Prototype Today

REGO-FIX has announced that Pascal Forrer has joined the company’s Tenniken, Switzerland-based management team as its new global sales and marketing director. A 15-year veteran of the manufacturing industry, Forrer brings his expertise with automation, process safety and cost-effective production to his additional role as a member of the REGO-FIX executive board.

“I’m thrilled to have such a valuable addition to the management team,” said Richard Weber, CEO of REGO-FIX. “As global sales and marketing director, Pascal continues to promote the growth of the REGO-FIX Group.”

Originally from Bern, Switzerland, Forrer earned his bachelor’s degree from the Université de Neuchâtel. He later graduated from the intensive English program from California State University, Northridge, and completed numerous continuing education programs for marketing and sales professionals. Most recently, Forrer received his Executive Master of Business Administration from Private Hochschule Wirtschaft PHW Bern.

Fusion3 announced the availability of the company’s new F410 3D printer. The Fusion3 F410 is the successor to the company’s F400 3D printer which was introduced in 2016. The F410 builds upon the success of the F400 with further emphasis on performance, reliability, and ease of use.

"The new Fusion3 F410 delivers on our mission to provide customers with an affordable, high-performance alternative to expensive, industrial 3D printers that cost $20,000 to $100,000," says Chris Padgett, Fusion3 CEO. "The F410 prints large, quality parts at fast speeds and incorporates new technologies for even greater performance, flexibility for different print scenarios, and ease of use.”

Interchangeable print heads provide greater flexibility for a variety of customer applications: Users select one of three interchangeable print heads (.4MM standard, .6MM & .8MM optional) appropriate for the specific task. Each printhead, based on the E3D Volcano and incorporating hardened steel nozzles, prints a wide variety of engineering-grade materials at different speeds and quality settings optimized for the customer’s desired quality and production time.

Fusion3’s new 2.0 Extruder and updated 32-bit controller contribute to the F410’s exceptional print quality and near silent operation. The 2.0 Extruder’s ‘Filament Monitoring’ feature allows customers to resume prints should they run out of filament or experience a print jam. The ‘Filament Cleaning’ feature captures any dust or contamination on the surface of the filament before it enters the print system, reducing the chance of print failures due to clogging. The F410 also features a new conductive, automatic bed leveling system that ensures the correct first layer height for every print.

Fusion3 updated the F410’s touchscreen interface, providing intuitive controls for first-time users while maintaining advanced features that our professional customers require. The F410's onboard network interface allows customers to remotely manage their 3D printers through a secure, web-based interface.

Many of Fusion3's customers wish to safeguard their proprietary and sensitive 3D designs. The F410 provides increased file security, eliminating the ability of someone to walk away with files on an external SD card, by providing a second, secure, storage device embedded in the 3D printer. Users can only access the on-board storage through the F410's password-protected network interface.

Creaform is proud to be the title partner of MLab Creaform, the new digital laboratory at Musée de la civilisation du Québec. As title partner for the next five years, Creaform and its 3D scanners will help make digital culture available to all audiences.

"As title partner of the new Museum exhibition, we’re interested in more than just the visibility this association provides," said Marco St-Pierre, Division Vice-President, Technology and Innovation at Creaform. “We see this digital creation laboratory as a great way to put technology into people’s hands, something that has yet to really occur in our field. It’s also an important training tool that anyone can use.”

MLab Creaform is an experimental laboratory devoted to innovation and creation. It brings technology and culture together in a way that has all the markings of Musée de la civilisation’s audacious take on society while also fitting with Creaform's founding vision: to revolutionize the world of 3D digitization by making technology easier to use, more accessible, and more affordable. The program is aimed at spurring innovation and creativity—and visitors can try it out free until Labor Day. MLab Creaform features an array of equipment, including a Creaform 3D scanner, 3D printers, robot assemblies, virtual and augmented reality glasses, electronics, and more.

