3D printing microscopic fish

http://phys.org/news/2015-08-3d-printing-microscopic-fish-team-method.html

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim

3D-printing microscopic fish: Team demonstrates novel method to build robots with complex shapes, functionalities

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego used an innovative 3D printing technology they developed to manufacture multipurpose fish-shaped microrobots—called microfish—that swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide and magnetically controlled. These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish will inspire a new generation of “smart” microrobots that have diverse capabilities such as detoxification, sensing and directed drug delivery, researchers said.

The technique used to fabricate the microfish provides numerous improvements over other methods traditionally employed to create microrobots with various locomotion mechanisms, such as microjet engines, microdrillers and microrockets. Most of these microrobots are incapable of performing more sophisticated tasks because they feature simple designs—such as spherical or cylindrical structures—and are made of homogeneous inorganic materials. In this new study, researchers demonstrated a simple way to create more complex microrobots.

The research, led by Professors Shaochen Chen and Joseph Wang of the NanoEngineering Department at the UC San Diego, was published in the Aug. 12 issue of the journal Advanced Materials.

By combining Chen’s 3D printing technology with Wang’s expertise in microrobots, the team was able to custom-build microfish that can do more than simply swim around when placed in a solution containing hydrogen peroxide. Nanoengineers were able to easily add functional nanoparticles into certain parts of the microfish bodies. They installed platinum nanoparticles in the tails, which react with to propel the microfish forward, and magnetic in the heads, which allowed them to be steered with magnets.

“We have developed an entirely new method to engineer nature-inspired microscopic swimmers that have complex geometric structures and are smaller than the width of a human hair. With this method, we can easily integrate different functions inside these tiny robotic swimmers for a broad spectrum of applications,” said the co-first author Wei Zhu, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student in Chen’s research group at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego.

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim

As a proof-of-concept demonstration, the researchers incorporated toxin-neutralizing nanoparticles throughout the bodies of the microfish. Specifically, the researchers mixed in polydiacetylene (PDA) nanoparticles, which capture harmful pore-forming toxins such as the ones found in bee venom. The researchers noted that the powerful swimming of the microfish in solution greatly enhanced their ability to clean up toxins. When the PDA nanoparticles bind with toxin molecules, they become fluorescent and emit red-colored light. The team was able to monitor the detoxification ability of the microfish by the intensity of their red glow.

“The neat thing about this experiment is that it shows how the microfish can doubly serve as detoxification systems and as toxin sensors,” said Zhu.

“Another exciting possibility we could explore is to encapsulate medicines inside the microfish and use them for directed drug delivery,” said Jinxing Li, the other co-first author of the study and a nanoengineering Ph.D. student in Wang’s research group.

These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim

How this new 3D printing technology works

The new microfish fabrication method is based on a rapid, high-resolution 3D printing technology called microscale continuous optical printing (μCOP), which was developed in Chen’s lab. Some of the benefits of the μCOP technology are speed, scalability, precision and flexibility. Within seconds, the researchers can print an array containing hundreds of microfish, each measuring 120 microns long and 30 microns thick. This process also does not require the use of harsh chemicals. Because the μCOP technology is digitized, the researchers could easily experiment with different designs for their microfish, including shark and manta ray shapes.

“With our 3D , we are not limited to just fish shapes. We can rapidly build microrobots inspired by other biological organisms such as birds,” said Zhu.

The key component of the μCOP technology is a digital micromirror array device (DMD) chip, which contains approximately two million micromirrors. Each micromirror is individually controlled to project UV light in the desired pattern (in this case, a fish shape) onto a photosensitive material, which solidifies upon exposure to UV light. The microfish are built using a photosensitive material and are constructed one layer at a time, allowing each set of functional nanoparticles to be “printed” into specific parts of the fish bodies.

“This method has made it easier for us to test different designs for these microrobots and to test different nanoparticles to insert new functional elements into these tiny structures. It’s my personal hope to further this research to eventually develop surgical that operate safer and with more precision,” said Li.

More information: “3D-Printed Artificial Microfish” by Wei Zhu, Jinxing Li, Yew J. Leong, Isaac Rozen, Xin Qu, Renfeng Dong, Zhiguang Wu, Wei Gao, Peter H. Chung, Joseph Wang, and Shaochen Chen, all of the Department of NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. This paper was featured as a cover on the Aug. 12, 2015 issue of the journal Advanced Materials. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/adma.201501372/abstract

 

 

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3D printed beef slices?

http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/do-you-still-need-cows-if-you-can-3d-print-beef-slices

Do you still need cows, if you can 3D print beef slices?

Two scientists look at how Singapore is preparing to embrace two leading technologies – 3D printing and robotics.

Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing, as it is more commonly known, is a term that is becoming more familiar, used not only by large corporations and institutions but also smaller enterprises and even individuals.

Simply put, 3D printing refers to processes that produce a 3D part from a computer-aided design model by adding materials successively, usually in a layer-by-layer fashion. These materials can be made of paper, plastic, metal or even organic materials such as tissue from cells.

