Browsing articles in "Stereolithography"
Jan 26, 2015

Developing an implant to help the heart heal itself.

Helping the heart heal itself

Medtech start up accelerates development of a circulatory support pump, designed to let the heart rest and heal without surgery, with the help of Rapid Prototyping technology.

Within the US alone some 2 million people affected by heart failure are too sick for medication leaving doctors with no option but to resort to surgical LVAD ( Left Ventricular Assist Device) or a heart transplant. Both options are considered a last resort due to high risk and cost factors but now a Houston based medtech start up  Procyrion  may have unlocked an alternative in the form of a minimally invasive, catheter-deployed device designed to offer long-term treatment by providing the opportunity for the heart to rest and heal.

Using fluid entrainment to augment native blood flow the Aortix device facilitates an acceleration of fluid, a net increase in cardiac output, reducing work of the heart through after load reduction. It is expected that the Aortix device may not just offer a treatment but also act as a preventative measure, treating younger, healthier patients before years of progressive damage occurs.

Speaking from a design and manufacturing standpoint, president and CEO of Procyrion, Benjamin Hertzog credited Rapid Prototyping with facilitating the fast paced device development;

“The system is quite complex, but at the same time, being an early-stage start up means we have to move really fast and have quick cycle times for our different design iterations. Rapid Prototyping makes even more design iterations possible due to the shortened cycle times from concept generation to testing”

The Aortix device is narrower than a pencil with a diameter of just 6mm, featuring incredibly think walls and tight tolerances which initially proved challenging for Rapid Prototyping technologies however speaking on the manufacture of such components Head of Product Development, Chris Durst, stated;

“What has been interesting is to see how the rapid prototyping technology has evolved in just the past two years…With each iteration we have been able to get higher reliability of the small parts that have the super-small features”

By using Rapid Prototyping technologies, namely SLA (Stereolithography) the team has seen a reduction in lead times from 8-12 weeks to less than a week  and  lowered costs from $1500 to $5 when compared to producing the blood pump impeller in PEEK.

Durst further iterated the teams belief in the importance of Rapid Prototyping in the Aortix device development stating;

“We would not be making the progress we are without the ability to employ Rapid Prototyping in multiple functional areas. I just keep going back to the one week where we tested 20 different pump configurations knowing we didn’t have to sacrifice any quality to save money by settling on average design. We didn’t need to stop at ‘good enough’ and move on to the next step; rather we were able to hone in on a better design because of Rapid Prototyping”




Feb 14, 2013
Comments Off on King Tutankhamen replicated with Rapid Prototyping

King Tutankhamen replicated with Rapid Prototyping

On the 16th of February 1923, Archaeologist Howard Carter opened the fourth and final chamber in the Tomb of Tutankhamen, revealing the sarcophagus and remains of the then little known young Pharaoh.

Now a world famous icon of Ancient Egypt King Tut’s remains permanently rest at his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, while an exact replica of the Mummy can be viewed outside of Egypt thanks to Rapid Prototyping and the work of historical model maker Gary Staab.

Commissioned to produce a replica model of the world famous mummy in advance of the final stop in the second  Treasures of  Tutankhamen world tour Staab turned to Rapid Prototyping to speed up the development process.

CT scans of the mummy were imported into proprietary 3D software which created an exact 3D CAD file of the actual mummified remains. This file was then hollowed out to reduce build times and weight of the final Stereolithography model. Once hollowed the file was fixed to ensure the model was “water tight” prior to sending to print.

Once built support structures were removed before the 3D model of King Tut traveled to the Staab Studio. Gary Staab then set to work developing the colour and texture until the monochrome model was transformed into a realistic replica model of the mummified Pharaoh.

Jul 23, 2012
Comments Off on Automotive components achieve pole position with Rapid Prototyping

Automotive components achieve pole position with Rapid Prototyping

Aston Martin LMP1 AMR-One Engine produced with Rapid Prototyping technologies

Aston Martin LMP1 AMR-One Engine produced with Rapid Prototyping technologies. (Source: formula1-directory)

Rapid Prototyping has grown in popularity within the Formula 1  industry over the past decade thanks largely to the new techniques pioneered in the aerospace industry along with ongoing research into the materials available. Today many Formula 1 teams run SLS brake ducts and air ducts in addition to many more components produced in SLA.

Operating within a highly competitive and time sensitive industry, Formula 1 teams fight to remain ahead in terms of design, wind tunnel testing and race track testing.  Rapid Prototyping or manufacturing decreases production lead times by allowing design errors to be identified and corrected within days making it a critically important tool in the development of Formula 1 components.