The digital laboratory also has a training and education function. Creaform offers special programs to educational institutions to facilitate access to its technologies for research and teaching. “We are very proud to see the Creaform name associated with a local institution of international stature such as Musée de la civilisation," added St-Pierre. “The values of innovation, collaboration, and sharing that the Museum embodies are core values for us too, which has made this partnership so ideal by our standards.”

After long delays caused by storms and rough seas, NASA launched a rocket into space carrying an experiment built by students at Utah State University.

The 43-foot-tall sounding rocket launched from Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia. The vehicle flew in space for approximately seven minutes and reached an altitude of 107 miles before parachuting back to Earth and splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean for recovery.

USU’s payload was one of four selected to fly on the rocket. Student teams from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; the University of Kentucky, Lexington; and the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, also had experiments on board as part of NASA’s Undergraduate Student Instrument Project known as USIP.

USU aerospace engineering graduate students Marc Bulcher, Zac Lewis and Rob Stoddard, and aerospace engineering professor Stephen A. Whitmore designed and built the USU experiment. Their goal was to flight test a new type of thruster developed and patented by Whitmore.

Thrusters are small motors used to orient spacecraft in zero gravity. The new USU thrusters are made with printed ABS plastic — the same material used to make Legos — and do not burn conventional liquid rocket fuel.

“The vast majority of liquid rocket fuels used for space propulsion are extremely dangerous and toxic,” said Bulcher. “Hydrazine, for example, powers thrusters that control satellites and small spacecraft. Hydrazine is carcinogenic, expensive to make and presents many safety and environmental challenges.”

To test the new thrusters, the team mounted two of the soda-can sized units to a small test frame inside the large sounding rocket. When the rocket reached the appropriate altitude, its mid-section fell away and exposed the student experiments to the vacuum of space. Whitmore confirmed the test was successful and said each thruster fired five times. Next, the team will determine if exhaust plumes from the thrusters contaminated a nearby optical sensor. If the thrusters burn clean, the technology could revolutionize the space industry.

Such in-flight measurements had never been obtained for this type of thruster system. And Whitmore says a rocket of this class had never been started and re-started in a space environment. Until now.“This is the first time a USA-developed green propellant has been flight tested in space,” said Whitmore. “It’s an exciting time for us because this gives our students unparalleled industry experience, and at the same time we’re developing something that could completely change the small spacecraft industry.”

Renishaw is pleased to introduce the new Equator™ 500 – designed to gauge larger parts with all the benefits of the proven Equator 300 gauging system.

Equator gauging systems have helped to improve yield and increase process capabilities of production lines around the world, by providing high accuracy dimensional inspection data next to turning and machining centers, at the point of manufacture. The new larger Equator 500 system now enables the gauging of larger parts, with a working volume of 20” in diameter and up to 16” in height.

Both Equator 300 and 500 systems are accurate between 41ºF and 122ºF at any rate of temperature change, and are capable of scanning speeds in excess of 8 inches/second. Every system is compatible with simple-to-use Organizer operator software, EZ-IO software for automation, and IPC (intelligent process control) software for updating tool offsets on CNC machine tools.

The Equator 500 has a gauging volume of 20” diameter in the X/Y plane and 10” in Z when used with the SM25-2 scanning module. This can be expanded to 16” in Z with the SM25-3 scanning module, which allows styli up to 8” in length to reach many more features. The base of the Equator 500 supports workpiece and fixturing with a total weight limit of 221 lbs. The ratio of gauging volume to footprint means that the machine is extremely space efficient, with a footprint of just 36.2” by 36.4”. This allows manufacturers of larger parts to easily fit the Equator 500 onto the shop floor alongside their production machines. Typical applications include the manufacture of car and truck transmission and engine casings, drive-train parts like connecting rods and differential housings, suspension castings, pressed parts, valves and pumps.

