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New Metal-plastic hybrid 3D printing technique is unveiled


Researchers from Waseda University, Japan, generated this metal-plastic hybrid method that prints 3D pieces using catalyst-loaded filament and electroless plating. In general, the proposed hybrid 3D printing technology has several advantages, such as:

  • Area-selective metallization
  • Compatibility with regular FFF 3D printing
  • No damage to the printed structure
  • Environmental friendliness

The WU professor leading this study, explains their main purpose:

“Even though 3D printers let us create 3D structures from metal and plastic, most of the objects we see around us are a combination of both, including electronic devices. Thus, we thought we’d be able to expand the applications of conventional 3D printers if we managed to use them to create 3D objects made of both metal and plastic.” 

– Shinjiro Umezu, professor Waseda University, Japan. Source: Additive Manufacturing.

How this hybrid 3D printing technology works

Basically, the new technology is capable of metalizing selected areas of 3D printed pieces made of ABS. While one of the dual nozzles is used to extrude standard ABS, the second one extrudes ABS loaded with palladium chloride (PdCl2). Then, the 3D printed structure is directly immersed in a nickel electroless plating bath. Finally, we obtain this plastic object with a metallic coating over selected areas only.

Using a fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printer, scientists load specific areas of the 3D object with PdCl2

Using a fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printer, scientists load specific areas of the 3D object with PdCl2.
Figure: 3D-printed ABS structures obtained using different catalyzation methods. (A) Conventional method shown in Fig. 1A: immersion in Pd ion solution (two-step PdCl2/SnCl2 catalyzation). The double-sided arrow indicates the depth of immersion. (B) Area-selective catalyzation: pasting ABS and PdCl2 mixture acetone solution through a nozzle with air pressure. (C) Area-selective catalyzation: pasting PdCl2-loaded ABS through FFF 3D printer using a PdCl2-loaded ABS filament. The left images are those after 3D printing followed by catalyzation processes and the right images are those after electroless deposition.


WU researchers found the adhesion of the metal coating to be much higher than the results from the conventional metallization process. As a matter of fact, the conventional approach produces a metallic coating that is non-uniform and adheres poorly to the objects. Moreover, their approach is entirely compatible with existing fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers.

Lastly, unlike the conventional method, this technology doesn’t require any type of roughening or etching of the ABS structure to promote the deposition of the catalyst. The results are hybrid pieces that do not need the use of toxic chemicals like chromic acid.

Considering its potential use in 3D electronics, which is the focus of upcoming IoT and AI applications, metal-plastic hybrid 3D printing it’s already significant.

“Our hybrid 3D printing method has opened up the possibility of fabricating 3D electronics so that devices and robots used in healthcare and nursing care could become significantly better than what we have today.”

– Shinjiro Umezu, professor Waseda University, Japan. Source: Aditive Manufacturing

We expect that this study breaks the ice for a hybrid 3D printing technique that will allow the community to get the best of both metal and plastic materials.

Click here to read the full document published in Additive Manufacturing.

Suggested topic: Czinger 21C is a 3D-printed hybrid hypercar from the US.

Researchers develop a milk-based 3D printing method


Researchers at SUTD managed to develop a 3D printing method to print milk structures 

Food-based materials and 3D printing are not strangers. We have mentioned them a couple of times before. This time, a team of researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) 3D printed milk products at room temperature and with no additives. To achieve it, the team used a Direct Ink Writing (DIW) 3D printing method with a simple milk ink formulation.

Direct Ink Writing is an AM (Additive Manufacturing) extrusion method that is mostly used for meso and microscale structures. In DIW, the liquid-phase ink is dispensed out of small nozzles under controlled floor rates. Then, it is deposited along a digitally defined path to fabricate 3D structures by a layer at a time.

A setup for direct ink writing (DIW) 3D printing for cold extrusion. (A) A photograph of a DIW printer used in the experiment. (B) A schematic illustration of DIW of mesh structure with milk ink onto a glass substrate.
A setup for direct ink writing (DIW) 3D printing for cold extrusion. (A) A photograph of a DIW printer used in the experiment. (B) A schematic illustration of DIW of mesh structure with milk ink onto a glass substrate. Source: RSC Advances.

