Tag Archives: 3DERS

BMW is 3D printing finger cots

BMW is reportedly 3D printing a limited number of flexible finger cots for workers on certain production lines to prevent excess strain on thumb joints.

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According to 3DERs, the cots were designed in cooperation with the Department of Ergonomics at the Technical University of Munich. Fabricated in-house with 3D printing, each of the flexible assembly aids is a unique piece, precisely customized to the match the form and size of a worker’s hand.

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“In order to prevent the unnecessary overstretching of the thumb joint, the company developed the finger cots made of thermoplastic polyurethane which are put over the thumb like a second skin,” 3DERs reported.

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“Thermoplastic polyurethane is perfectly suited to making flexible orthotic devices. As a rule, it is elastic, but forms solid and rigid combinations at higher material strengths. The mechanical tensile strength is high, ensuring that the material can resist also strong, continuous strains without tearing.”

According to a BMW rep, the initial feedback from workers is quite positive. As such, the company says it is evaluating how the cots can be applied as standard tools in addition production areas.

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As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical spherearchitectural arenascience lab and even on the battlefield.

3D printing wrist splints

Loughborough University lecturer Dr. Abby Paterson has developed an innovative app that will allow clinicians to easily design and manufacture a new generation of custom-made 3D printed wrist splints.

According to 3DERS, the next-gen splints are more comfortable, attractive and affordable than current options.

“I wanted to give clinicians the ability to make splints that they have not been able to make before,” said Paterson. “They can improve the aesthetics, the fit, and integrate extra bits of functionality they couldn’t do before.”

As Paterson notes, the splints, which provide joint protection, rest, and promote pain relief, could be a major boost for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Bibb, who supervised Paterson’s PhD, said he believes the new splints will be cost-effective.

“We are in the development phase. The research has proved that this is desirable and the clinicians want it. We know there’s lots of potential.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, 3D printing technology – projected to be a $3 billion business by 2016 – is rapidly evolving, particularly in the medical space. Indeed, 3D printed orthopedic implants were recently fitted in Peking’s University Third Hospital in Beijing, while doctors at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan successfully transplanted 3D printed bones into four patients with cervical spine (cervical) disc herniation.

Similarly, 3D printing tech helped doctors at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University repair a patient’s damaged skull in China, while researchers at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology used 3D printing technology to create living human kidneys. In September, scientists at Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS (UK) Trust announced the development of an electronic smart pump to help victims of chronic heart failure.

Of course, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical spherearchitectural arenascience lab and even on the battlefield.

Video: 3D printing a 1927 Miller 91 race car

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Maker Movement has been well acquainted with Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing has clearly entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the manufacturing industry, the medical sphere, architectural arena and science lab.

Recently, Cideas, a Rapid Prototyping consulting company based in Crystal Lake, Illinois, created a rather impressive replica of the 1927 Miller 91 race car using 3D printing technology – with the entire process completed in just 6 short weeks.

According to the folks at 3Ders, the 40% scale model car was created with 100% 3D-printed parts, including frame rails, wire wheels, body, steering wheel and grille.

“The CAD model was created with SolidWorks software by designer Bill Gould, one of Fallbrook Engineering’s most talented Senior Associates. His friend Mike Littrell, CEO of CIDEAS, saw it and together with his team, they created a scale version of the car using 3D printing,” said the 3Ders crew. “Some of parts were sent out to be chromed and finished in a shiny fashion, and the final version of this replica of the 1927 Miller 91 model car is truly amazing.”