How Does 3D Printing Affect Climate Change?

How Does 3D Printing Affect Climate Change? Polyga meets prosumer demand with new line of HDI Compact 3D scanners Kodak and Twindom launch 3D scanning booth at CES 2018 SHINING 3D unveils EinScan Discovery and HD Prime Packs at CES 2018 Vulcain 2.1 test fired, 3D printed rocket engine parts to lift off in 2020 … Continue reading “How Does 3D Printing Affect Climate Change?”

How Does 3D Printing Affect Climate Change?

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How Does 3D Printing Affect Climate Change?

With the Earths atmosphere already well past stable levels of CO2, its vital that we ensure that all new technologies are as efficient and beneficial to the environment as possible so that we dont commit the same mistakes as the generation before us. Rather than take every new device as a blessing regardless of potentially negative impacts on the health of communities, on the environment, or on the economies of other nations we have to do our best to innovate altruistically from the start.  AtResponding to Climate Change (RCC), Nilima Choudhury has published a great post that addresses the environmental sustainability of 3DP/additive manufacturing, titledHow green is 3D printing?

The post takes data from a variety of sources to feel out the potential positive and negative consequences that 3D printing has and will have on the environment, as the technology becomes more widespread (citing estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy that AM could be a $5 billion industry by 2020).  Dr Martin Baumers, a professor at the University of Nottinghams EPSRC Centre of Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing, for instance, told the blog what many that are familiar with 3D printing already know: compared to subtractive manufacturing, additive manufacturing uses a lot less material and, therefore, creates a lot less wasted byproduct.  While many have used this fact alone to propose the sustainability of 3D printing, they may overlook other key factors.

The ATKINS project, a research endeavor conducted by Loughborough University and industry experts to determine 3D printings carbon footprint, discovered that 3D printing may not always be so green when it comes to energy use.  Funded with 2.7m from the UKs Technology Strategy Board, Nottinghams Professor Richard Hague, et al. teamed up with AM research firm Econolyst to measure the energy usage of 3D printing compared to that of a huge host of traditional manufacturing techniques.  What they found is that, when it comes to the actual printing of a metal object using Selective Laser Melting, the amount of energy used is not too different from machining a metal object,with Professor Hague saying,We started off thinking additive manufacturing was going to be good at the production stage, youd use less energy at the production stage. It turns out its about comparable [to machining] at the production stage. The real benefit you get is at the material production stage because you use less material during the in-use phase.

In an interview withRCC, Nick Owen, director of manufacturing firm3D Print UK, explained that, because 3D printing produces fewer items in the same span of time as injection-moulding, it can be much less efficient:

Because youre using heat processes or powerful lights to cure resins theyre very energy hungry so your actual energy usage per item is very high. If you compare that to mass production where an injection mould is pumping out 1,000 things an hour, our machine is probably pumping out 100 things a day using the same amount of electricity.

Owen also pointed out that, in the case of filament recyclers, like the Filabot, the quality of plastic that may be reused degrades over time. This makes recycled plastic more prone to breaking with each re-use.

RCC, however, explains another benefit that 3D printing enthusiasts are already aware of and this benefit may be what ultimately makes the tech more green than traditional manufacturing methods in certain regards.  Because 3D printing allows users to construct more complex geometries, it is possible to produce objects with lighter, more streamlined geometries.  In the case of the transportation industry, as the ATKINS project discovered, this can save huge amounts of fuel.  By 3D-printing aerospace components, for instance, Econolysts Dr. Phil Reeves toldThe Engineerthat manufacturers could reduce the carbon footprint of a vehicle bythree to four orders of magnitude more than the amount of CO2emitted to make them.Reeves explained it in this way,Theres a figure thats quoted within the industry that if you could save 100 kilograms in aerospace you save $2.5m of fuel.

The way I see it is that, like many potentially green technologies that could do much to reduce CO2emissions, 3D printing still has some negative environmental impacts at the current moment.  Just assolar panels are made from some toxic elementsand thebatteries of electric cars, also made from toxic elements, still harness power generated from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants when they need a charge.  What this means is that, were still not there, yet, in terms of environmental sustainability.  After weve perfected3D-printed solar cells(a link obtained fromRCC) or miniature windmills, it will become easier to reduce 3D-printings environmental impact even further.  And, because most nations (especially the United States) are still stuck to an unsustainable national power grid, no source of energy and, so, no manufacturing method will be green until the entire power grid is green.  This means more wind farms andless fracking.

So, 3D printing is a step in the right direction, but theres still more to be done.  At least, this time around, as a species, were on the lookout for what sorts of consequences our present actions have on the future.  My only question is if weve started to learn this lesson in time.

