Say Hello To A 3D Printed Car – The LM3D Swim

We’ve all heard about 3D printers, being able to create your everyday bits and bobs at home by just printing off a copy from your computer. There are even extreme examples where people have 3D printed bridges or even houses. The next step to bring this area of technology to everyday people is here, introducing the LM3D Swim, a 3D printed car.

The LM3D Swim is just that, a 3D printed car. The overall project goal is to make as much of the car as possible from 3D printing, which is currently 75% printed. Printed using a mix of plastic and carbon fibre, the LM3D Swim is designed to be safe but it’s currently undergoing its crash safety testing and will be completely checked out by the end of 2016.

With the ability to 3D print cars, can you imagine the customizable looks you can create? While the body will retain the same shape, picking your cars colours, from the body  to the dashboard could soon become as easy as selecting an option on your computer screen.

If you are interested in buying one of these then have no fear, Local Motors (the company behind the idea) is looking to gain support through a crowdfunding campaign in the middle of this year while the car will go on for sales at retail at the end of the year.

Reddit User Builds His Own 3D Printed Computer Case

3D printing is an idea that is on the rise in recent times, however, due to the expense of the printers and the materials they consume, the results are often showpieces of detail and finesse instead of functional everyday items. Despite this, Reddit user ‘C0mplx’ set about building a 3D-printed case for his computer, a project he named the “Node”.

The design objective for the Node was to provide a semi-portable and robust case that would be able to be easily transported to LAN parties and other events. The completed Node is actually version 2 of the concept of a 3D-printed case, with the original plan being to construct a full-tower case, which was scrapped after some initial part printings. Considering the final version of the node, I think it’s a good thing.

The process was far from short, with the initial concept being announced on the overclock.net forums back in January, with the first printed parts of the case being shown off in June. The printing process was far from the longest part of the journey either, taking as little as a week to arrive. The best thing about the Node is its modular nature, as a 3D printed item it had to be printed in multiple parts, which are bolted together to form the complete case. This makes an unconstructed node far more compact than a normal case.

If you think you’d like a Node of your own, here is the bad news. For one, it is expensive, very expensive for a computer case. The initial quote for the printing of the Node was $500 for both the time and materials to print the Node, which is made of robust ABS and printed on a Fortus 250 printer worth over $50,000. Additionally, the Node will only be available in limited supply, however, a second revision, aiming to improve the design may be available in the future. Lastly is the fact that some parts of the case are in fact, not 3D printed, such as the acrylic plates, due to their size and difficulty to print.

Could we be close to an age where instead of picking our computer cases from a row of cases sporting features such as side windows and other aesthetic features, we could download and customize blueprints and have our original case printed to our specifications? For now, though, it remains in the realm of case modding enthusiasts. Would you want a Node, and what do you think it could need (as well as a cost reduction) to compete with the rest of the PC case market?

DM Blade – The 700bhp 3D Printed Supercar

Introducing the world’s first 3D-printed supercar, the DM Blade. This car is an absolute monster of a vehicle, with so much power that the creator claims he’s managed to pull wheelies in it!

“I’ve done wheelies in it. I’ve lifted the front wheels going up a hill in fourth gear by four or five inches,” says Kevin Czinger, founder and CEO of Divergent Microfactories.

This isn’t just a one-off either, or at least the creator hopes they can create a limited run of them in the near future, with a street-legal version of the Blade expected within the next 18-months; we’re not surprised that a car that pulls wheelies up hills isn’t street legal.

Not every part is 3D-printed of course, but a lot of the components are, helping create unique shapes and lightweight designs that make this car so unique. The car uses 70 3D-printed aluminium alloy nodes, with the biggest taking up to 4-hours to print.

“The chassis is like the motherboard, you just plug whatever components you like in,” Czinger says. “As a result it’s easy to adapt the system for anything from a two-seater to a pick-up truck.”

