The world of 3D printing moves fast, and it's not easy to keep up with the latest developments. Here are some of the stories that have caught our eye in the past year.
A 3D-printed vegan steak, anyone?
Using 3D bioprinting and actual cow cells, the world's first slaughter-free ribeye steak has been developed.
Aleph Farms has teamed up with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's faculty of biomedical engineering to create a lab-grown ribeye with the texture and taste of an authentic steak without the need to kill an animal.
Aleph Farms used modern 3D bioprinting technologies and a culture of live animal tissue to grow the ribeye. To recreate an authentic steak's texture and qualities, the meat-making process prints living cells that are incubated to reproduce naturally.
The bio-printing procedure is similar to the normal vascularization that happens in tissues. According to Aleph Farms, it allows nutrients to move through thicker tissue, resulting in a steak with the same structure as a typical cut of meat before and during cooking.
Soon, we'll be able to eat 3D-printed steaks that look and taste just like the real thing. While this concept is still in the development stage, expect to see 3D printed steaks on your plate at some point in the future.
German startup develops a 3D belt printer capable of 'infinite length' printing.
The German startup iFactory3D has created a unique machine that combines a conveyor belt with a 3D printer. This device, dubbed iFactory One, allows users to create parts of any length and generate them in a sequence without interruption. But compared to manufacturing equipment that costs thousands of dollars, the iFactory One is much lower in price.
The concept recently made its Kickstarter debut and was a huge success, raising over $100,000 in just one week. With a price of about $1,000, the startup iFactory3D is priced to appeal to hobbyists and professionals.
The design has been particularly well-received, so much so that the startup was recently voted the 'best startup' by the 3D printing magazine 3D Natives.
The importance of belts and pulleys in 3D printing
A conveyor belt printer's excitement is undeniable, but there is another belt that is much more critical to the proper operation of a 3D printer: the timing belt.
When working with a 3D printer, precision is essential for good performance. One loose bearing will be immediately apparent in the print job itself. As a result, when working with a 3D printer belt, it's vital to ensure that its movements are as precise and controlled as possible. Stepper motors can help provide more control, but it's still of no use if the timing belt slips.
A good timing belt system for 3D printers provides high-accuracy and low-maintenance linear motion, allowing for the smooth operation of the printer's vital linear movement and positioning functions.
However, it's essential to maintain and replace your timing belt regularly. Since belts and pulleys are the critical moving parts in your 3D printer, they are often prone to wear and tear.