Tech
3D Printing Press
12 Jun 2015

Welcome to this weeks 3D Printing press! Here you’ll find a round-up of this week's latest and greatest 3D printing news from around the globe.

Soon you could be throwing your scarf made with a 3D printed knitting machine over your shoulder, lacing up your 3D printed shoes and walking over a 3D printed bridge on a beautiful day in Amsterdam!

A 3D Printed Steel Pedestrian Bridge Will Soon Span an Amsterdam Canal

3D-print-steel-bridge-in-Amsterdam-1500x630

The beautiful city of Amsterdam, often referred to as “Venice of the north” is famous for its waterways and canals. The bridges used to navigate the city date back to 1648, but they’re about to get a very modern addition!

Heijmans, MX3D and Joris Laarman Lab are collaborating on a new project which will see a 3D printed steel pedestrian bridge spanning one of Amsterdam’s historic canals in the near future.

“We came to the conclusion that a bridge over the old canals of Amsterdam would be a fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the city’s historic past, in a way which would reveal the best aspects of both worlds,” stated Joris Laarman, the bridges designer. “I strongly believe in the future of digital manufacturing and local production – it’s a ‘new form of craftsmanship’. This bridge can show how 3D printing has finally entered the world of large-scale functional objects and sustainable materials while enabling unrivalled freedom of design.”

The project is centered around MX3D’s technology, using 6-axis robots to print steel literally in mid-air. By the use of these robots, construction is not limited to the confines of a square box such as conventional 3D printing.

Knitic Project Creates a 3D Printed Circular Knitting Machine

Knitting Machine

You may have seen last week's blog post on digital knitting by companies such as Kynttan, who make customizable knitted products. Well now if you have the time and the interest, you can build your own 3D printed knitting machine! The Knitic Project was created in 2012 when Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet hacked an electric knitting machine.

Circular Knittic is a completely open source and open design circular knitting machine that is produced by using digital fabrication tools, and thus, allows it to be replicated by everyone who has access to a 3d printer and laser cutting.

“With the boom of digital fabrication technology, a 3D printer is gradually turning into a commodity that every creative studio has on their desk. At the same time, Fab Labs and makerspaces are a lot about hard-surfaced object production while the first digital fabrication tool, an electronic knitting machine back in 1976, has been forgotten and discontinued. Hence, with this project, Circular Knitic, and our earlier one called Knitic, we aim to integrate textile fabrication to the makers’ culture.”

Don’t forget folks, winter is coming...

Custom 3D Printed & Thermoformed Insoles

Flexy Form 3D Printed Insoles

We have seen a lot in the media lately about the impact 3D printing is having on the footwear industry, for obvious reasons. Many of these applications have been in areas such as high fashion and are not really suitable as a consumer product in their current state due to the nature of the materials used as comfort can be an issue. One promising area though is the use of 3D printing in custom insoles.

A man named Steve Wood has been making waves as of late due to his use of both flexible and solid materials in 3D printing. Utilising the properties of PLA filament, which softens when it reaches temperatures above 60 degrees celsius, Wood printed insoles which could then be heated up and thermo-formed to an individual's foot.

“This means it can be moulded and bent into a variety of shapes whilst hot and that shape is maintained when cool,” Wood tells 3DPrint.com. “A problem with FDM 3D printers is that they are much weaker in the Z layer direction, delamination of the layers is a common problem. This heat formable insole helps overcomes this weakness by creating the Z form afterwards, moulding it for a great fit to your own foot shape. The Z layers are gently curved and the stresses wanting to pull the layers apart are greatly reduced.”

The solid material creates the support and shape for the insole, whilst the flexible material gives it a cushioned feel to improve comfort which is the holy grail of footwear.

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