Browsing articles in "3dprinting"
Jun 19, 2014
Comments Off on 3D Printing takes centre stage at 2014 FIFA World Cup

3D Printing takes centre stage at 2014 FIFA World Cup

With World Cup fever taking over at the LPE office and the use of a partially 3D printed exoskeleton featuring in the opening ceremony it was only a matter of time before we got around to writing a post on 3D Printing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

While 3D printings appearance at the Opening Ceremony may have been brief the $20 million contribution by the Brazilian government to the Andar de Novo(Walk Again Project) was perhaps the most note worthy, as a young paraplegic took the ceremonial first kick with the assistance of 3D printing and bionic technology . Headed by Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, the project aims at restoring movement to people who have suffered brain lesions or neuromotor diseases by using their minds to control a exoskeleton which substitutes for the functioning of the lower limbs. The World Cup kick off while symbolic to football fans everywhere has become something much more significant, it has become the first step of a much larger project a project aimed at helping countless paraplegics walk again. (Find out more about the Walk Again Project)

Sporting giant Nike have invested considerably in 3D Printing technology in recent years with an increase in their sporting goods not only designed by also manufacturing using Rapid Prototyping technology. Designed exclusively for its roster of top world cup players, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Neymar Jr. Nike have introduced the Rebento Duffel, a 3D printed performance sports bag. The bag features a 3D Printed that echoes the stud plates on the Magista boot (also designed for the 2014 games) with the lower body also taking cues from the Flyknit pattern on the Magista boot and features Selective Laser Sintering technology. Hand-crafted premium leather upper and straps which seamlessly fits into the base without the need for any glue/adhesive allow for further weight reduction and flexibility. The Rebento also features a custom 3D printed piece of Gold hardware with the player’s name

May 6, 2014
Comments Off on 3D Printing in the Cycling Industry

3D Printing in the Cycling Industry

LS Bike - Selective Laser Sintering

In 2011 EADS, the European Aerospace and Defence group produced Airbike, the worlds first bike built using Additive Layer Manufacturing technology. Produced in Nylon but strong enough to replace steel or aluminium the Airbike was ‘grown’ in one piece using the Selective Laser Sintering (LS) process. With complex designs achievable at no extra cost a range of unique design features were incorporated into the Airbike design such as the auxetic structure to provide saddle cushioning or the integrated bearings encased within the hubs. Despite the technologies capacity to produce complex designs up to 65% lighter than traditional manufacturing techniques, high machine and material costs in 2011 prevented  LS technology from becoming an alternative to traditional manufacturing processes.

The past three years have seen considerable improvements in the range of materials and technologies available, with Rapid Prototyping growing in popularity within the UK cycling industry. In 2012 UK firm Crux Product Design used 3D printing technologies to produce helmets for the Team GB cycling team. Designed to ensure best fit, 3D laser scans were created for each individual athlete with these scans used to develop the 3D CAD data. Rapid Prototyping was used to convert designs into physical prototype models over night. The prototypes were then used as part of the helmet fitting process, giving the athletes complete confidence in final fit and function of their Olympic cycling helmets.

Team GB Cycling Helmet - Rapid Prototyping


Not just a tool for accessory design verification Rapid Prototyping has proven popular in the design verification of various bicycle components. UK based Brompton Bicycle have incorporated 3D printing technology into their product design process with prototype models used for early design verification and product testing of components such as pedals etc.

Earlier this year British bicycle company Empire Cycles created the worlds first 3D printed titanium bike frame. Specialising in the design and manufacture of bikes specifically tailored to the demanding performance requirements of mountain bikers and downhillers, a significant challenge for Empire Cycles was the reduction of overall bike weight, carbon fiber while lighter would be more likely to suffer damage when “chucking yourself down a mountain”. By using 3D printing technology it was possible for all unnecessary materials to be removed allowing for a weight saving of 44% against the original aluminium alloy seat post and a 33% weight saving against the original bike frame, with further weight reductions possible on future design iterations. The use of additive manufacturing technologies allows all the advantages of a pressed steel monocoque construction used in construction of motorbikes and cars, without the need for significant tooling investment.

