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3D Printer in Space

The American Space Agency, NASA, will be sending a 3D printer into space during the Fall of 2014 to provide astronauts and scientists with a way to craft specific tools and spare parts in zero gravity. The mission will also focus on creating small test satellites from this 3D printer that are capable of transmitting data back to Earth (if the experiment is successful). With these advancements, NASA can significantly lower the transportation costs by reducing the amount of items that need to be pre-fabricated and sent up to the astronauts. The machine is only about the size of the MakerBot Replicator home models or about the size of a standard toaster oven. Despite the size, having the adaptability to design and manufacture on the fly can be an essential lifesaving benefit.

Earlier in this month, Rachel Kraft from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Washington reported that the largest 3D printed rocket engine component, blazed to life on August 22 of 2013, generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. The component tested, was a 3D manufactured injector which is responsible for delivering propellants in the rocket that power an engine and provide the thrust necessary to propel an object. The testing engineers injected liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen into the combustion chamber to measure the force of thrust produced. The results concluded that this rocket created 10 times more thrust than any other 3D manufactured rocket from preceding tests.

The force produced was enough to let the team start fabricating design layouts or templates for these mini test satellites that can now be rocketed out from the Space Station. The success of this test also provided a crucial step in bringing NASA closer to proving this innovative technology can be used to reduce the cost of flight hardware as well as the tools needed in emergency scenarios.

As a side, safety and practicality test, the Marshall engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center have been running through mock Apollo 13 simulations, in which the crew had to quickly fabricate a lifesaving carbon dioxide filter holder using a plastic bag, a manual cover, and gaffer tape. In these simulations, the crew was able to use the 3D printer to manufacture the exact parts they needed in minutes, giving the crew more time to land safely on the moon’s surface. Although these are just test situations, having the right components can mean life or death which brings us to the next stage of pre-launch testing.

NASA has already been able to fine tune some of this technology, being able to print with laser-melted titanium and nickel-chromium powders that give projects significant strength improvements. Being able to print in zero gravity however, presents a whole new set of challenges. Typically the 3D printer will layer thin sheets of the desired material on a build platform until an object is complete. With zero gravity, there is no additional force (like gravity) that can assist the printer in laying down liquid hot layers of plastic or metal onto a lower platform. Once the melted material jets through the nozzle it will have infinite directions to travel in. With metal material, polarization could be the key to keeping the structure together in such environments, although materials like propylene (or plastic) prove to be more difficult.

Propylene is an interesting material, mostly known for its use with Tupperware and other clear plastic containers. With the latest exploratory satellite named Cassini, atmospheric researchers at NASA have discovered a plethora of Propylene on one of Saturn’s moons known as Titan. In 1980 the Voyager (a previously made, exploratory satellite) discovered Hydrocarbons in the air around Titan, which were derived from methane, once the methane had been broken apart by sunlight. This continuous process that still occurs on Titan forms long chains of molecules that make up propane, propylene, and propyne. Voyager was only able to discern the largest and smallest chains at the time being Propane and Propyne. With Cassini, researchers were able to compare new readings to Voyager’s in order to quickly isolate and identify elements that Voyager left behind.

The first molecule to be discovered using this CIRS system (Composite Infrared Spectrometer which identifies heat coming from the atmosphere), is Propylene, perhaps the most common plastic manufactured on Earth. This plastic is most commonly used to create clear plastic holding containers, such as water bottles. Any item with an identifying mark that contains a number five encased by a segmented triangle with the initials PP underneath is made of Polypropylene. Polypropylene is simply a series of Propylene molecules connected together in a longer chain to form a clear plastic sheet or wire.

We touch and use the same types of elements found on Saturn every day, without even knowing it. And who knows, maybe one day we can stop by Titan to refill a ship’s stock of PLS plastics.

The Adobe Creative Cloud by Fuji Xerox

Fuji Xerox has announced partnering with Adobe to create their own cloud computing software that lets users print and design projects from virtually any location. The move is set to help designers and other creative professionals meet their tight deadlines with the help of inclusive resources and tools provided within the program.

According to Fuji Xerox executives, creative professionals are severely limited by the lack of resources and tools that are offered with current cloud printing software. In an attempt to appease this large grouping of overlooked users, subscribers to the new Adobe Creative Cloud printing software may use the entire collection of graphic design tools and services at a low cost.

Not only does this program have graphic design elements, this technology can build and publish websites, mobile sites, mobile applications, and other content for various devices. And being cloud computing software, users can still enjoy the original cloud features such as sharing files, capturing feedback, and keeping track of all projects on a single platform.

Adobe is known for offering easy and simple management tools which are going to be updated and upgraded accordingly. The tools provided by the software are made accessible on all devices to eliminate pestering restrictions due to the device being operated on. This gives users the power to build and format projects or presentations from any handheld device with seamless integration.

Fuji Xerox utilizes their popular printing features such as the advanced color management systems to increase product quality and development efficiency. A valued solution, XMPie has also been added to the mix, offering variable-data publishing (or VDP) solutions for a variety of personalized applications that enable cross-media campaigns and deliver a wide range of solutions with different application requirements. This allows the Adobe Creative Cloud to adapt in intuitive ways tailoring to customers’ file handling needs.

Voice Activated 3D Printing

Yahoo Japan has developed the first 3 Dimensional Search Engine to combine with 3D printers allowing users to print nearly any object with a verbal command. The engine works by rapidly searching the internet for existing blueprints to deliver a palm sized object in a few minutes. This means that nearly anyone can print 3D objects without any sort of training. Simply by initiating a voice command, users will be able to print tools, toys, fixtures, or any other object as diverse as the blueprints on the internet.

Many sites have already been opened with extensive amounts of blueprints for those getting started or for those that want to purchase more complex designs. And with 3D printing becoming increasingly more commonplace, blueprints for aesthetics such as Holiday decorations and coffee table art are available. No doubt, printing household items and commodities will be popular, although 3D printing can span and benefit nearly all aspects of life.

The medical and dental fields have been employing 3D printing technology for years, but imagine if ER doctors and Surgeons had a voice activated organ printer that can printout artificial implants during the operation. No more waiting for an organ donor that may or may not have a compatible component. This also eliminates the need to preserve organs for future incidents.

This voice activated 3D printer, which is part owned by Japanese mobile carrier Softbank and US Internet giant Yahoo!, has been introduced to a school for blind and visually impaired students in Tokyo on a temporary basis. Yahoo Japan has commented that this printer will be free to use for the school until mid-October, giving them about a month to explore the vast possibilities that can aide cognitive development and learning.

Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print is an internet based application that allows owners of at least one printer to print documents from their mobile devices. This application allowing you to print from any mobile device, works on ALL printers whether they can connect to the internet themselves through an Ethernet or wireless interface or they have no direct internet capabilities. The more classic printers, which cannot connect directly to the internet, will need to be connected to a Mac, Linux, or Windows computer with internet access in order to utilize the cloud printing. Once a printer has been set up with Google Cloud Print, it can be used to print from any desired internet connected device.

To connect printers that do not come Cloud Ready, users will need to install Google Chrome on their Windows, Mac, or Linux computers that are connected directly to the printer. Once Chrome has been installed on a connected computer, users can sign in and access Google Cloud Print Connector to add their connected printers to the cloud. When the PC, connected to the printer and internet, is on, users can remotely control printer settings, mange their printers, and print desired projects from any internet connected device. Devices can be used from any location with internet access and a downloadable Google Cloud Print Application. Printers that are Cloud Ready will connect directly to the web and do not require a computer to set up or use.

Any type of application can be sent to and printed on your Cloud ready printer to eliminate restrictions and to be able to create fully customizable printouts. There is no need to convert photographs and highly detailed projects to lesser-sized file formats in order to print materials. Changing the file formats can lower valuable resolutions and eliminate necessary elements on final printouts. The cloud feature allows you to print the file you want and when you want without having to change any properties. The Cloud also lets you share your registered printer(s) with Google Chrome friends and family that you choose. With one click, you can select the friends and family you want to have access to your registered Google Cloud Print printer(s) so they can manage and print jobs easily.

With Google Cloud Print you and anyone you choose can access your home and work printers that have been registered on your account, with devices used everyday such as smart phones and tablets. For iOS platforms and Android phones, users can download an application that will communicate directly with your Google account and give you control of the printers registered to your account. Currently, this feature can be used on any internet connected device with a downloadable application (the name of the application will vary depending on the OS and device being used), a connection to Google Chrome OS, Chrome, Gmail for mobile, or using Google Docs for mobile.