Why using an Additive Manufacturing method such as Direct Ink Writing?

Rich in protein and calcium, milk is hardly compatible with 3D printing processes that require high temperatures. Its composition would simply deteriorate too much as the temperature increases. Therefore, the researchers relied on a cold extrusion process. Michinao Hashimoto, a lead researcher from this study, explains:


Michinao Hashimoto – Lead researcher from the “3D printing of milk-based product” Study.

Using water and milk powder, scientists designed a special ink with very specific rheological properties.

This is because cold extrusion often requires rheology modifiers or additives to stabilize the printed structures. A particularly complex step as reported by the researchers. The ink must have a low enough viscosity rate at a high shear rate to allow the ink to extrude through the nozzle. According to the researchers, this milk powder can be 3D printed in the form of a rigid envelope that could be filled with blueberries, chocolate, or maple syrup.

3D printing of milk-based product – Samples
3D-printed multi-food models. (A) Schematic illustration of multi-material DIW 3D printing. (B) 3D structure of a couch printed with milk and chocolate inks at different layers. (C) 3D printed cone containing liquid chocolate syrup as an internal filling. (D) 3D printed cube with four compartments containing liquid blueberry syrup, liquid chocolate syrup, milk cream, maple syrup as internal fillings all scale bar: 5 mm). Source: RSC Advances.
3D-printed multi-food models. Source: RSC Advances.

On the printing side as such, the team explains that speed depends of course on the size of the machine. So far they have tested small parts that only took 5 minutes to 3D print. In particular, they designed small canapes made of milk and chocolate by overlaying ingredients. Lee Cheng Pau, one of the study researchers, concludes: 



You can find more information about the project here.

What do you think of 3D milk printing? Leave your comments below!

3D Printing Groups on Facebook – Q3 2020 LIST


A full list of the 3D Printing Groups on Facebook is back in 2020! We included the name and Facebook link of the group, the number of users each group currently has, and their Owner/Admin/Moderator. If we missed a group or need to add one, please comment below. As time passes by, we will update the list so you can see how each group expands.

Also, don’t forget to follow our own group 3D Printer Chat on Facebook! Admins: Daniel Norée, Anton Månsson, Chris Garrett, and Håkan Fägnell.

3D Printing Groups on Facebook – Q3 2020

3D Printing Groups on facebook <– THIS PDF FILE IS THE FULL LIST (To add a group please comment below)

Tell us about your favorite Communities below!

Related posts: Advertising Your 3D Printing Business.

California 3D printed houses delivered in 24 Hours


Construction-tech company Mighty Buildings is selling and shipping affordable and sustainable 3D printed houses in California. Its unique 3D printing process uses UV-curable synthetic stone material allows delivering 350 ft2. 3D printed ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Unit) in just 24 hours.

We’ve talked about 3D printed houses a couple of times before. But this one sets itself apart from the competition in a handful of different ways, most obviously with their material. Mighty Buildings 20-foot-high 3D printer uses a thermoset composite called Light Stone Material (LSM) that hardens when exposed to UV light, making it a more effective building material than concrete.

This Oakland, CA-based construction-tech startup is certified under California’s Factory Built Housing program to create units utilizing 3D printing and is the first company to achieve certification under the UL. 3401 standard for evaluating building structures and assemblies.

A 3D printing Construction Technology that allows saving home costs up to 45%

Faster, more affordable, and more sustainable. Thanks to the smart use of 3D printing, robotics, and automation, the company is able to sell dwellings as much as 45% less expensive than average houses in California. While other companies 3D print the homes on-site, Mighty Buildings do it more efficiently inside their factory to save time by automating certain phases of the process. Most importantly, the construction phase can happen year-round in a controlled environment.

Building this way has environmental benefits as well. First of all, this company uses a single material instead of the dozen materials a common wall might use. They also prevent material waste, as Channels to install plumbing and electrical are printed as part of the process. Last but not less: The form of the house also makes it more energy-efficient. It means it is really easy for them to meet California zero net energy standards.

