Tuesday, 25 August 2015

3D Printed Surgical Tools by Objective3D Parts

Simon Talbot and the team at Allegra Orthopaedics Limited help showcase the latest developments in orthopaedic surgery using 3D printed aides. Manufactured by Objective 3D Parts division using Stratasys's latest material offering - Ultem 1010. Warning: Not for the squeamish.

Stratasys PolyJet Multi-Material 3D Printing

For the few products made of one material and color, prototyping and production can be a one-step process. However, most products are assemblies, comprised of several parts that are typically made from different materials, in more than one color (Figure 1). Each part must be individually machined, molded or cast in the desired material and color and then assembled together. Painting and decorative operations may also be necessary to complete the product.

Figure 1: 
3D printed calculator with a rigid housing, clear display and soft- touch keys with printed characters.

Multi-material 3D printing creates prototypes that simulate final- production parts in a single operation, which improves functional evaluations and overall appearance. Using PolyJet™ Connex™ technology, a single part can have a variety of mechanical properties, colors and levels of opacity and durometer. This unique technology is fast and efficient when creating prototypes with features that exemplify the finished product (Figure 2). PolyJet technology is a 3D printing process (additive manufacturing) that builds objects layer by layer, from computer aided design (CAD) files, by jetting tiny droplets of liquid photopolymers. With PolyJet ’s Connex family of 3D printers, two or three materials are jetted simultaneously and often blended to create digital materials.

Figure 2: 
3D printed glasses with clear lenses and a multi-colored frame.

The blended digital materials combine to deliver a wide range of material characteristics. Some blends mimic ABS plastic, while others simulate rubbers with different Shore A values. Digital materials also combine transparent and colored materials to alter appearances. For example, Connex 3D Printers offer more than 1,000 color options from an inventory of just 22 base materials (Figure 3). This provides designers and engineers with a single- operation prototyping option for parts that would otherwise require multiple fabrication steps.

Figure 3: 
Connex 3D Printers offers 20 color palettes for rigid and flexible materials.

Multi-material 3D printing reduces the time, effort and expense in the production and evaluation of products that combine multiple properties such as rigid, rubber-like, overmolded, and colored features (Figure 4). It also increases utilization and cost- effectiveness of the 3D printer by reducing downtime for material changeovers and increases the variety of material characteristics in parts produced in a single build (Figure 5).

Figure 4: Overmolded, multi-colored razor handles.   
 Figure 5: Multi-material printing

Engineers and designers at Trek Bicycle in Waterloo, Wisconsin, are obsessed with continually improving their products. Trek’s prototyping lab was among the first to adopt the Objet ® 500 Connex3™ 3D Printer, an advanced, color, multi-material 3D printer using PolyJet technology. It creates prototypes that look and feel like production parts, with more material options and more uptime than ever before.

Engineers at Trek embraced multi-materials to integrate soft, rubber-like components into models built with durable Digital ABS™, one of the digital materials available with Connex3 3D Printers. This is important because many bicycle parts contain both soft and rigid materials. Prior to using Connex3 technology, engineers had to build these parts in separate jobs, swapping out 3D printing materials in between, and then bond the components together. The alternative was to make parts in one print job, but with less-than-optimal material characteristics.

“It ’s important for our prototype parts to look and feel like production parts,” says Mike Zeigle, manager of Trek’s prototype development group. Accessories like handlebar grips and chain guards require the same realism for fit and function testing (Figure 6). Multi-material 3D printing gives Trek’s designers the ability to quickly develop prototype parts with all of the desired characteristics of final-production parts.

Figure 6: Durable Digital ABS chain guard with rubber-like components made in one print job.

Trek’s engineers also use multi-material 3D printing to communicate through color. The product development team was able to translate finite-element analysis data into a physical 3D color map of a bike seat showing the pressure a rider puts on specific areas of the seat (Figure 7). This lets designers actually “see” these pressure points, allowing them to decide where to put high-density foam for a better-performing seat.

Figure 7: Color map model shows the pressure that a rider puts on the seat.

The ability to 3D print parts with different material properties in multiple colors gives Trek Bicycle faster prototyping capabilities as well as more descriptive concept communications.