Weighing in at just 630KG, with a 700bhp engine that’ll take it from 0-60 in 2.2 seconds, this is the kind of 3D-printing that’s easy to get excited about!

Thank you Topgear for providing us with this information.

How Much Would It Cost To Build a Bionic You?

Well this is an interesting start to an article, in a world where machines are fast evolving with the aim of becoming the new humans of choice, what would be the theoretical financial cost if you either quite fancied a bionic body double, or have decided to take a career deviation to a more Iron Man existence. It turns out it is technically possible in a theoretical but far less evolved way, although it is unlikely you will see any custom iHumans anytime soon; you would need access to both the most cutting edge of tech and also the required disposal income.

Brain

So, what do you need to become truly bionic? A brain, yes that would help, Google operates artificial neural networks (ANN) and uses them for services like Google Translate, or recommending videos on YouTube. These are prohibitively expensive, but the search giant does offer a low-cost version which stands at around £13,000. An average human brain is still vastly superior and surprisingly has a power consumption of around 20 watts, which is less than a light bulb. Especially those so-called energy-saving bulbs which when you turn on take a while to provide you with any kind of light.

Eyes

What else do we need then? Eyes? Yep their kind of important, Robots like the WALK‐MAN use infrared, radar, sonar and lasers to help them perceive the world. The price? That would be £98,000; there is a slight downside as robots struggle to identify objects, this is why many robotic vision systems use a combination of vision techniques, for example combining a high-speed stereoscopic camera with a slower laser scanner, which builds a 3D map of the world.

Skin

Skin would also be essential for that authentic human look, the icub, not an Apple spinoff, has created an “artificial skin” on a machine. The robots chest, arms, hands and legs are covered in pressure sensitive skin that allows the child‐sized robot to interact more delicately with objects and humans. The reasoning behind this is that electric ‘nanowires’ are being developed with the aim of eventually allowing robots to properly ‘feel’ the world around them. Oh and the price would be at least £164,000, it’s cheaper to build an actual human rather than a robot one at this rate.

Hands

Next up, hands, a research project at the John Hopkins University has built 10 prosthetic hands, at a cost of around £325,000 each. Or if you would prefer an alternative then there is a project from Open Bionics, which utilizes a 3D‐printed prosthetic hand. This works by detecting muscle movements with electrical signals. It can be custom-built and fitted in only two days, at a cost of £2000. It will be an interesting chapter in the world when you can print your own hands.

Joints

Joints are next and arrive courtesy of Festo’s prototype Bionic Handling Assistant which is modelled on an elephant’s trunk. But what if you would like the cream of the crop? Nasa have thought of this and have built a “humanoid Robot” which uses similar technology to that of Festo’s and have coined it the Robonaut 2. Its flexible joints have already helped it climb around the International Space Station. I would not open your wallets just yet as the price would be around $14 million, which is a lot.

Legs and Feet

Lastly, there is the question of legs and feet, how much would they cost? The WALK‐MAN has devised legs which are pliant rather than rigid, making balance easier and allows them to walk in a smooth-ish fashion. It’s still nowhere near as advanced as a human though and it does require a hefty power supply, prices would be around £4.3 million.

Right, if you have access to the best bionic tech, then it would cost quite a lot, to make one bionic would require a vast array of tech which would at this time be not as good as us. Advancements have been implemented, but nothing has touched the power and intricacy of for example the human brain, robots are good at being machines and humans are good at being us, well most of us.

TL;DR we’re a lot of money and that’s without adding Iron-Man like abilities.

Thank you sky for providing us with this information.

3D Printed Robot Can Jump 20x Its Own Height!

An evolutionary trend is beginning to develop as traditional ways of manufacturing are being replaced by the world of 3D printing. From Guns to toys, the notion of being able to physically build a product in your own home as many appeals. But when we think of this process, we think of small basic objects, well a new development has managed to design the first 3D printed robot.

