex, angular latticed design, which fits around the curved shape of the shoe itself.

“When designing the shoe we were concerned about the rigidity and resistance of the heels, but the 3D printer’s ability to combine varying densities of rigid and soft material simultaneously enabled us to manufacture the whole shoe in one print,” Luciani said.

CNET.COM
by | March 9, 2015 10:58 PM PDT

3D printed 6th century sword

A Beautiful Recreation of a 6th Century Sword Created in 3D Studio Max

http://goo.gl/BKBpkW

A damaged sixth-century sword in a museum in Norway has been perfectly reproduced as new through 3D printing.
After hundreds of years as a great power, the Roman Empire finally crumbled, seeing its final days in the fifth century. Of course, the destruction of something so vast could only be achieved by a perfect storm of exacerbating factors – but one of the largest was the Germanic unrest. For centuries, the Germanic people had been revolting against Rome, and the pressure finally proved too much to bear.

During the final years and after the fall of Rome followed a period of migration across Europe, as first the Germanic and then the Slavic tribes packed up and made homes in new lands. It is during this Migration Period that a new type of sword emerged — a sort of halfway point between theRoman spatha, from which it had evolved, and the Viking sword, into which it would evolve.

Museums, of course, have some of these swords: greatly dilapidated, in many cases, but valuable artefacts of the time. However, the age and fragility means that although visitors can see the swords, they cannot touch them — cannot feel how the swords weighed and moved.

It is for this reason that the National Museum of Art in Norway approached Nils Anderssen, a game developer and school teacher with a passion for re-creating historical artefacts in his spare time. The museum is in possession of a particularly fine sword — a golden-hilted ring-sword, probably used only by kings and nobles. The ring affixed to the hilt is believed to be the symbol of an oath.

The instruction that the museum gave Anderssen was that the sword should look and feel exactly like the original would have done when it was new. This would allow museum visitors to have hands-on time with the sword, as a complement to admiring the relic safe in its glass case.

Anderssen has no experience in blacksmithing or goldsmithing, but he does know his way around 3D-modelling software — namely 3D Studio Max.

“In 3D Studio Max, I have good control over the thickness and size of the patterns and therefore avoided problems in printing,” he said. “Also, there are lot of sharp edges that are easy to do in 3D Studio Max.”

Using photographs of the real sword to gauge the dimensions of the hilt, Anderssen modelled the shape into basic polygons before working on carving out the fine details of the intricate design. Then he sent the finished model to i.materialise to be printed in bronze. When the finished print arrived, he cleaned up the details and had the pieces gilded and fitted with wooden inserts for stability before being attached to the blade.

“The whole project has been very interesting both as a learning experience and also to be able to use processes I already knew, but with more complexity,” Anderssen said. “In contrast to the digital work on screens, this is something you can pick up, look at and use. This is something I find very rewarding.”

CNET.COM
by | February 17, 2015 5:10 PM PST

Top 10 3D printing ventures in pictures

Brush Up on Your 3D Printing Knowledge! Here’s a Quick Look at 2014’s Top 10 3D Printing Ventures in Pictures.

http://goo.gl/pwyWco

In 2014, 3D printing burst onto the scene in fields ranging from medicine to music. Here’s a look back at the best projects in 10 categories.

Medicine

Certainly the most noble applications of 3D printing came from the world of medical science this year. Because of its ability to produce parts as unique as our own bodies, the technology has enormous potential in this field. In 2014 alone we saw the first step toward a 3D-printed bionic eyeand the development of a 3D-printed airway splint that is now helping a baby breathe by keeping his airways — which were prone to collapsing — open. It was also the year in which exact replicas of a patient’s brain tumor and heartwere made so that surgeons could practice on them before performing real surgeries.

Our winner in this category, though, goes to the woman who received an entire 3D-printed skull back in March to relieve pressure from her swelling brain. The operation was a success, and the woman was back at work shortly after it was completed.

Speaking of implants, we were also wowed by the 3D-printed face implants that recently got approval from the FDA. Called the OsteoFab Patient-Specific Facial Device, the implants truly highlight the customizability of 3D printing, as they can replicate the exact bone structure underlying that most distinct feature we all possess – our face.

Recreation

While not as serious as the medical applications of 3D printing, we did see the technology get put to recreational use in some fields in 2014. There was a nearly indestructible ping pong ball, a 3D-printed chess set and even a 3D-printed version of Cyvasse, the table game from “Game of Thrones.” There was also this awesome 3D-printed kayak, which is the winner of this category because, well, it’s a kayak!

Food

Food is about to get a lot more fun as 3D printers work their way into both professional and home kitchens. The most fun application of the technology to food we saw this past year comes from a group of MIT students who developed a machine that could 3D-print ice cream. Yup, ice cream.

