With the development of technology, new gadgets appear every time that are incomprehensible to ordinary users. Despite their uniqueness and commercial interest, 3D printers are no exception.
They are still not actively used for industrial earnings, not to mention home. In this article, we will try to figure out how you can make 3d printing action figures at home and what is required for this. So, see below how to make 3d printing action figures..
Of the most famous printing technologies, there are 2 types of printers that are suitable for making figures:
Basic plastic fusing technology. The figure is obtained by layer-by-layer extrusion of plastic under the influence of high temperatures.
Quite slow, but the cheapest way. When making a figurine on an FDM printer, a long post-processing process awaits you.
The technology of stereolithographic sintering. Layers of figurines are formed due to instant sintering of a whole cut of a photopolymer with a thickness of tenths of an mm.
Fast and high-quality way. The figures are clearer. SLA devices have a lower percentage of defects and there is no such number of print defects.
However, the final cost of the figurine exceeds the cost of a similar product of an FDM printer by an order of magnitude.
If we consider the printer specifically for commercial purposes, then it is better to start with FDM. SLA-type devices can be purchased later when the printer can raise prices without much risk of losing income. Photopolymer printers are used to make figurines with high detail.
How To Make 3d Printing Action Figures?
For full-fledged printing of figurines, you will need to buy an appropriate printer, and consumables for it, and also master the basics of three-dimensional printing.
Here you need to take into account one more thing – the complexity of the models and post-processing. So, see below the steps for making 3d printed action figures.
The choice of a printer rests on one main criterion finances. If the printer has the money, then it is worth getting a model with a larger print area, a heated table, and a reliable and stable frame.
A good solution would be to buy a printer with a dual extruder. This will allow you to print models of several colors in one pass. Faster and more productive models can be bought when the user has a print queue for several weeks in advance.
If you simply have any desire to get to the 3D printing step as fast as could really be expected, then, at that point, you can basically download models from any of these locales.
For the people who are searching for proficient grade 3D models that were planned explicitly for activity figures, we do have not many proposals.
Toy Forge, CGTrader Thingiverse, and MyMiniFactory are great choices for downloading proficient quality 3D models.
To make full-fledged busts or profiles of people, you need to get a 3D scanner. For all other figures, there are enough ready-made solutions on the network. It is worth noting that this device can exceed the price of a 3D printer several times.
For scanning people, it is better to use hand-held mobile devices so that a virtual impression can be taken. For scanning, you will also need 3D scanning apps.
To make action figures in FDM printer, since most printers use these particular devices. When making figurines, you will need a simple plastic type:
ABS is a more reliable and durable material, but it has its drawbacks. It gives a lot of shrinkages when working. It will take several times to adjust and adjust the printer.
PLA is suitable for entry-level. So to speak, to fill your hand. In terms of price/quality ratio, it is still better to choose ABS and eventually switch to it.
Seldom would you see an activity figure with only a solitary tone? In the event that you’re holding back nothing look, you will unquestionably have to paint your completed prints.
This is particularly evident in the event that you’re attempting to make an activity figure displayed from a famous animation or computer game person.
For finishing up your model apply no less than two layers of the groundwork, permitting the past coat to dry before reapplication. The layer of dried preliminary can likewise be sanded to hold a smooth surface.
The use of 3D printing for home is increasingly becoming commonplace. Indeed, we can create many things that are familiar to us according to our own layout, giving them uniqueness or additional functions. So, see below the 21 best 3d printed toy ideas.
1. Dragon Lamp
Game of Thrones’ latest series might have split fans of the show on whether or not it was good, but there’s no denying that the dragons were awesome. Making the most of the love for mythical winged creatures, an Etsy seller set out to make stunning 3D printed dragon lamps, complete with burning hellfire.
2. Google Droid
When a Redditor’s wheel-attached brother needed to start a job at Google, they turned to the 3D printer to turn it into something awesome to act as their office pal. A lot of thought has gone into this little print as well.
This splendid vision of Godzilla was motivated by the model and adding a cool portion of furious water under his feet and a splendid framework that utilized vape innovation to blow smoke from his mouth.
We bet a cutting-edge Bruce Wayne would have a couple of 3D printers in his home. He would presumably additionally support his energized similarity being reproduced here. 3D printing devotee Fotis Mint has made this phenomenal model of the Dark Knight for individuals to print themselves.
5. Captain America’s Shield
For all the MCU spreads out there, this one will undoubtedly be a group pleaser.
The first directions are for a little variant of the safeguard, scaled to around 10 inches. But since it’s 3D printed, you can zoom in as well, and this picture shows a client doing precisely that and making a daily existence size safeguard.
6. Animated Characters
The most renowned vivified man and canine combo? Certainly one of the most engaging to beauty our TVs. Wallace and Gromit have filled us with satisfaction throughout the long term. Of course, you will also love anime 3D printed characters and it’s awesome to be print them as well.
The cutest Guardians of the Galaxy character is unquestionably obvious. On the off chance that you love Groot as well, you will undoubtedly endorse this 3D print. You might print Groot sitting, standing, and waving. Such countless decisions. We simply love that the lines from the 3D printing process assist with emphasizing the wooden folds of Groot’s skin.
8. Video Games Characters
In many PC games such as World of Warcraft, users spend a lot of time customizing their virtual characters. Accordingly, they will be more willing to pay for the printing of such a real figurine than to purchase a mass model.
Mechanical toys that are powered by the rotation of the handle have become very popular.
9. 3D Printed Legos
In many ways, a win-win option is to create your own pieces of art. Art is always something new, unique, something that no one has created, ideally a kind of challenge and demolition of patterns.
10. Toy Story Characters
If you are planning to create 3D plastic toys, look for a non-standard niche right away. One of these is mechanical toys powered by the rotation of the handle. It can be wing-flapping pterodactyls, spiders moving their legs, or marathon runners rearranging their legs.
11. 3D Dinosaur
The Flexi Rex baby has become a very popular 3D printable model. The author of the model is strongly requested to mention his name when commercially using the model and distributing files for download.
12. 3D Chess
3D printing techniques have the potential to transform traditional board games as well as to create many novelties. For example, even ordinary chess can now have a modular game board and be assembled like puzzles, and what a huge scope for creativity is left.
13. 3D Cars
A 3D printer can help children explore the world by printing plastic toys. The ease of making these toys at home can compete with the convenience of buying them in stores. In addition, the child himself will always be able to participate in the process of creating toys.
14. Masks and Muzzles
With the help of 3D printing, you can create carnival masks and masks of famous characters from movies, comics, and cartoons with many fans. It is also easy to find on the net the experiences of people in the production of reusable antiviral masks, which, however, are not medical products.
15. Copies Of Towers, Castles, and Lighthouses
Another niche for collecting is copies of famous architectural structures. These can be models of castles, towers, lighthouses, bridges, or arches. The product can be made up of small parts or modules and be a designer and this is another reason to buy.
16. Exact 3D Copies Of A Person
To print 3D copies of people, you need a high-precision scanner that scans the person’s appearance and creates a layout. Also today there are services that allow you to create figurines from photographs without the personal presence of a person.
17. Replica Pets
Another interesting niche is the 3D printing of replicas of pets. Many owners would certainly want to get a figurine of their favorite animal if they had such an opportunity. To do this, you need to send 7-8 photos of your pet from different angles, preferably taken with a professional camera.
18. Baby Octopuses
The miniature articulated octopuses are designed to be printed in one go, without assembly. Models for a 3D printer are available: with and without supports. You can choose a suitable octopus model for your 3D printer and download it here.