Most users of Equator systems need short cycle times to maximize throughput from their manufacturing processes. Both Equator 300 and 500 systems, while maintaining high levels of repeatability, are capable of rapid scans and high speed touch points on a wide variety of features. Years of customer experience with Equator systems have proven the capability to gauge size, position and geometry on a single device. This can eliminate the need to stabilize parts to the temperature of the quality room prior to measuring geometry and form of critical features.

Climatic conditions can result in variable daily and seasonal temperature cycles. For example, early in the morning a cold machine shop can increase in temperature due to both external conditions and machinery heating up. The system has been proven to cope with this by re-mastering – meaning that accurate gauging can start as soon as the first part has been produced and continue regardless of how conditions change.

The Equator range is compatible with new IPC software which allows constant monitoring and automatic adjustment of a machining operation, keeping part dimensions close to nominal and well within process control limits. This correction of process drift improves part quality and manufacturing capability, and reduces scrap. The proximity of the Equator gauge to the CNC process allows adjustment at the point of manufacture, avoiding time delays or reliance on finished part inspection. An Equator gauging system can be connected to one or multiple CNC machine tool controllers.

IPC software can average results from several parts to determine the true process mean for adjustment of critical cutting tools. For process control purposes, often only one machined feature per cutting tool will require gauging, in contrast with the many features inspected for typical Quality Assurance (QA) applications. The frequency and magnitude of offset updates can be configured on a feature-by-feature basis depending on design tolerances, process variation and tool wear rates.

IPC is an integral function of Equator Process Monitor software, using recent historical gauging data to determine process corrections. Connection to a compatible machine tool can be as simple as connecting an Ethernet cable from the Equator controller to a CNC machine.

The ability to correct a process automatically with IPC software eliminates the potential for manual data entry errors, and removes the requirement for an expert to decipher traditional measurement reports into a process correction value at the CNC machine.

The new EQ-ATS (Equator Automatic Transfer Systems), for the Equator 300 and Equator 500, allows parts to be loaded on to a fixture plate in front of the gauge, and transferred in and out of the measuring volume under automatic program control. They can be used for either manual loading by operators, cranes or forklifts, or robot loading in an automated cell, protecting the Equator gauge from accidental damage. EQ-ATS is easily integrated, bolting directly on to the base of the Equator gauge.

BigRep released its latest filament innovation, which is a first for the large-scale FDM industry globally – a flexible material with engineering-grade properties for a various of applications.

The new TPU-based material “PRO FLEX” opens up a wealth of possibilities for manufacturers and customers, to use a flexible engineering material that has been expertly developed and tested to work in connection with BigRep’s largest industrial 3D printer, the BigRep ONE, on its standard 1 mm extruder.

PRO FLEX has high temperature resistance, as well as commendably low temperature impact resistance. The durable material has excellent damping behavior and dynamic properties, enabling companies to explore a broader range of manufacturing opportunities.

For the automotive industry, it enables prototyping for gear knobs, door handles, cable sheathing and more. The sporting goods industry could also foreseeably benefit, as Pro FLEX allows prototyping of skateboard wheels, sporting shoe shells, ski tips and ends.

BigRep’s Chief Technology Officer Moshe Aknin is excited about the number of parts and applications that PRO FLEX will make possible, saying, “Printing elastomers is clearly one of the biggest challenges in the FFF AM industry, so we are proud to have found an industrial-grade solution. In terms of applications with PRO FLEX, we see high potential for 3D printing in fields like footwear, custom vibration dampers, and seals, due to its high chemical resistance.”

In developing the innovative thermoplastic elastomer, which is a Shore 98 A on the Shore Hardness scale, BigRep analyzed how elastomers behave in its machines’ extruders and achieved the end result by adapting its material evaluation procedure accordingly.

BigRep advises that customers be experienced in handling extrusion of flexible materials, as they can be more challenging than most. BigRep will provide a guidance document to all PRO FLEX customers, and as part of the BigRep 360-degree service, customer service technicians are also on hand to assist where necessary.

