RAPID + TCT 2018: 3D Printing Materials News from Roboze and EnvisionTEC

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Roboze One + 400

The RAPID + TCT event is getting started today in Fort Worth, Texas, and 3DPrint.com is continuing to bring you the latest news from the showroom floor. We’ve been sharing announcements with you left and right ahead of the show, and now we’re bringing you two more.

Global chemical company SABIC, headquartered in Saudi Arabia, introduced several new materials at formnext in November, including its LEXAN EXL AMHI240F polycarbonate copolymer filament for FFF 3D printing. Now, Italian 3D printing company Roboze has announced that it will be adding this unique filament to its offering, particularly for the industrial Roboze One + 400 3D printer.

Roboze, a leader in functional prototypes produced in industrial materials like PEEK, CarbonPA, and ULTEM AM9085F, manufactures 3D printers that can handle high-performance, high temperature polymers, like SABIC’s LEXAN EXL AMHI240F.

“We are pleased to have Roboze offer LEXAN EXL AMHI240F filament on their printer platform,” said Keith Cox, Senior Business Leader, Additive Manufacturing, SABIC. “Our vision of helping the additive manufacturing industry to expand the use of engineering materials in end use applications aligns well with the capability of Roboze to deliver high quality printers for use in industrial environments.”

EXL filament ductility test

SABIC’s polycarbonate copolymer, available in black, was developed specifically for demanding applications in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and consumer, with characteristics like high impact resistance and ductility at extremely low temperatures.

The material has a heat deflection temperature of 140°C, which is higher than that of typical ABS filaments. It can deliver up to four times better notched Izod impact at room temperature than standard polycarbonates and, depending on print orientation, up to three times higher at -30°C.

LEXAN EXL AMHI240F filament, which will be added to Roboze’s offering later this year, is perfect for applications that need better flame performance than standard polycarbonate materials can offer, thanks to its compliance with UL94 V-0 flammability standard at 3.0 mm in flat (XY) and on-edge (XZ) orientations.

“The new SABIC polycarbonate filament is extraordinary! The results of the first tests have given us enormous satisfaction, and will allow us to further expand the range of high performance materials of our machines,” said Alessio Lorusso, Founder and CEO of Roboze. “We are looking forward to working together with such an innovative company as SABIC. This relationship will not only inspire our technicians, but the entire Roboze organization as well. When experience and know-how come together everybody wins.”

By working with SABIC, Roboze is showing how committed it is to choosing the most advanced materials available in terms of chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties. LEXAN EXL AMHI240F filament will increase, according to Roboze, “the versatility of its materials dedicated to metal replacement like PEEK and Carbon PEEK.”

If you’re at RAPID this week, stop by the Roboze booth #2539 to see excellent samples of finished parts that were 3D printed using the new LEXAN EXL AMHI240F filament.

3D printer manufacturer EnvisionTEC, which is sponsoring the Medical Manufacturing Innovations conference at RAPID, is also introducing new materials this week, and will be showcasing its new medical-grade (MG) biomaterials, which can be used for applications in bone regeneration, biosensor housing, drug release, and wound repair.

The new liquid silicone rubber and biodegradable PCL polyester materials, now available for purchase, make 3D printed implants safe for human use, as they’ve been manufactured with the highest possible purity for use with the company’s 3D-Bioplotter models – the Starter, Developer, and Manufacturer.

EnvisionTEC CEO Al Siblani said, “These new materials show that EnvisionTEC continues to work closely with our customers and partners to develop materials that can be easily used on our highly accurate and reliable 3D-Bioplotter.”

The 3D-Bioplotter is EnvisionTEC’s only open-source materials 3D printer, which gives medical researchers and manufacturers the flexibility to develop their own materials for research or specific patients.

Users have been 3D printing materials like hydrogels, silicones, and thermoplastics on the 3D-Bioplotter for over 15 years to advance research, but the demand for standard 3D printing materials to use with the popular bioprinter has been increasing. With the addition of MG materials to its existing portfolio of Technical Grade (TG) and Research Grade (RG), EnvisionTEC now offers three grades of materials with different levels of cost and purity.

Upon request, FDF Master Files are available for the company’s two new in-vivo MG materials: UV Silicone 60A MG and HT PCL MG.