However, the first ADUs Mighty Buildings is selling aren’t actually fully 3D printed since they have a traditional roof. But by next year, the startup plans to shift to fully 3D printing each dwelling. Upon completion of 3D printing, the structure is gently sanded with robotic arms and then carried to its planned location in California to start with the installation phase.

Mighty Buildings. Co-Founder, Sam Ruben, claims their goal is to eventually automate 80% of the building process to make it even more affordable.

Modern and affordable prefab 3D printed Backyard Cottages (yes, in California)

On the company’s Home page it is possible to choose the house model in a variety of sizes, ranging from a 350 sq ft. studio – starting at $115,000 USD, with permitting fees, foundation work, delivery, and other steps bringing the total as high as $223,000 USD. – to a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house.

Since it is faster to get authorization and begin construction in California backyards than on empty lots, Mighty Buildings it’s focusing on the market for accessory dwelling at first.

To see the 20-foot-high printer in action, check out our video down below.

Video: The Mighty Buildings Story. Author: Mighty Buildings.

Creality’s CR-30 Belt 3D Printer


Everybody’s sweetheart Naomi Wu has decided to show off how far along the Creality’s CR-30 belt 3D printer has come along.  The video is located here.

How Much Longer

Wu stated in her video that it is 80 to 90 percent complete only needing to be dialed in at this point.  She asked Karl Brown the White Knight belt 3D printer maker to collaborate with her on the build.  He jumped at the chance.  Wu stated that she didn’t want people to think the CR-30 was just a clone of the White Knight, but instead is built on the White Knight’s best points and actually improved on the designs.

CR-30 Was Not the First

The CR-30 and White Knight were not the first CoreXY printers to use a belt though.  The Black Belt backed by Colorfabb was considered too expensive.  The company PrinterBot was almost there before going under, leaving White Knight in charge of the market.  Both the White Knight and the CR-30 were open-source printers.


Wu stated that the CR-30 just like its cousin the White Knight would be an open-source printer, which would allow others to apply upgrades and additions to the hardware and software.

What Makes the CR-30 Special?

As stated above the CR-30 will be an CoreXY, meaning it will not print along the Z-axis.  It will print sideways, which is where the belt comes in.  The belt will move the print one layer at a time until printed and then begin the next print.  The user could print and an endless line of prints or one very long print.  So now instead of printing a sword in sections, you could print the entire sword.


How Much Will the CR-30 Cost?

Wu stated that she is trying to keep the price at or under $1000 US dollars.  She further stated that all that was left was to dial the printer in which should take no more than two more months and then CR-30 would be released for sale.

Thank You, Naomi Wu!

This is the innovation that the hobby needs to keep things fresh!



As I discussed in a previous article East Coast RepRap 2020 was canceled.  For that reason, VERRF2020 will be the ticket this year! Lauren, Nick, and Vicky all agreed that it just wasn’t safe.  In response, the past sponsors of the event expressed a desire to have a live event still.  But they all agreed that safety should come first.

The Festival is Going Virtual

With things still very unclear as to when the pandemic will lift and the fact, they are now much too close to the time of the event.  It would be impossible at this point to contract hotels and buy plane tickets.  The event just wouldn’t have been of the same quality and value.  So they have decided to go virtual for the first time ever and VERRF2020 was born!

Set your calendars for October 10 & 11 of 2020

The great news is that VERRF2020 is FREE.  They plan on using two Zoom streams to focus on Sponsors and Exhibitors and Build Platform Talks.  It should be interesting to see how the exhibitors make use of this technology!  If you’d like to sponsor or exhibit please use this Google form that they have provided:  https://forms.gle/nXTzZinF3XgTYzkG7.


Let’s all support VERRF2020!

If you want to view the streams please go to Eventbrite to sign up.  They will also be posting updates on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and website.  We hope to see them in person next year but until then this Virtual event might just fill the void. 

