I like bowling, even though I’m terrible at it – I think the highest I’ve ever scored in my life was 150. I just find the whole atmosphere of the bowling alley enjoyable. But aside from a 3D printed assistive ramp for disabled children, we don’t often see 3D printing technology combined with bowling. That’s changed now, with a 3D printed bowling ball that Youngstown, Ohio-based 3D printing startup Freshmade 3D created to showcase its new proprietary 3D printing material, AMClad.
Earlier this week, Freshmade 3D, which offers digital manufacturing services and typically specializes in rare parts when it’s not busy 3D printing life-sized political bobble heads, and is one of Youngstown Business Incubator’s 30 portfolio companies, successfully hit the lanes with the 3D printed bowling ball ahead of this Friday’s National Manufacturing Day.
After scoring a strike, Rich Wetzel, the startup’s CEO, told The Business Journal, “If you were to do that with a bowling ball [made from traditional 3-D printing materials], it wouldn’t be heavy enough and it’d probably shatter on impact. We wanted to show that this is a strong material that won’t break and can withstand several cycles in manufacturing.”
AMClad, a patent-pending isotropic (can withstand forces from all angles) engineered sand composite, or ESC, differs from other 3D printing materials because of its structural strength. The material can bend more, stretch further, and be subjected to more weight, due to its higher compression, flexural, and tensile strengths.
“From an engineering standpoint, it’s more tailorable,” said Freshmade President and CEO Christopher Tomko. “In a traditional manufacturing setting, you’re bound by the materials. In our case, the particulate we print with is the carrier of the shape and we apply properties to it.”
AMClad can be used to 3D print a variety of large objects, like prototypes, sculptures, and tools.
“We believe AMClad has great potential in a wide range of applications,” Freshmade Chief Technical Officer Brett Conner said. “With advantages in durability, strength, production speed, and cost, it’s something manufacturers will definitely be interested in.”
When manufacturers look for a strong, economical material, they normally choose an ABS polymer, which has a typical tensile strength between 3,000 and 5,000 psi and a flexural strength of around 7,000 psi. AMClad is comparable to ABS, with a tensile strength of 4,820 psi and flexural strength of 7,940 psi. But the material’s compression strength – capable of handling about 18,000 psi – blows ABS out of the water, making AMClad “structurally sound from all angles.”
Tomko said, “You can crush it. You can park a car on it and it’ll stand up.”
“If you hold a [traditional] 3-D printed item in your hand and bend it a certain way, it’s prone to crack. It’s weaker in that direction where the layers are stacked.”
The startup began developing AMClad when it was commissioned last summer to create life-size bobble heads of President Donald Trump and then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Freshmade discovered that the materials it was originally going to use would not support the overall weight of the huge statues.
“There wasn’t any other solution for us, so we worked backward. We found an affordable solution that had no strength and then found ways to make it strong,” Tomko explained.
According to Wetzel, while Freshmade continued to work on the development of AMClad, they also began to focus on making it an affordable alternative for manufacturers, through quick project turnaround and decreased materials cost.
“Typically, traditional manufacturing tools can take upward of a year to get made and tens of thousands of dollars,” Wetzel said. “If that iteration isn’t good, then you have to start the process over again. We have a fast turnaround, a variety of finishes and coating, and it’s not failing. We’re trying to validate different applications and see where we can take this.”
While Freshmade chose to debut its new AMClad material in a 3D printed bowling ball, the startup won’t be focusing its efforts on the leisure activity.
Conner said, “We’re not going to be a 3-D printed bowling ball company.”
Instead, Freshmade 3D will be using the material, which is available with a variety of surface finishes like metal plated and powder coated, to make molds for tooling and manufacturing, and art installations, like the “Dreaming Tree” piece created for Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.
As mentioned previously, the official debut of Freshmade 3D’s new AMClad material came right before National Manufacturing Day, which Youngstown State University, the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), and other area manufacturing organizations will celebrate on Friday.
Wetzel said about AMClad, “It’s a new form of manufacturing. It’s a new application. It’s local. It’s cost-effective. It’s incorporating Youngstown State, YBI and a lot of different organizations to launch something new. That really shows there’s a lot of activity in Youngstown in manufacturing. We need to keep that going and take advantage of the resources in this region.”
BOARDMAN, Ohio – When the new addition to Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley opens, patients and their families will be greeted by an art installation that employed several techniques, including 3-D printing.
The colorful “Dreaming Tree” sculpture hangs on the southern wall facing the entrance of the 51,000-square foot addition to Building A on the campus here.
“It refers back to the hospital theme, which is ‘reconnecting with nature,’” said Adam May, an architect with Hasenstab Architects, Akron. May helped design the building and is overseeing construction administration for the $20 million project.
The entrance features an 8-foot tree sculpture by woodwork artist Greg Webber, surrounded by 3-D printed animals created by Freshmade 3D, a Youngstown Business Incubator portfolio company, that were painted by area artists before being added to the installation.
May reached out to friends in the local arts community when submissions for a sculpture for the wall weren’t to hospital officials’ liking, he said. Artists of the Rust Belt, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting local artists, helped come up with the concept.
The sculpture features “a lot of animals and a lot of dreaming things” so kids have “something intriguing to look at on their path to better health,” May said.
“We always knew we wanted to do something fun and back to nature to keep with the theme of the building,” said Lisa Taafe, clinical administrative director at the Boardman campus.
“When the kids walk in, it’s fun, it’s colorful,” she continued. “They kind of forget that they’re at the doctor’s office or at the hospital.”
Expanding on the “back to nature” theme, Akron Children’s took several patients to Mill Creek Park and photographed them there. Some of those photos were enlarged and used as murals.
The addition also will feature 50 pieces of artwork made by students from the Mahoning Valley. “I’m hoping it doesn’t look like a hospital,” Taafe said. “That’s part of our goal.”
An open house and ribbon cutting will take place June 17. It will include a Naturefest celebration that will feature animal programs and a performance by Easy Street Productions.
The hospital will begin offering services in the new space July 11.
The addition will house pediatric specialty services along with the primary pediatric care office and a new service, sports rehabilitation, Taafe said.
The hospital will have 20 medical providers who will see about 250 patients daily, she added. Another 75 employees will work in the new addition.
Youngstown, Ohio, is on the cutting edge of 3D printing technology -- a technology that is revolutionizing today's manufacturing industry. Youngstown is home to America Makes, the first hub of innovation designated by the federal government.
The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber has partnered with Freshmade 3D, Humtown Products and Youngstown State University to create a first of its kind display at the Republican National Convention: the 3D Printed Prez project. These unique, life-size bobble heads of the 2016 presidential nominees will draw attention to the advanced manufacturing capabilities of Youngstown.
... inside the cordoned off section of downtown Cleveland, one bobblehead literally stood above the rest.
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... Local businesses are hoping for some serious financial gain this week, what with all of the out-of-towners staying in hotels, eating at local restaurants, maybe getting some shopping in. In addition to money, there’s also recognition, which could be a very big deal for some smaller, lesser-known companies trying to get off the ground. One of those companies is Freshmade 3D, a Youngstown-based 3D printing service bureau about an hour outside of Cleveland that specializes in rare automotive parts. For the occasion of the RNC, however, they stepped away from their usual work to make something very different – a life-sized, 3D printed Donald Trump bobblehead.
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...The incubator announced the winners Thursday morning. Smart 3D Solutions of Akron and Freshmade 3D of Youngstown will also share the prize money. The three startups were selected from among 30 applications and eight finalists...