3D Printing News Briefs, October 28, 2023: Software Add-On, Heat Exchangers, Milling, & More – 3DPrint.com

We’ve got news about an acquisition and a collaboration to start off today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, before moving on to two stories about additive manufacturing software. Then there’s a story about a grant for heat exchanger design, a milling head that integrates into a 3D printing solution, and interesting 3D printed hook and loop fasteners. A wood tank was 3D-printed by an aquaculture company to grow oysters.

GoEngineer acquires Rapid PSI in order to expand 3D printing capabilities

Rapid PSI is a Kansas based 3D service bureau. GoEngineer has acquired Rapid PSI to expand its 3D capabilities. By pairing GoEngineer’s varied portfolio of engineering solutions, which includes CAMWorks, Stratasys, and SOLIDWORKS, with Rapid PSI’s reputation as a leader in supply 3D printed parts, the industry will enjoy increased access to 3D printing expertise and capabilities, such as customized solutions, prototyping, and production-grade printing. RAPID PSI’s office and team in Wichita will continue to serve the region.

“We see great potential in joining forces with GoEngineer and leveraging their extensive resources and network. Together, we will be able to offer even more advanced 3D printing solutions to our clients, helping them revolutionize their product development processes,” said Phil Nettleton, President of Rapid PSI.

flō Collaborating with Weizmann Institute of Science on Advanced Optical Materials

Israeli startup flō is collaborating with Yeda Research and Development Co., Ltd., the commercial arm of the country’s prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science, having signed an exclusive license agreement to use Weizmann Advanced Materials for ophthalmic coatings applied with its own proprietary AM technology. The manual process of coating optical lenses is time-consuming and expensive. Plus, since it’s an analog process, it’s hard to achieve repeatability, which then results in defects. But a digital process using flō’s multi-material, multi-layered optical coatings makes it possible to accurately control coating down to the micro level, offering improvements in cost, functionality, sustainability, quality, and more.

“We are humbled by this partnership. The Institute’s vast know-how regarding advanced materials in optics, coupled with its amazing academic talent, gives us unprecedented access to innovation resources. We have the advanced technology, staff, and the right partnerships in place – a recipe for success,” said flō’s CEO & Chairman Jonathan Jaglom.

Mastercam introduces new software add-on for additive manufacturing

Mastercam, the leading CAD/CAM product, has announced a new additive manufacturing add-on. Mastercam APlus, by CAMufacturing Solutions, uses the familiar Mastercam interface and allows customers who own Mastercam Mill Lathe and Router licenses, to simulate 3D printing in the same manner as they would do with traditional Mastercam Toolpaths. The add-on integrates seamlessly with Mastercam and uses Direct Energy Deposition. Its toolpaths are designed to handle any AM geometries, as well as features and utilities that improve efficiency and eliminate uncertainty. The new Mastercam APlus add-on by CAMufacturing Solutions is now available for purchase through Mastercam’s worldwide reseller channel.

“APlus brings Additive Manufacturing to the Mastercam user in a form that is consistent with the workflow used for over 40 years,” said Kenneth Fortier, Technical Product Manager, Mastercam. “Direct Energy Deposition is making its way into many machine shops and being able to program hybrid machines or dedicated additive machines using Mastercam makes the transition seamless. With the hybrid process of alternating adding material and milling allows parts with internally machined features to be created that would have been impossible without additive.”

Trumpf’s 3D Printing Software Saves Material with No Support Structures

Trumpf’s software for 3D metallic printing has been improved so that many components are now additively manufactured without the need for support structures.

At the recent EMO Hannover 2023 trade fair, Trumpf showcased an improved version of its Trutops Print software, which allows users to fabricate metal components with extreme overhangs of up to 15° without using support structures. These new functions allow for the creation of large-diameter internal cooling channels, as well as near-net-shaped components. Support-free printing is used by many industries in order to produce parts that have large cavities or difficult overhangs. Examples include hydraulic blocks, tanks and tool inserts for injection molding. It’s also possible to print without support structures in many cases even when you’re using materials that are hard to process, like stainless steel.

Trumpf uses the correct exposure strategies to prevent residual stress and excessive heating in the overhang region. The printer’s enhanced Trutops Print program expands 3D printing. The printer exposes the different parts of the print using the best strategy in each case. Support structures are therefore not needed. Trumpf 3D printers with improved gas flows also allow users to achieve uniform conditions for the process. The heat from exposed parts is dissipated to prevent component distortion due to internal stresses.

