3D Printing

Judge Blocks Online Plans For Printing Untraceable 3D Guns

Aug 27, 2018
Eric Gay / AP

A U.S. judge in Seattle blocked the Trump administration Monday from allowing a Texas company to post online plans for making untraceable 3D guns, agreeing with 19 states and the District of Columbia that such access to the plastic guns would pose a security risk.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

At the South Philadelphia high-tech makers’ space NextFab, creators of all types work on projects using laser cutters, robots, and a room full of 3D printers.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

CMU Robotics Institute assistant professor Stelian Coros was working to find ways to make animated characters navigate their simulated environments, such as in a video game or a movie, when he realized his work could be used to design and virtually test robots.

“And what I’m really excited about is moving towards a new paradigm where robots will be able to approach the complexity of biological structures in both form and in function,” Coros said. 

This Machine Will Change The Way You Think About Plastic

Oct 12, 2016
Perpetual Plastic Project

Plastic pollution is all around us—from grocery bags blowing down the street to the islands of plastic floating in the oceans. But Bart Bleijerveld, an industrial designer from the Netherlands, sees plastic a little differently. He says it’s a really useful—even beautiful—material. We’re just using it the wrong way.

“It is designed to last for a really, really long time, while everybody’s using it as a disposable,” Bleijerveld says.

This New Machine Can Recycle Plastic Ad Infinitum

Sep 29, 2016
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

 Plastic pollution is all around us. You can find it in everything from grocery bags blowing down the road to islands of plastic floating in the oceans. But new technology demonstrated at a recent green products expo in Pittsburgh is getting people to think differently about plastic’s lifecycle.

“So what we have here is a mobile plastic recycling installation,” says Dutch industrial designer Bart Bleijerveld, showing off the new gizmo. “We call it the Perpetual Plastic Project.”

Researchers at Penn State's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences are taking 3D printing from a novelty to an orthopedic tool. The team is developing a method of 3D printing with cartilage cells to create implants for joints such as the knee and elbow.

On a visit to his lab, Associate Professor of engineering Ibrahim Ozbolat showed several of his lab's bioprinters to physicians from Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The Fab Lab at the Carnegie Science Center is using its 3-D printer to make prosthetic hands. The “e-Nable the Future” program allowed visitors to take part in a workshop utilizing this technology. Essential Pittsburgh producer Marcus Charleston attended the workshop.

The Remake Learning series is a collaboration of 90.5 WESA, WQED, Pittsburgh Magazine and NEXTpittsburgh.

Uber / uber.com

Imagine it’s the future and you’re riding down the road in your autonomous vehicle when suddenly it starts to downpour. Your vehicle wakes you up, says they don’t feel comfortable driving in the conditions and hand you the wheel. That responsible robotic action is one of the thoughts behind a recent workshop that examined how engineers can create safe and controlled artificial intelligence technologies. William Scherlis, director of the Institute for Software Research in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science joins us to talk about the concept and the dialogue at the workshop.

Bad Hair Day? Try Printing It Instead

Oct 29, 2015
Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are printing 3-D hair.

The three-dimensional printers, which translate objects from a digital file into hard, typically plastic objects, have been harnessed to make whistles, shoes, automotive parts and medical devices. But hair is a new, softer, more pliable frontier.

CMU's development team says producing 3-D hair is similar to and inspired by the way stringy strands come out in small bits when a glue gun is used.

Mike Richards

What do 3-D printers, laser cutters and sewing/embroidery machines have in common? As of Tuesday, they are all available for use inside the Carnegie Science Center’s Sportsworks building in the digital fabrication lab, or “fab lab.”

Two separate University of Pittsburgh research groups have received funding from America Makes to improve design development for three-dimensional printing.

Directed by faculty in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, the two projects will receive more than $1.7 million.

Each group has a different approach to 3-D printing research. One group, led by Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and material science, focuses on the design aspect of 3-D printing. The second group’s focus is on the process of additive manufacturing.

NASA / Flickr

Earlier this week, SpaceX had to delay the launch of an unmanned cargo ship headed for the International Space Station. Some of that cargo includes spare parts needed by the Space Station scientists. But very soon, because of 3D printing technology, people in remote locations such as the Space Station will be able to create their own spare parts and tools on the go.

Last fall, the first zero gravity 3D printer was sent to the Space Station and test parts have been created based on digitally downloaded designs.

This news, along with the announcement of a large General Electric additive manufacturing facility coming to the Pittsburgh area, highlights the major advancements in 3D printing technology and its role in the future growth of our technology base.

University of Pittsburgh professor Howard Kuhn is a well known researcher and consultant in the world of additive manufacturing/3D printing. He joins us to talk about the advancements and evolution of the industry.

The 3D printer on the Space Station utilizes the most basic process available. The machine is fairly simple, which Kuhn says will allow the industry to move forward and make more advancements through experimentation.

How Soon Are 3D Printers Likely to Become a Household Product?

Jul 21, 2014
Piece Maker Technologies

    

Unless you are a researcher or technology professional, 3D printers are probably an unknown technology for you. But now Home Depot will carry and sell desktop 3D printers.

Locally, the Carnegie Library has offered sessions on the basics of how 3D printing works. It’s the latest innovation in high-tech manufacturing for the masses.

Senior Librarian Wes Roberts runs the Job and Career Education Center at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and said that the 3D printing workshops show computing education workshop participants a new world.

"Providing access to education in this new realm of digital manufacturing. So that was the whole crux. To get people connected we do a lot of classes on general computing, Microsoft Office, but to bring them to this higher tier of creative design, the idea was to kind of welcome people to the new world of technology."

Despite the already big benefits of the workshop Roberts said that the programs will continue to grow and develop.

"Moving forward, it's at a pretty beginning stage with this technology, but I think we've got a really good ground work for what we're doing with our children's and our teen programs. So that we'll keep building on it for the adult level and really kind of merge them all together."

With patents expiring and more companies getting on board with the product, Roberts predicts that the price of 3D printers will drop from thousands of dollars into the hundreds of dollars range.

But until that time, Arden Rosenblatt, co-founder and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Piece Maker Technologies said you can create and design items for 3D printing at Piece Maker Technologies.

Most 3D printing technology deals only in plastic or metal, but a Carnegie Mellon University professor’s latest invention produces much softer results.

Scott Hudson, a professor in CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, collaborated with Disney Research Pittsburgh to develop a 3D printer that prints in needle felt and yarn.

“This creates things that have a very different aesthetic,” Hudson said. “A really soft aesthetic.”