Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Printing with Clay on Prototype Machines

From Ceramics Monthly comes a recipe for 3D printing ceramics clay and description of development of process.

In the Solheim Rapid Manufacturing Laboratory (located in the Mechanical Engineering Building at the University of Washington in Seattle), our research focuses on new and improved methods to describe complex shapes in a way that a computer can “understand” and to fabricate those shapes in ways that the computer can control (a.k.a., rapid prototyping).
The actual build process goes as follows. The 3DP system’s software slices the object into layers ranging from 0.003 inches to 0.013 inches thick. A layer of powder matching the thickness of the digital layer (in our case 0.005 inches) is spread onto a build platform, or print bed. An ink-jet printing system deposits binder into the powder layer corresponding to the image of the current layer. The print bed is lowered, another layer of powder is spread, another slice is printed, and the system continues until all layers are processed. When the 3D print is finished, our object composed of bound powder is supported in a bed of unbound powder. We now remove the unbound powder to reveal our finished object by a combination of manual brushing, vacuum removal and compressed air (see p. 38). At times, one feels a bit like an archeologist at a dig site—and often with just as much excitement.
After an object is removed from the bed and de-powdered, one of a variety of post-processing techniques may be employed to “finish” the object, depending on its final use. Post-processing options include wax infiltration, epoxy infiltration, CA (CyanoAcrylate) glue infiltration, elastomer infiltration, or painting. These final steps often enable the part to function as a true prototype rather than just a form-and-feel object. For our ceramic-slip parts, post-processing consisted of kiln-firing, glazing, and glaze firing.
PVA Printing Slip

Xtra-White, Redart TerraCotta or Stoneware Buff Slip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

62.50 %
Sugar (extra fine) . . . . . . . . 31.25
PVA (PolyVinyl Alcohol) . . . 6.25

100.00 %

MaltoDextrin Printing Slip

Xtra-White, Redart TerraCotta or Stoneware Buff Slip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

66.66 %
Sugar (extra fine) . . . . . . . . 16.67
MaltoDextrin . . . . . . . . . . . .

100.00 %

The PVA Printing Slip mixture produced quite acceptable results (with all slips) but the PVA is a little more costly when compared to MaltoDextrin (which is available at the grocery store under the brand name Benefiber). The MaltoDextrin Printing Slip was also stronger in greenware form.

A solution of 16–18% ethanol (by volume) in water with a bit of food coloring works nicely as a binder. The food coloring lets you see if the fluid is deposited properly, and it burns out during firing. Our ethanol-water solution is vodka based (denatured alcohol tended to clog the printhead), so don’t tell your graduate students how it’s made.

Ceramics Monthly Feature Printing with Clay on Prototype Machines

Monday, December 17, 2007

Desktop Factory: 3D Printers

From Desktopfactory website:
Until now, 3D printers have been large, expensive machines confined to the shops and design departments of major corporations and elite design firms. With the introduction of the Desktop Factory 3D printer, priced disruptively lower than the nearest competitive offering, Desktop Factory becomes the leader in high performance low-cost 3D printing technologies.

Now taking reservations!
Be among the first 1000 customers to receive a Desktop Factory 125ci 3D Printer. Reserve yours today.

Desktop Factory: 3D Printers

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New York Times on Scanning and Printing

Beaming Up 3-D Objects on a Budget - New York Times

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ping Fu: Recreating the World in All Its Dimensions

You may have never heard of Ping Fu. But chances are her work has touched you in some way. Fu has spent decades envisioning new uses for computers. Now she thinks she's really on to something: a technology that can scan three-dimensional objects, recreating them first virtually, and then in the real world.

Fu came to American in 1982 and co-founded her company, Geomagic, in 1996. It is headquartered in a non-descript building in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park. The company's products enable designers and engineers to scan a 3-D object, capture the data from the scan and then use it to create highly accurate digital models.

Virtual 3-D images can be inspected, redesigned and tested, and used to manufacture perfect replicas.

Fu says doctors will soon use the technology to custom-make prosthetic joints and other medical devices that fit and function better. And eventually, she predicts, even clothes and shoes will be made-to-order this way. She calls this "mass customization" and says it will make today's mass production obsolete. Stores stacked to the ceiling with blue jeans will seem quaint -- even silly, she says.

[Picture shown is Noveletti soap holder. Geomagic software gives Noveletti the design freedom they need for their unique products.]

NPR : Ping Fu: Recreating the World in All Its Dimensions: "Invisiline "

Thursday, March 16, 2006

DNA Origami

PASADENA, Calif.--In a new development in nanotechnology, a researcher at the California Institute of Technology has devised a way of weaving DNA strands into any desired two-dimensional shape or figure, which he calls "DNA origami."

"The construction of custom DNA origami is so simple that the method should make it much easier for scientists from diverse fields to create and study the complex nanostructures they might want," Paul Rothemund, a senior research fellow, explains.

Reporting in the March 16th issue of Nature, Rothemund describes how long single strands of DNA can be folded back and forth, tracing a mazelike path, to form a scaffold that fills up the outline of any desired shape.

Each of the short DNA strands can act something like a pixel in a computer image, resulting in a shape that can bear a complex pattern, such as words or images. The resulting shapes and patterns are each about 100 nanometers in diameter-or about a thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

Although Rothemund has hitherto worked on two-dimensional shapes and structures, he says that 3-D assemblies should be no problem. In fact, researchers at other institutions are already using his method to attempt the building of 3-D cages.

Caltech Press Release, 3/15/2006, Dr. Paul Rothemund, Dr. Erik Winfree

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Stratasys Adds Metal Process Machines

Minneapolis, Jan 24 - (Nasdaq: SSYS) Stratasys announced it has reached an agreement with Arcam AB, Gothenburg, Sweden, for Stratasys to be the exclusive North American distributor of Arcam® rapid manufacturing and prototyping systems.

In Arcam’s patented electron-beam melting (EBM) process, called CAD to Metal®, titanium powder is transformed into solid metal parts for either functional prototyping or end-use. The process is currently used in three main industries: aerospace, automobile, and medical implants.

Stratasys, Inc - Rapid Prototyping, CAD Plastic Prototyping, Digital Prototypes, CAD Plastic Prototype Engineering

Thursday, February 23, 2006

3D Images of Nanostructures

It is the world’s first electron microscope for simultaneously and automatically investigating in three-dimensions the phase content, crystallographic texture, and crystal interfaces of materials.

This allows scientists to see the inner structure of nanomaterials, biological matter, and high-performance steels, in ways that other microscopic procedures cannot - and in full 3D.

The 3D gradient of the crystallographic orientations in an intermetallic iron-aluminium specimen.

Max Planck Society - Press Release