3D printing in itself is not new. It has been used for over three decades, such as for printing out prototypes for designs or architectural works. But today, its usage has expanded beyond prototyping. Many industries and people now use 3D printing to make things they want, which include producing unmanned aerospace vehicles (UAVs) used in Aerospace and Defence.

As technology continues to develop and become more widespread, we are led to potentially discover new or more extensive benefits to society. In building and construction, the ability to print complicated design structures within a shorter time and with fewer resources would help to reduce housing shortage in countries like Singapore. Globally, this could also help disaster-struck countries to quickly rebuild affected communities.

Due to its game-changing potential, AM or 3D printing is forecast by The Economist magazine to be the third Industrial Revolution.

Today, manufacturers are already witnessing the positive impact of 3D printing technology in terms of enabling greater customisation while reducing costs and waste.

As products are manufactured on demand, this reduces tooling costs and the need to maintain a massive product inventory typical of traditional manufacturing methods.

From a business perspective, we also see companies evolving towards more flexible and cost-effective business models. Some may choose to focus solely on design and leave customers to manufacture the actual product. Conversely, smaller players can now manufacture their own products instead of relying on larger manufacturing chains. Along with lower investment costs and risks, this has opened doors and created opportunities for new entrants within the manufacturing field. These will shake up manufacturing as we know it today.

Companies that now produce spare parts or equipment for big manufacturers may find themselves squeezed out if the manufacturers find it more worthwhile to 3D print the parts themselves.

Shipping too can change, if ships carry their own 3D machines to print parts, or 3D print their own supplies, eliminating the need to stop at ports for repairs and resupplies.

Even space travel can be revolutionised: One exciting area of potential application is 3D printing in space, which can be used to produce necessities such as food as well as essential tools and spare parts necessary for extensive space missions.

Over the coming decades, 3D printing technology certainly has tremendous potential to revolutionise our next phase of development.

The promise of bioprinting – or the printing of live tissue – is immense. This potentially allows us to 3D print a new organ for transplant. Bioprinting has the eventual goal of improving the quality of life whether for transplant patients or for society at large.

It also has clear applications in food. After all, 3D printing allows us to produce meat for consumption by printing them with layers of animal tissue – without the need for animal husbandry or slaughter.

Bioprinting food will also minimise the risk of diseases such as mad cow disease or bird flu by eliminating the need to rear livestock for human consumption.

With the aim of empowering the average home user, the Blacksmith Group invented the Blacksmith Genesis, the world’s first 3D printer-cum-scanner. As compact as a home printer, the Blacksmith Genesis allows users to scan, edit and print any item up to 6,650 cubic cm in 3D easily. This user-friendly device enables users without much knowledge of 3D software to engineer their own products.

The Blacksmith Group is a spin-off from the Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) newly established Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP).

Supported by Singapore’s National Research Foundation, SC3DP was set up to drive research and collaboration towards growing Singapore’s 3D printing capabilities for the aerospace and defence, building and construction, marine and offshore and manufacturing industries.

Taking it one step further is 4D printing, which refers to the printing of three-dimensional materials with properties that will transform according to external or environmental stimuli, such as time, temperature or humidity.

Possible applications that would prove useful are using it to print the soles of shoes or sofas which can then be easily manipulated to fit the shapes and sizes of human bodies.

4D printing might also be useful for printing structures for transporting across dramatically different environments, such as from earth to space. In this case, imagine if we could print a piece of furniture in a compact format that can be subsequently assembled into a larger, complex structure in space.

Given the rate at which 3D printing technology is progressing, it is not difficult to envision that 50 years from now, we could be living in 3D printed houses, travelling on 3D printed airplanes, wearing 3D printed garments, consuming 3D printed food and much more.

The possibilities are limitless.

  • Professor Chua Chee Kai is the Executive Director, Singapore Centre for 3D Printing, at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University.

References:

straitstimes.com

http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/do-you-still-need-cows-if-you-can-3d-print-beef-slices

The world’s smallest phone charger

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150819-3d-printing-helps-uk-designers-develop-the-nipper-the-worlds-smallest-phone-charger.html

3D printing helps UK designers develop The Nipper, ‘The World’s Smallest Phone Charger’

When considering that nearly everybody carries a smartphone these days – in addition to their keys and wallet – it makes perfect sense why so many designers and manufacturers have been actively designing accessories ranging from speakers and cases to stands and sleeves for the mobile devices.  However, the one problem that everybody runs into is also among one of the most difficult to solve: battery life.

Inspired by the need to create a portable, on-the-go power solution for smartphone users that doesn’t involve carrying bulky cases or powerpacks, designers Doug Stokes and Chris Tait of Design on Impulse in the UK recently created what they are calling “The World’s Smallest Phone Charger” – AKA “The Nipper”.

Consisting of two AA batteries and a magnet that reside on a user’s keyring (the batteries are only installed when in use), the 10 gram Nipper is capable of charging smartphones while users are out and about or perhaps most importantly – during an emergency situation.

“The Nipper was primarily designed for emergency use,” explain the designers.

“When all else fails, when all hope is lost – in situations where you desperately need to use your phone but have no access to laptops, electrical sockets, wind turbines or solar panels the Nipper will be there for you.”

