Rapidshape is a company based in Germany, one year old, which specializes in creation of jewelry, via a process of lost wax casting. There are three Rapidshape S60 models offered by the company, called mini, midi and maxi. The material used by these 3D printers during the printing process is a resin that is photo-sensitive. The three different models look the same, but they differ internally, offering different print resolutions and object sizes.
Rapidshape S60 mini has a resolution of 0.03mm and a size of 84x48x200mm, useful for the production of dental parts and filigree jewelry.
Rapidshape S60 midi comes with a resolution of 0.05mm and it measures 122x69x200mm, useful for jewelry parts.
Rapidshape S60 maxi has a 0.06mm resolution and a size of 150x85x200mm and it’s ideal for all kinds of parts.
The printing speed for all the models is 1 cm at every 10 minutes, which is quite fast for the models available these days. All of them can print multiple objects at the same time, the speed remaining the same.
The S60 printers come with software for internal management, which is capable of storing 500 print jobs, allowing them to be more easily used for production purposes. The prices of the resin or the printers has not been announced at this point.
The MakiBox 3D printer is a small model, which is about the size of a sheet of paper. The builder of this printer is a guy from Hong Kong, called Jon Buford. When released, the kit will cost $350 (out of which $50 is for global shipping), with the version that comes already assembled costing $550.
The concept of this 3D printer appear on Makible, a site which is similar to Kickstarter, but it specializes in getting project funding for hardware. It’s been a success, as you can see on the project page, the project having already full funding. If you choose to support it, you know that it’s already going to be built. It needed 100 supporters and it has 231 at this point, with $93,900 in funding already available.
The MakiBox would be the first affordable 3D printer, good enough to reach the mainstream consumer, not just the hardware enthusiasts that use them as a hobby. It’s also self-contained and simple enough to use. On the same site, the producer of the MakiBox will also sell the plastic that you will use to create objects with this printer. One kilogram of ABS filament will cost $20, plus the cost of shipping. The sizes available will be 1mm, 1.75mm and 3mm.
Organovo is a startup based in San Diego, which is working with the 3D printing to create human skeletal muscle. The 3D printer has a cartridge with muscle cells which were prepared specially for this purpose. The printer will deposit these cells in the petri dish, in lines that are closely spaced together. Thanks to the closeness between the cells, they will interact and will grow, forming muscle tissue in time, which can’t be distinguished from the tissue which can be taken from a human.
This 3D printed muscle tissue could help new drug development, making it faster. A lot of drugs which do well when they’re tested on animals or cell cultures don’t do as well during clinical trials, thanks to the fact that human tissue is different from that of an animal. The 3D printed muscle is a superior choice for such trials, so drug companies will not spend millions of dollars on clinical trials. They will know beforehand if the drug is effective on humans, so a lot of time and money are saved.
Organovo has so far 3D printed different kinds of tissue, including blood vessels, lung and cardiac muscle.The 3D printing technology used by Organovo makes cell interact just like they do when they’re inside a body. The cells are packed tightly and they are incubated, so they will start to adhere to each other, trading chemical signals in the process. The cells will be kept in a paste, where they will align properly, migrating and growing as necessary.
Another possible use for this technology is the 3D printing of organs which could be transplanted. It’s not the case now, since the start-up has only printed small tissue samples, but it might be in the future. This kind of 3D printed organ would be superior to other choices because the cells of the patient would be used, minimizing the chance of rejection.
The Smithsonian Museum has recently decided to create 3D scans of many objects from their collection. Starting with Thomas Jefferson’s statue and continuing with many other items from the museum, the 3D scans will be used in 3D printers and copies will be created for some of those. In other cases, the 3D scans will be kept in digital form, which could be printed later, or they could just be used to help with the restoration when needed.
Imagine how useful it could be for students to have exact replicas of items from museums. These 3D printed objects could be created in the school’s own 3D printer, based on the 3D files downloaded from sites of museums. Just as easily you could have a scale model toy of the Apollo Lunar Module for your kid.
An initial collection of 3D models of primates, fossils and artifacts can be admired on their site right now. As for the 3D printed statues of Thomas Jefferson, the replica was created so it could be displayed in the museum, as part of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. You can see a picture of this 3D replica below.
The possible uses for 3D printed objects could be game changing for many industries and one of these possibilities can already be foreseen right now. 3D printed prosthetic fairings from Bespoke Innovations, a company from San Francisco, are created for amputees, in an effort to offer them something that restores the symmetry of their bodies. Since prosthetics are far from perfect, they are a bit more than crutches, but they are far from being as good looking as a real leg. 3D printed prosthetic fairings could offer amputees a better designed prosthetic, that has the same dimensions as the real thing and they look better as well. They are designed for each person individually, so they will be different in the way they look.
The cost of this custom made 3D printed fairing is between $4,000 and $6,000. They are created according to the wishes and the needs of the client, as well as the chosen materials. If only one of the legs is missing, the company will do a 3D scan of the existing leg and will create the fairing which goes over the regular prosthetic based on that scan. Basically, the company will make your prosthetic look better with the help of 3D technology.
Drexel University researchers are currently working on the se of 3D printers for the creation of robotic scale models of dinosaurs, by creating copies of dinosaur bones. The researchers want to create robotic models of the dinosaurs, in a smaller size.
The first step is the 3D scanning of the bones and getting that information on the computer. Next, a 3D printer is used together with the scan results, to create 3D objects. The method used can be extrusion, but it can also be the forcing of a material which resembles resin, in ultra thin form, through the manufacturing die.
With the help of this technology, it is hoped that scale models of dinosaurs could be created for museums and for research purposes. The researchers that are working on this right now are looking to study the reproduction habits and the movement of dinosaurs, by looking at the robotic scale models and the way they move.[Source]
The Replicator 3D printer is built by MakerBot and it was released at the beginning of 2012. It was designed to create large 3D models and there are two configurations available, in either one or two extruder configurations. This 3D printer can create models using either biodegradable PLA plastic or ABS.
Their initial models of this company, which was created in 2009, were capable of printing models which were the size of a cupcake, but the Replicator 3D can create objects the size of a loaf of bread. The price of the printer with a dual extruder (which lets you use two colors at the same time) is $1,999. The version with a single extruder will set you back $1,749. [Buy it from Makerbot.com]
Curious what is 3D printing? It’s a process which allows three dimensional objects to be created, by using a digital file and a materials printer. It works similarly to regular paper printing of images. The technology uses additive manufacturing to add layer after layer of material, creating the object from the grounds up.
The technology has evolved quickly since 2003 and there are a number of 3D printers available for sale these days. The price of these 3D printers keeps going down and a few companies are trying to create a model that is cheap enough and small enough to be used by regular consumers. 3D printing technology can prove useful in all kinds of fields, including industrial design, jewelry, engineering, footwear, dental industries, education and so on. The list of fields which could be influenced by 3D printing is huge.
In the photo above you can see the original item which was scanned with a 3D scanner. A 3D printer was then used to create the figurine on the right, the material used being a resin.
Welcome to the 3D Printers blog, where you can read about the latest news related to this wonderful new technology that is 3D printing. 3D printers have the capability of changing the way we acquire new products and in the next few decades it will probably keep changing and improving. The cost of a 3D printer is in the thousands of dollars right now and their capabilities aren’t that great, but the potential is clearly there.
Take a look around the blog and learn more about this technology, about the printers available today and the things that are possible with them.