Winning 3D print to enable the Internet of Space

Mouser Electronics Inc. and Grant Imahara have announced the winning design in the International Space Station (I.S.S.) Design Challenge has been 3D printed in space.

Andy Filo, an engineer based in Cupertino, designed the satellite-launching device that is now in orbit. It is hoped that eventually the 3D printed device for the testing and deployment of Femto Satellites for the Internet of Space may be used by astronauts on missions.

The challenge set was to “help astronauts aboard the International Space Station with a device that improves their jobs or daily life.” As previously reported by 3D Printing Industry, Mouser Electronics Inc are frequent sponsors of such challenges. The satellite-launching device was 3D printed using Made In Space’s Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), who recently told us more about how 3D printing is advancing the space industry.

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Another dimension in printing

I’m delighted to have been published in this month’s Inside Supply Management magazine.  


I t surprises many that 3-D printing is nearly 35 years old. From its early days in the 1980s, it has been a tool for designers, used to create prototypes. But that is changing. Over the last 15 years, new innovative uses have emerged, from making lattices to grow human bladders to producing customized car bodies. The growth trend shows no sign of abating: According to research fi rm International Data Corporation, spending on 3-D printing is estimated to increase from US$13.2 billion in 2016 to $28.9 billion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of about 22.3 percent.

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Liability claims: Emerging technological influences to watch

As technology is infused at greater speeds into the insurance industry, an increasing number of liabilities, such as autonomous driving and 3D printing, will rise as result. (Source: Shutterstock)Technology’s influence on the insurance industry continues to grow in the age of digitalization. As the industry continues to infuse technology into its practice, it is increasingly susceptible to technological liabilities, such as increasing cyber and product liabilities and recall risks.

Business models in the digital economy are more complex and without clear borders, making liability harder to apportion and claims more complex to settle — despite the frequency of claims expected to decline. The growing “sharing economy” raises new questions about liability. In the future, a road traffic accident could involve the vehicle manufacturer, software provider, and the fleet operator, as well as third parties involved in the accident.

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3D printing – supply chain magic?

Imagine the time it takes to get a replacement part through a supply chain in a disaster zone or a naval vessel at war. Commercial organisations would keep a full range of spare parts near their operations however this is unrealistic in a disaster zone or on the front line during war. Far better if you can produce what you need when it is needed.

So how to overcome this conundrum? In an effort to overcome such scenarios, the aid community and some militaries are redesigning their supply chains by embracing 3D printing technology. Imagine being able to print components on demand, what impact does this have on your supply chain?

A recent article published in the Economist reports that an “American aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman, took two 3D printers on a tour of duty. During the tour the crew devised and printed such items as, better funnels for oil cans (to reduce spillage), protective covers for light switches (to stop people bumping into them and inadvertently plunging the flight deck into darkness).One of the Truman’s maintenance officers reported savings of more than $40,000 in replacement parts, the printers cost $2,000 each”. The article also reports that “Israel’s air force prints plastic parts that are as strong as aluminium, in order to keep planes that date from the 1980s flying”.

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Medtech 3D printing: From a San Francisco happening to a legal limbo

3D printed organsIf you’re interested in the intersection of 3D printing and medical technology and happen to be near San Francisco, CA, next week, you might want to carve out some time to attend the 3DHEALS 2017 Global Conference: 3D Print Life. 3D HEALS is dedicated to the proposition that great things can happen if you bring together technologists from the start-up culture of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area and healthcare stakeholders under one roof.

The organization has been around for a couple of years and has produced five successful events during that time. By reaching out to various stakeholders in the healthcare system, technology, regulatory affairs and more, “it made us realize that it takes a village to make revolution happen, and many challenges can only be overcome by a well-organized ecosystem,” write event organizers on the website. “We are hoping that by organizing this global event, 3DHEALS will contribute to fostering this burgeoning yet still fragile ecosystem.”

