German RepRap & The European 3D Printer Race




Europe has seen a new wave of desktop 3D printer manufacturers gaining relatively large funding and developing strong expansion plans this year: Could Zmorph, Zortrax, Ion Core, Leapfrog and co now be seen as a ‘chasing pack’ behind European desktop 3D printer manufacturing leading brand, Ultimaker? As German RepRap releases a major software update, adopting Simplify3D to upgrade the output of its range of printers, should this company be considered as part of the pack chasing Ultimaker too?

German RepRap GmbH, located in Feldkirchen near Munich, was established in 2010. Since then the company has gained a reputation for continually innovating new prosumer printing products, expanding its retail range of electronics and mechanics, and adding new channels such as seminar provision and book sales.

German RepRap has announced that 3D printing software Simplify3D has replaced the Repetier-Host and Slic3r packages that previous accompanied their range of printers aimed at the desktop prosumer and industrial markets. The software allows importing of different files, scaling a model up or down, repairing the model code, creating Gcode and provides a quality interface for a range of interaction with the print in process.

Simplify3D incorporates very fast slicing algorithms that rapidly create clean codes for complex output models. The enhanced slicing functionality has a heavily influences print quality. Print layer height can be varied within the model and the print speed and temperature adjustabled. The user is empowered to reduce the print time and the quantity of material used thanks to complete control regarding where support material and how much support material is being used. Parameters can be changed within a model allowing the user to increase or decrease fill density to make parts stronger, heavier and so forth. The animated print previewer shows how the model would be printed layer-by-layer, allowing improvements to the the model prior to starting a print.

The company’s range of printers will be able to provide greater output precision, a finer quality of print, and offer a higher amount of interactive customisation alongside other benefits of offering profiles for their machines in Simplify3D. The software upgrade may be particularly interesting in regards to another of German RepRap’s printers, the X400. The X400 is available both as a DIY kit and constructed format that promises the user the ability to just plug the printer in and be create large scale and batch 3D prints.



This printer, pitched at ‘professional operators in machinery and plant engineering, small batch production or in electronic industry and for ambitious private users’ has a very large build area capacity at 400 x 400 x 350 mm, which places the printer in a product strata alongside the very largest low-to-mid cost printers. The capacity of the X400 is comparable to the 200 x 185 x 280 mm Kueling & Kueling Industrial 3D Printer, 600 x 600 x 600 Re:3D GigaBot and 3DMonstr T-Rex-24, and mammoth 1147 x 1000 x 1188 mm BigRep ONE.

Given the size of the prints that the X400 can produce, and its proposed function within batch production and industry, the increased quality and control that the software upgrade provides may be particularly pertinent.

What Makes A Massive 3D Printer Crowdfunding Campaign?

2013 and 2014 has seen a mushrooming of the number of companies incepting the manufacture of desktop 3D printers. Despite what some would consider an increasing rate of market saturation for the range of products compared to unit sales, most crowdfunding campaigns continue to be highly successful. It was just six weeks ago that the second most successful funding ended, the $299 M3D Micro at $3,401,361, which even topped the legendary FormLabs Form 1 crowdfunding. So... just what makes a massive 3D printer crowdfunding campaign?

Gartner estimated that worldwide shipments of 3D printers priced under $100,000 would grow by 49% in 2013. 3D printer companies were anticipated to sell 56,507 sub-$100,000 units. That rate of growth is forecast to rise to 75% in 2014, to 98,065 units. Given there are now at least two hundred companies manufacturing desktop 3D printers.

Stratasys-MakerBot, 3D Systems and Ultimaker continue to dominate the prosumer market, with industrial additive manufacturing being a class of it's own, with each machine costing in an order of magnitude that places the machines in a series of extant product categories outside of the strata we witness in the sub-$100,000 market. Within that sub-$100,000 market the majority of sales will most probably continue to occur in what may be termed the sub-$10,000 bands, and the low-cost $100 - $500 tier and $500 - $3000 tier in particular.

Stratasys owned MakerBot continue to dominate the $500 - $3000 tier of machines that are geared towards designers, education, low-batch middle-quality professional prototyping, makers and hobbyists with an average-to-high income. Ultimaker also fair very well in this tier, the company have been consistent in the quality of their 3D printer products and are the current number one in European sales, pitching at the same audience as MakerBot. 3D Systems continue to also perform well with their Cube range of desktop 3D printers, which encompass the hobbyist for the lower cost units, designers and low-batch middle-quality professional prototyping for the higher cost products.

