Browsing articles in "Rapid Prototyping"
Nov 17, 2011
Comments Off on Ostrich inspired robot faster than the worlds fastest sprint runner!

Ostrich inspired robot faster than the worlds fastest sprint runner!

Fast Runner

Worlds fastest two-legged robot inspired by nature

From jumping spider-bots, to self flying SLS herring gulls, the animal kingdom provides inspiration for a number of robotic creations, so little wonder scientists have decided to draw inspiration from  one of the fastest creatures on two feet, the ostrich. This robotic project “Fast Runner” is a collaborative project between DARPA (the Defence Advanced Research Projects Authority), MIT and the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IMHC) aimed at creating a fast, light weight bi-pedal search robot that can transverse difficult landscapes.

The decision to base the Fast Runner design on an ostrich lies in the minimal use of energy required for ostriches to maintain a steady speed of 31mph. According to Johnny Godowski (the idea originator behind Fast Runner) “the architecture takes zero energy to carry weight..The legs lock and unlock a lot like a folding table, to support what we imagine will be quite a lot of mass when the prototype is finished… really as much as the legs will hold”

Only one year into the four year research project, stunning results have been demonstrated with 40% of the mechanical design complete, and one full-scale leg machined using Rapid Prototyping techniques. Designs for the rest of the robot’s body have also been prepared, with the final robot projected to weigh only 80 pounds and stand just over four and a half feet tall.

Researchers estimate that the “Fast Runner” will achieve speeds of up to 27 mph, faster than Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man! While these speeds have yet to be confirmed in final testing simulation has shown that the robot can go from a standing position to 20mph in as little as 15 seconds, along with demonstrating an ability to transverse gentle slopes.

The appeal of this project for the DARPA lies in the military applications of Fast Runner as a ground based-drone capable of scouting ahead over rough terrain with no risk to military personnel along with the potential to support troops in war zones through the rapid delivery of supplies.

See the mechanics behind the movement:

Oct 21, 2011
Comments Off on Worlds first 3D printed car on display in Canada

Worlds first 3D printed car on display in Canada

3D printed car - Urbee

Made to last the Urbee's body panels were printed using additive manufacturing technology.

Following 15  years of development, the worlds  first 3d printed car, Urbee has made its debut in Canada. Only one prototype model exists to date but developers at Kor Kor Ecologic are hopeful that commercial manufacturing will begin by 2014.

Built to last 30 years the Urbee, is one of the worlds most environmentally friendly cars running solely on renewable energy. Designed to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum input, the Urbee can achieve up to 200mpg on the motorway and reaches speeds of up to 70mpg on a mere 8 horsepower single cylinder engine. Underneath the cars unique body lies a steel chassis, which houses a petrol and electric hybrid engine. The car batteries can also draw charge from optional solar panels.

The Eco credentials of the Urbee don’t stop there, with the cars entire body panels produced using a 3D printer! According to project leader Jim Kor, the use of additive manufacturing eliminates waste, only placing material where it is needed, with the ultimate goal of Kor Kor Ecologic to use fully recycled-materials for commercial production.

It is also anticipated that the firm will produce a number of other parts using this additive manufacturing technology. This Kor Kor Ecologic claim will make it easier to repair the car, as parts can be printed at a local 3d printing facility.

With extremely low fuel consumption and an estimated price tag of £10,000 – £33,000 the Urbee could revolutionise the automotive industry, but with the second prototype still to be developed and an estimated development cost of £610,00 the team at Kor Kor Ecologic still have a few challenges ahead.

Jul 15, 2011
Comments Off on Automotive giant fast tracks fuel efficiency with Rapid Prototyping

Automotive giant fast tracks fuel efficiency with Rapid Prototyping

Deep within the American automotive giant, General Motors design building lies a high security Rapid Prototyping lab. It is here future products for brands such as Chevrolet, Buik and Cadillac take shape thanks to a team of highly trained technicians, and two Rapid Prototyping processes – Stereolithography and Selective Laser Sintering

Both technologies have been used on a number of innovative vehicles such as the pre-production Chevrolet Volt, with Rapid Prototyping used to streamline the aesthetic design, and facilitate early stage testing and validation of under bonnet system design.  The Rapid Manufacture of components,  intricate sub assemblies and even scale model cats has allowed for General Motors to benefit from considerable savings in time and money as a result of  significant gains in creativity, flexibility and accuracy.

The 2001 Chevrolet Volt

General Motors pre-production electric Chevrolet Volt - designed with the help of Rapid Prototyping technology

In a recent interview General Motors Director of Design Fabrication Operations, Dave Bolognino said “thanks to the rapid pace of production from the Rapid Prototyping laboratory, General Motors aerodynamics lab has been able to double its capacity of testing scale models over the past two years, contributing to improved fuel efficiency on future GM vehicles. He continued by adding “Its a great way to reduce product development time, save costs, and give designers more options. I don’t see any end sight for General Motors use of this technology”

Jul 8, 2011
Comments Off on Rapid Prototyping Webinar

Rapid Prototyping Webinar

Laser Prototypes today announced a free live webinar on rapid prototyping processes on Thursday, July 14th, 2011 from 14:00 pm to 14:35 pm. This webinar will provide an overview of the main Rapid Prototyping processes and the factors which should be considered when choosing the right process for your individual project requirements. Anyone interested in learning about the Rapid Prototyping processes is invited to the informative session. To register for this webinar please click here.

