Apr 9, 2013
Comments Off on Cancer survivor gets new lease of life thanks to 3D Printing

Cancer survivor gets new lease of life thanks to 3D Printing

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.

The mouth implant created by Mr Dawood

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.

3D Printing creates silicon mask, prosthesis and implant for cancer survivor

Mr Moger wearing silicon mask, prosthesis and implant

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.

Mar 22, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printing to make every step more comfortable

3D Printing to make every step more comfortable

Selective Laser Sintering making every step more comfortable

Selective Laser Sintering making every step more comfortable for New Balance Team athletes

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.

Measuring movement

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.

Mar 8, 2013
Comments Off on An Eco-Friendly approach to 3D Printing

An Eco-Friendly approach to 3D Printing

A 3D object produced on the Solar Sinter Machine in August 2011

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:

Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.


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.




Feb 18, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printing gets Presidential seal of approval.

3D Printing gets Presidential seal of approval.

Last week during his annual State of the Union address, US President Obama not only mentioned 3D Printing, he earmarked it as a key strategy for the re-invigoration of the US manufacturing Industry.
In August 2012 Obama initiated early testing of this strategy through the funding of a National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio. Youngstown represented the heart of steel manufacturing within the US and has been one the areas hardest hit by the American recession, today a once shuttered off warehouse is home the a state of the art lab where workers are mastering the 3D printing process.
With a vision to create a 15 node 3D printing network across the US it is clear Obama has faith in the potential for growth presenting by 3D printing technologies. Obama announced the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs “where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defence and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high tech jobs”
Some argue that the potential for 3D printing to revolutionize American manufacturing is greatly over hyped due to high labour and logistics costs within the US. Only time will tell if Obama’s policy will have the desired impact however for 3D printing advocates his mere mention of the technology in one of the the most widely listened to public speeches is likely to further strengthen public interest in 3D printing technologies.
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.

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.

Jan 30, 2013
Comments Off on Plans developed for first 3D printed house!

Plans developed for first 3D printed house!

Dutch architect, Janjaap Ruijssenaars has unveiled designs for Landscape House, the worlds first ever 3D-Printed house. Plans  for Landscape house do not include reinforced cast concrete rather 3D printed layers of sand to allow for absolute design freedom.

Taking the form of a continuous looping Möbius strip which rises out of the landscape before folding seamlessly back on itself Landscape House is to be comprised of 6x9m printed hollow sand shell sections. These sections will then be infilled with fiber-reinforced concrete for extra strength, while steel and glass provide the facade. Expected lead times of 18 months have been proposed from start to completion.

Speaking on this 1,100 square metre property Ruijssenaars stated that the building which could serve as either a home or museum was not originally designed for 3D printing, rather this modern production process turned out to be the most appropriate. In order to make a Möbuis shape, Ruijssenaars realised that regardless of the material used it is first necessary to make a strip and then bend it, achieving this would prove impossible using traditional construction techniques. “With a 3D printer..we could make the whole structure from bottom to top without anyone seeing where it is beginning or ending”

With an estimated cost of £3.3 – 4.2 million the ultimate use of Landscape House remains unclear however a Brazilian national park is reported to have expressed interest in use of the structure as a museum. Regardless of its end use successful construction of Landscape House is likely to have a profound impact on the way future buildings are designed and constructed.


Jan 18, 2013
Comments Off on US Military invests in front line Rapid Prototyping

US Military invests in front line Rapid Prototyping

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.


Oct 26, 2012
Comments Off on 3D Printing meets the general public at the 3D Print Show

3D Printing meets the general public at the 3D Print Show

At 3D Printing News we have been shouting about the merits of 3D Printing Technology for nearly a year but now thanks to the 3D Print Show in London last weekend it seems that 3D Printing is finally getting the notice it deserves. From musical instruments to medical prosthetics and everything in between the 3D Print show provided a unique opportunity for the general public to experience 3D printing first hand.