There is now a large range of brands producing low-cost $100 - $500 tier and $500 - $3000 tier printers making a highly competitive market place. Some of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for 3D printers have been in the $100 - $500 tier.

The $347 Pirate3D Buccaneer sparked great interest with a strong marketing campaign that orientated around guessing the mystery low price for the printer, then, later, controversy regarding some specifications which were deemed by some customers to have been withheld. These waves of interest ultimately resulted in $1,438,765 and 3,520 backers when Kickstarter funding was met on the 26th June 2013. The campaign was covered in the media by everyone from Reuters to the International Business Times, Mashable to TechCrunch.

The $299 RigidBot fulfilled a low-cost high-build area niche with it's 10" x 10" x 10" output, which earned the team behind the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign $1,092,098 and 1,952 backers in 2013. The $499 Printrbot, a brand that has gone on to become an established favourite that continues to be held in high regard by users gained a crowdfunding total of $830,827 and 1,808 backers at the start of the mushrooming of Fused Deposition Modeling printers in 2011.

Put another way, four out of the five highest earning 3D printer crowdfunding campaigns have been for printers that fall into the $100 - $500 category. Out of the top ten amounts of finance raised by this open funding methodology popular with new 3D printer manufacturers, seven have been sub-$500 machines: including the $475 10" x 10" x 8" output Robo 3D Printer that reached $649,663 with 1,251 backers; the $249 Matter MOD-t 6" x 4" x 5" output NewMatter Mod-t raised $634,618 at IndieGoGo with 3,374 backers; and cheapest of them all, the $99 Peachy Printer raised $651,091 with 4,420 backers.

Amidst all this success - and there are at least four times this number of 3D printers now retailing under $500 including DIY kits - new printers in the price range have some serious competition. But it is the competition that 3D printer entrepreneurs will been keen to note. Both to take notes from regarding popular specifications and stand-out features, and to position their product wisely.

3D Printing In The Philippines



In the beautiful Republic of the Philippines three dimensional printing is nascent and progressively emergent. There are a small but growing number of 3D printing service providers, most of which are using desktop 3D printers from the cheaper strata of printer machines to perform mid-to-low end quality prints, fulfilling consumer service provision for entry level needs. There is a retail format service provider in the countries most populous city, Quenzon City. These services are spread amidgst various provinces in the country, with a number offering scanning for action figures, models and some accessories. 

At 3D Hubs, currently the largest global network of three dimensional printers, there are currently six 3D printers listed in the capital city of the Philippines, Manila - more than there are there are in my home city, the capital of Scotland, with it’s reputation of being an advanced premier city of commerce, here in the United Kingdom. This may be taken as a loose indicator of uptake of desktop 3D printers by those seeking to commercialise their acquisition: Although it is worth baring in mind that Manila has triple the population of Edinburgh. There are two 3D printers available to produce prints for those who are yet to own a printer in the Philippines at the seoncd largest network makexyz.

The increasingly vibrant Philippean three dimensional printing sector includes new 3D printing service providers such as WASP Designs & 3D Printing Services, based in Mandaluyong. For the retail format model of print service provision, the colourful 3D2GO, based in Quenzon City, harbour both Fused Deposition Modelling and Sterelithography printing services, with three dimensional scanning and post production services available for a three to five day production turnaround. The Philippeans boasts a local RepRap community, and the production of the first 3D printer designed and manufactured in the country, the Puzzlebox 3D Printer.


A new company seeking to specialise in the local market for 3DP service provision are 3DFIED. The team at 3DFIED state that their business is a product development enterprise utilising three dimensional printing as a tool to produce our customer's ideas. 3DFIED was initiated last August 2013, founded by a team of four engineers with combined experience in product development, mechanical hardware design, and service engineering.

The team has an established familiarity with industrial level additive manufacturing. It was the new wave of available, accessible and affordable desktop three dimensional printers was the catalyst that empowered the team to actualise the opportunity to share their combined capabilities with their community: With a notable niche onus upon sharing their knowledge, skills and experience with design and engineering students. Intrigued I asked the co-founder of 3DFIED, Jonathan Damalerio, some questions about the business.

What is the 3D printing scene like in the Philippines?

3DFIED on the other hand is positioned as a product development arm for design and engineering students. We want to empower creativity and educate people about 3D printing technology and its value.

