Recap of 3D Printing Updates on February 17, 2024: From Shot Blasting to Service Bureaus and Beyond


Today’s 3D Printing News Briefs begin with a discussion on post-processing, highlighting SKZ Würzburg’s research that employs a shot blast system from AM Solutions. We will also look at the business aspect, as FIT AG has been named a Meltio Service Bureau. Furthermore, the technology from Meltio used by Snowbird Technologies was amongst the finalists at the recent MilAM awards. Lastly, we will explore how MIT researchers 3D printed the primary component of a mass spectrometer and how a man from Canada is unveiling his design for a low-cost, 3D printed telescope.

SKZ Würzburg Utilizes Post-Processing System from AM Solutions

The German Plastics Center (SKZ), one of the prominent research institutes for plastic materials, concentrates its research and training in the 3D printing field, with a key focus on materials and post-processing. To assist with its research, the team recently acquired an S1 shot blast system from AM Solutions – 3D post-processing technology, an associated brand name with Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH, and situated nearby. Located in Würzburg, SKZ maintains a center of competence for AM, responsible for developing training programs and conducting multiple research projects. One of the crucial aspects analyzed by SKZ includes the impact of blast media on the surface finish of 3D printed parts, as well as the uniformity and efficiency of shot blasting outcomes. The S1 system facilitates easy blast media exchange, offering quick and direct comparisons between various media such as ceramic, glass, or poly beads. The research conducted with the AM Solutions S1 aids in orchestrating efficient process chains.

In our research with new materials for powder bed based additive manufacturing the post processing stage is an extremely important subject,” said Kevin Popp, senior scientist for additive manufacturing at SKZ. “For example, right now we study the effect of different blast media on the surface finish of different plastic materials. For this purpose, SKZ is utilizing the S1 system. We are particularly impressed by how adaptable this system is for our post processing activities, for example, how simple it is to exchange the blast media.

For volume production the repeatability of the results and time are essential parameters, which we study carefully. With our manual shot blasting operations the surface finishes were all over the board. The S1 produces consistent surface finishes on large work piece volumes, even on extremely complex components like brain gears with their delicate gear tooth geometries. In the past it took us a whole day to blast 300 pieces. And the results were highly inconsistent. Today we just need 15 minutes for the same work piece volume, with excellent, consistent surface finishes.”

Meltio Appoints FIT AG as Service Bureau in Germany & DACH Region

Wire laser metal deposition (LMD) technology manufacturer Meltio announced that industrial AM integrator FIT AG is its first official service bureau in Germany and the DACH region. FIT AG works to provide affordable, accessible metal 3D printing services to several industries, and chose to incorporate Meltio’s wire LMD technology to its portfolio, which will allow it to significantly contribute to application development in Germany and other DACH countries Austria and Switzerland. LMD uses clean, inexpensive commodity welding wire, and precisely stacks weld beads on top of one another once in a laser-generated meltpool. Knowhow Wilhelms evaluated a test system for FIT AG with positive results, so by adopting the Meltio Engine—integrated into a robotic arm—FIT AG will also help improve and advance Meltio’s LMD technology, and support the regional demand for Meltio’s parts in several industrial applications.

We are thrilled to be working with FIT AG and KnowHow Wilhelms, as this collaboration between us serves as a great indicator of how Meltio’s partner ecosystem is evolving,” said Moisés Moza Sanchez, Meltio’s Sales manager for the DACH region. “Together we will be able to cater to the ever-growing interest in Meltio’s technology and its applications. As well as by leveraging FIT’s knowledge, we will be able to further develop the adoption of Meltio unique wire-laser metal additive manufacturing for different industries.”