Honey I Shrunk the Print… microArch™ S240


Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF), known for its one of a kind Micro Printers has introduced the microArch™ S240, able to go even smaller!  That’s right with companies producing even bigger printers every day; BMF has always strived to go in the other direction. So, what does this new printer bring to the table?

microArch S240

Accuracy not Size

Instead of how big can it go they are aiming for accuracy and ultra-high resolution prints.  On September 23, 2020 they introduced their highest resolution printer yet.  The microArch™ S240, first of its generation and the only micro-precision 3D printer.  It was designed with industry in mine. 

microArch S240

Build Size

The microArch™ S240 is a resin printer with a large build volume.  Its build volume of 100 X 100 X 75MM / 750 cm3 allows for the one large very accurate part or several smaller parts.  It has an incredible resolution of 10 µm, +/- 25 µm tolerance.  The printer uses a patented technique called Projection Micro Stereolithography technology or PµSL.  It uses UV light but at a micro-scale.

microArch S240

New Materials

But now BMF needed a better resin that could print at higher tolerances. BMF has designed these new industrial-grade materials for use with the microArch™ S240.  They have titled them the Forward AM Ultracur3D® photopolymer resin line.  The new resins are designed to complement the print accuracy of the microArch™ S240. The new resins are being provided by BASF an expert in material manufacture.

microArch S240

John Kawola, CEO, Global of BMF

“Until now, this coveted combination of quality, strength and resolution had been missing from industrial production, particularly for use cases that require high precision and micron level resolution.  With the microArch S240, users can finally make end-use micro parts at speeds that are required for production, with resolution, accuracy and precision that is true to CAD. Smaller parts no longer need to mean bigger headaches or bigger price tags for manufacturers and engineers.”

Great News!

While this printer may not be for everyone it will fill a knish.  With printers getting large enough to print a boat or even a car, no one until now has claimed accuracy as their goal.  This is something that industry needs in order to make this an actual workhorse printer and not just another hobby printer.  

3D Printed AR Headset


There is a new company called CombineReality.  I happened on them through twitter showing a complete build video.  So, what are they offering and why is it important to 3D hobbyists?

CombineReality Project North Star AR

CombineReality originally offered the project as a Kickstarter, they are now providing kits for Project North Star Augmented Reality (AR).  What’s cool about them is first the price and two the fact that you have the option to 3D Print the plastic parts of the headset.  But wait this project is open source!



CombineReality has placed the instructions and parts lists for the headsets on GitHub.  They stated on their website that the parts can be out-sourced for $100 or you can purchase the electronics directly from them for $299. So, what if I’m lazy?

Complete Kits

If you don’t feel very handy you can buy a completely assembled kit for $799.  Personally I like the challenge!  I’d love to make this my next big project to write about. So, why is this news?

CombineReality – Awesome Gadget

Companies like this are showing how 3D printing can easily lower the price for such components making it possible for people like us to own cool gadgets like this! Because of how CombineReality has decided to provide the complete project on GitHub they are among a very small majority. These are companies willing to not put profit above enjoyment of the hobby. We need more companies like this. This is what inspires tomorrow’s entrepreneurs!

Etteplan’s Tool for 3D Print Cost


Etteplan has developed a tool for estimating the cost of a 3D print.  It is free and online for anyone to use.  Etteplan’s tool called ATOTool will allow the user to estimate the cost of metal 3D print objects.  It will also compare the print to other additive methods.

Etteplan’s Senior Vice President

Riku Riikonen  said,“With this tool, our objective is not only to remove a major obstacle, but also to encourage our customers and the entire industry to make use of 3D printing technology and improve the competitiveness of products. The tool makes it possible to compare metal 3D printing with traditional manufacturing methods”.

Etteplan has been developing the program used by this tool for several years.  The Etteplan’s team goal was to develop a user friendly tool.  This will allow for a larger base of users when released.

Etteplan's tool

Etteplan’s Director Of Business

Toni Mattila was quoted as “Additive manufacturing (AM) methods, such as 3D printing, open up excellent opportunities for companies to improve their cost-effectiveness and competitiveness. Distributed manufacturing increases operational flexibility, which is particularly valuable during exceptional periods like the one we are experiencing now with the coronavirus. In addition, AM methods help manufacturing companies improve their material efficiency and sustainability. Despite the numerous benefits, however, many companies are still skeptical about the costs involved in using AM. That makes opening up the costs related to AM methods using a calculation service such as Etteplan AMOTool very valuable. We hope that this free cloud service will lower the threshold for companies to try 3D printing to adopt future technologies”.

