Develop body armor inspired by fish scales

http://3dprint.com/56694/scale-inspired-body-armor/

3dp_scale_armor_Professor_Stephan_Rudykh

US Army is Using 3D Printing to Develop Body Armor Inspired by Fish Scales

A collaboration between American and Israeli researchers has produced a prototype of a new type of body armor inspired by the flexibility of fish scales and other naturally occurring imbricated body armor. The armor prototype was designed to maximize the wearer’s ability to move unencumbered while providing significantly more protection than standard Kevlar body armor.

While scale armor has been used for centuries, examples very often had very little in common with the fish scales that inspired it. They were made of rigid plates crudely attached to each other and offering little in the way of maneuverability. But the body armor developed by MIT and Technion does more than simply look like the scales that inspired it and actually creates multiple layers of rigidity and flexibility, just like real fish scales. The outer layers of the body armor is made of stiff plates while being attached to a highly flexible under-layer.

“Many species of fish are flexible, but they are also protected by hard scales,”explained project lead Professor Stephan Rudykh of the American Technion Society. “The secret behind this material is in the combination and design of hard scales above with soft, flexible tissue below.”

The key is altering the shape and size of the scales depending on what part of the body is being covered; this allows the user to have more protection in areas that require less flexibility and a greater degree of motion than typical body armor would allow. The flexibility ratio was calculated using a new metric developed especially for this project called “protector-flexibility.”

3dp_scale_armor_test

The armor is being 3D printed on the Objet500 Connex from Stratasys which allows for multiple printing materials to be used at the same time. This allowed researchers to experiment with altering the density of the scales until they found an ideal ratio that increased the resistance to penetration by a factor of 40 with only a reduction in flexibility of a factor of five.

And the armor can even be customized to suit the wearer’s body and individual preferences, so users can sacrifice flexibility for durability depending on the specific mission requirements. Mission parameters are going to vary between a sniper hiding in dense foliage to a Navy SEAL engaging hostiles. Current body armor options are made of Kevlar fibers and offers a lot less mission-specific adaptability.

The MIT research was backed by the US Army Research Office, which is clearly looking for alternative combat armor options and the prototype will be tested for military applications and for its effectiveness in stopping projectiles. But because of the flexibility of the prototype, varieties of the new type of scale armor can also be adapted to help protect astronauts from ambient radiation or micro-meteorites while performing actions while on a space walk.

This isn’t the first time that nature has inspired advances in technology and it isn’t even the first time that modern 3D printed scale armor has been researched. However, Rudykh and his team have taken it to the next level by bringing the armor to the prototype stage for testing. It is very likely that our future military personnel and law enforcement officers will be custom fitted with 3D printed body armor that was created specifically for their bodies and individual duties.

“Our findings provide new guidelines for developing simple material architectures that retain flexibility while offering protection with highly tunable properties,” concluded the researchers. “The tailored performance of the protective system – with characteristics that can be tuned according to the required movements at different regions of the body – draws its abilities from the microstructural geometry. The ability for a given microstructure to offer different deformation resistance mechanisms is key to achieving the multifunctional design of stiff plates and soft matrix. We found that careful selection of microstructural characteristics can provide designs optimized for protection against penetration while preserving flexibility.”

What do you think about the latest 3D printed advancement that was inspired by nature? You can discuss it on the 3D Printed Fish Scale Inspired Body Armor forum thread over on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | APRIL 8, 2015

3D Printing’s Musical Journey

Friends, customers, printaholics – lend us your ears and join us along a 3D printed musical adventure!

A recent post which featured one of Malta 3D Printing’s favourite little musical toys – a kazoo – inspired us to continue down this musical vein.

To place things into perspective, the 3D printable instruments of today are split into three categories.

Firstly, we have ‘experimental pieces’, which don’t have a conventional equal outside of the realm of 3D printing. Secondly, there are ‘enhanced instruments’, which improve the qualities of an already existing instrument thanks to 3D printing’s unique capabilities.

3D Printing Will Soon Turn This Design Into Reality

Finally, we have replications of existing instruments, which have no real added benefits compared to the traditional piece.

Pictured above is a prime example of a 3D printable musical piece still in experimental stages.

This unusual trumpet is reminiscent of a modern painter’s masterpiece rather than a practical musical device.  While this aesthetically pleasing instrument is yet to be created, there are others which are already in circulation.