TOffeeAM & Imperial College London Awarded Grant for Next-Generation Heat Exchangers 

Schematic representations of the Multi-scale Approach

Imperial College London and TOffeeAM have won a grant through InnovateUK. InnovateUK is part of the non-departmental UK Research and Innovation body (UKRI), whose mission it is to drive productivity and economic development by assisting businesses to realize and develop innovative ideas. The grant will go towards an exciting and ambitious project, “Multiscale Optimization Framework for the Next Generation of Heat Exchangers.” It’s focused on developing an alternative design framework for cold plates, which could revolutionize thermal efficiency, and aims to provide engineers with the ability to create heat exchanger designs that are above and beyond the traditional “serpentine” solutions—instead requiring less pumping energy to operate and offering superior heat transfer.

TOffeeAM develops generative design software for engineering components, and will use cutting-edge multi-scale methods pioneered by researchers in Imperial College London’s Department of Aeronautics during the 14-month project. The estimated market for heat exchangers by 2030 is $26.26 billion. If the project is successful and widely adopted, this will not only result in more efficient heat exchangers but also a simpler design for engineers.

XtreeE introduces Advanced Milling Integration Option

XtreeE’s technology platform, which aims to improve construction productivity and create a low carbon living environment, allows architects, engineers and product designers, as well as project owners and construction firms, to design and manufacture optimized building and infrastructure components using its large-scale robotic 3D printing solution. The company has now made its technology hybrid by integrating a new advanced technology into its 3D-printing solution. It is said to take only five minutes to switch from 3D printing to milling. The new milling head also allows for a smooth finish.

In response to a comment on its LinkedIn post sharing the news, XtreeE replied, “XtreeE’s vision is all about delivering certified finished products that work as both permanent formworks and structural elements. It is important to simplify and precision the assembly process, thus eliminating any risky adjustments on site. This not only boosts safety but also ensures top-notch quality and cost savings in construction.”

3D Printed Velcro…Hook and Loop Fasteners

Velcro is a trademark, so we’ll call this cool project that Hackaday writer Al Williams highlighted by its actual name: 3D printed hook and loop fasteners. Michael Laws, an industrial designer and primary/secondary school teacher, investigated 3D-printed fasteners in his latest Teaching Tech YouTube video. He explored the models available on Printables, and converted his favorite design into a fully parametric OpenSCAD version. Michael Laws began by explaining the 3D-printed version of Velcro and its function. He then investigated the best material for 3D printing hook-and loop fasteners. Laws tried out PLA, TPU, and PETG, and after strength testing, found that the latter was the best option, with what Hackaday described as a “surprisingly robust” bond. The stringing of the print actually worked in favor of this project.

“Some of the designs were rather large, like we would have expected. However, some of the designs were fairly small and looked almost like real Velcro,” Williams wrote. “However, since the pattern is not as random as the fabric portions of the real deal, it seems like alignment between parts is more critical when you are joining the two halves.”

Aquaculture: 3D-printed wooden oyster tank

New Maine oyster farm Muddy River Farm Aquaponics will be using a revolutionary new tank for its oysters, one made of 3D  printed wood.

Muddy River Farm Aquaponics, based in Maine, is opening an innovative solar-powered facility that includes a 3D-printed wood tank to house its oysters. MRF owner Matt Nixon is a PhD student at the University of Maine. He spent 11 years researching sustainable fisheries and noticed that warming waters affected various water-related industries. He needed a way to cultivate oysters that didn’t require him to be on or near the water. But the usual glass, concrete and steel tanks were just too expensive. A colleague suggested that he try 3D printing, and since the university is home to one of the world’s largest polymer printers, in addition to having a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy to find new 3D printing applications, it was a perfect match.

Nixon and his team developed a patent-pending prototype design, 3D printed out of biodegradable lumber scraps and waste, that won’t degrade in salt water. It’s a plug-and-play, vertical, closed loop system with constant water flow, and the whole tank structure, which consists of six stacked hexagons, measures about 8′ x 8′. The tank requires very little electricity and oysters can reach near-market size inside five months as opposed to taking three years to grow in the ocean. MRF is able to produce 20,000 oysters in each array without having to wait for the ideal water temperature. Nixon plans to license the technology, so the wood tanks can be 3D printed and deployed around the world, even where there’s no water; he says that ideally, someone could even “get a lease for an aquaculture site to grow oysters in their garage.”