Tag Archives: research
3D Printed Pets
3D printing is now being used for nearly everything, but what about 3D printed pets?
Researchers at Notre Dame have combined their study of Biological Sciences with 3D printing. The team created a method for CT scanning anesthetized animals, such as rats and rabbits, converting the scans into contiguous 3D models, and then 3D printing the animal skeletons on a range of 3D printers.
Here is the abstract for their publication on this research.
Three-dimensional printing allows for the production of highly detailed objects through a process known as additive manufacturing. Traditional, mold-injection methods to create models or parts have several limitations, the most important of which is a difficulty in making highly complex products in a timely, cost-effective manner. However, gradual improvements in three-dimensional printing technology have resulted in both high-end and economy instruments that are now available for the facile production of customized models. These printers have the ability to extrude high-resolution objects with enough detail to accurately represent in vivo images generated from a preclinical X-ray CT scanner. With proper data collection, surface rendering, and stereolithographic editing, it is now possible and inexpensive to rapidly produce detailed skeletal and soft tissue structures from X-ray CT data. Even in the early stages of development, the anatomical models produced by three-dimensional printing appeal to both educators and researchers who can utilize the technology to improve visualization proficiency. The real benefits of this method result from the tangible experience a researcher can have with data that cannot be adequately conveyed through a computer screen. The translation of pre-clinical 3D data to a physical object that is an exact copy of the test subject is a powerful tool for visualization and communication, especially for relating imaging research to students, or those in other fields. Here, we provide a detailed method for printing plastic models of bone and organ structures derived from X-ray CT scans utilizing an Albira X-ray CT system in conjunction with PMOD, ImageJ, Meshlab, Netfabb, and ReplicatorG software packages.
3D Printer Comparison
Below is a detailed comparison:
|Method of Printing||Advantages||Disadvantages||Cost per Model|
|MakerBot||Extremely fast, variety of color options, able to print in two colors, extremely inexpensive||Lowest level of detail. Removal of support materials is slow (on the order of a couple hours).||$3.50|
|Shapeways||Varity of color options, variety of materials for printing, high level of detail, relatively inexpensive||Two-week time to process and receive an order||$41.61|
|ProJet HD 3000||Relatively quick turnaround, highest level of detail, high throughput, easy to remove support materials (wax).||Most expensive up front cost ($80,000 equipment), only one color option during practical use.||$30.00|
A video is available that walks through their method of scanning and a comparison of the results. You can watch the video at the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). Chapters include:
|1:41||Image Acquisition and Data Processing|
|7:32||ProJet HD 3000 Printing|
|8:45||Results: 3D Printed Models|
3D Printing News
A roundup of the top 3D printing news from April 1 to April 7:
- 3D Printing on Asteroids and Mars (Video)
- The Crowd Loves 3D Printing! Kickstarter 3D Printing Summary
Get your exclusive 15% discount to the Inside 3D Printing conference with discount code PRINT.
3D Printing Research: Liquid Droplets
3D printers don’t build only solid objects anymore. They also build liquid objects, thanks to a research team at the University of Oxford.
Microscopic water-filled, lipid-coated droplets pop from a printer’s nozzles and stick to one another to form patterned structures. The researchers envision the clusters’ use in future tissue engineering. They also demonstrate the construction of a flowerlike droplet network that curls into a sphere because of osmosis. This self-folding behavior, the research team contends, might be put to use in drug delivery systems someday.
Watch the video below to learn more about this research.
Enterprise-Class 3D Printer Prices to Drop Below $2,000 by 2016, Gartner Reports
In a new report. Gartner says early adopters of 3D printing technology will gain an innovation advantage over rivals.
3D printing is disrupting the design, prototyping and manufacturing processes in a wide range of industries, according to Gartner, Inc. Enterprises should start experimenting with 3D printing technology to improve traditional product design and prototyping, with the potential to create new product lines and markets. 3D printing will also become available to consumers via kiosks or print-shop-style services, creating new opportunities for retailers and other businesses.
