Latest 3D Printing Updates: Housing Innovations, Seed Funding Opportunities, and More – November 25, 2023


We’re diving into the latest 3D printing and construction updates in our Thanksgiving weekend round-up starting with additive construction news, followed by exciting details on seed funding and a Memorandum of Understanding. To wrap things up, we’ll delve into Desktop Metal’s newest releases.

Guatemala Welcomes its First 3D Printed Building

The entrance to Guatemala’s first 3D printed house beautifully fuses modern construction techniques and curved walls with a classic palm leaf rancho-roof, a perfect fit for seismic zones.

Central and South American cement giant Progreso’s corporate accelerator has unveiled the first 3D printed building in Guatemala. Danish companies, 3DCP Group and COBOD International, have reached yet another milestone with the BOD2 construction 3D printer – a 49m² house that was 3D printed in just 26 hours over a span of 7 days featuring 3-metre high walls. Venturing into new territories, Progreso is working to authenticate the structural integrity of additive construction (AC) in regions prone to earthquakes. The unique structure of the house, unreachable with traditional concrete blocks, was made possible by 3D printing. Complementing its modern design, the house also includes a traditional palm leaf rancho-roof, a cost-effective solution that provides thermal comfort. Its lightweight and flexible properties are an added bonus, making it ideal for earthquake-prone areas.

“With immense satisfaction, we completed this unique project using 3D printing technology, once deemed distant. Progreso’s enduring spirit of innovation led us to explore new methods, culminating in a collaboratively designed building featuring a sustainable “rancho” roof, ensuring natural cooling in seismic regions,” said Plinio Estuardo Herrera, Manager of Concrete R&D at Progreso. “This achievement, a testament to our teamwork, harmoniously blends advanced technology with local traditions, thanks to the unwavering support of 3DCP Group and COBOD.”

3D Printed Transitional Housing for Indigenous Canadians

The Blackfoot design incorporates wood beams that project like tipi poles. Interior spaces in the bedrooms were made to accommodate sacred bundles. (Rendering provided)

Continuing with AC, the technology is also being used to build transitional housing for the Siksika Nation in Alberta, funded at $2.6 million from Indigenous Services Canada. Kakatoosoyiists (Star Lodges) will be the province’s largest 3D concrete printed housing project, and is the result of a partnership between Siksika Housing on the southern Alberta First Nation, Ontario-based AC company nidus3D, and the University of Calgary School of Architecture and Planning. There will be 16 transitional units, grouped in fourplexes, and each one will be about 600 square feet, with one bedroom and one bathroom, and could be occupied anywhere from six months to two years. They are meant for Nation members who are dealing with a housing crisis. The robotic arm printer operates onsite, laying concrete exterior walls on top of conventional interior walls, and can print the walls for one building in about a week. Ryan Hall, housing manager of Siksika Housing, considers this a pilot project, and hopes that if it’s successful, the Nation might consider purchasing a 3D printer to create housing, which would allow them to incorporate Blackfoot knowledge into the design. Other Indigenous communities in Alberta are also showing interest.

Hall explained, “I’ve been thinking about using the technology to build housing out here and it sort of went from there and to putting together a proposal and getting funding and then ultimately starting to build the project.

“We’re still trying to figure out some supply chain issues to acquire materials, but I think in the new year, they’ll be ready. Our contract requires that they are done by March 31.”

Phasio Lands $2.5M to Accelerate the Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing-tech startup Phasio, founded in 2021, is a leading end-to-end manufacturing interface, and just received $2.5 million in seed funding to boost local manufacturing around the globe. The interface has tools designed to address areas of friction between customers and manufacturers, and intuitively streamline product development through features such as instant quotations, design collaboration, and managing personalized order experiences. Phasio also developed an AI agent for its interface, ManufacturingGPT (mGPT), that can quickly answer customer questions about specific manufacturing processes to simplify the order management workflow, and its platform includes several integrations across the manufacturing workflow, from CAD and accounting software to shipping providers. The strategic funding, led by Airtree Ventures with participation from 500 Global, Entrepreneur First and Michael Sorkin’s Gattaca Ventures, will allow the company to speed up its go-to-market strategy, first by scaling its engineering team to support increased demand, and then adding feature improvements to the interface, such as further developing mGPT’s AI capabilities.

“Our manufacturing interface is not just a tool; it’s a carefully designed ecosystem rooted in a deep understanding of the challenges that both manufacturers and customers face,” said Sudharshan Raman, CPO and Co-Founder of Phasio. “Phasio’s intuitive by design, removing barriers and making it easier for manufacturers to focus on what they do best: creating quality products.”

