3D Printing

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), refers to various processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object. In 3D printing, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry and are produced from a 3D model or other electronic data source.

  • 3D printed optical lenses, hardly larger than a human hair

    3D printed optical lenses hardly larger than a human hair | Complex 3D printed objective on an optical fiber in a syringe. University of Stuttgart/ 4th Physics Institute

    3D printing enables the smallest complex micro-objectives

    3D printing revolutionized the manufacturing of complex shapes in the last few years. Using additive depositing of materials, where individual dots or lines are written sequentially, even the most complex devices could be realized fast and easy. This method is now also available for optical elements. Researchers at University of Stuttgart in Germany have used an ultrashort laser pulses in combination with optical photoresist to create optical lenses which are hardly larger than a human hair.

  • 3D Printing and International Security

    Cover PRIF Report No. 144  HSFK/PRIF

    PRIF Report No. 144 analyzes risks and challenges of the emerging technology of additive manufacturing.

    3D printing – or additive manufacturing – is a challenging dual-use technology: One and the same device can be used for printing toys and guns. Marco Fey assesses the risks of this emerging technology in the new PRIF Report No. 144 “3D Printing and International Security: Risks and Challenges of an Emerging Technology”.

  • 3D printing to repair damage in the human body

    Dr. Ivan Minev in front of his 3D printer © BIOTEC

    Freigeist Fellowship supports Dr. Ivan Minev in using 3D printing to find ways to repair damage in the human body.
    Dr. Ivan Minev, research group leader at the BIOTEC/CRTD, has been awarded a Freigeist Fellowship from the VolkswagenStiftung. This five-year, 920.000 EUR grant will enable him to establish his own research team. The ‘Freigeist’ initiative is directed toward enthusiastic scientists and scholars with an outstanding record that are given the opportunity to enjoy maximum freedom in their early scientific career.

  • 3D-Druck: Maßgeschneiderte Einlegesohlen für Diabetes-Patienten

    3D-Strukturen aus TPU für Einlegesohlen. Die Strukturen wurden über CAD ausgelegt, ihre Eigenschaften simuliert und mit Experimenten abgeglichen. Fraunhofer IWM

    Einlegesohlen für Diabetes-Patienten stellen Orthopädieschuhtechniker bislang in Handarbeit her. Künftig können die Spezialisten die Sohlen kostengünstiger als bisher mit einer neuartigen Software entwerfen und mithilfe von 3D-Druckern herstellen. Die Vorteile: Die mechanischen Eigenschaften der Einlegesohlen lassen sich besser analysieren und wissenschaftlich bewerten. Drückt der Schuh? Üblicherweise verlagert man in diesem Fall das Gewicht und entlastet die schmerzende Stelle. Bei Diabetes-Patienten jedoch verkümmern oftmals die Nervenenden im Fuß – die Betroffenen spüren die schmerzende Stelle nicht. Dies kann zu Druckstellen und schließlich zu Wunden führen, die schlecht verheilen. Abhilfe oder zumindest Linderung versprechen Einlegesohlen, die an der verletzten Stelle sehr weich sind und die Orthopädieschuhtechniker in Handarbeit aus verschiedenen Materialien passgenau anfertigen.

  • Aachen – The 3D Valley

    Additive manufacturing of metal or plastic components is the focus of the 3D Valley Conference on September 14 and 15, 2016 in Aachen. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    Major players in the aerospace and automotive sectors are modifying 3D printing processes for use in large-scale production, while small and medium-sized companies also increasingly recognize the technology’s huge potential. However, the costs and know-how associated with 3D printing still represent major obstacles to its introduction. Now researchers and manufacturers have joined forces in Aachen to offer users customized solutions.

  • Aachen Center for 3D Printing: Official launch of the world’s largest SLM facility

    On June 1, 2017, the world’s largest selective laser melting (SLM) facility for metal components was inaugurated at the new Digital Photonic Production industry building on the RWTH Aachen Campus. Concept Laser GmbH

    For their joint project, the Aachen Center for 3D printing, the Aachen University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have ambitious plans. On June 1, 2017, they officially opened the world’s largest SLM facility, located in the new Digital Photonic Production industry building on the RWTH Aachen campus. Concept Laser’s new XLine 2000R selective laser melting system plays a pivotal role in the SLM-XL research project, which is intended to accelerate and optimize the entire manufacturing process for large, metal components.

    Scientists are working closely with the Digital Photonic Production research campus, which is located in the same building and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

  • Additive manufacturing, from macro to nano

    Magnesium part produced with selective laser micro melting.  Photo: LZH

    Creating large structures with high volume or with the highest-possible resolution: The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) is carrying out research on diverse processes for additive manufacturing, in order to push past the present limits. At the Hannover Messe 2017, at the pavilion of the State of Lower Saxony (hall 2, stand A08), the LZH is presenting the state of the art.