For those who missed the show here are just some of the interesting applications on show.

3D Printed Musical Instruments

3D Printed Guitar
With its own soundtrack the 3D print show featured performances from world-class musicians, including drummer Paul Stewart of the Feeling however it was the instruments themselves that stole the spotlight. Produced entirely using 3D printing technology the instruments were able to closely replicate the sound quality of their traditionally manufactured counterparts. The instruments featured included guitars and basses, a 3D printed Stradivarius violin and a drum ensemble played with 3D printed drum sticks.


3D Printed fashion

3D Printed Guitar

We have previously mentioned the role of 3D printing in the creation of bespoke fashion pieces and it seems this application caught the eye of the 3D Print Show organisers who held a fashion show in honour of 3D printing. Featured in the catwalk show were various items of clothing, accessories and footwear all printed in 3D and all fully functional.  Using 3D technology it is possible for fashion designers to create bespoke items of clothing and accessories designed to the models unique dimensions and in the most intricate and complex of designs. Creations on display included a hat developed by leading milliner Stephen Jones and the Exoskeleton footwear collection from fashion student Janina Alleyne.


Film Props

3D Printed GuitarWith film makers such as Laika turning towards 3D printing technologies to develop award winning films it is little wonder that one of the most respected effects studios in Hollywood made an appearance at the 3D Print Show. Legacy Studios , known for their use of 3D printing to aid in the development of blockbusters such as Thor and Iron-man attended the event bringing along and Iron Man helmet and giving seminars on 3D printing in Hollywood. Representing Legacy Studios was 3D printing expert and lead systems engineer, Jason Lopes



Conceptual 3D Printed House

Lurking in the corners of the show, and guarded by security lay one of the most intricate designs on display at the exhibition. Staring at this impressive piece of design you would be likely to question what it was. The design a result of a years worth of research by London based Softkill design is in fact a miniature model of a SLS house – a house which could be build for real in 31 pieces using SLS technology and then assembled on site.  Designed around an algorithm that mimics bone growth the conceptual house consists of a fibrous interweaving web rather than traditional bricks which ensures material is only placed where it is most structurally efficient.

To find out more on this 3D printed house watch the below video



Oct 5, 2012
Comments Off on Could 3D printed lighting be the next big thing for children’s toys.

Could 3D printed lighting be the next big thing for children’s toys.

Children’s entertainment giant Disney are currently researching the role of 3D printing in the creation of a new kind of toy. The research focuses on developing interactive devices with active components, with these devices created as a single object rather than assembled from individual parts. The team of researchers at Disney’s Pittsburgh lab have used 3D printing technology to create “light pipes” which provide flexible alternative  to optical fibre. By printing the pipes to fit a toys specific form it was possible to place and light pipe intersections with greater ease than would have been possible with traditional lighting fibres.

This technology was outlined in the research teams first paper which also details some prototype toys developed to date including;

  • A bug like toy with glowing eyes that displays various graphics.

             Incorporating a series of light pipes into the design of a 3D printed demon toy, engineers were able to create the impression that the toy was rolling its eyes, blinking or in love (cartoon style – with two small throbbing hearts) by simply controlling which bits of the eye were illuminated in a specific colour.
  • A chess set with light up pieces that display their location on the board 

             Similarly by creating chess pieces with a large number of light pipes which form a dot matrix display, the team was able to make text and numbers glow through the sides of the bases of each chess pieces, this could be used to show location or suggest moves for each chess piece during chess games.

While the technology sounds promising there are a number of kinks to be worked out by the team. Currently there is too much light loss from longer 3D printed light pipes and some complications have arisen in the creation of entirely enclosed hollow areas. The team however should also be aware of costing factors which may prove a challenge once the prototype design nears completion. Developing 3D printing for the toy industry is not a new concept however industry watchers suggest that production costs for 3D printed toys remain high which pushes prices upwards, making 3D printed toys more suitable to the adult collectors.