Of the numerous benefits of 3D printing, reducing or eliminating inventory is perhaps the most appealing to those strapped for space. Due to the implications this feature has for security and military applications, the US Marine Corps is now exploring how 3D scanning, CAD and 3D printing and inspection tools can improve its combat readiness. With the help of 3DS, Marines personnel learned last week how they can create, reproduce and correct a set of broken parts in a quick and streamlined process.

At the Marine Expeditionary Logistics (ExLog) games in Quantico, VA, Marines discovered how to digitize objects within minutes using the Capture 3D scanner, which they could then solidify in a CAD program. From there, spare parts for broken equipment can be printed in a matter of hours on deployable 3D printers for same-day replacements. This “digital thread” represents a closed loop that brings objects from the physical space to the digital realm for regeneration back to the physical world.

The seamlessness of this process is invaluable for entities like the military, though such integration is applicable and appealing in other circles as well. If you need rapid parts delivery, maybe the Engineering Digital Thread is the missing link for your business.

As we reach new levels in technological capability, we likewise heighten our expectations for what’s to come. The demand for new and improved devices regenerates seemingly daily, and as core devices evolve, so too must their accessories. For their part, high-end headphone manufacturer Fujikon, is constantly exploring better noise-cancelling functionality, wireless connectivity and sound quality, as well as innovating more attractive products, all with faster time-to-market.

To accelerate their innovation, Fujikon’s R&D team decided to try their hand with 3D printing, and settled on the ProJet® 7000 after testing and evaluating all the leading 3D technologies. A workhorse in the world of Stereolithography, the ProJet 7000 offers Fujikon the sizeable build platform they need, along with the precision, surface finish and material properties required to assemble, drill and screw printed pieces without breaking. Because it uses two lasers of different sizes, the ProJet 7000 enables Fujikon to rapidly create parts while ensuring feature accuracy and allowing choice in layer thickness. This allows Fujikon to test and create samples with complex geometries that they wouldn’t have considered before.

Fujikon reports that 3D printing has made them 62% faster, allowing them to evaluate designs, verify parts and assemblies, and perform acoustic testing for a sharper competitive edge. For more on their experience and details on their transition to 3D printing, read the full case study.

by David Melo, 3DS Intern

For those that read my blog at the launch of the Millennial Train Project, you know I had quite a week in store as I journeyed across the country with 3D technology in tow. Over these busy days and the experiences I gathered, I’ve come to see the true significance of this trip and have come away with the sense that I am a New Age pioneer, seeking and assisting progress and change along our route. For my traveling companions and me, this time was impactful on a personal and communal level as we affected and enhanced the communities we visited. From the warmth and excitement of the hackerspaces we visited, I know this modern technological voyage was a force of good, and it’s very rewarding to be so acutely aware of the positivity and empowerment we have spread.

We began our journey in Seattle, where we met Matt, founder and owner of Metrix Create Space. Seattle influenced Matt through its concentration of technology, and as a way of giving back, he has dedicated his time and effort to creating a concentrated space for others to get involved. His modern toolkit is equipped with CNC machines, laser cutters, sewing machines, power tools and 3D printers, and Matt is especially excited about the potential of conductive materials in 3D printing.

From Seattle, it was onwards to Missoula, Montana, by way of Whitefish, where we met with Rebecca. Rebecca moved to Missoula from New Orleans to help found a hackerspace as a fellow New Age pioneer. We joined forces with her in the Missoula Public Library to help further her mission to merge technology with traditional academics for a more dimensional educational outcome. She is part of the AmeriCorps Vistas program, which is a federal program dedicated to equipping underserved areas with the skills and tool sets they need to succeed.

We then took on St. Paul, Minnesota. The train ride there was perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip. We turned off all the lights in the train car, allowing the 3D printers to glow in their mellow light, and we held an impromptu jam session using the 3D printed instruments on board, including an electric and acoustic guitar and saxophone. The next thing we knew, there were about 20 people making music on iceboxes and with spoons as we sang along and rode into the night.  It highlighted the power of this technology to pull out creativity and bring people together in collaborative efforts. Not to mention, it was a lot of fun!

