December 24, 2023- A roundup of 3D Printing News: EBAM, DLS, 2GL, Construction and more


In this Christmas Eve instalment of 3D Printing News Briefs, we are kicking off with news about EBAM, DLS, and Two-Photon Grayscale Lithography (2GL) 3D printing. Next, we learn about a partnership between Airtech Advanced Materials Group and CEAD, which has recently grown its presence in the US, and Madco3D’s progress on 3D printing portions of a high-rise building. Lastly, some noteworthy research from Fraunhofer IWU about 3D printed structures that can bear loads.

Sciaky Unveils EBAM-53 for Research and Lab Use

Sciaky Inc., a firm that provides electron beam welding and metal 3D printing solutions and a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, has announced its EBAM-53 Machine for Laboratory and Research Facilities. This machine is specially designed for researchers operating on a smaller scale who aim to utilise a larger Sciaky EBAM (Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing) system down the line. EBAM technology employs wire feedstock to construct elaborate internal structures and consolidated assemblies, offering engineers the capacity to enhance part performance and decrease weight in ways traditional manufacturing methods can’t. The EBAM-53 is well-suited to materials research labs and R&D settings due to its lower cost and smaller build envelope which occupies less space. It can produce test coupons, small demonstrators, and trial parts with various geometries. Additionally, it features IRISS process control software and optional rotary and tilt positioners.

This has been a goal of Sciaky for years. We have been asked numerous times to offer a system appropriate for a research environment. We can now answer this part of the industry’s demand. With the EBAM-53, users can conduct meaningful research and development that can easily migrate to larger production-scale systems in the future,” said Scott Phillips, President at Sciaky, Inc.

Fictic Added Carbon DLS Technology to 3D Printing Service

Following a major 3D printing service expansion in the U.S. to offer more industrial additive solutions for advanced engineering and high-volume production applications, Fictiv has added Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology by Carbon to its on-demand 3D printing services in the country. The company is the operating system (OS) for custom manufacturing, and has manufactured more than 25 million parts for early-stage companies and large enterprises. DLS is good for end-use production and prototyping for many industries, including aerospace, automotive, consumer products, and medical, and will definitely strengthen Fictiv’s digital manufacturing platform. Carbon’s continuous liquid interface production (CLIP) technology enables rapid print speeds, and the solution also ensures high print accuracy and repeatability. It’s now available on Fictiv’s platform for on-demand ordering, instant quoting, and design for manufacturability feedback; materials include proprietary Carbon resins with advanced engineering properties.

“The trend of using 3D printing to manufacture functional, end-use parts is on the rise. The addition of Carbon DLS to the Fictiv platform makes it faster and easier than ever for our customers to go from prototype design to market-ready products through a single manufacturing partner,” said Riley Hall, Director of Additive at Fictiv.

Nanoscribe Introduced 2GL 3D Printing for Nano- & Microfabrication

Speed comparison of a Benchy boat 3D printed with a very competitive 2PP system (left) and with 3D printing by 2GL (right). To obtain the highest possible print quality, the slicing distance of the 2PP printed boat is set to 0.1 µm (“Fine”). In contrast, the same object is 3D printed by 2GL (“Grayscale”) with a significantly coarser slicing of 1 µm, resulting in a print time reduced by a factor of 10.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) spinoff Nanoscribe, a BICO company, has introduced a new microfabrication technology for its Quantum X align: 3D printing by 2GL, or two-photon grayscale lithography. It combines high-resolution 2PP (two-photon polymerization) with a patented voxel tuning process to achieve superior print quality, significantly fewer printing layers, and increased throughput—all of which combine to make 2GL the fastest 2PP-based 3D printing technology. The solution can open the door for new applications, like manufacturing filigree micro-optical systems with much higher quality and reduced print times. Nanscribe’s Quantum X platform is a preferred solution for industrial manufacturing of microoptics, which is why 3D printing by 2GL is now available as a new feature for the Quantum X align, supported by its advanced nanoPrintX aligner software.

