Thursday, October 1, 2015

Feather Study in C4D

Berlin candy store offers 3D printed sweet treats

Article link:

A German candy maker is hoping to tempt the taste-buds of Berliners with customized fruit gum sweets made with a 3D printer.

German company Katjes (pron. CUT-yes) say they have developed a way to produce food from a 3D printer. A Katjes store in Berlin's trendy Mitte district showcases the Magic Candy Factory where sweet-lovers young and old can choose from 3D template designs that include individual fruit gum animals and shapes, as well as letters and words.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Product - T.V. EZ GRIP Picks!

Designed by Tommy Von to address the issues of grip and playability associated with most common guitar picks.
Each pick features a beveled opening to allow your thumb and index finger to securely grab the pick for an easy grip and relaxed playing with less fatigue. These picks are custom 3D printed at Tommy’s workshop in Denver, CO USA. The 3D printing process imparts a grooved texture to one side of the pick, which further enhances the grip factor. Each $5 pack contains 6 1.38mm custom made picks.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Studio Phi 3D prints sound absorbing shapes

As 3D printing technology is great for easily producing objects of all shapes and sizes hitherto impossible or very difficult to make, it is hardly surprising that the way we look at and use shapes also changes. While much of that happens without thinking about it, Dutch designer Foteini Setaki very consciously and critically approached the specific acoustic function of geometric shapes as part of her graduation project for the TU Delft a few years ago. And as her results showed, 3D printing technology could be used to optimize the sound absorption qualities of specific objects in homes, offices and elsewhere.
Since graduating, Foteini Setaki started a design studio called StudioPhi, through which she continues to question design techniques and explores new manufacturing and architectural options in a quest to find balance between aesthetics and engineering. 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) obviously plays a significant role in the future he envisions, and as such Setaki has already exhibited various fascinating 3D printed creations over the past few years.

And as you can see in the clip above, this has resulted in some interesting creations, filled with 3D printed tubes capable of absorbing sounds. ‘The proposed sound absorber is conceived as an organic-looking structure that is floating in space and “grows” where sound absorption is needed. As a result, the generated geometry regulates acoustic performance according to the desired criteria and the acoustic demands of the examined space.’

Friday, May 29, 2015

Designers build a modular 3D printed house in ABS that snaps together in minutes

Over the past few years the 3D printing industry has proven to be far more innovative than many had initially hoped; while the consumer-based market has grown spectacularly, many start-ups and even established businesses are still focused on developing a wide range of new and exciting 3D printing solutions. The biggest challenge among them (in terms of size, that is) must surely be the 3D printed homes. While usually problematic because of the sheer size of the printer necessary, two American designers have found a simple solution to that problem: why not just 3D print a home in modular ABS parts?

Now at first this might sound like a bit of childish solution. After all, other initiatives for the 3D printing of homes rely on gigantic concrete 3D printers, not on our desktop toys. But as you can see in the photos above, the results are quite impressive. While still in the prototyping phase, Zachary Schoch and designer compatriot Eugene Lee have already managed to construct a modular ABS wall part that stands over 10 feet tall and was 3D printed in ABS.
Of course these parts are somewhat bigger than what you or I can produce with a regular desktop FDM 3D printer. For as Zachary explains on his blog, he relied on his Euclid 3D printer, which features a print area somewhat larger than most: over 1m x 1m x 1m (or 42"x42"x44"). Completing three 3D printed pieces in total for this prototype, which was exhibited at the 3D PrinterWorld 2015 in Burbank, California, they took just 18 hours to complete in high strength ABS filament.

As you can see, its modular, it easily fits together and it’s easy to transport. ‘It fit into one car and took about 10 minutes to setup including unloading,’ Zachary writes on his blog. Snapping these three parts together took less than a minute, so you can imagine how easy it is to do build a whole home with these parts. ‘Because these components are built from such high performance material they should be constructible by hand, or for larger and more structurally elements only minimal equipment would be required. This property allows for investment in higher performance printing facilities due to the low cost of transportation to the building site,’ he speculates.
Now you might wonder if hollo ABS structures are right for a home, but Zachary argues that the S-layout is perfect for basic structures and for expanding on the house’s features. ‘With this construction system there is no fundamental difference between the traditionally disparate elements of floor/wall/roof. In this instance the floor literally becomes the wall, and the wall becomes the roof/ceiling,’ he says. ‘Because the s-wall system is hollow, mechanical systems can be integrated directly into it. Piping for liquids could be installed readily after assembly using flexible tubing, or pipes could be printed integral to the s-wall. Ventilation ducts would also be printed integral to the unit with vents being able to be printed simultaneously as well, in the floors, wall or roof depending on the need.’
What’s more, the parts snap together in such a fashion to create a water-proof connection (as the tension element is placed below the compression element). Additionally, sealing material could be inserted into the cavity after assembly to finish the home. In short, this prototype could be the key to affordable, transportable and easily-assembled homes of the future. Can you imagine living in an ABS house?