A team at Harvard University in the US has “experimented with the idea of an autonomous robot which transitions from a rigid body to a soft one which can jump”. This robot is powered by a mix of butane and oxygen and it can jump more than 20 times its own height with the aim of then landing upright and not in pieces.

The design of this machine features a custom circuit board, a high voltage power source, a battery, an air compressor, butane fuel cells, six valves, an oxygen cartridge, and a pressure regulator and ducts to move the gas around. In order for the robot to jump, the mechanism is for it to inflate one or more of its legs, with the aim of pointing the body in the direction which it wants to move. The body is then filled with Oxygen and Butane and then it sort of, well, ignites itself. By doing this the robot expands the robot before propelling it into the air.

This is certainly a design which could open the door for 3D printed robots in the future, just imagine entering your living room, switching on your printer and building your own robot army. Or not as the case may be.  OK, not the two-footed, 8 feet tall Terminator Robots, but still Robots.

Thank You RT for providing us with this information

3D-Printed Violin Looks out of This World

The 3D-printed two-string violin by MONAD Studios might look like something that could decapitate you, but it most likely won’t. It is however a pretty impressive printing result and the two-string piezoelectric violin will be on display at the 3D Print Design Show in New York on April 16 and 17.

The pictured instrument is only one of four music instruments that were created by MONAD and all will be played by a rotating cast of musicians at the expo.

“Our desire to create unusual instruments emerged when we realised the aesthetic and technical issues we were facing as architects did not differ much from those of musicians and composers,” said MONAD Studio’s Eric Goldemberg to the BBC.

The instruments might look weird, but every musician should be able to play them according to the studio. The sound is said to be more or less like the classical versions, but with a character of their own. Like a Les Paul electric guitar compares to a classical guitar: Both have the same sense of sound, but still different.

Thanks to BBC for providing us with this information

This 300w 3D Printed Wind Turbine Fits in Your Backpack

Portable energy generators are nothing new, we’ve seen hand wound, solar and wind power generators, not forgetting some of the more “traditional” ones such as diesel and petrol electricity generators. Each of these comes with a draw back, ones like the solar generators aren’t powerful enough for good levels of power generation, at least when the technology is scaled down to something you can put in your backpack. Diesel generators have the power, but are again to bulky and heavy to move and also require fuels, so they’re not exactly green friendly tech.

Omni3D think they have the solution with their AirEnergy 3D generator. The 3D printed wind turbine is capable of fitting in a backpack, but is able to produce up to 300W of power. That’s enough to charge all kinds of devices and for hard to reach areas that are eager for some renewable power sources, this could prove very popular indeed.

Omni3D are currently running this through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and the first models are expected to ship in February.

Thank you Kickstarter for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Kickstarter.

World’s First Custom-Fit 3D Printed Earbuds

The San Diego based company OwnPhones has launched a successful campaign on Kickstarter to get their new product started. The world’s first 3D printed wireless earbuds, custom fitted to your ears and perfectly designed to match your personality.

Simply put, OwnPhones are custom-made to be the best-fitting, best-sounding, most versatile earphones you’ve ever worn. Period. They are the world’s first wireless, 3D printed earbuds custom-made to match your personality. They are designed to fit perfectly because your OwnPhones will be built exclusively for your ears.

The earbuds carry the same name as the company, OwnPhones, and will be available in thousands of combination in design and function. Using the latest in noise-cancellation technology and Bluetooth, the custom printed buds should suit most needs.

Using a mobile app, users upload a short video scan of their ears. The video is then being transformed into a 3D object after which the bud can be printed. There models for style, physical activities and ergonomic, allowing you to pick just the right one (or two) for your needs.

Itamar Jobani, founder and CEO, OwnPhones – “OwnPhones represents a new paradigm in manufacturing – instead of producing millions of identical earbuds for different ears, we 3D-print earbuds tailor-made to each user. Ears are like fingerprints – each one is unique, so we were able to develop earbuds that are custom-made to actually fit your ears properly!”