Snowbird Technologies & Meltio Finalists in MilAM’s 2024 Awards

At the prestigious Military Additive Manufacturing Summit and Technology Showcase (MilAM), Snowbird Technologies was honored as a MilAM Awards finalist in Expeditionary and Tactical 3D Printing Excellence category. Pairing with Meltio, they offer distinctive wire-laser metal AM solutions to fabricate and mend metal elements for the U.S. Army, and they were both distinguished as finalists for creating the exclusive Snowbird Additive Mobile Manufacturing Technology (SAMM Tech) platform. The SAMM Tech utilizes both CNC finishing and Meltio’s special wire-laser metal 3D printing. With its integration into an intermodal shipping container, it is portable and flexible, allowing manufacturing to happen at the location of need.

The annual MilAM Awards highlight groups and individuals who demonstrate remarkable achievement in 3D printing, supporting the U.S. Department of Defense’s mission priorities by addressing supply chain problems and enhancing warfighter capabilities, readiness and adaptability. The Expeditionary and Tactical Excellence Award acknowledges government or industry representatives for significant contributions in the delivery of advanced manufacturing solutions. Even though the MilAM award was clinched by Craitor, the noteworthy efforts of Snowbird and Meltio to provide enhanced AM capabilities, reduce lead time for essential elements and increase readiness are receiving deserved recognition.

MIT Researchers 3D Print Filter For Portable Mass Spectrometer

Because additive manufacturing allows the researchers to easily try new designs, they created a number of different quadrupole filters before arriving at the final iteration (h), which is surrounded by a series of triangular lattices to provide durability. Image: Courtesy of the researchers, edited by MIT News.

Mass spectrometers are used to identify chemical substances for applications like geological surveying, crime scene analysis, and toxicology testing. But they’re expensive, bulky, and easy to damage, which limits how effectively they can be used in the field. An important step towards making these devices portable is reducing both the weight and the cost, and a team of MIT researchers used 3D printing to create the main component of a mass spectrometer—a cheaper, lighter, miniature mass filter, known as a quadrupole, which measures the chemical components in a sample to identify a substance by sorting charged particles based on their mass-to-charge ratio. The team used vat photopolymerization and heat-resistant glass-ceramic resin to print the filter in one step, for only a few dollars, and in just a few hours, and it’s just as precise as a commercial-grade one. Their quadrupole features hyperbolic rods, surrounded by an intricate network of triangular lattices for durability and coated with a thin metal film to make them electrically conductive.

“We are not the first ones to try to do this. But we are the first ones who succeeded at doing this. There are other miniaturized quadrupole filters, but they are not comparable with professional-grade mass filters. There are a lot of possibilities for this hardware if the size and cost could be smaller without adversely affecting the performance,” said Luis Fernando Velásquez-García, principal research scientist in MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) and senior author of the team’s paper detailing the miniaturized quadrupole. He’s spent 20 years working to produce a 3D printed, portable mass spectrometer.

“In the end, we made quadrupoles that were the most compact but also the most precise that could be made, given the constraints of our 3D printer.”

Canadian Man’s 3D Printed Low-Cost Telescope on Github

Brian Michel with a Skyward 150 3D printed telescope in his Guelph home. His plans to build the telescope are available free. Image: Mathew McCarthy, Waterloo Region Record.

Finally, 51-year-old Brian Michel of Guelph, Ontario has loved astronomy since he saw Jupiter’s moons through a department store telescope four decades ago. So he founded Ten Telescopes, which supports fellow star gazers by organizing events and sharing Mchel’s designs for a low-cost, 3D printed telescope called the Skyward 150 through the Blue Door Astronomy Library, located in his home. Also at his home is a roofless shed—the Bent Nail Observatory—which is a space for the community of Ten Telescopes volunteers to come and assemble 3D printed telescopes. Michel’s telescope has a red dot pointer for accurate aim, a counterbalance at the bottom end for attaching smartphones to the eyepieces, and is 3D printed out of tough ABS provided by Tundra 3D, his son’s company. Everything you need to make your own Skyward 150 telescope, including design files, an assembly guide, and a user manual, can be downloaded from GitHub for free, and the necessary parts to build it only cost between $300-350.

“My biggest hope is that other communities will find a way to come together like we have. That would be the best,” Michel said.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

Like it? Share with your friends!


Meet the mastermind behind GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube and Vimeo Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format