3D Printing

Here’s even more proof that the Tech Age is moving forward at lightning speed: There’s now a factory called Tempo Automation that manufactures nothing but prototypes for various electronics companies!

Tempo Automation main page
Need to have a component prototype built quickly and professionally? Tempo has you covered. (Photo: Tempo Automation)

Start-ups can hook up with the San Francisco outfit and get prototypes and small-batch runs of electronic components and devices. Not just that – Tempo can do the job quickly, offering a speedy 3-day turnaround time in the Bay area (and 4-day within the continental U.S.).

For start-ups, it’s an essential service, because they spend a lot of time and energy marketing the possibilities of their particular creation. Thanks to Tempo Automation, start-ups can have multiple prototypes – which can be used to attract more financial backing.

Tempo makes components out of materials with multiple layers. (Photo: Tempo Automation)

Complex Prototypes in Just 3 Days!

Here’s how it works when you get a prototype produced by Tempo Automation:

You submit your project design in one of any number of CAD software types (such as Altium, Eagle, DipTrace, Kicad and Cadence) and Tempo comes back to you with a quote for the project.

For those needing the standard 3-day turnaround time, up to 100 prototypes can be ordered. (If you order a custom job, up to 250 prototypes could be requested.)

The kinds of prototypes vary widely but we’re talking about components that contain material comprised of eight layers of materials. In custom projects that Tempo tackles, the material could be as thick as 30 layers!

The staff at Tempo Automation works on producing the prototypes, as well as interfacing with customers about the many details involved in this complicated level of production.

Now, you can make some prototypes yourself, at home…through the magic of 3D printing.

3D Printing: The Home-Based Phenomenon

It’s definitely an amazing time to be involved in tech industries.

But just as amazing as Tempo Automation’s professionally produced electronic prototypes is the DIY phenomenon that’s taking place around the world, with average people deciding they want to learn 3D printing.

If you can imagine it and see it in your mind’s eye, 3D printing can turn it into reality. And you can turn your interest in 3D printing into a reality this summer!

It’s no secret that robots are currently being used to help perform a huge variety of medical procedures, including surgeries. Up to this point, though, those robots have always been functioning as tools guided by trained physicians, who have fully directed those procedures.

Robotic surgeons can operate more efficiently than human doctors, with ultra precision and speed.

Now, medicine is moving more completely into the Age of Robotics. Example A: A robot at Washington, D.C.’s Children’s National Health System laboratories has just completed the first soft-tissue surgery where human doctors assisted a robot surgeon.

SuperSTAR Surgeon

It’s an astounding achievement – real science fiction stuff – and it just happened recently. A team of computer scientists and physicians developed the intensely complex machine called STAR, which stands for Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot.

The robot was tested out recently on living pigs; sections of intestine were removed, with the robot then mending the two sections of tissue together like a bio-seamstress.

The robot’s results were analyzed and found to be superior to what a human surgeon could do. The sutures were stronger and spaced perfectly apart, with the resulting tissue having a better chance of avoiding post-op complications.

Peter Kim is a chemist with the STAR team and he indicated the team’s surprise at the test’s findings. “The outcomes were surprising to us,” Kim said. “That consistency throughout the performance was better than (human) surgeons.”

In comparison (when performing the same procedure), human surgeons were found to be three times faster than the STAR, but its makers pointed out that the robot can actually work much, much faster. For the observational purposes of this first test, the robot’s performing speed was reduced drastically!

New “electronic skin” is so sensitive it can help surgeons detect the presence of tumors.

The Precision of a Diamond-Cutter

The STAR uses a hydraulic arm to carry out its ultra-precise surgical functions, like doing the intricate sewing work of suturing skin.

Even more impressive is the way the STAR uses the night-vision aspects of its lone camera eye to scan different types of soft tissue and identify them properly through its system of infrared lighting and 3D tracking algorithm.

As the technology becomes approved for use on human patients, you can expect to see robotic surgeons handling a variety of surgeries. Performing tendon repairs and removing tumors are just two of the surgical procedures being planned.