The 60 speakers who will present during Conference @ Ceramics Expo represent an impressive sphere of knowledge and influence, and during three days of free-to-attend twin-track sessions will aim to touch every point on the compass of today’s ceramic world. Certain topics – such as 3D printing, the revolution in automotive, and products for power and energy – are top of many people’s lists and they all feature strongly at the event.

“This year will be a big year for developments in the joining of dissimilar materials for battery (electric vehicle), energy, and aerospace applications,” says Lucideon’s Andre Prette. The theme is picked up by Will Paxton of Ford, “In the United States, cars and trucks account for almost 20% of the country’s CO2 emissions. When we fully transition to battery electric vehicles, we have the best shot at reducing the carbon impact by charging those vehicles with renewable energy sources. Part of getting there is developing a new generation of lighter and more powerful batteries.”

The whole battery scene in North America is one of rapidly developing applied science and making the most of ceramic and allied technologies is to the fore. “There are some very exciting developments in battery technology, with many researchers working on lithium batteries with solid electrolytes,” says Michael Hill at Skyworks Solutions. “Not only does this improve the energy density of the battery, but it also prevents the thermal runaway issues experienced with batteries containing liquid electrolytes.” Tony Finoli at McDanel agrees, “The continuing advancement in new technologies such as additive manufacturing and new energy applications – for example, battery and membrane materials – has really stood out to me.”

Confronting issues of size, at both ends of the scale, is another of the topics to be addressed during the conference. “The current generation of electronics is hitting its miniaturization limitations through the use of traditional ceramic materials. Electronics companies are increasingly turning toward advanced nanotechnology in electroceramics to get them past these limitations. This requires incorporation of new materials and new bottom-up approaches to production of these components, says Kapil Deshpande (Croda). “Some of the issues that need to be solved are the cost of nanoparticle production, the incorporation of the nanoparticles into final forms, and the need for lower temperature sintering due to the size of component not being suitable for high temperatures.”

Finoli expands on this, “As adoption of advanced ceramics continues to grow, customers are requesting bigger parts with more stringent tolerances and more demanding applications. This can be a challenge for dense advanced ceramics, which commonly shrink 20-25% during sintering. However, by using improved processing techniques and precision machining, some of the requests can be met.”

Undoubtedly for a number of these areas, additive manufacturing is set to increasingly come into its own. It’s a forming technique with which, according to Richard Clark at Morgan Advanced Materials, “it is now possible to produce high-strength, high-hardness, and high-temperature ceramics, greatly expanding the market opportunities for this manufacturing process.”

These and many other avenues will be explored at the fourth Conference @ Ceramics Expo, again providing a searchlight over the route to constant enhancement. 

As DiPerri says, “With every new technology comes the birth of something better.”

Kubotek3D announced the V15.5 release of the Kubotek line of CAD/CAM products including KeyCreator 3D CAD software and leading CAD comparison and translation validation utilities. This release provides updates to six CAD file translators and a new internet-based login license authentication option. KeyCreator drafting features see view creation performance advances and dimension editing enhancements. Additionally, a new free viewer program named KeyCreator Viewer has been spun off from the Spectrum Multi-CAD Viewer product.

Updated CAD Translators

Interoperability with other CAD/CAM software across all V15.5 Kubotek software has been updated with the latest versions of six major CAD file formats:

  • ACIS SAT 2018 1.0
  • Autodesk Inventor 2018
  • Parasolid X_T v30
  • PTC Creo 4.0
  • Siemens NX 12
  • SolidWorks 2018


Starting with the V15.5 release customers with stand-alone licenses on active maintenance now have the option to use a program login for license authentication. Login authentication is an alternative to the standard method of temporary activation of a license onto a specific PC through a check-in/check-out process. With login authentication the process of making the license available for another PC is simply exiting the program and can also be handled remotely from the customer’s support account.