Source: Stratasys Application Brief

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Objective3D Service Bureau Helps You Find the Right Technology for Your Application

There’s more than one way to build an idea. Today’s advanced 3D printing and advanced manufacturing processes boast fantastic design feats, which can make it difficult to determine the right manufacturing technology for your project. However, 3D printing isn’t a one-size-fits all technology. That’s why Objective3D Service Bureau (ANZ's largest additive manufacturing centre) offers all the major 3D printing processes in-house alongside our advanced conventional manufacturing solutions. To learn more about which technology is best for your manufacturing project, check out some of the pros and cons of each process and hear from our Stratasys partnered engineers on their favorite technologies below.


Pros: A material jetting process, PolyJet builds in layers as thin as 0.0006” which gives PolyJet parts a smoother surface right off the machine when compared to other 3D printing processes. PolyJet is capable of building hybrid, multi-material parts with a range of durometers and mechanical properties simultaneously in one build to deliver realistic tactile models. One of PolyJet’s greatest attributes is speed. Parts that fit roughly within a 5” x 5” cube can build within hours. PolyJet applications include master patterns for urethane casting, presentation models and concept models.

Cons: While PolyJet can be bonded together to form large parts, costs significantly increase as designs get larger. This is partly because of the time required to print designs that exceed a 5×5” cube.

Stereolithography (SL)

Pros: A vat polymerization technology, SL shines in the prototype and pattern realm. Plastics used with SL provide easily sanded surfaces and are ideal for post-process finishing. SL is a favorite for large models and investment cast patterns for low volume projects. It is a staple in the aerospace industry for the casting of engine components. SL high definition processes build some of the finest feature details which ranks SL as a top go-to technology for detailed prototypes.

Cons: SL materials have low heat deflection temperatures and low tensile strength; they aren’t ideal for rugged testing or most end-use applications.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Pros: A material extrusion additive manufacturing process, FDM offers production materials such as ULTEM, ABS, ASA and biocompatible polycarbonate high performance thermoplastics. FDM parts have been certified for flight, heavily used in the transportation industry for prototype, pre-production and production applications as well as in hundreds of other industries both large and niche. FDM manufactures durable parts which have properties close to injection molding but with the added benefit of 3D printing complexity and design freedom.

Cons: FDM builds in thicker layers than PolyJet or SL, which makes it less ideal for finely detailed prototypes due to the visible layer lines. Smooth surfaces can be achieved through post-processing such as hand sanding and bead blasting, but FDM cannot match the feature details of PolyJet and SL.

Laser Sintering (LS)

Pros: LS builds in a self-supporting bed of plastic powder, making it the only 3D printing process that does not require supports attached to actual part features. This unique aspect of LS allows a level of complexity unimaginable in conventional manufacturing. No access features, undercuts and intertwining designs are an easy feat for this technology. Aside from its ability to build complex geometries, LS utilizes nylons that can be highly heat deflective, certified for aircraft, chemical resistant, biocompatible and very rugged.

Cons: LS builds in a chamber just below the natural melting point of its plastic. Large flat or box-like parts typically aren’t ideal for the technology due to warp.

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

Pros: DMLS is a 3D printing technology that builds fully dense metal designs in titanium, aluminum, Inconel, stainless steel and cobalt chrome alloys. No access design features such as internal cavities and channels, attachment features and other intricate inclusions are built simultaneously in one part through DMLS. Metal parts built through DMLS can go through heat and HIP treatments to bring out optimum mechanical properties.

Cons: DMLS requires build supports for features below 45 degrees. Supports are built from the same metal as the final part. Support removal and finishing can be time consuming and require skilled professionals to remove.

Urethane Casting

Pros: Urethane casting is a traditional manufacturing technology that benefits from the advantages of 3D printing or CNC machining. 3D printed and machined master patterns are used to create silicone molds, or tools, which are cast with advanced formula polymer (AFP) urethanes. Urethane casting is frequently used as a low-volume production solution when limited quantities are required in a short amount of time Urethane casting simulates injection molding with smooth, textured, cast in color and assembled products. It is an invaluable resource to the medical large cart manufacturing industries thanks to its ROHS, ROHS2, REACH and SVHC compliant materials

Cons: Urethane casting is ideal for low volume production. Mold life is good for about 10-50 shots, 50-100 in certain applications. Urethane casting is valued for its ability to quickly manufacture production pieces and get products to market first while tooling for injection molding is created for larger production runs.

CNC Machining
Pros: CNC machining with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is a streamlined solution for projects requiring strict tolerances or specialty materials unavailable through other means. CNC machining is a conventional manufacturing method ideal for prototypes, large production models, master patterns and jigs and fixtures.

