3D printing – still quite a young space

http://bgr.com/2015/08/25/3d-printer-multimaterial-3d-printing-breakthrough/

3D Printer

Major technological advancement yields a printer that could change the face of 3D printing

While the technology has certainly generated plenty of buzz over the past few years, 3D printing is still quite a young space. Advancements in 3D printing are coming hot and heavy — just think about how affordable this technology is now, for example. Nearly anyone with a need for a 3D printer can now purchase one for just a few hundred dollars.

But affordability is hardly the only area where huge advancements are being made in 3D printing.

A group of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a prototype of what may quite literally end up being a game changer for 3D printing.

“Multimaterial printing” is the term for a process whereby a 3D printer creates objects out of more than one material at a time. The most common use case involves colors — a printer might build 3D objects in two or three different colors at once, rather than forcing the user to create different colored piece separately and then assemble them.

Now, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have created a 3D printer with multimaterial support that can print with 10 different materials at once. Most interesting, perhaps, is the fact that the printer supports not just different colors, but also different plastics and metals.

So, with this new printer, users may be able to print fully assembled objects made of several different materials. But wait… it gets even better.

The team from MIT has managed to build machine vision into its new printer. Using this technology, the 3D printer can correct printing errors on its own, with no input needed from its operators. It can also scan objects that already exist and 3D print directly onto them or around them. For example, it can print circuit boards directly onto an object.

Or, as an extremely basic example, imaging placing your smartphone in the device and having it 3D print a protective case around it.

More information on the project, which is being spearheaded by MIT engineers Pitchaya Sitthi-Amorn, Javier E. Ramos, Yuwang Wang, Joyce Kwan, Justin Lan, Wenshou Wang and Wojciech Matusik, can be found by following the link below in our source section.

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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 printed shape shifting materials

3D printed shape shifting materials have been developed at MIT, which might be a breakthrough in the creation of shape-shifting robots that may have an influence in surgery for instance, where a robot can shift and move through a patients body without harming it.

http://3dprint.com/9220/3d-print-shape-shifting/

Two 3D-printed soft, flexible scaffolds

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, with the help of 3D printing, have developed a material that can switch between hard and soft. The material is described in a paper in the “Macromolecular Materials and Engineering” journal. It was developed by a team led by Anette Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and applied mathematics at MIT, and is made of wax and foam.

The material was created based on the needs of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agency wanted researchers to create robots that were octopus-like in that they could squeeze through tight spaces and then expand again. After much consideration, the research team decided that the only way they could meet DARA’s needs was to come with a material that could switch between being hard and soft.

“If you’re trying to squeeze under a door, for example, you should opt for a soft state, but if you want to pick up a hammer or open a window, you need at least part of the machine to be rigid,” Hosoi said to MIT News.

To create a material that was able to be “squishy” and rigid, the research team turned to foam and wax. They chose foam because it can be compressed, so that it is smaller than its normal size. They chose wax because it is hard when cool, but flexible when heat is applied. Creating the first batch of material was pretty simple. The research team dipped ordinary polyurethane foam in melted wax. Next, they encouraged the foam to soak up the wax by squeezing it.

During the next testing phase, the researchers 3D-printed the foam that they used in a lattice pattern instead of using regular polyurethane foam. They found that the 3D-printed foam worked better, perhaps because the research team was able to design the structure of the foam.  The way in which they enabled the material to harden or soften was by heated it via copper wires.

A potential application of the material is use in surgical robots. Because robots made of this material could change states at will, they would be able to move through a patient’s body without damaging it. Search and rescue missions are another potential use of the new technology. Robots made of the phase-changing material would be able to go where human emergency responders cannot, looking through rubble,  for survivors during catastrophes.

Now the research team is looking into using other materials that can be used for robotics in a similar way as the wax/foam combination. According to MIT News, the researchers are looking at fluids that have particles suspended inside them to see if they too can be made to switch from soft to hard in the presence of a magnetic or electrical field. Let’s hear your opinion on this 3D printed material in the shape shifting material forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below showing the material in action.

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by  | JULY 16, 2014