“New space” Industry is heating up, thanks to 3D Printing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #116)

The “new space” industry is a hotbed for innovation. A lot of venture capital is being poured into companies promising to reach for the stars and open the doors to the new frontier of exploration, and market opportunities. 3D printing is the slogan behind many of these endeavors, and for good reason. Setting up shop in space one needs to take into account the many limitations therein. The price per Kg to launch stuff to space is in the thousands, but it’s being reduced by lighter crafts (thanks 3D printing!) and reusable rockets. At this point, one can imagine that exploiting local resources must be a top priority. In-situ resource utilization is the best hope for self-supporting habitats from the Moon to Mars and beyond, and NASA has been hosting design competitions based on 3D printing to make these concepts a reality. The industry has been gathering funds for years now and is starting to see real traction with companies signing multi-year contracts with satellite companies, complete rocket re-design and more. It’s a great time to be alive for space nerds!

 

ESA’s New 3D Printer Will Defy Build Volume Restraints As Well As Gravity

Crew working inside the International Space Station. Photo via NatGeo/ISS: 24/7 ON A SPACE STATION

In January 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) and German technology group OHB SE launched a consortium to develop a large-scale 3D printer for use in zero-gravity conditions. […] One of the biggest revelations is that the 3D printer in development will reportedly be able to produce objects larger than itself – unconstrained by the size of the print bed.

Read the full story here.

 

NASA Announces $100,000 Winners of Virtual 3D-Printed Mars Habitats

One of the winning teams of a NASA competition to make a full-scale Mars habitat using modeling software, Team SEArch+/Apis Cor, designed this Martian abode, which is built from the upper part of a Hercules Single-Stage Reusable Vehicle.

NASA picked three teams to share a $100,000 prize from a competition to make virtual Martian habitats. The 11 participating groups were tasked with making a full-scale habitat using modeling software, building on an earlier stage of the competition that required partial virtual modeling. The teams were graded on their layout, programming, use of interior space, and their habitat’s ability to be scaled to full size for construction, according to a NASA statement announcing the winners.

Read the rest here.

 

Relativity, the 3D-printed-rocket manufacturer, inks a multi-year contract with Telesat

RR_OnPad.4k6_3

Relativity, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of 3D-printed rockets, has signed its first public commercial contract with Telesat, the longtime vendor of satellite services for telecommunications and business information. The deal marks the first agreement between a major satellite operator and an entirely venture-backed company in the “New Space” industry and is a huge win for Relativity’s low-cost rocket manufacturing platform.

Read the rest of the article at Techcrunch.

 

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AM thermoplastics can (and will) compete with metal counterparts (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 73)

Do you think that metal AM is the apex of mechanical performance we can achieve? There are many cases in which the humble thermoplastics are poised to match, and surpass, the benefits of metal-based AM techniques. Consider this: metal AM is still mostly happening thanks to high-powered lasers shone onto a powder source. This technique, and the powder preparation, is very resource intensive operation. With thermoplastics, on the other hand, you’ll seldom go above the 300°C mark. That doesn’t mean that you’d have to sacrifice in terms of performance. Arevo has shown through a bicycle frame that materials like PEEK can rival titanium in mechanical strength, showing a lot of promise in various fields. Research is also ongoing for new materials that offer a more flexible range of features, depending on the use case. AM lets us control these materials to allow for designs that exploit their natural properties in new and exciting ways.

International Consortium Delivers New Microgravity 3D Printer Prototype to European Space Agency

Over two years ago, the European Space Agency (ESA), looking to further develop its ability to manufacture and prototype new technology in outer space, set up a small consortium of European companies to create an advanced Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) breadboard machine. The consortium was formed by the agency’s Manufacturing of Experimental Layer Technology (MELT) project, which aims to explore, design, build, and test a fully functional 3D printer that can work in the microgravity conditions of the ISS.

Read the full article here.

3D-printed thermoplastic bicycle shows promise to replace titanium

This bicycle was made in a 3D printer.

[The Arevo bicycle] is being hailed as the first truly 3D-printed bicycle. The bicycle frame was made in one piece and eventually, other parts of the bicycle could be printed, as well. It took about two weeks to build the bike — which is a lot quicker than the usual labor-intensive method of piecing together carbon fiber strips. [CEO Jim Miller] was also excited about the material that’s stronger than titanium and really hard to break. It’s also recyclable and made from non-toxic materials, which seemed like important points to Miller. He noted that the frame uses the same material, polyether ether ketone, known as a PEEK polymer, used in spinal replacements.

Keep reading at Mashable.

Biomimicry in 3D printing

rotational 3D printing

Researchers at SEAS, Cambridge have come up with a new 3D printing method inspired by natural composites. The idea was to achieve the best arrangement of short fibers at each location of the part being printed.

“Being able to locally control fiber orientation within engineered composites has been a grand challenge,” says Jennifer A. Lewis, senior author of the study and Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard SEAS. “We can now pattern materials in a hierarchical manner, akin to the way that nature builds.”

Read the full article here.

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Building an Industry: AM Strategic Initiatives (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 45)

Additive manufacturing is becoming established in the industrial world and businesses are realizing its potential through integration and experimentation. Nonetheless, the road ahead is still to be delineated: the technology will advance, that’s almost a given. It’s the underlying framework of education and collaborations that will make for fertile ground in its development. It is apparent that the manufacturing world needs a solid foundation of standards and practices, something that has already been addressed by the AMTS (Additive Manufacturing Technology Standards), NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and now the FAA is filing a strategic roadmap. Educational institutions around the world are starting to offer courses on AM technologies, even at MIT, to push the next generation of innovators into the fray. Just as important is the effort by businesses to offer opportunities to students and partnerships with research institutions, bridging the gap between skill and resources.

FAA To Launch Eight-Year Additive Manufacturing Road Map

GE Aviation's T901 Turboshaft engine for use inside the U.S. Army's Apache and Black Hawk helicopters. Image via GE Aviation

Filed for review in late September, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed a draft Additive Manufacturing Strategic Roadmap, advising businesses of adequate practice surrounding the different technologies in the industry. The roadmap features key regulation information covering emerging considerations around part and process certification, machine and part maintenance, research and development and the demand for doubled-down efforts in additive education and training.

Read the full article here.

Additive Manufacturing, From Prototyping to Production

This 90-minute online learning session is a fast, effective way to learn from MIT faculty experts in additive and smart manufacturing about the cutting-edge of industrial 3D printing – from new materials and processes to the latest applications and technology trends. Join Professor John Hart as you discover how additive manufacturing is being used to transform business models and revolutionize manufacturing at scale.

Register for this free web course here.

New Center Introducing ESA Projects and Space Firms to 3D Printing

ESA is establishing a new ‘one-stop shop’ covering 3D printing for space in partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre. The MTC research organization, based in Coventry and home to the UK National Centre for Additive Manufacturing, will manage the new ESA Additive Manufacturing Benchmarking Centre (AMBC), which will provide a simple and easy way for ESA projects and hi-tech companies to investigate the potential of 3D printing for their work.

Check out the full article here.

 

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