3D printed fuse assemblies teach locals how to remove landmines

Although it doesn’t need to be said that the effects of war are devastating, an often-overlooked side effect of war has been in the various weapons that are left behind in areas that are mistakenly deemed as ‘safe’.  
Among others, this includes areas that may be covered in landmines that are invisible to the naked eye.  Currently, the detection and removal process of  antipersonnel landmines is a serious problem from all sides of the political, economical, environmental and humanitarian spectrum.  While there are still thousands of landmines in existence, more than ever is being done to help rid areas of them and other explosive devices - thanks in-part to 3D printing.
The Golden West Humanitarian Foundation - an international nonprofit that focuses on clearing mines and bombs after a war - recently collaborated with both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design to develop a better and cost-effective way of training specialists in locating and disposing the explosives.  The result is a kit made up of accurate 3D printed replicas of the ten most common detonation fuses found in the explosives left behind after a war that they’re calling Advanced Ordnance Teaching Materials (AOTM).
The hallmark product in the lineup - the Standard Ordnance Training Set (SOTS) - includes all ten of the instructional aids that each demonstrate the mechanisms commonly found in ordnance fuzing - albeit scaled up from their original size to better illustrate the functions of the small parts.  Thanks to the ability to 3D print in multiple colors, the designers behind the kits were able to print specific components with unique color codes to help further streamline the learning process.  
Over 1,000 hours were spent creating the 3D models - particularly in translating the much-smaller fuses into larger-scale replicas through modeling hundreds of small pieces from scratch.  Because the models are reverse-engineered based on the real-world dimensions of the actual products, all of the mechanical functions including gears and pistons actually move while the final color scheme helps communicate similar pieces from one model to the next: blue is the fuse body, white is the arming components, red is explosive-inducing and yellow is the explosives.  Previously, 2D printed schematics have been used to help train those who defuse bombs and other explosives, however this method of learning can be problematic due to the 2D nature of the information that is ultimately used on a 3D object.  
Additionally, many of the locals who are trained to do bomb disposal work or are otherwise trained to better understand the explosives in their area don’t come from a formal education background and have difficulties learning the concepts presented in the printed schematics.  By utilizing the 3D printed models, Golden West is able to help teach these communities with more communicative examples that make sense.  
So far, the team has received two rounds of funding from the U.S. Department of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement - which has ultimately helped them refine their project into a high-quality deliverable not often seen with 3D printed products.

Canadian artist recreates 18th Century Native American tools

While the benefits of using 3D printing to aid in the development of modern day products have been told loud and clear, one of the less talked about - albeit probably more exciting - uses of the technology has been in replicating products that were made hundreds or thousands of years ago in their near-exact form.  
Previously, we’ve seen this method of 3D scanning various historical artifacts and archiving them with the possibility of 3D printing being used by museums and other historical archive institutions.  Now, an artist from Canada is using a similar method to recreate a collection of tanning tools that were previously made by her ancestors.    
The artist, Tania Larsson, is currently a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and recently completed an internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian where she learned how to use modern 3D technologies to recreate objects in the museum’s collection.  
The process, which involves the use of laser scanning and photogrammetry techniques to create accurate digital 3D models, was used to recreate everything from tanning tools to fishing spears.  After the 3D models were made and optimized, they were then 3D printed out of sandstone and used as reference models to build identical tools using the traditional materials used in the original designs including bone and antler. 
For Larsson - who grew up in France but later returned to her native Canada to reconnect with her culture - the act of recreating the tools was more than just a way of putting modern technologies to good use - it was a way for her to reconnect with her ancestors in ways that previously might not have been available.  The 25-year-old’s, home in Yellowknife is in Canada’s Northwest Territories, where her native Gwich’in ancestors have lived for centuries as North America’s northernmost Athabaskan group. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Space Station Ships Back To Earth A Set Of 3D-Printed Tools

