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Singapore’s First 3D Printed Artefact To Be Launched To The Moon

Singapore’s First 3D Printed Artefact To Be Launched To The Moon


Artist Lakshmi Mohanbabu and the NTU Singapore team led by Prof. Matteo Seita – Karl A Sofinowski, Jude E Fronda, Nair Adarsh R, Mallory Wittwer


The Moon Gallery Foundation is developing an art gallery to be sent to the Moon, contributing to the establishment of the first lunar outpost and permanent museum on Earth’s only natural satellite. The international initiative will see one hundred artworks from artists around the world integrated into a 10 cm x 10 cm x 1 cm grid tray, which will fly to the Moon by 2025. The Moon Gallery aims to expand humanity’s cultural dialogue beyond Earth. The gallery will meet the cosmos for the first time in low Earth orbit in 2022 in a test flight.

The test flight is in collaboration with Nanoracks, a private in-space service provider. The gallery is set to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the NG-17 rocket as part of a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply mission in February of 2022. The art projects featured in the gallery will reach the final frontier of human habitat in space, and mark the historical meeting point of the Moon Gallery and the cosmos. Reaching low Earth orbit on the way to the Moon is a pivotal first step in extending our cultural dialogue to space. 

On its return flight, the Moon Gallery will become a part of the NanoLab technical payload, a module for space research experiments. The character of the gallery will offer a diverse range of materials and behaviours for camera observations and performance tests with NanoLab.

In return, Moon Gallery artists will get a chance to learn about the performance of their artworks in space. The result of these observations will serve as a solid basis for the subsequent Moon Gallery missions and a source of a valuable learning experience for future space artists. The test flight to the ISS is a precursor mission, contributing to the understanding of future possibilities for art in space and strengthening collaboration between the art and space sectors.


Our every perception, analysis, and thought reflect the influences from our surroundings and the Universe in a world of collaboration, communication and interaction, making it possible to explore the real, the imagined and the unknown. The ‘Structure and Reflectance’ cube, a marriage of Art and Technology, is one of the hundred artworks selected by the Moon Gallery, with a unifying message of an integrated world, making it a quintessential signature of humankind on the Moon.

Ms Lakshmi Mohanbabu, a Singaporean architect and designer, is the first and only local artist to have her artwork selected for the Moon Gallery. Coined the ‘Structure and Reflectance’ cube, Lakshmi’s art is a marriage of Art and Technology and is one of the hundred artworks selected by the Moon Gallery. The cube signifies a unifying message of an integrated world, making it a quintessential signature of humankind on the Moon.

The ‘Structure and Reflectance’ Cube pictured with Dr Matteo Seita and Lakshmi Mohanbabu Photo credit: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)

The ‘Structure and Reflectance’ Cube pictured with Dr Matteo Seita and Lakshmi Mohanbabu
Photo credit: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)

The early-stage prototyping and design iterations of the ‘Structure and Reflectance’ cube were performed with Additive Manufacturing, otherwise known as 3D printing, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore’s (NTU Singapore) Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP). This was part of a collaborative project supported by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), a national programme office which accelerates the adoption and commercialisation of additive manufacturing technologies. Previously, the NTU Singapore team at SC3DP produced a few iterations of Moon-Cube using metal 3D printing in various materials such as Inconel and Stainless Steel to evaluate the best suited material.

The newest iteration of the cube comprises crystals—ingrained in the cube via additive manufacturing technology— revealed to the naked eye by the microscopic differences in their surface roughness, which reflect light along different directions.

“Additive Manufacturing is suitable for enabling this level of control over the crystal structure of solids. More specifically, the work was created using ‘laser powder bed fusion technology’ a metal additive manufacturing process which allows us to control the surface roughness through varying the laser parameter,” said Dr Matteo Seita, Nanyang Assistant Professor, NTU Singapore, is the Principal Investigator overseeing the project for the current cube design.  

Dr Seita shared the meaning behind the materials used, “Like people, materials have a complex ‘structure’ resulting from their history—the sequence of processes that have shaped their constituent parts—which underpins their differences. Masked by an exterior façade, this structure often reveals little of the underlying quality in materials or people. The cube is a material representation of a human’s complex structure embodied in a block of metal consisting of two crystals with distinct reflectivity and complementary shape.”

