As we wrap up 2014, it’s time to take a look back at some of the amazing 3D printing stories and videos we’ve had the privilege to feature here on the Stratasys 3D Printing Blog. We’ve highlighted the Top 10 most popular stories that show how far 3D printing has come this year. Let’s see how many you remember.
The AirDog is a programmable “quadcopter” drone that works with the AirLeash (a remote tracker worn on the wrist) to follow you while you are surfing, snowboarding or biking. A camera mounted on the AirDog captures the action, wherever it goes, from above. The working prototype was produced using 3D printing technologies from Stratasys, with guidance from Stratasys’ Latvian partner, Baltic3D, and Polish reseller Bibus Menos. A production-grade thermoplastic (ULTEM 9085), popular in the aerospace industry for its high strength-to-weight ratio, was used to create the AirDog quadcopter. “We were particularly impressed by how far we could push the boundaries of the ULTEM material,” said Edgars Rozentals, Co-founder and CEO of Helico Aerospace Industries. “The material’s functional stability enabled us to 3D print very thin walls that further reduced AirDog’s overall weight.”
If you’re looking for new ways to expand your additive manufacturing applications, this video is a must see. It was filmed by the experts at CAPINC, a Stratasys reseller that serves the northeast United States, and features David Belanger, a member of CAPINC’s Stratasys support team. Belanger demonstrates how to insert metal threads into FDM-based and PolyJet-based 3D printed parts. The bigger picture here is that using your 3D printer to create prototypes is just the beginning when it comes to manufacturing. 3D printed tools and tool patterns are becoming more universal as they continue to demonstrate their value for cost savings and shorter production cycles. For example, companies that have integrated 3D printed jigs and fixtures into their assembly lines are experiencing accelerated time to market and reduced production costs.
We expanded our portfolio of 3D printing materials with Endur, a new PolyJet 3D printing material. Endur has the chemical characteristics and composition to give models and prototypes a polypropylene-like look and functionality, much like the characteristics of standard plastics. In the video, Boaz Jacobi, Product Marketing Manager at Stratasys, talks about the capabilities of Endur and examines some applicative models that look and behave like polypropylene in terms of flexibility, strength and toughness.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been called the Next Industrial Revolution, improving virtually every aspect of the way products are made. Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) is a key component of additive manufacturing, which generally describes the process of producing parts directly from digital CAD data. Normally DDM stories tend to focus on end use parts, where additive manufacturing is used to cost-effectively produce the final parts that go into your car, jetliner or coffee maker. Describing its potential impact, the Wohlers Report 2014 states: “Most indications suggest that we are heading toward a relatively new method of manufacturing and an industry worth tens of billions of dollars.”
6. Revolutionary New Electric Car Built and Tested in One Year with Objet1000 Multi-material 3D Production System
Using revolutionary design and production methods, the StreetScooter C16 Short Distance Vehicle was built by the team at Aachen University using an Objet1000 Multi-material 3D Production System by Stratasys. 3D Printing was used for all of the vehicle’s exterior plastic parts, including the large front and back panels, door panels, bumper systems, side skirts, wheel arches, lamp masks, and a few interior components, such as the retainer instrument board and a host of smaller components. Parts were produced using Stratasys’ tough Digital ABS material, enabling the engineering team to build a prototype car that could perform in strenuous testing environments at the same level as a vehicle made of traditionally manufactured parts.
Neri Oxman, Architect, Designer and Professor of Media, Arts and Science at MIT Lab, in collaboration with Professor W. Craig Carter, Department of Materials Science and Engineering of MIT, has continued to push the envelope of Stratasys color multi-material 3D printing – based on the Objet Connex color, multi-material technology – with her new Gemini chaise.
What do you get when you combine the design genius of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, the creative mastery of Legacy Effects and Stratasys 3D printing? The answer of course is Bodock – the 14-foot walking-talking giant creature that debuted on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. It took just six weeks and 7,500 collaborative hours of work at Legacy Effects, Stan Winston School and Stratasys to make Bodock the living, breathing hulk he is. This irresistible mechanical marvel weighs in at a hefty 2000 pounds and measures 13 feet 6 inches tall and 9 feet 9 inches wide. More than one third of Bodock was 3D printed by Stratasys – including the chest armor, shoulders, arms and fingers. A variety of Stratasys 3D Printers were employed in the build process, including the Fortus 900mc 3D Production System which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing technology to build durable, accurate, repeatable parts as large as 36 x 24 x 36 inches.
Stratasys co-founder, chairman and chief innovation officer Scott Crump braved the slopes to test a pair of what are believed to be the first fully functional 3D printed skis (watch the clip at the end of the blog). Dominic Mannella, the Stratasys senior applications engineer who designed the skis, noted, “Scott loves to be the first to try anything, especially when it comes to 3D printing. I am not aware of anyone who has ever taken 3D printed skis downhill before. This kind of adventure is right up Scott’s alley — he’s a longtime thrill-seeker with many exploits to his credit.”
When engineers at CATIA/DS wanted to show potential customers how they can prototype an automobile with 3D printing, they took the process to a new level! Showing off the capabilities of their Objet260 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer from Stratasys, a team led by Xavier Melkonian created “Project Bleu,” a 5-part car design study in physics, design and modeling. The CATIA software division of Dassault Systèmes, specializing in CAD for 3D modeling, creates prototypes for many aerospace and automotive companies in worldwide. Laurent Igarza helped dream up the Project Bleu proof of concept experiment: “It was a challenge to our own R & D. We took a full team from sketching through 3D printing.”
And the top post for 2014… drum roll please…
1. Stratasys Redefines Design and Manufacturing with the New Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-Material 3D Printer
We unveiled the paradigm changing Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer in January 2014. A true breakthrough for 3D printing and additive manufacturing, the Objet500 Connex3 is designed to change design, engineering and manufacturing processes. The Objet500 Connex 3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer is the only 3D Printer that enables color 3D printing with virtually unlimited combinations of rigid, flexible, and transparent materials as well as digital materials – in a single print run.
In June, we expanded on full Color Multi-material 3D Printing with the introduction of flexible color: Exploring a New World of 3D Printed Product Realism with Flexible Color Digital Materials
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