    Light for Innovation – since 1986, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has been committed to advancing laser technology. Supported by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economics, Labour and Transport, the LZH has been devoted to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of laser technology.

  • Additive Manufacturing: Budget-friendly Retrofit of Module for Wire-based Laser Deposition Welding

    Processing head "LMD-W-20-L" for wire-based laser deposition welding. Graphic: Fraunhofer IPT

    When economic or safety considerations rule out the use of powder materials in additive manufacturing, the option of wire-feed laser deposition welding resents itself. The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen has developed a smart laser module for wire deposition welding, which can easily be integrated within existing process chains, handling systems or machine tools. The engineers from Aachen will be unveiling the LMD-W-20-L module for the first time to the visitors from industry at Formnext, the Fair for Additive Technologies in Frankfurt/Main, Hall 3, Booth E70, 13-16 November 2018.

  • Ahead of the Curve

    CurveUps are flat materials that transform themselves through material forces into the desired 3D object. IST Austria

    CurveUps: IST Austria computer scientists design flat sheets that transform themselves into smooth-surfaced, free-form objects. Their new method will be presented at this year’s prestigious “SIGGRAPH” conference.

    3D printers have been around since the 1980s, but we are still far from maximizing their potential. One active area of research and development is “self-actuating” objects: flat materials that transform themselves through material forces into the desired 3D object. Previously, however, the range of objects was limited to those with sharp edges and little, if any, curvature, and the transformation methods were based primarily on folding or processes that could not be controlled very precisely (e.g. chemical reactions or inflation).

  • ALGEN REVOLUTIONIEREN 3D-DRUCK VON ZELLEN

    Felix Krujatz erhält für seine Doktorarbeit auf dem Gebiet der Algenbiotechnologie den Nachwuchsförderpreis der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Kirsten Mann

    Wissenschaftler der TU Dresden gewinnt Nachwuchsförderpreis der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften / Algenbiotechnologie revolutioniert 3D-Bioprinting / weltweit erster 3D-gedruckter Bioreaktor mit OLEDS macht neue Untersuchungsmethoden möglich. Felix Krujatz, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter an der Fakultät Maschinenwesen der TU Dresden, erhält für seine Doktorarbeit „Entwicklung und Evaluierung neuer Bioreaktorkonzepte für phototrophe Mikroorganismen“ den Nachwuchsförderpreis der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig. Seine Forschungsergebnisse enthalten mehrere Weltneuheiten auf dem Gebiet der Biotechnologie und können u.a. das Bioprinting menschlicher Zellen für regenerative Therapien revolutionieren sowie eine neue Generation von Bioreaktoren hervorbringen. Der Preis wird am 09. Dezember um 16:00 Uhr in Leipzig öffentlich verliehen.

  • Appointment of Prof. Schleifenbaum to the chair “Digital Additive Production“ at RWTH Aachen Uni

    Picture: “In the area of Additive Manufacturing, the applications and the transfer of know-how into the industry are particularly important!” © Schleifenbaum.

    Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl. Wirt.-Ing. Johannes Henrich Schleifenbaum has followed the call to the newly established chair – “Digital Additive Production DAP” – of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. He assumed the position on August 1, 2016. He also took over management of the competence area “Additive Manufacturing and Functional Layers” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen on November 1, 2016. Pooled expertise in additive manufacturing technologies in Aachen. Along with RWTH Aachen University, FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences and industrial partners, the Fraunhofer Institutes ILT and IPT form a strong network promoting additive manufacturing (AM) technologies at an international level. In addition to the Photonics Cluster, inaugurated in April 2016 at the RWTH Aachen Campus, the newly established DAP chair rounds off the great spectrum of AM offered by Aachen’s R&D landscape.

  • Breakthrough with 3D printed Gas Turbine Blades

    Extreme conditions for the 3D-printed blades: The blades had to endure 13,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures beyond 1,250 degrees Celsius.

    Siemens has achieved a breakthrough in the 3D printing of gas turbine blades. For the first time, a team of experts has full-load tested gas turbine blades that were entirely produced using additive manufacturing. The tests were conducted at the Siemens test center for industrial gas turbines in Lincoln, Great Britain. Over the course of several months, Siemens engineers from Lincoln, Berlin, and the Swedish municipality of Finspong worked with experts from Materials Solutions to optimize the gas turbine blades and their production. Within just 18 months, the international project team succeeded in developing the entire process chain, from the design of individual components, to the development of materials, all the way to new methods of quality control and the simulation of component service life. In addition, Siemens tested a new additively manufactured blade design with a fully revised and improved internal cooling geometry.