19. Spinning Top
The simplest sticky toy – a spinning top or a spinning top has been popular for more than one century. The only difference is that now this toy does not need to be bought or cut out of wood, but can be printed on a 3D printer.
Toys, but for adults full-length 3D Iron Man costumes. If you have time, patience, and a great desire to impress everyone at a Halloween or New Year’s masquerade, or at one of the conventions, then you can download files for 3D printing.
21. Original Pots And Planters
You won’t surprise anyone with an ordinary flower pot, but you can with an anti-gravity one. There are no drainage holes in the pot, so a layer of gravel must be added to the bottom before planting the flower.
To surprise your colleagues and household members, print out a pot floating in the air.
This is a truly exciting industry filled with innovation and opportunity. We hope we were able to give you some inspiration.
3D printing has been used in medicine since the early 2000s when the technology was first used to make dental implants and medical models in dentistry.
Since then, the usage of 3D printing in medicine has expanded significantly, with doctors around the world describing ways to use 3D printing to produce ears, skeletal parts, airways, jawbones, eye parts, cell cultures, blood vessels, stem cells, and vasculature, tissues and organs, new dosage forms and much more.
The use of files with medical models for 3D printed medical parts provides an opportunity for the exchange of work among researchers. Instead of trying to reproduce the parameters described in scientific journals, doctors can use and modify ready-made 3D models.
To this end, in 2014, the National Institutes of Health established the exchange to facilitate the exchange of open source 3D models for medical and anatomical devices, custom devices, clinical solutions, clinical trials, medical imaging, and mockups of proteins, viruses, and bacteria.
Modern medical use of 3D printing can be divided into several broad categories: tissue engineering and organ fabrication, prostheses, orthopedic implants, anatomical models, surgical guides, instrument printing, custom-made prosthetics, patient education, rapid prototyping, orthopedic surgeons’ training, and pharmaceutical research.
Let’s know in detail about medical research on 3D printing in medicine. This will help you realize if 3D printing method can produce patient-specific surgical models or not and if there is any future or not!
3D printing in the medical field is deployed increasingly in both research-based and clinical healthcare activities.
This involves the production of physical imitation of anatomical design using a 3D printer (also called additive manufacturing) method.
A digital computerized model is made to describe the design to be printed, while patient-specific models of living organs (like a donor’s kidney) for 3D printing are obtained from 3D medical imaging procedures like X-Ray CT and MRI.
Small batches (even single units) can then be made because of the speed, flexibility, and low cost of the 3D printing procedure. The models help hospitals and also other point-of-care (in short POC) institutions in planning surgeries, as well as serve as a support for explanation or teaching of complex medical ideas, for instance, to a patient who is about to receive surgery.
How Does 3D Printing Work In Health Care?
3D printing technology in medicine is a vital part of the innovative procedure named additive manufacturing. This means making three-dimensional solid objects using a digital file.
However, do you know how this 3D printing technology works? If you do not know then continue reading the article…
Many hospital labs are using 3D printing to create surgical models and manuals and many companies are using this technology to make personalized prostheses and orthoses, splints, and other assistive medical equipment. 3D printing helps doctors better control the process of patients’ rehabilitation, and patients better understand what is happening in their bodies.
For the medical industry, 3D printing has a unique value because it offers incredible opportunities to improve the quality of life and save lives, as has been proven in a variety of personal medical devices, prostheses, and robotic arms.
Modern 3D printing technologies have changed our lives and made them much easier. Today, completely unexpected things can be printed on a 3D printer, including medical ones.
3D Printing In Medicine
• Production of implants of the upper and lower jaws in dentistry;
• Printing of an artificial spine, intervertebral discs;
• Skull and Bones of the cranium;
• Other bones: scapula, collarbone, ilium of the pelvis;
• Joint printing: knee joint, hip joint;
• Auricle – bionic ear;
• Liver tissue (for drug testing);
• Orthopedic products.
Uses Of Medical 3D Printing
The main function of 3D printing of organs is their transplantation. However, the use of these technologies is not limited to this area, they are involved in various fields of medicine.
• Organ transplantation is the main goal of growing organs based on 3D printers.
• Bone replacement. Based on the 3D scanning data, it is possible to rebuild the bone model that the patient needs and print it on a printer.
• Skeleton support. With the help of 3D printing, special structures are created. Supporting the human skeleton, which greatly speeds up and facilitates the process of human recovery.
• Testing of drugs. The creation of human organs and tissues using 3D technologies will help stop drug testing on animals.
• Creating organs will allow surgeons to practice their skills on printed organs.
How To Get Started with 3D Medical Printing
3D printing becomes even more accessible with time, and medical professionals have found even more imaginative medical applications for 3D printing technology to deliver personalized solutions.
In case you are a software developer or a designer trying to get started with 3D modeling & printing, it is easier than you think. Initiate by installing a 3D modeling software and learn the basics of a new device.
As technology evolves anatomical models and also other medical models need improvement. Thus, keep yourself updated.
With the unbelievable things taking place with 3D printing technology in the medical field, including thorough 3D model prosthetics, customized tools, synthetic organs, and bone reconstruction, there is without any doubt a bright future for 3D printing in the health care sector.
What Are The Benefits Of Medical 3D Printing?
Medical 3D printing has the following advantages:
• 3D printing of structures of the highest level of complexity, completely similar to prototypes, lightening their weight, etc.
• Saving materials & labor resources
• High accuracy and detail, taking into account the anatomical parameters of a particular patient
• High print speed
• Cost reduction of medical products
• A large number of innovative high-tech materials, including a wide range of consumables that are suitable for implantation in the body
• Reduction of production terms and, as a result, timely provision of medical care.
The Future Of Pharma: 3D Printed Drugs
3D printing technologies are already being used in pharmaceutical research and personalized medicine, and their scope is constantly expanding.
3D printing technology allows precise dose management of drugs as well as the creation of dosage forms with complicated drug release profiles & prolonged action.
Pharmacists can now examine a patient’s pharmacogenetic detail and other characteristics like age, weight, or gender to determine the optimal dose and sequence of medications.
If necessary, the dose may be adjusted, depending on the clinical response. With 3D printing, it is possible to produce personalized medicines in completely new formulations, such as tablets containing multiple active ingredients, either as a single mixture or as complex multi-layered tablets.
Applications For 3D Printing in Medical Devices
The 3D printing method has developed customized medicine, letting a more precise understanding of the symptoms & treatment of the patient, and producing increased effectiveness in the OR (Operating Room).
The advent of the 3D printing method is marking its territory in specialties like orthopedics, radiology, oncology, and pediatrics, as well as in vascular surgery and cardiothoracic.
Doctors, researchers, and hospitals around the whole world are utilizing 3D printing for the following purposes:
• Medical tools & surgical instruments
• Preoperative planning & customized surgery
• 3D digital dentistry & drug administration
• Silicone 3D molds, customizable implants, and prostheses.
Bioprinting Artificial Organs and Tissue
Bioprinting is one of the many types of 3D printing used in the medical field. Instead of printing with plastic or metal, bioprinters use a syringe dispenser to apply bioink (layers of living cells or a structuring base for them) to create artificial living tissue.
In addition to being used as an alternative to donor tissues, such tissue constructs or organoids can be used for medical research.
Even though 3D bioprinting techniques can be laser or electron beam, inkjet, or extrusion, inkjet bioprinting is the most common.
Numerous printheads can be utilized to accommodate different types of cells (blood vessel cells, organ-specific, muscle tissue), which is a major challenge in the fabrication of organs and heterocellular tissues.
3D printing with biological materials can be used to regenerate tissues, and in the future, organs, directly on the patient.
