A modern twist on the age old cliche “Stop and smell the roses” urban art project Mysterabbit is taking the world by storm. From South Korea to the United States thousands of tiny meditating bunny statues are appearing in random spots in across the world.
The project aims at encouraging hurried city residents to slow down and enjoy life’s small pleasures. Speaking on the project Ji Lee and his team of public art enthusiasts stated “we hope [Mysterabbits] will stop people from their daily routine for a brief moment, make them wonder about their mysterious, newly found gift”. To find out if Mysterabbit sculptures have already reached your town check out the map on the Mysterabbit website.
The public is actively encouraged to get involved in the project with a blueprint for the Mysterabbit sculptures available online to print on your own 3D printer. Free sculptures can also be ordered directly through the Mysterabbit website however expect a wait due to growing demand for these sculptures. Belfast based Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing bureau LPE have decided to show support for this project by producing 200 free Mysterabbit sculptures which they will be giving away at the TCT Show + Personalize later this month (25th & 26th September), simply visit their stand F42 at the NEC Birmingham for your free model.
This week 124 years ago Dan Rylands of Hope Glass Works, Yorks, patented the worlds first screw bottle top. Despite changes in the materials, and overall aesthetics the screw bottle cap remains a prominent feature of the packaging industry and to mark this anniversary we take a look at the role of Rapid Prototyping can play in the packaging industry.
Regardless of industry, packaging can prove more important than the product itself when it comes to sales, it is the first thing a customer sees and can be the driving force between someone choosing your brand over one of your competitors. Getting the design of packaging right (in terms of both functionality and aesthetics) within tight project lead times and on budget can prove challenging and it is here that Rapid Prototyping proves a useful tool for the packaging industry.
Prototype models can be produced in a range of near production grade plastics suitable for functionality testing. Stereolithography can be used to produce high detailed, accurate models ideal for testing of blister pack fit, shelf footprint and overall functionality. In addition to offering a transparent model, water safe Watershed SLA resin also allows for design verification of liquid packaging.
Snap fits and living hinges can also be faithfully recreated in Nylon, from 3D CAD data using the Selective Laser Sintering process. Low volume runs of living hinges can also be achieved through Vacuum Casting using PX205 resin.
For firms wishing to move ahead with the creation of marketing materials prior to receipt of final packaging prototypes can be hand finished to simulate final production units for photography purposes.
By Roisin McLaughlin
It appears that 3D printed food is even closer to science fact than fiction as NASA award a grant of US$125,000 to American manufacturer SMRC (Systems and Materials Research Consultancy), a Texas based company which plans to develop a 3D food printer suitable for use in long-duration manned space flights.
NASA’s senior public affairs officer, David Steitz said that the projects ability to address issues of shelf life, taste and nutrition were key drivers in the decision to fund SMRC’s project.
“NASA is funding this feasibility study on 3D printing of foods to determine the capability of this technology to enable nutrient stability and provide a variety of foods from shelf-stable ingredients, while minimizing crew time and waste”.
The 3D food printing device would mix stored micro and macro-nutrients into a paste (based on a digital recipe) to be “printed” onto a heated plate for cooking. The result a quick, hot, nutritious and flavorful meal for astronauts. Taking for example a pizza a 3D printing component will print a layer of dough (which will provide structure and texture) followed by the ink jet printing a layer of tomato-flavored paste and a layer of pizza topping-flavored protein( which will provide flavor and smell).
The project is currently in its infancy, with funding awarded for the initial 6 months feasibility study. If successful the SMRC will then have to move on to a 24 month development period after which eligibility for commercial manufacture will be reassessed.
Images Sourced from : http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/photos/3d-print-demand-pizza-space-photo-181500489.html
A team of researchers at Princeton University have reportedly create a fully functioning cyborg ear, that can “hear” radio frequencies beyond the range of normal human capability.
The bionic ear was created by merging human tissue with electronics using 3D printing tools including an off-the-shelf 3D printer. The research which Princeton’s research team claims is the first attempt of its kind, to create a fully functioning organ, could someday be used to restore or enhance human hearing.