The STAR experiment was a complete success, with the patients making a full and quick recovery from their test surgery!

Tech to the Rescue!

Robotic surgeons are just one of the many ways today’s most advanced technologies are being put to lifesaving use:

3D Printing Currently being used by orthopedic surgeons to gain a keener understanding of how bones break, by making 3D-printed models of bones (and bone fractures).
Virtual Reality VR is being used for a variety of medical uses, such as helping autistic kids develop and enhance their social skills. Test results from the University of Texas, Dallas indicate that VR can help these kids feel better about themselves and more confident in their social interactions.
Wearable Tech A researcher at the University of Tokyo has developed a bionic “e-skin” that a doctor can wear over her own hand. The e-skin has extreme powers of sensitivity and can let a doctor detect a tumor within a patient…simply by touching the patient’s skin!

This time the robot performed the surgery, and the human assisted!

Technology + Medicine

There’s never been a time when technology was able to save more lives and improve more people’s health than now.

Medicine and technology are becoming even more tightly interwoven than before, and tomorrow’s physicians may know as much about tech as they do about healing.

Study life-changing (and lifesaving) tech like 3D printing, VR and wearable tech this summer at DMA tech camps!

The video clip lasts only 3 minutes, but it’s long enough to both move you and inspire you. It shows how University of Central Florida student Albert Manero is putting tech to work to help kids get prosthetic limbs.

See how one techie is making a profound difference. “The world needs more Alberts!” says DMA Assistant Director of Curriculum & Instruction Marcus Duvoisin.

The Fulbright Scholar is using 3D printing to make replacement limbs that not only function well, but also give their young owners a chance to express themselves by customizing the new limbs as they want!

It’s a heartwarming example of how tech can make wonderful things happen for people who really deserve a break. And it inspires us at DMA to launch “Projects with a Purpose.”

Building with a Purpose

A chance to give back to the community. A way to say thanks. A method of “paying it forward.”

At DMA, we call them “Projects with a Purpose” and they mark a new initiative at Digital Media Academy. We also think of it as “Building with a Purpose,” because the focus with these camp projects is not only on learning great tech, but also actively designing a better world for others.

Inspired for Life

Marcus Duvoisin, DMA Assistant Director of Curriculum & Instruction, sees many benefits to these projects, perhaps none greater than the ability to get kids and teenagers focused on trying to do good, and instilling that desire in a lasting way while they’re still young.

“It gets our students to think about making for others,” says Duvoisin. “It’s a mindset that could start here, and carry on with them for the rest of their lives.”

Putting Positivity into Action

Duvoisin’s a true believer; he’s seen the concept in action and knows it works. During our Summer 2015 camp season, Duvoisin reached out to a non-profit group called Playground Ideas, which specializes in constructing cool playgrounds for kids who live in low-income areas.

Duvoisin set up a final project assignment for about 100 3D printing tech camp students, based on his meeting with Playground Ideas, which informed him that the organization had an immediate need for playground equipment for a large number of rural areas.

DMA students were then encouraged to come up with radically innovative and cool ideas for playground equipment.

Marcus Duvoisin demonstrates the technical power of 3D printing for a school audience.

Discovering the Design Process & Learning Life Lessons

Duvoisin’s students rose to the challenge brilliantly, and the exercise fully demonstrated the design process, since the students not only created ideas, but used 123D Design software to digitize those concepts, and then fed those designs into a 3D printer. The resulting miniatures produced provided great models for Playground Ideas to consider.

And the students were pumped about the project. “Our students had a great response to this,” Duvoisin recalls. “It was a huge motivator!” And from a broader perspective, the project served as a great introduction to making a worthwhile difference in peoples’ lives. “It’s the fact that we have kids doing something that will positively impact other kids that they’ve never even met before.”

Bonus Benefits

There are personal advantages for DMA students who work on Projects with a Purpose. In addition to the good feeling they get to share by participating, the initiative also gets young people thinking like Silicon Valley tech giants. There’s significant value in that, considering that major tech corporations now devote vast resources of money and personnel to various philanthropic pursuits.