Feature Image Source: Thingiverse userRobMartin701

Michael Molitch-Hou previously served as Editor-in-Chief of 3D Printing Industry, he is now the Editor of Engineering . coms 3D printing section. He has covered additive manufacturing technology day in and day out since 2012 and has hundreds of article to his credit. He is the founder of The Reality Institute.

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SensorPush Tiny IoT devices that let you track temperature data on your smartphone

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As IoT devices mature, were starting to see sensors and other devices that integrate into our app-centric smartphone-managed world. One such well-designed device is the SensorPush.

ByDavid GewirtzforDIY-ITJanuary 29, 2018 — 15:37 GMT (23:37 GMT+08:00)Topic:Internet of Things

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Whether youre new to 3D printing or an old hand, ZDNets 3D Printing Discovery Series will help you understand and get the most out of this amazing, accessible technology.

In December, faced with trying to manage a precise temperature range for 3D printing in a very cold garage, I picked up two $49SensorPushremote temperature and humidity sensors. While I mentioned the devices inmy article on winterizing 3D printing, I didnt provide much detail.

To rectify that, Im going to dive a little deeper to help you understand how to get the most out of these versatile, easy to use, and inexpensive devices.

Each SensorPush is a block about a half inch thick, and the size of a matchbook. Each sensor also includes a nicely sized hole that allows it to be hung or attached. I ran a twist tie through one and hung it from the top of my wire shelving printer enclosure. I stuck the other one over a pegboard hook.

You could hang a sensor on the side of a chicken coop to monitor livestock breeding temperatures. You could use some double-sided tape to stick one inside a humidor to keep track of cigar humidity. You could hang one from a nail in an attic to keep track of temperature and humidity for items youre storing, without having to go up into the attic and look at a thermometer.

We have most of our musical instruments in a closet, including some nice guitars and hand-made drums. Ive been thinking of ordering a third sensor to put into the closet, so we could make sure that if the humidity got too high for those instruments, wed get an alert.

Thats one of the other standout features of the SensorPush. You can set an alert condition and the SensorPush will push a notification to your phone. I have one set for my 3D printer enclosure to let me know if the enclosure exceeds 90 degrees. If so, Ill open it up and let some of the heat out.

Another possibility for home use is in the refrigerator. Different shelves often are at different temperatures, and you could place a couple of different SensorPushes on shelves to develop a temperature profile for each. Then, youd know exactly which shelves are best for which foods.

The SensorPush app is well designed and clean. You can see current temperature and humidity for three devices at a glance, or scroll to see more devices. In addition, you can see temperature trends for the day, week, month, or year.

When I was trying to dial-in the heat management in my printing enclosure during December, I watched the overnight trend line very closely to make sure the interior of the enclosure stayed above 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Today, in deciding whether I needed to put on a jacket to work in the garage, I popped up the SensorPush app and noticed that after falling all night, the temperature has been rising nicely this morning.

Its also been interesting to watch the overall temperature trend to see that the base temperature has been going up over the month, which seems to be indicating that the worst of Oregons winter is probably over.

The SensorPush devices communicate with the iPhone over either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, although Wi-Fi requires the purchase of a $99 Wi-Fi gateway. While the added price for Wi-Fi might seem a bit expensive, the gateway provides the ability to gather sensor data remotely, connecting it to your internet connection.

This means you could check temperature and humidity while out, or track the temperature of a remote location, like a vacation home or a storage container (assuming you had an internet connection in your storage unit).

Configuration and setup of the SensorPush is super easy. You launch the app and set the device on your phone. Im not exactly sure how they pull that off, whether its NFC or some kind of signal strength reading, but its creative and well done.

My only concern is with battery life. While you can dig deep onto the charting page for a device to find battery voltage level, theres no indication of whether the battery is low, nor an option to set a battery change alert.

The company does say batteries should last one to two years, and has a video on how to change them out, so as long as you get a notification when batteries are low, I dont consider this a big concern. The devices use standard CR2477 coin-style lithium cells, which are about five bucks each on Amazon.

The bottom line for the SensorPush is simple: it does what it says, and does it well. Its a no-muss, no-fuss device that just works out of the box. If you need to track humidity or temperature, this is an ideal device and a very good example for others who are making IoT smartphone-enabled devices.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter , on Facebook /DavidGewirtz, on Instagram m/DavidGewirtzTV.

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Cars guns and even moon bases

The Makerbot Replicator 2, a $2,200 desktop 3D printer that can create plastic models of anything under the sun. (Makerbot)

A variety of objects created by the Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer. (Makerbot)

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have created a printer thatspits out stem cells. The European Space Agency wants to constructa manned base on the moonusing 3D printing. Evena fully functioning car.