For surgical interventions to be carried out with minimal trauma for patients, surgeons try to use personalized instruments that, according to anatomical features, are suitable for a particular person.
3D printing makes it possible to produce customized instruments and templates for surgery in just a few hours.
Thanks to additive technologies, surgeons can independently refine finished instruments, giving them the desired shape and size for more productive, convenient, and safe work.
Dentists have the opportunity to create, for example, personal guiding instruments in front of the patient to protect healthy teeth from damage when installing prostheses.
Personalized 3D printed implants show a flexible solution for hard orthopedic cases as well as may produce more treatment possibilities in the future.
Create Custom 3D-Printed Tools for Medical Industries
Medical devices are planned to be as flexible as possible, however, often it is useful to have something a bit more custom-made.
Especially ordering the medical equipment you require can be costly and take longer to come.
With 3D printing technology, you can make custom medical equipment within a few hours, not even weeks – and also you can generate specialized medical equipment for any task.
Medical professionals generated customized surgery equipment depending on the patient’s CT scans – equipment that has been ideally accepted for each procedure and patient.
By understanding that the equipment will fit the new situation, physicians can be more efficient and prepared for their job.
Studies have presented that having 3D printers can reduce the time of operation in the medical field and also increase the accuracy of surgery, particularly in the maxillofacial and oral fields.
Designing Medical Devices
To serve their ideal, medical devices should meet several conditions:
• They should match the special shapes of our bodies.
• They have to be made up of the ideal balance both in weight and size.
• They need to be operational, and they need to pass specified endurance tests.
Making medical devices to meet these measures traditionally needed expansive time. The replacement found by manufacturers of the medical device was stereolithography – a procedure in which a moving beam of laser controlled by a computer builds the needed structure gradually forming layers.
Therefore, 3D printing technology has been utilized to produce the design of an inhaler, even the needed jigs, and fixtures, aiming to:
• Reduce cost by 90% (from $300 to $15).
• Reduce presentation from 1 to 2 weeks to 1 to 2 days.
Preoperative Planning & Customized Surgery
3D printing lets specialists produce reference models utilizing CT scans and MRI to help several surgeons prepare for surgeries.
A kid in Northern Ireland In 2016, had 2 unhealed bones defaults in his forearm. The kid couldn’t rotate his arm completely and was severely suffering from serious pain. X-rays and CT scanning showed shapeless bones, and also the treatment needed an osteotomy – a 4-hour invasive surgery.
Where the surgeon reshaped the bones and improved the rotation of his arm. Nevertheless, the surgeons, 3D printed a model that transformed the surgical intervention, the diagnosis, and the healing of the kid:
• The process was finished in not more than 30 minutes, rather than 4 hours.
• It was the structures between his bones that restricted the kid’s rotation ability and not the none’s shape.
• The post-operation pain, the recovery time, and also the scarring were considerably reduced.
• The kid was capable of gaining 90% movement of arm range 4 weeks after the new intervention.
Such procedure is altering preoperative planning which completely translates into less period spent in the Operation Room, better surgery results for the patient, quicker post-op recovery as well as lower expenses for hospitals.
Prostheses Customized for Patients
Prostheses made utilizing traditional manufacturing processes are costly and not adapted necessarily to a patient’s morphology. In case a patient needs a customized prosthesis, the prices can skyrocket, as well as it’d take some time to be satisfied.
By definition, prostheses have to be customized for the patients. Beyond everything, no 2 people are precisely similar or have the same injuries.
Medical practitioners can use 3D-printed modeling software to assist in creating detailed, 3D images of prostheses that they can unite with each other – as well as perhaps more significantly, with the patients – to make sure a perfect fit.
Then, utilizing 3D printing technology, they can produce custom-made prostheses that are ideally suitable to fit the patients’ precise requirements in a cost-effective, timely manner.
Improving Surgical Instruments
Modern surgeons try to perform operations with as little trauma for the patient as possible, so they very often require a personalized instrument. The use of 3D printing makes it possible to create such tools within hours.
Now the doctor can independently modify the finished model, giving it the necessary size and shape for convenience and efficiency. Dentists can now create, for example, individual guides right in front of the patient, eliminating the possibility of damage to healthy teeth during prosthetics.
Bone & Joint Reconstructions
Similar to prostheses, you can even utilize medical 3D printing technology to assist with bone & joint reconstructions. Rather than utilizing a 1-size-fits-all implant (it sometimes does not “fit all”), one can use 3D printing or additive manufacturing to make custom-made implants.
Besides bone reconstruction, doctors are even starting 3D printing synthetic cartilage to rebuild joints as well as other human body parts. Here’re only a few of the main applications for which you can use 3D printing:
• Facial reconstruction
• Hip replacements
• Jaw reconstruction
• Breast reconstruction
• Knee replacements
This isn’t exhaustive at all. The new possibilities for Medicinal applications for 3D printing are new and endless, and new solutions are being evolved always.
3D Digital Dentistry & Prosthetics
3D printing has been successfully used in medicine for the manufacture of complex custom-made prostheses or surgical implants.
Implants and prostheses of any possible geometry can be made by converting X-ray, MRI, or CT images into 3D-printable models using special software.
The rapid production of custom implants & prostheses unravels a pressing issue in orthopedics. Here typical implants often don’t fit the patient. This is even accurate in neurosurgery field: skulls are individually shaped, so it’s difficult to normalize a cranial implantation.
Previously, surgeons had to use various tools to modify and fit implants, sometimes right during the operation. The use of 3D printers makes this procedure unnecessary. Additive technologies are especially in demand when it is necessary to urgently manufacture implants.
A real revolution in dentistry occurred with the advent of 3D technologies.
First, complete and accurate 3D scanning of the oral cavity became possible. Secondly, the use of 3D printing has made it possible to create prostheses that fit the anatomy of the patient, without the need for a long and unpleasant fit.
The radical reduction in the share of manual labor in the manufacture of prostheses or veneers has reduced the required tolerances in production, expanded the list of materials used, and increased patient satisfaction with the results of the doctor’s work.
Preparing For Operations & Training Students for Complicated Procedures
Accounting for individual differences and features of the anatomy of a particular human body makes it possible to use printed 3D models for the preparation of surgical operations.
Having a doctor have a real model of a particular patient’s organ, made, for example, based on the results of CT (computed tomography) for study or to simulate an operation, significantly reduces the risk of medical errors.
The usage of 3D models for training surgeons and students is preferable to an apprenticeship on cadavers since it does not create problems in terms of the availability as well as cost of objects.
Cadavers often lack proper pathology, so they’re more suitable for anatomy lessons than for presenting a patient with a disorder appropriate to the topic under study. Using 3D printing, you can create a model of any organ with any known pathology.
3D-printed designs of neuroanatomical can be especially useful for neurosurgeons, providing insight into the most complex structures in our body that is fundamentally impossible to obtain based on 2D images.
Because of decreased expenses of 3D printers as well as increased accessibility of CAM/CAD medical software, more and more hospitals are constructing internal 3D-printed anatomical models. The procedure entails many steps such as:
• CT scans and MRIs are prepared in a stage named segmentation for human tissue like hearts, airways, and bones.
• Every organ, as well as body type, is properly modeled by the medical team.
• Then models are transferred into STL files, layout for printing as well as sent to the printer.
3D-printed anatomical models allow surgeons to efficiently schedule the operation and then establish more suitable treatment solutions, reduce the operation’s time, and also improve research as well as training for students of medicine.
Thus, even medical device manufacturers are considering investing in 3D printing for producing medical devices.
The simplest and already ubiquitous use of 3D printing is the creation of prostheses.
