New 3D-printed casts are modern but not cheap

New 3D-printed casts are modern but not cheap

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New 3D-printed casts are modern but not cheap

It could cost you between $200-$500.

Broken bones have been treated with the traditional plaster or fiberglass casts for generations in what has always been thought of as the normal (and very itchy) treatment plan.

But even casts are keeping up with the modern, technologically advanced times.

The new3D-printedcasts are here and far more comfortable than anything plaster. The waterproof casts feature an open-lattice custom design that is made specifically for each patient. Not to mention, they may help the bones heal even faster.

Its built from a design software program after a scanner collects the broken limbs specifications, and the cast is then printed in two pieces.

The design itself is lightweight and the plastic features round openings to allow for more breathability. These openings will make it easier for doctors to access the broken limb, as well as making daily tasks more manageable for the patient.

Carol Lin, an orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, toldMIT Technology Reviewthat the design helped with determining skin health, and it made re-dressing wounds easier. This, in turn, would lessen the number of follow-up appointments the patient would have to make.

The catch? They are not exactly cheap.

Although the casts are not yet on the market, they are expected to cost between $200-$500. The ability to use 3D printing in the medical field has allowed procedures to become more individualized, allowing for better surgical planning and treatment options in patients who need prosthetics. But while custom-printing technology is modern and beneficial, its far too new to be a cheap option.

The casts may be costly, but the 3D printing industry is just getting started. According to MIT Technology Review, SmarTech Markets projects that the medical market for 3D printing will balloon from $498 million in 2014 to more than $5.8 billion a decade later.

Once the price drops, however, it will become more feasible to explore the possibility of using 3D printing to improve other existing medical products and procedures.

The movement toward 3D-printed medical devices is the subject of many startups around the world. One of these projects includesMediprint, founded by engineering student Zaid Musa Badwan in Mexico. Mediprint uses advanced technology to create 3D physical replicas of bones and organs from traditional medical imaging. Badwan founded the company in order to manufacture theNovaCasthe created with his colleagues.

Xkelet, based in Spain, has also gained recognition for its cast. A recent winner of the Red Dot Design Award, Xkelet is using two patients to test it product, and it will start a clinical trial in September.

Xkelets first 3D-printed cast is expected to reach hospitals within the next six months, so it might be best to hold off on breaking any limbs until then.

How a new 3D printing technique gave one cancer survivor a whole new jaw

A cancer survivor is receiving a new, more comfortable, prosthetic jaw.

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

New 3D Printing Technology Is 100 Times Faster Claims Startup

New 3D Printing Technology Is 100 Times Faster, Claims Startup

A US startup has developed a new 3D printing technology that uses light and oxygen to print solid objects at speeds 25 to 100 times faster than current technology.

The 3D printing technology developed by Silicon Valley startup, Carbon3D Inc, enables objects to rise from a liquid media continuously rather than being built layer by layer as they have been for the past 25 years, representing a fundamentally new approach to 3D printing, researchers said.

The technology allows ready-to-use products to be made 25 to 100 times faster than other methods and creates previously unachievable geometries that open opportunities for innovation not only in health care and medicine, but also in other major industries such as automotive and aviation.

The technology, called Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) manipulates light and oxygen to fuse objects in liquid media, creating the first3D printingprocess that uses tunable photochemistry instead of the layer-by-layer approach that has defined the technology for decades.

It works by projecting beams of light through an oxygen-permeable window into a liquid resin.

Working in tandem, light and oxygen control the solidification of the resin, creating commercially viable objects that can have feature sizes below 20 microns, or less than one-quarter of the width of a piece of paper.

By rethinking the whole approach to 3D printing, and the chemistry and physics behind the process, we have developed a new technology that can create parts radically faster than traditional technologies by essentially growing them in a pool of liquid, said Joseph M DeSimone, professor of chemistry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and CEO of Carbon3D.

Through a research agreement between UNC-Chapel Hill and Carbon 3D, the team is currently pursuing advances to the technology, as well as new materials that are compatible with it.

CLIP enables a very wide range of material to be used to make 3D parts with novel properties, including elastomers, silicones, nylon-like materials, ceramics and biodegradable materials.

In addition to using new materials, CLIP can allow us to make stronger objects with unique geometries that other techniques cannot achieve, such as cardiac stents personally tailored to meet the needs of a specific patient, said DeSimone.

