Investing in 3D Printing: 3D Printing Robotics and Technology Fund
The first ever mutual fund focused on 3D printing and additive manufacturing was started in January 2014 and called 3D printing and Technology Fund. In June 2015, the fund was renamed to 3D Printing Robotics and Technology Fund. The fund is managed by 3D Printing Fund Advisers, LLC, with Alan M. Meckler as the Lead Portfolio Manager and John M. Meckler as Co-Portfolio Manager. The fund can be bought online from Schwab, Scottrade, Vanguard, or from the fund’s website http://www.3dpfund.com/.
The fund has Institutional Class shares (TDPIX) and Investor Class shares (TDPNX). The top holdings of the fund include Stratasys, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, Hewlett-Packard Co., General Electric Co., and so on. Some of the larger companies such as General Electric Co. are included since they have been acquiring companies focused on 3D printing technology.
This is not an investment advice. Before investing, please consult the prospectus of the fund. Please visit the fund’s website (www.3dpfund.com) for further details.
California’s 3D Printing Expo October 2015: Startup Competition with $15,000 Award
according to the Inside 3D Printing, “considered one of the largest 3D Printing expo will be in Santa Clara California USA on October 20-22, 2015. The Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo has sessions for two days for tutorials and new technology information from experts. This year the expo has a startup competition. This year’s winner will get award worth around $15,000”.:)
Carbon3D Raises $100M from Google Ventures and Others
In June, 2015 we wrote about Carbon3D and its Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP), that grows parts rather than printing them layer by layer as done by conventional 3D printers. Carbon3D recently closed a $100M series C round of funding lead by Google Ventures. Reinet Investments spokesman Anton Rupert said, “After evaluating Carbon3D’s CLIP technology, we believe it is a game-changer for complex manufacturing across many global market segments.” According to Andy Wheeler, General Partner at Google Ventures, “Carbon3D’s technology has the potential to dramatically expand the 3D printing market beyond where it stands today and reshape the manufacturing landscape.” Carbon3D, a Silicon Valley based company, was founded in 2013.
FDA Approves the first 3D Printed Drug from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals
For the first time, US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has approved a 3D printed drug. According to Aprecia Pharmaceuticals announcement,” that FDA has approved their SPRITAM levetiracetam drug used for certain types of epileptic seizures. Aprecia uses a ZipDose platform that creates pills by combining multiple layers of powdered medication. This 3D printing (3DP) technology is based on research performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The 3D printed pill has a porous, water-soluble matrix that rapidly disintegrates with a sip of liquid. This enables heavy doses of medication to be administered with a small sip of liquid. This improves the patient experience. Patients who have difficulty swallowing have a greater chance of missing a dose of the medicine. Missed dose of medicine often leads to seizures. Ease of administration of the medication helps manage the diseases better. According said Don Wetherhold, Chief Executive Officer of Aprecia “By combining 3DP technology with a highly prescribed epilepsy treatment, SPRITAM is designed to fill a need for patients who struggle with their current medication experience.”
Mediated Matter Group of MITs’ Media Lab in collaboration with MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and MIT’s Glass Lab has developed an additive manufacturing platform called G3DP for printing transparent glass structures. The G3DP platform uses two chambers, an upper chamber and a lower chamber. The upper chamber is heated to a temperature of 1900°F to produce molten glass. The lower chamber performs annealing by slowly cooling the molten glass. The molten glass is funneled through a nozzle to 3D print fascinating glass structures.
According to Prof. Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab who directs the Mediated Matter research group, this research could lead to advances in creating fiber optic cables that transmit data more efficiently.
Microfactories the Next Industrial Revolution based on 3D Printing.
Over half a century, computers have reduced in size from machines that were as big as a house to machines that can be carried in a pocket. Besides as the computers have become smaller they have become more and more powerful. A computer in a phone that can be carried in a pocket is orders of magnitude more powerful than the computers of the past that were as big as a house.
There is a similar trend in manufacturing thanks to 3D printing. Car factories need a large amount of space, huge machinery, and a large number of workers to make cars. This is so because different machinery is needed for making each part of car. However, companies such as local motors have started the trend of Microfactories. Together, these machineries need a huge amount of space and a large number of workers. Now, a 3D printer can make most of the parts of a car. Some of the complex parts are imported. But the overall manufacturing of the car can be performed in a small location with only few workers. Such manufacturing facilities are called Microfactories. These Microfactories can be established closer to cities and create local jobs. They reduce distribution costs and are therefore environmentally friendly. Also cars can be manufactured to suit local needs. Local motors has already opened Microfactories in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Crystal City, VA. Local motors aims at opening 100 Microfactories in next 10 years.
Another car manufacturer Divergent Microfactories is establishing Microfactories to make 3D printed cars.
Strati: a 3D printed car from local motors.
Kevin Czinger, CEO of Divergent Microfactories showing a prototype 3D printed car.
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