Anything’s possible with 3D printing !

http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/smallbiz-tech/anythings-possible-with-3d-printing-20150422-1mr9w6

A 3D printed reef unit after eight months.

Anything’s possible with 3D printing

The rapid technological development of 3D imagery and 3D printing is so advanced that actors will only have to be filmed once before their image can be replicated for any facial expression; reefs can be transported and rebuilt around the world and soon you will be able to design and print your own surfboard at home.

And it is all happening right now.

Mark Ruff is an internationally acclaimed photographer who has received awards from around the globe. He has set up a company, 3D Body Scan, where 3D imaging is changing the future of motion pictures around the world.

“I didn’t invent the technology but I am certainly using it to my advantage,” Ruff says. “I use an 80 camera, 24 Mpx array, which instantaneously captures a body or face in what is called a near real-time system. Multiple cameras capture a decisive moment in time from many angles. When these frames are edited together, the moment appears frozen as we move it around.

“Time splice is able to provide all levels of production to provide a turnkey solution. This style of imagery resembles 3D modelling: a technique creating a model of a subject and manipulating it in 3D space. The big difference is that time splice captures the real world in 3D.”

Ruff says that in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, where Brad Pitt is born old and dies young, the actor was shot at his own age in every sequence, but 3D modelling and Paul Ekman’s FACS (facial action coding system) allowed post-production to age him and make him look younger, as well as transporting his head onto other people’s bodies.

“The reality is that you only need to shoot actors once now and you can manipulate their image to anything you want for the future,” he says.

Ruff, who says he is the only person in Australia developing this type of technology, is working with Hollywood producers and Australian sports bodies on 3D imagery.

He says the possibilities are endless.

“With broadcast, you can create a ‘fly-through’ effect where a sports player, for example, could appear in your living room; you can create characters for games based on real people; and for the fashion industry, you will only need to photograph people once and you will be able to fit and design garments for them interactively.”

Ruff says once a 3D model is created, it can easily be turned into a figurine and printed in full colour up to 34 centimetre tall.

However, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to 3D printing.

David Lennon and Alex Goad have co-founded the Reef Design Lab, which is dedicated to advancing the effectiveness of purpose-built reef units, as well as marine infrastructure such as jetties, rock walls, marinas and canal estates.

Lennon and Goad have designed the modular artificial reef structure (MARS) to recreate a highly conducive environment for sea life in areas in which natural habitats have been damaged or destroyed by pollution, climate change, destructive fishing practices and other human activities.

Locking together to form a lattice-like structure, each of the modules is rendered with various indentations, undulations and holes to mimic the calcified skeletons of dead coral.

“Another application is repairing reefs damaged by ship groundings,” Lennon says. “It would be possible to survey the damaged reef section, create 3D units on the computer, email them to the 3D sand printer, print the required reef units, ship them to site, deploy them and the reef scape would [be] . . . extremely natural and function very effectively for providing immediate refuge for fish and stable substrate for natural coral regrowth or planting of corals.”

Lennon has worked with James Gardiner, a Sydney-based architect who identified 3D printer manufacturer D-Shape in Italy as a potential manufacturer of constructed reef units.

“James and I created the first prototype design we built and deployed off Bahrain,” Lennon says. “My other company, Sustainable Ocean International, with Environment Arabia in Bahrain won a two-year contract to design and build 10 reefs for Bahrain to help increase fish stocks. We saw the need for a Bahrain-based company that could manufacture artificial reef units to supply the Arabian Gulf market and, hence, Reef Arabia was born and founded in 2012.”

The one issue Lennon faces is cost. The reality is that 3D imagery is expensive and like any new technology, it gets cheaper as more and more people use it and more companies start manufacturing machines.

“The current printer we use would cost around $1 million to buy and set up in Bahrain, so it’s not a simple investment, but anecdotal evidence suggests that this specific unit deployed off Bahrain is performing as well as a comparable-sized concrete unit.”

