Watch Dutch Cops Storm A 3D-Printing Dark Web Drug Den


Dutch police claim to have uncovered a 3D printing farm run by dark web drug criminals.

When the Dutch High Tech Crime Unit took over one of the world’s biggest dark web drug marketplaces, Hansa, they knew they were onto a winner. They were able to monitor anyone who came onto the site and, potentially, start determining their real locations. This week, the Dutch cops claim to have taken out a group of prolific dark web drug pushers who operated on Hansa. And in doing so, they uncovered an operation they claim involved 3D printing of Nintendo game cases, ink cartridges and fake make-up compacts in which the suspects allegedly hid narcotics so they could be sen undetected around the world, from Australia and New Zealand to Singapore.

Four suspects – two men aged 32 and 50 from Amsterdam, a 36-year-old woman from the same city, and a 48-year-old male from Werkendam – were apprehended this week, though Dutch police are not revealing their names. Nor are they revealing the amount of Bitcoin in the various wallets they seized. But law enforcement did release a video, showing the inside of the suspects’ properties, where the MAKE 3D printers were still churning away, most likely making the packaging for the drugs, alongside large boxes of multicolored pills.

The Amsterdam suspects were caught red-handed, the police said, as they were logged into their dark web accounts at the time of the arrest. A firearm and three cars were also seized.

Interested in the dark web? Check out this insane map showing all its beauty and horror

According to law enforcement, the suspects worked together under the name of Doug-Heffernan, which became one of the most prolific sellers on Hansa, pushing cocaine, ecstasy and MDMA, amongst other illicit products. The cops claimed to have found mailing lists belonging to the suspects “on which there are probably thousands of names and addresses of buyers of the past years.”

The police, from the Dutch force to the FBI, aren’t resting on their laurels, despite the astonishing take down of not just Hansa, but AlphaBay, which was the biggest dark web market ever at the time of its closure in 2017. The Dutch unit said it’s been focusing on Dream Market, where it’s been shutting down hard drug shops. In the U.S., just last week the so-called AlphaBay spokesperson, Ronald Wheeler, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud for working as a public relations specialist for the Dark Web Marketplace AlphaBay.

FabRx Examines SLS 3D Printing for Novel Solid Dosage Pills with Accelerated Drug Release …

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3D printing is allowing researchers to make enormous impacts in the medical field with a spectacular new array of diagnostic devices, implants, models, and more. With the ability to make so many items that are patient-specific, however, the future of treatment for individuals suffering from conditions from mild to severe is being transformed in ways that no one ever expected.

3D printed medical models are a great example of a way that patient-specific care can be offered. Other devices and implants can be 3D printed to the exact specifications of patients too. And as we have seen in the past few years, medicine may be following suit as well—3D printed and offered in patient-specific dosages that are easy to administer.

Authors Fabrizio Fina, Christine M. Madla, Alvaro Goyanes, Jiaxin Zhang, Simon Gaisford, and Abdul W. Basit explain their recent findings in ‘Fabricating 3D printed orally disintegrating printlets using selective laser sintering,’ published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics.

This is not the first 3D printed pill we have seen (check out more on 3D printed seizure pills and comprehensive meds); however, this study from the Department of Pharmaceutics, UCL School of Pharmacy, University College London in collaboration with FabRx Ltd. focuses on how SLS printing can assist in creating unique dosages. FabRx has been looking into 3D printing for pill production, including work with FFF and SLA technologies, starting with SLS last year.

The benefits of SLS printing are enjoyed by engineers and designer around the world due to better accuracy with complex designs, easier creation of larger and more complicated prototypes, and faster low-volume production. For the purpose of creating 3D printed medications, the researchers found that SLS printing was “amenable to the pharmaceutical research of modern medicine manufacture.�

The goal of the study was not only to explore the effectiveness of the SLS 3D printer in fabricating such medications, but also to 3D print them in new types of solid dosages, and with accelerated drug release. Along with that, they created a new formula for pills that disintegrate orally—and more rapidly. Referring to this medication as Printlets, the researchers relied on the following polymers:

  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC E5)
  • Vinylpyrrolidone-vinyl acetatecopolymer (KollidonVA 64)

Both materials were mixed separately with 5% paracetamol and 3% Candurin Gold Sheen colorant, ultimately allowing for the Printlets to be made via SLS.

“Modulating the SLS printing parameters altered the release characteristics of the printlets, with faster laser scanning speeds accelerating drug release from the HPMC formulations,� state the researchers in their paper. “The same trend was observed for the Kollidon based printlets. At a laser scanning speed of 300 mm/s, the Kollidon printlets exhibited orally disintegrating characteristics by completely dispersing in <4 s in a small volume of water.�

In analyzing the Printlets with a micro-CT scan, the researchers were pleased to find that this method of fabrication did allow for increased porosity, and the better disintegration sought after.

“The work reported here is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of SLS 3DP to fabricate printlets with accelerated drug release and orally disintegrating properties,� concluded the researchers.

See the video below to understand more about how the Printlets are fabricated via SLS printing.