Cons: CNC machining can require involved programming; complex geometries may equate to multi-step programming and design orientation to realize a design. Therefore, CNC machining is best for simple designs when compared to 3D printing.

Tooling and Injection Molding
Pros: Injection molding is an excellent option for mass production runs with part quantities exceeding 500 – 1000. While the cost of the tool is typically high, the price is offset by the volume of parts which makes injection molding the perfect solution for mass production needs. Injection molding offers the widest range of materials.

Cons: Injection molding is a lengthy process with design constraints that might be less ideal for certain applications.

When determining the right technology for your project, talk with one of our dedicated project engineer Simon Bartlett at simon@objective3d.com.au or call 03-9785 2333 (AUS) 09-801 0830 (NZ)

Content Source: Stratasys Direct Manufacturing Blog

Monday, 17 August 2015

3D Printing allows us to fabricate objects we never could with traditional manufacturing.

3D printing isn’t just for making unique stuffed animals or weird fake meat. It allows us to fabricate objects we never could with traditional manufacturing. Here are some of the incredible things we can print now, which were nearly impossible to make before.

Personalised Car Parts
3D printing can make car parts that are custom-built for the driver’s body and comfort: an ergonomic steering wheel, for example. Last month, Fortune reported Ford’s partnership with California-based 3D printing company Carbon3D. The automakers themselves can benefit from 3D printed parts, too. Instead of the ol’ Ford assembly line, engineers can make manufacturing and design more iterative with 3D printed materials, since prototyping suddenly becomes faster and cheaper and testing becomes more frequent and thorough.

You see, many products — from drinking cups to video game consoles to car parts — are created in a process called “injection moulding.” That’s when a material, like glass or metal or plastic, is poured into a mould that forms the product. But with 3D printing, you can design a crazy object on your computer, and it can be turned into reality.

“3D printing bridges the gap between the digital and the physical world,” says Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot, “and lets you design pretty much anything in digital form and then instantly turn it into a physical object.”

This 3D-printed airbox for a Formula-style racecar improves performance: it increases horsepower by 10% and torque by nearly 12%.

Lighter Aeroplanes
There have been lots of materials used to make planes lighter, and thus more fuel efficient and greener. But 3D-printed materials can cut weight by up to 55%, according to Airbus, which announced its involvement with 3D printing last year.

In February, Australian researchers unveiled the first 3D-printed jet engine in the world.

3D-printed structural brackets for planes, like this one for the Airbus A350 XWB jet, make aircraft significantly lighter and more fuel-efficient. Credit: Youtube

3D-printed polymers often have “high strength to weight ratios,” says Kristine Relja, marketing manager at Carbon3D, the same company that’s working with Ford on the 3D-printed car parts. 3D-printed plane parts use that strength-to-weight ratio to their advantage. It gives them an edge over traditional materials, like the aluminium often found in seat frames.

“If the arm rest of each seat of a plane were replaced with a high strength to weight ratio part, the overall weight of the plane would drop, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering the overall cost of the plane,” Relja says.

3D-printed polymers often have “high strength to weight ratios,” says Kristine Relja, marketing manager at Carbon3D, the same company that’s working with Ford on the 3D-printed car parts. 3D-printed plane parts use that strength-to-weight ratio to their advantage. It gives them an edge over traditional materials, like the aluminium often found in seat frames.

“If the arm rest of each seat of a plane were replaced with a high strength to weight ratio part, the overall weight of the plane would drop, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering the overall cost of the plane,” Relja says.

A 3D-printed sculpture by Belgian artist Nick Ervinck. 3D printers excel at churning out extremely unusual, complicated shapes. Credit: AP

Detailed Molds of Your Jaw
Possibly the arena 3D printing handedly dominates is personal health. Our bodies are unbelievably individualized, idiosyncratic flesh bags filled with biological items uniquely shaped to each person. Since customisation is so critical, especially in surgical implants, 3D printing can really shine here.

Let’s start with dental trays: Those molds of your chompers that’re made with gross cement stuff that you have to leave in your mouth for minutes on end. They’re useful because they can help dentists and orthodontists create appliances like retainers or braces, and can give them a three dimensional, kinesthetic mould of your mouth.

A 3D-printed dental tray. Image credit: Stratasys

Over at Stratasys, the 3D printing company that owns MakerBot, 3D-printed dental trays are going from CAD file to model, blazing trails in orthodontics. It gives orthodontists and dentists a cheap, accurate glimpse into a patient’s maw. It’s way easier than those nasty physical impressions with the cement, and way less gag-inducing.