Likewise, employers now often look into the personal lives of potential employees and are extra-impressed when they consider a job candidate who has a record of volunteerism. Projects with a Purpose gets kids into that mindset, into the flow of positive community action.

Our students had a great response to this. It was a huge motivator!
– DMA Assistant Director of Curriculum & Instruction Marcus Duvoisin

Playground Ideas constructs playground equipment all over the world, like this planned project in Uganda.

Expect to read more in coming months about how DMA classes are “building with a purpose” during our coming 2016 camp season!

Duvoisin is ready. “I’d love to see this ‘building for a purpose’ theme carry into all our classes!” he says. “It’s something we’re hard at work to tackle!”

At DMA, we’re encouraging “building for a purpose,” because the purpose is people. And helping people is always the best reason.

Before computers took over special and practical effects, Hollywood had a long tradition of creating sets, costumes, creatures, detailed models and props – all by hand. In classics like Jaws and Star Wars, special effects artists, craftsmen and painters helped filmmakers realize their vision.

An ILM modeler prepares X-Wings and Imperial space ships for their closeup in 1977’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Realistic miniature models, for example, required the skill of a true artisan. Models took weeks or even months to produce and once used, were destroyed. If they were needed for another shot, often times they had to be painstakingly reproduced.

Computer-generated imagery (or CGI) made that process much faster and cheaper, plus CGI gave filmmakers much more freedom. Compared to producing elaborate models, sets or creature effects, filmmakers saw an incredible value in using computer-generated visual effects.

Prop Culture
Today Hollywood is again embracing technology for film production. As 3D modeling and visual effects artists push the boundaries to create realistic effects, many production studios have adopted new methods of creating costumes, props and even those old models: with 3D printers.

Jason Lopes of Legacy Entertainment explains how 3D printers were used for Avatar, Robocop and other films.

Companies such as Makerbot, Formlabs and Stuffmaker have been providing consumers with 3D printers for home use since 2009. Filmmakers are also adopting 3D printing and industrial design technology, moving away from computer-generated special effects in order to design and print them instead.

And it’s not just filmmakers who are embracing the technology. “It’s so convenient and easy, it just makes sense,” says Scott Summit, founder of Bespoke Innovations, a San Francisco, California-based company that uses 3D printers to make customized prosthetics for the physically challenged.

Nowadays, creating costumes, creatures, props and even spaceships is easier than ever. Convenience and ease of use were definitely on the agenda for director Jon Favreau, director of the critically acclaimed Iron Man 2. Favreau needed to quickly prototype and create Iron Man’s armored suit; he did so with a 3D printer.

Legacy Effects used 3D printers to create the armor worn by Tony Stark in Iron Man 2.

A New Era for Cinema
This change signifies a big shift in the way films are made. With the increased use of 3D printers in films like Iron Man 2 and the upcoming epic Warcraft, tech designers are creating a new way in which props are designed and created – and giving audiences more lifelike experiences.

For the upcoming film Warcraft, Peter Jackson’s WETA special effects 3D printed every prop. Here the amazing results are on display at Comic Con.

With a faster turnaround time and, in many cases, lower cost than computer-generated special effects, 3D printing is beginning to take over the world of Hollywood and beyond.

We believe in the future: Currently, Digital Media Academy is the only technology summer camp to offer both online courses and summer camps for 3D Printing.

Robots do amazing things. Now a Dutch research engineering firm called MX3D has developed a robot that can 3D print an entire bridge from steel.

Developed with the help of the University of Delft and Autodesk’s Applied Research Labs, the MX3D is a futuristic bridge-builder.

Robotic Acrobatics
And it’s not just what this robot can do, but how it does it. The MX3D robot works ahead of itself, like a railroad machine that lays crossties as it moves.

The robot also has characteristics of a spider, because it actually “spins” the steel that’s used for the construction. How? The robot creates molten steel which is used to print a desired shape. The robot also clings at the site it’s working, producing a bridge (like a spider spins a web) while hanging in mid-air.