A 3D printer based on volumetric scanning and 3D modeling allows you to create anatomically accurate individual prostheses, both for external use and those that are to be implanted. For example, a knee prosthesis or even bones.
For this, high-quality biocompatible materials are used, both of polymeric origin and traditional metals (titanium). Photos of printed prostheses can be found on the net and in large numbers because this is an achievement.
To create prostheses, various 3D technologies are used – photopolymer printing, conventional additive manufacturing (FDM), as well as laser sintering, and fusion methods. But this is not all, and the use of 3D printers in the medical industry is not limited to this.
The usage of 3D printing isn’t restricted to medical devices. Also, other industries, as well as government units, are inquisitive about its usage.
For example, the United States Department of Energy (in short DOE) is supporting resources to analyze 3D printing, as well as how it can be utilized to decrease waste by utilizing fewer raw materials as well as need fewer manufacturing efforts.
DOE has collected info on how the 3D printing technology works, the distinct types of 3D printers as well as what they’re used.
The Future of 3D Printing In the Medical Field
3D printing technology is all set to have an introductory role in the future of the medical field. Nowadays, the method is enabling medical teams both outside (anatomical models) and inside (surgical tools) the OR.
Similarly, it makes dental products faster and cheaper and allows personalized care via custom-produced implants and instruments.
In 2019, top labs and hospitals are embracing 3D printing technology as part of their research efforts and medical practices. This performs as yet another proof of the technology’s worth for medical applications.
Sustaining the technology’s development within the medical field is the collective effort to make a cohesive, single set of standards as well as test techniques for 3D-printed products for the medical industry.
Overcoming present regulatory as well as legal problems will surely help to direct the method going forward in the future.
The possibility of 3D printing technology is growing in other medical sectors. Among them are regenerative medicine and bioprinting, pharmaceuticals, and ophthalmology. Here, 3D printing technology is still in its initial stages, but its possibility is noteworthy.
All things considered, the future of the medical field will look quite different from the medical industry of today — moreover, 3D printing technology will be among the key methods to drive forward this meaningful and exciting transformation.
FAQ 3D Printed Medical
Following are some of the common questions on 3D Printing on Medicine
How Much Does Medical 3d Printing Cost?
3D printing technology can improve existing surgical techniques and can help with organ transplantation. The overall 3D printer can cost you anywhere between $5,000-$50,000, based on how complicated the device is.
What Is The Use Of 3D Printing In Dentistry?
Medicine is a wide area and therefore the use of 3D printers in it is also not narrow. Only in dentistry, 3D printers are used for:
• creation of surgical dental templates;
• printing caps and aligners;
• printing of high-quality crowns and dentures, orthoses;
• making exact copies of the patient’s jaws, etc.
The field of application of 3D printing technology in medicine is full of achievements and is constantly expanding, resembling a real revolution in the field of healthcare.
Additive manufacturing methods increase the productivity and cost-effectiveness of physicians, open up a host of new opportunities and reduce waiting times.
They allow the production of individual medical products, new treatments, and new drugs and improve the quality of patient care while making medical care more accessible at a significantly lower cost.
Urgent 3D printing production of particularly personal protective equipment or patient-matched devices was saving lives for clinic personnel. In reality, 3D printing turned into a vital method, supporting frontliners and hospitals.
3D printing is now a prevalent way for Marvel lovers to recreate iconic gaming and movie props that aren’t easily available on the market, and if available then those are rare, or expensive, making the props a choice for cosplayers.
Since the 3D printing method is now widely available and affordable, more and more awesome projects are popping up as viral hits online, with big-scale props as well as statues being the jealousy of many.
One such prop is the iron man suit and helmet. Iron Man fans know very well that Iron man is a character from Marvel Comics. Marvel movies undoubtedly have lovers eager enough to make movie-quality counterparts that they take up to 3D printing as a hobby to satisfy their appetites.
You can either design your suit and helmet depending on your settings, save the design in STL files, or you can download them from a website. Let’s know in detail where and how to 3D print the iron man suit and helmet.
Thing You Need To Print Your Own Iron Man Suit And Helmet
Iron Man is more or less every Marvel movie fan’s favorite character.
Tony Stark’s flamboyance is completely reflected in his suit with its golden and red color options. And often it is the helmet that catches the viewer’s attention.
But the question is, can you 3D print the Iron man suit and helmet? How can you print the suit and helmet? Know it all here…
The first and foremost thing you need is a high-quality printer to print the Iron Man helmet and suit. To get the best recommendations, search for The Best 3D Printers for Cosplay on google or youtube.
To buy the best 3D printer, you can get search for it on youtube and you will get recommendations. A customized youtube homepage and tailored ads depending on your past searches and activities will show you the best one.
Anyone can buy a printer but printing a product using a 3D printer is not everyone’s cup of tea. To get the best and fitted 3D printed iron man suit and helmet, you need to learn how to operate the machine, and how to design the suit and helmet. You can see personalized content and ads on youtube to get a vivid idea of how to do it.
There is a lot of 3D print software available from where you can get the suit and helmet’s STL file.
For this, you can even use the Ultimaker Cura software which is very user-friendly software.
You can even look for other programs such as Prusa Slicer and Simplify3d. But in case you need to have further accurate and advanced software then you can go for Meshmixer!
You can download Slic3r, Cura, and also Meshmixer all for free to start messing with the software immediately! Head to Cults3D.com or Thingiverse.com to grab free files to print them!
So, select Accept All to have a better quality of those services from your location. One more thing, the software may show personalized ads depending on your settings.
To print Iron man suit and helmet, you can get the files scattered everywhere like CGtrader.com, Etsy, DO3D.com, Patreon.com, and so many more!
However, places like Cults3D.com and Thingiverse.com host several files for free! SO, if you want to try a free file then go for Cults3D.com and Thingiverse.com.
Choose The Filament
Several brands offer so many variations of filaments that it is often very confusing which filament to use for what purpose.
The most commonly utilized plastic for printing is Polylactic acid (PLA) plastic. It is cheap, quite easy to deal with, and also non-toxic!
Other printing materials exist like PETG, ABS, TPU, etc. All of them have advantages and disadvantages so do a little research before choosing one!
Typically ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a strong plastic but difficult to print (required a heated enclosed area), PETG or Polyethylene terephthalate glycol is even strong too, no enclosure is needed in this material but it’s very misleading to print with.
Finally, TPU or Thermoplastic Polyurethane is an easygoing rubber-type material that is great for joints. Perhaps among the hardest materials to print with.
Scaling is one of the most difficult parts of 3d printing technology. When you get a 3D file for an Iron man suit or helmet, often it doesn’t even make any sense as nothing is scaled. You generally get everything scattered.
However, D03D as well as a few other platforms scaled their files properly to match material proportions. Either get the scaling done from an expert or learn it first to print the perfect Iron Man helmet and suit for yourself.
The Sanding Of The Printed Object
You do not need to spend a whole day or weekend sanding your 3D Printed object. Aside from an apparent print quality need, there are a few ways you can easily speed up the operation of smoothing out the 3D print.
Vapor Smoothing (Not good for Polylactic acid/+), XTC-3D Smooth-On, Spray Paint Filler Primer, or Power Tools. These will save you time sanding the 3D-printed object.
This’s something often people neglect. It helps to bring out that intense shine the color had to offer to your Iron Man helmet and suit. For this, you can move on to resin polish.
Pursued by car wax. It also allows adding a small layer of protection from dirt and grime to the product.
Before you start painting, make sure the suit and helmet are fitting you perfectly. Unless you are comfortable, do not waste your time and costly paint on the printed suit and helmet.