The video below provides a quick explanation about a 3D printed flute. Using the powerful Objet500 Connex, this wind instrument’s 3D model was produced using Rhino.

In a different interview, flute player Seth Hunter emphasized the plastic flute’s acoustic similarities to the traditional metal ones. He also noted the slight misplacement of the keys – but remember – 3D printing encourages technicians to fix any minor errors in the subsequent print.

Created by yet another student from MIT, Amit Zoran was not far away from creating an exact replica, and this was way back in 2011. The traditional flute falls under the ‘existing instrument’ category, but our next pick certainly has its fair share of enhancements.

A laser-cut violin made from plywood, this stringed instrument was created by Ranjit Bhatnagar, a sound art enthusiast.

Its’ bulky wooden outer shell provides a stern contrast to the graceful sounds it can produce. Bhatnagar even took his masterpiece to the streets, inviting different violin players to fiddle away. Check out the videos here!

An ‘Enhanced Instrument’ – 3D Printed Violin

(Image taken from Thingiverse)

‘Ranjit’ as he is known on Thingiverse, has a personal page chocked full of free designs for different instruments – including an okarina, organ pipe, spiral panpipes and more.

Next up is another piece seeking to replicate an original design, but this one is slightly different. At four feet long, this home-made behemoth requires many printing sessions.

Clearly, this great bass recorder functions well – and the creator has since improved on his original work. The recorer is made up over 48 inches of PVC pipe measuring 1.5″, a few sections made of 2″ and multiple, custom built 3D pieces.

Created by Instructables user ‘sngai’, a quick internet search will reveal that opting to print this object as opposed to purchasing a store-bought one will save players a lot of money.

Who knows what the future holds? PLA pianos, ABS acoustic guitars and printable drum kits may soon become popular. As the number of 3D printed instruments continues to grow, its only a matter of time before musicians hop on the fast-moving bandwagon!

Why Hollywood’s Interest in 3D Printing Has Exploded

In theaters across the world, fans watch in amazement as lifelike costumes and props take centre stage in blockbuster movies. We’ve all been spoiled by advanced CGI (computer generated imagery), sitting back as we admire an ultra-realistic ocean glistening below a hovering alien mother-ship on screen.

The list of computer generated images is endless, and some movies rely entirely on these graphical reproductions.

Luckily, 3D printing is stepping in to add some much needed realness to our favourite flicks. The Iron Man movie series serves as a prime example – with an untold number of suits having been 3D printed by Legacy Effects for all 3 Iron Man titles.

One of Tony Stark’s Various Iron Man Suits

(Image taken from Wordofthenerdonline.com)

One can only imagine the amount of time and precision required to produce such works of art, and Lead Systems Engineer at Legacy Effects, Jason Lopes, can attest to this.

In this short interview with Bloomberg, Lopes gives a quick breakdown on why 3D printing is rapidly replacing older methods of costume creation.

Lopes states that, as a traditional special effects studio that once relied on high-quality animatronics and sculpting (to name a few), it was essential that they kept up to date with the latest technological trends.

Besides the impressive Iron Man suit on their resume, Legacy Effects have also produced models for other smash hits like Real Steel and Pacific Rim. The ‘Noisy Boy’ a fully-operational, hydraulic robot created for the Real Steel feature film, reportedly costed tens of thousands of dollars to complete.

The video below titled ‘3D Printing is Revolutionizing Special Effects’ sees the team behind Legacy Effects going in detail about how additive manufacturing is changing their work lives. Sculptors are now expanding their skill sets, substituting stone age sculpting for futuristic 3D printing.

While Legacy Effects remains an alpha male of the 3D printing prop and costume world, others are also making a name for themselves. According to 3DPrintingIndustry.com, Terry Gilliam – the world famous writer, director and actor – requested a cutting edge movie prop for his new movie, ‘The Zero Theorem.’

Of course – it had to be 3D printed – and Gilliam reportedly selected FATHOM and North Design Labs to craft this space-age device. North provided the creative mojo while FATHOM delivered in the technical department, a combination which resulted in this movie prop:

Movie Prop for Sci-Fi Flick ‘The Zero Theorem’

(Image taken from Article.wn.com)

This convincing, alien gadget gets plenty of screen time, housing a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and acting as a interactive mini-computer. According to 3DPrinterWorld.com, the entire device was 3D printed and assembled within a couple of days.

