A group of Harvard scientists have built a 3D printer!

http://qz.com/462322/a-group-of-harvard-scientists-have-built-a-3d-printer-thats-actually-useful/

A group of Harvard scientists have built a 3D printer that’s actually useful

Despite all the fanfare, 3D printing has yet to hit its stride. Up until now, its best uses have been in designing, prototyping, and making creepy copies of yourself. This tends to stem from the fact that you can generally only print with one material at a time, and in most cases, it’s faster to use traditional manufacturing methods than 3D printing. But Voxel8 wants to change that: Its printer can print circuits right into other objects.

“3D printing fails when it’s asked to do the same thing that a traditional manufacturing process already does,” co-founder Dan Oliver told Quartz. He said the company was born out of Harvard’s material science lab and the research of Professor Jennifer Lewis. Oliver said the name Voxel8 is a combination of “voxel”—which is a pixel with volume—and a play on the word “pixelate,” meaning to digitize an image. And that’s basically what its printer will let you do: make physical objects with digital elements.

Voxel8’s first printer comes with two printing heads—one prints standard 3D printer plastic, and the other spits out its proprietary material that’s electrically conductive. Oliver said it has the consistency of peanut butter and allows you to print circuits right into an object. The company used its printer to build a working quadcopter drone in one sitting. Oliver said that it’s possible to print a computer’s motherboard with the Voxel8: “We’re there, we can do that.”

Oliver said the company is already working on ways to incorporate other materials—like epoxies, silicone, and ceramics—into its 3D printer. The printing heads on its first printer are interchangeable, so in the near future, you’ll be able to print yourself some batteries, a web-connected cereal bowl, or even a pair of shoes loaded with sensors, if you felt so inclined.

“People will use this to make things we haven’t even thought of,” Oliver said. But Voxel8’s process is still quite slow: It took an hour and a half for the company to print its drone, so it’s not going to replace traditional manufacturing processes any time soon. However, Oliver envisions useful applications in the short term in medical and wearable technology, where more custom-fit, ergonomic devices would be more useful than one-size-fits all devices on the market.

On July 24, Voxel8 announced it had secured $12 million in funding to help bring its printer to market and develop its technology. The company showed off its printer at this year’s CES show, and it’s available now for pre-order for $9,000. Oliver said it will ship before the end of the year, and the funding will help guarantee that. Oliver views the company’s first printer as a developer’s model—similar to Facebook’s Oculus Rift shipping a version of its VR headset for researchers before fine-tuning its first consumer model. The company plans to use part of the funding to develop a higher performance version for a wider audience.

qz.com

by Mike Murphy | July 24, 2015

The two technologies of tomorrow

3D printing and wearable technology (accessories with a digital element to them) fit each other like a glove! Follow the link below to read more!

http://3dprint.com/11959/3d-printing-wearable/

star_trek_voyager_sevenofnine_jerryryan_desktopwallpaper_800

Wearable technology is the name given to clothing or accessories that incorporate digital elements, whether practical or for purely aesthetic reasons. The famous Google Glass technology is one example but things such as smartwatches or the coyly named CuffLinc, which contains a tiny wireless device allowing users to send signals to their contacts at the touch of a button, are becoming more and more common. The days of the Star Trek Cyborg are not yet upon us but only just…

On a more earthly note, the design consultancy firm zero360 and the companyIndustrial Plastic Fabrications have teamed up to create a prototype for a wristband that can detect the biosigns of its wearer. Using an Object500 Connex3 Color Multi-Material 3D Printer from Stratasys, designers were able to choose from a multitude of colors for the wristband. A total of 10 color palates were created for the bands and those palates can be further combined to create 46 different options.

It’s no surprise that more and more companies are becoming involved in the wearable technology market. ResearchMoz, home of the world’s fastest growing market research reports collection, predicted that by 2018 the global wearable technology market will reach approximately $5.8 billion.

biodata-wristbands

It’s not all about the way these things look, however. Ergonomics plays an important role in the design and production of wearable technology. Director of Product Design at zero360, Luke Guttery, discussed the relationship between materiality, comfort, and 3D printing in a recent interview with TCT magazine:

“Comfort is a really important factor in sustained engagement, so being able to rapid prototype these is a key part of the development process. Also, the Objet Connex’s flexible material is very durable and is as good as casting, which is a massive plus, as it’s quicker to produce.”

If time is money, the use of 3D printing to create these objects really is a worthwhile investment as it takes only a few hours to print one of the wristbands from zero360. In addition, by making use of the Objet500 Connex3’s capacity for printing in multiple colors, any one print can run 46 colors in multiple materials. This flexibility allows for many different multi-material design variations to be prototyped at the same time.

Beyond the timesaving, there is also less material wasted when producing the wristbands in this way. In fact, Guttery estimated that there is approximately an 85% savings in material used when compared to casting as a production method.

Whether used as a method for prototyping or to create a finished product, we can expect to see more 3D printing in the process of creating wearable technology, significantly expanding both the ergonomics and the aesthetics of these functional fashion statements. Let’s hear your thoughts on this story in the3D printed wearables forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | AUGUST 15, 2014