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3D Printing News Briefs, August 12, 2021: Metal 3D Printing & More

In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, Aurora Labs is testing out its metal 3D printing on Australian Navy frigates, while a Silicon Valley startup is creating custom 3D printed carbon cycling shoes. Moving on, MyMiniFactory has released a new brand of 3D printer resin. Finally, we’ll tell you about a fun hack for color 3D printing!

Aurora Labs Testing 3D Printing on Navy Warships

Australian industrial technology company Aurora Labs announced that it has joined a collaboration agreement with defense contractor BAE Systems Maritime Australia to test out its metal 3D printing technology by fabricating stainless steel components used to build frigates for the Royal Australian Navy. BAE designs and builds nine of the warships for the Navy’s Hunter Class Frigate program, which it says is the country’s largest ever surface ship project in terms of its defense forces. The components Aurora Labs will be printing using its flagship powder bed fusion RMP-1 prototype printer are typically made using more conventional manufacturing methods and sourced through wholesale channels, so this would be a significant change. But BAE says the Hunter program will likely steer the country’s shipbuilding industry towards a more sovereign capability, so go big or go home, right?

“We are very pleased to be offered the chance to perform test printing for the Hunter Class Frigate Program,” said Aurora Labs CEO Peter Snowsill. “Technical validation of this kind is crucial to our commercialisation strategy and allows us to develop and position our technology to satisfy customer specifications.”

3D Printed LoreOne Carbon Cycling Shoe

The LoreOne offers an aesthetic that clearly hasn’t come from the cycling world.

Silicon Valley startup Lore Cycle has launched what it calls the world’s first custom 3D printed carbon cycling shoe, which looks more like a sandal and features a soft foam liner and 3D printed exterior skeleton made of carbon. The LoreOne is the company’s first product, and the company itself features a consumer-direct business model. The goal is to fabricate the shoes without ever having to interact with the customers, using a custom ordering process via a proprietary iPhone app called Morphic, which takes a 3D scan of your foot and then sends it off to the Lore Cycle team in California. The company will then 3D print a carbon fiber skeleton—the CarbonAirFrame (CAF)—in a custom size and shape. The company claims that its 3D printed cycling shoe is the most ventilated on the market, but for those rainy months, you can also purchase a fitted shoe cover, and the shoes also seem to feature adjustable straps as well. The LoreOne also claims to offer a “perfect” heel cup that will place less stress on the nervous system, but at a cost of $1,900 a pair, I think my nervous system could probably handle the stress.

“The LORE project is three massive steps forward from any other shoe on the market,” stated US Olympic cyclist and bike fitter Colby Pearce, who’s working with Lore Cycle to launch the LoreOne shoe. “Prepare to have your head explode while your feet feel true power transfer for the first time ever.”

If you’re interested, Lore Cycle is offering 277 pre-order pairs of LoreOne shoes, which will come with three sets of shoe covers, a shoe travel bag, limited edition cycling cap, limited edition pennant, and of course, the shoes themselves.

MyMiniFactory Introduces Premium Resin for Tabletop Gaming

MyMiniFactory has launched MyMiniFactory Premium Resin, a high-quality material for MSLA/DLP printing and engineered specifically for hobbyists and tabletop gamers. The resin, having already gone through extensive testing, was developed in response to customer feedback and demand, specifically those customers looking for better, more resistant resins to make miniatures. MyMiniFactory worked with Chinese photopolymer resin manufacturer Jamg-He to create the Premium Resin, which is compatible with most LCD/MLSA and DLP printer brands from top manufacturers.

The new resin has a chemical formula meant to improve the durability of the prints, and elasticity gives small parts extra protection in case they are dropped…which tends to happen when dealing with miniatures and tabletop gamers. The material in cured form also offers good porosity for paint application, and color shading allows for nice highlight details; you can find additional tech specifications here. At the beginning, MyMiniFactory Premium Resin will be available exclusively to premium MMF+ service subscribers for $38.99, though it will be available to the larger community at a later date at a higher price.

Coloring Prints with Sharpie 3D Printer Add-On

Finally, Hackaday published an interesting story about a 3D printer add-on that uses Sharpie permanent markers to color filament right after the hot end lays the layer of material down. Sakati84’s 3D Print Colorizer is a 3D printer add-on consisting of a Cura plug-in, a rack that mounts to the print head and can hold up to six pens, and the holder that fits on the hot end. It seems like it’s a good solution, though height calibration would likely be tricky, and because a lot of Z axis motion is required to switch out pens, print speed will probably be slow as well. Also, it only works on an Ender 3 or BLTouch-compatible printer at the moment, but perhaps in the future it can be used by other systems.

“For software, there is a Cura postprocessing script. The software thinks there are seven extruders with the first one being for unpainted filament. Extruders 2-7 are virtual and will cause the print to get color after printing each layer,” Hackaday writer Al Williams explained.

“Overall, this looks like a fun project even if we worry about the health of our Z axis rods.”

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