Ms Lakshmi added, “The optical contrast on the cube surface from the crystals generates an intricate geometry which signifies the duality of man: the complexity of hidden thought and expressed emotion. This duality is reflected by the surface of the Moon where one side remains in plain sight, while the other has remained hidden to humankind for centuries; until space travel finally allowed humanity to gaze upon it. The bright portion of the visible side of the Moon is dependent on the Moon’s position relative to the Earth and the Sun. Thus, what we see is a function of our viewpoint.”

The hidden structure of materials, people, and the Moon are visualized as reflections of light through art and science in this cube. Expressed in the Structure & Reflectance cube is the concept of human’s duality—represented by two crystals with different reflectance—which appears to the observer as a function of their perspective.

Dr Ho Chaw Sing, Co-Founder and Managing Director of NAMIC said, “Space is humanity’s next frontier. Being the only Singaporean – among a selected few from the global community – Lakshmi’s 3D printed cube presents a unique perspective through the fusion of art and technology. We are proud to have played a small role supporting her in this ‘moon-shot’ initiative.”

Lakshmi views each artwork as a portrayal of humanity’s quests to discover the secrets of the Universe and—fused into a single cube—embody the unity of humankind, which transcends our differences in culture, religion, and social status.

The first cube face, the Primary, is divided into two triangles and depicts the two faces of the Moon, one visible to us from the earth and the other hidden from our view.



The second cube face, the Windmill, has two spiralling windmill forms, one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, representing our existence, energy, and time.



The third cube face, the Dromenon, is a labyrinth form of nested squares, which represents the layers that we—as space explorers—are unravelling to discover the enigma of the Universe.



The fourth cube face, the Nautilus, reflects the spiralling form of our DNA that makes each of us unique, a shape reflected in the form of our galaxy.


FINAL CUBE – 0.98cmX0.98cmX0.98cm

Supported by: NRF, NTU Singapore, NTUitive, NAMIC
The ‘Structure and Reflectance’ Cube Project Team:
The project team comprises of NTU Singapore researchers: Dr Matteo Seita (Principal Investigator), Karl Sofinowski, Nair Adarsh Ravikumaran, Mallory Wittwer and Jude Fronda.

Upcoming Next: 3D Printing In 2022: Micro-Trends In Major Materials

A.I. Engineering Pioneer Hyperganic Raises $7.8m Funding For R&D Expansion In Singapore

A.I. Engineering Pioneer Hyperganic Raises $7.8m Funding For R&D Expansion In Singapore

Hyperganic has announced the closing of $7.8m in funding, with a focus on significantly expanding their presence in Singapore. The round is led by German funds HV Capital and VSquared Ventures. Co-investors are US-based tech fund Converge, industrial partner Swarovski and PC pioneer Hermann Hauser, co-founder of ARM.

Hyperganic was founded in 2017 to radically accelerate innovation in design, engineering and production of physical objects. The company drives a paradigm shift, where complex products are created by computer algorithms and Artificial Intelligence. The resulting objects are traded digitally and manufactured in digital factories based on industrial 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing).

The investment will drive a significant expansion of the existing Hyperganic team and the establishment of R&D centers in both Singapore and China.

“Humanity’s biggest challenges can only be solved through a giant leap in technology. We’ve created Hyperganic to fundamentally change how we design and build the things around us. Now we are ready to shift gears. We are happy to have the support of such a diverse team of investors on this exciting journey,” said Lin Kayser, co-founder and CEO, Hyperganic.

Hyperganic will use Singapore as a key pillar of the company’s development strategy. This decision was driven by the country’s investment in a vibrant deep technology ecosystem, specifically for advanced manufacturing technologies such as A.I., robotics and industrial 3D printing. As part of Singapore’s five-year RIE (Research, Innovation, Enterprise) plans, NAMIC, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster, was incepted to orchestrate and implement strategies for the future of production.

“Singapore is one of only a few countries which have recognised the seismic shift happening through digital factories based on Additive Manufacturing. The products designed by our Singapore A.I. engineers will be game changers for many industries that are highly relevant to the region. With NAMIC, Singapore has a unique organisation that demonstrates the country’s strategic commitment to transforming an entire industry sector,” said Kayser.

“We have engaged Hyperganic as early as 2018 when it was in stealth mode, after Lin and I met at a conference. Back then, it was extraordinary to me what the company had envisaged — a paradigm shift in the way people design, using algorithms to create functional products with biomimicry designs. We are delighted to be partnering with Hyperganic on their growth journey, and excited by its plans to rapidly expand its footprint in Singapore and Asia,” said Dr. Chaw Sing Ho, Director, NAMIC Singapore.