3D printing is a fairly new technology but astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) are among the first to take on the new manufacturing process. In fact, NASA has just received the first box of 3D printed items from the ISS.
Under the leadership of Quincy Bean, head of NASA's 3D Printing in Zero-G Technology Demonstration, engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama took the wraps off the very first items that were 3D printed in space, including the first 3D printed space ratchet, whose design was drafted on Earth and was later beamed up to the ISS.
There were a total of 21 items printed using 14 different designs. Each item in the carefully packaged box was sealed and labeled in separate plastic bags. Aside from the ratchet, which could serve a purpose for astronauts in space, most of the items sent down to Earth are calibration coupons, but Bean says NASA plans to continue the 3D printing project and head into the second phase to make more practical tools that astronauts can actually use.
Meanwhile, the first set of 3D printed objects, which was sent to Earth via SpaceX's partially reusable Dragon resupply spacecraft, are up for testing and scrutiny by Earth-bound engineers, who will compare the items to another set of 3D printed items created by the same printer before it was sent to the ISS and installed in the space station's Microgravity Science Glovebox in November. The tests will include one for durability, one for strength, and one for structure. Each item will also be placed under an electron microscope to help the engineers find differences between the space-printed items and the Earth-made samples.

Original Article

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SLA 3D printer using an old projector and $10 in parts

Although MakerBot has managed to position themselves among the more famous in 3D printers, the Fused Deposition Modeling method that their machines use leave many wanting to have higher resolutions and increased material flexibilities such as those offered by FormLabs in the form of the Form 1+.  However, for those not ready to spend over $3,000 on a new 3D printer and costly resins, getting SLS or SLA parts made can prove to be a difficulty.  For one motivated 3D printing enthusiast, he took matters into his own hands and crafted his own SLA 3D printer using little more than some borrowed parts, an Arduino Uno and less than $10 in supplies.
Build Vat and Linear Drive - About 5CM Z​
buildyourownsla web forum user ‘mystamo’ wanted to quickly put a printer together to test out SLA 3D printing in general while also seeing if his sourced projector (an ACER 5360 720P) would work for curing resin without any modification. Although he had to remove the focus screw so that he could pull out the focus wheel more to focus on the build plate, no other modifications were needed.  
Stepper controller with connectors​
Arduino With Connectors​
After some initial testing, mystamo concluded that the printer had a 50mm x 37mm x 40mm build envelope and set about creating his first 3D prints.   
Everything Connected Together​
Since the printer doesn’t have any Z-axis limits, he set the build plate slightly above the resin surface with some resin protruding through the perforated board holes.  In order to create the layers, mystamo exposed the first 3 years with 8-second exposures to help build a sturdy foundation.  For all other layers, a 2.5-second exposure was used with a resolution of .05mm per layer.  
My Setup with projector and Servo Shutter (I also had an old servo kicking around)​
The sourced parts - aside from the borrowed projector - all cost mystamo less than $10.  These parts included an Arduino Uno that he purchased from Ebay for $5 for running code, an A4988 stepper driver from Ebay for $2, a rectangular glass vat from Dollerama for $2 to house the uncured resin, a DVD drive laser rail from Ebay for $1 and finally, a 12 AWG wire and perforated board that he already had on-hand for the build plate. 

new anti-microbial 3D printing PLA filament

While science teachers everywhere are already calling for the inclusion of 3D printing courses in high schools, a new Korean innovation suggests it can even be taught in junior high. For plastics manufacturer BnK (Books and Kimchi) have just announced a new line of PLA filament that has anti-microbial properties. They believe this filament, called Purement, is the first of its kind and is perfect for use in homes with children and in schools.
While you could argue about the point of introducing kids as young as eight or ten years old about 3D printing, the concept behind this filament is very clever. Anti-microbial substances kill or inhibit the growth of a vast number of bacteria, and Purement itself has been extensively tested for these properties. ‘According to company studies, Purement has been proven to eliminate 99% of staphylococcus aureus and colon bacillus bacteria in laboratory tests and also prevents them from spreading, thus helping to reduce the risk of infections,’ BnK reveals. This company, for the record, specialized in manufacturing plastic components for the automobile industry but have recently moved into filament production as well.
Their anti-microbial properties are further certified by a Korean patent, while a US and international patent is pending. As BnK revealed, their properties were even certified by KOLAS and are compliant with RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulations, which have been developed by the EU. ‘This means that it doesn't contain lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. These restricted materials are hazardous to the environment and pollute landfills, and are dangerous in terms of occupational exposure during manufacturing and recycling,’ BnK reveals. Purement’s harmless properties are also backed by the SIAA (Society of Industrial technology for Antimicrobial Articles) and SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3D printed wireless Nikola Tesla desk lamp

