This will be my last blog. And therefore I have decided to make it even more fun to read than al my other blogs. I will write about 3D printed parts I designed in the past or parts where I recently came into contact with.
Laser sintered titanium cooling plate
During my time at Formula Group T I designed a cooling plate for the motor controller. The cooling plate exits of small tubes very close to the surface that needs to be cooled. The advantage of printed cooling plates is that the tubes can lay close to each other and have a thin thinness. The weight reduction was +- 8kg.
3D printed body for a racecar
Areion was the first car we build at Formula Group T. The car has a full 3D printed body. It was printed using the SLA technology of Materialise. Now Areion is famous as “The World’s First 3D Printed Race Car”
Rotite is a type of connection that uses dovetails to connect two pieces. This was an inspiration for me. And it shows the possibilities of additive manufacturing. It’s a simple connection that can be used for a lot of purposes.
- Connecting a phone to a holder
- Connect two hoses together
- Use is as a quick connection for closing a bag
3D Printed batteries the size of a grain of sand are now reality. A team of engineers from Harvard and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have successfully 3D printed micro lithium-ion batteries. They are using a micro-printer to create ultrathin electrodes. This will be encased and then filled with an electrolyte solution. The result is a functional battery about the size of a grain of sand.
Think about the smaller applications that could be made with batteries as small like this. Here are some examples that crossed my mind.
- Implemented biomedical devices
- Spy gear
- Tiny robots
Klaus Stadlmann made the world’s smallest 3D printer. This is an affordable desktop printer with a high printing resolution. His example is to use this technology to print hearing aids. You go to the shop, they scan your ear and the data is send to the printer. After a couple of hours the hearing aids are ready and the electronics can be attached to it. Now it’s ready to use. This way you can have your hearing aid in one day.
Now it takes 5 days before you have your hearing aid. After a scan of your ear the data is send to a printing company. When it’s printed they need to ship it back and the assembly of the electronics can begin.
There will be a lot of applications where this can be used to speed up the process and save money from shipping costs.
What is your opinion on the smallest 3D printer and its applications?
These days also clothing designers are using 3D printers to bring their designs to a next level. To ensure that the clothes fit nicely, a 3D scan is made of the human body so that it can be tailor-made. Till now the 3D printed clothes are made out of different kind of plastics, but there is a new technology to print natural latex and cotton. My opinion is that this will result in a revolution in the 3D printed fashion.
While they are optimizing the new technology, you can find the 3D printed fashion out of plastics on the catwalk.
Would you like to try the cloths out of plastic or will you wait for the latex and cotton cloths?
A 3D printer can be used at locations that are hard to reach, like for example in space. The printer can be used to make tools and spare parts. Or to print new parts for testing purposes. The main advantages are that there is no lead-time and there are no high shipping costs. Beneath you can find some examples to clarify.
3D Printers in Space
Imagine a 3D printer in the International Space Station. If a part fails over there, it can easily be printed and replaced. This is cheaper than ship up multiple spare parts, the extra weight will result in an extra fuel cost. With the 3D printer they won’t have an overstock on parts. With a stock on parts you will have the risk that certain parts will not fail. Still, you will have the weight of these parts. Having only a 3D printer on board will be a solution to this problem. On August 2014 NASA will do some research on this.
Other examples I’m thinking of:
- Polar Research Station
- Large ships
- Remote military outpost
Like everything, 3D-printing has its good and bad things: it can also be used for malignant applications. The first 3D printed gun that can fire one bullet was a hot topic a couple of months ago. Now a 3D printed metal gun is created and it can fire a lot of bullets. I don’t think that this will be used by criminal organizations because it costs a lot to buy a 3D printer for metals. So the total cost will be cheaper to buy an ordinary gun.
What is your opinion?
On the following link you can find a picture and a movie.
Food printing isn’t a wild idea anymore. For example chocolate printing, it uses the FDM technique to print chocolate. Such a printer has approximately the same size as a 3D printer for domestic use. Nowadays it’s mainly used by bakers to customize their pastry.
The idea of food printing in the future will go much further. For example that you can download a recipe on the Internet, send it to the printer and when it’s ready you can take place at the table and start to eat.
It would also be possible to print a type of food with a shape of another type of food. Mix different tastes and create new tastes. A new world will be opened for the gastronomic sector.
In the following link you could also find a movie about the food printer concept.