A brief history of 3D printing

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/the-evolution-of-3d-printing

A 3D printer used by a clinic in France to create skull and facial implants.

A brief history of 3D printing

On that evening, more than three decades ago, when he invented 3D printing, Chuck Hull called his wife.

She was already in her pyjamas, but he insisted that she drive to his lab to see the small, black plastic cup that he had just produced after 45 minutes of printing.

It was March 19, 1983. Hull was then an engineer working at a U.S. firm that coated furniture with a hard plastic veneer. As part of his work, he used photopolymers — acrylic-based liquids — that would solidify under ultraviolet light. Hull thought the same sort of process might be used to build a three-dimensional object from many thin layers of acrylic, hardened one after another, with targeted UV light from a laser beam.

Hull pursued his research on nights and weekends until finally sharing his eureka moment with his wife, Anntionette.

“I did it,” he told her simply.

Chuck Hull, inventor of the 3D printer

Hull took out a series of patents on his invention and went on to co-found a company, 3D Systems, that remains a leader in the field. Last year, the 75-year-old was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Hull’s invention launched a wave of innovation. Design engineers embraced 3D printers as the answer to their prayers: Instead of waiting weeks or months to have new parts produced, they could design them on computers and print prototypes the same day.

3D printers have since evolved and can now use all kinds of materials, including metals, ceramics, sugar, rubbers, plastics, chemicals, wax and living cells. It means designers can progress rapidly from concept to final product.

Advances in the printers’ speed, accuracy and versatility have made them attractive to researchers, profit-making firms and even do-it-yourselfers.

The cost of the machines has also dropped dramatically, which means it’s easy for home inventors to enter the field. Home Depot sells a desktop version for $1,699 while Amazon.com markets the DaVinci Junior 3D printer for $339.

The machines have been used to print shoes, jewellery, pizza, cakes, car parts, invisible braces, firearms, architectural models and fetal baby models (based on ultrasound images).

The wave of innovation triggered by the 3D printer is only now beginning to crest in the field of medicine. Researchers are racing to engineer implantable livers, kidneys and other body parts with the help of 3D printers.

In Canada, scientists are using 3D bioprinters as they work toward creating new limb joints made from a patient’s own tissue, and implantable skin for burn victims.

ottawacitizen.com

by Andrew Duffy | August 28, 2015 2:00 PM EDT

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3D printed shoes – check it!

Would You Wear a 3D Printed Shoe?

http://3dprint.com/47574/3d-printed-shoes-3/

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Only a couple years ago, the thought of 3D printing shoes was one that simply did not make sense. This was especially the case when it came to doing so on desktop fused filament fabrication (FFF) based 3D printers. Recently with the influx of new material options available for 3D printing on these machines, we have seen many new uses for the technology.

We have reported on several instances where companies and individuals have created clothing, accessories such as purses and smartphone cases, and even entirely 3D printed shoes. Now, one Taiwanese company, called Lung x Lung Design, hopes to take this a step further.

The co-founder of Lung x Lung, Min-Chieh Chen, has been obsessed with designing and architecture for a good portion of his life, and has a keen interest in digital fabrication.

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“I’m a designer with an architectural background, having a strong interest in overcoming the limitations of digital fabrication,” Chen tells 3DPrint.com. “Normally I will build one bigger project with one technology, once a year, such as using CNC, laser cutting, high speed cutting machine, and 3D printing. It’s always cool to design and make things by ourselves.”

Chen has owned a FlashForge 3D printer since 2012, and has continuously been experimenting with different ideas. Last year he 3D printed a Hex Chain 3D Dresswhich was a remix of another design he found on Thingiverse. Then later that year, he gained a bit of attention from a walking brace that he had created for an injured duck, using his 3D printer.

This year, he wanted to do something new, something that takes the idea of custom footwear and takes it one step further. In doing so, he came up with a 3D printed shoe that features interchangeable heels. When you come to think of it, the idea is really quite brilliant, especially when it comes to women’s footwear.

“Sometimes ladies need to prepare several shoes for daily activities, such as working, social life, and walking,” Chen tells us. “The nice looking shoes are not always the best ones for walking. So why not design an interchangeable heel system? It’s easy to carry without any problem because it’s flexible and anyone can print their own!”

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With the increasing availability of flexible filaments, shoes can be 3D printed that are comfortable to wear, while also being able to easily be bent and compressed to fit into small spaces such as a woman’s handbag.

It took Chen three iterations before perfecting the shoe design, which is based on a shoe designed by a company called Bata. 3D scanning is used to fit the shoe correctly to the wearer’s foot, ensuring an almost perfect fit. The shoe is printed in four separate pieces including the toe, the heel cup, the sole, and sole’s heel. Because of the fact that these shoes can be unassembled, the wearer has the option of removing the heel portion and replacing it with another size. Perhaps a woman would wish to wear a higher heel for going out in the evening, but revert back to the low heel for walking around during the day. Lung x Lung’s design provides this option.

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It should be interesting to see if Chen continues to iterate upon this design and if he creates any other interesting new shoes in the future. What do you think about this Lung x Lung shoe design? Would you be interested in 3D printing your own at home? Discuss in the Lung x Lung shoe forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3DPRINT.COM
by  | MARCH 2, 2015