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Video: Surface Finish Sampler Cube

Video Transcript:

Hello world, Ryan here with Miller 3D! I’m excited to show you some really cool stuff!

Our Surface Finish Sampler Cube

First up today, we’re going to be looking at our Surface Finish Sampler Cube: a small print of some 17-4 Stainless Steel that you’ll be seeing reprinted, today, on some H13 Tool Steel.

Why print a part that samples different surface finishes?

The reason why we made this thing is because we kept getting constant questions from our customers and future clients about what they can reasonably expect from a Markforged Metal X Print.

When they print up their parts, what type of surface finish options do they have available, and how hard or expensive might they be to achieve?

Let’s check this out.

Surface: As Printed

The first one I want to show you is “As Printed”.

The reason why I want to show you this one is because this is the default. The De-facto standard surface finish that you get after printing up the Markforged Metal X (and after you sinter it and wash the part): This is what you get.

On here, I want to show you a couple of the cool features:

We decided to use this side to decide some of the features found in here.

3D Printed Features that are impossible to cut with CNC

For example: these 3 holes and these 2… are impossible to cut out with a CNC machine. The reason why is because these are actually curved. They curve right to the other side, on an arc.

I’d love to see a 5 axis machine (with a really skillful application engineer) cut that shape out.

Surface: Wet Sanded in the Green State

Let’s check out some of the other sides: This is Wet Sanded in the green state.

Now, what’s a “green state”?

After you print up a part, it looks a little bit like this: [shows 3d printed part in green state]

This is a softer, unfinished version of the part. It’s printed, it’s got metal in there, but it also has a variety of waxes and plastics that help hold the part together until it is indeed sintered.

Sanding down the 3D print in its green state

In that soft state, we decided to take our Surface Finish Sampler Cube and sand it down during the green state. What we end up with is a very, very smooth, almost machined, surface where it is just like being machined by a CNC Mill- the only difference is that this does not have that nice polished finish that you often see on those machined parts. Again, you can see those cutouts; I would love to see these cut out by a CNC 5 Axis or however many axes you need.

Surface: Machined after 3D Printed

By comparison, while I’m talking about it, this is the machined side of the part. This is what type of expectation you can have when it comes to the finish and luster of the part, after you’ve machined it down. This is with that 17-4 Stainless Steel that we’ve printed, by the way: this is how easy it is to machine.

Rigid tapping into 3D printed 17-4 Stainless Steel

We’ve also taken the liberty of tapping into this; there are actually some threaded holes in there. It may be a bit hard to see, but trust me, we screwed in a couple screws in there and they work pretty well.

Surface: Polished

Next up is Polished. Polished is pretty cool because it shows you what the “as printed” state would look like if you just take some polish and polish it up to a nice high shine. This is it right here.

Surface: Unsupported Angle

On the bottom: This is what hits the floor.  This is the base piece that this part was printed on. We decided print this angle here to show you what an unsupported angle looks like. It’s pretty nice!


And that’s it, guys:  The Surface Finish Sampler Cube.

Saving Lives and Transforming Healthcare Through 3D Printing

Technological advances in 3D printing and Healthcare have lead to Miller 3D partnering with medical professionals to improve how we perform healthcare.

In the last decade, there have been remarkable advancements in healthcare resulting in longer lifespans, a decrease in mortality rates, and drastic improvement in surgical operations. While healthcare breakthroughs are deservingly attributed to the brilliant minds in the healthcare profession, 3D printing has also played a significant role in improving and advancing the practice of medicine.

Miller 3D is transforming how we provide and perform healthcare, providing the industry’s most innovative 3d printing systems to medical professionals in the industry.

Local medical schools, more specifically, the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB), are using 3D printers for educational purposes, patient communication, surgical planning and research. The endless applications are a large step in the right direction to improve healthcare.

Matt Jones, Manager at Miller 3D agrees, “Because a CT scan of the internal body can be converted to a 3D printable object students can learn in far greater detail how anatomy works and therefore have a deeper understanding of actual medical practice.“

3D printing human parts supplies professionals with an opportunity to practice surgery with greater accuracy while gaining valuable experience in a controlled environment.