These arent your old dot matrix printers.

Advances and dramatic price drops in 3D printing have enabled almost anyone to print out almost anything they can think of.

The process is relatively simple: Imagine if your ordinary printer failed to advance that page after printing a line, outputting a second line of text over the first. Then another. And another. Eventually, the smear of ink would build up.

3D printers deposit layer upon layer of material rather than ink to create a product. Many manufacturers use them to print their parts, including airplane giant Boeing; indeed, the devices were developed for these and other industries to create product prototypes from the same hard plastics used in toys like LEGOs.

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But prices on the machines have fallen as the consumer market grows, leading to a surge in interest from people in the so-called maker scene. Low-end 3D printers can now be purchased online from between $1,500-$4,000. The high-end printers needed to make gun parts are still priced from $10,000 and up.

Makerbot, a leader in the scene, has earned high marks from reviewers at and CNET, which awarded the technology a Best of CES award in 2012. The companys high endMakerBot Replicator 2sells for $2,199.

Rich Brown, who has been reporting on the technology for years for CNET, called the technology a combination of frustration and awe.

Its kind of high maintenance, but it can be fun. It takes patience and trial and error to get a polished looking object, if you want it to be more than just a trinket, he told m.

On a 3D printer, quality is often measured by the height of each layer, with smaller layers meaning higher resolution, the company explains. The Replicator 2 prints layers as thin as 100 microns — but it wont do it anywhere near as fast as your ink jet.

Its slow. Its not uncommon for a small matchbox sized object to take 45 minutes, Brown told

Still, Makerbot and others have high hopes. The company has even opened a retail storefront in Manhattan.

It seems like this technology is moving faster and faster every day. Its crazy, Brown told

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3D Printing Frequently Asked Questions

Your Instant Quote System Couldnt Provide a Quote. Now What?

What Is 3D Additive Fabrication, Inc.?

3D printing, is a method of producing physical objects usually one layer at a time. See3D Printing and Additive Fabrication Overviewfor more information.

Rapid prototyping is by far the most extensive use for current 3D printing technology. But it can also be used for parts and patterns and on-demand fabrication. SeeAdditive Fabrication/3D Printing Applicationsfor more information.

There are a number of different 3D printing technologies. uses Objets Polyjet technology to jet 11 mil layers of an acrylic photopolymer. This photopolymer is immediately UV cured. See3D Additive Fabrication, Inc. Technology Overviewfor more information.

When compared to mass-produced items 3D printing may seem expensive. However, with little or no setup costs and short timeframes, 3D printing can be quite reasonable for many applications. Check the price of your own object by using ourInstant Quotesystem.

There are two main reasons why we have lower prices for high resolution printing. First we really want more people to have access to 3D printing. We think that lower prices will help. Second, were a startup company and want to offer you a lower price to encourage you to try us out. Seeherefor more information.

The time required to build any given object is entirely dependent on its geometry; larger objects require more time, smaller objects less. In general, build times are measured in minutes to hours. For most objects ordered before 5pm ET, 3dAddFab will be able to fabricate and ship by the next day.

Our build envelope is approximately 12 x 8 x 6. If your part is larger it may possibly be split into several pieces.

Sometimes, due to the nature of your stl file our automated system may not be able to provide an immediate quote. This may be due to possible issues with units, print-readiness, or unique geometries. If this occurs, your file will be manually reviewed and if a quote is possible you should hear from us by email within 24 hours.

Our current standard shipping option is USPS Priority 2-3 Day. We will soon be offering more shipping options through our Instant Quote system. If you need different shipping options pleasecontactus.

We accept all major credit cards. Once your stl file has been quoted you may order your part by clicking on the Buy Now button. You will be redirected to PayPal where you may securely enter your payment information. 3D Additive Fabrication, Inc. will never see your credit card numbers etc. When you order, PayPal will verify that funds are available but we will only charge you when your part ships.

Once you have uploaded a file to us, that file will only ever be used to fabricate your object and only if you place an order. All files will remain on our servers for 30 days, after which time they will be deleted. Your email address will never be sold or transferred to any other party and will only be used for communication between 3D Additive Fabrication, Inc. and its representatives, and you.

3D Additive Fabrication, Inc is a startup located just south of Denver in Castle Rock, Colorado. Were small and lean and providehigh quality3D printing that is easy to price and order, at alower costthan existing fabricators.

How 3-D Bioprinting Works

Dr. Darryl DLima, an orthopedic specialist, works with a bioprinter he helped to develop located in the Shiley Center for Orthopedic Research & Education at Scripps Clinic. D Lima has enlisted bioprinting in his cartilage regeneration research.