Users will be able to print from virtually anywhere with their smart phones, tablets, Chromebooks, and any other web-connected devices. You can take pictures on a family vacation and have them already printed by the time you get back home. Teachers can send their projects to a company printing machine and pick them up once they have completed their lesson to not waste any time standing in front of the machine and waiting for projects to finish. You can also print important tickets and documents as soon as they are received instead of waiting until you get home and possibly forgetting. Be able to control when and where you are able to print with this Google Cloud Printing capability.

Cheap Printer Ink & Toner Cartridges – Simi Valley, CA

Simi Valley Ink

Find your Printer Ink!

Ink and Toner have become main staples of the business, office, and educational communities since the invention of the Xerography (copy) machine in 1959. Being able to quickly and cheaply create mass quantities of important documents and images for informational, advertisement, filing, and other purposes, made these Xerographic photocopying machines a must have among workgroups. The same principle of wanting to quickly and cheaply create important documents, images, and now photographs is still around today, only it has spread to domestic households and businesses alike.

There are some differences and similarities between what a home user is looking for and what an office or company is looking for. Home users, are more so concerned with being able to print all their documents, photographs, and occasional projects at home and with professional quality. On the other hand, offices, with a much higher rate of printing, are looking to produce as many printouts as possible and as quickly as possible to keep production levels ahead or at the speed of their workflow. In slew of this, offices and workgroups generally trend toward high-volume laser toner printers, while home users go for the less expensive inkjet printers. Although initial costs are far from similar due to the different volume outputs capable by these two machines, both users are still looking for an affordable price to print.

The cheapest printing options for ongoing printing, is to find affordable replacement ink cartridges or toner cartridges that aren’t going to sacrifice the output quality. The best wholesale retailers for printer supplies can be found in Simi Valley, California. Simi Valley is an ideal location for ink and toner distribution since many brand name printer manufacturers are stationed in California and the compatible cartridges made in China, ship to ports within close proximity to the valley. Because of this, distributors located in Simi Valley such as and can offer replacement Simi Valley ink cartridges and replacement Simi Valley toner cartridges at the lowest wholesale prices possible.

Inkgrabber is a family run business that has been in the printer and office supply industry for over 70 years and has been able to find some of the best quality replacement cartridges on the market. All their products have been ISO 9001 certified and tested to ensure the quality meets that of the OEM (Original Equipment Manufactured) cartridges. These Simi Valley ink cartridge distributors can lower replacement supply costs by up to 82 percent when using remanufactured or compatible cartridges. With their prime location, Inkgrabber’s remanufactured and compatible inks, toners, ribbons, and replacement supplies have been hand-picked and tested to ensure the same great quality and integrity found when using the genuine supplies.

While shopping around the web to find the best wholesale ink cartridges, and consistently come up with the highest quality products and the lowest prices. Their low prices are contingent on the fact that they are able to acquire replicated cartridges from China and locally refilled cartridges that eliminate transportation fees and unneeded middle suppliers. Simi Valley Printer Ink will always be offered at a greater discount than large chains and other independent ink suppliers. The main elements people are looking for in a printer, is an affordable price to print while still being able to retain the desired quality on final printouts. No matter what printer you purchase for your document handling needs, Inkgrabber and InkOnABudget will lower the operational costs and the price per printout using the local ink and local toner found in Simi Valley, California.

World’s First 3D Printed Ink Cartridges

3D printing or Additive Manufacturing has been a leading trend amongst the printing industries for a few years now. From creating medical and dental synthetics and prosthetics to complex mechanical marvels like automobile parts and robotic aircrafts, it was only a matter of time before this engineering technology would start producing parts for itself. And eventually, be able to completely reproduce itself, once we figure out how to create data chips and other complicated processing systems that require a variety of finely tuned elements to make.

An ink supply retailer from the United Kingdom known as Ink Factory was thinking along the same lines when they decided to purchase a 3D printer and create the first ever functional 2D printer inkjet cartridge. Being a supplier of ink cartridges and printer supplies for the last 11 years, the decision to create a cartridge was less then farfetched to say the least. It all started with the notion that asks, “Would it be possible for the home user to print their own ink cartridges and (in doing) so save money?” Which soon lead to the team at Ink Factory to start planning the creation of a 2D print cartridge.