What are the range of services that you provide?

We do accept creative stuffs like simple personalised named tags, etc, but our focus is Hardware product development: conceptualisation, design, prototyping. Computer Aided Design for those who don't have the capability, design consultation, design for 3D printability, and basic 3D printing.

Currently we are reaching out to schools in the province we are in, making them aware of our presence and what we can offer to students and educators. We have a modest space that we coined as creative lab wherein they can make use to create academic projects as well us learn about 3D printing.

Looking forward we want to be able to drive a maker community and lead efforts on empowering Filipinos to be innovative.

What methods to you use to emphasise benefits for students?

For now we reach out to students using poster campaigns as well as rely on word of mouth marketing. We have helped some students so far with academic projects and we add that to our portfolio to communicate better to our next clients. Our value proposition to them is our personal support, convenience, and being approachable.


Do your team teach the students?

Yes we do, but indirectly. We educate them through the discussion and communications we have with them in doing their projects. Though they are students we treat them as professional clients so they can experience product development process and really appreciate their work.

What 3D design programs do you use as part of your service?

Most of the time the students have their own Computer Aided Design files, but for minor edits or designs we just use Sketchup.

Which model(s) of 3D printer do you own?

We initially have a Makerbot Replicator 2.

Which 3D printers would you like to own?

We are looking forward to having a 3D Systems Cube Pro and hopefully a FormLabs Form 1, Stratasys Mojo and even a Connex one day as the business grows and when we can justify the price of supplies are affordable for our target market. By then we will be tapping other market segments and perhaps reach industrial applications.

What is the pricing structure of your services?

Our pricing is a total of Php 16/gram of consumed material (including supports) and Php 6/min of machine time. Professional fees are added case to case.

There appears to be a nacent flourish of 3D printing accuring in the Philippines right now, with new businesses appearing across the country, taking in a range of business models, targeting a range of audiences. Some of them have established a youthful but professional commercial presence. Others are at the start-up stage researching the potential by taking advantage of the relatively unique nature of the entrepeneur utilising a cheap strata desktop manufacturing machine, confined by certain quality constraints, but with a little imagination niche market areas can be accessed for low overheads.

Other Philippine based companies that provide various kinds of services orientated around 3D printing include: 3D Prints Worldwide, Zhaidazz 3D Printer, 3D Print House, Palawan Island Enterprise 3D Printing Service, alongside a number of others that can be foudn in local bsuiness directories such as here.

Where will the prosumer service provision market be in this beautiful tropical nation in five years time? Will there be a continued growth in demand as the wider public becomes increasingly aware of the capacities of prosumer 3D printing? Where will those capacities be in themselves, as the technical aptitude of cheap-to-mid-range printers continues to rise and the cost of the machines continues to drop? 3DFIED certainly have their ambitions set upon accessing ever more professional and industrial grade printers to provide and ever more effective quality of product.



BMW 3D Printing Innovation On The Road & In The Factory


It is safe to say that the BMW Group (BMW:GR) was one of the earliest commercial adopters of 3D printing — it has applied the technology for rapid prototyping since 1989. Using a range of additive manufacturing methods the Rapid Technologies Center produces nearly 100,000 components a year at the BMW Group’s Research and Innovation Center in Munich, ranging from vehicle components for functional tests to plastics holders to design patterns. Now, BMW is applying its expertise in additive manufacturing to making precise ergonomic aids.
bmw 3d printing
The BMW Group uses a variety of additive technologies including selective laser sintering, stereolithography, fused deposition modelling and polyjet printing. In an inspiring example of 3D printing for an ergonomic edge, in 2012 BMW produced highly customised wheelchair seats for the Paralympic British basketball team. Compared with its conventionally manufactured counterparts these 3D printed seats were considerably lighter and created a highly personalised fit for the athletes. Both these facets gave the competitors a technological advantage to bring out the very best of their highly disciplined and practiced skills.

Recently, an innovative new 3D printed ergonomic tool has been introduced at BMW, a flexible finger cot, which protects workers against excess strains upon thumb joints during assembly activities. Every one of these flexible assembly aids is totally unique, made in-house, customised to the specific form and size of every worker’s hand.