Using 3D printing technology it was possible to merge small antenna (silver nano-particles with cartilage (a hydro-gel and calf cell matrix which develops into cartilage).
Much like a hearing aid electrical signals produced by the ear would be connected to a persons nerve endings, via two wires leading from the base of the ear which are wound around the part that senses sound and connects to electrodes.
Princeton researchers believe that the design and implementation of cybernetics has the potential to generate customized replacement parts for the human body. Ability to combine electronics with human tissue further allows for the creation of organs beyond the traditional capabilities of human biology.
London based SinterHab envision a 3D printed Moon base baked from lunar dust.
Collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory a team of UK architects have developed plans for a modular architectural structure which would be build using microwaves, solar energy and lunar dust at the lunar south pole.
Based on a system of rigid models that can be pieced together to form a structure, and inspired by the formation of bubbles found in nature the team boast that their design and development concept could “significantly decrease mass, costs and environmental impact” as there would be no need to send glue or other building agents to the moon. Lunar dust would be bonded using microwaves and solar energy to heat the particles to the right temperature for natural bonding. Once sintered the lunar dust would produce a ceramic-like material.
The nano-sized iron particles in lunar dust can be heated up to 1500°C and melt it even in a domestic microwave oven. When heated and the temperature is maintained below the melting point, particles can be bond together to create the lunar habitat building blocks. The use of lunar dust helps mitigate hazards of contamination from the highly abrasive lunar dust.
The internal membrane system of SinterHab offers up to four times the volume of classic rigid modules at the same weight shipped from earth. Modules large enough to accommodate a green garden to recycle air and water for the lunar outpost could also be produced, offering higher levels of habitability and enhancing the comfort and psychological well-being of inhabitants.
This construction method is based on the Microwave Sinterator Free-form Additive Construction System (MS-FACS) with Scientists at NASA proposing the use of a six legged multi-purpose robot called ATHLETE , which would hold a microwave printer head, for the construction of walls and dome. Lunar dust would be excavated and manipulated by Chariot rover in bulldozer configuration and then fed to ATHLETE. This lunar dust would then be used to cover inflated membranes of Kevlar, Mylar and other materials.
Four years after undergoing life saving surgery which required almost all of the left side of his face to be removed, Eric Moger (60) has been fitted with a new prosthetic face thanks in part to 3D printing technology.
During a routine operation to remove nasal polyps, Mr Moger was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a condition which causes small growths or polyps to turn into tumors. At the time of diagnosis the cancer was already very advanced requiring surgeons at the University College London Hospital to remove almost half of his face (his left eye, cheekbone and most of his jaw) in order to save his life. The surgery proved successful with Mr Moger now completely cured of the cancer.
As a result of the operation Mr Moger was left unable to eat and drink, he had to be fed directly into his stomach through a tube. The gaping hole also meant he would have to hold his mouth to speak. In the weeks and months following the surgery Mr Moger became increasingly depressed and in desperation he approached Dr Christian Jesson on Channel 4′s Embarassing Bodies.
The show referred him to dental surgeon Andrew Dawood, who used digital scanning technology to create a 3D scan of Mr Moger’s face. A model was then created to mirror the undamaged side of his face. A nylon mould of his face was then grown layer by layer using 3D printing technology. This mould was then used to create a silicon prosthesis.
The prosthesis (held in place by screws in his eyebrow and other cheek bone) combined with a mouth implant creates a seal which allows Mr Moger to once again eat and drink. The silicon mask is secured with magnets allowing easy removal at night with a darker tone silicon mask created for use in summer.
Thanks to 3D printing Mr Moger has received a significant confidence boost stating “It’s transformed by life… It is a great feeling to look in the mirror and see a whole face again. I am amazed at what they have done – it just looks so like me”
See Mr Moger on Embarrassing Bodies below.
Comprising of so many muscles, bones, joint and ligaments the foot is as individual as a finger print. Different shapes, sizes and patterns of movement ensure no standard off-the -shelf shoe can be designed to correctly fit all requirements. For athletes custom fit training shoes can make the difference in avoiding long term injury due to stress and strain on ligaments and muscles and enhance the comfort and efficiency of every step.