Once we stationed in Minnesota, we headed towards Leonardo’s Basement in Minneapolis. There we met Steve and Willis, a dynamic duo who are dedicated to increasing children’s design skill sets and stick-to-itiveness by helping them see their projects through from start and finish. Their philosophy is a positive counter to a culture of instant gratification, and they seek to show children how to fail the right way. In their words, they want future generations to “accept failure as a tool and develop methods to overcome fears and mistakes so that they can become future makers.” Their dedication was inspiring, and I was happy to have met them and know there are people like them out there doing what they’re doing.

The Milwaukee Makerspace was next on our list, and I was again blown away by the true sense of community that I felt there. They had an accessible space with tools ranging from robotic arms to sewing machines to 3D printers and scanners, and they were a great group to talk to and get to know. From Milwaukee we went to Chicago and Pumping Station: 1. The group there was both intrigued and amazed by the CubePro and Sense 3D scanner, and it was fun for me to bring these technologies to them and watch the mental wheels turn as they processed the potential in front of them. I look forward to seeing the outcome!

At the end of the week we arrived at our final destination, and my hometown, New York City. After all the inspiration I witnessed on the rails, I was eager to see what Hack Manhattan would bring to the table. The space was well-equipped with tools for electronics, wood- and metal-work and 3D printing, but they were missing the ability to 3D scan. The Sense and iSense 3D scanners mesmerized them and it was fun to close the gap for them with the power of physical photography.

To everyone on this amazing trip: thank you for your hospitality and inspiration. I’m excited about the direction we’re headed and look forward to keeping in touch. The Millennial Train Project covered a lot of ground (from sea to shining sea), but the journey has just begun!

 

By ScanMaster Flash

Some of you delightful readers may already be familiar with me from the Twitterverse, but I am now branching out as a guest 3D scanning correspondent for different industry blogs, starting with 3D Systems, the creators of my preferred method of quick 3D capturing, the Sense scanner.

All things scanning trace their lineage back to optics, the branch of physics that deals with light. And all things optics trace their lineage back to the Renaissance. 400 to 500 years ago, a lot of smart and creative people starting discovering and experimenting with new materials and began interacting with the world in ways no one ever had before (sounds a lot like the new 3D revolution, doesn’t it?). One of these people was the Italian designer and inventor Galileo Galilei.

Today, 405 years ago (that would be 1609 for those of you not doing the math), Galileo first revealed his invention of the telescope. This was one of the first applications of the optical sciences and laid the groundwork for the entire field. Out of the telescope came the microscope, the eyeglass, and all their higher-tech iterations, from scanning electron microscopes that can resolve details at the sub-micron level, to sensors that can see in the infra-red spectrum -- much like the sensors that give 3D vision to devices like the Structure, Kinect and Sense.

To commemorate this momentous anniversary, I have designed a telescope of my own. This design is very much like Galileo’s original; the one major difference is that mine is designed for 3D printing (which I’m sure Galileo would have loved to have in the early 1600s). While it does not come with lenses for magnification, it does have telescoping action, and once printed, can unfold to 4 times its 3D printed height. If you do happen to have lenses lying around (look for convex), you can attach them to the telescope design and look to the sky exactly as Galileo would have done over 400 years ago… if Galileo had a 3D printer.

 

by Leanne Gluck, Director of Social Impact

At 3D Systems, we believe that imparting digital literacy to the next generation requires more than simply putting 3D printers in classrooms. To become digitally literate, students must engage with 3D technology in a meaningful way. They must do more than download and print files; they must explore the design process itself and all the engineering applications and considerations that go along with it. Imparting digital literacy requires an infrastructure of curriculum, training and support.

We have found that a path of study combining 3D scanning, 3D design and 3D printing allows for ideation, problem solving and the examination of new ideas. It not only teaches students technical skills like CAD and CAM design, but critical thinking, collaboration and communication. As we move towards a competitive future with highly valued technical skills, equipping students with the tools and skill sets they need becomes increasingly more critical for their success.

And yet, for many educators the desire to help their students is obstructed by confusion over where to begin. Although they can clearly see the importance of digital literacy, its newness makes it intimidating. Recognizing this, 3D Systems has partnered with STEAMTrax to gather the resources necessary to integrate and facilitate a curriculum that ties together engineering and 3D printing technology with a core academic base in science, math, language arts, social studies, and art. STEAMTrax engages elementary and middle school students in relevant learning scenarios that are infused with 3D technology, and includes convenient kits to jumpstart classrooms with the necessary materials for each module.