  • Combining Additive and Conventional Manufacturing

    Lightweight, organically-shaped products can be designed using topology optimization. Siemens’ NX software allows designers and engineers to create and optimize a new generation of product designs.

    New software from Siemens is is making it possible to combine additive and conventional manufacturing techniques for the first time, thus enabling the production of individualized products for mass markets. Siemens has integrated additive manufacturing into its NX software suite for product development. Unlike conventional manufacturing techniques, 3D printing imposes few limitations on product design, thus opening the door to production of individualized products for mass markets. However, there are still obstacles to integrating conventional and additive manufacturing techniques. 3D printing uses completely different design techniques than conventional manufacturing and generates totally different data formats.

  • Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

    Wire die with integrated cooling duct in the raw state after sintering: at Fraunhofer IKTS in Dresden, hardmetal components are developed according to customer requirements via 3D binder jetting.

    For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

  • Fire and Flame for New Surfaces

    A flame treatment facility in operation. esse CI

    The printing, coating and bonding of plastics requires the surface to be pre-treated. Flame treatment is one way to achieve this so-called activation. It is currently being used in many industrial sectors and has considerable potential for development. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam and the Italian company esse CI are uniting their expertise in surface chemistry and machine engineering in order to clearly expand the opportunities provided by flame treatment and to extend the range of surface properties. Interested companies can take part in the development of this technology and help advance its industrialization.

  • formnext 2016: low-cost SLM unit with production costs below 20,000 euros

    Picture 1: Debut at formnext 2016: the new, low-cost SLM unit for 3D printing of stainless steel components is particularly suitable for entry-level users. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    FH Aachen and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT are to present a new, low-cost SLM unit for the first time at formnext in Frankfurt am Main from November 15-18, 2016. Developed jointly with the GoetheLab at FH Aachen, the unit is intended primarily for small and medium-sized enterprises for whom expensive selective laser melting technology is not yet economically viable because of the high level of investment required.

  • Hannover Messe: Inkjet process to print flexible touchscreens cost-efficiently

    Printed, flexible touchscreen. Source: INM

    INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials will be demonstrating flexible touch screens, which are produced by printing recently developed nanoparticle inks on thin plastic foils. These inks composed predominantly of transparent, conductive oxides (TCOs) are suitable for a one-step printing process. Flexible smart phones are desirable for a lot of users. Up to now the displays of the innumerable phones and pods are rigid and do not yield to the anatomical forms adopted by the people carrying them. By now it is no longer any secret that the big players in the industry are working on flexible displays. INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials shows, how they might become reality in the near future: At this year’s Hannover Messe, INM will be presenting suitable coatings for cost-efficient inkjet processes at the stand B46 in hall 2 from on 24 April to 28 April.

  • Harder 3D-printed tools – Researchers from Dresden Introduce new Process for Hardmetal Industry

    Hardmetal sample with complex geometry on FFF standard printer Hage3D 140 L, in which larger components can be perspectively printed as well. © Fraunhofer IKTS

    Extremely hard tools are required in forming technology, metal-cutting and process engineering. They are conventionally made by powder pressing. Although this achieves a high degree of hardness, it is often necessary to carry out a complex and therefore expensive post-processing. Additive manufacturing enables complex geometries, but has been limited in terms of hardness and component size so far. Researchers at the Fraunhofer IKTS in Dresden have now adapted the 3D printing process Fused Filament Fabrication for hardmetals. The development meets all requirements for the first time.

  • Humboldt Fellowship for research on tunable optical surfaces for Terahertz technology

    Dr. Corey Shemelya. Thomas Koziel/TU Kaiserslautern

    U.S. scientist Dr. Corey Shemelya has recently started a research stay at the University of Kaiserslautern in the form of a fellowship granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Dr. Shemelya is studying structured optical surfaces which hold potential applications in communication technology and Terahertz imaging, e.g. body scanning equipment for airport safety. Shemelya is working in conjunction with the Terahertz Technology Laboratory of Professor Marco Rahm at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the State Research Center for Optical and Material Sciences (OPTIMAS).

  • ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

    Robot based Additive Manufacturing using Laser Metal Deposition. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    The ICTM Conference has established itself as a networking hub for the international turbomachinery industry. For the fourth time in a row, this biennial event was organized by the International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing ICTM in Aachen and in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technology IPT and Laser Technology ILT. This year’s conference took place February 15-16, 2017. More than 250 experts from 19 countries discussed how to more efficiently develop and manufacture turbines for power plants and aircraft in the digital age.