To make his eponymous monster,Victor Frankensteinneeded body parts, butorgan donation, as we know it, wouldnt emerge for another 135 years or so. And so the fictional doctor dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave and visited dissecting rooms and slaughterhouses, where he collected parts and pieces like some sort of ghoul.

Future Victor Frankensteins wont have to become grave robbers to obtain body parts. They wont even need bodies. Instead, were betting theyll take advantage of a rapidly developing technology known asbioprinting. This offshoot of3-D printingaims to allow scientists and medical researchers to build an organ, layer by layer, using scanners and printers traditionally reserved for auto design, model building and product prototyping.

To make a toy using this technique, a manufacturer loads a substance, usually plastic, into a mini-fridge-sized machine. He also loads a 3-D design of the toy he wants to make. When he tells the machine to print, it heats up and, using the design as a set of instructions, extrudes a layer of melted plastic through a nozzle onto a platform. As the plastic cools, it begins to solidify, although by itself, its nothing more than a single slice of the desired object. The platform then moves downward so a second layer can be deposited on the first. The printer repeats this process until it forms a solid object in the shape of the toy.

In industrial circles, this is known asadditive manufacturingbecause the finished product is made by adding material to build up a three-dimensional shape. It differs from traditional manufacturing, which often involves subtracting a material, by way of machining, to achieve a certain shape. Additive manufacturers arent limited to using plastic as their starting material. Some use powders, which are held together by glue or heated to fuse the powder together. Others prefer food materials, such as cheese or chocolate, to create edible sculptures. And still others — modern versions of Victor Frankenstein — are experimenting with biomaterials to print living tissue and, when layered properly in biotic environments, fully functioning organs.

Thats right, the same technology that can produce Star Wars action figures also can produce human livers, kidneys, ears, blood vessels, skin and bones. But printing a 3-D version of R2-D2 isnt exactly the same as printing a heart that expands and contracts like real cardiac muscle. Cut through an action figure, and youll find plastic through and through. Cut through a human heart, and youll find a complex matrix of cells and tissues, all of which must be arranged properly for the organ to function. For this reason, bioprinting is developing more slowly than other additive manufacturing techniques, but it is advancing. Researchers have already built modified 3-D printers and are now perfecting the processes that will allow them to print tissues and organs for pharmaceutical testing and, ultimately, for transplantation.

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INFOGRAPHIC How 3D Printing Works

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links.Learn more.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of printing three-dimensional objects, like adressor aguitar, and hopefully soon even ahamburger– the possibilities are endless. But how does the process actually work? Heres an interesting infographic fromInkTechnologiesthat outlines a brief history of 3D printing and how the process works from design to finished product

Click here to view the infographic in full screen

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3Doodler explained how the 3D printing pen works

3Doodler explained: how the 3D printing pen works

A video from the creators of the 3Doodler explains how the new gadget works and explores its capabilities.

The 3Doodler is the first 3D Printing Pen, capable of drawing in the air or on surfaces.

The 3D printing pen uses ABS plastic which is the same material used by many 3D printers.

The3Doodlercontains a mains-powered electric heater that melts plastic which then cools as it comes out of the end of the pen like a cake-icer.

Working in a similar way to 3D printers, the pen allows a practised user to produce sophisticated three-dimensional shapes.

The demo video shows an easily recognisable peacock and recreation of the Eiffel Tower that have been made using the pen.

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China formulates Action Plan for the development of 3D printing industry

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By 2020, more than 100 pilot demonstration projects will be conducted to promote the application of additive manufacturing in 10 key manufacturing industries.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China, along with 12 other departments, has jointlyformulated(link in Chinese) an Action Plan for the rapid, healthy and sustainable development of Additive Manufacturing (commonly known as 3D printing) industry (2017-2020) in China.

In 2015, MIIT, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance jointly released the National Plan for the Development of Additive Manufacturing Industries (2015-2016). The MIIT press release note that though there have been advances and breakthroughs and growth in applications, in comparison with some countries, the country still lags in key technologies and innovation capability. There is also a need to improve the breadth and depth of the applications of the technology.

Hence, this action plan created in response to these shortcomings, will focus on strengthening core research & development, as well as speeding up applications of the technology and its adoption in industry.

According to Xinhua, the MIIT is going to increase fiscal support for 3D printing companies. It will also encourage diverse financing models, including stock market listings and issuing bonds. Financial leasing will also be promoted. Foreign firms will be encouraged to set up research and development centers in China, according to the guidelines.