To prevent unnecessary over-stretching and over-straining of a worker’s thumb joint, these cots —made of thermoplastic polyurethane — are worn on the thumb akin to a second skin. The joint aid is open to allow unrestricted movement of the thumb, at the back of the thumb the plastic material is reinforced. If the thumb is stretchedthe reinforced elements collide to form a splint. Thus the exerted effort is spread across the entire thumb. Currently BMW is evaluating how the assembly aids can be applied to become tools in a number of other production areas.

As each cot is made especially for its particular user, each worker’s thumb is measured with a 3D scanner. The design schematic for the cot is then computed and processed, which includes dividing the design into individual layers that are about as thick as a human hair. The tool is then 3D printed using selective laser sintering.

Thermoplastic polyurethane is elastic but rigid at higher material strengths, it is high in mechanical tensile strength which enables the material to resist strong strains without tearing. BMW has been involved in research projects that have recently resulted in the market maturity of the material following several years of development.

This simple ergonomic tool is but one of myriad ways that the BMW Group is applying additive manufacturing technologies in their production processes. The company’s Rapid Technologies Center can produce completely new components within just a few days. The 3D printed components are applied in vehicle development and testing, individual provisions in production and even in sections designed to endure high levels of strain in BMW ‘s German Touring Car Masters vehicles. The BMW Group states that it finds additive manufacturing technologies a particular economic advantage in low volume production procedures where the requirement for forming tools is eliminated.


3D Printed Custom Splints To Ease The Pain Of Arthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling auto-immune disease. It is a painful condition, can cause severe disability and ultimately impair a person’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. Symptoms include joint swelling and stiffness that often leave the sufferer feeling generally unwell. Now, a new type of 3D printed splint has been designed that will be able to provide far greater support for suffers of this debilitating disease by empowering clinicians with no experience in computer-aided design to provide custom-made wrist splints.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the synovium. The result is comparable to the inflammation of an infected cut or wound — redness, swelling, the production of extra fluid and pain. The redness is caused by an increase in blood flow, which may make the inflamed joint may feel warmer than usual. The inflammation is caused by a build-up of fluid and cells in the synovium. The joint hurts for two reasons: Nerve endings are irritated by the chemicals the inflammation produces, or the capsule is stretched by the joint’s swelling.

Estimates suggest that the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis varies between 0.3% and 1% [1] and is more common in women and in developed countries. In most countries it is not possible [2] to estimate the prevalence of rheumatic diseases from national health information systems. Exceptions include Finland and Sweden, which have registers of those entitled to reimbursable medication that can be linked to registers of death and malignancy. Another notable exception is the United Kingdom, where primary care physicians record the reason for every consultation. In the UK alone there are some 690,000 [3] adults living with the condition. Within 10 years of onset, at least 50% of patients in developed countries are unable to hold down a full-time job. The disease is economically costly with total UK costs at £3.8 – £4.75 billion per year. Britain also has around 12,000 children under the age of 16 with the juvenile form of the disease.

It is in the UK that a university lecturer has developed a computer software concept that will enable clinicians with no experience of CAD to design and make custom-made 3D printed wrist splints for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Dr. Abby Paterson, from the Design School of Loughborough University has designed the software for the customised production of 3D printed splints, which hold the potential to be much more comfortable, also more attractive, and potentially with lower costs than existing solutions.

Dr. Paterson explains: “I wanted to give clinicians the ability to make splints they have not been able to make before. They can improve the aesthetics, the fit, and integrate extra bits of functionality they couldn’t do before as a result of our additive manufacturing facilities here at Loughborough University. Thanks to our Objet Connex machine, we can integrate multiple materials in a single splint such as rubber-like integral hinges or cushioning features but, more importantly, the specialised software prototype we’ve developed will enable clinicians to design these splints for their patients.”



The splints are the outcome of research incepted by Dr. Paterson during her PhD at Loughbourough University between 2009 and 2012 when she was supervised by Dr. Ian Campbell and Dr. Richard Bibb who posited the concept for bespoke wrist splints in the late 1990’s. Dr Bibb, Reader in Medical Applications of Design at the Loughborough University Design School, said: “We are in the development phase. The research has proved that this is desirable and the clinicians want it. We know there’s lots of potential.”

