3D-printing robot creates freestanding metal structures – Gizmag

Although the world of 3D printing is hurtling through milestones at the moment, to a large extent the technology still remains in its infancy. If you thought it was all Etsy jewellery and plastic toys, though, think again. Joris Laarman has created a free-standing 3D printing robot that creates beautiful metal sculptures with the graceful brush strokes of an artist.

You may remember Laarman. We featured him last year, when his studio collaborated on building the Mataerial 3D printer (or MX3D-Resin, depending on where you look), which uses quick-setting material to create free-flowing structures on almost any surface. Not content with making robots into resin sculptors, Laarman has upped the stakes.

The Mx3D-Metal robot is part printer, part welder. It can sculpt remarkable, gravity-defying designs using a variety of metals, including steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze and copper, without the need for any other means of support. “By adding small amounts of molten metal at a time, we are able to print lines in mid air,” explains Laarman on his website.

The MX3D-Metal uses a combination of robotics, 3D printing and welding

Printing with metal in this way sounds like something of an art form in itself. Different pieces of software are required to work together in order to drive the robotics, printing and welding combination. Furthermore, different types of 3D lines, like straight, curved or spiral, require different settings in order to be produced.

“3D printing like this is still unexplored territory and leads to a new form language that is not bound by additive layers,” says Laarman. “Lines can be printed that intersect in order to create a self-supporting structure. This method makes it possible to create 3D objects on any given working surface independent of its inclination and smoothness in almost any size and shape.”

Ultimately, Laarman wants to create an interface that is simple enough for anyone to use, and that can print directly from computer aided design (CAD) software.

The MX3D-Metal will be on display at the Friedman Benda gallery in New York from May 1st to June 7th.

Watch the video below to see the the printer in action.

Source: Joris Laarman

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siliconANGLE » Print your food: 3D printing accelerating food product development

ford-candy-carWith one press of the button, and you can get a meal out of the printer, specifically tailored to your taste, and health condition. For now this is still very far from reality, but worldwide there are more and more companies and start-ups that get started with 3D printing of food.

It is already possible to create a three-dimensional shape with plastic, ceramic and even metal and the technology is quickly moving to edible products. Chocolate is a material which is particularly well suited for, and so you will see lots of images of 3D printed chocolates going around the Internet.

Some think that 3D printing could soon revolutionize the manufacturing sector, reducing the need for costly transport. NASA awarded a $125,000 grant to Anjan Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, to create a prototype of its universal food synthesizer or a 3D food printer. Contractor is already working on a 3D printer that could create pizza as the food is easy to make.

Ford Mustang celebrates Valentine’s Day in a special way

For Valentine’s Day, Ford demonstrated its love affair with the candy Mustang created on 3D printer . Using chocolate as a raw material for their creation, pony cars were made by the company 3D Systems, and its edible branch Sugar Lab in Los Angeles.

The cocoa powder is used instead of sugar in order to produce a chocolate bar bearing the semblance of the car. The process began with a CAD model of the new Mustang. After the digital version of the vehicle is designed, layers and layers of chocolate powder then poured by water from inkjet heads. Once the 3D print model is over, the excess cocoa powder is brushed off from the product.

“3D printing is one of the hottest buzzwords in the news today and it’s great to see more consumers learning about the technology and its applications,” said Paul Susalla, Ford supervisor of 3D printing. “We wanted to create something fun to show that while 3D printing made these edible Mustangs, manufacturing-level 3D printing was used in the development of Ford’s all-new sports car.”

It is noteworthy that during the development of the new Mustang, Ford uses 3D printing for many prototype parts including interior components such as air vents, panels and dashboard applications, engine parts, the cylinder head, intake manifold and engine block for the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. Exterior parts such as the fascia and grille, taillights and hood vents are also created using the technology.

hersheys3D printed Hershey’s chocolates

World famous chocolate makers the Hershey Company and 3D Systems last month announced a partnership to explore and develop innovative opportunities for using 3D printing technology to edible foods, including confectionery treats. As per the partnership, both the companies would create new form of candy using new technologies such as 3D printing.

