Electric cello and shock-absorbing helmet liners win 3D-printing technical contest

  • 3D printer

    Is there anything you can’t 3D print? I know that sounds like the sort of question you might have heard back in the days when 3D printing hype was running rampant, but it came to mind as I was reading about one of the winning entries—an electric cello—in the Technical Competition organized by the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG; Milwaukee, WI).

    Find out more about the cello along with the other winners—a model of a character from the Halo video game and a user-specific shock-absorbing football-helmet liner—by clicking through this slide show. For good measure, we have also included the runners up.

    AMUG is an industry-based organization that endeavors to educate people about and advance the uses and applications of additive manufacturing technologies. AMUG members include those with industrial additive manufacturing/3D printing technologies and materials used for professional purposes from companies such as Stratasys, DSM, SLM Solutions, EOS, GE Additive, ExOne, BASF, Renishaw, Carbon, HP Inc., Additive Industries, Formlabs and 3D Systems.

    All 17 entries in the Technical Competition were displayed at the annual AMUG Conference held recently in Chicago. The three winners received complimentary admission to the conference, a commemorative award and, as the press release noted, “the admiration of their fellow AM users.”

  • 3D-printed cello

    Maddie Frank’s 3D-printed electric cello tied with Bill Braune’s Master Chief model from the Halo video game for the top spot in the Advanced Finishing category of the Technical Competition.

    The cello was both innovative and elegant with an artistic, abstract interpretation of the instrument’s classic look, said AMUG in a press release announcing the winners. The 3D-printed instrument reproduced the distressed elements, wood grains and overall character of a conventionally made cello. Judges noted that the 3D-printing material—Ultem polyetherimide—Frank selected for its strength is notoriously difficult to work with when seeking aesthetically pleasing finishes.

    The cello, added the judges, had the sound and resonance of a hardwood instrument. The judges also commended Frank’s execution of design, fabrication, construction and finishing, which they felt was at a level far beyond that which is expected of an engineering student and intern.

    Frank attends the University of Wisconsin.

  • Maddie Frank playing her 3D-printed cello

    And here is Maddie Frank playing her 3D-printed cello.

  • 3D printed character from Halo videogame

    In a tie with Maddie Frank’s cello in the Advanced Finishing category, Bill Braune’s 30-inch-tall model of the Master Chief from the Halo video game brought the digital character to life in the physical world in the eyes of the judges. Braune, who works at Met-L-Flo, a 3D-printing, prototyping and low-volume production provider based in Sugar Grove, IL, used various painting techniques, with Pantone color matching for authenticity to the digital character, after painstakingly blending seams, sanding and polishing.

    The model comprises seven pieces that were produced with stereolithography and Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis technology.

    The judges were also impressed by the creative use of dyed laser sintering powders to add texture to the rock formations at the base.

  • Bill Braune celebrates win with 3D-printed model of Halo character

    Bill Braune celebrates his win.

  • Digitally printed helmet liner for Riddell’s SpeedFlex Precision Diamond Helmet

    Carbon employee Erika Berg was the sole winner in the Advanced Applications category for a digitally printed helmet liner for Riddell’s SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmet. The innovative application of additive manufacturing’s mass customization capabilities and the collaboration between digital manufacturing company Carbon and Riddle impressed the judges.

    Custom made for each player, the liners are made of digitally tuned lattices containing more than 140,000 struts. Digital tuning adjusts both the shape and material composition of the struts, which provide multiple functional zones from one 3D-printing build to optimize energy absorption for head protection. The liners have been used by select players from each of the 32 NFL teams, said AMUG.

    “Personally, I really applaud the digital tuning aspect, which is something that non-AM technologies simply cannot achieve,” commented Mark Barfoot, AMUG past president and coordinator of the Technical Competition.

  • 3D-printed Ford lift assist alternative

    In the Advanced Concepts category, Daniel Michalski (Ford Motor Co.) and Robert Heath (Eckhart) took second place for their lift assist alternative that supports the manufacturing process for four-wheel-drive transmission cases.

  • 3D-printed DustRam tools

    Third place in the Advanced Concepts category was awarded to Jack King (DustRam LLC) for 3D-printed DustRam tools that provide dustless tile removal in homes and offices.

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