Axial3D & GE HealthCare Sign MoU for Personalized Orthopedic 3D Printing

Irish company Axial3D, a front-runner in the medical segmentation and 3D solutions sector, has allied with GE HealthCare to initiate custom, MRI-based orthopedic 3D printing. Marking a significant progress in medical imaging and visualization, the organizations have agreed on a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, aiming to fill the gap between MRI images and 3D patient-specific results. Orthopedic applications of 3D printing normally rely on CT imaging, which subjects patients to ionizing radiation. The objective is to provide healthcare professionals with deeper insights into the patient’s anatomy, devoid of causing further harm. This would be achieved by integrating Axial3D’s FDA-approved imaging segmentation platform with GE HealthCare’s unique MRI-based oZTEo bone imaging application. Consequently, it can facilitate obtaining radiation-free 3D visualizations. This could enhance the accuracy of diagnoses, allow 3D printing of patient-specific anatomical models and potentially curtail the duration spent by patients and surgeons in the operating room.

“We’re extremely excited to partner with Axial3D in order to bring forth this revolutionary solution to healthcare providers. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to enhance patient care through offering MRI-based, radiation-free solutions for orthopedic imaging. Our oZTEo imaging application complements the traditional soft tissue detail of MRI with bone information. This allows healthcare providers to generate 3D digital or physical models, and these assist in surgical planning and patient education,” expressed Anja Brau, PhD, GM, MR Clinical Solutions & Research Collaborations for GE HealthCare.

Desktop Metal Launches Industrial ETEC Pro XL Polymer 3D Printer

Now available below $40,000, the ETEC Pro XL premium polymer 3D printer delivers extreme accuracy, resolution, and surface finish in a large build area with the high throughput speeds for which area-wide DLP technology is known.

Additive Manufacturing 2.0 leader Desktop Metal recently announced the launch of its ETEC Pro XL premium polymer 3D printer—an industrial DLP system that, at less than $40,000, costs less than half the price of its predecessor, the classic EnvisionTEC Perfactory. With a build area of 249.1 x 140.1 x 165.1 mm, the ETEC Pro XL is currently qualified for use with E-Rigid Form Charcoal, HTM 140, and Easy Cast 2.0; upon request, the system is also backwards-compatible with materials previously approved for prior models of the P4K and Perfactory. This makes it great for multiple jewelry, medical, and industrial applications, like automotive parts, microfluidic devices, castable jewelry patterns, prosthetics, and more. It also features several high-value updates, including a premium 385 nm wavelength light engine, HyperPrint technology that makes DLP print times even faster with closed-loop sensing and a resin heater, a 4K ultra high-definition projector powered by an industrial DLP chip, and more. Plus, it’s Additive Manufacturing 2.0-enabled, which means customers can easily move from prototyping to full production on the same system.

“Our ETEC polymer brand has been a leader for 20+ years in high-quality DLP printing, and the ETC Pro XL continues that legacy at an accessible new price point while delivering critical user upgrades. DLP remains a superior polymer 3D printing technology for speed, surface finish, and accuracy, which is why we have more than 300 Super Fleet customers around the world with more than three systems running around-the-clock production with our machines. That includes manufacturers of industrial goods, toys, jewelry, medical devices, and consumer electronics,” said Founder and CEO Ric Fulop. “Our average customer fleet size is six printers, but it is not uncommon for our customers to have fleets of more than 20 printers. The platform on which the ETEC Pro XL is based, originally known as the Perfactory and more recently known as the P4K, has been a major driver of these Super Fleets.”

Desktop Metal’s New Live Monitor Software Application

Desktop Metal is launching Live Monitor, an Industry 4.0 solution for users of select Desktop Metal printers and ancillary equipment to monitor and use real-time data from their equipment to improve efficiency.

Desktop Metal also announced the launch of its Live Monitor software application, an Additive Manufacturing 2.0 solution for users of its Studio, Shop, and Production System printers and ancillary equipment. Live Monitor is an optional add-on feature in the company’s Live Suite package of exclusive software offerings, and provides easy access to useful, real-time 3D printing system data. With its helpful dashboards, it allows users to monitor their equipment in order to improve efficiency and management of their 3D printers, and real-time information includes key metrics like time reporting, consumable usage, and job and event status. Italy-based Desktop Metal subsidiary Aidro, a leader in volume production of next-generation hydraulic and fluid power systems using both traditional and additive manufacturing, has been a beta tester of Live Monitor for the past year, using the software for its Desktop Metal Shop System and Furnace.

“Live Monitor is an essential tool for keeping the most important process variables under control and giving customers with critical parts, such as those in the energy industry, visibility and traceability of AM part production. The variables are visible, customizable, and recordable and this is the basis for having a qualified process. Thanks also to this tool, DNV has awarded Aidro AM manufacturer certification in accordance with the DNV-ST-B203 standard,” said Valeria Tirelli, President and CEO of Aidro. “Compared to other systems, Live Monitor can be customized in a simple and efficient way depending on the specific needs of the user.”

In the future, Live Monitor will be rolled out to users of other Desktop Metal and Team DM equipment sold under the ExOne, ETEC, and Desktop Health brands.


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