The final thing is the proper lighting of the suit. Start a google search to find
out Iron Man electric parts to motorize your iron man suit and helmet. The electronics will complete your design of the Iron Man suit and helmet.
FAQ 3D Printed Iron Man Suit With Helmet
Following are the some of the common question on 3D Printed Iron Man Suit
Can You 3d Print An Iron Man Helmet?
Of course, you can print an Iron man helmet and also an entire suit.
How much is the Mark V Iron Man helmet?
It may cost you more or less USD 279.99 to get a proper Mark V Iron Man helmet
A 3D printed gun is a pistol that is made by a 3D printer. Many people might think that can guns be made by 3D printers?
Well Yes, this can be true. All parts were printed on an FDM printer only the trigger is made of metal.
Modern 3D printers are capable of printing any CAD model, and such firearm models have been available for over 10 years. If in previous years their printing required professional skills, now almost any user can master them.
With a 3D printer and a finished model, it became quite possible to print a gun. Another thing is that such “creativity” is punishable by the laws of most countries.
Beginnings Of 3D Printed Guns
The very first additive pistol was the Liberator. This iconic weapon appeared in 2013. It is completely printed on a Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer, and its cost is about $10.
The drawings of this device were freely available. The disadvantages of this weapon were that it gave a lot of misfires, and was only capable of one shot. The shortcomings have been eliminated in the improved Lulz Liberator model. This plastic pistol is capable of firing up to 8 shots.
Now the drawings are removed from free access. And the distribution and printing of Liberator are prohibited by law, although you can find a photo of it without problems.
Despite all the prohibitions and restrictions, the evolution of 3D-printed firearms is moving at a great speed. The beginning was laid by the single-shot plastic pistol Liberator of the American K. Wilson, which appeared in 2013. It had a simple design and was chambered for 380 ACP.
Already after 10-12 shots, this weapon fell into disrepair. However, the very possibility of printing firearms served as an impetus for the development of the idea. The author of the first pistol himself founded the Defense Distributed company, which began to actively improve the technology.
One of the ways to increase the durability of weapons was to increase the number of their barrels.
At the beginning of 2014, the Japanese Y. Imura makes a 38 caliber Zig Zag pistol. He was able to fire up to 6 shots non-stop. The author of the weapon was recognized as a criminal and convicted.
The next step was the production of a six-shot revolver by J. Patrick in 2015. The PM522 Washbear has been shown in action on YouTube.
The weapon was noticeably safer for the shooter compared to previous versions but still allowed to fire only a few dozen rounds.
The first semi-automatic pistol for a 9 mm bullet appeared in 2016 under the name Shuty-MP1.
It was developed by a handicraft gunsmith who hid under the pseudonym Derwood. It wasn’t exactly a plastic weapon.
The author used some metal parts from factory pistols – a barrel, a firing pin, a bolt, and several springs. This made it possible to ensure a rate of fire of more than 46 rounds/min.
However, when changing the store, the plastic case had to be cooled. In 2017, the same master proposed an improved model – Shuty AP-9.
The main contribution to the development of weapons printing technology on a 3D printer was made by Defense Distributed, which brought together a group of like-minded activists.
First, these enthusiasts won legal proceedings in the United States and obtained permission to 3D-print weapons, which greatly expanded their capabilities.
Secondly, they were able to organize a professional business with product testing and quality control. As a result, in 2018–19 they developed numerous models of a variety of firearms – from pistols to carbines.
They posted over 30 files for printing original gun parts. Most of them were plastic, and the metal parts were not made from purchased, ready-made elements, but from simple metal profiles (tubes, strips, etc.), which are sold in ordinary hardware stores. This made it possible to exclude the use of parts patented by gunsmiths.
At the moment, the semi-automatic carbine FGC-9, developed on the basis of the Shuty AP-9, has become the pinnacle of “creativity” of Defense Distributed. At the same time, there is not a single factory part in it.
The barrel for the 9 mm cartridge is made of steel pipe using electrochemical processing.
Legal Issues Of 3D Printed Guns
The only country where firearms can be 3D printed is the United States. The Gun Control Act of 1968 is in effect here, giving Americans the right to make weapons, but only for personal use.
Only one limitation is put forward: it must be determined by metal detectors, that is, it must have a metal element.
In virtually all other countries, homemade weapons manufacturing and repair for any purpose is prohibited by law.
How Dangerous Are 3D Printed Guns?
Most experts agree that currently, printed weapons are more of an interesting toy. It is quite expensive and is designed to carry out only a few dozen shots.
Moreover, such pistols are quite dangerous for the shooter himself with live ammunition, because they can explode in their hands.
However, the degree of danger cannot be downplayed. It is easier and cheaper for a “serious” criminal to buy illegal military weapons than to make them on a printer.
At the same time, there may be “enthusiasts” who, for their own interest, can make a pistol and try it out in action.
Such inadequate people represent an undoubted danger. In addition, the temptation is great for terrorists.
Metal detectors do not detect a plastic gun, which means that it is easier to carry it, for example, on an airplane.
3D Printed Gun STL/Print Files
The potential for 3D printing of firearms is far from exhausted. The expansion of equipment capabilities and the development of innovative materials indicate that in the near future such weapons may approach military weapons in terms of characteristics.
In the future – a significant increase in the resource and the provision of automatic firing.
Significantly increases the reliability of printed pistols and carbines SLS technology using metal powder. Such weapons already differ little from the factory metal models.
While it is very expensive, which significantly limits the application. However, over time, the material will become cheaper, which means it will become more affordable.
Printing firearms on a 3D printer has become a reality. Despite its extremely low performance and reliability, interest is growing in it. Experts predict that the printing of weapons will become widespread, and it is impossible to stop such production.
There comes a time when measures should be taken at the legislative level to establish effective control over this process.
This is because a large-format 3D printer is ideal for the research and development of products with rapid prototyping without the need to invest in full-scale industrial additive manufacturing.
Whether you’re a manufacturer looking to take on big projects or a small business looking for a professional device, we’ll help you find the large format 3D printer that fits your needs.
In the following list, we will share with you the best consumer 3D printers for gun parts. So, see below the 5 best 3D printers for gun parts.
ANYCUBIC Mega-S New Upgrade 3D Printer
Thanks to the success of the popular budget model ANYCUBIC, several product versions have been created since its release, including the ANYCUBIC Mega-S New which shares the same open-body design and dual Z-axis to add stability to the printing process.
ANYCUBIC has really worked on the shortcomings of the Mega-S New Upgrade model design that makes the model more accurate, with a larger touch screen, an improved fan, and a silicone sleeve for better nozzle temperature control.
An impressive print volume of 330 x 330 x 400mm allows the ANYCUBIC Mega-S to outshine some of its competitors that cost ten times as much.
This is not to say that ANYCUBIC brand printers stand out from their more well-known competitors. We did not have the opportunity to test these models, but I would note that Creality products, the Ender 5 line, stand out in this segment.
In particular, the Ender 5 Plus model, which even slightly surpasses the ANYCUBIC Mega-S in terms of its working area, and is not inferior to it in all other parameters.
FOKOOS 3D Printer Odin-5 F3 Foldable 99% 3D Printer
The FOKOOS 3D Printer Odin-5 F3 is a very well-designed machine. The printer boasts proper cable management, the control box is located under the device, which adds stability and reduces the floor space occupied by the printer, while the equipment is easy to assemble and run.
Thanks to the use of some premium brand components, such as the Bondtech certified dual filament extruder, tube, ultra-quiet drivers that make the device noticeably quieter than others, and automatic alignment with the sensor, the printer is well equipped to perform its tasks.
