Rize Uses Voxel Control for Augmented Reality in 3D-Printed Parts Michael Molitch-Hou posted on April 12, 2018 | | 121 views
Rize Inc. emerged from stealth almost two years ago, unveiling an office-ready 3D printer with unique capabilities including minimal post-processing and the ability to print ink directly on printed parts. Now, Rize has unveiled the first practical applications of this inkwriting technology with what it calls Digitally Augmented Parts, which can utilize embedded ink patterns for augmented reality and other Industrial 4.0 technologies.
A part 3D printed with APD featuring an embedded QR code. (Image courtesy of Rize.)
Rize’s Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) combines thermoplastic extrusion with inkjet printing to bring elements of voxel control to the 3D printing process. This includes printing a special interface material in between the printed object and its support structures, allowing for quick support removal. It also means that Rize can integrate traditional 2D printing inks into the process, so that images, text and symbols can be written onto the surface of parts.
Rize’s Digitally Augmented Parts utilize this latter capability to embed markers, such as QR codes, onto parts that can provide traceability through the manufacturing process and lifecycle of the parts. A smartphone app can then be used to scan the code and call up the information. Rize is emphasizing the use of the 3MF file format, which is meant to include information beyond the simple geometry of a 3D file, for such an application. In addition to details like color, 3MF can carry data related to a component’s origin.
“This is the first step towards embedding intelligent capabilities within the part and connecting them through a digital thread into the digital twin of the part,” said Rize President and CEO Andy Kalambi, who was recently interviewed by engineering.com. “Rize is leading the integration of additive manufacturing into the digital ecosystem, which will redefine the user and customer and experience, and ultimately scale the technology to an entirely new segment of commercial and industrial users.”
Parts can be 3Dprinted to feature QR codes that can call up manufacturing information in a smartphone or tablet app. (Image courtesy of Rize.)
As we learned from our earlier interview with Rize in 2016, APD, in some respects, mirrors HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), in that the use of inkjetting enables the introduction of functional inks. HP actually demonstrated a similar application for MJF, showing how an AR app can be used to scan a 3D-printed part with an embedded QR code.
Similar to some of the future capabilities that HP is promising with its MJF, Rize could also one day release inks that are electrically conductive, thermo-insulating or thermo-conducting. Though HP has substantial size and capital behind it, it may be that Rize, which has the flexibility of a small startup, will release these products sooner. Kalambi mentioned in our interview with him that the company is working on its future printers. Potential customers may have their fingers crossed that these new materials are in the works as well.
4D printing is a technology that has been the subject of a lot of research lately. Just this week, a team of Dartmouth College researchers developed a smart 3D printable ink that can change shape and color, and they’re far from the only ones doing novel things with 4D printing technology. Suong Van Hoa, a professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering department at Concordia University, is using 4D printing to create composite materials that curve by themselves, eliminating the need for molds.
Suong Van Hoa
“4D printing allows us to make curved composite structures without the need to make curved moulds,” said Hoa. “My main finding is that one can make curved composite pieces — long continuous fibres that have high mechanical properties — more quickly and economically.”
Normally, several steps are required in manufacturing a part like a composite leaf spring, a lightweight shock absorber in vehicles. To make a S-shaped piece, an S-shaped mold would need to be made out of a solid material like metal. Then a reinforcing fabric, pre-impregnated with a resin system, would be laid on the mold to create a composite piece. But with 4D printing, said Hoa, the initial step of building the complex mold could be skipped.
“4D printing of composites utilizes the shrinkage of the matrix resin, and the difference in coefficients of thermal contraction of layers with different fibre orientations to activate the change in shape upon curing and cooling,” he said. “This behaviour can be used to make parts with curved geometries without the need for a complex mould. As such, manufacturing of pieces of curved shapes can be fast and economical. However, the degree of shape-changing depends on the material properties, the fibre orientation, the lay-up sequence and the manufacturing process.”
Part of Hoa’s research involved reconsidering the anisotropic properties of composite layers. Anisotropy is the way a material behaves while bearing loads along different axes. A material’s anisotropic properties are a measure of how it can change in relationship to other factors. For example, resin shrinkage can cause materials to be deformed, or temperature changes can cause fibers to expand or contract. According to Hoa, understanding and controlling for these changes is key to making curved laminates without curved molds.
“Anisotropic properties have been looked at as a liability in the past,” he said. “Now I look at them as an asset.”
Hoa believes that the technology can be applied to fields such as aerospace, among others.
“Another application is for space structures like satellites, where the structures are subjected to extreme temperature fluctuation,” he said. “The structure can open up during the day (when the temperature is high) to collect the solar energy, and close up at night to provide protection for its interiors.”
Last year, Hoa became the first Canadian to be named a fellow of the American Society for Composites for his “outstanding contributions to the composites community through research, practice, education and service.” His research has been published in a paper entitled “Factors affecting the properties of composites made by 4D printing (mouldless composites manufacturing),” which you can access here.
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Did you notice the moon was missing was Thursday? Two little kids did…when their dad convinced them he had stolen it from the sky.
No, he’s not a real life Gru from Despicable Me and he didn’t use a shrink ray to snatch a miniature moon from the sky. This dad’s a maker. A maker who saw a fantastic pranking opportunity for an upcoming new moon.
About three weeks before the new moon occurred, Roy Spires started planning his lunar “heist.” He set to work 3D printing a spherical shell which had a moon-like surface and housed a number of color-changing LEDs inside of it.
For optimal effect, he put the glowing 3D printed moon inside a box and presented it to his six-year-old-daughter and three-year-old son, confiding that he had stolen the moon out of the sky.