Boeing turns to 3D-printed parts to save millions on its 787 Dreamliner

The aerospace industry has quickly found the utility in 3D printing items, both in reducing the cost of making parts themselves and in the cost reduction of operating aircraft with 3D printed parts, through the reductions in emissions and fuel use by having optimized designs.  With Boeing now using the technology in its Dreamliner, we can safely say that 3D printing is no longer just for prototyping, and is part of the manufacturing mix!


The move will reduce production costs for each Dreamliner by $2M to $3M

3D printed aircraft partsBoeing will begin using at least four 3D-printed titanium parts to construct its 787 Dreamliner aircraft and may some day rely on as many as 1,000 parts created via  additive manufacturing.

Boeing has hired Oslo, Norway-based Norsk Titanium AS to print the parts. It marks the first time that FAA-approved, 3D-printed titanium parts will be used as structural components on a commercial aircraft, according to the company.

The parts will be used near the rear of the Dreamliner, a mid-sized, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner. Boeing builds about 144 Dreamliners each year.

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The liability of hospitals and doctors printing 3D medical devices

 As 3D printing becomes more accessible, it will present significant liability questions for those injured by these devices. If a traditional manufacturer creates a 3D-printed device, that manufacturer is subject to products liability claims. But, when a hospital or doctor prints the device at their own facility, who is responsible if that device causes a patient harm? This article will provide a very brief overview of the existing legal landscape for those injured by medical devices printed by doctors and hospitals, but will not address the liability issues that arise when the 3D printer itself is defective.

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Is 3D printing the future of F1 racing?

IBTimes UK talks to key members of McLaren’s Technology Centre about the strengths and limits of 3D printing in F1.

For a motorsport as high octane as Formula 1, where split seconds are all that separates lap times and places on the all-important starting grid, speed is inevitably an important factor both on and off the track.

Yet while the technology powering the multi-million pound F1 race cars is progressing at a breakneck pace, the days, weeks, and sometimes even months it takes to design and manufacture key components is directly at odds with the hectic demands of the competition’s busy schedule.

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3D printing – don’t believe all the hype

A great article by Professor Richard Hague, measured in his assessment of the reality of additive manufacturing/3D printing.  


Prof Richard Hague, chair of the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing International Conference, talks myths and modelling

Additive manufacturingAs someone who’s been living and breathing additive technologies for the best part of 20 years, it will come as no surprise that I am not a fan of all the hype surrounding consumer 3D printing. For me, it’s a relief to see a marked decrease in stories on the ‘wonders of 3D printing’ appearing in the tabloids and mainstream media on a regular basis.

Cynical as this may sound, I have good reason: we are still constantly dispelling the ‘plug-and-play’ myths that have led to frustration, disappointment and unmet expectations with the technology. However, in spite of the confusion it may have caused, I also acknowledge that much of the hype surrounding 3D printing has also played an important role in advancing the technology.

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South Korea to invest $37 million into 3D printing this year

The growth of 3D printing’s prominence in manufacturing is changing the dynamics of manufacturing, of that there can be no doubt.  It therefore is becoming clearer that governments need to either get on board and incentivise this development in their own countries or risk being left behind, losing share in global manufacture.  South Korea is recognising this with a focused programme, and the UK is on the cusp of publishing its strategy for 3d printing technologies.  Any such strategy, though, needs to be backed up with fiscal assistence and the skillbase developed in schools, colleges and universities – two things that remain the gift of government.


South Korea $37m investment 3d printing“The 3D printing industry is the core technology that will bring about innovation in the manufacturing realm and create a new market by changing the paradigm of the industry.”

South Korea has revealed it will invest around $37 million in 2017 to accelerate the development of 3D printing across the country.

The nation’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will spend much of the budget on various 3D printing businesses to strengthen South Korea’s competitiveness and ability to meet demand.

On the ministry’s agenda are sectors ranging from the military to medical industries. Aiming to assist the military and industries to produce components through 3D printing, the ministry will also encourage the production of artificial bones and rehabilitation devices using the technology.

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