3D printing technologies have become common tools in prototyping and production environments alike. Many businesses think so highly of them that they believe we have reached the summit of what it can become. Have we reached the summit of 3D printing innovation? Not quite. When it comes to a manufacturing technology, there are many sides from which innovation can find a way to mix things up. Through experimentation in materials, the selection can expand, the manufacturing method itself can be radically reinvented, then there are post-processes etc.. If you combine all these variables you get a system of possibilities that is very difficult to extinguish. Hybridization is also important, bringing the best of different techniques to the fore.
First Thermoset 3D Printer Unveiled at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Magnum Venus Products (MVP), a manufacturer of composite application equipment based in Tennessee, has installed the first large-scale thermoset 3D printer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration facility in Tennessee. With this new 3D printer, named the Thermobot, ORNL researchers will be able 3D print with previously unworkable materials.
At the grand unveiling Vlastimil Kunc, ORNL’s lead for polymer materials development said:
“The ability to print thermosets on a large-scale opens new possibilities with respect to the performance and integrity of printed structures”
Read more about it here.
With New 3D Print Smart Ink Objects Can Change Shape And Color
A team of researchers at Dartmouth College recently presented a new smart ink which induces shape and color changes in 3D printed objects. The innovation may be the beginning of 4D or intelligent printing. Applications could include a wide range of consumer products, biomedical utilities, and the energy sector.
“This technique gives life to 3D-printed objects,” explained Chenfeng Ke, an assistant professor of Chemistry at Dartmouth. “While many 3D-printed structures are just shapes that don’t reflect the molecular properties of the material, these inks bring functional molecules to the 3D printing world. We can now print smart objects for a variety of uses.”
Read more at ALL3DP.
NASA patents new wire-based Additive Manufacturing process for rocket engine nozzles
A team of engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, USA, have developed, hot-fire tested and patented what NASA says is a new wire-based Additive Manufacturing process for the cost-efficient fabrication of rocket engine nozzles. The process, which has been named Laser Wire Direct Closeout (LWDC), uses freeform-directed energy wire deposition.
Paul Gradl, a Senior Propulsion Engineer in Marshall’s Engine Components Development & Technology Branch, explained:
“Our motivation behind this technology was to develop a robust process that eliminates several steps in the traditional manufacturing process.”
Read the full article at Metal AM.
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