And most importantly, it prints really reliably. This is a great deal with an affordable price, high print volume, and easy to use.
Expert commentary: a rather expensive model for the FOKOOS brand, famous for its budget models, and, despite many advantages, is in limited demand losing to more famous models on the market, there is no doubt about this printer and if your choice falls on it, it will not disappoint you.
R QIDI TECHNOLOGY 3D Printer
An impressive 3D printer with a print volume of 500 x 500 x 600 mm and dimensions of 850 x 770 x 875 mm.
It is constructed from aluminum and steel, features a dual Z-axis screw for improved accuracy, a touch control panel, and features print resume and filament end detection—important especially for large format printing.
R QIDI TECHNOLOGY 3D Printer with a 500x500x600 print area is a very budget option for a printer with such a working area. Other models with similar print areas are sold much more expensive.
If you really plan to print models of this size, I would advise you to consider more professional models. The printing of such objects requires a higher reliability of the printer’s design.
Voxelab Aquila 3D Printer
The Voxelab Aquila 3D Printer is one of the best 3D printers and one of the most competitive mainstream large format printers currently on the market. Offering a build area of 500 x 500 x 500mm, it helps make your biggest 3D printing dreams come true.
In our opinion, the leader is simple. It does exactly the job that justifies its price and yet is affordable enough to make worthwhile the various additions and improvements available through numerous mods and updates.
The most budgetary model with a large print area, but perhaps too simple for the end of 2020, the time of such models is running out and they are being replaced by more technically advanced printers, including those from the same Creality brand, in particular the models.
Comgrow Official Creality Ender 3 3D Printer
The Comgrow Official Creality Ender 3 3D Printer offers simplicity, affordability, and high build volume, making it a great option for professionals who want a gigantic printable area without spending too much.
While the print volume of 600 x 600 x 660mm is the device’s most notable feature, it’s not all that this large-format 3D printer has to offer.
The product includes a high-flow Volcano heating block, fully automatic platform leveling, 3D board, dual zone silicon print bed heater, PEI printable surface, and filament end sensor.
The company also offers optional upgrades such as a dual extruder, closed body, and other nozzle sizes.
While this 3D printer may seem expensive compared to some of the budget options on our list, the Comgrow Official Creality Ender 3 3D Printer makes every dollar invested.
FAQ 3D Printed Guns
Following are the most common questions on 3D printed guns.
Should We Be Afraid Of Fully Plastic Guns?
The question of how dangerous a weapon is printed on a printer is becoming increasingly relevant. Despite all the prohibitions, it is extremely difficult to control the spread of technology around the world.
The availability of 3D printers and the increase in their functionality make it possible to master the production of plastic guns at home.
Can 3D Printers Be Used For Gun Parts?
A few guns can be made primarily with a 3D printer. These completely 3D printed models are, as the term recommends, practically all plastic from printed parts.
Is It Illegal To 3d Print A Gun?
3D printing offers an abundance of development and opportunity and yet as with such countless mechanical progressions, the law is not ready for its belongings in its ongoing configuration.
In this way, 3D printing itself isn’t unlawful yet a portion of its ramifications may be particularly concerning protected innovation regulation.
How Much Does It Cost To A 3D Print Gun?
Assuming you as of now have a 3D printer and fundamental hand devices, it costs about $100 until the end of the apparatuses to fabricate the barrel, then, at that point, about $100 in provisions for each firearm after that.
The possibilities of modern three-dimensional printing allow you to reproduce almost any detail on a good 3D printer, regardless of its complexity.
You can even create a real board game – chess, by printing not only figures of any configuration, but also the board itself. 3D printing of chess will certainly interest users who are fond of this game, or those who know chess players.
Assuming you’re exhausted with the typical Staunton-style chess boards, there are a lot of exceptional chess sheets and sets you can browse. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you can constantly track down an outstanding plan to suit your taste.
3D printers that print using FDM technology, including the most budget ones, are more suitable for printing chess.
More expensive models that use the photopolymer baking method in their work are used much less frequently in everyday life due to the relatively high cost of production. However, such devices are also suitable for creating original chess sets.
Before you start printing, you should develop a 3D model of the product – an STL file that can be recognized by the printer control unit.
The model is a set of instructions written in a special programming language, according to which a three-dimensional object will be printed.
You can make a 3D chess model on your own using special programs and online services, including 3DS Max, Maya 3D, Blender, Cura, CraftWare, TinkerCAD, Sculptris, and others.
With many shapes and sizes, this simple board game has become not only the epitome of style but also an intellectual pursuit.
10 Best 3D Printed Chess Sets Ideas
Chess is one of the most popular and massive games in the world. For designers around the world, chess is no longer a game, but an opportunity to use their creative talents. Here see the 10 best 3d printed chess sets.
1. Latvian Style
One more 3D chess set, this chessboard was designed according to the fields utilized by warriors. This can be intended to be ideal learning and specialized instruments for the two kids and grown-ups.
The sign of this chess set is the latvian plan, which is an assortment of 3D shapes worked from polygons.
Every one of their items is painstakingly created to guarantee the most elevated level of value and craftsmanship.
2. Planter Chess Sets
Set of chess in the form of pots for succulents. This chess set is an opportunity to combine playing chess and gardening.
Chess here is hollow containers, each of which can be planted with a living plant. PLA plastic filament is suitable for printing.
3. Music Chess Set
Depending on the creator’s imagination, the set may include pawns in the form of musical pairs, as well as a set of musical instruments – a violin, cello, harp, guitar, etc.
This project also involves printing a collapsible board, which is convenient for storage, as well as a special box.
4. Set With Figurines Of Animals
Any animal can be included in the kit, including a lion, poodles, horse, penguin, cat, etc.
Each type of figure has a unique design, especially for the lion playing the role of the king in this game.
He is distinguished by a royal mane and a crown on it. It is recommended to print such figures without rafts and supporting structures with an infill of more than 20%.
5. Monument Style
This set will be a welcome expansion for fanatics of lofty design. Propelled by famous structures, this chess set consolidates the plan feel with a cutting-edge in its exceptional chess pieces.
Propelled by the famous New York City horizon, this set comes in three completions: premium, acrylic, bronze, and metal.
The 32-piece set has been painstakingly chosen to incorporate a portion of the city’s most famous high rises.
One World Trade Tower, Empire State Building, Chrysler, Flatiron, Guggenheim, and Brownstone House are the best properties. Each set incorporates a chessboard with a show box.
6. Star Wars Chess Set
In another set, by printing, you can influence the struggle between light and dark forces.
Figures here are represented by stormtrooper pawns, Yoda, Darth, Leia, Vader, Han, R2-D2, Lumiya, and other cult characters.
It is prescribed to print this unit utilizing PLA plastic with sleeves from 3 to 16 and a fill proportion of 15%. Support designs can be utilized to further develop print quality and detail.
7. Counter Strike
A bunch of chess pieces motivated by this game will permit you to have truly hot fights with your companions outside the virtual world.
The game’s retro illustrations have dazzled billions of clients all over the planet. With the assistance of a 3D printer, you can reproduce this universe, comprising of blocks, as a chess set.
8. Super Mario
Super Mario is a cult computer game from Nintendo that has captivated millions of gamers around the world.
The possibilities of three-dimensional printing make it possible to print a chess set, where the main characters will be the characters of this story: mushrooms, Yoshi, the Queen, Peach, Mario, Birdo, etc.
9. Lord Of The Rings
Tolkien’s iconic saga about the adventures of Middle-earth characters is a good idea for a stylized play chess set.
This set contains enough figures to arrange a large-scale battle between good and evil.