The alliance aims to combine the experience in food manufacturing with Hershey’s potential and wealth of 3D Systems in 3D printing technology to provide new experiences to consumers.

3D systems successfully demonstrated its new 3D food printers at CES 2014. The new ChefJet and ChefJet Pro printer can use several flavors including chocolate, vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon to print cake toppers, centerpieces, garnishes and custom candies.

U.K. based Choc Edge offers a printer for above $4500 and a pack of syringes and chocolate that create what are essentially chocolate illustrations.

Fun food you can customize

MakerBot, the Brooklyn-based company behind the Thing-O-Matic ($1,100) 3-D printers, showcased their new Replicator printer model to make your own 3-dimensional loaf of bread sculpture complete with a brown crust encasing that white bread interior.

The printer under $2,000 can make Swiss cheese sculptures, print an omelet recipe on an egg, and make beer can openers, koozies and even bottles. The existing commercial applications for printable food items include complex sculptural cakes for weddings and special events that are made possible only with 3D printing, and customizable confections for bake shops and restaurants. 3D system says the printer can produce either sugar or milk chocolate confections, in different flavors that include cherry, mint and sour apple, and will be available to the market later this year.

The machine uses an ink jet print head that’s just like the one you would find in your desktop 2D printer. It spreads a very fine layer of sugar then paints water onto the surface of the sugar, and that water allows the sugar to recrystallize and harden to form complex geometries.

Natural Machine’s Foodini, which will launch later this year, can make many kinds of food including vegetarian nuggets made of chickpeas, bread crumbs, garlic, spices, olive oil, and salt. The machine has also printed quiche, hash browns, cookies, crackers, brownies, fish and chips.

Another 3D print vendor Cornell Creative built a printer called Machines Lab that can create a swirly, flower-shaped corn chip, using masa dough. It can also make hamburger patties with layers of ketchup and mustard.

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TRENDING: Print that Prada…in 3D! • Highsnobiety

What do Cara Delevingne, modern architecture, cancer treatment and Staples have in common?

3D printing. From intricate angel wings at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to extravagant interior decor and a synthetic pelvis that transformed the life of a patient who had lost his to disease, 3D printing seems to offer a solution for nearly any design problem – large or small.

Nonetheless, as medical futurists and architects have jumped to embrace the latest revolution in 3D printing technology, fashion seems to be uncharacteristically lagging behind. Despite the odd ambassador using it as a gimmick (Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen, for example) or an excuse to integrate a fashion show into Internet Weeks the world over, few main stage or up-and-coming tastemakers have appeared to even experiment with the technology.

Taking a step back, it’s important to understand the history and intricacy of 3D printing as a medium before examining who has attempted to utilize it in the fashion world.

Somewhat ominously, the process of stereolithography – creating a tactile object from digital data – was invented in 1984. As a means of prepared modeling, the pricey technology took off within the automotive and aviation industries as well as larger manufacturing plants. Moore’s Law, an observation on the exponential speed of innovation in computing technologies, took hold and by 2002 3D printers were intricate enough to engineer a fully functional kidney for a lab animal. By the late 2000s, the world’s first self-replicating printer (one that can create the majority of its own parts) was completed as part of an open-source 3D printing enthusiasts program and the technology became more widely available and less expensive. 2011 brought a 3D-printed car and drone. Printers have dropped in price from tens of thousands to around $1,000 for an entry-level model, available at your local Staples.

So, how does it work? The hardest part comes first – building an intricate digital concept through animation modeling software. This results in a “virtual blueprint” in the form of a .STL file which is segmented by the 3D printer and built layer-by-layer out of a material of the user’s choice (normally rubber, plastic, paper or metal). The printer works through additive manufacturing to create the polygonal structure of the file created by the user and, voila, you have an object out of thin air.