As healthy young skeptics, Spires’ children did not believe him at first. As he explained in a Reddit post: “They thought I was lying so I had them go outside to look for it, and they started freaking out.”
Spires also took a photo of his young ones with the stolen moon, turning them into accomplices. “I also told them that if they ratted me out to anybody I would use this picture as evidence, and say that THEY did it,” he wrote.
(Image: Random-Miser / Reddit)
We’re not sure whether the children still think the moon is gone, but Spires did announce his intention to have a police officer friend present him with a ticket for stealing the moon and taking the moon back to be put back in the sky.
“I told her that there may be a lot of people at her school today talking about how the moon disappeared, but to NOT TELL ANYONE that I had it,” Spires wrote on Reddit. “I fully expect her to tell and already have a police officer friend of mine who is going to come by tomorrow to ‘give me a ticket,’ and take the moon back so it can be put back in the sky.”
Utterly ingenious if you ask me. I can’t wait to see what Spires comes up with for April Fool’s Day!
Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic employee Josh Heller, left, reviews CAD software designs for additive manufacturing while Ryan Wilhite verifies the printer is properly calibrated.
3D printing has become a strong presence within the US military, particularly in the Navy, where 3D printers are being used aboard ships. The Navy has 3D printed everything from tiny clips to entire submarine hulls, and at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic, they’re using the technology every day to create needed parts.
For example, an R&D scientist wanted to create a compact, energy-saving support component that was not available commercially. He used CAD software to design it and 3D printed a prototype in a single day. The prototype needed some adjustments, so he modified the design and 3D printed a second component that met his exact requirements. Meanwhile, on a submarine, a keyboard video mouse switch had a high failure rate due to a substandard button design. Two sets of four buttons kept breaking during daily use in every common submarine room in the fleet, so SSC Atlantic personnel reverse engineered the buttons and used 3D printing to create new ones with a stronger design. After fit testing, they contracted with an outside vendor to manufacture the buttons using a heavy-duty polymer in a large quantity, at which point they were installed throughout the fleet.
Those are only a couple of examples of how SSC Atlantic has been using 3D printing to save time and money while improving the capabilities of warfighters. They have been using the technology to design and prototype new components and replacement parts, as well as modifying existing components.
“Additive manufacturing further enables SSC Atlantic to improve cost, schedule and performance in delivering and sustaining solutions to the warfighter in an environment where change is constant,” said SSC Atlantic Executive Director Chris Miller. “It fundamentally changes how we think about manufacturing, enabling us to be more responsive and meet our commitments.”
SSC Atlantic’s science and technology professionals are constantly working to develop new products, which they prototype using 3D printing. Another innovation was a spherical intelligence and surveillance product, which was designed in two interconnecting pieces and 3D printed. They then placed an embedded system with sensors inside. They could then show the prototype to military sponsors, which is far more effective than presenting a white paper.
SPAWAR Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic employee Hunter Smith compares a 3D printed part with the CAD design.
SSC Atlantic pre-production employees also 3D printed a prototype of a rack that a customer needed to hold an intercom component. As requirements changed, multiple iterations were built, and the final version was installed to ensure form and fit. The final prototype was then sent to an outside vendor, which produced the racks in large quantities. Although the final piece was not 3D printed, using the technology for prototyping helped immensely, allowing the team to perfect the item in-house without having to repeatedly send new versions of it to an outside party.
Command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment often requires mounting solutions to hold sensitive information in place when installed in military land vehicles. Recently, the SSC Atlantic team was asked to design a bracket to secure cryptographic information in a vehicle, but crypto equipment has security sensibilities and can only be used in a secure lab or signed out for use under secure conditions.
The team solved that problem by 3D printing a full-sized plastic replica of the crypto equipment’s exterior, and designed and built the bracket to hold it. That allowed them to test form and fit and make any necessary modifications without delays. They also used CAD and 3D printing to build mounts for commercial off-the-shelf products that are not available due to vendor back orders. In another case, pre-production employees built a system integrated lab (SIL) to analyze and test system equipment for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. Since the components have exposed electrical contacts, they designed and 3D printed a cover to protect technicians and operators from electrical shocks when reaching around the components.
3D printing has proved valuable not just in prototyping, but for production as well. SSC Atlantic employees needed to create a protective case for a personal computer. The original case had 13 interconnecting pieces; the team 3D printed a scale model of a case from tough plastic and designed a hooked Plexiglas top and bottom. Once it was approved by the customer, they created a full-sized version from only two pieces, rather than 13.
SPAWAR Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic employee Lucas Powell removes a finished part from a 3D printer.
There was a problem with a metal cable support bracket attached to the back of a piece of submarine equipment – the cables kept sagging and catching on the nearby alert panel, disconnecting the power or damaging the cable assembly. In half an hour, the team had drawn a better design on a napkin. In an hour, it was input into CAD software, then 3D printed in 48 minutes. It was then fitted and tested with the equipment in 20 minutes – problem solved.
Then there’s the maintenance side of things. 3D scanning and 3D printing is used consistently in reverse engineering objects for redesign and repair. In one case, employees needed to replace a failed power supply on an obsolete product with components covered in tacky plastic. A new product would have meant a purchase of 10 items at $2,000 each, so instead, they peeled the plastic away with tweezers, redesigned the object and 3D printed new parts, replacing more than 100 components. The new power supply has never failed.
Those are just a few examples of what one unit is doing with 3D printing to save money, time, and make its day to day operations easier. 3D printing is in use all over the military, making operations more effective and, in turn, keeping people safer. If anyone ever dismisses the technology as being merely good for creating trinkets, point them in the direction of the Navy – they’ll be happy to clear up that misconception.
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[Source: DVIDS / Images: US Navy/Joseph Bullinger]