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3D Printing News Briefs: December 15 2017

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In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting with some aerospace 3D printing, then moving on to business announcements, new releases, and 3D printed art. The European Space Agency has released its first prototype design for a 3D printed satellite, while Northrop Grumman is looking for 3D printing partners to develop metal aerospace parts. Graphene 3D Lab is awarded a grant, 3D printing startup Fracktal Works received an investment to build new advanced 3D printers, and Konica Minolta Australia is partnering with Amiga Engineering for metal 3D printing. Renishaw is introducing new Smart Apps, and NewTek has announced the latest release of its LightWave 3D animation system. Finally, an artist has opened up her traveling studio to the public.

European Space Agency Releases Prototype Satellite Design  

The European Space Agency (ESA) is working on a project, backed by its General Support Technology Programme, to develop, manufacture, and demonstrate a 3D printed optical instrument for space, and this week released the first prototype of a satellite imager design. The prototype was developed by an OHB System-led consortium, made up of Materialise, Fraunhofer IFAM, IABG, the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), which is the original designer of the Aura satellite.

The organic-looking design is for a two-mirror telescope, derived from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument that’s flying on NASA’s Aura satellite, and was developed by putting the imager’s design requirements through topology optimization software. The breadboard prototype was 3D printed out of liquid photopolymer plastic and spray painted, while the final version will be 3D printed in metal. The end goal of the project is to test a working version of the instrument in a simulated space environment.

Northrop Grumman Seeking 3D Printing Partners

Complex mechanical systems supplier Northrop Grumman Corporation  has begun a partnership search and pre-qualification program, looking for suppliers with agile manufacturing and test capabilities for metal 3D printed parts. By rounding up partners willing to support multiple procurement contracts, such as low volume quick-turn aerospace product development, the unique program will streamline and accelerate the use of 3D printing for metal parts. Submissions are due on December 21st, 2017.

Northrop Grumman is looking for approved vendors in  direct energy deposition,  electron beam powder-bed fusion, and laser powder-bed fusion processes, with subcategories including processes with electron beams, lasers, and plasma arcs. Interested suppliers must have in-house engineering competence for 3D printing, manufacturing, inspection, and test capabilities, inventory control, quality controls for produced parts, and be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Interested parties should submit their responses here by December 21st.

Graphene 3D Lab Receives $500K Grant from State of New York

This year, New York-based Graphene 3D Lab was included in the strategic plan “A Region in Motion” for economic development growth, by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council (LIREDC). One of the priority projects recommended in the document to receive financial support from the state was a relocation and expansion of the company’s production capacity. This week during an award ceremony, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State supported the strategic plan, and would be awarding the Long Island Region $83.8 million to fund the recommended projects. As part of this award, LIREDC awarded a grant of $500,000 to Graphene 3D to help finance the renovation of its new facility  at Ronkonkoma, as well as the  the acquisition of new equipment.

“These awards are critical to building the foundations for New York’s future and ensuring that our economic momentum continues,” said  Governor Cuomo. “I congratulate each of the Councils on their awards and look forward to continuing to partner to keep our communities vibrant and thriving for years to come.”

Fracktal Works Receives Investment

Bangalore-based 3D printing startup Fracktal Works  has fresh capital, which it will use to build advanced 3D printers and launch its Fractory online service platform, after receiving an investment  from  Hyderabad Angels  in a pre-Series A funding round. Fracktal Works, which raised a large investment from 1 Neoteric Technology Soluti

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