Nikolas Tesla, the biggest inventor of the last two centuries, was known throughout the world for his role in developing today's electrically-powered world. He has been gaining more credit an appreciation in recent years, especially in the engineering community.

Meanwhile, he is becoming something of a role model and inspiration for some, such as electronics designer David Choi from Long Island, NY. David is a physics graduate from Wesleyan University recently began dabbling in 3D printing. As he explains, Tesla has always intrigued him – both as a person and as an inventor. "Tesla, the inventor of the radio, AC motor, and a multitude of important everyday inventions, had been forgotten in time. Recently brought back into the home through Tesla Motors, but people still fail to realize Tesla the inventor and electrical genius is much more than just a modern car company," David says. "He figured out how to wirelessly transmit power. Imagine a world without wires. This was his dream."

To emphasize his respect for the man, David has already named his cat after Tesla, but has recently been taking things a bit further. For as a tribute to his hero, David has developed a 3D printed lamp that functions on one of the core principles of Tesla’s inventions: wireless transmission of electricity. To harness that principle, David has created a wireless power table filled with 3D printed components that is capable of powering a light bulb. "My idea was to wirelessly power whatever I wanted on this table. Powering a lightbulb was my proof of concept--if I could power a light, I could power almost any household item," David explains and as you can see, its working very well.

But of course, you’ll need some components (especially the coils) that are beyond the power of a desktop 3D printer and David began his project by focusing on those. "The receiving coil is a spiral inductor as can be seen in the base. There's a certain beauty to air-core inductors and it has to do with their simple construction--a loop. After doing my calculations, I realized I needed to construct a spiral air-core inductor to match to the 25W lightbulb load," David says.
These coils are the core of the system, alongside dual RF transistors (MRF150), and function either as a transmitter or as a receiver. "The first coil transmits power magnetically to the secondary coil. This secondary, along with the primary coil, both transmit power magnetically to the third receiving spiral coil," David explains. "The transmitter is a center-tapped, double wind, 0.34uH coil. This tank circuit is tuned to 6.5MHz. This first coil is magnetically coupled to a much larger secondary coil which is approximately the diameter of the table (2.5x2.5ft). This secondary coil's purpose is to store greater amounts of reactive power when tuned to resonance at 6.5MHz."
The fourth coil (the receiver), meanwhile, consists of a spiral coil and a 42pF capacitor which tunes it to resonate at 6.5MHz and is directly wired to the lightbulb. "By having two coils resonating at the same frequency, the distance of coupling between them can be greatly increased. To capture this resonating reactive power is a single loop coil that follows the circumference of the spiral inductor," David explains. This will enable the lightbulb to receive power at 6.5MHz vs the tradition 60Hz (or 50Hz). "This high frequency aides in increasing the quality factor of the coils and thus the coupling between them," David adds.
The coils itself are made from copper tubing. To harness the fluctuating magnetic field that is being generated, David designed a circular loop inductor around the spiral inductor. "This has a wire that attaches to the bulb itself. I did not want any wires visible so one of the lamp legs serves as a conduit for the wiring. The spiral coil receives its power wirelessly through the table which has a power transmitter built into its underside."
Aside from the electronics, only the bulb itself hasn’t been 3D printed. That means this project is easily reproducible and fortunately David has shared all of his designs on Thingiverse to enable everyone to harness the potential of Tesla’s inventions. To make these parts, David relied on his MakerBot Replicator 5thGen 3D printer. All parts have been 3D printed in PLA with 15% infill and a resolution of 0.2 mm. The results can be easily assembled with just a little glue. ‘After printing, all I had to do was lay the copper tubing into the coil form. This is easy for anyone to recreate as traditionally, large coils such as these are handmade at home and it is difficult to create them repeatedly with the same dimensions and ultimately inductance,’ David explains.
All in all, this is a very fun project for everyone looking for a bit of unusual electric experiences and a perfect tribute to a great inventor who should not be forgotten. It should be highly reproducible with parts you have laying around and it should work with most typical light bulbs. David intentionally went for a vintage Tesla bulb reconstruction for the theme, but that’s a matter of personal convenience. "Were I to have chosen an Edison or Marconi bulb, Tesla would be rolling in his ashes," he adds, but I think you’ll get away with it.