It was printed by an Objet500 Connex, a high-range printer capable of printing numerous materials in a single session.

The Awesome Objet500 Connex

(Image taken from Stratasys.com)

Not only are these exciting products being sold to mega-rich movie companies, but mega-rich customers too. According to techeblog.com, the cleverly named ‘Iron Man Factory’ situated in Shenzhen, China, is producing replicas that cost an arm and a leg.

At $35,000, the 3D printed, carbon-fiber Iron Man suit is hardly going to be selling like hotcakes, but is sure to tickle serious fans’ fancy.

Less wealthy Iron Man aficionados out there can also settle for the non-3D printed version for only $2,000 dollars.

These are only the beginnings of a very promising lunge into the movie industry. It’s no surprise Hollywood is taking notice of 3D printing – as time constraints become greater – faster, rapid prototyping methods of production will quickly gain precedence.

Albeit expensive, 3D printing has too many advantages not to be taken seriously.

Why Hollywood’s Interest in 3D Printing Has Exploded

In theaters across the world, fans watch in amazement as lifelike costumes and props take centre stage in blockbuster movies. We’ve all been spoiled by advanced CGI (computer generated imagery), sitting back as we admire an ultra-realistic ocean glistening below a hovering alien mother-ship on screen.

The list of computer generated images is endless, and some movies rely entirely on these graphical reproductions.

Luckily, 3D printing is stepping in to add some much needed realness to our favourite flicks. The Iron Man movie series serves as a prime example – with an untold number of suits having been 3D printed by Legacy Effects for all 3 Iron Man titles.

One of Tony Stark’s Various Iron Man Suits

(Image taken from Wordofthenerdonline.com)

One can only imagine the amount of time and precision required to produce such works of art, and Lead Systems Engineer at Legacy Effects, Jason Lopes, can attest to this.

In this short interview with Bloomberg, Lopes gives a quick breakdown on why 3D printing is rapidly replacing older methods of costume creation.

Lopes states that, as a traditional special effects studio that once relied on high-quality animatronics and sculpting (to name a few), it was essential that they kept up to date with the latest technological trends.

Besides the impressive Iron Man suit on their resume, Legacy Effects have also produced models for other smash hits like Real Steel and Pacific Rim. The ‘Noisy Boy’ a fully-operational, hydraulic robot created for the Real Steel feature film, reportedly costed tens of thousands of dollars to complete.

The video below titled ‘3D Printing is Revolutionizing Special Effects’ sees the team behind Legacy Effects going in detail about how additive manufacturing is changing their work lives. Sculptors are now expanding their skill sets, substituting stone age sculpting for futuristic 3D printing.

While Legacy Effects remains an alpha male of the 3D printing prop and costume world, others are also making a name for themselves. According to 3DPrintingIndustry.com, Terry Gilliam – the world famous writer, director and actor – requested a cutting edge movie prop for his new movie, ‘The Zero Theorem.’

Of course – it had to be 3D printed – and Gilliam reportedly selected FATHOM and North Design Labs to craft this space-age device. North provided the creative mojo while FATHOM delivered in the technical department, a combination which resulted in this movie prop:

Movie Prop for Sci-Fi Flick ‘The Zero Theorem’

(Image taken from Article.wn.com)

This convincing, alien gadget gets plenty of screen time, housing a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and acting as a interactive mini-computer. According to 3DPrinterWorld.com, the entire device was 3D printed and assembled within a couple of days.

It was printed by an Objet500 Connex, a high-range printer capable of printing numerous materials in a single session.

The Awesome Objet500 Connex

(Image taken from Stratasys.com)

Not only are these exciting products being sold to mega-rich movie companies, but mega-rich customers too. According to techeblog.com, the cleverly named ‘Iron Man Factory’ situated in Shenzhen, China, is producing replicas that cost an arm and a leg.

At $35,000, the 3D printed, carbon-fiber Iron Man suit is hardly going to be selling like hotcakes, but is sure to tickle serious fans’ fancy.

Less wealthy Iron Man aficionados out there can also settle for the non-3D printed version for only $2,000 dollars.

These are only the beginnings of a very promising lunge into the movie industry. It’s no surprise Hollywood is taking notice of 3D printing – as time constraints become greater – faster, rapid prototyping methods of production will quickly gain precedence.

Albeit expensive, 3D printing has too many advantages not to be taken seriously.