Capable of producing almost any shape Rapid Prototyping allows for teams to create even the most complex of geometries. Material developments have also lead to an increase in the range of applications available as materials such as Nanotool, CeraMAX and Bluestone offer the benefits of SLA components (smooth surface finish and high dimensional accuracy)  with the durability and thermal resistance required to withstand wind tunnel testing.  For Formula 1 teams running wind tunnels more or less 24 hours a day, these material advancements  mean it is possible source components for testing within days rather than weeks.

Leading Autosport teams such as Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin are both early adaptors of this technology. In 2011 Red Bull Racing opted to transport two Rapid Prototyping machines to the races inside the trucks. This move allowed the team to source components quickly with parts printed overnight and simply fitted into the cars on site the next day.  The same year Aston Martin’s LMP1 prototype car, AMR-ONE, raised one big question, just how did George Howard Chappel and the team develop a car from scrath in just six months. The answer through the use of 3D printing and Rapid Prototyping technologies.

Feb 3, 2012
Comments Off on Bringing dinosaurs to life with Rapid Prototyping

Bringing dinosaurs to life with Rapid Prototyping

SLA Model of Dicynodont skull produced by Laser Prototypes

SLA Model of Dicynodont skull produced by Laser Prototypes

When workers in a quarry near Elgin stumbled upon the fossil remains of a 250 million year old Dicynodont little did they realise they would one day be able to come face to face with the worlds oldest dog. Using modern medical imaging technology combined with 3D printing Dr. Neil Clark from the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow was able to generate a physical model of the Dicynodont skull without compromising the original moldic fossil.

In order to identify the fossil medical scanning technology was used including MRI and CT scanning. Through the measurement of variations in the internal density of the sandstone block the team were able to create a 3D representation of the fossil. This representation revealed the entire skull of the prehistoric Dicynodont.

With 3D digital renderings of the skull, Dr. Clark then approached Rapid Prototyping bureau Laser Prototypes enquiring about the potential of creating a solid model of the skull using the Stereolithography process.

The first step for the Rapid Prototyping bureau was the conversion of MRI files to a suitable file format (STL). In order to ensure the integrity of the file Laser Prototypes worked closely with the local MRI department to carefully adjust the MRI files. Once created the STL file was then transferred through Rapid Prototyping software, which sliced the image into thin 0.1mm layers and added the necessary support structures. With Watershed selected as the material of choice the sliced file was then sent to the stereolithography machine for printing.

Each layer was then individually drawn by laser onto a surface of light sensitive liquid resin. Upon contact with the laser the resin cured and with the layer drawn the machine platform drops a layer. The laser traces the next layer and the process repeats until a fully “grown model” is produced  layer by layer within the vat.

With the 3D model built the machine platform is then raised to lift the model. Once drained the SLA skull was then washed and all supporting structures were removed by hand.

By using medical imaging and rapid prototyping technology it was possible for a 3d model of the skull to be created without compromising the original moldic fossil. Dr. Clark commented “The use of medical scanners and Stereolithography has saved a very important fossil from being damaged by traditional methods of palaeontological investigations. The resolution obtained is enough to identify the species of Dicynodont represented by the moldic skull. In some parts of the skull, fine structures that would have been lost using rubber casting techniques, were observed and reproduced faithfully in an exact prototype replica of the data”.

The 3D printed Dicynodont skull can be seen on display at the Elgin Museum, Scotland.

Sep 2, 2011
Comments Off on Rapid Prototyping bureau launches new resin at DSEi and TCT Live

Rapid Prototyping bureau launches new resin at DSEi and TCT Live


Customers of one of UK and Ireland’s leading Rapid Prototyping bureaus, Laser Prototypes will now be able to source gloss black Prototype models as the company are set to launch their new SLA resin SL7820 at DSEi and TCT Live later this month.

SL7820 is an advanced white photopolymer resin that produces durable solid black models, ideal for the highly specialised electrical prototypes for the automotive and aerospace industry, where black is the concept modelling colour of choice. Parts produced in this tough new ABS-like resin have an excellent surface finish, and can show fine detail with no additional finishing or painting required, offering considerable savings in terms of both time and cost.

With high impact strength and elongation point, SL78210 is suitable for building automotive/aerospace parts, electronics, consumer good packaging, housing and toys.

Samples of this new resin will be available at both DSEi (Stand S4-270) and TCT Live (Stand G2), or by contacting a member of the Laser Prototypes team.

Tough black SLA resin at Laser Prototypes

New black SLA resin offers high quality surface finish and excellent durability


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
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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 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.