December 24, 2023 Edition: Latest Updates on 3D Printing – Featuring EBAM, DLS, 2GL and More in Construction Sector


In this Christmas Eve edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting with EBAM, DLS, and Two-Photon Grayscale Lithography (2GL) 3D printing news. Moving on, Airtech Advanced Materials Group is partnering with CEAD, which recently expanded its U.S. footprint, and Madco3D is printing parts of a high-rise building. Finally, there’s some interesting research out of Fraunhofer IWU about 3D printed load-bearing plastic structures.

Sciaky Announced EBAM-53 for Researchers & Laboratories

Electron beam welding and metal 3D printing solutions provider Sciaky Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, has announced its EBAM-53 Machine for Laboratory and Research Facilities. It’s meant specifically for users who are researching on a smaller scale, but plan to use a larger Sciaky EBAM (Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing) system in the future. EBAM technology uses wire feedstock to create intricate internal structures and consolidated assemblies, and allows engineers to optimize part performance and reduce weight in a way that traditional manufacturing methods can’t achieve. The EBAM-53 is perfect for materials research laboratory and R&D settings: it costs less and has a smaller build envelope of a 26 inch cube, so there’s less of a space requirement. It can manufacture test coupons, small demonstrators, and geometry trial parts, and features IRISS process control software, with 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

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 controls laser power in real time while scanning at high speeds. This technique, according to Nanoscribe, allows a “precise size adjustment of the polymerizing voxel to match the contours of any 3D shape” and produces optical-grade flawless surfaces. Claimed to be the fastest 2PP-based microfabrication technology on the market, it outperforms competing two-photon lithography systems by up to 60 times. The technology also enables the creation of fine submicron features and ensures the highest optical-grade quality. This capability significantly progresses 3D printing by 2GL in the fields of microoptics manufacturing and photonics packaging.

Airtech Advanced Materials Group Enhances AM Capabilities with CEAD

Airtech Advanced Materials Group recently integrated Flexbot systems from new associate CEAD into its advanced manufacturing portfolio, substantially boosting its additive manufacturing capabilities. Flexbot, a robotic large-format 3D printing solution by CEAD, recently broadened its operations in the U.S. to enhance client support by establishing CEAD Group Inc. in Detroit, Michigan. The Flexbot, stationed at Airtech’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Tennessee, includes CNC milling capabilities, Dynamic Flow Control, and a 3 x 1 m build volume. Airtech will utilize it to develop 3D printing resins and explore new applications across various market sectors.

“CEAD’s leading fully integrated robotic printing and milling hybrid solution prepares Airtech for its continued growth in the additive manufacturing market sector. It provides unmatched support for both CEAD and Airtech customers globally,” stated Gregory Haye, Director of Additive Manufacturing at Airtech, on the significant new addition.

Madco3D Printing Parts of Brooklyn High-Rise

NYC-based startup Madco3D, presently in a pre-revenue phase of business growth, is constructing robotic, self-regulating, mega-scale 3D printing systems, along with design and build services, for construction purposes. The organization, spearheaded by architects, envisions redefining construction standards, revitalizing the coastal marine environment, and addressing the housing shortage, all through its 3D concrete printing (3DCP) technology. Madco3D is collaborating with financiers and commercial builders, and has initiated a trial site, equipped with its large-scale 3D printer, in the Northeastern U.S. The technology innovated by this startup could potentially be applied to areas such as coral restoration, infrastructure like bridges and dams, seawall construction, disaster-relief housing, personalized artwork, urban developments like park benches, commercial construction, and residential projects, such as a high-rise in New York City.

“Within this year, we have encountered a surge of substantial development prospects in the pipeline— demands for over 100 homes in New Hampshire alone, and we will be creating one of the initial high-rises in New York City (or the rest of U.S.A.) to incorporate 3d-printed concrete features. Madco aims to deliver results 15% quicker than usual timelines, cut down on labor by 3x, save costs upto 10%, net a profit margin of 20%, and simultaneously reduce 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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