The innovative splints are made by scanning a patient’s arm in the appropriate position for an extrapolation of the precise dimensions that will provide the most comfortable fit for the individual. The digital file can then be 3D printed, producing as many splints as are needed, effectively resulting in fully wearable end use iterations of the splint design. Given the multi-colour, multi-material capacity of the Stratasys Objet Connex 3D printers that are being used by the team, the splints feature multiple materials to maximise comfort and fit. The splints utilise the aptitude of additive manufacturing techniques to produce precise complex geometries to form a lattice design that aids ventilation for the patient’s arm, and can be used with any type of fastening that the patient requires for ease of use.

Doctors Bibb and Paterson are currently now performing a thorough cost analysis of service provision for the custom splints, with estimates that the 3D printed splints should be more cost-efficient than equivalents produced by traditional means of manufacturing. The doctors project that with financial backing they could perfect the software to begin empowering clinicians to customise these splints within just eighteen months.

[1] Chronic rheumatic conditions – World Health Organisation

[2] The global burden of rheumatoid arthritis in the year 2000 – Deborah Symmons Colin Mathers, Bruce Pfleger

[3] What Is RA? – Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive, National RA Society

Image Credits: Top – Arthritis Research UK; Bottom – Loughborough University

BMW 3D Printing On The Road & In The Factory



The BMW Group (BMW:GR) has applied three dimensional printing for rapid prototyping since 1989. Using a range of additive manufacturing methods the company's Rapid Technologies Center produces nearly 100,000 components a year at the BMW Group’s Research and Innovation Center, Munich, ranging from vehicle components for functional tests to plastics holders to design patterns.

The BMW Group operates 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries. In 2013, the BMW Group sold approximately 1.963 million cars and 115,215 motorcycles worldwide. BMW uses a variety of additive technologies including selective laser sintering, stereolithography, fused deposition modelling and polyjet printing.

In an inspiring example of 3D printing for an ergonomic edge, in 2012 BMW produced highly customised wheelchair seats for the Paralympic British basketball team. Compared to their conventionally manufactured counterparts these 3D printed seats were considerably lighter and a created a highly personalised ideal fit for the athletes. Both these facets gave the competitors a technological advantage to bring out the very best of their highly disciplined and practised skills.

Recently, an innovative new 3D printed ergonomic tool has been introduced at BMW, a flexible finger cot which protects workers against excess strains upon thumb joints during assembly activities. Every one of these flexible assembly aids is totally unique, made in-house, customised to the specific form and size of every worker’s hand.

To prevent unnecessary over-stretching and over-straining of a worker’s thumb joint, these cots made of thermoplastic polyurethane are worn on the thumb akin to a second skin. At the joints aid is open to allow unrestricted movement of the thumb, at the back of the thumb the plastic material is reinforced. If the thumb is stretched the reinforced elements collide to form a splint. Thus the exerted effort is spread across the entire thumb.


As each cot is made especially for its particular user, each worker’s thumb is measured with a three dimensional scanner. The design schematic for the cot is then computed and processed, which includes dividing the design into individual layers around as thick as a human hair. The tool is then aditively manufactured (‘3D printed’) using selective laser sintering: Based upon each individual data layer plastic powder is selectively fused by laser in a pre-heated chamber.

Thermoplastic polyurethane is elastic but rigid at higher material strengths, it is high in mechanical tensile strength which enables the material to resist strong strains without tearing. BMW have been involved in research projects that have recently resulted in the market maturity of the material following several years of development.
Currently BMW are evaluating how the assembly aids can be applied to become tools in a number of other production areas.

This simple ergonomic tool is but one of myriad ways that the BMW Group are applying additive manufacuring technologies in their production processes. The company’s Rapid Technologies Center can produce completely new components within just a few days. The 3D printed components are applied in vehicle development and testing, individual provisions in production and even in sections designed to endure high levels of strain in BMW ‘s German Touring Car Masters vehicles.


The BMW Group state that they find additive manufacturing technologies a particular economic advantage in low volume production procedures where the requirement for forming tools is eliminated.

Your Design, 3D Printed In Space



NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation (ASME) have partnered for an out of this world series of three dimensional design challenges for students in the United States. The winner will receive an unprecedented prize: To have their design 3D printed in space, using the Made In Space 3D printer when it reaches the the International Space Station (ISS) later this year. The winning entry will be one of the first parts in history to be manufactured in orbit. Your design, 3D printed in space.


NASA and the ASME Foundation are excited to see how U.S. students will solve genuine space exploration challenges. Announced by President Obama at theWhite House Maker Faire last week, this is another initiative to result from the emphasis on US maker activities. The new program aims to inspire a whole new generation of space enthusiasts. Never before have young student designers had such an inspirational opportunity to see their work manufactured beyond the Earth itself.