The light side here is represented by action 3D printed figures of hobbits, dwarves, elves, etc., the dark side is represented by goblins, orcs, Saruman, Sauron, Nazgul, etc. Printing can be done without support, with a fill factor of 25%.
10. Pokémon Chess Set
This chess set is based on characters from the popular animated series. The abundance of characters allows you to create unique sets: for example, you can make Brock and Misty the king and queen, and replace the rest of the figures with your favorite Pokemon.
For each type of piece, basic shapes have been developed to distinguish pawns from rooks, etc. The recommended layer height for printing is 0.15 mm, the fill factor is 20%.
FAQ 3D Printed Chess Sets
Here’s the most common questions on 3D printing of chess pieces and chess sets.
Which 3D Printers Are Suitable For Printing Chess?
The presence of two free extruders in the model is a significant benefit, as it permits you to print support structures if important, as well as utilize multicolor printing.
Print quality depends not just on the brand and nature of the printer yet in addition on the client’s capacity to redo and change the printer.
Why 3D Printed Chess Set Is Good?
Printing chess on a 3D printer is desirable over purchasing comparative sets in a store, on the grounds that:
• In the event of the loss of dolls, you can without much of a stretch print the missing ones. It is somewhat challenging to arrange copy figures in the store, particularly assuming that the chess model has proactively left stock.
• It is feasible to print chess in any size – from the littlest, pocket choices to enormous floor structures.
• A chess set with an extraordinary plan is an incredible gift for natural chess players. In stores, generally speaking, just standard sets can be purchased, while with the assistance of a three-layered demonstration fostering a novel set that exists in a solitary copy is conceivable.
• Self-printing of chess on a 3D printer doesn’t need explicit information and abilities. Notwithstanding, at least expense, you can get interesting chess sets that main you will have.
Afate Gnikou, geographer and researcher from Togo in Africa, and his team won first place in NASA’s International Apps Challenge in Paris earlier this year by building a 3D printer out of scrap parts he pulled from a landfill.
“My dream is to give young people hope and to show that Africa, too, has its place on the global market when it comes to technology,” Gnikou told the Tottenham News. “We are able to create things.”
While having to buy a few of the components, Gnikou and spent less than a $100 on his printer. The majority of the pieces, including things like an old computer tower frame, came from a massive landfill in Ghana where America and Europe dumps thousands of tons of high-tech refuse known as “e-waste.”
The ultimate goal is to clean up the landfill marring the African countryside while helping to colonize Mars.
The idea is to load the remaining trash, along with a robotic arm mounted on a caterpillar track and several printers onto a rocket ship aimed at Mars. The printers and the arm will then use the trash as raw materials for equipment needed to colonize the Red Planet.
“Our project wants to realize this utopia,” states a description of the project on NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge Web site. “The W. Afate, is an African 3D printer completely built in e-waste, as a pioneer of this new era of ecology and the virtuous spatial conquest.”
It makes you wonder where was Gnikou in 1965 when NASA doled out nearly $4,400 for 34 mechanical “space pencils” they planned to send up on Apollo missions but never actually used because they were afraid the lead would break off and float around in the capsules when exposed to the weightlessness of space?
Silver nanoparticle ink is fast becoming a miracle material for applications from solar energy to electronics.
In the latest discovery from researchers at Georgia Tech, the University of Tokyo and Microsoft Research, scientists have developed a method by which they can rapidly – and cheaply – print out working electrical circuits using nothing more than a standard inkjet printer and off-the-shelf materials.
The development has made it possible for anyone with a run-of-the-mill, inkjet printer to produce working electrical circuits in around a minute.
Silver nanoparticle ink is injected into empty printer cartridges and then used to create “instant inkjet circuits,” a series of conductors on rigid or flexible materials, which should help tune the prototyping skills of non-technical and novice hacker users.
According to Gregory Abowd, a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, unlike the typical method used to print conductive patterns, conductivity in this latest process can be created in just a few seconds – and without the need for special equipment.
“We believe there is an opportunity to introduce a new approach to the rapid prototyping of fully custom-printed circuits,” Abowd says.
It is advances in chemically bonding metal particles which have allowed the team to use silver nanoparticle ink to print the circuits, and their approach works as it avoids problems associated with thermal bonding, or sintering. The circuits can be printed on resin-coated paper or PET film, but the researchers say plain-old glossy photo paper was the best substrate for the circuits.
At this point, they say the process doesn’t work with canvas cloth materials or magnet sheets.
The primary investigator on the project, Yoshihiro Kawahara, an Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo, sees a variety of applications where the circuits would save time and money.
“The method can be used to print circuit boards, sensors and antennas with little cost, and it opens up many new opportunities,” Kawahara said.
The team simply optimized commercially available tools and materials including printers, adhesive tapes and the silver ink, then used desktop drawing software and even photocopies of a drawing to produce a working circuits.
The circuits can be attached to electronic components (using conductive double-sided tape or silver epoxy adhesive) and that means a full-scale prototype can be created in a matter of hours. They say the circuits could easily be used to quickly prototype simple calculators, thermostat controls, battery chargers or a wide array of electronic devices.
“Using this technology in the classroom, it would be possible to introduce students to basic electronics principles very cheaply,” said Steve Hodges of Microsoft Research.
The Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center was established in 2003 to analyze and examine improvised explosive devices of interest to the United States.
TEDAC acts as the central point of coordination for the efforts of the entire government to gather and disseminate intelligence about these devices. Their work disarming and disrupting the use and creation of IEDs, linking those devices to the madmen who make them, and preventing future attacks, is serious business.
Thus far, TEDAC has received tens of thousands of IED submissions, most of those coming from war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan, which they use to analyze various levels of sophistication and threat.
The mission of TEDAC is to eradicate the IED threat entirely. The Center informs partner agencies and groups of the design, development, purchase, assembly, and deployment of IEDs by providing scientific and technical information about them through innovative forensic techniques.
To that end, TEDAC recently announced that they’ll be purchasing a Stratasys Objet24 to help them study the role 3D printing might play in the manufacture of weapons and explosive devices, and it’s very likely that they’ll use their printer to prototype examples of existing devices to use as teaching tools as well.
While TEDAC are unwilling to be specific about the ways their new 3D printer might be used to study IEDs and weapons, this sort of foray by law enforcement into 3D scanning and 3D printing technology might actually be a bit behind the curve.
Located at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, TEDAC consists of a director from the FBI, a deputy director from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, a Department of Defense executive manager from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and five units tasked with studying forensics, technical exploitation, intelligence, and investigations.
TEDAC will be buying the $19,000 printer to support the advanced technical exploitation of evolving and existing high technology explosive devices, and the agency says it’s “the only instrument capable of producing the high accuracy and resolution results to meet Agency testing standards.”
British design engineer Chris Natt is already working on a similar project in hopes his devices can be used to train technicians in their work clearing such deadly mines. Natt created four precision plastic models of the most common types of mines. His work is aimed at giving the often untrained people tasked with removing and disarming them guidance as he estimates that 100 such crew members have been killed or injured every year since 1999.
Will Chris Norman’s 3D Printing Patent Kill The Golden Goose? Nope…
Chris Norman has obtained a fairly comprehensive patent on a standard process used by nearly every one of the growing number of online 3D printing service bureaus.
In a nutshell, the process goes like this: Take an existing 3D model, tweak it for various custom elements and then have it 3D printed.
Sounds familiar, right? That’s because similar processes are available at Shapeways, Materialise, 3D Systems, Thingiverse and Norman’s own Kraftwurx.com and Digital Factory.
