Top 10 Trending 3D Printing Articles of 2023

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Additive manufacturing, or AM, has seen considerable growth in recent years, with many significant updates happening in the past year alone. Our readers have been especially interested in the developments within the desktop sector. This list of the 10 most-read articles on our site in 2023 predominantly features news about Bambu Lab and its rivals which have garnered the most attention on 3DPrint.com throughout the year.

10. The World of F1 Racing

Our contributor, Benjamin Perez, has devised an impressive infographic showcasing the growing integration of 3D printing in Formula 1, otherwise known as F1. An article explaining the infographic illuminates several brilliant endeavors where AM has had a marked effect on motorsports. F1 teams such as McLaren have utilized fused deposition modeling, or FDM, printers for components like rear-wing flaps to expedite car development and adapt to specific circuit demands. Ferrari has been experimenting with metal 3D printing for engine pistons, using steel alloys with lattice configurations for weight reduction and improved resilience. These instances highlight the increasing relevance of 3D printing in F1, promoting innovation and productivity in a field where speed, weight reduction, and swift development are paramount.

9. Stop-motion Animation via 3D Printing

3DPrint.com’s newest writer, Jay Rincher, has written a well-received piece centering on Yuksel Temiz, a microelectronic engineer, and his creative application of 3D printing in the creation of stop-motion animations. By using his Creality Ender 3D printer, Temiz manufactures various figures in multiple postures and conditions, alongside hundreds of photographs and custom-made set pieces, to make brief but engaging animated clips. This laborious method is demonstrated in his animation of a sprinting cat, made possible by a custom-built zoetrope from a filament spool, seven cat figures, and around one hundred photos. One noteworthy creation is a deconstructed Benchy, attained using a magnetically-secured, specially-sectioned version of the figure, and over 180 photos. To capture the perfect images of his prints, Temiz also assembled a unique camera setup using a Raspberry Pi and LEGO components.

VulcanForms

As highlighted in our piece on VulcanForms, despite its cutting-edge take on laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) and high initial valuation, the company has faced a number of challenges. Despite hefty investments into production infrastructures and equipment, the firm has experienced troubles with machine uptime and the reality of mass production. These technical setbacks were worsened by management issues, with critiques leveled at the CEO’s leadership method and decision-making skills. In an apparent effort to bolster its operations, the startup appointed seasoned industry expert Mona Sabet as Chief Corporate Development and Administration Officer in October.

A Composite Reckoning of Titanic Proportions

In June 2023, the OceanGate Titan submarine suffered a catastrophic implosion, which led to the assumed death of five individuals. This event spotlighted the safety concerns surrounding the design and use of deep-sea exploration technology. In an article, Joris Peels, the Executive Editor at 3DPrint.com, examined the repercussions of this disaster on the 3D printing industry, with an emphasis on the safety and use of materials, like composites, in high-stress environments. The accident highlighted the importance of a safety-first culture. It questioned the prevailing ‘move fast and break things’ mentality, especially when human lives are at risk.

3D Printed Guns

The linked interactive map used to reside here, providing detailed information on the topic of 3D printed guns. To view the map and related data, please refer to the provided source link: USA Map. The infographic was created using Infogram.

Vanesa Listek covered law enforcement trends in 3D printed firearms which gained significant audience. The most viewed was her report on the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to control untrackable “ghost guns”, including 3D printed ones. The judgement was reached in the wake of rising worries and detentions connected to their usage in illegal activities. Hence, the Supreme Court’s verdict is consequential in retaining regulatory surveillance over these firearms, as the ATF persist in handling the intricacies of burgeoning technologies like 3D printing in firearms production and regulation.

Military Adoption

Matt Kremenetsky, a Macro Analyst for 3DPrint.com, shared comprehensive reports on the rising propulsion for AM acceptance across the globe, with special attention on government schemes. Spearheading this initiative is the U.S. military that plans to bestow a total sum of $300 million solely on AM in 2023. This was stated in the Additive Manufacturing Research’s inaugural intelligence report on the 3D printing market for defense titled, “Additive Manufacturing for Military and Defense.” Matt’s most succesful article on this subject explored how the U.S. military is effectuating a significant transition in tech innovation through cutting-edge manufacturing methodologies like 3D printing and robotics. This manoeuvre channels research and innovation from customary academic and nonprofit settings to practical, frontline utilizations, permitting speedy, on-site production of components and new items. Emphasized instances include SPEE3D’s cold spray additive manufacturing in freezing temperatures and nScrypt’s production of replacement PCBs and biomedical braces in ruthless settings. The report also referenced the U.S. Navy’s creation of a new device using metal 3D printing, indicating the growing fusion of sophisticated manufacturing directly into military functions.