Campbell Evans, Sales Director at Laser Prototypes with over 15 years experience in Rapid Prototyping, will present the session. During the 25 minute webinar. This session will outline the main prototyping techniques available today, including Stereolithography, Selective Laser Sintering, Vacuum Casting and 3D printing.

A live question and answer session will follow the presentation.

About Laser Prototypes

Laser Prototypes are the longest esablished Rapid Prototyping bureau in the UK and Ireland. Since opening its doors in 1991 Laser Prototypes have built a reputation for both quality and reliability, offering high quality prototype models to a wide range of customers, across all industry sectors, on time and on budget.

Jun 13, 2011
Comments Off on Shoemaker grows business with 3D Printing

Shoemaker grows business with 3D Printing

The UK based, global shoe manufacturer Clarks has transformed its product development process with the aid of 3D printing technology.

Clarks 3D Printed Shoes
3D printed prototypes reduce product development lead times and costs for Clarks


Breaking away from the traditional approach to shoe design, Clarks has introduced 3D printing to their design process, leading to considerable savings in both development costs and lead times. The traditional approach begins with hand sketches on paper, which are reviewed and revised several times over until a product concept is approved. The upper materials are then sourced and the concept sent to a shoe factory, and then you wait for several weeks for the sample show to arrive. The sample is then reviewed and original sketches once again revised and modified prototypes ordered until the final product design is reached.

For Clarks this lengthy and often costly design process has been thoroughly modernised with the help of 3d printing technology. After the initial paper sketch, designs are moved to 3D CAD software where designs can be manipulated with minimal effort until product managers are happy with the on-screen concept. And then with the simple push of a button a prototype shoe can be quickly printed in the design office, shrinking the design process significantly.

For Clarks digital development manager Ross Arthurs 3D printing has allowed Clarks to “respond to the market faster than ever” and “to evolve from the best shoemakers in the world into the best innovators in the world” (TCT Magazine 04/11).

Jun 9, 2011
Comments Off on Selective Laser Sintering takes flight

Selective Laser Sintering takes flight

Scientists at FESTO have unlocked the secrets to the swooping movement of birds in flight.

A revolutionary feat of engineering, the SmartBird design allows it to not only fly but also start and land autonomously – without the help of any additional drive systems-. Inspired by the herring seagull, and boasting
2 meter long wings the SmartBird when left to its own devices can simply glide through the skies or can be controlled through a radio handset.

The robot’s wings can not only beat up and down but also twist at specific angles along their length in the very same way that a real bird’s do. Directional control is achieved through the opposing movement of the Smartbirds head and torso sections which allow for aerodynamic movement and simultaneous weight displacement, while the tail produces lift functions.

Smartbird: Excellent Aerodynic Qualities and Extreme Agility
Realistic: The SmartBird’s wings not only beat up and down, they also twist at specific angles

Packed inside the SmartBird’s torso are the battery, engine and transmission, crank transmission and control and regulation electronics. In order to ensure the SmartBird could float through the air with moderate flapping, it was necessary to ensure minimal use of materials and the lightweight construction, this was achieved through the SLS process which allowed for a functional housing to be constructed at minimal weight – the SmartBird weighs a maximum of 450 grams

So realistic are the movements of the Smartbird that from the ground it would be easy to mistake it for the real thing.

We at Laser Prototypes are excited to see where Rapid Prototyping will show up next!

Jun 3, 2011
Comments Off on Report on Medical Applications of Additive Manufacturing Released

Report on Medical Applications of Additive Manufacturing Released

One of the UK’s leading Rapid Prototyping bureaus Laser Prototypes have released a complimentary Additive Manufacturing report focused on the Medical applications of Rapid Prototyping, 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

Find out how scientists are working to help burns victims through the adaptation of 3D printing techniques. Learn how medical device companies are using Rapid Prototyping technologies to produce fully customised end products while surgeons apply the very same technology to increase success rates in complex procedures. Along with providing an interesting insight into just what is possible in manufacturing today, this report highlights some of the latest processes and materials within the Additive Manufacturing industry

We thought you might find the report of interest, so we have added it to the download section of our site.

May 23, 2011
Comments Off on Welcome to our new blog

Welcome to our new blog

Laser Prototypes is proud to announce the launch of their new 3D Printing News blog.

Laser Prototypes, the longest established Rapid Prototyping Bureau in the UK and Ireland, has set up this blog for everyone interested in the world of 3D printing, Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Prototyping. In our upcoming postings we will be bringing you details of new materials and processes, updates from leading 3D printing and materials manufacturers, emerging applications of this technology and of course some interesting case studies discovered along the way.

This blog is all about keeping you informed of developments within the Rapid Prototyping industry, and we are hoping that you get involved and share your thoughts. We would also like to invite you to join our Twitter account or visit our YouTube channel where we will be updating you on the latest happenings at Laser Prototypes.