Market Insights

3D Printing News Sliced, $11M project call, SLM Solutions, Aconity3D, Onshape

This edition of our 3D printing news digest Sliced features an $11 million funding pool  for flexible electronics; metal 3D printing’s expansion in the U.S.; life-changing fundraising for 3D bioprinters; mind-boggling 3D printed ceramics and more.

Read on for the latest news from NextFlex, SLM Solutions, Aconity3D, Onshape, Bristol Children’s Hospital and Cunicode.

NextFlex offers $11 million in funding for flexible electronics

NextFlex, headquartered in San Jose California, was formed in 2015 to advance the Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) ecosystem. Much like America Makes, the consortium has a mix of members from academic, state and commercial backgrounds. Now, through NextFlex Project Call 4.0 the consortium is making $11 million available to projects that further development and adoption of FHE.

Previous additive manufacturing beneficiaries of the NextFlex fund include Optomec, that received $3 million in 2017 for application its Aerosol Jet technology and, most recently, Lockheed Martin, that was granted funding to create a database of additively manufactured antennas and microwave elements.

“NextFlex’s Project Call process has proven to be extremely successful,” said Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson, executive director of NextFlex. “We continuously tackle member-identified FHE manufacturing challenges, and with 31 projects already underway from three previous project calls, we expect this to garner even more interest from the FHE community. Topics in Project Call 4.0 build upon successful developments and learning from our previous project calls.”

This latest call for projects covers a diverse scope of topics including, advanced 3D electrical design software solution, large-area sensor systems, and flexible battery integration. These topics were determined by consortium members and span a wide range of application areas ranging from commercial aviation to national security needs.

Nextflex logo. Image via Nextflex
Nextflex logo. Image via Nextflex

Aconity3D makes new home in Texas

Aconity3D, a developer of laser-based metal 3D printers headquartered in Germany, has announced that the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) will serve as its North American facility.

“We are pleased to establish a relationship with UTEP,” said Yves Hagedorn, Ph.D., managing director of Aconity3D. “This is an excellent example of how research universities can partner with private industry to advance the educational opportunities afforded to students and also attract economic development to the region.”

UTEP hopes that its agreement with Aconity3D will further enhance its production and service operations, as well as attract high-end jobs for engineering students at UTEP.

“We have long worked on leveraging our expertise in 3D printing to build a new economy in El Paso around additive manufacturing,” said Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., founder of the Keck Center. “Our partnership with Aconity3D is a major milestone in that direction and is validation of all of our combined efforts.”

You can read more on this company in the recent 3D Printing Industry interview with Aconity3D managing director, Yves Hagedorn.

University of Texas El Paso. Photo via El Paso inc.
University of Texas El Paso. Photo via El Paso inc.

Onshape’s latest software updates.

Onshape, a browser based CAD software tool, has released a new update.

The latest Onshape update comes with new upgrades such as the ability to reorder multiple features at once. This is done by left-clicking each feature that you want to move, and dragging them to their new position in the tree.

Other new features include the ability to adjust line thickness and change the colors of pieces of Onshape drawings and the ability to select a mate connector as a reference for an axis. This feature can be useful with commands like Transform, where you may want to rotate with respect to a mate connector.

Previously Onshape partnered with software developer CADENAS and Electronic Product Catalogs allowing customers to access 3D part models directly from Onshape.

Part rendered on Onshape. Image via Onshape
Part rendered on Onshape. Image via Onshape

SLM Solutions to host Open House

Germany headquartered metal 3D printer manufacturer SLM Solutions is to host an open house on August 25th from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

At the open house, guests can learn how 3D printing machines are made and experience the production process.

Earlier this year SLM Solutions joined a 3D printing production partnership with nine other companies in order to reduce the time to market of new products. These companies include Curtiss-Wright Technologies, EDR & Medeso, and Volvo Trucks.

Daniela Wedemeyer, Commercial Director of SLM Solutions, is looking forward to the Open House saying  “We are very proud to have this opportunity to present our new company building and SLM technology to the people of Lübeck. Everyone is welcome to celebrate, discuss and discover with us.”

The SLM Solutions SLM 280 2.0. Image via SLM Solutions Group AG.
The SLM Solutions SLM 280 2.0. Image via SLM Solutions Group AG.

Doctor swims English Channel to raise money for hospital 3D bioprinter

Andrew Wolf, a 63-year old professor and cardiologist, has completed a swim across the English Channel in an effort to raise money to establish a 3D printing facility for children with heart defects.  

Wolf’s goal aimed to raise £20,000 in order to purchase a 3D bioprinter and enable medical model printing at the Bristol Children’s Hospital. According to Wolf, this technology could “transform” the lives of babies and their families, improving surgical planning of complicated procedures. The unit will also enable the team to explain and show in detail to parents and children what the problem is and how it can be fixed. Wolf believes that this cutting-edge technique would be one of the first facilities of its kind in the UK.

A similar idea was done earlier this year at the American Family Children’s Hospital in Wisconsin. There doctors were able to prepare for pediatric heart surgery with 3D printed hearts. Likewise, doctors at Arizona’s Phoenix Children’s Hospital have used 3D printed models of patient’s organs to more accurately pinpoint cancerous tumors.  

Before he set off on his 13 hour and 21-mile swim, Wolf said “The bio-fixing which we are working towards will allow children to have one-off operations with their own stem cells so they will not have to have repeated operations as they grow into adulthood.”

Wolf and friends after the completed swim
Wolf and friends after the completed swim. Photo via Andrew Wolf.

Cunicode’s new 3D printed art

Cunicode, a 3D printing art studio in Barcelona, Spain, has released a new collection of stoneware art called Permutation.

Each piece in the collection is composed of a random combination of nine basic units that are placed around a cylinder. These pieces were designed with Grasshopper 3D modeling software and 3D printed by on a PotterBot 3D printer.

One of the key selling points of these new pieces is that each one is unique and exists within an immense landscape of millions of possible different combinations. The 3D printed sculpture known as P16.4, contains over sixty-six quadrillion possible combinations.

Cunicode’s previous works includes other 3D printed artwork such as cups, busts, and figures designed after children’s drawings.

An example of the art. Photo vie Cunicode.
An example of the art. Photo vie Cunicode.

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Featured image is an example of Cunicode’s latest line of 3D printed art. Photo via Cunicode.