Sep 13, 2013
Comments Off on Join in the Mysterabbit Urban Art Project at this years TCT Show + Personalize

Join in the Mysterabbit Urban Art Project at this years TCT Show + Personalize

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.


Mysterabbit visit Belfast

Mysterabbit visits Belfast

Aug 29, 2013
Comments Off on Graham Tromans to speak at TCT Show + Personalize

Graham Tromans to speak at TCT Show + Personalize

Rapid Prototyping veteran will be taking to the stage at TCT Show + Personalize 2013 to deliver his annual presentation, a talk that is always over-subscribed on Additive Manufacturing.  This years speech entitled Additive Layer Technologies Technical Briefing , Tromans will take a look at how the Additive Manufacturing market has evolved and what can we can learn from the past.

As somebody with over two decades in the field and who has witnessed the 3D Printing boom within recent years the subject of Additive Layer Technologies means a lot to Tromans personally. Speaking on the presentation he stated “The inclusion of this type of technical briefing is vital to an industry of this type that is getting a lot of media hype at the moment, hopefully educating the audience into the real world of additive manufacturing . As the premier UK show and conference, it is imperative that delegates get this type of education at TCT Show.”

In addition Tromans has a keen interest in how the technology will be used by the next generation and believes starting this training and understanding at school level is imperative for future development. ” Education is very important as far as these technologies are concerned, both in the classroom and in industry itself. As a consultant with 25 years experience in running systems and developing applications, a lot of my work is being used by companies globally in educating designers and engineers into how they can apply the technolgoies for specific applications and which technologies suit their requirements best. The Bright Minds programme being run by TCT is also very important as we need to ensure students of all ages understand these technologies, hopefully this will be one of the technology areas that helps lead more people back into manufacturing in the future”.

With first rate expertise in additive manufacturing it is worth subscribing for his talk at TCT Show + Personalize.

To register for your free visitor pass for TCT Show + Personalize click here.

Aug 14, 2013
Comments Off on Prototyping for the packaging industry.

Prototyping for the packaging industry.

Bottle produced in Watershed and SL7820 Stereolithography resins.

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

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:

May 24, 2013
Comments Off on Pizza hot off a 3D Printer!

Pizza hot off a 3D Printer!

3D Food Printer

Schematic of SMRC’s Food Printer

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.

Deep Space Pizza

Images Sourced from :

May 7, 2013
Comments Off on Enter the Cyborgs!

Enter the Cyborgs!

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.


Apr 25, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printing the moon!

3D Printing the moon!

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.