The Future Engineers program will provide the opportunity for middle and high school students to design items to be three dimensionally printed on theInternational Space Station, using the amazing Made In Space zero gravity 3D printer.

Jason Dunn, CTO for Made In Space enthused: “Imagine having your experiment installed and operated on the space station without ever needing to launch a single item. Or even having your very own satellite launched into space without ever touching the hardware. This isn’t science fiction, this is actually happening, and you can be a part of it.”
The Made In Space 3D printer has been tested during four microgravity flights lasting two hours each, simulating conditions found on the ISS. The printer will join the International Space Station in August this year, now scheduled for SpaceX‘s CRS-4 mission.

Mr. Dunn explained: “Our first 3D printer will be capable of building an estimated 30% of the parts that NASA has already needed to repair on the ISS. Astronauts will use it to build everything from new tools and hardware to emergency fixes that previously cost millions of dollars to build on the ground and launch to space.”

The winning student will not only have their design 3D printed in space, but will also have the opportunity to experience the excitement of watching it print from NASA’s Payload Operations Center alongside the mission control team. You can sign up for the program via the Future Engineers website, which will have everything students need to get inspired and educated about three dimensional design.

Source

3D Printing at The 2014 Google I/O Conference

When Google’s Head Of Engineering says that soon we will be able to 3D print clothing at home, people tend to listen. When that person also happens to be one of the world’s most renown futurists — Ray Kurzweil — who has an amazing talent for predicting where technology is heading, the impact of such a statement is even deeper. At this year’s Google I/O Conference Mr. Kurzweil has said just that. So, with this in mind, where is 3D printing fashion now, and what else has this key figure in technological development been saying about 3D printing?
Ray Kurzweil, if new to the reader, invented the first large-vocabulary speech recognition, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first CCD flatbed scanner, text-to-speech synthesizer, print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, and many more inventions that forge a dazzling array of patentsInc. magazine named him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” Mr. Kurzweil has also been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes.

If you are new to Mr. Kurzweil’s work, and in particular his predictions of the near future, the following interview with DingXtra may give you a neat surmise of his depth and breadth of insight. The near future world illustrated by Mr. Kurzweil may, to some, seem like audacious fantasy, to others a finely crafted realism, but whatever your opinion of his visions, the accuracy of many of his previous predictions make the pre-emptive paintings of this futurist’s mind worthy of great note.
At Google I/O 2014, which took place June 25-26 at Moscone West in San Francisco, Mr. Kurzweil made a presentation on ‘Biologically Inspired Models Of Intelligence,’ which included a number of very interesting references to 3D printing. Like many others, the futurist calculates that additive manufacturing technologies are currently in their hype phase, and that it will be around five years before the tech set is where it needs to be to enable a major paradigm shift. Kurzweil states that he does believe that this will happen. By the 2020’s he iterates that he foresees downloadable 3D printable fashion designs being commonplace. He cites open source as a means unto this end.
Back to the present, 3D printed fashion now certainly exists as a minor field of application of industrial additive manufacturing technologies and desktop 3D printing. Clothing digital fabricators are already available, albeit highly nascent. The OpenKnit machine costs about $700 to build. There is also an online file repository for open source digital fashion patterns already, named do KNIT yourself, again it is in its very earliest stages. Moreover, there are specific websites dedicated to 3D printed fashion, such as Additive Fashion.

Many organisations are designing and selling 3D printing jewellery. Retailers such as New Balance are 3D printing shoes. Designers such as Ron Arad are 3D printing sunglassesContinuum was among the first to create 3D printed garments with their bikini line. Iris van Herpen has produced numerous critically acclaimed 3D printed couture collections. Fashion designer Michael Schmidt collaborated with architect Francis Bitonti to make a scintillating dress for fashion model Dita Von Teese. British designer Catherine Wales is know for her Project DNA collection of 3D printed masks, apparel and accessories. Even the ever bold and brazen Lady Gaga has been seen walking a red carpet in Studio XO’s 3D printed Parametric Sculpture Dress.

