3D Printing News Digest

3D Printing Industry news sliced: Zortrax, Nexa3D, 3D Systems, Stratasys, Cellink, BCN3D and more

In this edition of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry news digest, we cover the latest business developments and partnerships in the 3D printing sector.

Today’s edition includes 3D printing partnerships, new additive manufacturing software programs, several new 3D printing materials, an on-demand binder jet price quoting algorithm, and 3D printed museum art in Gdansk.

Read on for the most recent updates from AM Solutions, 3D Control Systems, Altem Technologies, Additive Manufacturing Customized Machines, Xometry, Henkel and more.

Cellink partners with Altem Technologies to expand bioprinting in India

Kicking things off, bioprinting specialist Cellink has partnered with 3D printing technology supplier Altem Technologies to expand the former’s reach into the Indian bioprinting market. Through Altem, companies and research institutions will now be able to purchase Cellink’s full range of 3D bioprinters, including the Bio X6, LumenX, and Inkredible+. Altem will also begin supplying Cellink’s proprietary bioink materials, enabling applications such as tissue engineering, drug development, and more.

Cecilia Edebo, Managing Director at Cellink, said, “Given the larger addressable population and growing demands for precision medicine [in India], there is a pressing need for addressing the healthcare requirements on priority and calls for accelerated research on the future of healthcare. Our partnership with Altem will contribute in the direction of developing the technology of tomorrow for creating a better quality of life.”

New 3D printing materials from Nexa3D, 3D Systems, and AM Solutions

Over in the materials sector, resin-based 3D printer manufacturer Nexa3D has launched its new soft rubber xFLEX 475 3D printing resin. Developed in partnership with chemical company Henkel, the elastomer is characterized by its tear resistance, flexibility, and elasticity, sporting an elongation at break of 150%. Nexa3D claims the material is well-suited to applications such as pipes, manifolds, handles, grips, seals, gaskets, and even footwear midsoles.

Kevin McAlea, COO at Nexa3D, adds, “Historically, during prototyping, manufacturers could 3D print aesthetically pleasing models, but they were not durable. On the other hand, they could create functional parts that did not match the aesthetic requirements of production parts. We don’t believe manufacturers should have to compromise any longer.”

Elsewhere, leading 3D printer OEM 3D Systems recently launched its new production-grade Accura AMX Rigid Black 3D printing resin. Compatible with SLA technology, the tough material is designed to enable large, load-bearing structural parts and long-term mechanical parts in sectors such as automotive and consumer goods. Partly inspired by the needs of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) team, Accura AMX Rigid Black has already undergone up to eight years of testing, both indoors and outdoors, offering high performance and stability in any environment.

“Accura AMX Rigid Black allows us to deliver larger, complex SLA production parts, including full-scale manufacturing aids,” said Alexander Liebold, group leader of production engineering & future technologies at TGR. “We recently used the material to develop 3D printed fixtures for stabilizing larger automotive components for CNC milling. Using Accura AMX Rigid Black, we achieved 90% time savings and 60% cost savings in comparison to the previous handwork process for a batch of 40 parts.”

Automated post-processing system manufacturer AM Solutions has launched a new type of abrasive surface finishing media for 3D printed polymer parts. Intended for use with MJF and SLS printed parts, the material aims to deliver finely structured and homogenous surface finishes for high-volume batch production. The company has stated that the grinding performance of the abrasive material will depend on the geometric complexity of the workpiece, but users can expect to reduce part surface roughnesses from Ra = 15 μm to Ra = 3 μm within four hours.

Christoph Bätz, Project Engineer at AM Solutions, explains, “The composition of the new media mix was developed through numerous processing trials. The result is a product that allows the surface finishing of a broad spectrum of components with different shapes and sizes. Irrespective of whether small, delicate work pieces or large components must be treated, the result is always a highly homogeneous, consistent and repeatable finish.”

Nexa3D's xFLEX 3D printing resin. Photo via Nexa3D.
Nexa3D’s xFLEX 3D printing resin. Photo via Nexa3D.

Software updates from BCN3D, 3D Control Systems, and Xometry

Barcelona-based 3D printer manufacturer BCN3D recently launched its Stratos slicing software for use with the firm’s FFF 3D printers. In development since the start of the pandemic, the new slicing software is designed to make the BCN 3D printing workflow more streamlined, with increased functionality and ease-of-use. Sporting a new user interface and new slicing options, Stratos is available now for use with the Sigma D25 and Epsilon 3D printers.

