Additive Manufacturing Outlook for the New Year

What 3D printing process is best for your industry? Whether you are designing a huge tooling mold or need to do a run of hundreds of fingernail sized parts, we can print it. It’s a new year and our team and 3D Composites wanted to share with you our thoughts on which of our additive manufacturing processes we can provide for you in 2023.

FDM is still on top for Aerospace
The 3D printing market is growing at an amazing rate, with new technologies and processes continually expanding what can be done for manufacturing. However, it takes time for these processes and materials to meet the test requirements that are necessary for aerospace industry certifications. The FDM printing process has maintained its position because of the high-grade thermoplastic materials options that can meet the requirements of common aerospace standards such as flammability, strength, and durability.

FDM is also a great source for concept modelling and tooling. If you know your project will be printed in FDM you can work from a highly accurate prototype for relatively low costs. Heat resistant materials like Ultem 1010 can withstand thermoforming and autoclaving, making low cost tooling for short production runs accessible to smaller development teams. FDM manufactured parts can also span a greater surface area than other additive manufacturing process because it can keep complex geometries on a small scale while also being able to withstand bonding of oversized builds. Last year 3DC printed over 20,000 FDM aerospace parts for our customers and 2023 will see even more.

High-volume Production & Prototyping with SAF
For us, end use parts don’t stop at aerospace, however. This year our reach has expanded to providing higher volume production runs that will benefit any industry. The selective absorption fusion (SAF) process allows for small part production at a higher rate than previously available to us, yielding repeat parts quickly while still leaving room for customized prototypes. The surface finish of SAF parts can be more aesthetically pleasing than FDM parts, and while Ultem 9085 is still the leader for fly-away parts and Ultem 1010 for high-tempurature tooling, SAF PA12’s mechanical properties give it the rigidity and thermal control for repeatable output. We have found that customers who print items such as medical accessories and industrial caps and fittings have made the switch to SAF because they can get consistent quality at a reduced rate.

We can help you begin
Even as the technology continues to develop, the future of 3D printing and additive manufacturing still offers comparatively sustainable practices and lower costs. Efficient processes and customized solutions can give you the most out of your design. Contact us for more information on what 3D printing processes would be best for your project.

3D Printing Dubai’s Museum of the Future

Large scale 3D printing has proven itself capable of amazing things. One big leader in this field, a Chinese company known as WinSun Global, has already shown off its oversized 3D prowess by creating a five storey villa. This year, they plan to build on their success by printing out an office in Dubai, appropriately for the Museum of the Future.

To create this office, WinSun Global will be making use of a twenty-foot-tall printer. In much the same way an office 3D printer works, this printer sprays an “ink” of concrete, glass fiber, gypsum, and fiber-reinforced plastic materials. Each layer can be as thin as 0.6 cm, allowing for the creation of complex, multi-layer walls that could only be efficiently manufactured with the help of 3D printing. Upon completion, the office will measure to about 2,000 square feet and feature fully printed interior detailing and even 3D printed furniture.

Indeed, there could hardly be a more appropriate way to manufacture for the Museum of the Future than with sophisticated 3D printing technology! To learn more about how you can make use of such technology to make your own future a bit brighter, consult our Seattle 3D printing company.

3D Printing Goes to the Big Game

The Super Bowl is approaching, which means that fans all over the country are looking forward to hard-hitting athleticism, rowdy parties, and delightfully overblown commercials. For fans of 3D printing, there is something extra to look forward to, in that this exciting new technology will be playing an important role in this year’s game.

3D printing is being utilized by Panthers’ linebacker Thomas Davis. Davis suffered a broken arm earlier this season, and his bone is currently being held together with a metal plate and a set of twelve screws. To give himself some extra support, he started wearing a custom-made, 3D printed brace. Of the four brace options made available to the linebacker, it was this 3D printed version that proved to be the toughest. In practice, the coach reports that Davis has been performing “very nicely”, and it’s looking good for him to make it to the game on Sunday.

If you’d like to learn more about how 3D printing can make your own life better, talk to our 3D printing company in Seattle.

3D Printing Saves the Life of a Five-Year-Old Girl

Five-year-old Mia Gonzalez was born with a congenital heart defect known as a double aortic arch. This caused a vascular ring to restrict her trachea, causing her breathing to become labored. Many doctors misdiagnosed her as asthmatic, until a cardiac MRI team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital discovered that she required a surgical procedure.

Mia’s condition was quite unusual, described by Dr. Redmond Burke as “one of the rarest versions of a rare problem”. It is therefore common for mistakes to be made in the relevant surgery, possibly resulting in the death of the patient. Fortunately for Mia, Burke was employing the lifesaving power of 3D printing in her procedure. By employing a 3D model of the girl’s heart, he was able to know exactly what to expect when he opened up her chest. This allowed for a far smaller incision than would otherwise have been necessary. The surgery was completed without a hitch, and Burke is attributing its success largely to the use of modern 3D scanning and printing technology.

Chinese Company Prints Chocolate Sculptures

Many groups have already experimented with using chocolate as a material for 3D printing, often with delicious results. Now, a Chinese company is making superior chocolate printing available for the at-home printing hobbyist.

This company, known as Becoda, recently presented a commercially available 3D chocolate printer. They are calling their printer Qiao, a Chinese word for chocolate. Unlike most similar chocolate printers currently available, which are limited to 2D plotting, the Qiao produces fully three-dimensional sculptures. The sophisticated enclosed aluminum body serves to regulate the temperature to an ideal level, allowing it to melt and solidify with greater reliability.

The Qiao prints with a resolution of 600 microns, and offers a build volume of 170 x 130 x 150 mm. It is primarily aimed at professional 3D printers and restaurateurs or pastry chefs who want to add an extra bit of pizazz to their confections.

Indeed, there are many materials out there to help you achieve your 3D printing dreams. Consult our Seattle 3D printing company to learn more about the available options.