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What’s happening in 3D printing? As a brand new technology with a lot of promise, 3D printing is constantly evolving. The technology is constantly getting better and more affording. People are also thinking of brand new ways to use 3D printing’s unique capabilities.

Here’s some of the most interesting news in 3D printing:

 

 

  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (Fraunhofer IWU) in Germany have just developed a new high-speed 3D printing process called Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM). While standard methods (FDM, or fused deposition modeling) have an output of 60 grams of material an hour, the SEAM machine has an output of 10 kilograms an hour.

 

 

 

  • At Boston University, engineers have created a 3D-printed metamaterial noise canceller that absorbs sound like allowing airflow. The doughnut-shaped structure absorbs 84% of sound. The production of this metamaterial is only possible with 3D printing thanks to its complex and intricate structures that cause sound reflections. The metamaterial could be used in loud environments to keep workers safe and substantially reduce noise pollution, among many other possible uses.

 

  • In Australia, a “repairbot” has started to use 3D printing to help repair cars. The robot 3D printed a lug directly onto a headlamp. The project is the product of collaboration between automation company Tradiebot Industries, automotive aftercare firm AMA Group, and the Swinburne University of Technology and was backed by the non-profit Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC). The project’s goal is to use 3D printing to help provide same-day, low-cost automotive repair services.

 

  • CNH Industrial has released its first 3D-printed spare parts for buses and agricultural equipment. This is part of the company’s efforts to integrate additive manufacturing into its supply chains, which will help reduce material costs and increase overall product availability. 3D printing costs 95% less than conventional manufacturing methods the company previously used. It also has a shorter turnaround time, which can make all the difference for a farmer with a broken-down tractor.

 

 

  • At UC Berkeley, researchers have created a light-based printer they’re calling “the Replicator”. It utilizes light rays to print liquid resin quickly, forming objects all at once rather than using the more common layer-by-layer process seen in most 3D printers. What really stands out is that the researchers managed to print a handle around a screwdriver blade, meaning that customizable geometry can be designed around a product from another manufacturing process.

 

 

 

 

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