XYZprinting releases new da Vinci 1.1 Plus 3D printer with W-Fi, free mobile app

XYZprinting, Taiwan based manufacturer of affordable consumer-grade 3D printers, announced the release of the da Vinci 1.1 Plus, an enhanced version of its da Vinci 1.0 3D printer. The da Vinci 1.1 Plus features WiFi connectivity, and remote control capabilities through XYZprinting's new free app, XYZapp, for iPad and Android table devices.

The XYZapp allows users to set up print jobs from their devices anywhere. The da Vinci 1.1 comes with a built-in camera, enabling users to monitor the status of a 3D print job. The camera sends picture updates to the app and users can then share these images through social media or upload to XYZprinting's 3D design collection. The XYZprinting Cloud Library offers 3D models available to share, create, and print online. 
The da Vinci 1.1 Plus also features a USB port and Android-based 5'' color LCD touch panel, and it is a completely stand-alone printer which can be operated without a connection to a desktop or laptop computer.
With its easy-to-install filament cartridges system available in 12 colors, users can easily refill the printer, switch colors, or switch between ABS and PLA filament.

New tech speeds up 3D printing by 100 times

The 3D printing technology developed by Silicon Valley startup, Carbon3D Inc, enables objects to rise from a liquid media continuously rather than being built layer by layer as they have been for the past 25 years, representing a fundamentally new approach to 3D printing, researchers said.
The technology allows ready-to-use products to be made 25 to 100 times faster than other methods and creates previously unachievable geometries that open opportunities for innovation not only in health care and medicine, but also in other major industries such as automotive and aviation.
The technology, called Continuous Liquid Interface Production (Clip) manipulates light and oxygen to fuse objects in liquid media, creating the first 3D printing process that uses tunable photochemistry instead of the layer-by-layer approach that has defined the technology for decades.
It works by projecting beams of light through an oxygen-permeable window into a liquid resin.
Working in tandem, light and oxygen control the solidification of the resin, creating commercially viable objects that can have feature sizes below 20 microns, or less than one-quarter of the width of a piece of paper.
"By rethinking the whole approach to 3D printing, and the chemistry and physics behind the process, we have developed a new technology that can create parts radically faster than traditional technologies by essentially 'growing' them in a pool of liquid," said Joseph M DeSimone, professor of chemistry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and CEO of Carbon3D.
Through a research agreement between UNC-Chapel Hill and Carbon 3D, the team is currently pursuing advances to the technology, as well as new materials that are compatible with it.
Clip enables a very wide range of material to be used to make 3D parts with novel properties, including elastomers, silicones, nylon-like materials, ceramics and biodegradable materials.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Robert Downey Jr. Gives a Real Bionic Arm to an Incredibly Dapper Kid

In case you need another reason to love Robert Downey Jr., the Iron Man star recently presented a 3D-printed, real-life bionic arm to a little boy named Alex.

Monday, March 9, 2015

All-in-one 3D printer, CNC mill and laser engraver!

While desktop FDM 3D printers are great for toying with at home and making small and fun parts, its potential for serious and multi-material manufacturing is sadly quite limited. Anyone wanting to take things to the next level is currently forced of spending thousands on buying various manufacturing machine. But why not go for an all-in-one option? For a 3D printer that can simply be fitted with another tool head to turn it into an entirely different machine?

That option is becoming more realistic on a daily basis. While several multi-functional manufacturing machines are currently being developed, a highly promising model just launched its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter: the BoXZY, an all-in-one 3D Printer, CNC Mill, and Laser Engraver. Developed by Joel and Justin Johnson, two brothers from Pittsburgh, this machine is shaping up to be a multipurpose masterpiece that will appeal to both beginning and experienced users.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