So what does it mean to be in control of a patent like this one? Are we looking at a Marconi v. Tesla battle over radio? A Flash of Genius moment ala Robert Kearns? Kearns won perhaps the best known patent infringement case in history against Ford Motor Company and a subsequent similar case against Chrysler Corporation.
Having invented and patented the intermittent windshield wiper mechanism, Kearns tried (and failed) to interest the Big Three auto makers in licensing his technology. Each of them rejected his proposals, but went on to install intermittent wipers in their cars. Kearns spent the rest of his life fighting in court to reap the rewards he thought were protected by his patent.
After years of shepherding the application through the often byzantine and painfully slow process of applying for a US patent, Norman appears to have hit the honey spot. There are literally millions of patents applied for and granted – some of them related to 3D printing – and in other hands, this might have set off a firestorm in the world of AM and 3D printing.
If you read this the same way I did, the abstract of the patent is fairly comprehensive and it covers:
“Methods and systems for designing and producing a three-dimensional object selection of a base three-dimensional object from a customer device. A base three-dimensional model corresponding to the object is displayed on the customer device, and one or more custom modifications are received.
A modified three-dimensional model corresponding to the modified object is prepared and displayed. Once confirmation to produce the modified object is received, data corresponding to the modified three-dimensional model is transmitted to a manufacturing device for production of the object, using the data to do so, such that the object corresponds directly to the modified three-dimensional model.”
If you read on, and reading a patent grant or application is dry stuff even for the attorneys who deal in them daily, it seems Norman might have himself a fairly valuable piece of intellectual property on his hands, but he doesn’t see it that way, at least in the short term.
So does he plan to aggressively seek to enforce his patents? Norman says he holds six of them relating to various elements of the industry.
“I want to be known as a facilitator and not as a demon,” Norman said. “I am the furthest thing from a patent troll. I was asked this question at RAPID last year. My response was that the opportunity for 3D printing is absolutely enormous. Kraftwurx is agnostic to all 3D printing technologies.”
“If it is commercially viable, we will consider it for use. Our primary goal is to empower everyone and help grow the 3D printing industry as a whole. Our approach is to put this technology into the hands of small businesses worldwide and our business model clearly confirms and supports this goal.”
Norman, a 41-year-old graduate of Texas A&M University with a BS in Manufacturing Engineering and an MBA in Technology Management, comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. His mother, Bonnie and his aunt, Debbie, “came from humble beginnings” and went on to start, run and sell multiple businesses. They did well enough to make the front cover of Texas Monthly Magazine in 1980 for their work in the oil and gas industry.
Norman’s grandfather, Bob, ran four John Deere dealerships for over 50 years. Another aunt and uncle run a successful lumber company. Norman’s brother, Wayland, runs a computer company.
According to Norman, the story begins in 2001. He said he drew inspiration from nascent ecommerce websites such as Vistaprint and Customatix. Following those models, he wrote a business plan during 2003 and 2004 while he was a student in grad school and pitched the model to the Department of Defense in 2005 through the SBIR program.
It was a year later, in 2005, that Norman wrote the patent application. He filed for the patent in April 2006 while he was working at Dell and had access to all of the latest and greatest in computer tech.
“I felt that computing power was limiting as was software for in-browser 3D viewing,” Norman says. “I had seen early 3D viewing technology using Active X, but it was crude. Graphics were limited and network bandwidth at home was much slower than it is today.”
A family tragedy and life events like the loss of his job at the time meant the patent project went on the back burner.
“I continued working on patents and technology as time allowed,” Norman said. “After looking for a turnkey way to do so, I gave up after realizing that it did not exist. That’s when I came up with the name Digital Factory™ and created the business model software solution which is essentially Kraftwurx or Shapeways or i.materialise in a box. Our business model uses independent 3D printing facilities located around the world to produce parts locally. We put money into people’s pockets in local communities by supporting local 3D printing.”
3D printable, fully functional gear ring designed by Marco Valenzuela:
So what would constitute a win for Norman and Kraftwurx as a result of gaining his patents?
“A win for Kraftwurx would be to license our technology and then do what we do best; focus on being the company behind the success of others that push forward on the 3D printing revolution,” Norman said.
“By developing the software that makes it possible for any company to adopt some level of use of 3D printing into their retail or commercial process, we’d be happy to be known like Applied Materials is known for semiconductors.”
Kraftwürx is located in a suburb on the northwest side of Houston, Texas, in a 15,000 square foot facility and employs nine people. Privately held, Norman said he’d prefer that annual sales figures for his companies remain private as well. He did say that his package of solutions can run from a modest $49 a month for a smaller installation all the way up to and beyond $25,000 for enterprise-level implementations.
“3D printing will begin affecting a lot more industries,” Norman says. “It will slowly creep into our lives all over and eventually a few industries will be transformed by it. 3D Printing is simply a new manufacturing process. Not the Holy Grail, but where it does make an impact, it will certainly make a big one.”
As for the future of the technology he’s dedicated the last 20 years of his life to advancing, Norman sees nothing but vast potential – and not without risk.
“The big question I have is when a machine can use atoms to make say, gold, what happens to the world’s economy?” Norman said. “I think intellectual property becomes much more important.”
Norman is an old hand in manufacturing and 3D printing. He says the moment, back in 2004, when he was watching his oldest son, Austin, playing a video game provided him with an epiphany. That vision, consumers co-designing their own products and designers creating 3D models that themselves became products through printing, was a stunner.
“It (3D printing) would radically alter supply chains, something I was intimately familiar with at Dell,” Norman said. “It was LEAN, Just-In-Time manufacturing taken to its ultimate end goal. On-Demand, digital manufacturing changes everything.”
His introduction to actual 3D printing came in 1994 as he pursued his studies at Texas A&M.
“I witnessed both LOM (Layered Object Manufacturing with paper) and Stereolithography firsthand,” Norman said. “The Unviversity of Texas was working on SLS – which became 3D systems after it was DTM. I know both Joe Beaman and Carl Dekkard, the guys who invented it. The first time I saw SLS was much later though.”
It was pioneers like Beaman, Dekkard, Carl Dekker, David K. Leigh – along with Michael Dell – who inspired him to try and keep innovating because they “simply didn’t give up.”
“I think 3D printing will see breakthroughs occur. There is no shortage of research going on. I think the one thing that is overshadowed though is home Making. It’s a great hobby product but manufacturers should manufacture, designers should design and consumers should consume,” Norman says.
“There’s a tremendous amount of product testing and research that goes into consumer products. Electrical conductivity testing, thermal testing, shock and vibe testing, flammability testing; a very long list. Home printed items go through none of this. It makes the prospect of successful 3D printing of consumer products a challenge. This hurdle has to be overcome and home printing simply does not allow for it.”
He added that his biggest challenge as a businessman came in seeking funding early on. Norman said that his initial foray into seeking capital in 2004-2006 led investors to flash him a “deer-in-the-headlights” look as he made his pitch.
Asked if he could have one innovation in 3D printing technology available tomorrow, the answer was unequivocal.
“A food safe, photopolymer with true thermoplastic properties. Everything today is photosensitive acrylics,” Norman said.
While the immediate future doesn’t include plans to aggressively chase his patents, Norman said he does “reserve the right” to adapt that view as time goes on.
“We’re growing at a stellar rate,” Norman said. “In 18 months, Kraftwurx grew to 125 production facilities, a total of 83 printing materials and a global footprint. I think over the next six months we’ll see accelerated growth and adoption. In the next two years, we hope to be at the forefront of showing how 3D printing can shift the balance by effecting an entire industry. I think that this sort of primer is needed to make people take notice of 3D printing in a major way.”