This year’s January, chemistry professor Lee Cronin from the University of Glasgow was picked by Science Council as one of the 100 leading practicing scientists in the UK. He was praised for being a “young rising star seeking to understand and control self-assembly and self-organisation in chemistry.” However, this top 100 ranking is not what the world knows him for, since his 3D printed drugs project has made him a one-to-watch. Time to tell you all about this highly innovating, but controversial project.
In 2012, 39-year-old professor Cronin was suddenly in the spotlight because of his ambitious 3D Chemputer project. As ‘Chemputer’ is an amalgamation of ‘chemistry’ and ‘computer’, you can probably imagine the direction of this project. Cronin aims to create a system where people can use an app or website to easily download a file and ‘ink’ for a medicine, after which they will be able to print out the drug at home, using a 3D printer. He’s quite ambitious about it, as the ‘young rising star’ has told The Guardian: “What Apple did for music, I’d like to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs.”
What is it with all of these new coins nowadays? Since the introduction of the Bitcoin a lot of new currencies have entered the game, with Kanye West coin Coinye even ending up into a legal battle. Another rapper, another idea, is what Brandon Hixton from WE MAKE MUSIC must have thought. He used the face of American rapper Rick Ross as a new coin bank, making it the most expensive 3D printed piggy bank ever.
This glittering piggy bank is called The Ricky Bank and the website claims it’s “Hip-Hop’s most expensive coin bank.” One could also say it’s the world’s most inadequate coin bank, because you have to save up as many as 4,999.99 dollars to get your own copy of The Ricky Bank. In order words: saving up in order to save up. Saving up in style, as the luxury material costs elucidate this extremely high price. The Ricky Bank consists of 420 Stainless Steel, infused with bronze, and uses a final composition of 70 percent steel and 30 percent bronze.
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.”
The prices of 3D printers have decreased massively, but 3D printing is still being held back from the masses. One of the factors why 3D printing is not yet as popular as, say, 2D printing is the high price of filament. Such prices range from 25 to 45 dollars for a kilogram of the material, depending on the quality of the product. However, young UK start-up Noztek claims to have found a way for customers to pay up to 70 percent less for the material.
The company has invented the so-called Noztek Pro Filament Extruder. This is a red box which converts wholesale bulk pellets into “premium quality” plastic. As it appears, the only thing you need to do is to which on the heater, add pellets into the hopper and then switch on the motor. The mysterious red box will then need three to four hours to produce the filament. Wondering what you exactly need filament for? Noztek’s Steven Forster explains the process: “The simplest way to explain 3D filament is to look at traditional inkjet paper printers, they use cartridges to apply ink to the paper and in the same way 3D printers use reels of plastic – which is melted – to create layers which eventually forms into a dimensional object.”
We wanted to find out more about Noztek’s peculiar red box and we therefore did an interview with Forster.
3D printing has become a trend in many sectors, such as the medical world, fashion, and even pop music. This is all due to the fact that the technique offers many new opportunities. With the invention of a 3D printed lung that worked for 40 days, it really seems like the opportunities are limitless. But there are still companies to surprise us, with 4 AXYZ being a perfect example. This company claims to have found a way to print wood.
Yes, wood. If you are one of our frequent visitors you will probably remember our recent article on the company, in which we showed you a variety of pictures of wood furniture (as you can also see in the images featured in this article). In this piece we also explained you that 4 AXYZ uses a machine which combines small uniformly-cut pieces of wood and uses a special binding process to assemble the layers. Very, very technical – we understand. Therefore, we wanted to learn more about this company and decided to get in touch with them in order to find out how one can produce 3D printed wood. We spoke with 4 AXYZ’s co-founders Abir Shah, the principal engineer, and Shikhar Shah, who works on business development and promotion.
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.