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PET-like Plastic Made from Lignocellulosic Biomass

June 26, 2022 |

We have all read about so-called bioplastics. They are made from biological materials such as corn. Many bioplastics do not meet the requirements currently satisfied by oil-based commodity plastics such as PET though. PET, used extensively in plastic bottles, is valued for its low cost, ease of manufacture, and mechanical, thermal and chemical stability in a range of environments. These are all desirable features when manufacturing food-safe containers such as drinks bottles. Many bioplastics simply fail to live up to these requirements. In addition, not all bioplastics are as ecologically friendly as they are marketed to be. However, a new type of plastic made from biomass might be on the horizon thanks to a team of researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) who have been producing stable yet degradable plastics from lignocellulose. Lignocellulose can come from non-edible plant matter and is the most abundant raw material on Earth…    read more 

Australian research yields world’s first 3D printed stem cell harvester

June 23, 2022 |

Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), together with biotech firm Regeneus, have created what they claim is the world’s first 3D printed microfluidic device capable of harvesting stem cells. Bleeding-edge stem cell therapies are a promising way to treat a whole plethora of ailments, including arthritis, diabetes, and potentially even cancer. Stem cells work by differentiating into specialized cells, meaning they can be used to replace damaged cells around the human body. Unfortunately, harvesting and processing stem cells from donors is currently very time, cost, and labor intensive due to limitations in biotechnology. The 3D printed microfluidic device is designed to harvest stem cells from bioreactors, offering a scalable method of processing stem cells without the associated costs. Professor Majid Warkiani, the UTS biomedical engineer leading the research, said, “Our cutting-edge technology, which uses 3D printing and microfluidics to integrate a number of production steps into one device…    read more 

Elvis’ BMW Restored with AM

June 23, 2022 |

Elvis has a new biopic movie by Bas Luhrmann out this week. So that’s an excuse to talk about the story about how Elvis’ car was restored to its former glory thanks to 3D printing. When you think about cars associated with The King of Rock n Roll, you may not know that Elvis Presley was a big fan of BMW cars, and one in particular. Elvis spent some time in Germany where he served in the military, and he became acquainted with the 1957 BMW 507 roadster. He purchased a used model for just $3,750 which had previously won a hill climb event during its existence as a race car. It was originally painted in white, as you can see in the hillclimb picture below. Elvis car, pre-Elvis (Image credit: BMW) After his time in Germany was up, he returned to the US and took his roadster with him….    read more 

Fortis3D enters 3D printing filament market with unique custom formulations

June 23, 2022 |

Canada-based 3D printing materials start-up Fortis3D is breaking ground within the filament market thanks to its unique portfolio of custom filament formulations and compounds. Having made its debut earlier this year, the start-up has built up three product lines – Essential, Advanced, and Industrial – to meet the needs of hobbyists, professionals, and industry. The firm sets itself apart from other filament manufacturers with its specialty in custom formulations and compounding, which enables it to modify different resins to have “extraordinary” properties.  “As the 3D printing materials market is maturing, we want to bring value by creating innovative materials and pushing the boundaries of what current materials can do,” said Wayne Lam, Business Development Engineer at Fortis3D.  “We know the market needs more high performance, high quality, and sustainable materials and at Fortis3D that’s what we are striving for as well.” Fortis3D’s BioDuro PLA, Lignum PLA and BioDuro Metallic PLA…    read more 

UCLA researchers 3D print entire microrobots in a single pass

June 20, 2022 |

A team of researchers from UCLA has developed a new method of 3D printing entire robots in one go. The approach relies on specially developed active metamaterials (multi-functional materials) that serve as both the mechanical and electronic systems that make up a robot. These metamaterials can be 3D printed to form tiny ‘meta-bots’ that can crawl, jump, sense their surroundings, and even make decisions on what to do next based on programmed commands. Since the internal structural, movement, and sensing components are all printed at once, all that’s needed to bring them to life is a small external battery. “We envision that this design and printing methodology of smart robotic materials will help realize a class of autonomous materials that could replace the current complex assembly process for making a robot,” said Xiaoyu Zheng, principal investigator of the study. “With complex motions, multiple modes of sensing and programmable decision-making abilities…    read more 

Printed Swiss Robot Aiming for Space

June 20, 2022 |

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. 3D printed space stuff is cool. It’s just as well because this year is turning out to be a boon for 3D printed space hardware stories, and this one is no exception. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich has teamed up with composite engineering company Scheurer Swiss GmbH to produce a bouncing space robot that will utilize a bouncing motion to traverse a low gravity asteroid, much like the hopping Japanese MINERVA-II-1 robots that bounced along the surface of the Ryugu asteroid back in 2016. The Swiss hopper is designed by ETH Zurich and will be 3D printed by Scheurer Swiss using carbon fiber composite printing. You can see the robot in the image below. Bouncing robot in all its glory. (Image credit: ETH Zurich) The Spacehopper robot has only three legs, as it was found to be the…    read more 

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