Farmbot Helps Revolutionize the Farming Industry

Each year it is a constant struggle to feed the world’s ever growing population. But, in the not to distant future the farming industry will be able to up production and productivity levels with the Farmbot.

California-based 3D engineer Rory Landon Aronson used existing technologies to create an open-source farming machine made from a 3D printer. The Farmbot is designed to do many tasks such as soil preparation, seeding, watering, fertilizing, weed control, and data acquisition.

Farmbot

Farmbot

The Farmbot is more like a Carthesian 3D printer, which Aronson describes in his White Paper, “FarmBot is an open-source and scalable automated precision farming machine and software package.’ It consists of a scalable frame that employs X, Y, Z directions just like a 3D printer, but can instead be outfitted with sensors and any other device necessary to optimize farming output, like seed injectors, plows and water nozzles.”

This device also comes with a web-based software package that is easily modifiable for any type of vegetable or farming technique. The creator explained: “The vision of this project is to create an open and accessible technology aiding everyone to grow food and to grow food for everyone. The mission is to grow a community that produces free and open-source hardware plans, software, data, and documentation enabling everyone to build and operate a farming machine.”

The Farmbot in Action

The Farmbot in Action

The Farmbot will start a crowd funding campaign in early 2015 however; the hardware and software are already being constructed. Today, Aronson has started a Kickstarter campaign to develop OpenFarm, a comprehensive and free database of farming knowledge to allow his machine to access necessary data. For more information on the upcoming projects visit: Farmbot


Full Color Plastic by Shapeways

3D printing in multiple colors is now possible with Shapeways latest full-color plastic material. Unlike Shapeways full color sandstone, the multicolor plastic material is both durable and flexible allowing endless customization.

Shapeways Full Color Plastic

Shapeways Full Color Plastic

Objects are created by binding material and colored ink, layer-by-layer onto a bed of plastic powder. This allows printers such as 3D Systems ProJet 4500 to print rigid parts in high-resolution. Ultimately eliminating post-processing and painting.

The Full Color Plastic is lightweight, porous, and slightly grainy. The material is currently only available to a select group of Pilot Designers. Shapeways tells us “We’re rolling this out slower than normal because we want our core community to experiment, touch, play with and explore this new material before we offer to the public and begin managing customer expectations. If we deem it worthy of all your creative shoppers, we will make the material public for all to enjoy.”

Full Color Plastic Objects by Shapeways

Full Color Plastic Objects by Shapeways

To gain access to the material you can sign up here. The trial price is $3.00 handling fee + $2.00 per cm3. For more information visit: Shapeways

 


Never Get Locked Out Again – 3D Print Your Keys

Everyone looses their keys from time to time. Luckily, one company is making it easier to break back into your house. A startup company named KeyMe has just launched a new 3D key-printing app that allows users to make digital copies of their keys. Once the digital key is uploaded users can create duplicates straight from the cloud.

KeyMe App

KeyMe App

Currently, KeyMe is being used in New York, where key cutting kiosks have been set up in major stores such as 7-Eleven and Bed Bath & Beyond throughout Manhattan. However, customers outside of New York can order their keys by mail.

The 3D printed keys can come in plastic, brass, or gold. The physical process of scanning and uploading the key takes about 30 seconds. Many people are concerned with thieves being able to duplicate keys, but KeyMe assures its customers that they have a safer process.

CEO of KeyMe, Greg Marsh told Wired Magazine that digitally reproducing keys is safer than other methods because it leaves a digital trail with KeyMe’s account information, credit card records, and its kiosk fingerprint scanners. Marsh explains, “If a key was found to be used maliciously, we have a clear path to find out who was responsible.”

Customize your Key with KeyMe

Customize your Key with KeyMe

There are other companies like KeyMe, which follow the same protocol for 3D printing keys. KeysDuplicated out of San Francisco requires a credit card to ship the key so they can always track it back. In addition they only accept high quality pictures of both the front and back of the key.

Now consumers are beginning to realize that duplicating a key can take only a couple of seconds. Just like before, keep an eye on your keys. However, KeyMe makes life easier by being able to bypass pricy locksmith services. To learn more visit: KeyMe

 


3D Printing that allows Multiple Metallic Properties in Same Object

3D printing techniques for fabricating metal alloys has dramatically expanded in the last few years. However, researchers and developers need a way to print custom parts made from several metals.

