Six April Fools and four remarkable truths of 3D printing

Yes, it’s April 1st, and you know what that means…Relished by some and dreaded by others, April Fools’ Day is upon us. Though many 3D printing innovations may be remarkable, and at times surprising, it seems there is still plenty of space for a hoax or two. Keeping our eyes open for the pranksters this year, 3D Printing Industry has compiled a roundup of this year’s April Fools’ jokes – and the real technologies behind them that might one day make them a reality.

Brace yourself for robot retrievers; gold filament; an SLS and ABS-made car; glass 3D printing; and a day in the life of Josef Prusa.

Xometry’s robot dog for Corporate America

On demand manufacturing platform Xometry has created the most realistic robot dog in the world. Completed by a durable SLS 3D printed tail, a Multi Jet Fusion-made nose, and PolyJet fur, the DogX from Office Pup, is a companion for workplaces where no pets are allowed. According to Office Pup CEO Valerie Green, “The happiness quotient is increasing at start-ups and decreasing at corporations.”

“We see this trend in every major industry because large corporations simply do not know how to adapt to the millennial culture.”

Diagram of the Office Pup DogX "made" by Xometry. Image via Xometry
Diagram of the Office Pup DogX “made” by Xometry. Image via Xometry

Truth: Boston Dynamic’s 3D printing-powered dogs

Though Xometry’s office dog Teddy is assuredly 100% real (and adorable) the company is not entirely barking up the wrong tree…

Innovative (and on many accounts unsettling) is Boston Dynamics‘ Spot Mini robot. In 2018, Italian startup company Youbionic created a torso for the dog-like robot, using some 3D printed parts.

24K Gold Filament

Taiwan-headquartered 3D printer and materials manufacturer XYZPrinting has release “the world’s first 24K Gold Filament.” Priced as $50,000 per spool, XYZ recommend storing this exotic filament at room temperature within “a safe or vault” a la Scrooge McDuck.

It has a melting temperature of 1,064 – 1,070°C and yet is compatible with the company’s range of desktop FFF 3D printers.

“All you need is a simple upgrade to our Premium Tungsten Nozzle (0.4 mm), specially engineered to print the 24K Gold Filament at temperatures as high as 1994 °F. Both its thermal conductivity and hardness are optimized to deliver quality 24K gold prints at a faster printing speed. It is also tested to last well above 1,000 hours of (24K gold) print time.”

Despite these claims, the company still points out that Foxy Cleopatra, XYZ’s supposed “Head of Exotic Filaments” is a fictional character.

A toilet "3D printed" from XYZPrinting's 24K Gold PLA. Photo via XYZPrinting
A toilet “3D printed” from XYZPrinting’s 24K Gold PLA – actual object is 3D printed in regular PLA and sprayed with gold paint.  Photo via XYZPrinting

Truth: metal (effect) 3D printing from a filament

The reality behind XYZPrinting’s 24K Gold filament is its range of Premium Metallic PLA filaments, that give a shiny, polished finish to objects.

Though gold is not on the market, Virtual Foundry makes a range of composite metal particle/polymer filaments, which are sintered to make metal parts after printing. Virtual Foundry’s Filamet range was used to make the 2017 3D Printing Industry Awards trophies.

Farnell launches the POTTA 3D printer with in-built AI

The POTTA is a new, “artisanal” 3D printer complete with AI (Actual Intelligence) technology. “Released” by British electronics distributor Farnell, the POTTA is actually Harry, an experienced stoneware potter.

What is no joke however, is Farnell’s competition giving one U.S. and one U.K. entrant the chance to win a Creality 3D ENDER-3 PRO 3D printer.

Truth: ceramic 3D printing

Of course, 3D printed ceramics are no joke. Though details remain a little limited, Japanese multinational camera and digital printing specialist Canon has reportedly begun development of a ceramic 3D printing technology; and the Nebraska-headquartered Tethon 3D has been awarded a grant to develop its own ceramic based multi-material DLP 3D printer.

Bonus April Fools

Also getting in on the jokes today were Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus, announcing the forthcoming launch of the Warp Car, an electric car that can be fixed with 3D printed parts at home; 3D printer enthusiast GRΛFIT who was reportedly 3D printing glass at home (this too is a real thing from MIT); and of course Josef Prusa, who posted this delightful “day in the life” video below:

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Voting is now open for the 2019 3D Printing Industry Awards.

Featured image shows OnePlus’ so-called “Warp Car” made for April Fools’ 2019. Image via OnePlus