Makers Empire wins US backing

ADELAIDE 3D software company Makers Empire has attracted $1 million in funding as part of an equity deal with a new US-based shareholder. … Makers' software, which helps children from kindergarten through to Year 8 get familiar with 3D printing and also assists teachers in education, will be rolled …

University LightWalk at Abilene Christian Illuminates LulzBot 3D Printer Possibilities

Pin It

Abiline Christian University (ACU) in Abilene Texas was looking for a way to showcase their newly renovated quad area, a place on campus that exists literally at the juncture of the arts and the sciences. To do this, they engaged the university community and created an interactive light installation that showcased both technical and artistic skills. The piece looks like a reed filled marshland and consists of 20,000 LEDs distributed across 350 of these electronic reeds. It’s not just a display, but also an invitation to participate as a web app, which you can try out at home, built specifically for this project allows visitors to customize multiple effects that are either triggered by actions or that simply create patterns.

The university had just two months to create the entire field of light and so they turned to Viget, a company of designers, engineers, and strategists, for help bringing their digital concept out of the computer and onto the quad. Viget, in turn, relied upon the tried and true LulzBot 3D printer to get the production rolling. The reason for their choice was simple, as explained by Justin Sinichko, hardware developer at Viget’s Boulder, Colorado office:

“We chose LulzBot because the Mini and TAZ printers can produce production-ready components even while running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The parts we produce satisfy two needs: quick turn, production ready parts, and low-volume, cost effective parts as an alternative to rapid injection-molding.”

LulzBot has made a name for itself by providing superior products as part of Aleph Objects, an open source hardware company, and the popularity of its printers is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the 2,782 percent three-years sales growth numbers. Its product line of printers, parts, and plastics are utilized by tens of thousands of people in 85 countries around the world and has received numerous awards for its capable performance. This philosophy of free and open software was important to Viget when it decided to use LulzBot as it gave the company access to a comprehensive range of built-in filament slicing options, profiles, and settings using Cura LulzBot Edition.

The software platform gave the computer science students the ability to write code and test it on a small scale, as well as provided a fleet management dashboard that sends updates to 35 computers in order to control the full display. Meanwhile, the printers were able to produce custom power supply mounts, pcb standoffs, washers, gaskets, and weather proof enclosures in order to build the functioning parts of the display. As time was limited, the importance of using LulzBot products remained clear to Sinichko:

“We’re able to design very specific solutions that can be implemented in real-time and alongside a natural product development cycle. LulzBot 3D printers are simple and easy to maintain…it’s easy to find disassembly instructions and quickly implement a fix that keeps everything running without much downtime. LulzBot has, as far as I can tell, the largest and most active community. Pair this support network with their own Technical Support Team and you’ll be able to run print, after print, after print.”

[embedded content]

The end result is a field of interactive lights that both beautifies the new quad and serves as a testament to what the combination of art and science can do when given the power of 3D printing.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts below. 

[Source/Images: LulzBot]


Print your city: project turns plastic waste into urban furniture

A new international initiative has launched that uses large-scale 3D printing to transform the plastic waste of cities into a number of useful applications for urban environments, including bespoke outdoor furniture.

The project uses plastic waste to create practical pieces for urban spaces.The project uses plastic waste to create practical pieces for urban spaces. Image by Print Your City

Called Print Your City, the project was created by The New Raw, a research and design studio based in Rotterdam run by the architects Foteini Setaki and Panos Sakkas. “As the name suggests, the project is a call to action, rallying citizens to recycle household plastic waste in order to transform it into raw material for public furniture,” the design firm said.

[embedded content]

Proposed as a country-spanning project, the first outcome of the Print Your City project is the XXX bench, a bespoke piece designed for the municipality of Amsterdam. The process used reprocessed plastic pellets from municipal waste to create a bench that weighs 50 kilograms and measures 150 centimetres and is 100% recyclable. Produced in collaboration with Aectual on a large scale pellet extrusion 3D printer, the bench was created in a short material circle, which could constantly be fed with additional material. According to the project, in Amsterdam alone residents generate an average of 23 kilograms of plastic waste per person annually, roughly enough to 3D print one bench for every two people per year.