Think STEAMTrax could be right for your classroom? Click here to learn more!

Though it can be easy to think of food in terms of fuel or comfort, in its highest (and sometimes simplest) form, it is also a work of art. In fact, in the world’s premier kitchens, design is nearly as critical to the final dish as the recipe itself. Want proof? Check out this reel of the 50 courses served to honor Ferran Adrià, and prepare to be wowed.

Ferran is widely regarded as one of the best chefs in the world, and in March the team at the Modernist Cuisine test kitchen in Seattle held a dinner to celebrate his newest book, elBulli. The last of the 50 courses was an absinthe service, coordinated between 3DS’ The Sugar Lab and Francisco Migoya, a heavy-weight in his own right who spent many years at the French Laundry. Rather than pouring water over a traditional sugar cube to sweeten and dilute the absinthe, we created a whimsical and vivid Gaudi-like form in full-color sugar.

But the experience didn’t stop there. We also co-designed the absinthe spoon with added Barcelona symbolism, pulling from a set of door handles designed by Gaudi and Dali, as well as the patterning of iconic Barcelona sidewalk tiles. Because we were able to co-design the sugar and serveware digitally, we could make them interact in very specific ways. In this case, ceramic prongs reach up and interlock with the sugar chimney to cradle it in place.

We were greatly honored to work on this project and were excited with how well it aligned with our own philosophy around the ritual of food. The absinthe service we crafted for Ferran highlights the potential of personalized 3D printed edibles and their cultural relevance, which is something we (along with pastry chefs, molecular gastronomists and mixologists) are innately interested in exploring.

Click here to learn more about 3D printed edibles and discover how you can make them part of your next culinary adventure.

 

HOLLYWOOD, CA -- This past weekend, 3D Systems joined in at the Geekie Awards®, the second annual award show by geeks for geeks™. The Geekie Awards recognizes a slew of talents, from programming and gaming, to podcasts, cosplay and tabletop games. The show was launched in 2013 as a platform to give geek culture its moment in the sun and highlight the creativity, innovation and passion that are poured into the genres that comprise the geek world.

Having witnessed geek creativity firsthand and worked with many of the people for whom 3D modeling, 3D printing, and 3D scanning inspire and fuel their passions, 3D Systems proudly supported the show. In addition to sponsorship, we were excited to 3D print the aqua blue Geekie stun-gun trophy through our Quickparts service and bring busily whirring Cube 3D printers and 3D scanners to demo at the event.

The widespread interest in entertainment, gaming, comics, art and fashion at the Geekie Awards amplified the potential of these technologies. In addition to being fascinated by the steadily building printers and instant physical photography, show-goers excitedly turned over the personal applications that could make 3D printing work for them.

What about you? How could 3D printing enhance your interests? Click here to pull inspiration from the masters at the Geekie Awards. It’s never been a better time to be a geek!

Joe Borrello, Marketing Associate and Experience Ambassador

MONTAUK, NY – Even 3D Systems’ number-one scanbassador (that’s a contraction of scanner and ambassador, for those of you unfamiliar with my brand of ridiculous contractions) has to take a break sometimes, and last Friday, I was preparing for that very thing. That morning before coming into our crazy little Union Square office, I got all my bags packed for a week-long trip to the easternmost end of Long Island for some fun in the sun. In the midst of my commute, though, I realized there was something I hadn’t packed: my shovels and buckets. These were essential items for constructing sandcastles (and I ask you, what 21-year-old doesn’t love making sandcastles?). ‘No worries’, I thought, ‘those things are just simple geometric shapes made of plastic. What can make things like that really well? The CubePro printer in our office.’

It was still going to be a challenge, though. From the time I stepped into the office, I had a mere three hours before I would be leaving to catch a train to Montauk – and I didn’t even have a design for the sandcastle yet. I quickly opened my computer, launched some CAD software and began designing a structure that would at least somewhat look like the sandcastle buckets I have been bringing out to the beach since my childhood. Admittedly, the design is a little post-modern, but hey, I hadto optimize it for rapid 3D printing – and rapid it was.