This printing process leverages the dynamic modulation of laser power in real time while scanning at high speeds. This technique allows for the precise size adjustment of the polymerizing voxel to perfectly align with any 3D shape’s contours, resulting in optical-grade, flawless surfaces. Additionally, it claims to be the fastest 2PP-based microfabrication technology available, offering up to 60 times the throughput of other current systems. Its ability to create fine submicron features with the highest optical-grade quality, combined with its speed, makes this 2GL 3D printing technology a major driver in advancing microoptics manufacturing and photonics packaging.

Airtech Advanced Materials Group Bolsters AM Capabilities with CEAD

Recently, Airtech Advanced Materials Group incorporated Flexbot Systems from new partner CEAD into its advanced manufacturing portfolio, dramatically boosting its additive manufacturing capabilities. Flexbot is a large-format 3D printing solution developed by CEAD, which has increased its presence in the U.S. to enhance client support by introducing CEAD Group Inc. in Detroit, Michigan. Now housed in Airtech’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Tennessee, the Flexbot features CNC milling capabilities, Dynamic Flow Control, and a 3 x 1 m build volume. Airtech will leverage these capabilities to develop new 3D printing resins and explore novel applications across various market segments.

“CEAD’s best-in-class, fully integrated, robotic printing and milling hybrid solution enables Airtech to maintain its growth in the additive manufacturing market segment. It offers unrivaled support for both CEAD and Airtech customers worldwide.” This statement was made by Gregory Haye, Director of Additive Manufacturing at Airtech, discussing the company’s significant enhancement.

Madco3D Printing Parts of Brooklyn High-Rise

Madco3D, a startup based in NYC is currently in its pre-revenue stage of business development. The company, which is led by architects, focuses on creating autonomous, mega-scale 3D printing systems that can be employed in construction. They aim to redefine construction, aid in the restoration of the coastal marine environment and address the housing crisis through their 3D concrete printing (3DCP) technology. They have also embarked on partnerships with investors and commercial developers. Their first test site has been established in the Northeastern U.S and possesses their large-scale 3D printer. Their technology could be applied in a variety of areas such as coral restoration, infrastructure projects like bridges and dams, and disaster housing amongst other uses. One such application is set to be a New York City high-rise.

“This year, we have seen an increase in significant development projects. These include requests for more than 100 homes in New Hampshire alone, and we will be printing one of the initial high-rises in New York City (or the U.S.A.) to include 3d-printed concrete features. We aim for our operation to be 15% faster, reduce labor by three times, save 10% on costs, achieve a 20% net profit margin and lower carbon emissions.”

Fraunhofer IWU 3D Printing Load-Bearing Plastic Structures

Dyna Light Project: Load-bearing frame construction for the electric cargo scooter from a 3D printer. (Source: Fraunhofer IWU)

Even in closed material cycles, it’s possible to design, and economically produce, highly durable products using granulate-based plastic manufacturing processes, such as 3D printing. Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (Fraunhofer IWU) demonstrated how Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing, or SEAM, was used to fabricate two load-bearing plastic structures: a resilient vehicle frame and an EV cargo shelf. Developed at Fraunhofer IWU, the SEAM process is said to be eight times faster than conventional 3D printing, and is also much more economical than extrusion-based methods that use filament, as it processes cost-effective plastic granulates. Plus, it contributes to a circular economy by using granules from recycled thermoplastics.

CO2 emissions in the transportation sector are significantly reduced in battery EV vehicles, but these need to be more lightweight, as heavy high-voltage systems unfortunately come “at the expense of allowable payload.” Fraunhofer IWU partnered with Mosolf Special Vehicles on a solution to optimize cargo space and reduce weight at the same time: a 3D printed rear shelf, which can hold up to 100 kg. It fits right into the vehicle’s exterior, with no additional attachments or reinforcements, and provides an 8% enlarged storage area. Additionally, electric cargo scooters can also help reduce emissions, and extra payload capacity is enabled with weight optimization, but safety must remain paramount. The designers of the Innvelo Cargo-Scooter, from ICM Chemnitz, first used a steel frame, but its partners in the Dyna Light project—including Fraunhofer IWU and Sauer Creations—suggested a 3D printed plastic one instead. Made with SEAM technology, it saves about 10% in costs and weight, and can still support a total payload capacity of about 200 kg, including the rider.

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