“3D printing is a technology accelerating to mainstream adoption,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner. “It is a technology of great interest to the general media, with demonstrations on science shows, on gadget websites and in other areas. From descriptions of exciting current uses in medical, manufacturing and other industries to futuristic ideas — such as using 3D printers on asteroids and the moon to create parts for spacecraft and lunar bases — the hype leads many people to think the technology is some years away when it is available now and is affordable to most enterprises.”
The material science behind 3D printing processes and materials will continue to progress, and affordable 3D printers are lowering the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lowered the barriers to the sale of goods and services. As a result, the 3D printer market will continue moving from niche adoption to broad acceptance, driven by lower printer prices, the potential for cost and time savings, greater capabilities, and improved performance that drives benefits and markets.
“Businesses must continuously monitor advances to identify where improvements can be leveraged,” said Mr. Basiliere. “We see 3D printing as a tool for empowerment, already enabling life-changing parts and products to be built in struggling countries, helping rebuild crisis-hit areas and leading to the democratization of manufacturing.”
3D printing is already established in industries ranging from automotive manufacturing to consumer goods to the military, as well as the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Businesses can use 3D printing to design personalized products, components, working prototypes and architectural models to promote their brand and products in new and interactive ways. Indeed, there are opportunities to create entirely new product lines in which the finished 3D-printed product is what the consumer purchases.
3D printers are now priced so that any size business can invest in them and start experimenting with the myriad ways to monetize them. By 2016, enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for under $2,000. Early adopters can experiment with 3D printers with minimal risk of capital or time, possibly gaining an advantage in product design and time to market over their competition, as well as understanding the realistic material costs and time to build parts. Furthermore, enterprise uses for 3D printers have expanded as capabilities of 3D scanners and design tools have advanced, and as the commercial and open-source development of additional design software tools has made 3D printing more practical. Gartner believes that the commercial market for 3D print applications will continue expanding into architectural, engineering, geospatial and medical uses, as well as short-run manufacturing.
Major multinational retailers have the means to market the technology to consumers and generate revenue by selling printers and supplies, as well as from sales of individual 3D-printed pieces. One vision is for the retailers to not only sell the printers, but also offer a service bureau that prints custom items or personalized variations on stock items, a key consumer trend.
Another possibility is for roving display vans to visit the retailer’s stores. Customers would visit these self-contained vans parked in front of the store that contain two or three operating printers and watch parts being made (including possibly their own personalized 3D item). Alternatively, the consumer could order the custom or personalized part to be made while they are shopping, or to be available for pickup the next day.
More detailed analysis is available in the report “How 3D Printing Disrupts Business and Creates New Opportunities.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2373415.
The field of synthetic biology offers us state-of-the-art results like biofuel, but researchers are looking to push the envelope and develop a technique that could be Nature’s version of 3D printing.
Designers at IDEO have teamed up with scientists at the Lim Lab at the University of California, San Francisco to envision a “provocation” (that’s designer-ese for thought experiment) in which they explore the possibilities of exploiting known properties of microorganisms to literally “grow” the products we use every day.
In layman’s terms, researchers are exploring ways to train bacteria to grow into shapes when exposed to light. Perhaps one training could result in a coffee cup while another results in a functional motor gear.
In their first visual exploration of this possibility, they decided to expand on an already-demonstrated property of certain E. coli bacteria. These bugs were genetically engineered to be responsive to light, creating so-called “bacterial photographs.”
From there, Will Carey and Adam Reineck of IDEO teamed up with Reid Williams, a Ph.D. candidate at UCSF, to imagine a photo-sensitive microorganism that would have its light-sensitive switch linked to a different property–say, the production of a hard shell.
The result could be a tough and durable everyday object made out of cells encased in cellulose–the stuff in plants–or chitin, which is the major component of lobster shells.
It’s important to note that at this stage, this process is still entirely conceptual. But it is based on real science, and that’s the whole point: design provocations like these help people think outside the mental boxes we’ve all been put in by our limited knowledge of what’s happening at the frontiers of science.
Via Fast Company.
Biologist photo by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used under Creative Commons license.