Worlds First 3D printed Bike


The 3D Printed seat post bracket has been tested using the mountain bike standard EN14766 and not only passed standard by continued to perform without failure to 6 times the standard. Testing of the bicycle and frame will continue both in lab and on mountainside with the project aim to produce a fully functional bicycle.

There are no immediate retail current plans for the Ti Trail Bike however it presents an interesting glimpse into the future of bike manufacturing




Apr 28, 2014
Comments Off on Helping young people design & 3D Print assistive technologies.

Helping young people design & 3D Print assistive technologies.

Hereward 3D is a collaborative project between Hereward College and The University of Warwick funded by The University of Warwick Science Park. This project combines the students at Hereward College expert knowledge of young people using assistive technology with Warwick University’s expert knowledge of 3D printing technologies, with the aim of empowering young people to design and 3D print assistive technologies tailored to their own specific needs.

Since September 2013, staff and student tutors from the WMG and the Department of Computer Science have been working with Hereward students at a weekly workshop. One of the collaborations ongoing projects involves the design and production of a bespoke iPhone Communication Aid Mount for a wheelchair user as shown below.

iPhone mount for wheelchair user developed by Hereward 3D

A proactive project, Hereward 3D shows how 3D Printing technology can be used to improve the quality of life and increase independence for those living with disability. To check out the projects progress visit the Hereward 3D webpage.


Mar 24, 2014
Comments Off on Could Selective Laser Sintering hold the future for athletic footwear design?

Could Selective Laser Sintering hold the future for athletic footwear design?

Much has changed since the first Modern Olympics was held in Athens, Rome in 1896. From a private funded, little publicized event the Olympics has grown in popularity to become a highly anticipated sporting event with some 200 nations competing  across the various events.

Fierce competition within the running events means victory is often won by seconds rather than minutes, for example the men’s 100 meter dash, with approximately 2% of a percentage difference separating current record holder Usain Bolt and 5th ranked fastest runner of all time Nesta Carter. Therefore shaving just 3.5 % off a runners time can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

French engineering and design student, Luc Fusaro aims to provide runners with the key to  unlocking this 3.5 second difference, a 3D Printed running show branded “Designed to Win”.

Unlike existing custom footwear where slight changes to material or spikes allow for cosmetic customization, it is at a structural level the customization occurs for the “Designed to Win” footwear. Scans are taken as the athlete performs  a number of different athletic feat such as jumping off a box or running with these scans then used to tweak performance of the shoe. Once tweaks have been finalized the shoe is then build layer by layer in a Nylon powder using the Selective Laser Sintering (LS) process.

The resulting shoe weighs just 96 grams, making it the lightest racing shoe to  date (the super light Nike Mayfly weights 136 grams). Currently Fusaro is tweaking to pattern of the material to achieve the required level of flexibility. With the structure all about functionality the gold coating and spikes ensure the final product will look really neat. Fusaro hopes to debut fully functional “Designed to Win” footwear in 2016.


Sep 27, 2013
Comments Off on Digital Grotesque – the new face of architecture.

Digital Grotesque – the new face of architecture.

3D Printed Digital Grotesque


Entering into the grand 16 square meters of “Digital Grotesque” you could easily mistake it for the intricate interior of a Baroque cathedral in fact what stands before you is the first ever “fully immersive, solid, human-scale enclosed structure entire 3D printed out of sand.

Designed and developed by Swiss architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, the 11 tonne structure exhibits an impressive 260 million surfaces with a layer resolution of 0.13mm.

Speaking on the projects website the team describe the project as “neither foreign nor familiar” as it straddles both chaos and order  and the natural and artificial. The building was not created by traditional design methods rather by an algorithm which at its most basic level gradually refines and enriches a simple input form. Their website stated “any reference to nature or existing styles are not integrated into the design process, but are evoked only as associations in the eye of the beholder”

The project took 13 months to complete with the entire structure built in just one month! Less concerned with functionality than with the expressive formal potentials of digital technologies, the work of Hansmeyer and Dillenburger examines the spatial experiences and sensations that these technologies enable.

Watch the video below

Digital Grotesque . Printing Architecture from Digital Grotesque on Vimeo.


