Category Archives: 3D printing

Specific manufacturing applications at the second edition of ADDIT3D

Additive manufacturing is moving forward together with ADDIT3D, the only professional trade show in Spain for this sector. It will be held next year for the second time, from 6 to 8 June at Bilbao Exhibition Centre.

After an initial stage of asking many questions about how to make the most of a revolutionary concept that offers great opportunities, companies are starting to get a clear view of the real possibilities for their production environments. In this context ADDIT3D will be an important event where companies can look for specific applications for parts, materials, software and design solutions and CAM based on new technologies.

Exhibitors and visitors agreed that their participation at the first International Trade Show on Additive and 3D Manufacturing was a great success, thanks to the quality and the amount of participating companies represented, as well as the approach and content of the technical seminars. In 2017 the conference programme, coordinated by ADDIMAT, will cover once again the sector’s major challenges and will offer cutting-edge answers and solutions to improve the product value chain.

ADDIT3D will also have an exhibition area for companies of additive manufacturing and 3D systems and machinery, industrial applications, raw materials, consumables, 3D printing services, software, 3D scanners, R&D and training. Professionals attending this benchmark event in Industry 4.0 will come from the following sectors, mainly: automotive, aeronautics, railway, capital goods, metal-mechanic transformation, prototyping, moulding and die casting, and medical-prosthetics.

As ADDIT3D is being held at the same time as five other industrial events – SUBCONTRATACION, International Fair of Manufacturing Processes and Equipment; MAINTENANCE, Industrial Maintenance Fair; PUMPS & VALVES, International Trade Show for Pump Systems, Valves and Equipment for Industrial Processes; FERROFORMA, International Hardware, DIY and Industrial Supplies Fair; and FITMAQ, International Fair of Bargain & Used Machinery – it will increase its value as a place for business and knowledge transfer, and will generate interesting synergies at all levels.

ADDIT3D is organised by ADDIMAT, Spanish Association for Additive and 3D Manufacturing Technologies, and Bilbao Exhibition Centre.

MachineWorks Teams with Stratasys to Accelerate 3D Print Environments via Polygonica Software

Further enabling 3D printing to be more accurate and reliable, MachineWorks Ltd. today announced a new partnership with Stratasys Ltd. Core to the agreement, the company’s premier Polygonica software will now work seamlessly inside Stratasys GrabCAD Print.


Designed to make 3D printing easier and more accurate, GrabCAD Print resides on the popular SaaS platform and is powered by a new “design-to-3D print” workflow application. Taking this solution further, it will now incorporate Polygonica mesh libraries – enabling automatic mesh repair, mesh offsetting, Boolean operations, and analysis functions.

Dr Fenqiang Lin, MachineWorks Managing Director, explained, “GrabCAD and Polygonica share the same philosophy of enabling a single ‘click-to-print’ methodology for 3D models, in the same way we do with 2D printing.  The user doesn’t want or need to know about what software is used to prepare the file, they just want their CAD model printed with the minimum of fuss.”

Polygonica’s mesh repair functions ensure models are closed and watertight, free of self-intersections, badly oriented triangles, noise shells and non-manifold edges. The algorithms can be applied either fully or semi-automatically to ensure minimal disruption to the printing workflow. Robust Boolean and offsetting operations are vital for preparation tasks such as splitting models, engraving meshes, hollowing and infilling meshes; Polygonica analysis tools such as optimal orientation and clash detection can be used for build plate optimisation.

 “MachineWorks has set an industry standard for CNC simulation and verification software – backed by its robust Polygonica solid modelling toolkit for processing polygon meshes,” said Jon Stevenson, Senior Vice President Global Software, Stratasys. “Combined with the power of GrabCAD Print to streamline and simplify the 3D printing process, customers can dramatically enhance 3D printing design freedom and creativity to accelerate the prototyping, tooling and manufacturing process.”

About Polygonica
Polygonica is a solid modelling software toolkit for processing polygon meshes. Built on MachineWorks’ core engines, Polygonica’s unique polygonal modelling technology takes advantage of 22 years of development providing automatic, fast and robust Boolean operations. Other algorithms in Polygonica allow solid healing, remeshing, simplification, offsetting and point cloud manipulation.

Polygonica has a wide range of applications such as CFD/FEA meshing, CAD/CAM/CAE, additive manufacturing where there is a requirement to repair defective models with vast numbers of polygons, rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, 3D movies and gaming, geo-exploring, urban modelling and other 3D digital applications.

Trade fair for professional 3D printing in Switzerland: All expectations exceeded

The first trade fair for additive manufacturing in Switzerland demonstrated very clearly what can be achieved through additive manufacturing today and enabled a unique transfer of knowledge.
Both exhibitors and visitors confirmed a convincing performance.


“We were able to pick up on a trend with the AM Expo”, explains René Ziswiler, Trade Fair Director at the AM Expo. The pleasingly large number of visitors and the exclusively positive feedback from exhibitors demonstrate that the AM Expo has recognised a need of the industry.

