Just in Time for the SuperBowl: Stratasys Shows Off Their Stuff with New 3D Printed Football

StratasysLogoWithTagline_CMYKIt’s that time of the year again, and one has to consider which has become bigger—the SuperBowl—or the amazing marketing surrounding it? For sure, we get a big dose of football, but also an opportunity to learn about a lot of big new products that are arriving on the scene. And as everyone gets in on the frenzy of the biggest game of the year, Stratasys was not to be topped, producing a multi-material 3D printed football.

Objet500 Connex3 Coloro Multi-material 3D Printer

Objet500 Connex3 Coloro Multi-material 3D Printer

As the Patriots meet the SeaHawks on the field, TVs will be running overtime all over the country and world, with the crowds hoisting beers and raising arms in cheering as their teams score and hopefully, triumph. By next year though, there just may be a team of kids out on the lawn playing ball, and tossing around their very own 3D printed footballs, courtesy of Stratasys. And while I don’t think their marketing video is hitting the leagues of the SuperBowl (not this year, anyway), it’s important, and interesting, to get a look at what is most likely the world’s first 3D printed football.

Manufactured on an Objet500 Connex3 3D printer, Stratasys gave their multi-material machine a good chance to show off its stuff, using three different materials, with the rubber-like TangoPlus, VeroMagenta, and VeroYellow—all for the one football. With the incredible versatility and choices of material available with the Objet500 Connex3, Stratasys was able to use textures and materials so that their 3D printed football feels and looks almost identical to the traditional pigskin.

super-bowl-3d-printed-footballUsing triple jet technology, the Objet500 Connex3 3D printer is receiving more and more acclaim due to its ability to print large parts or multiple parts all in one job, as well as integrating multiple materials. It has amazing color capabilities and can create three-component digital materials, with over 1000 materials and resins to choose from. Fine details and smooth surfaces are promised, and the 3D printed football is a nice example of what it can do not just as a novelty item for the SuperBowl, but as another 3D printed item they can offer to the sports world.

Stratasys has already worked with a multitude of sports enthusiasts, teams, and companies, and we’ve followed along, writing a number of stories on their successes and interesting projects regarding 3D printing in areas like kite surfing where they were able to help university students 3D print custom parts to help them in an extreme challenge involving the elements of wind and sea.

Being able to use 3D printing in sports is one more area where access to streamlined design and customization mean that athletes and athletics companies can bring new and exciting products to the industry and marketplace faster, and with more input from the individuals actually using the products likes skis, motocross bicycles, or fencing equipment—all items which Stratasys has worked in developing different pieces for with the technology of 3D printing.

Have you seen any 3D printed items for sports? What do you think or the impact 3D printing can have in the sports arena? Tell us your thoughts in the Stratasys 3D Printed Football forum over at 3DPB.com, and what the heck, let us know who you are cheering for in this year’s Super Bowl.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUBceawRioQ]

SUMMARY: Stratasys is in the spirit of the New Year and the height of football season, as the SuperBowl looms, and fans are getting excited. With the Objet500 Connex3, Stratasys is showing what the multi-material 3D printer is capable of with the use of three different materials– TangoPlus, VeroMagenta, and VeroYellow. This is not Stratasys’ first foray into the world of sports, as they have also 3D printed parts for kiteboards, bikes, skis, and have even made 3D printed fencing equipment.  Additional information on this awesome 3D printed football can be found here:  http://3dprint.com/40326/superbowl-3d-print-football/

Below is a picture of the ball:

http://3dprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/super-bowl-3d-printed-football.jpg

Digitrax MH5 — Digitrax 3D Unveils Their 5-Extruder 3D Printer

d3Some time in the not too distant future, 3D printing will be utilized within mass manufacturing processes. In fact, 3D Systems has been working towards this goal by utilizing a racetrack-like architecture which we have discussed in the past, but others too are looking at ways to do the same.

Currently the majority of printing, from a manufacturing point of view, is used for prototyping. There are some manufacturers utilizing direct metal laser sintering to build complex end-use parts. However, when it comes to FDM/FFF printing, such uses are almost non existent. Why? Because injection molding is still much cheaper and faster at this point in time.