The process used reprocessed plastic pellets from municipal plastic waste to create the bench.The process used reprocessed plastic pellets from municipal plastic waste to create the bench. Image by Print Your City

The XXX bench seats two to four people and takes the form of a double-sided rocking chair, designed to act as a statement on working together. Visitors sitting on the bench are able to use their equilibrium and energy to rock each other, and it can easily be customised in shape or function to integrate messages or logos. Following on from XXX, the project will focus on the development of a broader range of urban furniture and public space applications such as bus stops, recycling bins and playgrounds.

More information on the Print Your City project is available at the official website.

Arconic (ARNC) and Airbus Ink Aerospace 3D-Printing Deal

Arconic Inc. (ARNC Free Report) entered into a multi-year cooperative research deal with Airbus to advance metal 3D printing for aircraft manufacturing. The deal combines Arconic’s expertise in metal additive production and metallurgy with Airbus’s qualification and design capabilities.

Per the deal, both companies will build customized parameters and processes to make and qualify large, structural 3D printed components like rib structures and pylon spars up to roughly 1 meter in length.

Arconic will use electron beam high deposition rate technology to 3D print parts, which is suitable for producing larger aerospace components as it prints up to one hundred times faster than technologies used for smaller and more intricate parts. Moreover, the company will also exhibit the benefits of its proprietary Ampliforge process, which combines additive and traditional manufacturing. Arconic will utilize its additive and advanced manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, OH and at the Arconic Technology Center outside Pittsburgh, PA.

Arconic’s comprehensive capabilities and supply chain management experience are helping the company to grow its partnership with Airbus. Airbus achieved a breakthrough in 3D printing last September which involves a 3D printed titanium bracket installed on the A350 XWB series of Airbus commercial aircraft. Arconic is making these titanium brackets utilizing laser powder bed technologies at its additive manufacturing facility in Austin, TX.

In 2016, Arconic declared three deals with Airbus under which it had agreed to 3D print titanium and nickel airframe components, including fuselage and engine pylon components. The agreements established Arconic as an innovation partner of Airbus in the rapidly growing metal 3D printing space.

Arconic’s shares have declined 3.7% in the past three months underperforming the industry’s 3.4% growth.


Arconic logged profit, as reported, of $119 million or 22 cents per share for the third quarter of 2017, down from $166 million or 33 cents a year ago. The results in the reported quarter include special items including restructuring charges. Barring one-time items, earnings came in at 25 cents per share for the quarter. Results lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents.

The company reported revenues of $3,236 million, up around 3% year over year. Sales topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,129 million. Revenues were driven by improved volumes across all segments and higher aluminum prices.

Arconic reaffirmed its full-year adjusted earnings guidance of $1.15-$1.20 per share. However, the company updated its revenue and capital expenditure outlook for 2017.

The company now sees revenues for 2017 in the range of $12.6-$12.8 billion (up from $12.3-$12.7 billion expected earlier). Arconic now expects capital expenditure to be roughly $600 million, compared with its prior view of up to $650 million.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Arconic currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are ArcelorMittal (MT Free Report) , Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK Free Report) and Kronos Worldwide Inc. (KRO Free Report) . All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 stocks here.

ArcelorMittal has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 11.3%. Its shares have moved up 27.5% year to date.

Westlake Chemical has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8.4%. Its shares have rallied 61.8% year to date.

Kronos Worldwide has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 5%. Its shares have surged a whopping 122.4% year to date.

Zacks’ Best Private Investment Ideas

While we are happy to share many articles like this on the website, our best recommendations and most in-depth research are not available to the public.

Starting today, for the next month, you can follow all Zacks’ private buys and sells in real time. Our experts cover all kinds of trades… from value to momentum . . . from stocks under $10 to ETF and option moves . . . from stocks that corporate insiders are buying up to companies that are about to report positive earnings surprises. You can even look inside exclusive portfolios that are normally closed to new investors.

Click here for Zacks’ private trades >>