Since CLIP facilitates 3D polymeric object fabrication in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days, it would not be impossible within coming years to enable personalised coronary stents, dental implants or prosthetics to be 3D printed on-demand in a medical setting, DeSimone added.

The researchappearsin the journal Science.

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Researchers in central Chinas Hubei province have successfully manufactured metal parts and molds using new 3D printing technology.

The new metal 3D printing technology addresses existing problems in traditional metal 3D printing methods, said Zhang Haiou, leader of the 3D printing technology research team at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

These problems, such as flowing, dropping or crumbling of fused materials due to gravity, cracking, stress and rapid heating and cooling can severely affect modeling performance and accuracy, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang as saying.

After over a decade of research, Zhang and other researchers have independently developed the new method of metal 3D printing, called intelligent micro casting and forging.

The method combines metal casting and forging technology and significantly improves the strength and ductility of metal molds to expand their life and reliability, he said.

The invention has also reduced the costs for forging equipment and raw materials through a computer-controlled modeling process, Zhang said.

The technology has been awarded both national and international patents.

It can be applied in the aerospace, medical, and auto industries, among others, Xinhua report said.

©2017 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

New Software Said to Redefine 3D Printing

New Software Said to Redefine 3D Printing

Scientists have built a new software that can quickly and efficiently model and print thousands of hair-like structures – a task that normally takes a huge amount of computational time and power through conventional software.

The 3D printers today can print just about anything, from a full-sized sports car, to edible food, to human skin. But printing hair, fur, and other dense arrays of extremely fine features has been extremely difficult using the technology.

The researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the new technique to bypass a major design step in3D printing.

Instead of using conventional computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw thousands of individual hairs on a computer – a step that would take hours to compute – the team built a new software platform, called Cilllia, that allows users define the angle, thickness, density, and height of thousands of hairs, in just a few minutes.

Using Cilllia, the researchers designed arrays of hair-like structures with a resolution of 50 microns – about the width of a human hair.

The results were presented recently at the Association for Computing Machinerys CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in San Jose, California.

The new technology could be used to print wigs and hair extensions, the researchers said, adding 3D-printed hair could also perform useful tasks such as sensing, adhesion, and actuation.

The work is inspired by hair-like structures in nature, which provide benefits such as warmth, in the case of human hair, and movement, in the case of cilia, which help remove dust from the lungs.

To see whether 3D-printed hair can help actuate, or move objects, the team fabricated a weight-sorting table made from panels of printed hair with specified angles and heights. As a small vibration source shook the panels, the hairs were able to move coins across the table, sorting them based on the coins weight and the vibration frequency.

Were just trying to think how can we fully utilise the potential of 3D printing, and create new functional materials whose properties are easily tunable and controllable,said study lead authorJifei Ou.

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3D Printing Services In New York

We hjects to sharheir imaginduced the possibility of replicating personal items and pieces for gifting and usage.

We helps transform ideas into tangible objects to share. In addition to helping our customers unleash their imagination to create things new and unseen, we have introduced the possibility of replicating personal items and pieces for gifting and usage.

3D printing technology uses layers to make a three dimensional figure from the digital object. The process of printing starts from the bottom of the solid design and it creates successive layers of material of the object.

This technology has been used today for many purposes like manufacturing, architecture, construction, engineering, military, dental, medical industries, fashion, footwear, education and eye wear.

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If youve ever been lost in the midst of all the3Dprintingtechnologies, you know how hard it is to get a grip on the different machinery, applications and companies involved.

Patent disputes, crafty marketing teams and feuds amongst inventors have led to a point where identicaltechnologiesgo by different trademarks and are limited in their applications because of potential infringements. Many newtechnologies actually trademarks are presented as revolutionary, when they are in fact similar or the same as existing systems.

For the industrial designer or engineer its important to have a grasp on thesetechnologiesbecause they can tell you a lot about possible applications and limitations from the outset. This is generally not an easy thing to do. To shed some light on the situation, and help you understand the differenttechnologies,heres an overview to get you started.

The overview contains all the main additive manufacturingtechnologiesof today, starting with process descriptions and guiding through all the individualtechnologiesand material options, ending with the key industry players.

Using the overview, it can be particularly interesting to have a look at where new3Dprintingtechnologiesfit into the grand scheme of things and what can be expected of their applications and possible limitations.