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Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), in conjunction with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS, Universal Robots, Markforged, NAMIC, and GlobalData held a two-part webinar on 24 Nov and 15 Dec 2020 aimed at helping manufacturers understand 3D printing better and gather insights on the way forward for additive manufacturing (AM) in Southeast Asia.

In the first session on 24 Nov with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS and Globaldata, we looked at where the pandemic has left the AM industry in 2020; key considerations towards successful adoption; case studies which showcased the flexibility and agility of AM in the fight against the pandemic. Click here to view its recap as well as watch the playback of the session. 

We picked up from where we left off in our second session on 15 Dec with Gary Tang, Regional Sales Director, at SLM Solutions Singapore; Li Chen, Application Engineer, APAC, at Markforged; James McKew, Regional Director, APAC, at Universal Robots; and Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (or NAMIC).

In a lively roundtable discussion, we addressed burning questions like how AM is a strategic differentiator in today’s manufacturing environment, how it presents unique opportunities and the future developing trends. Other discussion highlights include how to justify investments in 3D printing technologies, and the importance of partnering with the right companies or organisations, because AM is a very fast growing technology and no one company knows everything.

View the full webinar here!

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REGISTER NOW: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

REGISTER NOW: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

We continue our additive manufacturing (AM) webinar series with the future developments and outlook for 3D printing in Southeast Asia.

In Part 1, we featured different case studies regarding AM deployments in ASEAN. Click here to view its recap as well as watch the videos of the webinar.

On 15 December, we will explore the possibilities and look into what the future holds for AM in part 2 of our webinar series!

Register for the free webinar below!

Part II: Future Developments For Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia
Tuesday, 15 December 2020
3:00pm – 4:00pm (GMT+08:00)

Be part of the panel discussion with SLM Solutions, Markforged, Universal Robots and National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), who will discuss the unique opportunities of AM; what it can do to your design, manufacturing operations, and innovations; the latest technologies for AM; and future developments and outlook for the 3D printing industry in Southeast Asia.

Join our panelists:

AM Webinar panelists

AM Webinar logo

Register for the free webinar:

Siemens Launches Advance Manufacturing Competence Center In Singapore

Siemens Launches Advance Manufacturing Competence Center in Singapore

Siemens has officially launched its Advance Manufacturing Transformation Center (AMTC) to provide guidance, support and training to companies in Southeast Asia on their journey of adoption, transition and transformation towards advance manufacturing.

AMTC is the first-of-its-kind, three-in-one competence center that combines the Digital Enterprise Experience Center (DEX), the Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (AMEC) and Rental Labs – creating a one-stop advance manufacturing ecosystem that addresses operational transition.

The DEX showcases Digital Enterprise solutions that enable companies to create digital twins of their envisioned advance manufacturing plants, so that they can simulate, optimize and evaluate manufacturing operations before constructing the actual manufacturing environment. It also provides manufacturing design consulting.

The AMEC is where companies can experience hands-on exposure to an advance end-to-end additive manufacturing production line supported by AMTC’s ecosystem of technology partners. It fills the gap between additive manufacturing R&D and commercialization by letting companies carry out prototyping, supported by on-site additive manufacturing experts.

The Rental Labs (Additive Manufacturing) provide affordable access to the latest industrial design software and high-end additive manufacturing printers as well as post-processing equipment – allowing companies to do low-volume 3D printing for proof of concept, and testing of such production line before deciding if they want to invest in additive manufacturing infrastructure.

Minister Chan Chun Sing congratulated the launch of the Siemens AMTC with a video message.

Minister Chan Chun Sing congratulated the launch of the Siemens AMTC with a video message.

“Today, most companies understand the urgent need for digital transformation, and the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized that. But many companies are deterred by factors such as complex and unintegrated technologies, high cost of transition, disruption to business continuity and lack of technical experts,” said Raimund Klein, Executive Vice President of Digital Industries, Siemens ASEAN. “Siemens is supporting companies in their transition into Industry 4.0 with the AMTC, a consulting, training, R&D and small-scale production facility, all rolled into one.”

As a testament of how the AMTC can help to accelerate production introduction cycle, the center and its partners developed and manufactured a medical grade face shield using additive manufacturing in June this year. The face shield was designed by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) for its COVID-19 front-liners. The optimized face shield has enhanced durability and strength, provides comfort wear and allows ease of cleaning.