Additionally, students have access to tangible, accurate replicas of patients organs that are  experiencing a disorder and disease, and are now able to interact with the “body parts” through a hands-on experience. 3D printing will continue to provide a critical service to medical professionals.

In addition to medical campuses making the most of the 3D printing Miller 3D provides, personalized parts that are produced from 3d printing machines have life-saving ramifications. For example, if a patient has suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm — swelling of the major blood vessel away from the heart through your abdomen to the rest of the body — it is imperative to monitor blood flow and recognize internal damage.

3D Printed Heart from Patient - Healthcare

3D Printed Heart from Patient

By the same token, Miller 3D recently 3D printed a heart with the ProJet MJP 2500 and it displays exceptional detail. An important characteristic when it comes to practicing medicine because medical personnel rely on the model’s accuracy to properly treat patients.

“The fact that a heart for example can be printed in various cross sections will give medical personnel in depth look of a patient before any surgery is required. Matt adds, “This also holds true on surgical planning where lifelike textures can be 3D printed and practice surgical procedures can be performed.”

Using CT scans, personalized organs and blood vessels printed by Miller 3D are converted into a latex material to simulate the patient’s body to reflect the real-life situations that doctors face. Furthermore, 3D printing has aided doctors and better prepared them for an operation that can save someone’s life.

About Miller 3D

Miller 3D Printing is a division of AW Miller, a leader in machine tool technology solutions and the exclusive distributor in Pennsylvania and New York for Mazak Corporation, the largest machine tool builder in the world.

Today, Miller 3D Printing is at the forefront of this revolutionary technology, helping customers internationally to benefit from all the advantages of 3D printing. The company recognized early on that new 3D printing technologies were the perfect complement to the metalworking and manufacturing solutions it has offered for more than 40 years.

Want to learn more about Miller 3D’s capabilities in the medical industry? Contact us

Miller 3D Replicates Smithsonian Artifacts with 3D Printing

With knowledge of the 3D printing and scanning capabilities of Miller 3D, Walter McConnell, an artist and Professor of ceramic arts at Alfred University, approached Miller 3D with a project – replicating historic sculpture collections for display in the world’s largest museum research complex – The Smithsonian Institute.

Miller 3D would oversee the manufacturing process for the sculptures displayed in Walter McConnell’s porcelain-based installation exhibition titled “Chinamania”.

“Chinamania” represents a time period when London became infatuated with blue-and-white porcelain artifacts as symbols of status – more than one hundred and fifty years ago.

Interestingly enough, the original vessels scanned are much older than “Chinamania”. Pat, the 3D Application Engineer who completed the project, adds that the “vessels are recreations of vessels that were made during China’s Kangxi period between 1662-1722”, which means the vessels are between 300 and 350 years old.

bluevesselDealing with historical artifacts can require a number of components. Pat states, from an engineering standpoint, there were a handful of steps implemented before the actual 3D printing began. “The Smithsonian took 3D photogrammetry of their Kangxi vessel collection. Walter then took the scans and corrected them for colors and shadows. He then sent the digital replicas to us where we scaled them all to 40% of their original size.”

From here, the 3D printing commenced, a process which Pat recalls was “fairly manually intensive.”

The reason for the manually intensive process is due to the importance of preserving detail and quality, as the replicas must adhere to the qualities of the original sculptures they are based upon.

“The printing process involves a powder that is solidified and colored layer by layer to form the net shape of a vase.” Pat adds. During the printing process, the vessels undergo their transformation into replicas of vessels that are nearly 350 years old.

Following the cleaning process using paintbrushes and sand paper, the vessels are dipped in a solvent, according to Pat is “much like super glue and makes the color pop”, completing the 3D printing process for the Kangxi vessel collection replicas.

The 3D printed sculptures are currently on display at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution. Miller 3D Printing is at the forefront of this revolutionary technology, utilizing seemingly limitless capabilities to design and manufacture vessels and sculptures for historical and educational purposes such as the “Chinamania” exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute.

Want to learn more about our capabilities? Contact us