In the latest edition of 3D Printing News Briefs on September 30, 2023, we cover a range of topics including drone customization, the development of a 3D printed bandage, and other noteworthy updates.

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We have some exciting news in the world of 3D printing! Let’s start off with software, as Meltio has developed a new toolpath generator called Meltio Space. This software is designed to make it easier and more reliable to use their wire-laser metal 3D printing solutions. It offers an easy-to-use interface with a wide range of design possibilities, including planar, non-planar, and variable extrusion toolpaths. It also includes kinematics simulation, cell configuration, and collision checks. The software integrates a 6-axis robotic manipulator and 2-axis workpiece positioners, providing more design freedom and allowing users of all skill levels to create customized and intricate parts. The slicer even includes a virtual model of the real robot movement, simplifying integration with popular robotic brands like ABB, Yaskawa, FANUC, and Kuka. It also performs collision checks to minimize the risk of damage or errors during printing. Additionally, Meltio Space comes with a built-in robot library and post-processors at no extra cost. The software is available for an annual subscription at a competitive price, and for the first year, it is free with the purchase of the Meltio Engine. Current customers can also access the software for free in the first year if they purchase training through a reseller or sales channel. Meltio Engine Product Manager Alejandro Nieto emphasizes the user-friendly interface of Meltio Space, stating that it allows industrial customers to design reliable parts quickly, with a wider range of possibilities. He also mentions that the main goal of their technology is to provide the most efficient tool for the industry to manufacture metal parts using their wire-laser technology. Meltio Space is continuously improving and offers competitive software options for various industrial customers. In other news, drone customization and production are becoming more reliable thanks to 3D printing. German drone producer Third Element Aviation collaborated with Fiberthree and Thought3D to create custom components using precision 3D printing. Fiberthree’s F3 PA-CF Pro material, known for its high temperature resistance and strength, was used to print the components. However, one challenge with carbon-filled nylons like F3 PA-CF Pro is that they can absorb moisture during transport, which can affect the integrity of the material and final parts. To address this issue, Third Element Aviation used Thought3D’s Drywise in-line filament dryer, which continually dries filament during the printing process to ensure optimal moisture content, uniformity, and integrity. This collaboration not only improved consistency and quality assurance but also saved time for Third Element Aviation. The success of this partnership highlights the importance of proper filament handling and in-line drying, especially for demanding applications like drones that require strength, reliability, and affordability. We’re excited to see how these advancements in software and material handling continue to shape the field of 3D printing. Stay tuned for more updates on the latest innovations in this rapidly evolving industry!

Drywise filament dryer has revolutionized Third Element Aviation’s production process. The Arizona-based Si Se Puede Foundation is dedicated to providing access to STEM education and technology to underrepresented students. The foundation’s STEM center offers equipment and tools for students to learn and create, including a new 3D printing center equipped with MakerBot printers. The center also plans to offer MakerBot Certification training courses for students and teachers.

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have developed a personalized 3D printed bandage that releases antibiotic-loaded molecules to treat diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). This innovative approach could significantly improve the treatment of DFUs, which often lead to lower limb amputation. The bandage is made using bioprinting and combines two bioinks into one filament. The scaffold can be produced at hospitals, making it a more efficient and cost-effective treatment option.

The ability to monitor and offer treatment without repeatedly removing and replacing the bandage also improves patient care and speeds up the healing process. By preventing bacterial colonization and reducing the need for traditional antibiotic therapy, this approach contributes to the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

In the field of optical devices, the demand for smaller components poses production challenges. The current process requires a multi-step, layered lithography process in a cleanroom, making it expensive and time-consuming. However, as electronics continue to shrink, there is a growing need for high-performing optical devices. Finding a more efficient and cost-effective production method is crucial to meet this demand.

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Thinking Outside the Box: Revolutionizing the Semiconductor Industry

In the world of additive manufacturing, 3D printing has become a dominant force, revolutionizing the way products are made. However, there is one uncharted territory where 3D printing has yet to make its mark – sub-micron resolution. This limitation is about to change, thanks to the groundbreaking work of Professor Tapajyoti Das Gupta from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and In-Vision.