Siemens, through the AMTC, is partnering SkillsFuture Singapore to roll out a six-month additive manufacturing training under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme. The programme equips mid-career jobseekers with skills in additive manufacturing and digitalization to move into roles such as Programmable Logic Controller engineers and automation engineers, so as to better support the current wave of industrial companies undergoing digital transformation. The AMTC will host projects for trainees to work on and organise Project Demonstration Days for trainees to pitch their projects to potential hiring employers.

“The launch of its Advance Manufacturing Transformation Center reflects Siemens’ continued confidence in Singapore as a leading location to spur regional development and adoption of Advanced Manufacturing. We believe it remains relevant and will catalyse the digital transformation of businesses in the new operating environment,” said Lim Kok Kiang, Executive Vice President, International Operations, EDB. “We are also heartened that Siemens is supporting our mid-career professionals with training opportunities during this challenging period, and equipping them with skills for the future.”

The AMTC ecosystem currently consists of technology providers, education and research institutes, as well as government agencies. They are:

Technology Providers

Education and research institutes

Government agencies


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Additive Manufacturing: Outlook For 2019

Additive Manufacturing: Outlook For 2019

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to feature an article provided by Terrence Oh, Senior Vice President (Asia Pacific) of EOS Singapore on the future of additive manufacturing (AM) in APAC.


“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going,” aptly describes the manufacturing sector within APAC this year and even the next.

The manufacturing industry has experienced a steady growth within the ASEAN region especially during the first-half of 2018. The AM market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 27 percent between 2018 (US$1.73 billion) and 2023 (US$ 5.66 billion). In fact, AM in APAC is expected to have the highest CAGR due to the region having the fastest growth for automotive and printed electronics sectors. This offers more opportunities for AM adoption.

As the manufacturing industry continues to ride the economic wave, the following are some predictions and trends we can expect in AM, also known as industrial 3D printing for 2019 and beyond:

AM Presents Another Opportunity For Economic And Productivity Growth

  • Rising protectionism and trade conflicts will have an impact on global supply chain to move toward decentralisation and regionalisation of manufacturing.
  • The manufacturing sector in Asia is at risk of incurring high operating costs if trade tensions continue due to higher trade tariffs.
  • As such, the digitalisation of manufacturing and AM will serve as an enabler for distributed manufacturing. This is a good opportunity for companies to tap on AM to grow and transform their businesses.
  • Businesses that adopt smart technologies like AM to 3D-print parts and components are able to reduce production costs, processes, and time through part redesign and integration. This also makes manufacturing domestically more practical than importing from abroad.

Continued Innovation And Adoption Of AM Across Industries

  • Aerospace: AM is reported to have a global economic impact of US$ 250 billion by 2025 if industries continue to increase its adoption, with the aerospace and defence industry taking the lead. Moreover, the global aerospace AM market is reportedly expected to register a CAGR close to 22.3 percent during the forecast period of 2018-2023. This also presents an opportunity for talent growth and development.
  • Healthcare: AM has already made its name in the healthcare industry due to its ability to custom-make 3D-printed prosthetics based on the individual’s needs. With the aging population, this trend is set to continue due to an expected increase in demand for personalised healthcare and treatments, as well as customized 3D-printed medical devices.
  • Automotive: The industry has embraced AM to decrease production lead time, increase efficiency in logistics management, and ensure effective use of components/materials. This trend is set to continue with. Currently, the global automotive 3D printing market is predicted to be valued at over US$ 8 billion by 2024.
  • Tooling: Together with robotics, tooling is will be one of the main industry drivers within the AM market in APAC from 2018 to 2023.

More Talent Development In AM

  • AM usage in various industries are increasing but there continues to be a gap in skills due to the niche expertise required.
  • If this is not addressed sooner, this could jeopardise the growth within the AM industry and eventually, other sectors that deploy AM.
  • To keep up with digital disruption and the need for business transformation to keep pace, more will be invested into educating future and current workforce on AM.
  • Launched in September 2018, EOS partnered with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster’s (NAMIC) to develop the Joint Industry Innovation Programme. Targeted at advancing 3D printing capabilities in the aerospace sector, the training programme aims to produce specialists skilled in AM technology and design of parts. The programme addresses the need to reskill and upskill the current workforce as AM adoption increases.



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