Right at the very top of the upper echelons of global production, Nike is experimenting with 3D printed sportswear, including the first footwear with integral 3D printed elements in their Vapor Laser Talon football boots, and theRebento Duffle Bag, which takes advantage of the unique qualities of 3D printed personalised production by featuring custom gold hardware with the names of the world famous soccer players that carried them at the FIFA 2014 World Cup. There has even been a partially 3D printed dress designed to create music with Tesla coils in a dazzling display of science, technology, entertainment and fashion, created by Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht for the band ArcAttack.
Mr. Kurzweil predicts that open source development will be important for near future printed fashion. With large companies such as Google already using various models of open source development, the RepRap open source hardware project kickstarting a new era of desktop 3D printing, alongside some recent large corporate additions to the list of users of open source hardware such as Autodesk with the annoucement of their Spark 3D Printer and platform, and the Tesla Motors open patent announcement that surprised many; Kurweil’s prediction of the use of open source in home 3D printed fashion is futuristic, but not unprecedented. As to whether it is any kind of certitude is far beyond my ability to comment.
There is a significant leap of imagination, innovation, infrastructure and implication between the modes of mass production that currently encompass the design, production and distribution of clothing, and that of a world where logistics are turned on their head by the use of the personal factory of near future desktop 3D printing devices and their analogous counterparts. Kurzweil touches upon far reaching estimations of the progress of additive manufacturing in his presentation, which pushes the limits of human thought regarding the potential application of the technologies with his usual genius. Those predictions do not even seer the farthest reaches of predictions of progress for additive manufacturing by Kurzweil, which have touched upon the molecular assemblers of the future. A future that Kurzweil predicts will occur this century.

You can catch the full presentation by Ray Kurzweil at this years Google I/O below. A few pertinant related websites include: KurzweilAI – the futurists own site, and Singularity University – the cutting-edge educational institution co-founded by Mr. Kurzweil, and a handy list of all of Google’s new announcements at their 2014 conference, here.

New Zmorph Multifunctional 3D Printer As Company Floats

Sometimes you don’t need to have used a three dimensional printer to know that you love it. One such printer for myself is the Zmorph 2.0. Why? Because it has seven interchangable toolheads that mean it is able to print with a range of plastics, ceramics, chocolate and cake, as well as offering subtractive and formative fabrication with a milling and engraving toolhead. Five more toolheads are in development. And there’s plenty more happening with the Zmorph team too…
The team behind Zmorph3D, a company originating from Wroclaw, Poland, believe that they are on to something quite special. Special enough to recently make a public offering. Rare indeed for such a small 3D printer manufacturer. As to whether their printer products are special, they may well be right. As to how well the company itself is performing, that’s a wider question. But for now let’s just say that Zmorph3D produce 3D printers that are rare in scope of applications, and are also beginning to perform commerically. Currently the Zmorph team is developing even more functionality for their desktop device via a pick & place toolhead, laser and 5-axis universal toolhead.

Prsemysław Jaworski, CEO of Zmorph3D commented:
 “These various toolheads are our main advantage over the competition, they replace the standard 3D printer with our machine, a multi-function personal fabricator, a mini-factory that can work in a workshop, office or home. We focus primarily on allowing production in a number of different technologies and materials, which makes Zmorphthe most versatile 3D printer in the world.
It’s not just about functionality either. Given the direction that leaders such as Stratasys / MakerBot, 3D Systems, Ultimaker, Solidoodle and similar have taken in the desktop 3D printer market, setting their eyes upon black, grey or white streamlined cubes with increasing uniformity, the Zmorph 2.0 takes a utility based aesthetic and yet hones it down to something that genuinely looks appealling. It’s like a beautous RepRap Mendal Prusa, with a feel that is somewhere on the range between industrial and designer.
zmorph 3d printer
Zmorph3D has recently been met with success while touring exhibitions with their product range, such as the CeBIT 2014 in Hanover, and the 3D Printer Experience in Haarlem, Netherlands. The company says that their printer has been met with much interest at these events, which has encouraged the company to float its business publicly. Piotr Wąsowskiof Arkley ASF Seed Fund who is a  shareholder of the company has mentioned his anticipation thatZmorph3D will debut their offering later this year.
In September Zmorph3D will be opening their own showroom to view and order the companies products.Dick Potharst, co-founder of Multi 3DPrint and exclusive representative of Zmorph in Holland said: I am very pleased thatZmorph decided to open its concept store just in Haarlem, 3D printing’s time is yet to come… The dynamic development of the technology makes the running of such a place a necessity for us all, we chose a prestigious location with high traffic and good exposure.
Natalia Ssymacha, general customer relationship manager at Zmorph3D added:For us it is a huge success and the beginning of the construction of the brand on the Dutch market, where we are becoming more and more recognisable. During this half of the year, we want to sell at least a few hundred of our machines… Most of the positive comments were awarded to Zmorph for the possibility of exchanging toolheads and the ability to print ceramic and cake as well as great design of the machine. It is this uniqueness …  that attracted many potential customers..”
Let’s take at look at the specifications of the new second generation printer:
  • Build envelope: 250 x 235 x 165 mm
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
  • Maximum speed: 500 mm/s
  • Recommended speed printing with ABS for layer thickness 0.3 mm: 60-150 mm/s
  • Minimum height of layers: 0.05 – 0.025 mm (PLA), 0.1 mm (ABS),
  • Total Unit Dimensions: 530 x 555 x 480 mm,
  • Total Unit Weight: 25kg
  • Extruders: 1.75 mm plastic; 3 mm plastic; Cake and chocolate extruder;
  • Ceramics extruder; Dremel mount forCNC milling; Laser cutter; Photo camera controller
  • Construction: Frame – Aluminum; other – Polycarbonate and ABS
  • Heated table design: 5 mm tempered glass;Kapton heating mat 175w
  • Electronics: Sunbeam 2.0 with lpc1769 arm processorwith five driver stepper motors.
  • Navigation: LCD display panel
  • Firmware: Voxelizer, Smoothieware
The Zmorph 2.0 currently retails at $2,469.80 / 1794,14€ / 15256¥. You can find out more about 3D printers from Zmorph3D here.