Das Gupta and In-Vision are working tirelessly to develop a large-format, sub-micron resolution 3D printer. This cutting-edge technology has the potential to disrupt the semiconductor industry, as it can create flexible, stretchable photonic devices faster and more economically. Unlike most 3D DLP projectors, which have one or two-micron resolution, In-Vision’s projector, based on a DLP9000-Chipset with a newly designed optical path, achieves sub-micron resolution at an impressive 405 nanometer wavelength.

To bring their vision to life, Das Gupta and In-Vision have partnered with J Group Robotics, utilizing funding from the Indian Ministry of Electronics & Information, to build the printer itself. If everything goes according to plan, the printer is expected to be completed by December 2023. Das Gupta predicts that the first optical component will be printed in the spring of 2024.

The impact of this innovation is astronomical. Das Gupta explains that 3D printing in sub-micron resolution has the potential to significantly reduce production costs and transform the semiconductor industry. The clean room requirement, a significant expense and barrier to entry for many companies, would be eliminated. Additionally, the entire production process would become more environmentally friendly, reducing its carbon footprint. The inherent advantages of this technology could also improve supply chain resiliency by enabling companies to produce and procure chips in closer proximity to home.

Imagine a world where 3D printing becomes the go-to manufacturing process, enabling the creation of intricate photonic devices with unprecedented speed and cost-efficiency. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the semiconductor industry and impact various other sectors, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in manufacturing.

###Turning Tequila Waste into Sustainable 3D Printing Filament

Innovation comes in many forms, and sometimes it arises from the most unexpected industries. In 2020, a couple in Guadalajara, Mexico, set out to create a startup that would develop a valuable product while prioritizing environmental sustainability. And thus, EcoLife Labs was born.

EcoLife Labs’ primary objective was to find a solution to the significant waste generated by the tequila industry. Their ingenuity led them to develop PolyAgave, a 3D printing filament made from upcycled tequila waste. By transforming blue agave fibers, which are used in tequila production, into brittle pellets and then spooling them into filament, EcoLife Labs has created an eco-friendly alternative for the 3D printing industry.

What makes PolyAgave even more impressive is its wood-like effect once printed. Not only does it smell pleasant, reminiscent of sugar, but it is also compostable. In their efforts to make the product even more sustainable, EcoLife Labs packages the filament in cardboard spools, devoid of plastic labeling. This approach ensures every aspect of the product aligns with their environmentally conscious ethos.

Considering the tremendous amount of agave fiber waste produced during the tequila distillation process, EcoLife Labs’ PolyAgave presents a solution that could significantly reduce the industry’s environmental impact. It is heartening to see a growing movement of engineers, distillers, and construction experts in Mexico dedicated to upcycling agave leftovers.

Although EcoLife Labs recently initiated a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the industrial extruder required for mass production, the campaign fell short of its goal, raising only $669 out of the desired $50,000. However, with the increasing focus on sustainability within the 3D printing industry, there may still be a market for an eco-friendly product like PolyAgave.

As the world continues to prioritize environmental conservation and sustainability, innovative ideas like PolyAgave are poised to find their place in the market. Only time will tell if EcoLife Labs perseveres with their groundbreaking creation.

###Stay Informed and Keep Innovating

The world of 3D printing is dynamic and ever-evolving, with new advancements and breakthroughs emerging regularly. To stay updated on the latest news from the industry and gain access to valuable information and offers from third-party vendors, make sure to subscribe to reliable sources of information.

Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand, and the fascinating stories of Professor Tapajyoti Das Gupta’s sub-micron resolution printer and EcoLife Labs’ PolyAgave filament exemplify the power of creativity in driving change. By pushing the boundaries of what is possible and thinking outside the box, these pioneers are transforming industries and contributing to a more sustainable future.

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