Welcome to the third episode of the 3D Printing News Show! Today we will be talking about:  

LightForce Orthodontics Raises $14M for Custom 3D Printed Braces


LightForce Orthodontics has recently raised $14 million from a series-b funding round that will help the company continue to develop. They’re using 3D printing to provide patients with a personalized treatment process since no one’s jaw, mouth or teeth are the same. The company was founded by Dr. Alfred Griffin III, DMD, PhD, MMSc and Dr. Lou Shuman, formerly of Invisalign 

LightForce’s technology basically creates custom braces by 3D printing brackets which are designed for each individual tooth, ideally leading to shorter time wearing braces and fewer appointments for adjustments. The brackets are printed out of a ceramic material similar to what’s currently used for injection molded brackets

Dr. Alfred Griffin LightForce’s CEO  “Braces haven’t changed in fifty years yet are by far the most common treatment tool;.... This opportunity to help patients and orthodontists was why we applied modern 3D software and ‘mass-customization’ to what we know today as ‘braces.’”

Companies like Invisalign and Smile Direct Club have been utilizing 3D printing for years for mass customization for their users. As materials improve, we expect to see more products being made directly with 3D printing, like LightForce’s offerings. 

Purdue University Receives a Grant to 3D Print a Nuclear Reactor  


The US Department of Energy awarded $800k grant to Purdue University’s College of Engineering to accelerate the development of the microreactor. This project will be the first advanced reactor to operate in the US in 40 years. Purdue scientists and engineers are looking to drive the integration of technologies such as AM, computational material modeling and AI, in creating the components for the reactor. 

Hany Abdel-Khalik, explained: “Purdue will fill a technological gap in the nuclear industry, reflecting a broader trend of applying AI strategies to support additive manufacturing (AM). AM enables designs to be adjusted during manufacturing, greatly decreasing production cost and time. Our work is aimed at driving widespread adoption of additively manufactured reactor components by using an AI-powered software system to ensure safety and reliability.”

Harvard Researchers Develop YET ANOTHER Shape Memory 3D Printing Material 


Researchers from Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a 3D printing material that can be pre-programmed with reversible shape memory capabilities. AND, it’s eco-friendly, consisting of two chains of keratin arranged into spring-like structures that have been twisted together Once combined into a ‘coiled coil’ the material is capable of being changed into any shape before returning to its original formation in a ‘shape memory effect’ 

The biocompatible material was created using recycled wool and besides potential ecological benefits and recyclability, benefits could be seen in the medical prosthesis and textile sectors. Lots of applications for shape-memory materials - from civil engineering, aerospace, wearables, and medical devices

Its not the first shape memory material created. Scientists from ETH Zurich created a 3D printed shape-memory material for potential use in biomedical, aerospace or engineering devices. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has created silicone structures which recover from compression. Georgia Institute of Technology has used AM to create “tensegrity objects” that can change shape based on the level of tensity applied to them 

Cultivate3D has launched it’s Massive “Elevator” 3D Printer complete with the MEDUSA dual-extrusion hotend


Australia-based company has launched their new “Elevator” 3D printer, a large format FFF printer designed to compete with other large format systems from 3D Platform and BigRep


- 1000 x 660 x 500 mm build volume 
- DUAL extruders -- that’s two 2 Slice Engineering Mosquito Magnums 
- Classic Bondtech BMG Extruders 
- Locline coolers like CNC machines 
- Each axis is belt driven including the Z-axis - providing smoother motion 
- 32 bit Bigtreetech GTR mainboard 
- Total lack of TMC drivers, due to torque issues 
- Bed leveling microswitch can map the bed in high resolution for leveling 

Medusa multi-material system - a unique solution for dual extrusion printing aimed to solve a couple problems:

- The unused hot end must be cooled down to minimize oozing onto the print. It then must be heated up again which slows down the print job 

- IDEX machines don’t require cooling/heating, but do require “flushing” or purging the hot end when the material changes, resulting in LOTS of wasted filament 

On the Medusa, hot ends rotate out of the way when not in use. They even rotate into a nozzle blocker that minimizes oozing. The only major caveat is that it doesn’t come with a build plate. The cost of shipping a massive sheet of aluminum or glass outweighs cost of outsourcing it yourself, locally. 

Now, there are 2 versions - Fully enclosed, and “Naked” 

- Starting at only $3520
- Or $2760 for the Naked edition

Available through kickstarter - pre orders start september 8, and the price is going up about $1k by the end of the year!

Xometry Raises $75M in Equity Funding Round


Xometry is a specialized in on demand manufacturing services. The new equity round was led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, and also included Durable Capital Partners and ArrowMark Partners, as well as previous investors BMW i Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Dell Technologies Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Foundry Group, Highland Capital Partners, and Almaz Capital.

“The adoption of distributed manufacturing across industries is accelerating,” said Andrew Davis, Director of Private Investments at T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. “Xometry’s agile digital marketplace helps both the Fortune 500 and smaller businesses meet their production requirements. “

Digital manufacturing technologies reduce the reliance on traditional supply chains that have been severely disrupted during the ongoing pandemic conditions 

“Xometry is focused on helping manufacturers navigate the current disruption associated with  supply chain flexibility, reshoring and shift to digital manufacturing,” said Randy Altschuler, CEO of Xometry

NASA and KULR to 3D print Batteries in Space 


The Marshall SpaceFlight Center has awarded KULR Technology a contract to build 3D printed battery systems for manned and robotic space applications. KULR technologies develops next generation carbon fiber thermal management technologies for batteries and electronics systems, mostly used in aerospace, electronics and electric vehicle production. On June 2020, they developed a Passive Propagation Resistant battery design for space   

According to NASA Deputy Chief Technologist, John Carr, “NASA employs highly rigorous assurance and safety standards, especially for our man-rated technologies. KULR’s PPR design solution for future manned and unmanned space missions is an ideal fit for mass design, flexibility and cost, all the while maintaining [high safety standards] [against risks like] thermal runAway.”

This provides an Important advantage - it will significantly lower the cost of battery pack transportation for the Artemis missions (next moon missions), mainly because, well, they won’t have to transport them very far. The ability to 3D print batteries in space would allow for more extended missions 

Dr. Timothy Knowles, Co-Founder and CTO of KULR commented, “The optionality to repair and replace battery packs in space with 3D printed parts PRINTED in space is a complete game changer“. 

Overall, the ability to 3D print batteries in space has a lot of advantages, such as lowering costs, allowing for extended missions, and reserving cargo capacity for other valuable items and equipment.

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At Vision Miner, we specialize in Functional 3D printing, especially high-performance plastics like PEEK, ULTEM, PPSU, PPS, CFPA, and more. If you're interested in using functional 3D printing and materials in your business, feel free to reach out, and we can help you make the right choice for your application. 

Call 833-774-6863 or email contact@visionminer.com, and we're here to help!

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