3D Printing with Multiple Metals

3D Printing with Multiple Metals

At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, researches are developing a printing process that can print several metals or alloy in a single object.  With help from the researches from JPL, the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and Pennsylvania State University at University park, NASA will be able to build an interplanetary spacecraft made from 3D printed metal parts that have no welding stress. This will ensure that all 3D printed parts will not fall apart under stress when the spacecraft is deployed.

Douglas Hofmann, a researcher in material science and metallurgy at JPL, and his team have developed a whole new way to distribute layers via 3D printing. Rather than adding layers form the bottom to top, Hofmann’s team deposits layers of metal on a rotating rod. This in turn transitions metals from the inside out.

3D Printing Metal Process

3D Printing Metal Process

“We’re taking a standard 3-D printing process and combining the ability to change the metal powder that the part is being built with on the fly,” said Douglas Hofmann, a researcher in material science and metallurgy at JPL, and visiting associate at Caltech. “You can constantly be changing the composition of the material.”

Although metal alloy gradients have been created in the past, this is the first time these composite materials have been used in making objects. This process has applications beyond the building of a spacecraft. The new process could have practical applications in future space missions, auto industry and the commercial aerospace industry, Hofmann said. To learn more visit: NASA


3D Printing in the World of Electronics

It has taken numerous years to develop the technology to mass-produce electronics via 3D printing. However, several companies today are working together to construct a new 3D Printed electronics system.

Neotech's 3D Printed Electronics System

Neotech’s 3D Printed Electronics System

One company in particular, Optomec, has developed the Aerosol Jet process, which applies conductive nano-particle inks onto the component. This technology has helped other companies like German-based Neotech AMT GmbH, to develop the light beam sintering (LBS) 45XE, which is able to produce complex circuitry on almost any 3D surface.

Neotech then took this technology and created a new 3D Printed electronics system based on three key modules: Motion 3D Tool-path Generation Software, 5 axis CNC Motion Platform and Optomec’s Aerosol Jet Print Engine. Dr. Martin Hedges, Managing Director of Neotech states, “This platform will assist customers to develop novel 3D Printed Electronics structures on low temperature substrates. The LBS 45XE has been designed for mass production with low operating costs. The system will be a very useful compliment our current range of 5 axis printing platforms to advance 3D Printed Electronics.”

Neotech's complex circuitry

Neotech’s complex circuitry

Today Neotech is using the technology to print 3D antennas for mobile phones and heater patterns for the automotive industry. The new system can print millions of parts and is a low cost solution to mass-producing electronics. Additional applications are being progressed in for Automotive and Industrial markets. To learn more visit: Neotech


3D Printed Prosthetic Parts by YouBionic

3D printing is revolutionizing the medical field as new ways to print prosthetics emerge. Italian startup YouBionic has recently developed the first electronic 3D printed bionic prosthetic hand.

YouBionic Prostheitc Hand

YouBionic Prostheitc Hand

The initial product is still under development, however the YouBionic prosthetic will be low cost and easily customizable. The idea is to use revolutionary mechanics to print the nylon hand in a single piece using selective laser sintering.

The team is also experimenting with using FDM 3D printers to create the hand structure. This will bring down costs and make the artificial hand more available to the general public. Federico Ciccarese, designer at YouBionic says, “The goal is to create a hand at a cost much lower than those commercial products today, which cost about 20 thousand Euro.”

Prosthetic Parts by YouBionic

Prosthetic Parts by YouBionic

A price has not yet been set for the 3D printed bionic prosthetic hand, however YouBionic assures customers that is will be cheap. The team is taking the next steps forward in prosthetics stating, “We hope to see Youbionic Hand for sale in 2015.” For more information visit: YouBionic 


3DRnano & 3DRmega Delta 3D Printers Released

After 6 months of product testing, the UK based engineer Richard Horne has just released his newest 3D Delta printers: the 3DRnano, a portable Delta printer, and the 3DRmega, a 1.80m Delta operated 3D printer that uses extra tiny parts to stay portable.

3DRnano

3DRnano

The printer uses LM4UU bearings and 4mm rod to keep the structure sturdy and maneuverable. The 3DRnano is around 160mm in height and can fit on a 200mm x 200mm bed; most of the components are small making the printer lightweight and easy to assemble.

On a much larger scale, the 3DRmega Delta 3D printer is 1.8M tall, and is reinforced with 10mm rods and a 30mm aluminum box-section.  It runs on a bigger motor, and has larger drivers, electronics, and print head. The frame uses around 2kg of filament to build a platform. The motor is also mounted at the top to allow more flexibility and freedom of design. The 3DRmega can print on almost any surface and the center carriage can move in any direction allowing endless customization.

