Best 3D Printing Articles of 2013

30 Dec

Solid Concepts’ Picks for the Best 3D Printing Articles of 2013

Solid Concepts has made quite a splash in the 3D Printing industry in the past year with a variety of articles illustrating how our technologies are used in the real world. It was a tough task, but we’ve picked our five top 3D Printing articles of 2013.

1. World’s First 3D Printed Metal Gun

Let me start out by saying one, very important thing: This is not about desktop 3D Printers.

Solid Concepts is a world leader of 3D Printing services, and our ability to 3D Print the world’s first metal gun solidifies our standing. The gun is a classic 1911, a model that is at once timeless and public domain. It functions beautifully: Our resident gun expert has fired 2000+ successful rounds and hit more than a few bull’s eyes at over 30 yards. The gun is composed of 30+ 3D Printed components with 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 materials. We completed it with a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) 3D Printed hand grip…

To read more about Solid Concepts’ best 3D Printing article of 2013, check out the Solid Concepts Blog, The Guardian, or Mashable’s Video.

2. Spectacular 3D Printed Headpieces Make it Onto Catwalk

3D printed intricate headpiece sculptures designed by Ray Civello and Stephen Ma and manufactured by Solid Concepts took to the catwalk at Aveda Congress 2013 in October.

Ray Civello, CEO of Aveda Canada and renowned session hair dresser for 37 years plus, planned to make Aveda Congress 2013 his last time on stage. He wanted to make his final statement something very unique, something more than hair.

Two weeks before Aveda Congress 2013, Civello designed three beautiful headpieces and his friend Stephen Ma, a talented CAD designer modeled Civello’s designs in 3D CAD. “It’s the old story: I drew little shapes on the back of an Air Canada napkin and that got into Stephen Ma’s hands and the universe aligned,” says Civello. Additive manufacturing was then used

Read the full 3D Printing article on the 3ders.


3. This Low-Cost Test Platform UAV Could be the Holy Grail for Future Aircraft

PTERA is a scale 737 unmanned aerial vehicle with big implications for the world of commercial aircraft. Created by aerospace engineering company Area-I in Georgia, PTERA is the unmanned Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft yielding inexpensive flight research for commercial aircraft and NASA, and it’s using 3D Printing in a few instrumental ways.

PTERA serves as a “bridge between wind tunnel and manned flight testing by enabling the low-cost, low-risk flight-based evaluation of a wide array of high risk technologies,” says Area-I’s CEO Dr. Nicholas Alley…

Read the full 3D Printing article on the Solid Concepts Blog.


4. Eye Hospital Takes Flight with Air Duct Made from ULTEM on a 3D Printer

Aerospace company teams with additive manufacturing to further construction on airplane turned hospital seeking to heal blindness around the world. Orbis is an airborne ophthalmic training facility called a Flying Eye Hospital. By making it possible to bring ophthalmic training to communities around the world, the company’s goal is to eliminate unnecessary blindness. According to Orbis, “…of the 39 million blind around the globe, 80%, or almost 32 million, suffer needlessly.” To heal blindness, the Orbis team not only performs eye surgeries, but also educates other doctors in the proper execution of eye surgeries through two-way audio-visual links. Orbis is now in the process of building a new airborne hospital.

The Orbis team chose to use a 3D Printing process to produce a vital air duct for their airborne hospital. Mark Curran, Senior Engineer at SIE, has been working with additive manufacturing processes for years, but always as a way to prototype and test out new parts using Stereolithography (SLA)…

Read the full 3D Printing article on Make Parts Fast.

Best 3D Printing Articles: Orbis created a custom air duct with FDM 3D Printing that is currently fitted on their Flying Eye Hospital that is bringing sight to individuals around the world.

Orbis created a custom air duct with FDM 3D Printing that is currently fitted on their Flying Eye Hospital that is bringing sight to individuals around the world.


5. Cast Urethanes and Additive Manufacturing Help NASA Develop the Do Everything Space Suit

NASA Space Suit Solid Concepts

NASA used Solid Concepts’ clear cast urethanes, which utilize 3D Printed master patterns, to create their latest space suite prototype.

The US Space Agency has been working on their new Z1 space suit, and recently introduced some of the early prototypes now under test. Although several NASA groups joined to produce the suit, NASA Glenn’s past involvement in space flight software, power, and communications is a plus. Known as PAS (Power, Avionics, and Software), this group is developing the communications, avionics, and informatics (CAI), as well as the power subsystems for the next-generation space suit.

Two entire Z1 Prototype Mark III Space suits, as well as a half-suit, from the waist up, were prototyped through services provided by Solid Concepts Inc. (Poway, CA). Engineers at Solid Concepts used their proprietary QuantumCast Cast Urethane process combined with complex soft tools and cores to produce the components needed to complete the suit. They used photo curable Stereolithography resins as well as CNC machined parts for the patterns, Platinum Cured Silicone Tooling for the molds, collapsible foam and mold cores to handle the complex undercut geometry, rigid crystal clear urethane material for the actual finished product…

Read the full article on Make Parts Fast.



Honorable Mention: We’d Happily Break Our Wrist for This 3-D Printed Splint

Three graduate students at UCLA’s school of Architecture & Urban Design have created a 3-D printed wrist splint that they hope could one day provide underdeveloped regions with quick and effective medical relief. The team’s prototype is gorgeous—an intricate exoskeleton designed around the actual structure of bone to provide support exactly where injured wrists most need it.

Nicholas Solakian, Peter Nguyen, and Derek Buell were in part inspired by a disaster relief doctor who works on the Thailand-Burma border. Wrist and joint injuries, the doctor explained to the team, are prevalent and debilitating in underdeveloped or disaster-stricken areas. The current aid for such injuries typically involves manufacturing mediocre splints in first-world countries, then coordinating and funding their packaging, shipping, and distribution. The students realized that 3-D printing could make custom-fitted splints cheap, strong, and readily available…

Read the full 3D Printing article on Popular Science.

Best 3D Printing Articles: SLS splint created by UCLA students may help change the availability medical treatment in developing countries.

UCLA students’ use of additive manufacturing for their wrist splint may not make the five best 3D Printing articles of 2013, but we want to highlight them as our pick for honorable mention. The SLS splint created by these students may help change the availability medical treatment in developing countries.


Now that we’ve run through the best 3D Printing articles of 2013, it’s time to start dreaming up new innovative ideas for 2014. What do you think the best 3D Printing stories will be next year?

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