The OwnPhones are designed to fit your ear so well, they can be used to block out noise, but only what you want to. A build-in digital signal processor can filter ambient noises. This SoundScaping feature will lower environmental noises like traffic or crowded areas while you also can use it to let through requested sounds as alarms, phones or a friend’s voice. Because of the noise-cancellation, they can be had with a LED build in to signal when a user is busy and when not.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv05p-ueHEI[/youtube]

OwnPhones also run a designer program. The company believes that earphones should not just look like a tech accessory, but also reflect who the wearer is, his style and taste. That’s why they are reaching out to the design-community to join them in making earbuds a design statement.

The funding goal of $250.000 has long been broken and at the time of writing it has over $462.000 pledged with 14 days left. Early birds can still secure themselves a custom fitted ear-bud for just $149, while the suggested retail price will be $299 once launched.

Thank you KickStarter for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of OwnPhones.

Royal Air Force To Use 3D Printed Parts For Their Tornado Jets

3D printed things have been the thing since 3D printers came out. There is no limit, except your imagination of course, to what you can make with them. This apparently is also the case for the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) which started using 3D printed parts for their Tornado jets. And no, this is not a joke.

This move has saved the RAF £300,000 and is said that it could save them million of pounds in the next three years. The parts printed out span from protective covers for cockpit radios to support struts on the air intake door, and even protector guards for Power Take-off shafts. BAE Systems is the responsible for printing out the parts for the RAF.

Up until now, four squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft received the 3D upgrade and it is reported that many of the parts cost less than £100 to manufacture, leading to an estimate of £1.2 million in savings by 2017.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33wIEBb9yoU[/youtube]

“You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there. If it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support.” said Mike Murry, HEad of Airframe Integration at BAE Systems.

Thank you T3 for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of T3

World’s First 3D Printed Metal Gun

Solid Concepts has produced the worlds first 3D printed Metal Gun. Not to be confused with the Liberator, which is printable on conventional plastic 3D printers. Solid Concepts users industrial grade 3D printers, which are able to produce metal products that need little to no machining. Solid Concepts isn’t getting into weapons manufacturing, but rather wanted to prove that DMLS was able to perform well for real world applications. In doing so they found blueprints for a 1911, which is public domain, and it was off to the printers.

Solid Concepts, Inc. is based out of California, though they have six facilities in the United States. Their Austin, Texas office is their only office that holds a federal firearms license. The company primary focuses on custom manufacturing, which includes engineering, manufacturing, production and even prototyping. They are able to produce many different products from precision equipment such as specialized equipment to products transportation parts, they are even involved in aerospace and unmanned systems.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7ZYKMBDm4M[/youtube]

In order to prove that Direct Metal Laser Sintering or DMLS is able to perform well in the real world. Solid Concepts ventured to prove that DMLS is strong enough, and accurate enough for real world applications. The 1911 sidearm was first introduced, as its name implies, and is still used today. The firearm is a single-action pistol, which has semi-automatic functionality, and is magazine fed. Every time it is fired, pressures within the chamber rise above 20,000 psi. Nearly all of the parts were produced via DMLS and consists of 33 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components. It was then decked with a selective laser sintered carbon fiber filled nylon hand grip.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgQvqVq-SQU[/youtube]

DMLS is able to take 3D CAD data and split it into sections in order to produce a product then using powdered metal or alloy materials. The process of creating a product with the DMLS is fairly simple sounding. First they print with a metal powder, lower it surround it by sand, heat it up, thus creating a solid piece of metal. DMLS is highly accurate, and it is able to reproduce designs quickly.

Currently this technology is not available to just anyone, costing more than $500,000. These printers are being used in a professional environment, so I highly doubt that we need to worry about finding these on our streets in the hands of thugs.

I want to thank TechCruch for proving us with this awesome information and Solid Concepts for providing us with all of the data that we needed.