A little more than ayearago, Joseph M. DeSimone, a chemistry professor from UNC Chapel Hill, walked onto aTED conferencestage and left the audience in complete awe. On stage he unveiled a technology dubbed Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) that promised to be up to a 100 times faster than comparable3Dprintingtechnologiesand capable of creating smooth, strong parts, equivalent to their injection-molded counterparts. By the end of the 10-minute presentation, a solid object had risen from the bath of the obscure3Dprinter he had brought with him.

As can be seen in the overview,Carbonstechnology is similar to existing DLP technology. What differentiates it is the use of a photochemical process that carefully balances light and oxygen to rapidly produce parts. Photopolymerization typically produces parts that are weak, brittle and degrade when exposed to UV light. Carbon claims to overcome this by embedding a second heat-activated reactive chemistry in their materials, resulting in high-resolution parts with engineering-grade mechanical properties.

Carbon is backed by notable investors, including Google, Autodesk and Sequoia Capital as the company managed to raise $141 million to date. Their debut printer, the M1, is priced at $40,000 per year with a minimum three-year term a subscription-based model that is quite new to the3Dprintingindustry.

NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ) technology, by the Israeli companyXJet, promises to introduce inkjet-based3Dprintingtechnology to the metal industry. Its a revolutionary approach, considering that Material Jettingtechnologies(e.g. inkjet-like) have so far only been successfully applied to produce plastic or wax parts.

In the XJet system, print heads deposit an ultra-fine layer of liquid droplets containing metal nanoparticles onto the build-tray. Extremely high temperatures cause the liquid jacket around the metal nanoparticles to evaporate and the metal parts to bond at the desired location.

Compared topowder-based metalprinting, the process produces a stronger binding of the metal with virtually the same metallurgy as traditionally-made metal parts. The liquid feedstock also comes in sealed cartridges, eliminating the complex handling process of metal powders.

After a decades worth of research and development, and $25 million in funding from Autodesk and Catalyst, XJet revealed its technology at RAPID 2016 in May. The company now has seven machines operating in its Rehovot, Israel HQ, but is yet to announce an official launch date and its first product. Once on the market, XJet could potentially disrupt the production of short-runs of complex metal parts in major areas of production.

The rumors turned out to be true when HP announced its first3Dprinter in October 2014. With abundant resources and decades of expertise in 2Dprintingbehind it, the companys first3Dprinter will hit themarket this year.

Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) dispenses millions of drops of chemical agent per second similar to what the company pioneered with 2D paperprinting onto a thin layer of powdered material, while instantly curing it. Ultimately, this new3Dprintingprocess allows one to set the properties of each individual volumetric pixel (or as HP calls it; the voxel), thus controlling the mechanical and physical characteristics throughout a part with the ability to add more detail, including color and structural mechanics, than ever before, HP notes.

Related ArticlesOffering an end-to-end solution for $155,000, HPs machine is priced rather competitively. Currently theres only one available material (nylon), but the company is planning to roll out more materials in the coming months, showing vast potential for future development.

Looking at these recent developments its easy to get caught up in the hype (once again) of each new3Dprintingtechnology but between the economics, speed and quality of these new systems, it truly seems were on the cusp of a future of fully functional on-demand and local production. Lets allow ourselves to ride the hype wave a bit longer.

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Voxeljet, the leading manufacturer of 3D printing systems for industrial applications, specialized on Powder-Binder-Jetting of plastic and sand, has announced the release of its High Speed Sintering (HSS) process for November 2017. The process was initially developed by Prof. Neil Hopkinson and is licensed to voxeljet from Evonik andLoughborough University. Combined with voxeljets binder-jetting expertise, the high speed sintering process has been further developed into a productive and precise technology.

In contrast to voxeljets present solutions, which focus on the foundry industry, the new HSS process enables printing of parts with properties and quality similar to Selective Laser Sintering, Multi Jet Fusion or injection molding. Versatile and fully functional prototypes such as brackets, buckles, shoe soles, and other functional parts for end use can be produced. Additional application examples for HSS parts include interior design parts of cars and designs of product packaging.

The new high speed sintering process combined with our entry platform, theVX200, offers a unique amount of flexibility regarding adaptable process and machine parameters which can be tailored by the customer depending on the materials they select. voxeljet supplies a PA12 powder to customers, however, is also granting open sourcing of materials and offers a testing and approval service for new materials. ProPrint, our new and modular software, can be offered in a full access development-kit, meaning the user can program the system and add custom macros. It also features a databank for process data mining, which the customer can adapt to his needs. Furthermore, the availability and application of a wide range of 3D printable thermoplastic materials, including elastomers, makes this process suitable for material suppliers, universities and other institutions, saysDr. Ingo Ederer, CEO, voxeljet.