Intellectual Property Protected

One of the noteworthy points of Etteplan’s tool is its lack of the need to load an original model. This will prevent a possible leak classified information.  Other tools on the market require the actual model in order to make their calculation.

Etteplan's tool

Where Is Etteplan’s Tool

To use Etteplan’s AMOTool please go here: https://www.etteplan.com/services/engineering/additive-manufacturing/etteplan-amotool-calculate-your-production-costs-3d-printing

A New Era for BCN3D


BCN3D has announced two new printers in its FFS dual-material line of printers, the Epsilon W27, the Smart Cabinet, and the Sigma D25.  Hold on didn’t I say two printers?  Well yes, but they are also selling what they are calling a Smart Cabinet.

Epsilon W27

The Epsilon W27 is a more budget-centric smaller version of the Epsilon W50 which was able to print 50 liters. The Epsilon W27 can only print 27 liters and is dedicated to lowering the price of the printer.


The Smart Cabinet

The Smart Cabinet will be used in conjunction with the Epsilon W27 or W50. It maintains humidity control of materials and provides an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). Which will protect your prints when bad voltage could mean a loose.

Smart Cabinet

Sigma D25

The Sigma D25 will replace the already well known Sigma R19. It will still sport the trademark IDEX (Independent Dual Extruder) system.  It will also include an upgraded calibration system and an expanded workplace allowing for faster workflow.  BCN3D also improved the heat distribution and added new embedded electronics.

Sigma D25

Xavier Martínez Faneca, BCN3D CEO

“With new integrated solutions in both the desktop and workbench segments, BCN3D has a range of products that will take the business to a new level. We are also working more closely than ever with an unparalleled network of sales and support partners to ensure the best possible experience for our customers on a local level,”

BCN3D continues to grow as a company adding to its already impressive line of printers. With the new Epsilon W27, the Smart Cabinet, and the Sigma D25. These new printers are slated to be released in late October of 2020. The Smart Cabinet in the spring of 2021!

Wow, this company has really impressed me. With the care and expertise that goes into each printer that they design and sell.  I’d love to make this printer my next review!

The First 3D Printed Shoe


Adidas has done it!  They have successfully designed and sold the first-ever of its kind 3D printed shoe called the “Futurecraft 4D”.

3D Printed on a Carbon

The only portion of the shoe that is 3D printed, the midsole and is printed in resin on Carbon’s M2 3D printer.  The midsoles were printed and cured with a resin and polyurethane mix. 

Carbon Printer

3D Printed Lattice Framework

The prototype was originally shown in 2014 and while they were very far along in their design process.  They still had a long way to go! The new model uses a lattice framework in the mid-sole in order to obtain a more cushioned feel to the user.   


On Sale Now

Fast forward to today where their 3D Printed Shoe is significantly improved.  Adidas produced 5000 pairs and sold all of them at $300 a pair!  They are still selling and can be had at from $150 to over $3,000 a pair on Amazon.

midsole printing


Wow, the future of resin is bright!  I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the resin and polyurethane to play with at home.

MIT is 3D printing miniature pumps


Scientists at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) are hoping that custom printing their miniature 3D pumps on the spot instead of using mass production will lower the production costs.

What is it?

So what is it?  It is a small diaphragm style pump about 1 cm in diameter.  It costs approximately $3.72 each for the MiT team to print just one.


The Materials

The pumps made from nylon filament with a diagram on top of the cylinder.   They also have a neodymium magnet (NdFeB) in the cylinder to drive it.

What is it for?

MiT said, “from fuel cells to power generation to heat exchangers”. The latter would be in an effort to more effectively cool computer processors.  Because these pumps contain a magnet, instead of a motor, it makes them more portable.

So, what do you think?

Do projects like this help move our hobby into the realms of practical application? Give me your opinions below!