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With that said, one company based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, called Digitrax 3D, is trying to change all of this. Utilizing a 5-extruder system, they are aiming to take mass manufacturing via 3D printing to the next level. A few weeks ago, the company revealed their prototype 3D printer on their Facebook Page. In doing so, they peaked my interest and certainly many other’s.

The Digitrax MH5 multi-head 3D printer is able to increase production capacities by five times over the average machine on the market. Usually when an additional extruder is added to any 3D printer, this addition will be countered by a decrease in the print volume when all extruders are being utilized. This is also the case with the MH5, but what makes a bit of a difference with this machine is the fact that the printer is a decent size, sporting a build envelope of 28 x 28 x 20cm. Needless to say, you aren’t going to be mass producing basketball sized objects with this printer, but if smaller objects are on your menu then it may be just the right tool for you.

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The company provided an example of just how much faster a group of objects can be printed compared to a single extruder machine. A single PLA flower pot, measuring 8cm in height would take a single extruder printer 1h 4min to print. Using the MH5 3D printer, and printing 15 flower pots (3 per extruder) at one time, the entire fabrication would take approximately 3h 20min. This equates to just about 13.4 minutes per flower pot.

With the MH5, users will have the ability to control the extrusion temperature via an LCD interface for each of the five extruders. This means that if you need a higher temperature to print one item with ABS and a lower temperature to print another item at the same time with PLA, there isn’t a problem. Additionally, each extruder can easily be removed and spaced out however the user chooses, providing the ability to customize the machine for each project. Below you will find the full specifications of the Digitrax MH5:

  • Print Resolution: 100μ
  • Filament Size: 1.75
  • Filament Material Compatibility: PLA for MH5, PLA, ABS for HD Version 5.1
  • Machine size: 77 x 57 x 55 cm
  • Build Envelope: 28 x 28 x 20 volume printing (Coming soon: 60×30 cm)
  • Printer Weight: 40 kg
  • Connection: USB or micro SD card
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4

The company also plans to release a much larger machine in the near future, but hasn’t stated when. The price and exact date in which the MH5 will be available is forthcoming, as it’s currently only a prototype. Is this a machine that you are interested in? Let’s hear your thoughts. Discuss in the Digitrax MH5 forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the short clip below showing the printer in action.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fozBCIllOFs]

Doctors Could 3D-Print Their Own Tools For A Fraction Of The Cost

The cost of the instruments needed to run a hospital or a lab is often exorbitant — but what if doctors and scientists could simply print their own tools from an open library of designs? That’s what a paper published today suggests.

What if a scientist could simply go to an open-source library of tools, select the one he or she needed, and print it out within a few hours? It’s not all that far off, as the Michigan Tech researchers behind a paper called Open-Source Syringe Pump Library, published today in PLOS One, explain.

To prove it, they carried out a test case. The team created a whole library of open-source syringe pumps — the devices used to give patients a dose of a medication or fluid — that can be downloaded, customised, and printed by anyone, for just the cost of the materials. They also hooked the 3D-printed pump (created on a RepRap) up to a Raspberry Pi so they could control it remotely. Here’s how one author on the study, Joshua Pearce, described it in Michigan Tech News:

That way, you can link the syringe pump to the network, sit on a beach in Hawaii and control your lab. Plenty of people can have access, and you can run multiple experiments at the same time. Our entire single-pump system costs only $US50 and can replace pumps that run between $US250 and $US2,500.

Remote-control labs are great, but what’s really important about the idea is how little it costs. 3D printing has already driven down costs within medicine, say the authors of the paper, from reducing the price of “neural circuit reconstruction” to applications within nanotechnology. But that’s just the beginning.

“Even greater cost reductions for science, however, can be found with the application of open-source hardware,” the authors argue. “The development of open-source hardware has the potential to radically reduce the cost of performing experimental science and put high-quality scientific tools in the hands of everyone from the most prestigious labs to rural clinics in the developing world.”

We’ve seen how engineers and doctors have used rapid prototyping to create smarter, faster tools for patients in rural or poverty-stricken parts of the world. But what if doctors and scientists could benefit from all that combined knowledge simply by accessing it from an online database? [ Michigan Tech News; PLOS One]