A trend becomes palpable
Over a two-day period, around 70 exhibitors presented the projects they have already implemented in the marketplace to clearly show that the ground-breaking technology of additive manufacturing has well and truly arrived in serial production. The close link between the AM Expo and practical applications was a main driver behind the mobilisation of 1,700 visitors. They were able to obtain detailed information on the application examples presented in the Showcase Forum and discuss them with experts in the field.

AM Expo raises awareness
Embracing additive manufacturing in such an illustrative way was also much appreciated by the exhibitors. “I found the highly qualified visitors most convincing. We were able to discuss concrete projects with them that we will now follow up on”, says a satisfied Thomas Teufel of
German company Teufel Prototypen. Shop talk characterised the atmosphere in the trade fair hall. “The visitors displayed great interest right from the start and approached us with concrete questions”, summarises Martin Graf, CEO of admantec.

Thus, the AM Expo was able to raise the all-important awareness that will enable beginners and professionals alike to advance in the
field of additive manufacturing. Accordingly, René Ziswiler is happy with the start of the AM Expo. “My expectations have been more than exceeded and I am convinced that the AM Expo represents a first step towards creating a cross-industry AM community.”

Bad vibrations: UCI researchers find security breach in 3-D printing process

With findings that could have been taken from the pages of a spy novel, researchers at the University of California, Irvine have demonstrated that they can purloin intellectual property by recording and processing sounds emitted by a 3-D printer.

Prototypes produced on 3-D printers are intricately detailed. A new UCI study has found that the machines emit sounds, vibrations and other signals that present opportunities for industrial espionage.

The team, led by Mohammad Al Faruque, director of UCI’s Advanced Integrated Cyber-Physical Systems Lab, showed that a device as ordinary and ubiquitous as a smartphone can be placed next to a machine and capture acoustic signals that carry information about the precise movements of the printer’s nozzle. The recording can then be used to reverse engineer the object being printed and re-create it elsewhere. Detailed processes may be deciphered through this new kind of cyberattack, presenting significant security risks.

“In many manufacturing plants, people who work on a shift basis don’t get monitored for their smartphones, for example,” Al Faruque said. “If process and product information is stolen during the prototyping phases, companies stand to incur large financial losses. There’s no way to protect these systems from such an attack today, but possibly there will be in the future.”

Al Faruque’s team achieved nearly 90 percent accuracy using the sound copying process to duplicate a key-shaped object in the lab. They will present their results at April’s International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems in Vienna.

Prototypes produced on 3-D printers are intricately detailed. A new UCI study has found that the machines emit sounds, vibrations and other signals that present opportunities for industrial espionage. Daniel Anderson / UCI

State-of-the-art 3-D printing systems convert digital information embedded in source code to build layer upon layer of material until a solid object takes shape. That source file, referred to as G-code, can be protected from cyberthievery with strong encryption, but once the creation process has begun, the printer emits sounds that can give up the secrets buried in the software.

“My group basically stumbled upon this finding last summer as we were doing work to try to understand the relationship between information and energy flows,” said Al Faruque, an electrical engineer and computer scientist. “According to the fundamental laws of physics, energy is not consumed; it’s converted from one form to another – electromagnetic to kinetic, for example. Some forms of energy are translated in meaningful and useful ways; others become emissions, which may unintentionally disclose secret information.”

The emissions produced by 3-D printers are acoustic signals that contain a lot of information, he said, adding: “Initially, we weren’t interested in the security angle, but we realized we were onto something, and we’re seeing interest from other departments at UCI and from various U.S. government agencies.”

“President Obama has spoken about returning manufacturing to the United States, and I think 3-D printing will play a major role because of the creation of highly intellectual objects, in many cases in our homes,” Al Faruque said. But he cautioned that with the convenience of these new technologies come opportunities for industrial espionage.

He suggested that engineers begin to think about ways to jam the acoustic signals emanating from 3-D printers, possibly via a white-noise device to introduce intentional acoustic randomness or by deploying algorithmic solutions. At a minimum, Al Faruque said, a fundamental precaution would be to prevent people from carrying smartphones near the rapid prototyping areas when sensitive objects are being printed. Today’s smartphones, he noted, have sensors that can capture a range of analog emissions.

iComposite 4.0 launched: Schuler leads group project on the economic serial production of fiber-reinforced plastic parts

As the importance of lightweight construction methods continues to rise, the automotive industry is increasingly considering fiber-reinforced plastics (composites). Due to high strength combined with low weight, fiber-reinforced plastics offer lightweight potentials which have not been fully exploited yet. At the moment, however, high resulting component costs, among other things, are preventing the widespread use of such composite parts. The beginning of 2016 saw the launch of iComposite 4.0, a group project led by Schuler aimed at achieving economical serial production of components made of fiber-reinforced plastics through increased resource efficiency.

A self-regulating production line makes it possible to maintain defined characteristics of composite parts.