Jul 23, 2013
Comments Off on Additive Manufacturing undergoes hot fire testing at NASA

Additive Manufacturing undergoes hot fire testing at NASA

A strong supporter of Additive Manufacturing technologies, NASA has long recognized the potential of this technology to significantly reduce the production time and costs not only within the aerospace industry but across a wide range of industries.

A recent partnership between NASA and provider of propulsion and energetics to the space sector Aerojet Rocketdyne may have brought Additive Manufacturing technologies one step closer to use in full scale production of critical aerospace components.

Suitability testing took the form of hot fire testing where a rocket injector assembly underwent a series of firings of a liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen. This injector component forms the heart of a rocket engine representing a lions share of the overall cost of rocket engine systems. Using traditional manufacturing techniques the injector would take more than a year to produce however the use of Additive Manufacturing tecnologies cuts this lead time to less than 4 months and reduces cost of production by 70%.

The successful completion of testing has marked a significant boost for additive manufacturing for use in rocket engines, with Carol Tolbert, manager of the Manufacturing Innovation Project at NASA Glenn Research Centre, stating ‘these successful tests let us know that we are ready to move on to demonstrate the feasibility of developing full-size, additively manufactured parts’

Jul 9, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printers now available in store!

3D Printers now available in store!

Electronics giant Maplin is set to be the first high street retailer to sell 3D printers for use in the home.

The Velleman K8200 will retail at £700.00 and allow customers to build any object layer by layer from virtual 3D modelling software, provided it is below 20cm³. Certain restrictions will apply such as the ability to only print one colour at a time. However with a choice of 8 print colors available, and replacement cartridges costing only £30 for 1kg,  it will be possible to print your multicolored design in separate pieces and attach them together later.

Speaking on the Velleman K8200 Mr Meakin, Commercial Director at Maplin stated “We selected this model primarily because it offers high performance printing at an affordable price, making it accessible to our customers. In additiona, it requires assembly before use, which fits with the ‘build it yourself’ ethos so central to Maplin’s heritage. Part of this enjoyment lies in putter the kit together, so users are not just investing in a great product, but an experience too”

We at 3D Printing News are looking forward to seeing just what this printer can do in stores later this year!


Jun 17, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printer saves baby’s life.

3D Printer saves baby’s life.

3D Printed Splint

PCL splint produced on 3D Printer saves baby’s life.
Source: MSNNow

When 6-month-old baby Kaiba suddenly couldn’t breath his parents knew something was horribly wrong. Doctors initially suspected that Kaiba had probably just breathed something in however it happened again a couple of days later and continued to happen every day. Further investigation revealed the obstruction was caused by a rare condition known as bronchial malacia, a blockage that affects respiration. Treatment would require the insertion of a splint to hold the air passage open and allow the tissue to grow and heal around it properly.

To date the FDA has not approved 3D Printed components for use in humans, but with time of the essence special dispensation was granted for this radial approach., making baby Kaiba the first human subject to test this procedure. To produce the splint Kaiba was first imaged, to allow for extremely accurate dimensions to be used in the creation of  a computer model. This CAD file was then set to print requiring approximately a day for the tiny custom splint to be fully formed.

The splint was produced in  3D print material Polycarprolactone (PCL), a material often used in medical applications including as a filler to close gaps left in the skill following brain surgery. As PCL degrades over time yet is strong enough to offer the necessary support there will be no need to operate to remove the stint once the bronchus has healed in the proper position. 15 months on from surgery Kaiba is doing well and can now breathe on his own.

No official policy on bio-printing body parts has been agreed by the FDA however as 3D printing technology becomes increasingly sophisticated it is likely that a decision will be required sooner rather than later.

Jun 10, 2013
Comments Off on World Leading 3D Printing artist Josh Harker to Discuss the Future of The Revolution at TCT Show

World Leading 3D Printing artist Josh Harker to Discuss the Future of The Revolution at TCT Show

As 3D printing technology advances, designers who can apply both heuristic thinking and creativity to their designs – and build them successfully – are succeeding in pushing the boundaries of the medium. Josh Harker is one of the world’s best-known artists working in the 3D printing field for this very reason, and he is one of the TCT Show’s most hotly-anticipated speakers when the event hits the Birmingham NEC for its 18th edition on the 25th and 26th of September 2013.

