Category: 3D Printing

3D grass printer lets you produce creative gardens

PrintGREEN, which is a specially-modified Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, dispenses a combination of soil, seeds, and water, rather than plastic or metal. The mud holds its form and, over time, grass is able to grow from the organic, printed materials. There are a variety of uses for this type of machine, one of which is the application of single-surface compositions featuring lettering, artwork, and decorative patterns. In addition, PrintGREEN is capable of printing along the z-axis to produce bowls and other sculptural shapes.


music and mathematics and microtonal tunings

Always good to see my old uni, regional and all, forging into future with technology:

UOW is exploring the potential for 3D printing to change the music industry through the creation of custom-designed flutes that can play a variety of microtonal tunings unavailable on standard instruments.

3D printed jet engine: a first by Australian researchers

Australian researchers create the world’s first 3D-printed jet engine in a manufacturing breakthrough that will lead to cheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient jets.

“This way we can very quickly get a final product, so the advantages of this technology are: One, for rapid prototyping and making a large number of prototypes quickly. Secondly, for being able to make bespoke parts that you wouldn’t be able to with classic engineering technologies.”

Professor Smith, Monash University’s vice-provost for research, goes onto to talk about how this is just ‘tip of the iceberg’ stuff:

“We’ve talked about how it can be useful in the aerospace industry, but we see enormous applications in the biomedical industry,” he said. For example, if you’re unfortunate enough to have one of those serious car accidents, you can be scanned in the scanner, that information can then be taken to a 3D printer, and while you’re on the operating table we can print those precise body parts you might need.”

Read the entire article


3D printer makes tool in space

International Space Station astronauts use 3-D printer to construct wrench from instructions sent up in an email.

The wrench was the first item to be digitally “sent” to the space station, another 21 prints were made from designs sent with the printer. An initial stage which represents a step toward cheaper and more resourceful space flight. While the space station still needs the raw material for creating objects, it does mean that they will not have to wait until the next SpaceX resupply mission for specialised equipment.

Source: BBC News

Image: NASA

Building a lunar base with 3D printer

Space agencies have been looking at using 3D printing to build a base on the moon insitu using lunar materials.

NASA has been testing the feasibility of 3D printing a lunar base. Earlier last year the European Space Agency, in conjunction with industrial partners, also began exploring the idea. One of the main issues with getting a base on the moon is the cost of delivering materials to the lunar surface, payload is expensive to boost up the gravity well. The possibility to use the materials already there seems logical to explore but not without its own issues. One issue is that the binding material would still need to be delivered to the surface. However NASA has been exploring the idea of melting basalt with a laser on the surface to create binding material. This is a longshot project that will involve many years to get right. Perhaps they could get some ideas from Cory Doctorow’s story ‘The man who sold the moon‘.

Image: By NASA/Dennis M. Davidson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Frontline soldiers could be printing entire weapons or even aircraft

Additive manufacturing devices have been operating in war zones allowing soldiers to 3D print replacement parts rather than waiting for delivery. What about civilians?

[..]July 2013, the first mobile 3D-printing lab arrived in Afghanistan, allowing soldiers to repair their equipment quickly and cheaply, rather than wait weeks for spare parts to be delivered. “We can generate replacement parts with a device small and light enough to be carried in a backpack,” says D. Shannon Berry, an operations research analyst in the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command.

The benefits of this technology will have an enormous impact on supply for armed force but as the article points out, this technology is currently the next big manufacturing paradigm for consumers and business. there is nothing to stop civilians being able to print their own versions of these weapons (or parts).

Source: dezeen

Consumer 3D printer able to finally print high performance metal parts

A novel 3D printing process called Selective Inhibition Sintering (SIS) promises to allow manufacturing of consumer 3D printers* that can print parts made of high-performance metals, which high-cost industrial 3D printers can already do.

The new process, developed at the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies at USC, is based on existing low-cost inkjet printing technology. It differs from traditional research in powder sintering* (a process of fusing materials using heat and pressure), which focuses on enhancing sintering

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Image: (credit: Torabi Payman et al./3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing)

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