3DRmega

3DRmega

Motor: NEMA 23

Driver: Dedicated 3A 128microstep

Electronics: ARM based Smoothie board

Rods & Frame: 10mm Rods and 30mm Aluminum box-section

Parts: 100+mm is size

Creator Richard Horne will upload the design files of 3DRnano and 3DRmega on Youmagine in the upcoming months. Details about the new Delta printers can be found on his website, for more information visit: 3DRnano & 3DRmega Delta


New High Resolution 3D Printing Technology – Heliolithography

Helios One by orange Maker

Helios One by orange Maker

3D printing technology startup Orange Maker has announced the discovery of a new high resolution printing technology – Heliolithography. Similar to conventional Stereolithography, Heliolithography is a photopolymer-based process that uses UV light to harden liquid resin.

Orange Maker has started working on their first prototype Helios One, which will have a greater printing speed, a variety of printing materials, and a smoother surface finish than other desktop 3D printers.

Doug Farber, co-founder of Orange Maker said “In addition, HL technology represents a major breakthrough in process scalability, allowing the printing process to be carried out from the micro-scale through theoretical size limits greater than current large-scale industrial printers.”

Founded in 2011 by Kurt Dudley and Doug Farber, Orange Maker led by executive team Dudley, Farber, and Chris Marion has been developing this ultra-high resolution printing process for years. They are proud to announce that the Helios One, equipped with Heliolithography technology, will provide an efficient and continuous build process, outfitted with a large scalable build area, and printed in ultra-high resolution.

Today, Orange Maker is preparing to manufacture the second generation of prototypes for field-testing. The Helios One is still in its research and development stage so a price has not been determined. The Helios One project will be available in 2015. To learn more visit: Orange Maker


World’s largest 3D Printer used to Construct Houses in China

Chinese developer, Qingdao Unique Products Develop Co Ltd, has unveiled the world’s largest 3D printer at the 2014 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference and Exhibition in Qingdao.

World's Largest 3D Printer

World’s Largest 3D Printer

Wang Hong, the company’s founder and CEO has big plans for the new printer that took nearly 6 months to develop. The 3D printer resides at the High-tech Zone of the local 3D Printing Industrial Park. The project will be open to the public to view the first task of printing the “Temple of Heaven,” the largest temple in China.

Model of Temple of Heaven

Model of Temple of Heaven

The company wants to eventually print entire houses using 3D printing. With the use of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and a build volume of 12 m x 12 m x 12 m, developers will be able to construct the Temple of Heaven, a 100 square meter structure reinforced with graphene glass fiber.

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

According to Qingdao Unique Products Develop Co Ltd, “It will take at least 6 to 8 months to build up the structure layer by layer, just like building a house. Once built, it will become the world’s biggest structure constructed by 3D printing technology.”

In the future the company plans on using this printer for disaster recovery and reconstruction. For more information visit: Qingdao Unique Products Develop Co 3D Printing 


3D Print with Minibuilders

For years researchers at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), based in Barcelona, have been developing a way to 3D print objects by combining robots with 3D printing technology. What limits most 3D builds’ is the physical size of the 3D printer. IAAC has gone around this by producing three separate robots capable of constructing objects larger than itself.

IAAC Minibuilders

IAAC Minibuilders

Minibuilders, are the new generation of complex 3D printing. The three robots work in stages. The first stage is the Foundation Robot, which lays the foundation of the structure. The robot sprays continuous layers on a circular path to ensure smoothness. Sensors located on the inside of the robot allow the predetermined path to be followed.

Foundation Robot

Foundation Robot

The second robot is called the Grip Robot, which grips to the foundation with four rollers and starts dispensing the second round of layers. Curved walls are created with the precise nozzle and built-in heater making the process much faster.

Vacuum Robot

Grip Robot

The last robot is the Vacuum Robot, which attaches to the surface of the second previously printed structure with a vacuumed suction cup. The robot prints and finishes the 3D structure, reinforcing the walls and ceiling with deposited material.

Vacuum Robot

Vacuum Robot

The 3D objects built by the three robots are not limited by scale. In theory, this system can build structures in any size. However, Minibuilders are still in the developmental stage after seven months of research. The IAAC team is more determined than ever to see their project grow. For more information please visit: Minibuilders