jeudi 27 novembre 2014

A small recap until now !

I focused my blog around one specific subject, Additive Manufacturing in other words 3D printers. The last two decades this breakthrough technology had changed the lives of many people in many different sectors, from the medical and dental sector, to the food, fashion and even art sector. 

The several articles I wrote, demonstrate how this technology, can be used in our daily life and how affordable it became especially the last 5 years. We must not forget though the adverse effect of this technology through the possibility of building guns so easily as exposed in the last article. Moreover except the price of the printers that has been decreasing more and more, the accessibility has increased too for another reason. Thanks to the internet, many open sources files exist and therefore any individual that has not a 3D scanner and has access to internet, can for instance download them and use them to build any item he desires. 

I really believe that 3D printers will continue to expand and offer more and more features and help to improve our life on a daily basis. This blog helped me to follow regularly new achievements that were made particularly in the medical sector, such as the personalized hand and foot prosthesis. This technology continues and will continue to impress me day after day.

mercredi 19 novembre 2014

The adverse effect of 3D printers

It is no secret that this technology has been used by individuals to build guns. The first 3D printed gun was unveiled publicly in May 2013. 

In only one year and a half, 5 different models of guns have been manufactured with a 3D printer. As the designs are open source it is very easy to get the file and to use it in order to manufacture a gun. In our decade access to Internet has become so easy for the most of the human beings thus the access to the open source files is even easier. The first gun was the Liberator, a single shot handgun. The open source company Defense Distributed has designed the gun and released the files on the internet on May 2013. The open source plan was downloaded 100,000 times before the US Depart of State asked to retract them but it was too late as it already circulated madly though the internet and thus was hosted on file sharing websites like Pirate Bay or Kickasstorrent.

Even if we have noticed the incredible life-changing applications for 3D printing, indeed there are some dangers generated from this breakthrough technology that arise some important concerns and limits.


samedi 15 novembre 2014

Build your food with a 3D Printer

This week lets talk about a different use of 3D printers. Even if when we hear about it, it is difficult to imagine it and to visualize it, but 3D printers have entered also the food sector, the printers are used to design edible products. 

For instance Structure3D, a Canadian startup, has created a printer that enables the user to build a paste using Nutella and icing sugar. Moreover an Italian 3D printer manufacturer company, Sharebot, successfully created items from sugar using a laser sintering (LS). The LS is an additive manufacturing technique that uses a laser as the power source to sinter powdered material, aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure. The company used the inkjet printing technology to sugar to make solid sugar structures. A last example is the 3D printed pasta from Barilla, the Italian food company. It launched a contest to Barillas pastas consumers to build their own pasta designs in CAD files. The winner would be able to see its design 3D printed by Barilla.

We observe clearly that the possibilities that 3D printers offer are very vast and could fulfill the imagination of any human being.


lundi 3 novembre 2014

14 years old boy from Greece creates his own 3D printer

This week I will talk about another impressive achievement of a 14 years old boy, from Kavala, a small town in the North of Greece.

At the age of 11, Dimitri accorded many of his time on studying robotics. He got some hands-on experience and three years later he succeed to build his first 3D printer. The project itself took him one year in order to gather information, to study them, and then to draw and build it. He drew and created each part of the machine. As a beginning he created a 3D printer for domestically purposes.

He fell into this technology quite accidentally, as he actually wanted to create a bionic hand. Therefore he found that he could build this hand by creating a 3D printer for a very affordable price,
and thus without making big expenses. The materials he used to build the printer had a cost of on overall price of 500 €. For the moment he prints using polymer materials.

He participated in a festival of Industrial Information Technology in his town where he received the 2nd prize.  This little scientist has shown that persistence and patience and an incredible will can lead you very far.


mardi 28 octobre 2014

3d technology guides the treatment of a woman brain tumour

As mentioned in the previous articles, 3D printers have become affordable for the ordinary individuals. People can buy easily 3D printers and/or 3D scanners to build things that fulfill their basic need in their home.

Recently, a man, named Mike Balzer, succeed to use the 3D technology to help treating his wife’s brain tumor. The result is very impressive and the achievement so thrilling. He actually succeeded to 3D model and 3D print the inside of his wife’s head in order to inform the treatment of her condition.

Being not satisfied with the results of the MRI that the doctor made on his wife he used an open source program, InVesalius to generate a 3D medical image. Thus Mike observed an important bulge in his wife head. Therefore after this result, Mike’s wife made a second MRI and the doctor discovered a mass behind her eyes.

Mike created a 3D model of his wife skull that was used by the surgeons when they performed the operation to remove the tumor from her brain.

The other positive outcome from this story is that Mike’s 3D printed skull was used by the Medical Center of the University of Pittsburgh, which had actually performed the operation on his wife, for teaching purposes at the medical school.

It is worth mention it also that Mike Balzer is a co-host of a podcast, ”All Things 3D” that covers many topics on 3D printing.


mercredi 22 octobre 2014

3D Printer revolutionize the Eye Prostheses

Patients who need a prosthetic eye often need to spend huge amounts of money as it is very expensive and not always covered by health insurance. Therefore 3D printing can interfere in this situation as a cheaper and faster way to create a prosthetic eye.

In 2014, during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), researchers presented their findings. They developed a fast and inexpensive way to make facial prostheses for eye cancer patients using facial topographical scanning software and 3D printing.

The procedure works as follows; the patients are scanned on the undamaged side of their face using a mobile scanner. Then a scan is taken of the side of the face with the orbital defect and after that the software program meshes the two scans together to create a 3D image of the face. The topographical information goes to a 3D printer, which translates the data into a mask formed out of “injection-molded rubber suffused with colored pigments” that corresponds the patient skin tone.

This technological advance allows people who cannot afford the traditional prostheses as it is too expensive, to buy one that was 3D printed in no time.


jeudi 16 octobre 2014

Low cost 3D printing thanks to "E-nable" and helping those in need

E-nable is a non profit organisation that gathers a group of people who have come together from all over the world to help create and design 3D Printed assistive hand devices for those in need. They create open source designs for mechanical hand assistive devices that can be downloaded and 3D printed for a very affordable price as for instance 50$. Their designs are open source, this means that anyone and anywhere can download and create them.

The E-Nable team use now a new online customization tool, the “Hand-O-Matic”, which generates a 3D printable hand based on the measurements of a given individual. The tool works as follows, you first enter the width across your knuckles and the length of the palm and then you have the “Raptor hand”. Then you can add  several options and finally once the model is completed the site emails the .stl to the customer for 3D printing anywhere. Thanks to E-nable, the practice of 3D printing low-cost prosthetics is growing very fast. This was also put in place through the distributed manufacturing technology and through the Internet that allows which facilitates the sharing of information.