3D printed 2-string violin-like instrument

When it comes to sonic experiences however, Florida-based MONAD Studio wants to turn everything you know about instruments and sound environments up on it’s head.  
Founded in 2002 by design principals Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg - both of whom studied architecture in Buenos Aires, Argentina and New York, USA - MONAD is a design research practice that focuses on “spatial perception related to rhythmic effect” with a focus on everything from urban plans and buildings to landscapes and product designs.   
Although the design team have focused on a wide variety of projects, it is perhaps their designs that center around sound that have garnered the most attention - particularly due to to their generative design methods that resemble what some might consider an futuristic spaceship aesthetic.  Of course, these wouldn’t be possible without additive manufacturing techniques.
The studio’s two-string Piezoelectric Violin (one of five instruments designed by the pair along with musician Scott F. Hall) would likely not be interpreted as a violin unless somebody saw one of the press photos, which features a musician playing the form like a traditional violin.  The design more closely resembles a scale model of a spaceship - however it is perfectly capable of playing a tune thanks to a piezoelectric sensor, which is used commonly used as a “pickup” on musical instruments to amplify sound.
The violin, which will be on display at the Javits Center in New York on April 16th and 17th, is a part of an installation titled ‘MULTI’, which aims to interweave the sonic artifacts within a backdrop activated by piezo mics that metamorphose into a complex meta-instrument in the tradition of a one-man band.

Three-legged dog to get 3D printed prosthetic leg

While Hobbes is still capable of walking and seems full of energy, he does have to hop along which quickly fatigues him. Therefore Bledsoe and two of her fellow UC Davis graduate students are now determined to make a 3D printed prosthetic leg for him. As Randy Carney, postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry and molecular medicine, added: "And he’s so young and full of energy that it seemed like a waste if he couldn’t get moving like he wanted to."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Researchers create 100x rooftop solar concentration from 3D printed lenslets and solar cells used in Space

Ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space may now be possible on your rooftop. A team of researchers have worked on a new microscale solar concentration technology that uses inexpensive optics to concentrate sunlight.
Concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) is a photovoltaic technology that generates electricity from sunlight. "Current CPV systems are the size of billboards and have to be pointed very accurately to track the sun throughout the day. You can't put a system like this on your roof." said Noel C. Giebink, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University.

Fortunately, the falling cost of typical silicon solar cells - from about 20 percent for silicon to more than 40 percent with the new CPV - is making them a smaller and smaller fraction of the overall cost of solar electricity, which also includes "soft" costs like permitting, wiring, installation and maintenance. 
To enable CPV on rooftops, the researchers combined miniaturized, gallium arsenide photovoltaic cells, 3D-printed plastic lens arrays and a moveable focusing mechanism to reduce the size, weight and cost of the CPV system. With this combination CPV can be placed on the south-facing side of a building's roof.
They report their results on Feb. 5th in Nature Communications.
"We partnered with colleagues at the University of Illinois because they are experts at making small, very efficient multi-junction solar cells," said Giebink. "These cells are less than 1 square millimeter, made in large, parallel batches and then an array of them is transferred onto a thin sheet of glass or plastic."
To focus sunlight on the array of cells, the researchers embedded them between a pair of 3D-printed plastic lenslet arrays. Each lenslet in the top array acts like a small magnifying glass and is matched to a lenslet in the bottom array that functions like a concave mirror. With each tiny solar cell located in the focus of this duo, sunlight is intensified more than 200 times. Because the focal point moves with the sun over the course of a day, the middle solar cell sheet tracks by sliding laterally in between the lenslet array.
The researchers discovered that they could reach 70 percent optical efficiency — and they hope to reach 90 percent efficiency — using their design.
"The main benefit of printed optics for CPV is rapid prototyping and testing of initial concepts. The quality of the printed optics is sufficient for proof of concept," said Noel Giebink, one of the authors of the research and an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University.
Previous attempts at such translation-based tracking have only worked for about two hours a day because the focal point moves out of the plane of the solar cells, leading to loss of light and a drop in efficiency. By sandwiching the cells between the lenslet arrays, the researchers solved this problem and enabled efficient solar focusing for a full eight hour day with only about 1 centimeter of total movement needed for tracking.
To lubricate the sliding cell array and also improve transmission through the lenslet sandwich they used an optical oil, which allows small motors using a minimal amount of force for the mechanical tracking.
"The vision is that such a microtracking CPV panel could be placed on a roof in the same space as a traditional solar panel and generate a lot more power," said Giebink. "The simplicity of this solution is really what gives it practical value."
Because the total panel thickness is only about a centimeter and 99 percent of it -- everything except the solar cells and their wiring -- consists of acrylic plastic or Plexiglas, this system has the potential to be inexpensive to produce. 
Giebink cautions, however, that CPV systems are not suitable for all locations.
"CPV only makes sense in areas with lots of direct sunlight, like the American Southwest," he said. "In cloudy regions like the Pacific Northwest, CPV systems can't concentrate the diffuse light and they lose their efficiency advantage."
The researchers tested their prototype concentrator panel outside over the course of a day in State College, Penn. Even though the printed plastic lenses were not up to specification, they were able to demonstrate over 100 times solar concentration.
Researchers at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and LUXeXcel Group B.V., The Netherlands were involved in the project. The U.S. Department of Energy funded this research.

