25 May 2015

New dimension to 3D printing for small business

A new innovation centre that will accelerate industry adoption of metal 3D printing and other emerging additive manufacturing technologies will be opened today by CSIRO.

Lab 22: adding a new dimension to 3D printing

Show transcript

[Music plays and text appears: CSIRO adds a new dimension to 3D printing for small business]

[Image changes to show Alex Kingsbury, Additive manufacturing research leader]

Alex Kingsbury: So 3D printing is a process by which material is added in successive layers, it builds up a part, typically you use a heat source to build that part up, but you could use something like a binder as well. It’s got application in aerospace and biomed and in the Defence industry as well, and to a less extent the auto industry.

[Camera pans around the different sections of the LAB22 Innovation Centre and then moves back to Alex]

So the LAB22 Innovation Centre is a try before you buy place, where industry can come in and use the equipment and access the expertise of our research scientists.

[Image changes to show a CSIRO staff member working on a desktop computer and then moves back to Alex]

It means that they get to get familiar with the equipment and get the training and support to enable them to feel confident about potentially making a purchase of one of these types of machines in the future.

[Camera zooms in on the image the CSIRO staff member is looking at on the computer]

This centre enables SMEs to come in and gain a competitive edge.

[Image changes to show Alex holding a 3D model in her hands as explained below]

So, so far here at CSIRO we’ve 3D printed a heel implant for a man that was about to lose his leg, so we worked together with the surgeons at St Vincent’s and Anatomics.

[Image changes to show Alex holding a different 3D model in her hands as explained below]

Flying Machine is a Perth based company and we 3D print the bike lugs for them and that means they can customise bikes according to an individual’s height and riding style.

[Image changes to show Alex holding a different 3D model in her hands as explained below]

We worked with a company called Oventus to 3D print a device that goes into your mouth that helps combat sleep apnoea.

[Image changes to show the Arcam machine]

The Arcam machine is a 3D metal printer, it prints in a lot of different metals and it produces really high quality parts in a really short amount of time]

[Image changes to show the Concept Laser and then moves back to Alex]

The Concept Laser is a laser-based metal 3D printer. It produces really fine, detailed parts with a really nice surface finish.

[Image changes to show the Optomec machine and then moves back to Alex]

The Optomec Lense System is a blown powder system. With this system you can add features to a part, or you can functionally grade materials as well. That means, for example, you can put a wear resistant coating in a high wear area on a part.

[Image changes to show the Voxeljet machine and then moves back to Alex]

The Voxeljet is a sand printer. With the sand printer we can apply a binder and that prints out our 3D part. We can use that to make a casting that can be more complex than your conventional castings.

[Image changes to show the Arcam machine in action]

The Australian Manufacturing Industry is in a real state of flux at the moment. It’s essential that SMEs transition to advance manufacturing technology such as 3D printing.

[Image changes to show a different part of the printing process]

Access to the centre enables SMEs to de-risk the capital investment that they might make in this technology, it enables them to develop up products in an easy an accessible and affordable way.

[Image has moved back to Alex]

We want industry to come in and tell us their great ideas and to try out their ideas using our equipment. You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to 3D printing.

[CSIRO logo appears with text: Big ideas start here www.csiro.au]

YouTube: Lab 22: adding a new dimension to 3D printing
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The $6 million centre, called Lab 22, provides Australian companies with affordable access to specialist additive manufacturing equipment and expertise and offers huge efficiency and productivity benefits for product development.

By lowering their capital investment risk and allowing companies to ‘try before they buy’, Lab 22 overcomes one of the major barriers facing smaller businesses in adopting 3D printing with metal.

“This advanced equipment is in the range of $1 million per unit, but the vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) don’t have that amount of capital on-hand to take a leap of faith on a new or emerging technology,” CSIRO additive manufacturing research leader, Alex Kingsbury said.

“We’re providing Australian companies with a unique opportunity to access some of the most advanced additive manufacturing equipment with the help of our experienced technical experts, for a comparatively minimal daily fee.”

Australian 3D printing service companies, Made for Me and Keech3D, were the first companies to sign to use Lab 22’s new space with the aim of growing their metal 3D printing services.

“It’s critical for companies to be able to take advantage of new technology and development if they are to remain internationally competitive, but investment can be risky and expensive and the technical aspects are complicated,” Ms Kingsbury said.

“Lab 22 makes it much easier and affordable, so local companies can try out the equipment, use it to design or test new products or up skill their workforce – providing them with the tools to differentiate themselves, grow and get ahead of global competitors.

“We’ve already signed up four industry partners and welcome more companies to get on board.”

CSIRO has partnered with industry on a range of world-firsts using its Arcam 3D printer, including a titanium heel bone implant to treat a cancer patient, a mouthguard for treating sleep apnoea and a customisable ‘orthotic’ for horses suffering laminitis.

Lab 22 experts can help companies tailor design solutions, and have the ability to capture 3D data and simulate both the manufacturing process and in-service part performance.

Cold spray deposition technology, laser heat treatment, surface engineering and advanced machinery are also available to improve efficiencies, performance and profitability.

Lab 22’s additive manufacturing equipment includes: Arcam A1, Concept Laser M2, Optomec LENS MR-7, Voxelject VX1000 and Cold Spray Plasma Giken.

For more information or a tour of Lab 22, interested companies should contact Alex Kingsbury.

Additional resources

Images

  • Man working with equipment in Lab 22. Download image

    At Lab 22, companies can explore and apply additive manufacturing technologies for big productivity gains.

  • Some of the Lab 22 facilities. Download image

    Industry can 3D print out of sand, titanium and other metals using Lab 22 facilities.

  • Alex Kingsbury holding some of the items printed using Lab 22 technology. Download image

    Alex Kingsbury leads CSIRO’s additive manufacturing research.

  • Two men standing in front of a large computer screen showing Lab 22 technology in use. Download image

    Lab 22 breaks down barriers to entry in 3D printing for small business.

NEWS RELEASE CONTACT

  • Ms Emily Lehmann

    Communication Manager - Mineral Resources · Communications

    • Phone:
      • +61 3 9545 8746
      • +61 419 271 822 (Mobile)

    Email: Emily.Lehmann@csiro.au

  • Ms Alex Kingsbury

    Research Manager · Manufacturing

    • Phone:
      • +61 3 9545 8614

    Email: Alexandra.Kingsbury@csiro.au

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