While 3D printing artificial reefs is a big job, something of a smaller scale is a lot easier and cheaper, such as surfboards.

Gary Elphick started Disrupt Surfing just over a year ago because of his frustration with surfboards being mass produced.

Elphick, who ran a surfing accessory business, thought the individuality of surfboards was getting lost.

“I really believed that there was a better way to design surfboards,” Elphick says. “We originally started looking at the technology and realised that through 3D, we could design and print a surfboard.”

Disrupt Surfing uses 3D printing design technology to make a digital set-up of the surfboard and then the customer can direct the art, finish and design.

“We make a digital file from the customer’s request; we then create a 3D render before we 3D print the design using a new heat-sensitive moulded plastic,” Elphick says. “Next, we refine the design until the customer is happy and then we start shaping before uploading the 3D digital file to the shaping machine before being glassed and sprayed. The board is then ready for surfing.

“At the moment, the process takes four weeks, but the aim is to get it down to four hours.”

Elphick initially started working from home before renting premises on Bondi Beach. However, he only takes online orders.

“We had queues outside our building and it was annoying the landlord and other tenants, so we decided to move to our own premises,” he says.

“At the moment, the business is growing 20 per cent per month and we are intending to expand into Europe in June. We have already formed partnerships with companies in Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.”

smh.com.au

by Louis White | May 10, 2015

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4D printing vs 3D printing

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/4d-printing-is-cooler-than-3d-printing-and-why-that-means-the-end-of-ikea-flatpacks-20150420-1mp2aj

Professor Marc in het Panhuis holds a 4D printed valve that can change shape.

4D printing is cooler than 3D printing, and why that means the end of IKEA flatpacks

Just as you got used to the idea that toys, homewares, even guns can be built with 3D printers, the next phase is upon us. Researchers, including Australians, are already building objects with 4D printing, where time becomes the fourth dimension.

“4D printing is in essence 3D printed structures that can change their shape over time,” said inventor and engineer Marc in het Panhuis​. “They’re like transformers,” he says.

And their applications will be limitless. Imagine medical devices that can transform their shape inside the body, water pipes that expand or contract depending on water demand and self-assembling furniture.

Professor in het Panhuis’ team at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, located at the University of Wollongong, have just built an autonomous valve that opens in warm water and closes in cold water.

The valve is made out of four types of hard or soft hydrogels – networks of polymers – fabricated at the same time using a 3D printer.

Inside the valve’s structure a series of actuators respond to hot or cold water to open and close the valve.

While the valve’s shape change is activated by water, other 4D printed devices transform by shaking, magnets or changes in temperature.

“It’s a widely expanding field,” Professor in het Panhuis said.

“You can buy jewellery that’s 3D printed and changes shape when you put it on,” he said.

US inventor Skylar Tibbits, who runs MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab and coined the term 4D printing, is exploring 4D printing to manufacture furniture that can build itself.

“Rather than receiving a flat-pack and getting your screwdriver out, what he’s postulating is what if you just add a bit of water to it and it assembles itself,” Professor in het Panhuis said.

While its early days, the group are more advanced in their designs of pipes that can change their capacity, expanding and contracting when water demands increase or drop off.

The military is another industry interested in objects that can change shape or self destruct,Mission Impossible style.

“When armies are on the battlefield they leave a lot of electronics behind. What if you could make 3D printed electronics that [once the soldiers leave] undergo transient behaviour once they become too hot, or too cold, or too wet so they completely disappear so the enemy can’t use any of your materials,” Professor in het Panhuis said.

In 2012 DARPA researchers created implantable medical device that could deliver anti-microbial treatment to a wound site but would dissolve when no longer needed.

The electronic devices were made of ultra-thin silicon, magnesium and silk that could dissolve in the body, reducing the risk of a secondary site infection.

smh.com.au

by , Science Editor | April 22, 2015