Customised Surgical Stents
Stents are those little tubes surgeons stick in the hollow parts of your body — a blood vessel or artery, say — to hold it open and allow it to function properly. Usually, they’re mesh, but stents that are 3D-printed can have an edge, since they’re able to be customised more and are made with cheaper, flexible polymers that can dissolve safely into the bloodstream in a couple years.

At the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in the Detroit Medical Center, a 17-year-old girl was suffering from an aortic aneurysm, a potentially fatal heart condition that was discovered with a precautionary EKG. That’s when Dr. Daisuke Kobayashi and his team turned to 3D printing. A 3D printed model of her heart allowed the doctors to know exactly where to put stents in an otherwise delicate operation for a young patient.

In other cases, the surgical stents themselves are 3D printed: University of Michigan doctors have also implanted 3D-printed stents just above infant boys’ lungs to open their airways help them breathe normally on their own. The advantage of using 3D printing here is that doctors were able to create custom stents that could fit the kids’ individual anatomies, quickly and cheaply.

Doctors 3D-printed a patient’s airway along with the stent (outlined in red), to get a tangible idea of how the device fit into his anatomy. 
Credit: New England Journal of Medicine

No, not the tiny magnetic choking hazards. We’re talking about models of Buckminsterfullerene, the molecule. It’s every chemistry teacher’s dream. 3D printers can produce tangible, big models of molecules. And they’re accurate, too. This type of complex geometry is really hard to pull off with injection moulding. The closest thing we had before was basically popsicle sticks and Elmer’s.

3D printing not only helps us learn more about what molecules look like by making lifesized models of them — it also helps us make actual molecules. Earlier this year, Dr. Martin Burke at the University of Illinois led the construction of a “molecule-making machine“: It’s a machine that synthesizes small, organic molecules by welding over 200 pre-made “building blocks” and then 3D printing billions of organic compound combinations. This could “revolutionise organic chemistry,” the paper in the journal Science reported, significantly speeding up the process to test new drugs.

What’s cool about 3D printing is that it makes ambitiously designed objects way more feasible. Specifically, 3D printing can make those “complex geometries” that injection moulding can’t: That is, stuff that’s in obscure shapes, like long twisty mobius strips or zillion-sided polygons.

3D printers, like this liquid one from Carbon3D, can copy the complex shapes found in molecules.

Replacement Parts for Your Organs
3D printing can be used to make surgically-implanted hardware that protects or supports damaged organs. This could lead the way to custom repairs for damaged tracheas or windpipes, for instance. Sometimes part of a windpipe needs to be removed, but the two remaining ends need to be joined together — if they can’t be joined together, the patient may die.

3D bioprinting to the rescue! It can replicate the mechanical properties of the trachea. That’s right: a living, biological tracheal replacement can be made from a mix of 3D printing and tissue engineering. That’s what the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research did. They modified a 3D printer to use a syringe filled with living cells that produce collagen and cartilage. Within hours, bioengineered tracheas can be created on-the-spot quickly and cheaply. And that’s a key strength for 3D printing: fast prototypes.

Here’s a 3D-printed tracheal replacement that was created with living materials. Credit: Feinstein Institute

Organs and Bones
The most futuristic use of for these magical printers? They could, one day, create internal organs. That’s a literal lifesaver for folks who need an organ transplant. Also possibly available: eyes, blood vessels, noses, ears, skin, and bones. Even hearts.

The FDA has approved skull caps that could repair cranial damage — one patient had 75% of his skull repaired using these 3D-printed materials.

And this isn’t just science fiction. In 2013, medical company Organovo started selling 3D-printed liver tissue. It will be a while before a fully functioning liver can be printed, but it’s a big step in the right direction, even if it just means prototypes and experimental liver-like structures.

As if that wasn’t incredible enough, we can also create replicas of people’s existing internal organs. With the help of CT scan data, docs can whip up three dimensional, touchable copies of individuals’ guts, in all their nuanced, unique glory. This can help medical professionals better find tumours or other irregularities. (Not to mention it could possibly take the gross awesomeness out of biology class dissections.)

And already, companies are creating cheap, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for kids. A whole generation is growing up with 3D printing — not just as a toy, but a vital part of their bodies.

This 7-year-old girl adjusts her new 3D-printed limb. 3D printing is beneficial for prosthetics, especially children’s, since they quickly outgrow expensive traditional ones. But 3D printing presents a fast, cheap alternative. Credit: AP

Friday, 7 August 2015

Makerbot Starter-Lab: Reach a new level of cutting-edge innovation.