The design of the Nipper contains 3 neodynium magnets that are responsible for both making an electrical connection to the circuit board as well as holding the batteries together.  According to the designers, the circuit is actually a “boost converter” that converts the power from the batteries into a 5v power supply to charge your phone.  For today’s modern smartphones, this means that the batteries can supply an additional 10% battery capacity in 30 minutes, and 20% in just over an hour.

Like so many other hardware developers today, Stokes and Tait turned to 3D printing to make their idea for the World’s Smallest Phone Charger real – and have put the concept on Kickstarter to help it gain some traction; already, the campaign has surpassed their $10K goal by more than $3K and it has three weeks left to go.

“If we’re making small volumes of Nippers, we’ll 3D print the cases out of high quality nylon, but if demand is high and we have to make a full Nipper army we’re going to injection mold the cases out of polypropylene,” says the designers.

“The two halves of the Nipper are connected by either fabric or genuine leather straps. The neodynium are nickel plated on the classic Nippers, and gold plated on the premium Nippers.”

While the concept is certainly impressive, the fact that Tait and Stokes just graduated school together and entered a national design competition to develop The Nipper makes the story all the more impressive.

“One moment we were doing our finals and the next we were in the centre of London, working on a product we’d come up with in our flat which we’d been given support to make into a reality,” said Stokes.

“A lot of people who have just graduated are spending the summer travelling or trying to find a job and move out of home. But being able to go straight from university to working in Somerset House every day, where you’ve got Parliament on one side and St Paul’s on the other, is pretty amazing.”

Considering that the device comes in a number of colors and will likely expand to include multiple strap options, the charger is likely to fit with anybody’s style similar to modern smartphone case designs.

For those interested, a ‘Classic Nipper’ can be purchased starting at just $23 over on Kickstarter.

3ders.org

by Simon | Aug 19, 2015

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150819-3d-printing-helps-uk-designers-develop-the-nipper-the-worlds-smallest-phone-charger.html

Drugs of the future

http://smallbiztrends.com/2015/08/3d-printing-drugs-spritam-aprecia-pharmaceuticals.html

spritam

Could 3D Printers Manufacture the Drugs of the Future?

You can now use 3D printing to create items using a wide range of filaments, and not just plastics. Metals, edibles, bio and construction materials are just some of the examples that are being developed for 3D printing.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Spritam, an epilepsy medication made using 3D printers.

This makes Spritam the first 3D printed product approved by the FDA for use inside the human body.

The company that developed it, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, used powder-liquid three-dimensional printing (3DP) technology, which was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late 1980s as a rapid-prototyping technique. Rapid prototyping is the same technique used in 3D printing.

According to the company, this specific process was expanded into tissue engineering and pharmaceutical use from 1993 to 2003.

After acquiring exclusive license to MIT’s 3DP process, Aprecia developed the ZipDose Technology platform. The medication delivery process allows high doses of up to 1,000 mg to rapidly disintegrate on contact with liquid. This is achieved by breaking the bonds that were created during the 3DP process.

If you advance the technology a decade or more, having the medication you need printed at home is not that implausible. While big-pharma may have something to say about it, new business opportunities will be created that will be able to monetize the technology.

As impressive as that sounds, there are many more medical applications in the pipeline.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a website with an extensive database of 3D printing applications in the medical field. This includes the NIH 3D Print Exchange special collection for prosthetics, which lets you print next generation prosthetics at a fraction of the cost of the ones now being sold in the marketplace.

The next evolution in the field of medicine is printing complex living tissues. Also known as bio-printing, the potential applications in regenerative medicine is incredible.

In conjunction with stem cell research, printing human organs is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Currently different body parts have been printed, and the days of long transplant waiting lists will eventually become a thing of the past.

It’s important to remember that a lot more goes into the creation of a medication or other medical break-through than just being able to “print” drugs. Other costs include intensive research and development and then exhaustive testing.

So there’s no reason to believe 3D printing alone will allow smaller drug firms to more effectively compete with huge pharmaceutical firms. But the break through will certainly create more opportunities in the medical industry for companies of all sizes.

Outside of medicine, 3D printing has been used to print cars, clothes and even guns, which goes to prove the only limitation of this technology is your imagination.

Many of the technologies we use today were developed many years ago, but they take some time before they are ready for the marketplace.

3D printing is one great example. It was invented in 1984, but its full potential is just now being realized.

In 2012, The Economist labeled this technology as, “The Third Industrial Revolution,” and that sentiment has been echoed by many since then. This has generated unrealistic expectations, even though it is evolving at an impressive rate.

smallbiztrends.com

by Michael Guta | Aug 10, 2015

3D printing a jet engine and car

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

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

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

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

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

But first, a few facts:

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

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

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

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

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

3D Printing Rocket Engines

SpaceX 3D printed main oxidizer valves (MOVs).

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

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

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

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

3D Printing Jet Engines

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

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

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

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

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

3D Printing Cars

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

Local Motors 3D printed car.

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

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

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

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

3D Printing Houses

WinSun 3D printed house.

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

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

Manufacturing Is a $10 Trillion Business Ripe for Disruption

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

singularityhub.com

by  | MAY 26, 2015