Christian Traeger, Director Sales & Marketing, adds that voxeljets industrial and high durability printers enable high-quality print resolutions, layer times that are consistent no matter what is being printed and advanced thermal management thus being able to print a large variety of materials. Due to large printing widths of our printheads, we see a high potential for increased printing rates on larger platforms in the future, making this process more productive compared to other AM processes.

The basis for HSS is the same as voxeljets core technology, binder jetting. This new process involves depositing a fine layer of polymeric powder, e.g. PA12 or TPU, after which an inkjet print head selectively deposits an infrared absorbing fluid directly onto the powder surface where sintering is desired. No further liquids are used for the printing process, which keeps consumable costs to a minimum. The build area is then illumined with infrared light, causing the printed fluid to absorb this energy and then melt and sinter (fuse) the underlying powder. This process is repeated layer by layer until the build is complete to form functional plastic parts.

Voxeljet will be presenting at the upcomingInside 3D Printing Mumbai 2017 fair taking place in  Mumbai on December 1 2 2017.More information with additional details about the new HSS process and available systems will follow.

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3D Printing Technology for Value-Added Red Meat

The 3D Food Printing Conference Asia-Pacific Edition, May 02, 2017, Monash University, New Horizons Building (4th floor), Melbourne, Australia

The conference issupported byMeat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Scope:As with every 3D printing application, there is a lot of hype going on with 3D Food printing. Statements like a 3D Food Printer in every home in 2 years time can be heard all the time. Also many start-ups introduce 3D Food printers and people can already now eat 3D printed dinners in restaurants, as it happened duringthe 2016 European edition of the 3D Food Printing Conference. The reality is that a lot of research and development needs to be done. The promises however are huge, both for professional and consumer markets.

For red meat, 3D printing represents an exciting opportunity to add value to current secondary cuts, trims and by products by developing meat ink. Furthermore, in the aged care sector there is a demand for food that is easier to chew and 3D printing provides an opportunity for the red meat industry to offer high protein meals that can be presented in various shapes and sizes, more appetizing that the classical pureed food.

There is a need for creation new business models to meet the demands of different markets who want personalized approaches to nutrients or textures, rather than the current whole muscle product.

The 3D Food Printing Conference will tackle all aspects of these new market opportunities and challenges.

The 3D Food Printing Conference offers the attendee a platform on the crossroads of science, technology; business in 3D Food Printing. Share knowledge, learn from other professionals and start networking.

Target:Meat producers & meat processing companies Suppliers to the food industry Agricultural industry Hardware / software suppliers Food research institutions Regulatory bodies Trendwatchers Investors

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Feeling Supersonic SPEE3D on its new metal 3D printing technology

Were never going to be the poster child of 3D printing making stunning medical parts – were going to be in the backroom doing the heavy lifting, really making what industry wants.

Byron Kennedy with SPEE3Ds LIGHTSPEE3D printer.

The number of low-cost metal printing technologies that have arrived on the market over the last twelve months -Desktop MetalMarkforgedXact Metal- indicates that one of the major barriers to mass adoption is starting to come down.

Speed is the next big hurdle, and as its name may suggest, an Australian start-up namedSPEE3Dis targeting just that with a completely different approach to metal additive that can achieve speeds up to 1000 times faster than conventional laser-based systems.

This isnt just any old startup – the companys founders have the credentials to back up its lofty ambitions. CEO, Byron Kennedy and CTO, Steven Camilleri, have worked together for 15 years previously spinning off a company called In Motion Technologies from Charles Darwin University, raising capital and exiting to NYSE listed company, Regal Beloit who they worked with setting up production lines for electric motor company, Fasco Motors.

We learned a lot about manufacturing in that process and really we saw 3D printing coming but in the world that we lived in, which was sort of commodity production or commodity manufacturing, the technology was just too slow and too expensive, Byron told TCT. So we really set ourselves a challenge. Could we solve that speed and cost issue? And thus the company SPEE3D was born.

They came across a process that was already being used by the U.S. military for repairs called cold spray. With this method, air is accelerated at supersonic speed, or 1000 metres a second, and metal particles are injected. When particles hit the surface, the kinetic energy generated causes the particles to deform and stick, forming a part.

Byron commented: We saw that technology and we then had to develop all of the software algorithms and the hardware to be able to build parts using this relatively known process.

