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The 3D Three: Frankenmouse, Race Cars, & Nanotech Ink

A rapid round-up of all the news that's fit to 3D print. This month's topics include a testing 3D printed organs in lab mice, car companies' race to embrace additive manufacturing, and an experienced 3D-printing team is thinking small to grow bigger.
A rapid round-up of all the news that's fit to 3D print. This month's topics include a testing 3D printed organs in lab mice, car companies' race to embrace additive manufacturing, and an experienced 3D-printing team is thinking small to grow bigger.

On the third Monday of every month, we are going to quickly recap three vastly different news stories from the 3D printing industry. We hope to show you this technology has the ability to alter not only how things are made, but how we live. At the very least, we’ll give you something to talk about at the dinner table or your next party.

 

 

Of Mice and Men

This month Russia-based 3D Bioprinting Solutions says it successfully implanted a 3D-printed thyroid in live mice, and aims for human trials next.

Thyroid disorders affect 20 million Americans, according to the American Thyroid Association, with instances of cancer on the rise. A conventional thyroid transplant would leave a patient open to rejection or infection, but this type of transplant uses “organ construct” built form the patient’s own stem cells mixed with a fibrin gell.

According to 3Dprint.com, the company’s chief science officer, Vladimir Mironov, says other organs such as kidneys could come as soon as 2018.

 

Need for Speed

By 3D-printing all the metallic parts of a replica 1:2–scale Auto Union Type C Grand Prix racer, aka the “Silver Arrow,” Audi hopes to prove their sights are firmly set on additive manufacturing.

The process implements selective laser sintering (SLS) to melt the metallic powder used to make the complex steel and aluminum shapes that are up to 240 mm long and 200 mm high. This process produces a denser component than die casting would.

Using a pint-sized Nazi-era racer to show Audi’s dedication to additive manufacturing is a bit underwhelming in the wake of other 3D printed car announcements.

In June, Divergent Microfactories unveiled the Blade, a sharp-looking machine which the San Francisco-based startup touts as the “the world’s first 3D printed supercar.”

The chassis comprise 3D-printed joints and carbon fiber nodes. This process results in less resources used, so it’s environmentally friendly. Unlike with many hybrids, this green machine has some getup. The 1,400-lb.speedster has a 700-hp engine and goes 0-60 mph in 2.5 sec, which is faster than a McLaren P1 supercar.

 

Small-Scale Manufacturing

When a company combines nanotechnology and additive manufacturing, it’s bound to shake up in the engineering world, and that’s what Israeli company XJet hopes to do. The company showed off its Nano Metal Jetting technology, which dispenses liquid metal from a cartridge like ink to form objects quickly and cost effectively, at the Go4Isreal conference to entice investors.

“We allow manufacturers to skip the mold stage, saving them huge amounts of time and money,” Xjet CBO Dror Denai said. “All the specifications are made in the software, and when it’s time to print, our nano-based metals are created according to those specifications.”

The big thing to note here is that much of the team, including CEO Hanan Gothait, comes from Objet, which developed an ink-based process for plastics.

Stainless steel will be the first to become available. Look for the cartridges and printer to be released next year.

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