Friday, 31 October 2014
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£7 million 3D printing competition announced

The Technology Strategy Board has announced a £7 million fund to support 3D printing design initiatives.

Lampshade formed from Selective Laser Melting by Econolyst

Lampshade formed from Selective Laser Melting by Econolyst

The TSB wants to encourage projects that tackle problems around cost, materials and prototypes, and other issues that are currently holding back 3D printing.

It is offering grants of between £50,000 - £750,000 for projects, and will also consider grants outside this range.

Recognising the value of 3D printing for rapid prototyping, the TSB says it wants to ensure the technology is used to enable new approaches to design, manufacturing, and distribution of ‘end-use components and consumer goods in a wide variety of global market sectors from aerospace to jewellery’.

Problems highlighted include high cost, inconsistent material properties, lack of applicable industry standards, unexpected pre-and post-processing requirements and the failure to exploit the new design freedoms offered by 3D printing.

Example of Selective Laser Melting by Econolyst

Example of Selective Laser Melting by Econolyst

Collaborative business-led proposals must include one other non-academic business partner, the rules state, and it’s worth noting that there is a particular focus on industrial research.

Up to £500,000 will be set aside for Space projects and the field of highly efficient, lightweight component designs for Space vehicles and equipment is mentioned specifically. 

The fund is also being backed by a consortium of partners made up of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council. 

Proposals can be made from 3 December – 23 January 2013, and there will be a briefing and consortium building event on 11 December, although the venue is yet to be confirmed. 

Titanium model formed from Selective Laser Melting by Econolyst

Titanium model formed from Selective Laser Melting by Econolyst

To download the brief and view further information, visit www.innovateuk.org.

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