With investments from the Australian Governments Accelerating Commercialisation program, Victorian and Northern Territory Governments, the resulting technology is called Supersonic 3D Deposition (SP3D) and its first machine is LIGHTSPEE3D. Described as the worlds first fully integrated cold spray 3D printer, it features a 300mm x 300mm build area, customised head on board a six-axis robot and does away with the need for inert gases commonly used in metal AM.

And it really is fast. A video of SPEE3Ds process shows a metal golf putter being produced in less than 10 minutes. Crucially, thats just the printing portion, but SPEE3D isnt shying away from AMs dirty secret in promising speed and it is not out to reinvent the wheel in terms of design for manufacture. SPEE3D acknowledges the inevitable bug bear of additive manufacturing by allowing users to make parts they are already making, as fast as possible, knowing that no matter how you slice it, you are ultimately going to have to heat treat and post process.

Thats what people actually want to do, Byron explained. When you get into the real manufacturing world, people dont want to have to use algorithms or special techniques to design high-end, high-cost parts. People want to make brackets, they want to make adapters, they want to make stuff which industry actually uses today and thats where 3D printing hasnt really targeted the parts that people want. Our vision is, were never going to be the poster child of 3D printing making stunning medical parts, were going to be in the backroom doing the heavy lifting, really making what industry wants. We dont need PhDs to design the parts, you can build what you want and the reason for that is because it is a fast and low-cost process.

Building on that familiarity even further, the machine uses standard metal powders, currently aluminium and copper. This keeps costs down even further compared to systems which require specially formulated metal powders. The next material on SPEE3Ds wish list is steel.

This technology is suited to standard industry parts, Byron said. We are not focusing on high-end materials like stainless steel and Inconel, for us theyre niche markets, thats where traditional 3D printing suits those very high, expensive, complex materials but thats not us. We can absolutely do it, theres no problem in terms of the technology, its just that were choosing a different end of the market to go after.

Golf putter, 3D printed using LIGHTSPEE3D technology in under 10 minutes.

The fact that those material choices are some of the most widely used in the industry is no happy coincidence. Byron insists that the technology is all about production and SPEE3D is targeting a market thats already been infiltrated by 3D printing, and worth around $90billion;casting. SPEE3D believes the process, including setup, print and finish, can cut down the traditional time taken for casting production – up to 10 weeks – down to just 90 mins.

Our focus is on aluminium parts at this time, Byron explained. The reason for that is, aluminium is used everywhere in industry today in some big markets, automotive, aerospace and then also general industry. What were doing here is making additive manufacturing or 3D printing cost comparative with cast parts, thats really our target.

The technology has already been successfully installed at Charles Darwin University but the official launch of LIGHTSPEED is set forformnext powered by tct. Pricing and availability details are expected to be announced around the show where SPEE3D will be exhibiting on stand C90 in Hall 3.0 of Messe Frankfurt on 14-17th November.

The future of 3D printing in education

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Simon Biggs, Education Liaison Officer for Wales at global engineering and scientific technology companyRenishawdiscusses the current use of 3D printers as an educational tool.

In the 1950s, the slide rule was the most commonly used classroom tool for mathematical and engineering calculation, but by the mid 1970s, the newer technology the electronic scientific calculator made the slide rule almost obsolete. Since then, there has been an explosion of new technologies hitting the classroom for engineering and mathematical learning including the computer, the iPad and more recently 3D printers.

3D printing is a well-established industrial technology for prototyping and manufacturing, particularly popular with the aerospace and defence sectors. Also known as additive manufacturing (AM), 3D printing is the process of making a solid 3D object from a digital computer aided design (CAD) file. The printer adds successive layers of material together until the final object has been created. This is different from traditional manufacturing methods like CNC machining, which removes material from a solid block using rotating tools or cutters.

3D printing is a rapid production method with minimal waste material. Its design flexibility means users can manufacture bespoke objects for a low cost. These advantages have made it increasingly popular as a production method in the manufacturing industry.

Exciting and innovative projects are a simple way to keep pupils engaged in STEM subjects, which is a vital step forward in addressing the skills shortage

Understanding and using this growing technology can benefit childrens learning, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects but also beyond these more traditional fields in music, design technology, history, geography and biology. In 2013,a pilot projectintroduced 3D printers into 21 schools to investigate learning through 3D printing. This project highlighted the need for robust training and good technical support for the widespread incorporation of 3D printing into the curriculum to be successful.