Chris Boivin, Kubotek3D Technical Support Manager, said “Login authentication will provide additional licensing flexibility for customers working on PCs with internet connections. The remote logout feature also allows customers to more quickly recover from situations when a PC running the software is lost or disabled.”

KeyCreator 2017 V15.5 includes three improvements aimed at improving productivity in drawings. Multi-processor support has been expanded in the Advanced Precise Hidden Line Rendering system allowing views containing large numbers of solids to draw faster. The Move function has been enhanced to allow quick repositioning of dimension extension or leader lines. Last, a new function has been added for quickly changing arrowhead type on selected ends of dimensions.

The V15.5 release separates the Kubotek Spectrum product line into two products; KeyCreator Viewer and Spectrum Multi-CAD Viewer. KeyCreator Viewer is a free program that provides read-only viewing access to all KeyCreator CKD files and also CADKEY PRT files. KeyCreator Viewer replaces past products known as Spectrum Lite, Spectrum KeyCreator, and Spectrum CADKEY.

Free trials of Kubotek software are available.

Twindom, brand licensee of Kodak, announced that the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner is now available to start shipping to customers in the U.S. and Canada. The new KODAK 3D scanner will have a base price of $29,995 plus a monthly cloud subscription.

The announcement comes on the heels of the successful public unveiling of the new KODAK 3D scanner at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. At CES 2018 the new full body 3D scanner was met with strong interest from attendees who formed a consistent line to get themselves 3D scanned on the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner and claim a promo code for a 3D printed figurine shipped to them after the show. The KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner differentiates itself from competitive 3D body scanners with its ability to produce consistent, high quality 3D scans while still maintaining high throughput made possible by its hybrid 3D scanning technology.

With the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner now available, Twindom is also offering a number of perks to entrepreneurs, existing retail businesses and tourist locations who are first to adopt the new 3D scanner. The limited time offers include free 3D print and cloud credits as well as free Lighting Kits and Vinyl Curtain Wraps that attach onto the scanner once it’s setup. The Lighting Kit and Vinyl Curtain Wrap help increase the quality of the 3D scans generated by the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner for customers looking to offer a more premium product to their own customers.

“With the incredible interest we saw at CES we’re expecting a diverse and large array of customers to adopt the KODAK Full Body 3D Scanner in the coming months” said Will Drevno, one of Twindom’s co-founders.

Renishaw officially launched its Fabrication Development Centre (FDC) on March 28th, 2018 at the company's Miskin facility in South Wales. On the day, Renishaw will also launch its education partnership with BLOODHOUND SSC. To celebrate this, Andy Green OBE, current holder of the World Land Speed Record and BLOODHOUND SSC driver, opened the facility.

The FDC is a unique educational resource for hands-on learning. It aims to inspire young people and to encourage a pipeline of talent into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. Schools or groups of young people can use the facility for free for lessons or workshops. The FDC contains two classrooms, staffed by a qualified teacher and Renishaw's STEM ambassadors. It is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including 3D printers.

“With companies already struggling to recruit skilled candidates, it is important to get more young people interested in STEM subjects at GCSE and A-Level,” explained Simon Biggs, Education Outreach Officer at Renishaw. “Creating engaging educational experiences for pupils at a young age can be essential to their selection of the subject at degree or apprenticeship level.

“The Fabrication Development Centre not only gives pupils a chance to escape the classroom, but it also enables them to grasp the link between the school curriculum and industry. They can take part in motivating workshops that complement the exam specification and give them a better understanding of the career opportunities available to them in the future.”

Large numbers of young people have already experienced success from using the facility, including students at Radyr Comprehensive. After using the FDC for just a few months, the school noticed increased motivation among the pupils. Radyr Comprehensive School now plans to extend its use of the facility across the three years of its GCSE programme to increase the interest and uptake of design subjects.

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