Category: Materials and Technology

STEM Students using Metal and Carbon Fiber 3D Printers at Rochester Institute of Technology

See how 3D printing has been utilized at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) through the use of several carbon fiber 3D printers and a metal 3D printer.

Upstate New York university RIT has roughly 19,000 students, and is the third-largest producer of undergraduate STEM degrees among all private universities in the United States. When the state of New York offered to fund an additive manufacturing print center, RIT jumped at the opportunity. The AMPrint Center houses several 3D printers, including a Markforged carbon fiber printer and Metal X system.

Students also have access to plenty of Markforged 3D printers in their classes, with the university focusing heavily on a hands-on approach to learning 3D printing. This has given RIT students a competitive advantage when they graduate, as they can use the safest and best industrial 3D printers on the market.

“The students coming out of here, be it from the 3D printing class or working in the AMPrint Center, are at a great advantage with the practical hands-on experience that they’ve gotten with the machines and the materials,” says Denis Cormier, Director of the AMPrint Center at RIT. From the campus rocket club to local and federal businesses, the AMPrint Center has increased innovation at RIT, and given students experience with real-world technical equipment.

 


Shukla Medical: Using 3D Printing to Get Tools in Surgeon’s Hands Faster

The breakdown

Challenge

Shukla Medical, a wholly owned subsidiary of aerospace manufacturer S.S. White Technologies, designs and manufactures universal orthopedic implant removal tools such as the Xtract-All® Spine Universal Spinal Implant Removal System (see cover image). Their products are used by surgeons worldwide to efficiently take out old implants before replacing them with new ones — all while preserving the patient’s bone. Most orthopedic implant removal tools are complicated and require a significant amount of time to operate, whereas Shukla Medical’s universal instruments are known for their simple, intuitive design.

Shukla products are engineered for orthopedic surgeons, with time-saving features like quick-connections and multiple extraction options. “It’s generally known that every minute in the operating room is very expensive,” said Zack Sweitzer, Product Development Manager at Shukla Medical. “So any time you can save is extremely helpful.” Operating room costs can range from $35 to over $100, though it varies based on the hospital and surgical procedure. Shukla’s tools need to be quickly prototyped and tested by orthopedic implant surgeons to check for form and fit before the final product is fabricated. The team initially prototyped the parts using their CNC machine or sent the designs out to a third party, but found that long lead times were presenting major slowdowns in iterating on prototypes and preventing them from quickly getting their product to market.

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A video test of Markforged’s Onyx FR’s flame retardant capabilities

Putting feet to the fire: A video test of Markforged’s Onyx FR’s flame retardant capabilities.

Time to play with matches! Because of the huge potential of an affordable & Flame-retardant composite plastic that can be 3D printed, we decided to put Markforged’s Onyx FR to the test.

In the video, we hung up two sample prints: One of Markforged’s standard-issue, chopped carbon fiber “Onyx” material (labeled ‘O’), and one of Markforged’s brand-new Onyx FR (labeled ‘F’).

After taking a blowtorch to the original Onyx Material for nearly 10 seconds, we saw it catch fire and start dripping melted plastic before the 10 seconds was even over! Putting the FR material in the blowtorch’s “hot-seat” for over 10 seconds barely affected it! As soon as we pulled the blowtorch away, the flame flickered out – not even a second later!

Below, you’ll find a short video showing the aftermath: