Project Archinaut – 3D printing heads for the stars

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NASA has been interested in 3D printing for a while; it has obvious potential for replacing parts during long space missions. Now they’re working on a more ambitious plan, though. A $20 million contract was awarded late last year to Made In Space, who are now developing a 3D printer that can be launched into orbit and could help to assemble future satellites and space stations. The official title of the contract is the “Versatile [Read More]

MIT breakthrough brings 3D-printed robots closer

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One limitation of 3D printers is that while they can make components there are restrictions on their ability to create complete, ready to go systems. The idea of a printer that could create robots without human intervention is still in the realms of science fiction. It’s just moved a little bit closer to reality though, because researchers at MIT have made a major step forward in printing diverse materials. Their latest innovation is able to [Read More]

Graphene and 3D printing

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We’ve looked at quite a few different print materials here – various plastics, metals and even food – but one of the most exciting developments in 3D printing could be the ability to print graphene. This is a new material, one which was first made in 2004. Scientists had been sure in could exist before that but they hadn’t managed to actually create any, but already it’s been successfully printed. Graphene is a very interesting [Read More]

Pizza printing – Food that’s out of this world?

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Is there anything that can’t be produced with a 3D printer? Well yes, of course there are – lots of them. But while the list of things you can’t print is long, it seems to be getting shorter every day. Tech pioneers are constantly developing new printers that can print new things, and now there’s a Kickstarter funding drive under way for one that can print pizzas. Printable food isn’t exactly a new idea. There [Read More]

3D printing issues – wall thickness

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3D printing is a rapid way to turn digital designs into physical objects, but the process is so simple that it’s easy to forget some vital details. One of these is that while you can design almost anything you want on a screen, the printed end product has to obey the laws of physics. Too many projects fail because the printer, or more often the print material, can’t meet the expectations of the software. Often [Read More]

The Peachy Printer

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The last couple of years have seen the price of 3D printers fall rapidly, but to a lot of people it still seems like an expensive item. After all when a basic laser printer costs less than £40 even £250 for an entry-level 3D model looks like a lot. Prices keep falling though, and a 3D printer that costs $100 (about £70) should be hitting the US market soon. Thanks to the mysterious way American [Read More]

Can you 3D print a parrot?

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Although 3D printing hasn’t been around for all that long it’s already being used for some pretty surprising things. From replica cars to blow up in a Bond film, to parts for prosthetic hands, the technology has provided innovative new answers to tricky questions. And there aren’t many questions trickier than what to do with a beakless parrot. Macaws are long-tailed parrots with distinctive large beaks. They’re popular as pets but now endangered in the [Read More]

ThingMaker – Mattel’s new family 3D printer

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If you think 3D printing is just for engineers and hobbyists, you’re wrong. Toy company Mattel have just announced that they’re relaunching an old favourite with additive manufacturing technology, and the new version is due to hit the shops in the next few months. Mattel introduced ThingMaker in 1964. It was basically a home moulding kit; each set came with a selection of metal moulds, mostly for revolting-looking insects. Children could fill the moulds with [Read More]

Printing a new hand

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It’s remarkable enough that some 3D printers can print replacement parts for themselves. What’s even more impressive is that they can print replacement parts for people, too. The most amazing thing of all is that almost anyone with a 3D printer can get involved. Medical researchers are testing machines that can print surgical implants, but in the meantime a multinational network of enthusiasts has started creating prosthetic hands that have already transformed dozens of lives. [Read More]

Inside 3D Printing 2016

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3D printing has now grown big enough to have its own trade shows, and the next one will be held in Düsseldorf later this month. Running at the Congress Center Düsseldorf Ost from 24-25 February, Inside 3D Printing 2016 will be one of the largest exhibitions yet. So far nearly 40,000 visitors have registered and there’s a busy programme of presentations and workshops lined up, as well as displays of all the latest developments in [Read More]

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