The biocompatible liquid silicone rubber material is bio-inert, transparent, and non-biodegradable, cured with a UV light for a Shore A hardness of 60. It’s sold by the kilogram, and has been approved for short-term use in the body – 29 days or less only. UV Silicone 60A MG can also be mixed with pigments, and applications for the material include biosensor housings, microfluidics, prototyping, and wound dressing.

Biodegradable thermoplastic polyester HT PCL MG is processed at high temperatures, and is suitable for both short- and long-term use in the body. The material, available in both 1 kg and 100 g packages, will be offered in two molecular weights – 80 kDa and 120 kDa – that affect degradation time, flexibility, and stiffness. Applications for this material include hybrid scaffolds, drug release, and cartilage and bone regeneration. Customers can also quickly and easily switch between 365 nm and 405 nm light sources when using these materials.

EnvisionTEC’s new UV Silicone 60A MG, shown here, is a ready-to-print liquid silicone appropriate for microfluidics, wound dressings and more. The company also launched a biodegradable PCL polyester for use with its 3D-Bioplotter printers.

EnvisionTEC will be displaying demonstration parts that were 3D printed with its two new MG materials at booth #1304 this week. Additionally, the 3D-Bioplotter also has a new feature option, and offers its photo curing head with another wavelength.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

3D Printing with Human Waste: Astroplastic Takes Raw Materials from Colon to Mars Colony

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While many people may still think that plastic is the only 3D printable material out there, that’s definitely not the case. Obviously there’s metal 3D printing, and biomaterials, flexible filaments and metamaterials. Then you move into wood and food, and even stranger materials, like algae and crushed grape skins. But today, we’re focusing on what is possibly the most unlikely 3D printing material of all – human waste. And no, I don’t mean e-waste or plastic waste.

Fourteen undergraduate students from three departments at the University of Calgary in Canada recently competed at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation’s Giant Jamboree. Almost 5,000 students from 330 universities presented their best ideas on synthetic biology, and the U Calgary team took home the gold with their innovative project, cleverly titled Astroplastic: From Colon to Colony. If you hadn’t guessed by the name, the team has developed a way to use human waste as a major bioplastic ingredient for astronauts 3D printing in space.

The multi-faculty team from the University of Calgary competed in the iGEM Foundation’s Giant Jamboree in Boston. [Image: iGEM 2017 team]

For the project, the team, which was mentored by six faculty advisers, used the accepted, NASA-sanctioned recipe for simulated human waste, which includes cellulose, miso paste, peanut oil, and yeast – learn something new every day, right?

Alina Kunitskaya, a fourth-year chemical engineering student at the university’s Schulich School of Engineering, said, “We actually tried to pursue the route of using the real thing, but no one wanted to have it inside the lab.”

A sample wrench, made out of simulated human waste.

Kunitskaya, who specializes in biomedical engineering, helped lead the U Calgary team to gold with their theory of converting human waste into useful, 3D printed bioplastic tools during deep-space missions. However gross it may be to think about, it is definitely an abundant source of material that’s unlikely to run out on a potential mission to Mars.

Kunitskaya explained, “With space travel, such as a three-year mission to Mars, there are major challenges to overcome.

“Transporting material is difficult and expensive, and how do you anticipate every challenge and everything you need over three years on a trip to Mars? Recycling waste is another major challenge.

“We got the team together at the beginning of the winter semester and started brainstorming ideas, and each person came up with their own idea.

“The only criteria is having synthetic biology which is engineering bacteria to do something useful. And at first, our idea was to make plastic out of wastewater.”

After the team took a trip to Calgary’s wastewater treatment plant and then brainstormed some more, their idea transformed into a solution for astronauts in deep-space. With some advice from former ISS commander Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space, and the university’s Chancellor Robert Thirsk, the team got to work on its poop-to-plastic concept.

The team’s project summary reads, “This year, the University of Calgary’s project involves using genetically engineered E. coli to turn human waste into bioplastics.

“We envision our project as a start-to-finish integrated system that can be used in space to generate items useful to astronauts during early Mars missions. This will solve the problem of waste management by upcycling solid human waste into a usable product.”

Specialized space toilet. [Image: NASA, Science Photo Library]

Last week, the U Calgary iGEM team published a paper on their work, titled “Astroplastic: A start-to-finish process for polyhydroxybutyrate production from solid human waste using genetically engineered bacteria to address the challenges for future manned Mars missions,” which is available online.