Imagine then going into your local sports shop and purchasing training shows customized for your feet. The team at New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. may be bringing that day closer than you think. Using 3D-Printing technology the Brighton-based company have supplied their sponsored athletes with customised running shoes.
In January Jack Bolas ( a member of the Team New Balance) became the first athlete to compete in the customised shoes. Bolas went on to finish fourth out of the ten competing runners.
Bolas was taken to the Brandeis University in Waltham, where he was fitted shoes wired with a hundred sensors each tracking and measuring pressure as he ran the campus track. Motion capture cameras were also placed around the track.
The assembled data was then analysed by New Balance technicians using advanced algorithms and software to create a digital model of the customised spike plates for Bolas’ shoes. Rapid Prototyping software then cut the 3D data into thin slices for print. Speaking on the decision to use Rapid Prototyping technology Katherine Petrecca, manager of studio innovation at New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc stated
“We could make the custom spikes using a traditional injection mold system, but we wanted the athletes to be able to test the shoes very quickly. Injection molding could take months. With our system, it takes on to three hours, depending on the complexity, and you can make multiple parts at the same time”
In addition to Bolas 2012 Olympians Barbara Parker (Britain) and Kim Conley (US) along with 1500 meter World Champion gold medalist Jenny Barringer Simpson are also involved in helping New Balance develop their highly customizable footwear. The goal is to extend the service to non-professional athletes competing in spikes with the eventual goal to revolutionize future footwear manufacturing.
While on holiday last month I ventured into the Krakow Museum of Modern Art only to discover (much to the joy of my inner geek) a Solar Sinter machine designed and developed by Markus Kayser.
Selective Laser Sintering is the process of creating a very precise 3D object from a variety of powdered plastics, resins and metals using high tech lasers to trace out shape based on computer drawn 3D designs. Laser sintering has within recent years become a key tool in 3D printing or design prototyping. The Solar Sinter machine takes this Selective Laser Sintering process and adds and Eco twist.
Deserts occupy some 20% of the earths land surface with two elements dominating, sand and sun. Visiting the Egyptian desert in August 2010 as part of his Sun cutter project led Kayser to realise the potential of a new machine that could bring together these the vast energy source of the sun and the almost unlimited supply of silica in the form of quartz.
Using a sun tracking device the entire Sinter Machine rotates about its base throughout the day to ensure a large Fresnel lens (1.4m x 1m ) faces the sun at all times. Taking direction of computer drawn model of the object the machine moves the sand box along the X, Y and Z coordinates at a carefully calculated speed, whilst the print head lens focuses a concentrated beam of light reaching temperatures of up to 1600ºC which melts the sand. Layer by Layer the object is built and once completed and cooled the object is simply dug out of the sand box.
Objects printed using the solar sinter consist of a rough sandy reverse side whilst the top surface is hard glass. As composition of the sand varies between regions different results can be produced in different deserts and by mixing sand different combinations of colour and material can be achieved.
Watch the video on this process below:
With even the battery used to move the solar sinter machine powered by the sun, could this new 3D printer hold the key to developing a more sustainable form of manufacturing in some of the the worlds poorest regions.
Recent reports indicate that the US military is developing its own range of 3D printers, designed to enable soldiers on the front line to quickly and cheaply produce space parts for their equipment.
By bringing this emerging technology to the battlefield spare parts and sensitive equipment for devices such as GPS receivers and air drones can be produced onsite rather than waiting on parts from overseas.
In a statement released by operations research analyst D. Shannon Berry it was announced that 3D printers small and light enough to be easily carried in a backpack could be used to in place of a massive manufacturing logistics chain when sourcing spare parts for military equipment. Further announcements from military research facilities include the development of 3D printers costing just $700 (compared to at least $2000 for commercial models)
While the development of 3D printing for front-line military manufacturing proves a controversial topic, it further highlights the growing interest in 3D printing technologies and follows President Obama’s investment of $30 million government funding in the development of a national 3D printing center in Ohio.
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