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.

Follow us on Twitter to keep updated on AM & IIoT related news as well as updates to Authentise’s services!

How AM can help fight climate change (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 34)

Climate change is caused by a great many aspects of human activity and one of the most impactful is manufacturing. In 2015, 21% of total greenhouse gasses emissions by the US was due to the industry sector. The manufacturing economy needs to be drastically reshaped in order to hamper the effects of climate change. Thankfully, technologies like AM are providing new avenues of production to do that. 3D printing enables production lines to be more flexible, reducing manufacturing to its most essential. Nonetheless, studies report that the energy consumption of some 3D printing methods are not up to their reputation, still needing some development in order to deal with material and energy usage. All the while, biopolymers are taking a hold in AM, proposing improved mechanical properties with the much needed value of being biodegradable.

 

Who Needs The Paris Climate Accords When You Have 3D Printing?

At the center of [digital manufacturing] technologies is 3D printing, which uses digital files to drive smaller, more flexible production lines than are economical with conventional manufacturing. 3D printing is still developing and is only now spreading to mass production. But in the next five to 10 years it should account for a sizable share of industry. As it matures, it will improve companies’ environmental performance in multiple ways.

Read the full article at Forbes.

 

Discovering Opportunities For Biopolymers In 3D Printing

[…] the few printable thermoplastics made from biological materials have limited applications, leading to concerns over environmental issues similar to those faced in conventional manufacturing. New biopolymers currently in development for conventional manufacturing can provide interesting opportunities for expanding biopolymer use in 3D printing applications.

Read the full article here.

 

3D Printing: A Boon Or A Bane?

Good prints require a ratio of 20– 50% virgin material to previously used powder to avoid problems, so a significant amount of waste is generated with each build. Another common claim is that 3-D printers are more energy-efficient than other manufacturing technologies. This claim is highly questionable because 3-D printers vary so dramatically in their energy use. A 2011 study measured the electricity use per kilogram of material deposited using several different 3-D printing methods and found that some printers used up to 80 times more energy than others.

Read the full report here.

 

Come back next week for another edition of the News In Review. Plus, keep an eye on our Twitter feed where we’ll share with you updates to our services as well as interesting AM / IIoT insights.