Other contenders in this category include mini 3D-printed sculptures made from sugar, a 3D printer that spits out “fruit” and the promise that someday we’ll be able to 3D-print pasta in any shape we want. There’s also this super-cool open-source printer that can make pancakes in pretty much any design you can dream up.

Although not actually made of something edible, another invention that needs to be mentioned in this category is the 3D-printed doodad that helps eliminate that watery squirt of ketchup that has plagued mankind since the tomato paste was first invented. God bless technology.

Animals

Humans aren’t the only ones who benefitted from 3D-printing technology in 2014. The lives of our animal friends improved as well. There was the penguin who had his life saved through a 3D-printed beak; a duck named Buttercup who got a new 3D-printed flipper foot; and this little guy,TurboRoo. The puppy, who was born without his front legs, had a special cart 3D-printed for him by Mark Deadrick, the president of a 3D-printing company called 3dyn, who then affixed some skate wheels to it so that the little guy could get around. 3D-printing technology will allow new, cheap iterations of the cart as the puppy grows.

Exoskeletons, prosthetics & more

While the items in this category could all technically have gone under “Medicine,” we had to create a separate one because there were just so many of them made in 2014. There were the custom-made braces for scoliosis patientsthat promise to be more effective and more comfortable; the 3D-printed leg known as Roboleg; the 3D-printed exoskeleton that has helped a paralyzed skier to walk again; and the 3D-printed ultrasound cast that just might become a fashion accessory.

Although it’s hard to choose a favorite from the amazing breakthroughs in this category, we are going with the prosthetic arms made by Not Impossible Labs for victims of the violence in South Sudan through Project Daniel. The arms can be made in just six hours and cost only $100, which, through fundraising, means they can give hope and dignity back to thousands of amputees.

Architecture

2014 is the year in which a 20-foot-tall 3D-printer in Amsterdam began producing an entire house and, for that, it is the head-and-shoulders winner in this category. 3D printing holds a lot of promise in the field of architecture not only because of the customization available (like this castlethat came to 3D-printed life in 2014), but because many predict it will be able to quickly and cheaply put up structures — especially in underprivileged areas or places struck by natural disaster.

And what do you fill a 3D-printed house with? 3D-printed furniture, of course.

Fashion

There were so many applications of 3D printing in the world of fashion in 2014 that my CNET colleague Michelle Starr will be putting together a separate gallery to highlight them all.

Still, any comprehensive wrap-up of 3D printing technology in 2014 couldn’t leave out this vital category, so for it I nominate this fashion-forward invention. It’s a 3D-printed dress that has 20 reactive displays built into it that become transparent as the wearer reveals more data about herself online. The concept causes us to rethink technology — especially the wearable kind — even while employing it to bring the project to life.

Automobiles

2014 is the year in which the world’s first 3D-printed car design competition was held, and the company behind that competition, Local Motors, took the winning design by Michele Anoé of Italy into production. The car itself was unveiled at Chicago’s International Manufacturing Technology Show in September. They are now signing up interested parties on their website who will be alerted once the car is ready for mass consumption.

While that’s certainly cool, we had to give this category to another vehicle — the Bloodhound SSC. While it isn’t entirely made from 3D-printed parts, it does have its share of them and, well, it just looks super cool. That, and it’s powered by a jet engine and rocket cluster that will allow it to top out at 1,000 MPH.

Cradle to grave

I know this isn’t a typical category for a list like this, but we covered two things that fit so perfectly here I just had to give them their own space. (Warning: I could have easily named this category “The Creepiest Uses of 3D Printing.”)

The first is this life-size figurine of your unborn baby. That’s right, if you just can’t wait to hold junior in your arms, a company called 3D Babies (of course), will use ultrasound data to recreate your in-utero tike’s head and put it on one of four bodies available in three different skin tones.

If that sounds a little creepy, wait till you get ahold of this one: It’s an urn to hold your loved one’s ashes that looks just like the head of, um, your loved one. That’s right, a company called Cremation Solutions promises to be able to make the urn using just a few photos of the deceased. A small urn costs $600 and will hold a portion of the ashes, while a full-sized version that can hold all of the ashes will run $2400. But really, can you put a price on something like this?

Music

While 2014 did see its share of 3D-printed instruments come to life — like this saxophone and these super-cool instruments, we’re going to award this category to someone who used a 3D printer to make music in an entirely different way — by playing it on the printer itself.

That’s right. A YouTuber called Zero Innovations figured out how to rig a Simple Metal Printer from Printrbot to play “The Imperial March” from Star Wars using the sounds of the motors that move the printhead. While this also deserves a “Most Creative Use of a 3D Printer Award,” instead I’ll name the piece the official song to The Year of 3D Printing. Nicely done Zero Innovations. Nicely done.