Also worth mentioning is the process of Selective Laster Sintering (SLS), which was invented in 2006 as a means of binding powdered material together to create a solid structure. Because the lasers involved don’t actually melt anything, but rather sinter components together, SLS has revolutionized 3D printing and helped to galvanize its global popularity.

From inception as a B2B manufacturing tool to open-source breakthroughs in self-replicating printers and the advent of SLS, 3D printing appears to be entering its latest chapter – an era of broad experimentation. Possibilities, including advanced prosthetics for those who are sick or injured to large-scale 3D printed homes that could serve as the next iteration of pre-fab construction, appear as unlimited as the scope of human invention.

Here, we highlight a few upcoming trends utilizing 3D printing technology in the realms of artistic invention.

TRENDING: Print that Prada...in 3D!


In 2011 it became possible to 3D print using 14K gold and sterling silver. Since then, the application of SLS to create delicate pieces of jewelry has increasingly gained credibility in the design community. The revolutionary aspect of the technology is its accessibility, and this becomes clear through the projects of Francis Bitonti. Highly regarded for his 3D printed gown made famous by Dita von Teese, Bitonti has moved on to commercially-available work including an international collection of fine jewelry and multi-material accessories driven by computational design techniques. Taking advantage of “cloud manufacturing,” the collection includes a series of “hackable, shareable and downloadable” products that are distributed through a printer network of 3D Hubs and printed on-demand.

The issue emerges of certain printers only being able to manufacture with specific materials, however. Attempting to confront this, firms like Bitonti’s often will only make available the models for those products that can be printed nearby an interested consumer. The resulting ecosystem could see luxurious objets printed in Paris, complex rings in New York and made-to-order sunglasses only available in Sao Paulo, for example. Thus the use, and availability, of this global technology actually has the potential to herald a return to local manufacturing. The closer a consumer is to their favorite designer, the more likely that his or her 3D printed products will be available locally.

Despite the fringe faction aura that still surrounds most of the printed fashion community, there are signs that the winds are about to change. As stated earlier, in 2013 Victoria’s Secret took full advantage of the technology available to it in order to continue its tradition of oneupmanship during its annual fashion show. Additionally, major high-fashion retailer SSENSE even recently dedicated an entire editorial section to explaining the processes behind 3D-printed fashion and exploring some branded favorites. Among these highlights was MYKITA, a German eyewear brand known for popularizing the use of 3D printing technology in the optical field.

TRENDING: Print that Prada...in 3D!

Fine Art

There’s also possibility for 3D printing to transform the worlds of fine and contemporary art. An obvious application of the technology is for scaling architectural models. Sometimes, however, the lines between structural roadmap and philosophical project merge. Take, for example, Leapfrog 3D printers’ endeavor to reproduce the entirety of China’s Forbidden City using only 3D printing technology. The successful undertaking resulted in a collaboration with Dutch museum Nieuwe Kerk and the Chinese Nanjing Museum and an exhibition in Amsterdam wherein the final model was curated alongside of Ming Dynasty artifacts.

Then there’s “Blossom,” a work by artist Richard Clarkson. Taking advantage of 3D printing’s most cutting edge innovations, Clarkson utilized multiple build materials to incept the world’s first inflatable 3D print. By forcing air into the artist’s “blossom” models, flowers “bloom” and reveal the complexity of their interiors.

There has even been some concern that 3D printing of perfect replicas of famous works of art could become a serious issue in the future.

Looking Forward

What the future may hold is limitless. The evolution of brand-sponsored sneaker customization programs, for example, could include 3D-printed insoles made especially to mold to the foot of the wearer. “Mass fast” furniture brands could do away with directions and shipping altogether and instead instruct buyers to pick up their freshly-printed couch, chair or dinnerware set at their local 3D Hub. Used in combination with body scan technology, there is hope for 3D printing to revolutionize the worlds of couture and bespoke fashion – modeling and building the perfect made-to-measure gown or suit out of a printer that only works through SLS with cashmere, wool and chiffon. Within 10 years, building planes, shipping containers and even homes in under 24 hours via giant 3D printers could be the norm.