Mystery of the Mergers

Even though it didn’t consistently grasp the interest of our readers, who were mostly taken up with the everyday happenings of the AM industry, our reports regarding the ongoing Stratasys drama frequently received top ranking throughout the year. This was particularly evident when 3D Systems initiated its proposal to take over Stratasys, a story that saw several updates. Influenced by J.P. Morgan, the board at Stratasys considered this offer secondary to its anticipated merger with Desktop Metal. But, this ended up merely marking the start of an extended series of events, concluding in nobody merging with anyone after all.

The CBAM 25 from Impossible Objects

In 2021, Impossible Objects, based in Chicago, introduced the CBAM 25, a novel 3D composite printer capable of printing at speeds 15 times faster than rival companies. The CBAM 25 utilizes the company’s proprietary composite-based additive manufacturing technique that layers binder ink and thermoplastic powder on a reinforcing material, leading to the fusion in a furnace. This strategy generates strong and long-lasting components, combining carbon fiber sheets with PEEK, an incredibly resilient polymer. The new printer is seen by CEO Steve Hoover as an integral part of the shift of 3D printing from prototype creation to full-scale manufacturing. Expected to be commercially available starting in early 2024, the CBAM 25 is set to catch the attention of key industries such as aerospace, defense, and transportation due to its capacity to rapidly produce sturdy parts, potentially transforming not just the carbon fiber 3D printing industry, but many others as well.

Bambu Killing 3D Printers

The Magneto X 3D printer from Peopoly.

In a series of articles, Joris outlined how Bambu’s low-cost, ultra-fast fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers are impacting the desktop AM space. In one story in particular, Joris compared the pre-Bambu market, characterized by a mix of low-cost, mid-market, and premium printers from various brands using common software and components, with the post-Bambu landscape. Bambu Lab’s innovations have reshaped industry dynamics, driving competitors to develop more integrated and sophisticated printers that emphasize software synergy, optimized hardware, and comprehensive user experiences.

For this reason, two of the other most popular articles from 2023 are about potential Bambu-killing 3D printers, including the Magneto X and Prusa MK4. Priced at $1,999, the Magneto X from Peopoly features the innovative MagXY motion control system with magnetic linear motors for improved accuracy and speed. The Magneto X challenges Bambu Lab’s dominance by prioritizing hardware advancements over software, catering to diverse users from home enthusiasts to professionals and open-source advocates.

Meanwhile, the Prusa MK4 from Prusa Research, a significant upgrade to the popular MK3 3D printer, features advanced technologies like a 32-bit architecture, improved printing speeds, and enhanced part appearance thanks to a Klipper-inspired overhaul. It includes user-friendly features such as quick-swap nozzles, better stepper motors to eliminate moiré patterns, and a load cell sensor for precise calibration. The MK4’s success also depends on its ability to outperform emerging 3D printers like Bambu Labs’ models, which offer unique architectures and smart features.

Audience interest in Bambu killers even extended into Joris’s Unpeeled series of live video news updates. Among those that made it into the most popular stories of 2023 was Creality’s launch of the K1, a CoreXY 3D printer with impressive features like a 600 mm/second print speed, AI-powered error detection, and advanced cooling, priced at $699, with a larger Max version at $999, positioned to compete with Bambu Labs’ printers.

1. Everything Sarah Saunders Does

3DPrint.com Senior Writer & Editor Sarah Saunders contributes endlessly to the entire site, often in ways that are not entirely visible to the readers at large. This was noted throughout the year’s traffic reports, where all of the sponsored Zones on 3DPrint.com were among the most visited pages we host. Thanks to Sarah’s tireless promotion of these Zones on social media, readers were regularly introduced to the offerings of such companies as EOS, 3D Systems, HP, Velo3D, BASF, and Desktop Metal. However, even outside of these pages, all of the articles in this list have received Sarah’s touch through copyediting, general fixing, and sharing through social media. Therefore, in addition to such great stories as her interview with GE’s Brian Birkmeyer about GE Additive’s binder jetting technology, she’s also responsible for all of the articles on this list. That also doesn’t include her regular 3D Printing News Briefs and Event roundups.

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