Create an innovation hub where imaginative thinkers brainstorm together, Stimulate creativity, speed development. Optimize and centralize your 3D printing investment in an innovative, lab-like environment.


  • Introduce 3D printing to your organization with a scalable, reliable solution that’s fast and easy to implement.
  • Expand as your 3D printing demands grow.
  • 80 spools of our most popular filament colors and sizes — enough to make approximately 4,800 iPhone cases.
  • All hardware products are backed by MakerBot MakerCare® Protection Plans and our comprehensive warranty and return policies.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Webinar on Demand: 3D Printed Rapid Tools for Injection Molding

Learn how 3D printed molds can cut turnaround time for your injection molded (IM) prototypes. We will discuss when 3D printed molds are a best fit, material selection and customer stories, as well as process limitations and tips for successful molding.

Presented By
Nadav Sella – Solutions Sales Manager, Stratasys

Nadav Sella has worked for Stratasys for six years. He started as an Application Engineer at Objet, then managed Pre-Sales and Applications for the Emerging Markets, including Latin America. Today he manages worldwide Solutions Sales for the tooling market. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tel-Aviv University and an MBA from Bar-Ilan University.

What You Will Learn

  • The role and value of 3D printed Injection Molding tools
  • Which materials are best suited for use
  • How other companies are using 3D printed Injection Molding tools
  • Tips for successful design, production, fitting and finishing

Who Should Attend
  • Engineering managers & directors 
  • Manufacturing engineers 
  • Production engineers 
  • Operations managers 
  • Design engineers 
  • Industrial designers 
  • Quality assurance 
  • Materials development 
  • Machine shop supervisors
  • and anyone interested in 3D Printing

Monday, 3 August 2015

3D Printing Aids Babies Healing from Flat Head Syndrome

We have heard about many groundbreaking applications of 3D printing in the medical arena — far too many to list here. Simply stated, 3D printing’s ability to produce quality products customized from body scans to the exact specifications of the patient, positions the technology to make great contributions in a variety of medical and dental applications. Recently “headway” is being made around the use of 3D printing for “CranioCaps” to treat a condition in infants’ known as Flat Head Syndrome.

In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics launched a campaign called skull2“Back to Sleep” to raise awareness about placing infants on their backs while sleeping, in order to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While this has helped reduce SIDS cases, more and more infants now sleep on their backs — potentially leading to what is commonly called Flat Head Syndrome. Flat Head Syndrome is a condition that occurs when a baby positions his or her head the same way repeatedly. This positioning can either occur on the side or the back of the head, and over time the pressure on that part of the head flattens it.

One way to correct this condition is by outfitting the babies with helmets, also known as “CranioCaps” that are custom-fitted for the babies to wear during a critical 14 week growth period. You can imagine that 3D printing can come in quite handy making these customized CranioCaps, and it has!

skull59 month old twins, Lincoln and Nolan Potts, are two such lucky babies who have received support healing from Flat Head Syndrome. One got a conventionally made CranioCap, while the other receieved a 3D printed version. First it was Nolan’s turn. St. Paul, Minnesota’s Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare scanned Nolan’s head, emailing it to a carving company in Florida. It took about a week for the modeled head to arrive back, and work could then begin on vacuum-molding Nolan’s CranioCap.

Nolan’s twin, Lincoln, benefitted from the luck of timing, as the hospital had purchased a “$225,000, refrigerator-sized” Stratasys 3D printer by the time they were ready to start on his own CranioCap. It took 5 hours overall: three hours to make the replica of Lincoln’s head and two to make the CranioCap. Stratasys machines make the head molds that lead to CranioCaps. The twins’ mother was delighted by the presence of 3D printing technology in her child’s treatment program, calling 3D printing “awesome” and saying she first heard about it on the television show “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare reports that it treats around 1,100 children with Flat Head Syndrome annually. According to one 1996 study, this syndrome saw a dramatic rise from 1 in 300 to 1 in 60 infants diagnosed. (But there is no definitive study of the rate of occurrence of Flat Head Syndrome today.) Just the case numbers that Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare sees annually proves that the Stratasys printer will definitely be a welcomed addition at the hospital, as more babies, like Lincoln and Nolan Potts, get treated in an efficient manner with hopefully full recovery awaiting them.

Source: http://3dprint.com/84519/3d-print-helmets-flat-head/