Co-authors include Xingyu Chen, Syeda Ibrahim, Kunitskaya, Kaitlin Schaaf, Zi Fei Wang, Preetha Gopalakrishan, Maliyat Noor, Harry Wilton-Clark, Jacob Grainger, Alexandra Ivanova, Patricia Lim, Michaela Olsakova, Lalit Bharadwaj, Bilal Sher, David Feehan, Rachelle Varga, and Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio.

Their method actually works, too – the team successfully produced their bioplastic in the Bachelor of Health Sciences laboratory. Genetically engineered Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria is used to convert human waste into polyhydroxybutyrate plastic – the waste is left alone for several days, in order for its levels of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) to increase. Then, a centrifugal and filtration process extracts the VFAs from the waste solids, and the substance is moved to a separate fermentation tank, with the E. coli.

Overview of the proposed process that starts with astronauts’ feces and end with a bioplastic
product that can be used to 3D print tool for astronauts.

An SLS 3D printer can then use the resulting bioplastic to manufacture objects like tools, while leftover solid waste products, according to Digital Trends, could possibly be used to make radiation shields.

The team’s attention to iGEM requirements and detailed research won them a gold medal, in addition to being nominated for the event’s Best Manufacturing Project. But they’re not done yet – two students plan to test their plastic-making process in low gravity this July on Canada’s Falcon 2.0 aircraft. The goal will be to extract nanosized plastic granules from the bacteria, instead of commencing the entire polyhydroxybutyrate extraction and 3D printing process, as microgravity can only be simulated for a few minutes at time.

In addition, the U Calgary iGEM team hopes to learn how to make different kinds of plastic, so they can manufacture items for space applications with different flexibility and strength levels. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to wash my hands.

What do you think about this project? Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Source/Images: University of Calgary]

Great Emergency Lights from Not-So-Great UPS

We know your shame. Like you, we wanted to save some scratch and bought the bottom-of-the-range UPS, only to discover that it is no use to man or beast as it lacks the power to perform any reasonable task. It’s now sitting in a corner, to gather dust as its batteries deteriorate.

Not so fast with the UPS abandonment! [rue_mohr] came up with a modification for a small APC UPS that turned it into something a little more useful. Removing the mains inverter from the picture with a few displaced wires and PCB mod, the UPS is now a 12V battery with a mains charger and power outage detection built-in. In this state it’s the perfect power pack for some 12V LED strips used for emergency lighting. There is a handy 3D print that fits the rear socket cut-outs on the US version of the device and provides apertures  for a pair of DC power jacks.

This is a relatively simple hack, but we like it for taking the focus away from the obvious part of the UPS, its mains inverter, and turning to the batteries as the main event. It’s a relatively tiny device, but in the past we’ve featured a UPS at the other end of the scale being used for power back-up to a whole house. Meanwhile we’d like to take a leaf from the [BOFH]’s book, and recommend that the most important piece of infrastructure requiring a UPS is the sysadmin’s coffee machine.

A Doctor Who Weeping Angel mask: From 3D printing to vacuum forming

After the Daleks and K9, the Weeping Angels are the next Doctor Who character to be recreated by the maker community, this time in the form of a mask.

Benjamin Krygsheld is to thank for this unsettling display, a project which, he tells us, started after receiving a broken party mask version from eBay.

Instead of struggling with the return process Krygsheld decided to remake it. This started by using the Xbox Kinect to scan the mask with the Skanect software.

This created a rough mesh that was then cleaned up in Blender over the course of eight hours, before being sliced in two with Meshmixer to make it small enough to print.

Printing took 32 hours, after which the two pieces were joined together with glue and the seem between them was filled in with Bondo. You can see the white print in the gallery below with the putty giving the Weeping Angel something of a broken nose look.

The print was then put into a vacuform and used as a mould to make the final version out of a sheet of plastic. This version was primed with black before being dry brushed with layers of grey and brown to get finished the look.

To make you own head over to Thingiverse to get the free files. The current model is 266 X 182 millimetres, so you will have to scale it to fit your face. It looks like some black mesh was also added around the eyes to make it more convincing.

Previous 3D Prints of the Day: