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  1. The reduction of size and number of parts wasn’t the only benefit that Optisys saw by 3D printing the antenna array. Conventional methods of manufacturing antennas such as the Monopulse Array can take eight months of development time on average, plus three to six more of build time. By using 3D printing, Optisys was able to reduce lead time to two months. In addition, production costs were reduced by 20-25% and non-recurring costs were reduced by 75%. Weight savings added up to 95%.

    “Our unique offering is that we redesign everything from an additive manufacturing perspective,” says Optisys COO Robert Smith, M.E. “We take into account the entire system functionality, combine many parts into one, and reduce both development and manufacturing lead times to just a few weeks. The result is radically improved size and weight at lower costs.

    In addition to what our test-piece project revealed, 3D printing offers a number of other advantages. When we design multiple antenna components into a single part, we reduce the overall insertion loss of the combined parts. And because our antennas are so much smaller this also lowers insertion loss dramatically despite the higher surface roughness of AM build, for similar or even better RF performance than conventional assemblies.”
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-19)
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  2. Il bricolage civico è una modalità di aiuto, per mezzo di vendita a prezzi ridotti, per cittadini o gruppi di cittadinanza attiva che si occupano della valorizzazione dei beni comuni (scuole, giardini, luoghi di condivisione). In un’ottica di “social business”, il profitto seppur ridotto, è reinvestito dal Negozio in attività sociali quali il Bricolage del Cuore, gli Empori o i Cantieri Fai da Noi.

    Chi può partecipare? Le associazioni, i singoli cittadini, i collettivi, i gruppi di genitori, docenti, non docenti accomunati dalla “voglia di fare” e dalla voglia di partecipare in maniera attiva e propositiva alla vita della Comunità e della propria Scuola.
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  3. The goal is to modify and adapt one of the Magic Candy Factory’s existing 3D printers so it can produce personalized medicines, mainly geared toward children, but with the ability to print precise doses, a combination of multiple drugs, and different formulations, like capsules and chewables.

    “A major limitation of medicines today is that they are only manufactured in a limited number of strengths,” the campaign page reads. “But, what if we need a dose that is not available on the market? This is of special importance to children and the elderly. The tablets and capsules we take every day are not designed with children in mind, often making administration difficult.”

    Incorrect doses, terrible taste, and being difficult to swallow are only a few of the issues doctors, and parents, face when trying to give children safe and effective medicine. The campaign quotes UNICEF when it says that 10 million kids under the age of five will die this year, and that 67% of that massive number could be saved by specific pediatric products, like better medicine.
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  4. Another fear they may have is that of an unfinished model. Sometimes vendors decide to display publicly a demonstrator, prototype or beta version of some equipment. The idea is that they may somehow change the appearance or features of the actual production version later, and don’t want to mislead anyone. However, responsible publications - and readers - would publish and recognize that unofficial equipment is just that: subject to change.

    I don’t feel these reasons are legitimate. If a company decides to publicly exhibit a device, it should be fair game for photography. If people viewing in person can see it, then it is known by the public. If a device is exhibited, isn’t the point that it is to be seen? And publications such as this one can vastly amplify the number of people “seeing” a device.

    If there are legitimate concerns about a key portion of a device, perhaps it should not be shown, or even covered up or obscured in some way. But often this is not the case in such situations.
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  5. As is so often the case, nature does things better than humans, so startup AquaRoot Technologies took a look at the natural networks of tree roots in order to come up with a new way of laying pipes. The Irish company was founded by Vincent Farrelly, who has worked in life sciences and biotechnology for two decades. The idea is that by using a form of 3D printing, pipes can be produced directly on site and customized in any way the farmer chooses.

    The pipes are 3D printed from a polymer foam that expands to 50 times its size when exposed to air and forms a honeycomb structure through which water flows like a sponge.

    “You can also create a bore in the pipe into which you can flow fluid or water through,” Farrelly said. “This forms near instantaneously, and within seconds you’ve got a structure.”

    Vincent Farrelly

    The spongelike structure of the pipes pulls water out of the soil and transports it to plants. According to Farrelly, the pipes can be 3D printed on concrete, asphalt or soil, or injected directly into the soil to form an underground network. Water can be transported using capillary pressure or a suction pump. Farmers can even plant seeds directly in the pipes.

    Farrelly worked with Athlone Institute of Technology to develop the polymer material, and there are now two different formulations – biodegradable, which can be absorbed into the soil, and non-biodegradable, for more permanent structures. Not only are the pipes easier to install, they’re more eco-friendly and efficient, a benefit especially for drought-prone areas.
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  6. As we examine our success, we must also examine our failures. A for-profit network of wholly owned makerspaces is impossible to sustain without outside subsidy from cities, companies, and foundations, often in the form of memberships, training grants, and sponsored programs. This kind of funding is readily available to non-profits, and very rarely an option for for-profit enterprises. This is why we announced a pivot — to leverage our know-how, experience, systems, and processes. The goal of TechShop 2.0 was to help non-profits, corporations, and universities launch and operate their own makerspaces. We would get out of the business of owning makerspaces and instead focus on enabling other entities to build and operate makerspaces.

    In hindsight, we invested too many years and too many dollars trying to prop up the wrong business model. What we accomplished over the past ten years, however, has been nothing less than monumental. I encourage our members, employees, partners, and the entire maker community to take something constructive from TechShop’s experience: the world needs makerspaces.

    Jim Newton, TechShop employees, members, and investors will go forward with their experience. Many will find a way to collaborate and work together again. The world will be a far better place for TechShop’s experience.

    I do not mean to trivialize the impact our closure will have on employees, members, or our faithful investors and lenders. If I can ever find a way to reward your loyalty, hard work and commitment to TechShop, I will.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-20)
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  7. Fablabs are kind of like communism, it sounds like an awesome idea but the implementation blows. Opening hours are horrible, uneven and unpredictable. Stuff disappears all the time, and there are never enough machines. Some fablabs function well, but many are being mismanaged. There’s never that one organizational talent that makes everything clockwork. Just lots of stubborn people who are all good at the same things. Marketing is not well understood, and little effort is being made to promote the place. If the marketing and sales side of things are well managed, then the thing starts to get a rather corporate feel. Rules everywhere and the freedom is gone. This is one of the most extensive problems affecting fablabs. The others are: Brah do you even have a business model?, easy come easy go and when’s the last time you were in a busy fablab?
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-10-19)
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  8. How far do you have to go to get water? If you simply have to walk into the bathroom or kitchen, you’re one of the luckiest people in the world. In developing countries, getting water involves walking an average of three miles round trip, carrying a jug weighing about 40 pounds on the way back. In areas suffering from drought, the walk can be 15 miles or more. That’s hard to imagine, but for people living in these regions, there’s no other way. The job of collecting water often falls to women and children, taking up large portions of their time and keeping them away from other pursuits, like education.
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  9. 3D printing is a rising threat for world trade. According to a new ING report, world trade will be 23% lower in 2060 if the growth of investments in 3D printers continues at the current pace. If investments accelerate domestically printed goods could already wipe out 40% of world imports in 2040.
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  10. 3D Hubs seems to have developed a new strategy for distributed 3D printing.

    3D Hubs, if you are not familiar with them, maintain a worldwide network of participating 3D printers, each independently run by separate companies or individuals. Their network is extensive, now offering local 3D print services in more than 150 countries.

    But 3D Hubs faces steep competition from a number of other 3D print services, each attempting to innovate beneficial features for their clients, who could also be 3D Hubs clients.

    That innovation push has 3D Hubs experimenting with a new concept for them: hybrid distributed products. The first venture in this concept involves a pair of headphones.

    3D Hubs partnered with Eindhoven-based Print+, a Dutch startup focused on eco-friendly consumer designs - and specifically headphones.
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