Airwolf3D’s New Dual Hot End Printer

Airwolf 3D, a privately-held company which designs, makes and distributes three dimensional printers, has designed a device to streamline dual head 3D printing. The result is the unveiling of the AW3D HD2x dual hot end 3D printer. Airwolf promises a plug-and-play ideal for what the company calls “our most significant product ever,” which can print in over twenty different materials, eliminate slippage and other technical 3D printing problems.
The dual hot ends of this new device from Airfwolf means that the machine can print in two compatible materials simultaneously. The dual hot ends also mean that it can print two colours simultaneously. Unlike other dual hot end 3D printers, the two hot ends of the new AW3D HD2x are manufactured as a single piece. Airwolf 3D iterate that this eliminates x and y axis alignment problems via the elimination of slippage.The machine’s spatial calibration is fixed in the firmware rather than in the user interface.
The company says that the HD2x’s advanced dual JRx (Jam Resistant) hot ends are able to literally run all day at temperatures up to 315 Celsius (599 Fahrenheit). This 3D printer can produce in a range of professional grade materials such as polycarbonate, nylon such as Nylon 645, alongside the usual range of materials  — ABS, PLA, and PET. The new HD2x uses nylon gears, which are aimed to reduce wear and tear. The desktop device also features a finer pitch lead screw for increased z positioning accuracy. The 3D printer is fully autonomous, no link-up to a computer is required.
new airwolf 3d printer
Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of this high grade desktop 3D printer:
  • Build envelope W x D x H: 280 mm x 200 mm x 300 mm (11″ x 8″ x 12″)
  • Nozzle diameter: .5 to .35 mm
  • Minimum Layer thickness: .06 mm
  • Positioning precision: .02 mm
  • Maximum Speed: Perimeter 150 mm/s, Travel 400 mm/s
  • Input format: GCode
  • Software: MatterControl, Marlin Firmware, compatible with Repetier Host & Slic3r GCode
  • Total Unit Size WxDxH: 24″ x 18″ x 18″ (600 mm x 440 mm x 450 mm)
  • Total Unit Weight: 18 kg

Erick Wolf, co-founder and chairman of Airwolf 3D said: Our new dual hot end AW3D HD2x is the latest example of our commitment and our most significant product everWe’ve engineered it to be a simple-to-use, hassle-free 3D printer that combines the versatility of two hot ends with the desirability of printing over 20 different materials including polycarbonate and nylon. Basically, we’ve built a $10,000 desktop printer for a fraction of the cost.”
All orders come with a 2 hour training session at their facility in California,a spool of ABS filament, a flash drive loaded with the printer’s software and a set of Allen wrenches. The Airwolf 3D HDx is sold fully assembled and calibrated and is available now for USD$3,995 / € 2919 / CNY¥24786.