In late October, Manchester was in the news because 3D printed gun parts were found in the northern UK city. Now, four months later, researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) claim to have created a prototype of a scanner, which is able to detect plastic 3D printed guns, bombs and knifes on people. It could be used at security gates in order to improve security.
The machine, which is a big, black machine – uses radar waves and complex computer programs and it results in the ability to accurately and rapidly scan large groups of people. This technique could also be very useful at crowded areas such as shopping malls and football stadiums. If a thread is detected, authorities can be alarmed directly. The in-built computer enables the machine to work at a distance of 25 meters.
Internet has globalized the world massively, bring people closer together and making it easier for us to connect with one another. However, the world wide web has also come along with so-called “modern problems”. One of them is the problem of free file sharing, making 3D printing a somehow unregulated business. Californian company Authentise wants to structure the world of 3D printed files, offering a streaming service, which is now being used at marketplace 3DTL.
While Spotify has rescued the business behind pop music and Netflix has done the same for the world of movies, there has not yet been a system to add some structure to the file sharing world of 3D printing. The possibility for customers to store and share 3D print files makes it harder for companies to make money with these files. Authentise uses a different approach, as the company has created a system that sends such files to 3D printers, but after the file is fully printed the file will be deleted. Companies could use this system to sell cheap 3D print files, which customers could use to print out their own objects. For instance, toys manufacturers could use them to sell 3D print files for their figurines.
This month, an official 3D movie about LEGO has seen the light: The Lego Movie. Unfortunately, the editors at 3dprinting.com are a little bit too old to tell you something about it, but according to IMDB it must be pretty good. As it usually goes, one hype is followed by another and the latest hype for LEGO has something to do with 3D printing. The giant toys retailer is exploring the possibilities of letting customers 3D print their own toys.
According to the Financial Times, John Goodwin - LEGO’s CFO, says the brand is “looking very intently at it and monitoring it, looking at what potential opportunities there are for consumers.” Goodwin thinks “3D printing is a fascinating development and certainly opens up a lot of new avenues.” LEGO chief marketing officer Mad Nipper adds: “It could well be that it might be an exciting opportunity to print your own bricks.”
If you are a skier, you will probably know about the long process of getting fitted for a new pair of ski boots. Before a one can buy new ski boots, it very important that the boot insoles match perfectly with the person’s feet. This is not an easy task, as every foot is unique and it therefore often happens that skiers need a professionally measured insole for their skies, which can be very expensive. A new UK start-up has therefore come up with an app that measures the shape of your feet directly from a simple picture taken from your mobile.
It’s definitely an invention in the category ‘what will they think of next’, but ALPrint, the start-up we’re talking about, really claims only a couple of mobile camera pictures are required for them to be able to do the job. The ‘patient’ only needs to print out an easily printable calibration mat, and to stand on this mat whilst taking pictures.
Already today you can 3D print your own piece of furniture, but 3D printing furniture is not yet as popular as it could be. The reason for this current unpopularity is that it’s only possible to 3D print your own plastic piece of furniture. For a long time, the manufacturing process of wood was still an unexplored field, due to the fact no-one simply knew how to properly 3D print wooden furniture. However, company 4 AXYZ – what a name – claims it has developed a way to make the impossible possible.
DigitalTrends reports that the process by 4 AXYZ is a little different from regular 3D printing techniques. Most common 3D printing techniques work with plastics, which are extruded layer-by-layer. Instead of that, 4 AXYZ’s machine combines small, uniformly-cut pieces of wood after which the layers are assembled using a special binding process. Because the company does not use any sorts of liquid ink for its process, they rather call the technique additive manufacturing, instead of 3D printing.
The cure for cancer has not yet been invented, but for the other big death cause, heart disease, there might soon be a way to fight it more effectively. A team at the school of engineering and applied science at Washington University in St. Louis is working on a system to predict a heart attack before a patient even shows any symptoms. Their 3D device will also be used to deliver treatment.
The team, led by Igor Efimov has been using an inexpensive 3D printer to create an implantable device to predict and treat cardiac disorders. They created a 3D plastic membrane consisting of flexible silicon material shaped to fit the heart’s centre of every individual.
This week, shoes manufacturer Nike has come up with its brand new running shoes Nike Vapor HyperAgility Cleat. These shoes are not just running shoes, as they actually enable athletes to run faster on turf and change direction more quickly. Nike has been using 3D printing techniques in order to speed up the process of creating the shoes.
It’s not the first time Nike has been using 3D printing techniques, as the brand has already used the technique for the 3D plate construction of its 2013 shoes Nike Vapor Laser Talon Cleat, the prototypes of its 2013 LeBron X Shoes and the 3D printed Nike Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite Cleat, which was unveiled last month. The brand has used Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology to produce its 3D printed cleat plate. Using SLS, the company is able to work with high-powered lasers in order to to make adjustments to its shoes in a couple of hours, while in the past making updates would cost the company months.
Dutch department store Hema will be selling personalized 3D printed jewelry, as the company has announced it will soon be offering a service where customers can create their own necklaces and bracelets online. Hema will be the first giant retailer to offer a service which enables common customers to personalize their own jewelry online, after which a 3D printer will print out the objects. In addition, it will also be possible to buy 3D printed phone cases online from the retailer.
However, the company is not the first big retailer to 3D print jewelry. Last October, US retailer Neiman Marcus added a limited edition of 3D printed jewelry to its online stock. In order to be offering such a service, the company teamed up with Dutch company Shapeways.
Apparently, ’3D printing’ has become a cool thing in the world of contemporary pop music. Will.i.am is the Chief Creative Officer of 3D printing company 3D Systems – whatever that means – and Bloc Party’s Kele has released the first 3D printed record. Right now, Cut/Copy joins the hype with what appears to be the first 3D printed video clip. How can a video possibly be 3D printed, one might ask. Well, read the article and find out.
Cut/Copy is an Australian electronic band, which released its fourth album Free Your Mind last year’s November. We Are Explorers is the band’s brand new single and for this video clip the band has been using stop motion techniques. Stop motion, what is that? Well, take a look at The White Stripes’s famous Lego clip Fell In Love With A Girl from 2002. As you can see, the Lego bricks are moving, due to the fact that the makers have constantly been putting them in different positions. After each position, the team made a new photo and the combination of many photos is called stop motion.
Heart surgery is a difficult kind of operation for surgeons to perform, but it even becomes more complicated when a child’s heart is object of surgery. The hearts of young children are automatically smaller and more complex than grown-up counterparts. However, a miracle wasn’t needed to help 14-month-old boy Lian Cung Bawi with his failing heart. Fortunately, a 3D printer used to print out a 3D model of the failing heart, was able to help out the boy.
University of Louisville Physicians’s heart surgeon Erle Austin at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville is well-experienced in performing surgery. Nevertheless, it was very clear to him that this particular operation on a young heart would implicate a high risk, due to the fact a young heart consists of tiny internal structures which are hard to see clearly.