Due to the high material cost, resource efficiency opens up enormous potential for cost savings. One approach to decreasing the component cost is to reduce the use of materials and processing times in production drastically. The cut-off of semi-finished products is up to 50 percent during manufacturing, for instance. In addition, due to new technologies, there is significant production-related scrap. With the iComposite 4.0 project, cost savings are to be achieved by near net shape, additive production processes (“3D printing”) – in combination with a resin-injection method established in the industry – as well as a networked production system with regulating system intelligence (“Internet of Things”).

The starting point of the networked production system is additive fiber spraying, which is a highly productive process to generate the basic structure of the component. After this, fiber strands are applied very precisely and in accordance with the load profile in order to absorb peak loads in the part and compensate for part variations in the fiber spraying process. During the subsequent injection of resin and shaping in the press, the die’s deflection is deliberately influenced in order to obtain the desired wall thicknesses of the part.

During the subsequent process steps, regulating system intelligence compensates for any fluctuations in the part’s properties in order to minimize scrap. The production history is stored on an RFID chip integrated into the part. This uninterrupted quality monitoring and linking of individual systems along the production line in accordance with Internet of Things methods is ultimately aimed at achieving a zero scrap rate.

In addition to Schuler, partners of the group project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) are the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) at RWTH Aachen, Apodius GmbH, Broetje Automation Composites GmbH, Frimo Sontra GmbH, ID-Systec GmbH, the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts at RWTH Aachen, Siemens AG, and Toho Tenax Europe GmbH.

3rd Edition of the 3D Printing Materials Conference

On January 26-27, 2016, the 3rd Edition of the 3D Printing Materials Conference will take place at MECC Maastricht, in The Netherlands.


Insights from speakers’ presentations at the conference:

  • Theo Salet, Professor, Technical University of Eindhoven, about “3D Printing of Sustainable Concrete Structures – From a Black and White Printer towards a Colour Printer”: “Printing of concrete structures saves on the costs, improves productivity and could above all seriously limit the environmental impact. This lecture explains the digital design of printed concrete structures, using evolutionary tools to minimize the amount of material needed. It also shows the development of a large scale concrete printer, able to print different types of concrete at the same time amongst structural – and innovative insulating types of concrete.”
  • Tristan Mes, Manager, SupraPolix, about “3D-Printing of Self-Healing Supramolecular Materials”: “Supramolecular polymers, based on hydrogen bonding are eminently suitable for FDM 3D-printing. The thermo-reversible nature of hydrogen bonding favors the interplay between the intrinsic processability and the mechanical properties of the polymer and is therefore lowering its printing-temperature while retaining its mechanical performance. Furthermore, the specific rheological profiles of supramolecular polymers may lead to unique dynamical properties like self-healing behavior.”
  • Stijn Lambrechts, Business Development & Innovation Additive Manufacturing, SIRRIS, about “Guide to optimize print parameters for an LBM process”: “If we want additive manufacturing to become more cost effective, one key enabler will be to open up the market for material supply to AM. For quality and process stability reasons, many suppliers of AM machines try to organize the material supply for their machines by sourcing the materials and distributing them to the machine users. For powder bed AM machines however, supply of suited powders is broadly available on the market at more cost effective prices.”
  • Johannes Overvelde, Harvard University, about “Embracing compliance in robots to achieve function”: “In coming years, the fast developing field of 3D printing will likely result in completely soft robots that do not require any assembly.”

Half of the top 10 universities in the world already use Nanoscribe’s 3D printers

In the recently published QS World University Rankings 2015/2016, five out of the top 10 universities are already customers of the 3D printer manufacturer Nanoscribe.

Installation of a Nanoscribe 3D printer at Harvard University


Not only Harvard University, but also the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Oxford as well as Imperial College London are among the elite users of the high-precision systems for microfabrication. ETH Zurich, which has already purchased a second Nanoscribe system this year, succeeded in reaching the top 10 for the first time.

The world technology and market leader Nanoscribe, which has reached the finals of the German Founders Award 2015 in the “rising star” category, offers users these high-tech systems as a valuable tool enabling the printing of three-dimensional objects on a size scale of a few hundred nanometers up to the millimeter range.

CEO Martin Hermatschweiler explains: “Our systems work based on two-photon polymerization. This unique technology was only known in a specific research niche until we entered the market. Only very few researchers were familiar with this technique and there were no commercial devices. With the development of our Photonic Professional GT systems, which are today the fastest systems on the market, we could establish a new standard at universities and research institutes. In addition to the tremendous speed, they work with a precision a hundred times higher than for example stereo lithography.” With these devices, it is possible for the first time to open up new and broader applications, such as in medical technology, micro optics and photonics, information and communication technologies, micro mechanics, and MEMS.

All in all, there are already more than 100 systems in use at renowned research institutes in over 25 countries. Furthermore, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), from which Nanoscribe was founded in 2007, is a Nanoscribe customer amongst the top 100 of the best and most innovative universities worldwide. Even Chinese president Xi Jinping was very fascinated by this innovative technology during his recent visit to Imperial College London. He was impressed by the miniaturized section of the Great Wall of China printed with a Nanoscribe system.