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[Images: FabRX]

Optomec partner with LENS metal 3D printing distributor in China

Metal additive manufacturing specialist Optomec has entered into a partnership with  HUSUN Technologies, a distributor of industrial 3D printing solutions.

Under the terms of the partnership, HUSUN Technologies will be promoting and selling Optomec’s LENS metal 3D printing systems across China.

According to Pascal Pierra, Optomec Director of Asia Pacific Sales, the partnership has already got off to a positive start by securing the sale of two LENS systems, “We are very happy to partner with HUSUN to expand sales of LENS metal additive manufacturing systems in China,� he adds.

“The HUSUN team has an excellent track record delivering advanced industrial manufacturing solutions including equipment, application technology, and post-sales support.�

HUSUN's distribution of LENS 3D printers will start with the LENS 450 system. Image via OptomecHUSUN’s distribution of LENS 3D printers will start with the LENS 450 system pictured above. Image via Optomec

Laser Engineered Net Shaping

Optomec’s Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) technology is a Directed Energy Deposition (DED) additive manufacturing technology for metal. It is available as both a hybrid upgrade for CNC machines, or turnkey systems, which are to be sold by HUSUN.

One of the advantages of the LENS process is that is can 3D print metals directly onto pre-fabricated components, making it an ideal tool for machine repair.

The repaired gear with news LENS 3D printed and machined gears highlighted. Photo via RITA gear repaired using LENS technology at Rochester Institute of Technology. Photo via RIT

Asia-Pacific business

In the Asia-Pacific region, Optomec has an existing LENS 3D printer reselling partnership with Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, one of the largest gas suppliers in the world, and Tongtai Machine & Tool Co. in Taiwan has integrated the LENS Print Engine into a new line of hybrid additive manufacturing machines.

The Tongtai factory in Taiwan. Photo by Michael Petch.The Tongtai factory in Taiwan. Photo by Michael Petch.

Commenting on the new partnership, Ms. Qiao, General Manager of Husun Technologies, said, “We see a large market opportunity for metal additive manufacturing technology in the region and are expanding our sales and sales service teams to promote and support LENS technology to various application fields in China,�

“Optomec is an internationally famous company in the field of metal additive manufacturing and we are pleased to partner with them in their global development strategy.�

HUSUN Technologies full industrial 3D printing portfolio includes a range of metal and polymer systems from EOS.

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Is Optomec’s LENS technology and outstanding additive manufacturing technology? Make your nominations for the 2018 3D Printing Awards now. Entries close tomorrow.

Protolabs is sponsoring the 2018 3D Printing Industry Awards design competition. Submit your design and be in with a chance of attending this year’s annual dinner. 

Featured image shows LENS metal 3D printing in action. Image via Optomec.

Girl Guides Use Technology Skills to Help Special Needs Community with 3D Printed Park Model

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The Sharjah Girl Guides were first established in 1973, and spread across the United Arab Emirates in the following years, leading to the establishment of the Girl Guides Association of the United Arab Emirates in 1979. The organization allows girls to develop as strong citizens and leaders, much like the Girl Scouts of America. As part of their own growth, the Girl Guides often end up helping others along the way, too. Such was the case with a recent project that demonstrated the girls’ impressive knowledge of technology as well as their commitment to making life better for others.

February has been designated as UAE Innovation Month, which grew out of Innovation Week in previous years. It was developed as a festival celebrating innovation across the UAE and aiming to strengthen the country’s position as a global innovation hub. Events include the launch of new national initiatives, showcases of products and services, hackathons and competitions, labs and workshops, and more across each of the Emirates. As part of Innovation Month, the Sharjah Girl Guides presented an innovation of their own.

Fifteen Girl Guides, aged 12 to 15, recently created a 3D printed model of a park that could be used by individuals with disabilities and special needs. It was the second of two projects for Sharjah’s own Innovation Week; the other involved a 3D printed book about iconic landmarks in Sharjah. The model of the park helped the girls develop their own CAD and 3D printing skills, as well as showing them how their work could help others in the community.

“Sharjah Innovation Week provided the perfect opportunity for the guides to not only challenge themselves in a technical environment but also required them to innovate in ways that could give back to the community,� said Shaikha Al Shamsi, Manager of the Sharjah Girl Guides. “The park model for children with special needs showed the guides’ skills in the design elements of the project and their understanding of how to accommodate children of various abilities and needs, and how to make their lifestyles more enjoyable and their leisure time more accessible.�

The park model and book were completed in six sessions, each of which took approximately three hours to complete the two projects. The park, while still in a concept stage, has the potential to be turned into an actual park at some point. The book, meanwhile, was created to educate both guests and visitors on Sharjah.

The Sharjah Girl Guides have often showed that they value technology, with other past activities including a 3Doodler workshop. Projects like this latest are a great example of the importance that organizations like the Girl Guides have in the lives of young girls, teaching them about the impact of technology as well as their own abilities to use it for good purpose. If the park does eventually get built, these girls will have become architects at a young age, and even if it remains simply a model, they will have learned valuable lessons about 3D design and 3D printing that they can take with them into the future – perhaps using them to directly impact the special needs community in another way.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts below. 

[Sources: Tahawul Tech, Gulf Today / Images: Sharjah Girl Guides]