What about teleportation through replication? Although we may still be lightyears away from the reality of The Jetsons, it’s not unreasonable to imagine a time when scanning an item through one’s at-home personal 3D printer results in that same piece popping up at the office of a friend or associate halfway across the globe. As technology becomes more complex, the potential for such a capability in the fields of medicine, travel and urban planning can’t be understated.

Fashion and art have always taken advantage of the latest innovations and technical advances made available. There’s no telling where 3D printing will lead the next generation of creators. There is, however, almost certain satisfaction in the knowledge that it’s here to stay – and only getting simpler and more rewarding to use.

Douglas Brundage has written about fashion and marketing for several years, with an emphasis on trends and culture. He currently lives and works in New York City.

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The Rise Of A Start-Up Future

Last year, “Scrubs” star Zach Braff turned to the crowd funding website, Kickstarter, to make his second feature film, “Wish I Was Here”  and, in spite of his critics, the campaign was a rousing success. He got the money, and not from a corporation, or a production group … he got it from the fans.

And while Braff has certainly had some skepticism as to whether that funding was necessary, it’s the results you can’t argue with and what it is it signifies. In a very real way, the crowd funding of a major feature film implies something huge, a paradigm shift that, up until recently, economists could only dream about: a genuine shift in the means of production.

It sounds like overreaching at first, not to mention a little Marxist, but think about it for a second. The power to manufacture is shifting, and in a positive way; it allows for the creation and distribution of ideas and products that could never survive in a traditional market, and it’s all thanks to the Internet.

Kickstarter. Khanacademy, Reddit, Heck, even such vacuous platforms as Paypal and Youtube have allowed for the broad dissemination of money, concepts, and, thanks to the oncoming advent of the Age of 3D Printing, consumer goods. Only in this case, the catch is that the consumer and the producer are on a level playing field: they’re all people like you. These websites (and others), coupled with the nature of the web to build powerful intersectional communities have already begun to alter the economic climate, and it’s only going to lead to bigger and better shifts.

You can log onto https://www.khanacademy.org/ and take university-quality courses on medicine, on history, on economics. You can design fully printable 3D models  and take tutorials  with free programs like Google Sketchup. You can publish a product or concept and pitch it to the public with Indiegogo or Kickstarter, and get it funded. Then you can take that product, and with a 3D printer (some as cheap as $1200, and only getting cheaper) and materials, you can print and distribute it.

That’s the entire production cycle, from start to finish, all on the Internet. Created by and for a likeminded community without corporate or government intervention. Pure ideas come to life. The implication here, if you’re willing to take advantage of it, is the dawn of a new age.

An age of innovation.

Never before have people been able to share ideas and information so readily than today. Money and services can be exchanged with the click of a button, and that gives you the power. You aren’t helpless anymore.

Sure, there’s obviously still powerful corporations, and of course there are still laws  all the wannabe anarchists in their Guy Fawkes’ masks armed with Cody Wilson’s 3D printable guns in the world won’t be able to completely disarm the bureaucracy of the world  but you still have access to more means than anyone in history, and, frankly, that’s something you’re obligated to take advantage of.

You can have the answer to almost any question on your phone in seconds. You can look up tutorials to practically any legal (and most illegal) activity imaginable. You can convince strangers to give you money to fund your projects. And most importantly, you can make those projects happen, those projects can better people’s lives.

Any Anteater out there could start right now  you don’t have to be Zach Braff. Let’s say EDM is your passion  download some example tracks, watch some tutorials and take to your favorite recording software. A few months and a successful crowd funding campaign later, you could be a serious musician. Or maybe you want to change the way the world looks at your community, your religion, your culture. You have that capability. You could become a hacker, an artist, a politician, an inventor, and all you need is the drive.

All you have to do is try.

Please send all comments to opinion@newuniversity.org. Please include your name, major and year.

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