3D Printers

3D Printing Industry review of the week

This week in our review of 3D printing we take a look at what readers of 3D Printing Industry are saying, how 3D printing in unreal worlds is used and whether 3D printing will be part of President Trump’s advanced manufacturing strategy. Also, I drank “3D printed” coffee.

3D printing in space and beyond

I spoke with Justin Kugler from Made In Space about how the company are now partnered with Axiom Space. The venture will see Made In Space working on projects including off-world fabrication and 3D printing to supply a privately owned space station.

In other news about 3D printing in space, we took at look at the progress of Rocket Labs and how 3D printing will propel the Moon Express. This prompted a reader to point out parallels with the Heinlein classic, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”

While projects like Made In Space can appear to be the stuff of science fiction, having spoken with the directors of national additive manufacturing projects this is an area where research is very much active. At one conference last year where I spoke with NASA, ESA and other space agencies 3D printing formed the basis of many conversations.

Back on earth, 3D printing is cropping up with increasing regularity in works of fiction. Over the past months we’ve seen 3D printing feature in video games such as Watchdogs 2 and as an almost Hitchcockian McGuffin in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, where 3D printing was used to manufacture killer bees!

This week, 3D printing again appeared on the small screen: this time in the final episode of the BBC’s Sherlock. Without wanting to give the plot away, this is the moment that 3D printing put in an appearance at 221B Baker Street:

A 3D Printed Prop from BBC TV Series Sherlock.
A 3D printed prop from BBC TV series Sherlock.

I visited an event where the organizers claimed to be 3D printing coffee, although the inkjet technology was interesting the prints were certainly more 2D than 3D. Let us know if you’ve seen the use (or misuse) of 3D printing in fiction recently.

Ripple print on coffee foam. Photo by Michael Petch.
Ripple print on coffee foam. Photo by Michael Petch.

Will 3D printing form an important part of President Trump’s strategy?

We took a look back at how the 44th President of the United States engaged with 3D printing. Now President Trump has taken up residence in the White House we are looking forward to seeing how additive manufacturing fits in with his strategy.

Trump has mentioned 3D printing in the past saying the U.S. needs to make better use of the technology. In the same speech Trump said, “We need to think smarter about areas where our technological superiority – and nobody comes close – gives us an edge. This includes 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and cyber-warfare.

We’re also aware that First Lady Melania Trump has a keen interest in  jewelry, so it would be interesting to learn if this extends to using 3D printing. 3D Printing Industry have looked at both 3D design software for jewelry and 3D printers to make jewelry molds.

3D printing used for jewelry. Photo by Michael Petch
3D printing used for jewelry. Photo by Michael Petch

3D Printing Industry readers also raised questions about the need for patent and copyright law reform and Trumps renewed focus on manufacturing, in particular his preference for on-shoring. As 3D printing continues on the path to industrialization in 2017 we’ll be taking a closer look at this application.

MIT create living 3D printing, MakerBot gets a new CEO, Kickstarter Hype and 3D printing advances research

Early in the week, 3D Printing Industry brought you news about the creation of “living additive manufacturing” and work underway at MIT. We also covered how Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in Germany is using 3D printing to embed glowing proteins into LED screens.

3D Printing Industry was the first to bring our readers news that MakerBot were replacing their CEO. After breaking the news on social media we followed up the story with comments from the CEO of parent company Stratasys and took a look at the future of the desktop 3D printer.

We took a look at Next Dynamics and their plans to launch a multi-material 3D printer capable of producing 3D printed electronics. The jury is still out on whether this is a remarkable machine, or if the crowdfunding platform has been hijacked for a clever marketing campaign. 3D Printing Industry will be visiting the company this week to find out more.

We also looked at research into how 3D printing might be used to solve the water shortage. Work at the UK’s University of Bath is exploring how 3D printed membranes can be used to make desalination more efficient.

An actual 3D printed drone design by Neatherbot. Photo by Michael Petch.
An actual 3D printed drone design by Neatherbot. Photo by Michael Petch.

What news about 3D printing was most interesting to you? We’re always keen to hear our readers views, so please comment below or send us an email.

Also, nominations for the 1st Annual 3D Printing Industry Awards are open. So please use this link to let us know who should receive an award.