A native of the Mississippi River region, Harker had an alternative upbringing – foundations that may well have given him his talent for thinking outside of the box. His childhood was centred around post-‘

60s off-grid communal living, where he was raised with “complete artistic immersion” plus the occasional evening of being babysat by the Hell’s Angels. He eventually left that world to study at Kansas City Art Institute and St Ambrose University in Iowa, later pursuing anatomy and forensic arts, and working as a commercial sculptor and in product development.

Harker first got involved in 3D printing in the early ’90s after struggling to translate his art from two dimensions to three dimensions. However, the state of the technology at the time was not up to the standards it is now and  admits that it took him a further decade for 3D printers to build his designs to the standard he was looking to achieve. The artist, however has never looked back and said: “Simply having a medium that allows me to create my art as I envision it is excitement enough.”

Harker explains that one of the reasons why he is excited about speaking at the TCT Show this September is because he relishes the chance to communicate with those who, like himself, are passionate about 3D printing and the myriad ways the technology can be used. “Events like the TCT Show bring together a wonderful group of people with a specific interest in what’s going on, so I’m excited about being part of that,” he stated. He added that it is events such as these that bring 3D printing artists together. This, he noted, is a growing community as new developments draw in more and more practitioners.

The theme of Harkers presentation will be The Empowered and the Liberated in the Future of the Revolution. “I will be using my experiences to illustrate the changing paradigm of how artists and designers create and connect with an audience. Also, how a new world of options is opening up for the general consumer. We are no longer bound by economy of scale, manufacturing geometry limitations, and elite marketing and distribution channels. Consumers are afforded more product possibilities as well as options regarding who and where their products come from.”

Harker believes that the accepted model of bringing a product to market and then selling it gives the consumer fewer choices, all of which come with a hefty price tag. But now, the playing field is leveling and 3D printing is helping to benefit both makers and consumers.

Harker knows about running an enterprise and how 3D printing can transform the economics of a business. He founded a profitable boutique design and development studio in 1998, where he served as CEO for a decade before selling his partnership. “[The] point is that it was a functional and successful business within the current industry. It was – and still is – a small company of about 12 people, [with] approximately $70,000 (£45,083) per month overhead regardless of workload. I now run at nearly $0 overhead and make the same income,” he stated.

Harker will be going into his first-hand experiences of how this burgeoning set of resources, networks and technologies enable these new business models in more detail at the TCT Show, but what is next for the professional’s artistic ventures?

Fans of his Tangled series will be pleased to hear that he is adding new pieces to this body of work, including a piece that is being adapted for fashion, which will be unveiled in Paris in November. Moreover, he has plans for public art works with an architectural bent emerging from the well-known oeuvre. In the meantime, he is expanding some of his current series as well as working on other themes he believes will be well suited to 3D printing. Outside of the art world, Harker is also involved in developing 3D printing technology.

To register for FREE entrance to the TCT Show + Personalize and to the seminar sessions including Josh Harker please visit the

TCT Show + Personalize will take place 25-26 September 2013, Hall 3/3a, NEC, Birmingham, UK

For further information on the programme please contact Duncan Wood, Rapid News Communications Group.

Tel: +44 (0) 1244 680222, Email:

Feb 4, 2013
Comments Off on Mobile goes 3D as Nokia release 3D Development Kit for Lumia 820

Mobile goes 3D as Nokia release 3D Development Kit for Lumia 820

While 3D printing for mobile device development is nothing new Nokia are embracing the growing consumer interest in 3D printing technology with the Lumia 820 3D printing community.

A simple concept the 3D printing community will allow users replace the removable mobile shell with a range of Nokia made casings capable of enhancing user experience, from special ruggedized shells  – for those demanding a more robust mobile casing to shells adding a wireless charging capability allowing chatterboxes to talk for longer.

In addition to these product add on’s the team at Nokia have realised that with 3D printing it will now be possible to take customer experience and the desire for individuality even further with 3D templates available online for users to build their own unique shell casing.

Nokia Community and Developer Marketing Manager, John Kneeland  believes that the future for mobile phones lies in more modular and customizable products, with the hope that some day Nokia will sell some kind of phone template allowing entrepreneurs the world over to build a local business on developing phones specifically tailored to the needs of his or her local community.