CNET.COM
by Michael Franco | December 18, 2014 8:57 AM PST

First 3D printed item in space by NASA

Some space history-in-the-making for you today; the first item has been successfully 3D-printed in space by NASA!

http://www.cnet.com/…/nasa-completes-first-successful-in-s…/

The 3D printer installed aboard the International Space Station has successfully printed its first object: a part for the printer itself.
The International Space Station’s 3D printer is installed, it’s operational — and it’s now produced the first object to be 3D printed in space, completed November 24 at 9:28 pm GMT.

The printer was installed on the ISS as a means of testing the feasibility of astronauts manufacturing their own parts and tools in microgravity; so the first object printed seems rather apropos. It’s a part for the printer itself — a faceplate for the extruder printhead, emblazoned with the logo for Made In Space, the company that designed and built the 3D printer for NASA, and the NASA logo.

“When the first human fashioned a tool from a rock, it couldn’t have been conceived that one day we’d be replicating the same fundamental idea in space,” said Made In Space CEO Aaron Kemmer. “We look at the operation of the 3D printer as a transformative moment, not just for space development, but for the capability of our species to live away from Earth.”

The idea behind on-board manufacturing is to minimise the shipping of parts and tools from Earth — the way astronauts currently receive such items — and expedite the space station’s self sufficiency. The 3D printer installed in the ISS’ Microgravity Science Glovebox is a model the ISS team is using to experiment with the concept.

The first phase of testing will see the astronauts printing out a variety of test coupons, parts and tools. These will be shipped back to Earth to be compared with the same objects printed by an identical printer on the ground, to see how well the printer operates in microgravity. They will be tested for tensile strength, torque, flexibility and other factors. The results of these tests will allow Made In Space to perfect the second iteration of their microgravity 3D printer, which will be shipped to the ISS in early 2015.

“This project demonstrates the basic fundamentals of useful manufacturing in space. The results of this experiment will serve as a stepping stone for significant future capabilities that will allow for the reduction of spare parts and mass on a spacecraft, which will change exploration mission architectures for the better,” said Made In Space Director of Research and Development Mike Snyder, also principal investigator for the experiment. “Manufacturing components on demand will yield more efficient, more reliable and less Earth dependent space programs in the near future.”

CNET.COM
by Michelle Starr | November 25, 2014 4:43 PM PST

First 3D LED printer

The first 3D LED printer may one day give you your own real-world heads-up-display, or HUD.

Researching a method that would integrate electronics with 3D geometry, the team at Princeton University may, in the future, help give your life that video-game spin 🙂

Want to see how they plan on doing it? Follow the link below!

Researchers at Princeton University have developed a 3D printer that can print LEDs in layers — and it could one day print contact lenses that incorporate heads-up displays.

Here’s a hypothetical question: would you rather have a head-up display on glasses or a contact lens?

If you answered “contact lens”, the bad news is that you may be waiting some time. But the good news is that it just got a little more feasible, with the invention of the world’s first 3D printer that can print LEDs.

The team, led by Michael McAlpine at Princeton University’s McAlpine Research Group, has successfully used its printer to 3D-print quantum dot LEDs — LEDs that are considered the next step up from OLED. QLEDs shine brighter and with purer colour, at a lower power consumption rate, using cadmium selenide nanocrystals. They’re also ultrathin, flexible and transparent — like, for instance, contact lenses.

“The conventional microelectronics industry is really good at making 2D-electronic gadgets,” McAlpine said. “With TVs and phones, the screen is flat. But what 3D printing gives you is a third dimension, and that could be used for things that people haven’t imagined yet, like 3D structures that could be used in the body.”

McAlpine and his team printed the LED in five layers. A ring made of silver nanoparticles on the bottom layer is the metal conduit for a mechanical circuit. Two polymer layers follow to supply and transfer the electrical current to the next layer, consisting of cadmium selenide nanoparticles (the quantum dots) contained in a zinc sulphide case. The top and final layer is the cathode, made of eutectic gallium indium.

“What we have presented here is an additional method to integrate electronics that can take into consideration the three-dimensional geometry of an object,” said study lead co-author Yong Lin Kong. He also noted that this is the first example of a fully 3D printed, fully functional electronic device.

Potential applications for the technology include wearables, such as the aforementioned contact lens — if the team can figure out a way to include an on-board power supply. The team is also going to be investigating the inclusion of a 3D-printed transistor for added functionality.

You can find the full study online in the journal Nano Letters.

CNET.COM
by | November 20, 2014 8:26 PM PST