The first hurdle the team encountered was choosing which type of cartridge to replicate and what printer to test them in. Many manufacturers’ like HP and Canon have a plethora of new technologies and designs in each ink cartridge, such as data chips and Piezo elements to help regulate ink droplet amounts, levels of ink usage, and general communications with a printer’s software. With such a high amount of finely tuned, specific elements going into each cartridge, these manufactures were out of the question. Kodak, on the other hand, has only ever released two different ink cartridge types, the Kodak 10 series and Kodak 30 series ink cartridges. Additionally, the Kodak cartridges have a simple internal design and only one component that could not be fabricated with a 3D printer, (the ink bladder). After all, the current 3D printer models can only handle one element a time and PLA or ABS plastics are abundant, consistant, and hold no charge which are ideal for creating and testing out new operational inventions. The Kodak ESP C110 was selected as the test printer since it holds the Kodak 30 ink cartridges and is an extremely reliable and popular machine.

The next step after deciding what they wanted to print and how they wanted it to function, was designing a 3D model using a CAD (Computer Assisted Design) program. The team at Ink Factory purchased a MakerBot 2 printer which comes with SolidWorks, a CAD program used as a design engineering software tool. After carefully measuring each component and chamber of the original cartridge, it was time to create an accurately scaled layout or wire frame model of the Kodak 30 ink cartridges using SolidWorks. These 3D drawings are saved as .STL or Stereolithography files which utilize similar technology found in satellites. This technology basically measures light reflection distances off of surfaces to reproduce a scaled 3D model.

Once a computer animated model (or frame) has been completed using the SolidWorks or other 3D design engineering software, the printer will need to thinly slice the 3D drawing with another inclusive software program entitled MakerWare. MakerWare is MakerBot’s slicing engine, taking 3-Dimensional drafts and dividing them into numerous layers that the printer will be recreating during the printing process. Each 3D printer manufacturer has their own set of software, including a slicing engine and a 3D drafting CAD program.

With the designs being complete, it’s time to print. Ink Factory used PLA plastics to create their model Kodak 30 inkjet cartridges. This was primarily for cost efficiency and the fact that PLA plastics are easy to work with and strong when cooled or hardened from a liquid state. When the printer finishes printing each successive layer, the team at Ink Factory can scrape the newly fabricated cartridges off of the manufacturing faceplate. The new cartridges are then accessorized with the components unable to be manufactured during the printing process and filled using an Ink refill kit. Thus, home users will still not be able to create their own cartridges at home, unless they happen to have access to ink bladders, data chips, and the other miscellaneous components used to communicate with the printer.

Although this is not a universal solution to help lower replacement ink and toner costs, it does open the doors of what is possible with additive manufacturing. I remember the first article I wrote about NASA using 3D printing technology to create a pizza at the International Space Station. The first thought I had, was “this is straight out of Star Trek or some Sci-Fi futuristic movie.” Being able to tell the computer interface what you want and it fabricates the exact item out of thin air in some oversimplified, concaved wall set-up. “Computer, Earl Grey, Hot,” and out comes a steaming cup of Earl Gray tea. How many stories have you heard about a self replicating robot trying to take over the world? The ideas have always been there, they are just now getting the chance to become a reality.

What is a Drum Unit?

The Drum Unit is an integral part of technology used in laser printing and photocopying to create an image and transfer that image onto paper with the use of toner and heated fusing rollers.  First the photoreceptive cylinder, known as the drum unit is negatively or positively charged.  Then a laser will transfer the desired image to the surface of the drum by neutralizing the areas on the surface where the image would be.  The toner, after being charged negatively or positively is exposed to the drum unit.  The toner will attract to the areas of the drum in which the laser has passed over and neutralized, while the remaining toner will be repelled from the areas of the drum untouched by the laser, having the same electrostatic charge. The drum then rolls over the paper, transferring the toner to the paper.  Once the toner is on the paper, it will pass through heated fusing rollers to melt the toner onto the page, leaving the desired image behind. offers all three varieties of Drum Units including the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or Genuine drum units which are created by the printer manufacturer, the Remanufactured drum units which are refilled genuine drum cartridges that are tested to ensure quality performance, and the Compatible drum units which are created as a generic alternative to the OEM and can be offered at a fraction of the genuine cartridge price.

All products, including the Brother DR-350, are ISO 9001 certified, meeting the highest standards. Every Remanufactured, Compatible, and Genuine Brother Drum Unit has up to a 2-3 Year Shelf life and is backed with the Inkgrabber 90 Day Money Back Guarantee. In addition also provides a 1 year cartridge exchange policy for damaged or faulty hardware.

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