Monday, November 23, 2015

Stratasys 3D Printing Helping Hospitals Save Lives

There are a lot of really interesting 3D printing project that have made the headlines in recent years,
maybe the most impactful projects where 3D printing has assisted is in the medical industry. The traditional approach for operating on an organ probably didn’t involve practicing on a test organ that has the exact fit and issues that are in the patient about to go under the knife, 3D printing is changing that. Using scanning technologies along with Stratasys Polyjet 3D printing, doctors can have a test heart, liver, or brain printed that is exactly what will be in their patient and better understand how to approach a surgery. Polyjet allows for extremely precise detail and vivid color making organs or bone structure super realistic.

3D Printing has become a great teaching tool to Medical students as well. Applications for students generally include practicing resecting and stitching organs on surgical navigation systems using the 3D printed models. Professors can now provide simulations to students of organs that have predetermined surgical road bumps and using these road bumps as opportunities to teach. Polyjet gives the users the ability to change the texture of a print so professors can have models that accurately replicate fat, tissue, and bone. In other training sessions, students can be tested to bind a blood vessel and operate on the organ within a time limit to avoid endangering patient’s health. 3D models can help students understand which blood vessel they need to bind or where to insert a scalpel.

Lastly there is the 3D printing of medical devices. In surgery and medicine, often times the tools doctors need are unique to a patient. 3D printing allows for complex designs without much of the limitations that comes from traditional manufacturing at a fraction of the cost. According to the experts Stratasys “Around the world, growth in medical spending outpaces inflation, and patients are taking on a greater share of the cost and clinical decision making. By adapting agilely and accelerating the pace of innovation, you can improve patient care while sustaining or improving profitability”. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stratasys Announces New SUP706 for Polyjet Machines

On Tuesday, Stratasys announced a brand new support material available to all Polyjet Connex
customers, SUP706. Running on all triple-jetting 3D printers, SUP706 is compatible with all Polyjet materials, the only exception being specifically identified hearing aid materials. This new support material opens up doors to print even more detail geometries and reduces the already low design constrictions Polyjet users have. Key benefits to the new Sup706 include.

  •  Maximize productivity of your triple-jetting system and achieve a low TCO per part with easy, two-step automated support removal 
  •  More design freedom with the ability to easily remove support material from delicate features and small cavities
  • Faster and easier water-jet removal and improved glossy-mode performance 

For more information on how you can take advantage of the benefits of SUP706 please contact 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Idaho State University 3D Prints Life Size Bigfoot Skeleton

History Channel recently aired a new documentary entitled “Bigfoot Captured”, which researchers at Idaho State University utilized Stratasys 3D printing to print an 8 foot tall life size skeleton replica of what researchers believe fabled creature to looks like.

With help from anthropology and anatomy professor Jeff Meldrum, a team at the ISU Robotics and Communication Systems Engineering Technology program used fossil and bone data of an extinct large ape species Gigantopithecus, to model what they think a Bigfoot skeleton would look like. For those in the scientific community, Gigantopithecus is believed to be a close relative to what Bigfoot is, if Bigfoot is indeed real. The project was something that long time researcher Jeff Meldrum found really remarkable. “Even this was a bit of an academic exercise because obviously everything is just inferential, but what it conveys is that otherwise difficult-to-imagine sensation or impression of standing next to a skeleton that’s 8 feet tall. I mean it’s huge—massive.”

The skeleton took roughly 16000 hours to print utilizing multiple Stratasys FDM printers. There were 1000 cubic inches of ABS plastic used to create not only individual bones but also fused parts together for larger bones that were too big for the printers build platform. Just like in the manufacturing world designers of this skeleton utilized CAD software to design what they thought was the best layout of Bigfoot, then when using the printers had to take into account part build orientation to optimize part strength and build speed. This project also utilized soluble support materials for the intricate bone designs which allowed for much greater detail and less design constraints. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Metadata Connection - SolidWorks, Toolbox, and Composer

Metadata Connection:  SolidWorks, Toolbox, and Composer

While the geometry of our designs is the essential core of digital manufacturing these days, the communication of metadata attached to that geometry is imperative. How else would we fill out our title blocks, BOM, cut lists, and ultimately enrich our deliverable in SolidWorks Composer? Today I’d like to show the metadata connection between SolidWorks parts, toolbox parts, and SolidWorks Composer.  Watch the short video for a click by click detail.    

Composer and imported metadata:
·  Composer automatically imports all custom properties from parts and assemblies in SolidWorks mapping them to the appropriate geometry actors in your project.
·  By Clicking on an actor all meta data properties imported from SolidWorks are listed under the “User Properties”
·  Any “User Properties” can be leveraged in BOM, or any other annotation in Composer.

SolidWorks metadata assignment best practices:
·  Custom Properties – Go to File>Properties for any part or assembly and add custom properties (use the “configuration specific” tab)
·  Utilize the “Custom Properties” dialog in the task pane.  This is my favorite because you can consistently assign the same metadata to new and legacy documents (very composer friendly).
·  Utilized either of these methods for parts and assemblies.

What about the toolbox?
·  Quickly add part numbers and sizes to the vast library of hardware.
·  Do not add part numbers to the “User Specified” configuration property field!  Composer cannot automatically import this as metadata.

Take a look at the video!