Weekly Newslet

In Archive by Dorothée Doepfer

Another week is over, and with it a lot of interesting news published referring to the topic of 3D printing. We just picked a palmful of what appeared especially worth mentioning to us. Enjoy the first real spring weather!

NASA Unboxes First Special Delivery from Space


Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville (Alabama, USA) unboxed the first items manufactured in space with a 3D printer at the International Space Station on April 6.
The items were part of the ‘3D Printing in Zero-G Technology Demonstration’ on the international space station to show that 3D printing can make a variety of parts and tools in space. This program is the first step toward realizing an additive manufacturing, print-on-demand shop for long-duration missions, where there is extremely limited ability and availability of earth-based resupply, such as Mars, asteroids, and other locations. 14 different designs were printed and a total of 21 items and some calibration coupons were built. Now, NASA project engineers will perform durability, strength, and structural tests on both sets of printed items (in space and on earth) and even put them under an electron microscope to scan for differences in the objects. We are looking forward to the outcome of those tests.

First Metal Filled Filaments to Create Fully Sintered Metal Objects

The Massachusetts (USA) based project Sinterhard, led by engineer Bill Kovacs, has developed a new series of filaments based on metal powders aluminum and stainless steel. After completing their crowdfunding campaign, Sinterhard will begin to manufacture ABS and PLA plastic filaments mixed with 316 stainless steel and aluminum powders that could easily be used by the 3d printers currently in the market. It is very common by now to use both metals for metal injection and molding processes. According to Sinterhard will cover “these metals a large range in commercial applications and are available in the fine mesh size we need to ensure a high-quality 3D Printed part.”
The company chose the in their point of view, “most commonly used 3d printer filaments” PLA (polylactic acid) and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) as their thermoplastic resin. The new filaments might enable people to print items that are furnace ready to rebind and sinter into solid sintered metal objects.

Lingerie Company Uses 3D Printing to Reduce Cost of Breast Prostheses by Half

Southern German lingerie company Anita which is specialized among their ’daily’ lingerie (women’s underwear, bodies and swimwear) in producing special post-surgery prostheses announced they will use 3D printing to reduce cost of breast prostheses by up to 50%. Due to the fact that the availability and successes of medical applications of 3D printing technology have been very successful in recent years, it is no wonder that 3D printing has an impact on even a very precise industry such as breast prostheses. Before the fast 3D printing process (simply to scan aluminum mold – rework in CAD software – print in 3D) it took 14 days to manufacture wooden templates and fiberglass prototypes. Therefore, great news for the wearers of these prostheses, typically breast cancer survivors and transgenders and the prosthetic industry in general.

image sources:
NASA’s 3-D printer on the International Space Station built a wrench by NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given

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