Israeli doctors use 3D printing to rebuild injured Syrian man's face

War-torn regions are generally home to the absolute worst humanity has to offer, but sometimes bring forth heartwarming acts of human kindness as well. That’s exactly what’s going on at the Israeli-Syrian border, where Israeli doctors are doing everything they can to help the Syrian victims of the countless atrocities taking place in their country, even going as far as producing very expensive 3D printed implants to help them.
For while Syria is very far away from most of our beds, it is just around the corner for Israel. As the BBC recently revealed, as least 1500 Syrians have travelled to Israel to receive medical treatment. While this doesn’t sound too weird – people flee from war zones all the time – something of an unofficial state of war has existed between these two countries since the Six-Day-War between Israel and its surrounding Arab countries in 1967. Even today, there is something of a no-man’s-land between the two nations, and especially Syrian propaganda is unrelenting in its attacks on Israel.
And yet, wounded Syrians are finding their way to Israel in increasing numbers. While not exactly known how the process works, wounded Syrians find their way to the border on the Golan Heights, and somehow end up in the hands of Israeli soldiers who transport them to hospitals – most of them go to Haifa.
Recently, that exact trip was made by an unconscious 23-year-old called Mohammed, a farmer from Deraa – a hotbed of any Assad-protests. While his identity has purposefully been kept hidden – not many Syrians will approve of someone being helped by the Israeli’s – he arrived in Haifa with a terrible injury: a projectile from a Syrian jet fighter had completely shattered his jaw, leaving his face a bloody mixture of destroyed tissue.
Unable to eat or drink, he was brought to Israel in November 2014. Fortunately for him, one of the hospital’s maxillofacial surgeons, Dr Yoav Leiser, had just returned from a fellowship in Germany, where he studied Patient Specific Implants (PSIs) for eye sockets, jaws, and cheek bones, relying on titanium manufacturing and 3D printing. Leiser set to work on Mohammed’s horrible disfigurement, and developed a 3D printed jaw replacement that quickly put the young man on a road to recovery.

Monday, January 12, 2015

US 3-D car printing factory and showroom

Ever wish you could design your own car and make it with a 3-D printer? 
The developers at National Harbor say they will offer you that chance.
Builders of the 350-acre waterfront complex announced Monday they will open a laboratory, micro-factory, showroom and sales room for Local Motors, a Phoenix company that produced the world’s first functional 3-D printed car.
Founded in 2007, Local Motors is trying to revolutionize the auto industry by crowdsourcing designs and then building and selling the cars locally.
The company invites the public to propose designs for cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles, then provides the facilities needed to build them locally out of carbon-infused plastic via 3-D printers.
Earlier Monday at the Detroit Auto Show, the company debuted a miniaturized version of its Strati roadster, the world’s first functional 3-D printed car. The company’s model of designing by different people and building through the 3-D printer has already produced a race car (“The Rally Fighter”) and a motorcycle (“The Racer”).
The vehicles generally are built using pre-packaged engines from established auto makers like General Motors, which reduces the need for new regulatory approvals. The engines are dropped into the newly designed plastic bodies.
“Local Motors is changing the way you experience motor vehicles,” Jay Rogers, Local Motors chief executive and co-founder said in a statement. “From design to build to purchase to service, our micro-factories are a central hub for engaging both online and physical communities, advancing technology, and creating a first-of-its-kind experiential retail concept.” 
Local Motors already has locations in Phoenix and Las Vegas. The company said in a statement that National Harbor would be the first place in the world to print, refine and assemble a fleet of cars built by 3-D printer. Cars would be available as soon as later this year. 
At National Harbor, Local Motors will join a changing mix of attractions that beginning next year will be headlined by a $925 million MGM resort and casino.