3D Printing News

A note of caution to our viewers: many of these products are only available for pre-ordering and have yet to be manufactured. Others are only hopes/dreams. Hyperbole is the language of choice, so be careful!

Additionally, be forewarned that some of the materials you intend to work with, as well as particles and fumes from the printer itself, may be toxic. You may want to read this article for a further discussion of the potential problems. Additionally, here is a later review of some of the known health hazards.

A 47-year-old man is said to be the recipient of the world's first 3D printed eye. The surgery was performed at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Unlike the traditional glass eye, the 3D model is said to give clearer definition and true depth. No mold of the eye was required, as it has been in the past. Instead a digital scan of both eyes is used to be sure that the 3D replacement is accurate. The scans are sent to Germany, where approximately 3 weeks is needed to produce the 3D eye.

Researchers at Scripps Institute in La Jolla, California, have succeeded in creating a 3D model of an entire cell in molecular detail, a goal that has been elusive until now. Complex understanding of biology and computer modeling as well as technical sophistication are required for a satisfactory result. The scientists hope to expand the process to insulin secretory cells and pancreatic beta cells.

Resin-based inks are being produced at 4D Biomaterials to improve patient care and recovery after surgical procedures. The new bio-compatible inks are made of a "revolutionary polycarbonate urethane chemistry". These are then used with DLP to produce finely detailed 3D printed objects. The chemistry of the new resin inks is said to be capable of producing a wide variety of medical products, from those that are soft and pliable to others that are firm and bone-like.

3D Biomodels are said to be a new kind of medical image that is easier to interpret and leads to better surgical preparation and improved personalized surgical tools. This study aims to evaluate the role of radiologists in using the new medical imaging techniques. General procedural guidelines and difficulties that may occur in the process are reviewed.

Sometimes it is difficult to separate advertising from education and research, but this article appears to be of importance. Italian construction company WASP appears to have come up with 5 new polymer machines that offer quicker output and lower costs. In addition to their Clay and Industrial systems, WASP is working closely with Mario Cuchinella Architects and Dior to produce advanced 3D printed offerings. Working also with Honda, the company has made a "collaborative 3D printer" for automotive prototyping to produce a clay-printed motorbike model that eliminates the need for millling.

Scientists at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have developed catalysts that might be useful for cooling engines during hypersonic flight. The research aimed to tackle the problems that occur from the immense heat build-up that takes place during hypersonic flights that take place at 5 times the speed of sound. In theory, a hypersonic airplane could travel from London to Sydney, Australia, in 4 hours were it not for the overheating problem. Using fuel as a coolant is seen as a mitigating factor to alleviate the problem.

A company called "Fit My Foot" says it has developed the world's first personalized slide-sandals available to order from your cell phone. The shoes are being sold in 60 different colors and styles and are said to rival medical-grade orthotics in price and comfort. The shoes use the company's proprietary "Foot Science", which features a "multi-patented mix of biomechanics, 3D-printing technology, and more than 12-million data points collected from real feet, making it possible to create custom footwear at scale."

Occasionally your 3D print project will fail, leaving you with a mess of plastic filament on the floor. Pro's refer to these as "spaghetti monsters". Now you can implement something called The Spaghetti Detective which can be used remotely to detect these issues before they occur and completely ruin your print. The Spaghetti Detective is based on an A. I. failure detection algorithm. It is completely open source from start to finish. The team that developed it claims to have caught more than 650,000 print errors by watching over 47 million hours of 3D projects as they are printing. The process is called YOLO, basically a Convolutional Neural Network architecture. This article explains how to set up the error-detection tool and what are the underlying machine requirements.

Berlin-based Quantica has announced a new printer called the T1 Pro 3D printer which it says can solve some of the problems occurring with jetted 3D prints, for example the tiny inkjet nozzles that cannot handle viscous materials. Quantica's new printer can handle fluids up to 15 times more viscous than the usual jetting systems and can heat them up to 110 degrees centigrade to make them easier to jet and print. They say they have also succeeded in high-pressure jet printing, which makes it possible, for example, to jet print metals. Their promotional material states, "The world’s first printhead and printing system capable of jetting and combining multiple ultra high performance resins with voxel level control, in order to print multi-colored, multi strength and multi functional 3D applications, all-in-one." They are looking for partners to further expand the capabilities of their new technology.

In addition to Covid 19, Nike, and L'Oreal, Time magazine has named 3D printed tuna as one of the best inventions of 2021. The plant-based tuna is produced by seafood company Kuleana, using ingredients like algae, potato, radish and bamboo. The company says its product has the same vitamin B12, iron, and omega fatty acid found in the original tuna, without mercury, plastics, or high cholesterol. Kuleana's products can be found in Los Angeles and some poke bar locations around the U.S.

Plant-based 3D printed steaks will soon start appearing in restaurants. The Alt-Steak is produced by Redefine Meat and uses ingredients like soy proteins, pea proteins, coconut fat and sunflower oil. The Alt-Steak is expected to be sold in Israel this year, Europe next year, and in supermarkets later in 2022. It is expected to cost about the same as a natural steak. It will also be promoted by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White in his U.K. restaurants.

Privateer Space, founded partially by Steve Wozniak, aims to clean up some of the debris left in space as junk. At the moment, roughtly 21,000 object are being tracked in space, 3.500 of them junk. That doesn't include about half a million or more tiny pieces which can't be seen by earth-based radar, like nuts, bolts and screws. Companies like Starlink and OneWeb are planning to launch more than 90,000 satellites over the next 5 years, potentially compounding the problem of space junk. Trying to get rid of this stuff is not as easy as it sounds: you have to be able to see it and link up with it. The process being developed by Privateer Space is described in detail in this article.

We review many hundreds of articles each month, culling the most significant for you. We also welcome suggestions from our viewers for products and processes that we may have missed.

c.Corinne Whitaker 2021