The Plan aims to foster two or three domestic firms which will have their products recognised in overseas markets and will be able to take on global rivals.

With increasing industrial applications of 3D printing technology, production lines and process flows in manufacturing will be impacted. By 2020, more than 100 pilot demonstration projects will be conducted to promote the application of additive manufacturing in 10 key manufacturing industries, such as aviation, automotive and ship-building, and drive its applications in the areas of healthcare, education and culture.

The Government expects Chinas additive manufacturing industry to have annual sales revenue of more than 20 billion yuan (US$ 3 billion) by 2020, with an average annual growth rate of 30% or higher.

The development of additive manufacturing technology, is also expected to bring up challenges in areas such as public safety, and intellectual property rights.

During the compilation of the Action Plan, industry experts and government departments suggested that precautions should be taken to enhance safety supervision in the additive manufacturing industry. The Plan of Action explicitly proposes that the establishment of a real-name registration system for the purchase of additive manufacturing equipment, a system for filing basic information on the equipment and a system for registration and filing of practitioners certification should be investigated. It also says that illegal/ criminal activities such as the illegal production of goods or manufacturing equipment by means of additive manufacturing should be punished in accordance with the law.

Featured image: Jonathan Juursema/CC BY-SA 3.0

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HP is finally going to start making 3D printers

Theworlds biggest printercompany is finally ready to make the leap into the third dimension.

HP (the technology half of theformer companyHewlett-Packard) announced today that it will be releasing two industrial 3D printers that it claims will produce objects ten times faster and half as expensively as any similar printer on the market. The two printers, called the Jet Fusion 3200 and 4200, will be commercial grade machines that can print ready-to-use products, HPs head of 3D printing, Stephen Nigro, told Quartz. Unlike most HP printers, these are not meant for the average home or officethe Jet Fusion line will start at $130,000.

HP has been teasing a 3D printer for the last two years, and at a 3D printing conference in New York last spring, showed a demonstration of a hard plastic chain it had printed on its prototype machine that was able to lift a car.

The production model prints will have that level of durability and reliability, according to Nigro. Half of the parts for the printer itself will even be printed by one of the printers. We are creating a printer that prints itself, Nigro said.

To begin with, HP wanted to focus on machines that could reliably print out plastic products, but its launching a material app store where third-party companies will be able to develop materials for the Jet Fusions, which HP will vet, and then sell through the store. HP is currently testing printers that could also print integrated circuits (somethingits not alonein doing), and has done that same chain test, but this time with embedded circuits printed in that can show of the stress and strain the chain is under.

The company is looking into being able to print metals on future printers, but dont expect to see that anytime soon: Metals is a research project for us, Nigro said. Its also researching printers that can print out multiple materials at once (like Stratasysrecent printer). For now, Nigro said, the company wants to focus on machines that could make products that could go right into use.

Many companies are looking into 3D printing as a method for producing their products, but for the most part, 3D printings benefits to date have been just in prototyping: 3D printers allow designers and engineers to rapidly mock up models for products and iterate on their designs until theyre happy. The printers available so far have either not allowed them to print quickly at scale, or havent printed with materials that can stand the test of time.

Nigro said HPs printers will be cheaper than whats come before, and in certain cases, could replace traditional manufacturing processes, where molds of products have to be made. Both printers have a printing bed that allows them to print roughly 2,500 1.5-inch plastic gears in about 10 hoursNigro said that in this same time period, a standard desktop printer, like aMakerBot machine, might only print about 20 gears.

HP has been working with corporate partners, including BMW, Nike, and Siemensall of whom are interested in integrating 3D printing into their production linesto design the printers, and will be among the first customers to receive the machines. Everyone else that wants a machine will have to wait until the end of the year, when the printers start shipping.

Theres one way regular consumers can get the benefits of HPs new printers right away: Shapeways, a company that sells 3D printing services, and 3D-printed objects, will be among HPs first customers for the Jet Fusion.

Nigro didnt rule out the possibility of the company one day producing desktop 3D printers, that the average person could pick up on Amazon or Best Buy. We have a roadmapwell get our solutions into smaller environments, Nigro said, though he added that at least for the near future, desktop printers are likely only going to be found only in educational settings.

While the supposed next industrial revolution that 3D printing was supposed to have ushered in hasnot yet materialized, we are starting to see some of the technologys potential being realized, whether thats through machines that canprint robots, ones that canprint food, or even ones that can printbody parts. Perhaps with the backing ofthe worlds largestprinter company, the industry will start to flourish.

In this brave new world when we all are printing out our dinners and organs, lets just hope HPs printers dont tell uswere out of inkwell before we are.