This project confirmed the potential for 3D printers as a teaching resource, providing that teachers can access adequate training for the technology. Many of the schools reported increased pupil motivation when engaged in 3D printing projects. Exciting and innovative projects are also a simple way to keep pupils engaged in STEM subjects, which is a vital step forward in addressing the STEM skills shortage. Since the pilot project in 2013, 3D printing has become more accessible and popular as a classroom technology.

The increasing numbers of 3D printers in schools is not only due to the increasing recognition of 3D printing being a relevant and engaging educational tool, but also relates to the number and availability of low cost 3D printing machines. It is now possible for schools to buy a 3D printer for around 500, whereas previous versions were cost prohibitive. The decreasing price tag is drastically improving the technologys pick up in the education sector.

Advances in resources available for teachers and other education professionals are also making 3D printing more widely accessible. Teachers can now download design software and access it via tablets and mobile phones. Easy tutorials for beginners are available for those without basic knowledge of the technology.

3D printing software is considerably more user friendly than it was two years ago, which makes it ideal for younger children to grasp. Innovative apps for mobile phones and tablets make it easy and efficient to create designs and send them to a 3D printer for production. These apps build up students skills using design platforms. However, the primary reason the technology is able to positively influence the learning process in design is the ability to learn through trial and error.

Using 3D printing as a production method enables students and pupils to move from the conception of an idea to producing a physical object with relative ease. The technology provides the ability to produce a part quickly, which is an advantage for students learning about design, particularly the limitations and constraints of the different technologies. Interrogating a physical object can make it easier for pupils to spot mistakes in designs. This allows them to gain valuable problem solving skills in a creative, hands-on way; without the ability to print prototypes, it would be considerably more difficult for students to identify weaknesses in their designs and improve upon them.

In recent years, the price of consumer 3D printers has dropped as the market has expanded. This makes the purchase of a machine easier to justify in the education sector, but for those schools that feel unable to justify the cost of owning a 3D printer despite recognising the benefits it can offer to learning, a purchase is not always necessary. Facilities such as the Fabrication Development Centre (FDC) at the Renishaw Miskin site, near Cardiff, contains five 3D printers that local schools use during their design and technology lessons.

Believed to be the only facility of its kind in the UK that is attached to a manufacturing site, Renishaws FDC enriches pupils learning experience further by showing them how industrial metal additive manufacturing machines are made and used to produce medical devices and dentures within the co-located Healthcare Centre of Excellence. This gives students the opportunity to see Renishaw manufactured metal 3D printers in action producing objects such as dental frameworks and facial implants. Students are able to relate their learning in the classroom with practical applications in industry, a link that may otherwise be difficult to grasp.

3D printing has a number of benefits to a wide range of school subject areas, from design and technology to physics and even model building for subjects such as biology and geography. A major hurdle to overcome in the education sector was mastering 3D printing machines. However, the emergence of simple software packages and the availability of online tutorials have greatly improved accessibility to the technology. With the reduction in cost of materials and printers, and schools focus on active learning and addressing the skills gap, it would be logical for 3D printers to become a widely used educational tool in years to come. Who knows, they might even prove as popular as the electronic calculator.

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Fascinating and valuable data and concepts offered here. I can only express the wish that such had been around when I was using my slide-rule indeed was still able to take-logs to complete a calculation. If I learned nothing else, the importance of first doing an approximation to an answer did ensure that when one went deeply into the numbers, that elusive lost or additional 10 did not interfere with the result. I do recall that one of the original vectored thrust test-beds (it was actually called the flying bedstead) sadly crashed and killed its pilot: because an error involving a 10 had remained in the calculations of thrust . Hence the well known Engineers maxim that if it looks right, it has a good chance of being so.

I hope that the 3D printers available to use in schools has a similar anti-lunacy switch!

Totally agree with MB. Similarly, the mixup on values on the Hubble Telescope which caused the original shots to be out of focus.

The focus problem was not caused by a mix-up of values. The commission led by Lew Allen concluded that a null corrector used to analyse its surface during the final stage of polishing had been assembled incorrectly, with one lens 1.3mm out of position.

The Hubble image bluriness was due to an undetected fault (paint speck?) in the testing apparatus, rather than a miscalculation.

However one of the Mars missions failed catastrophically due to a different kind of calculation error different contractors using different unit systems; one in SI, the other using English units. Crash & burn

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