“The goal of our software development was to advance it to the same level as our high-performance hardware,” explains Xavier Martínez Faneca, CEO of BCN3D. “BCN3D Stratos simplifies the printing process immensely, without compromising the quality and precision of prints. We are proud to continuously widening the variety of configurations and settings for all levels of users, with more to come in the near future.”

3D printing software developer 3D Control Systems has upgraded its 3DPrinterOS 3D printer management platform with a new user interface. The information in the software has been reorganized for clarity, the color palette has been revamped, and several processes have been redesigned for fewer clicks. This includes a new smart system for slicer selection, as well as a new Analyze feature in the STL Editor, which helps determine if the first layer of a build is actually touching the build plate.

Chip Bobbert, the Digital Fabrication Architect at Duke University and 3DPrinterOS user, adds, ‘‘It’s extremely important to our lab and the industry at large that 3D printing be easy and accessible.  The new 3DprinterOS user interface simplifies access and removes clutter.  Users can now access printing resources with fewer steps.” 

Xometry, the leading on-demand 3D printing marketplace, has announced the launch of an instant quoting feature for metal binder jetting on the company’s Instant Quoting Engine. Parts commissioned through the new instant quoter will be 3D printed by Xometry’s manufacturing partner ExOne, a developer of industrial binder jet 3D printers.

“We’re thrilled to add another 3D printing process to our Instant Quoting Engine in partnership with ExOne,” said Bill Cronin, Xometry’s Chief Revenue Officer. “Our customers can now get quotes on affordable, high-strength metal additive parts in just seconds. The new capability is the latest example of the flexibility of our platform and our drive to expand the manufacturing processes offered through our marketplace.”

The new 3DPrinterOS UI. Image via 3D Control Systems.
The new 3DPrinterOS UI. Image via 3D Control Systems.

AMCM showcases new metal 3D printing applications

EOS subsidiary Additive Manufacturing Customized Machines (AMCM) has announced a number of new customer applications the firm has helped develop over the past three years. The company was initially formed to develop custom 3D printers based on existing EOS machines.

The first of AMCM’s projects was a modified EOS M 290, the higher-power AMCM M 290 1KW system. Working with 3D printing service providers 3T Additive Manufacturing and FKM Sintertechnik GmbH, AMCM was able to aid in 3D printing inductors and heat exchangers made of copper.

The firm also worked with imaging component provider DUNLEE to 3D print high-precision tungsten anti-scatter grids designed to absorb X-rays during healthcare screenings. Additionally, developed in close collaboration with space launch firm Launcher, the custom AMCM M4K system was used to 3D print a one-meter-long rocket engine combustion chamber and injection nozzles.

Martin Bullemer, Managing Director of AMCM, adds, “AMCM uniquely combines both laser and mechanical engineering expertise with direct access to EOS’ proven process expertise, setting the benchmark for metal-based 3D printing. The team consists of engineers, some with decades of experience in custom machine building, and AM professionals. From system requirements to part design and material development, AMCM understands what it takes to succeed in additive manufacturing.”

The one-meter-long rocket engine combustion chamber 3D printed by AMCM and Launcher. Photo via AMCM.
The one-meter-long rocket engine combustion chamber 3D printed by AMCM and Launcher. Photo via AMCM.

3D printed art with Zortrax and Stratasys

The Museum of Gdansk in Poland is set to reopen its Museum of Amber exhibition, which will contain four installations 3D printed on Zortrax systems by young industrial designer Jakub Pastuszak. The installations include recreations of an Amber Craftsman’s House from the 17th century, a Cabinet of Curiosities from the 17th century, an amber cabinet from 1724 imitating a Baroque wardrobe, and a lizard embedded in amber dated back to 40 million years ago.

Pastuszak, referring to 3D printing as an effective tool for artists, states, “Considering the entire 3D printing market and the possibilities it opens up, I am sure that this technology is changing our reality.”

Finally, leading 3D printer OEM Stratasys has partnered with Paisley Park, the studio and home of late American singer-songwriter Prince, to create a limited time art exhibition exploring Prince’s bold fashion collection. For the exhibition, Stratasys will 3D print two display items.

The first is a 3D printed grand piano with 45 FDM and PolyJet printed parts – the piano will be used to display Prince’s shoes. The second is a 9’ x 9’ 3D printed image of Prince himself. The canvas will comprise 56 pieces of fabric and more than 347,000 PolyJet printed dots.

A 3D printed Cabinet of Curiosities from the 17th century. Photo via Zortrax.
A 3D printed Cabinet of Curiosities from the 17th century. Photo via Zortrax.

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Featured image shows the Sliced logo on a part post-processed by AM Solutions. Photo via AM Solutions.