With two and a half hours before my train was due to depart. I was bringing my STL into the CubePro slicing software. Now, 70-micron resolution is a beautiful thing and the CubePro does it well, but this was not the time to use it. With a little more than two hours before my departure, I needed to run this model off fast and functional – 300 microns it is. Boy, was it fast! The CubePro blazed through the model with a speed I have never before seen in a consumer 3D printer (and this is coming from someone who has used A LOT of other machines). Within 15 or 20 minutes, the sandcastle mold was already almost an inch tall. That was great, but that first section had no surface features anyway. What would happen when I got to the “turrets” of my sandcastle? The race was on.

Other work brought me away from our office for about an hour and a half, and when I returned it was essentially time to leave. Was my sandcastle finished? I looked to the CubePro, and, much to my delight, it was! It didn’t look bad either; even at 300 microns, which in 3D printing terms is almost the equivalent of building something out of LEGO bricks, this model looked clean (and even ended up being watertight, but more on that later).

So, the first phase of my mission to bring 3D printed sandcastles to Montauk had succeeded. Now it was time to prepare for the second phase. After a crowded train ride through the Hamptons and a very tasty dinner of PEI mussels, I set out on Saturday morning for the beach, 3D printed sandcastle mold in hand.

The next test, was it waterproof? I get into the surf as a wave breaks in and fill the castle with seawater. No drips. Success. Now how does it fare making sandcastles? I fill the mold with damp sand, run to the drier sand and flip it upside-down. After tapping on the structure a little bit, I lift it away and extract a pretty sharp-looking sandcastle. And just like that, history is made! I am the first person to make a 3D printed sandcastle (if not in the whole world, at least in Montauk)!

As is the case with many first prototypes of groundbreaking (pun intended) technologies, my sandcastle was not perfect. For one thing, it an effort to maximize printability and speed, my object ended up looking more like a post-modern sand castle than the ones most toddlers make on the beach. Secondly, I ran into trouble a few times getting the castle out of the mold. My guess is the castle tapered too sharply and had small nooks and crannies that kept the sand stuck. Also, it was the first time I’d make a sandcastle in over a decade, so I might be a little rusty too.

All in all though, I would say my mission was a success. I went from idea to prototype in less than three hours and went from prototype to childhood in the course of an afternoon. Were it not for the CubePro, I would not have been able to bring my 3D printed passions to the most unlikely of places: a beach at the edge of New York.


Quack-Quack the duck had a stroke of bad luck the day he was attacked by a dog on the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU). The forecast was bleak following his admittance to and operation at the university’s Animal Hospital, where it was determined that the internal damage to his foot would make it impossible for Quack-Quack to successfully put weight on it.

It’s easy to sympathize with the challenges one faces with a loss of mobility, but the resultant dangers skyrocket in the animal kingdom, where mobility is a very real part of survival. Recognizing this and eager to help as best they could, the Taipei Hackerspace and group at Lung X Lung Design combined forces to get Quack-Quack back on his feet.

To work their magic, the team used the Sense 3D scanner to capture the 3D data they needed to create a mold for the Quack-Quack’s foot. Once they had the model on screen, they 3D printed a foot covering and brace that fit the precise contours of the duck’s foot. After a few bouts of trial and error, the team was able to fashion a lightweight brace that allowed Quack-Quack to put weight on his foot and keep his balance without experiencing pain.

With the intervention of this custom 3D design, it is now expected that Quack-Quack will make a full recovery, which is heartwarming news for the teams that put their time and energy into this task, and also encouraging and inspring for a broader base of customized 3D health applications. Click here for more on Quack-Quack’s story.

For many kids, camp is a staple feature of summer, full of familiar fun. As technology evolves however, some camps are introducing a new familiar, as demonstrated by Engineering Camp Charlotte, which has added 3D-modeling and 3D-printing to its activities.

To expand the campers’ problem solving and critical thinking while exposing them to a new way of making, Engineering Camp Charlotte is teaching children how to design and operate in 3D at different entry levels that are accessible to, and expand, the campers’ abilities. Once their designs have been brought to life through 3D printing, they are then incorporated into different camp activities for maximum impact and real world application.

For more on the campers’ experience and their reactions to 3D printing, watch the video below. 

 

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