The bridge designs created by the robot are very intricate. A complex pattern of steel is produced just as easily as it would create a basic design.

MX3D has staked the company’s reputation on the bridge-building capabilities of the MX3D six-axis robot.

Robots Rise to the Challenge
In 2017, the robot will take on its greatest challenge: 3D printing a bridge over one of Amsterdam’s famous canals. The lead engineer will simply press a button that engages the system, and then walk away. Think of it, a robot that 3D prints a bridge. Wouldn’t you love to build that in robotics camp?

If all goes according to plan, the robot will weave in 60 days a sturdy, 24-feet steel bridge that can withstand the foot traffic of tourists.

The idea to build a bridge in Amsterdam, a city known for its canals, was a no-brainer. Says lead engineer Joris Laarman, “We decided that a bridge over an old city canal was a pretty good choice.” If successful, the feat will showcase robotics engineering in an amazingly new way.

A new revolution in industrial design: on-site manufacturing of heavy construction, like bridges.

A 3D Printed Future
When the MX3D bridge project is complete, it will be the world’s first robot-built, 3D-printed bridge. MX3D consulted with the University of Delft as well as Autodesk’s Applied Research Labs for the project.

Autodesk 3D modeling software like 123D Design is used in Digital Media Academy’s 3D printing camp, where teens age 12 to 17 get hands-on experience with today’s hottest and coolest technology.

It’s now possible to make almost anything – thanks to 3D printing. And people are making amazing things with 3D printers. In fact, 3D printing is redefining many industries, as well as how we design, manufacture and sell products.

Strati is the world’s first 3D-printed electric vehicle. It took designers 44 hours to print the parts.

The Future of Transportation: 3D-Printed Rides
John “Jay” Rogers is the CEO of Local Motors. He’s working to use 3D printing to revolutionize the auto industry. Jay’s next-generation car company has a mission: to create an open source community that designs, builds and manufactures cars.

Rogers is no stranger to motors or gears; his grandfather owned Indian Motorcycle Company. And Jay himself is a self-professed gearhead. His company, Local Motors, is building Strati, the world’s first 3D-printed electric vehicle.

Strati’s Specs

  • Engine: 100% electric
  • Special Features: Electronic engine immobilizer, regenerative disc brakes
  • Drivetrain: Front and rear, rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: Automatic, single-speed
  • Battery: 6.1-kwh battery, 62-mile range, 3.5-hour charge time
  • Motor: 5 bhp or 17 bhp, 42 lb-ft torque
  • Body Construction: Approx. 212 layers, direct digital-manufactured vehicle (DDMV)
  • Body Material: Carbon-fiber-reinforced ABS plastic
  • Top Speed: Approx. 50mph
  • Wheels: Custom-made

Founded 5 years ago, and with 60,000 car designs already on the board, Rogers believes that he has the solution consumers want when purchasing a new car: Cut out the middleman.

With the Strati, Local Motors hopes to change how consumers purchase vehicles by limiting waste and streamlining production. Intended to be a car for the masses, the Strati can travel up to 150 miles on a single electric charge and will reach dealerships in 2016, with an expected cost of $18,000 to $30,000.

Constructed from carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic, the two-person vehicle is made up of only 49 parts. That’s impressive, especially when compared to a typical car, which can consist of 5,000 to 6,000 parts.

Create the Next Industrial Revolution
If you’re looking for weird things made with a 3D printer, Strati is a prefect example. If you want to be like Local Motors and create a revolution using 3D printers, why not use Digital Media Academy to help create your start-up?

A human head is printed after the subject is scanned, using computers.

At Digital Media Academy, students are guided through project-based courses, led by industry professionals. Students’ imaginations are transformed into reality with cutting-edge 3D printing and modeling technology in 3D Printing & Industrial Design.

Students explore industrial design while modeling 3D objects on the computer, then discover how to prepare their creations for 3D printing. They learn the design process through CAD (computer-aided design) modeling and then fine-tune their creations.

I will not fight the future
The future is here. Start designing…and 3D printing it…today!