Space, the final frontier will need 3D printing to make it happen (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 83)

The space industry finds itself in the sweet spot of many advanced technologies, hoping to improve mission success by looking at its problems from all sides. 3D printing has already proved to be a powerful tool for these purposes, with its fast iterative cycles and outside-the-box manufacturing paradigm. What Airbus has been doing for its airplanes, Lockheed Martin is pushing beyond with 3D printed parts that can reach sizes just under 4ft, halving production time, costs and reducing weight. Still, it will be extremely expensive to launch humans to Mars or even the Moon in the near future. For that, we’ll have to rely on robots (with much lower maintenance requirements). By sending autonomous robots to another planet, they can be tasked to 3D print sustainable habitats for us in-situ, by sourcing local materials. Empowered by the digital thread, the designs for these habs can be experimented upon and reiterated, and contests are being created periodically to further improve those that, in a not too distant tomorrow, we could call homes.

 

Lockheed Martin 3D printed an impressive titanium dome for satellite fuel tanks

Lockheed Martin has just taken 3D printing to new heights, printing an enormous titanium dome meant for satellite fuel tanks. It’s the largest space part the company has 3D printed to date and measures 46inch  in diameter — just under 4ft.

“Our largest 3D printed parts to date show we’re committed to a future where we produce satellites twice as fast and at half the cost,” said Rick Ambrose, Lockheed Martin Space executive vice president. “And we’re pushing forward for even better results. For example, we shaved off 87% of the schedule to build the domes, reducing the total delivery timeline from two years to three months.”

Read the full article on Digital Trends.

 

Here’s What We Know About The Robots That Might Build Our First Homes on the Moon

Rovers may soon traverse the surface of the Moon yet again. This time, though, they’ll have one noble mission: to build shelter the first human colonizers will inhabit. A team of Japanese scientists is working to make this a reality. They started a company called ispace with the intention of launching a private space mission to the Moon. ispace envisions an entire colony, called “Moon Valley”, constructed not by human astronauts, but by robots instead. And they want to get started on it soon: the team is planning its first mission for late 2019, and a second in 2020.

Read the full article on Futurism.

 

NASA announces winners of competition to design 3D-printed habitat for Mars

NASA announces winners of competition to design 3D-printed habitat for Mars

NASA has selected the five winning designs in the latest stage of its 3D-printed Habitat competition, which include a community of modular pods made from the Martian surface, and a vertical egg-like container. The On-Site Habitat Competition invited groups to design a sustainable shelter for a crew of four astronauts on a mission to Mars, using construction techniques enabled by 3D printing technology.

Read the rest here.

 

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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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Safety and reliability of metal AM parts (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 60)

3D printed metal parts are already being employed in very real world situations, from aircraft engine parts to wind turbines. In order to be applicable for these high stress scenarios, metal parts need to comply with very stringent performance standards. 3D printed brakes have been deemed suitable for a Bugatti Chiron, the most powerful super car in the company’s history. You can bet they’ve made their homework prior to putting their whole line of $3M cars on the line. Hydraulic parts manufacturers are utilizing AM to produce components faster and more efficiently than ever before, capable maintaining peak performance in highly pressurized applications. The research is still ongoing, especially in the material sciences. Scientists at the University of Kassel have been able to use AM with a particularly strong steel alloy, which will greatly enhance the safety and reliability of metal parts.

SLM Solutions Metal 3D Printing Brakes The Most Powerful Car In Bugatti History

Bugatti's

[…] 3D printing is implemented for next generation development of the Bugatti Chiron – a car with a price tag close to $3 million. Measuring 41 cm x 21 cm x 13.6 cm (L x W x H) the part claims, by volume, to be “the largest functional component” 3D printed out of titanium. It is also 2 kg lighter than its 4.9 kg machined aluminum counterpart.

“Technically, this is an extremely impressive brake caliper, and it also looks great.” – Frank Götzke, Head of New Technologies in Technical Development at Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.

Read the full story here.

Aidro Uses Metal 3D Printing to Improve Hydraulic Components

Aidro was founded in 1982 by hydraulics engineer Paolo Tirelli. Today, they use metal 3D printing for making custom designs with complex geometries, lightweight parts, and rapid prototyping.

“With good design methods, we can 3D print a hydraulic manifold that can withstand pressure peaks in the system without any problems,” says Alberto Tacconelli, Managing Director. “We can increase the wall thickness and change the shapes of the channels where the FEM analysis indicates a potential failure.”

Read about in-depth examples at 3DPrint.

EBM 3D Printing Process Used to Process a Steel Alloy with High Damage Tolerance

For the first time, a research team at the University of Kassel in Germany has used additive manufacturing to process a steel alloy with extremely high damage tolerance, which will help in promoting safety and reliability of 3D printed metal parts. […] This type of alloy, thanks to its special deformation mechanisms, holds up very well, and the heat from the EBM process helps to avoid any unpredictable material properties, resulting in a significantly better inner material structure that protects against possible damage.

Read more about it here.

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Want disruptive? I’ll give you disruptive (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 18)

We are all starting to realize that AM is becoming the game changer it promised to be. This week there are mind-blowing examples of the technology being used to radically change the game economically and logistically all across the board. What do you think will be the impact on the manufacturing industry now that players realize that AM can bring shave costs in the millions of dollars like Boeing had on its Dreamliner production in collaboration with Norsk Titanium? Or when serialized production turnaround happens in days instead of months like Oracle managed to achieve with Carbon technology? On a wider note, AM will radically transform planning for operations where in-situ manufacturing is possible, making it much more economically viable to make use of local resources, especially in space activities.

3D Printing Titanium Parts Could Save Boeing Millions on Dreamliner Production

A 3D printed structural titanium component made with Norsk’s proprietary Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) process.

Boeing hired Norsk Titanium to print the first structural titanium parts for its 787 Dreamliner, a shift that the Norwegian 3D printing company said would eventually shave $2M to $3M off the cost of each plane. Strong, lightweight titanium alloy is 7 times more costly than aluminum, and accounts for about $17 million of the cost of a $265 million Dreamliner, industry sources say.
Boeing has been trying to reduce titanium costs on the 787, which requires more of the metal than other models because of its carbon-fiber fuselage and wings.

“This means $2M to $3M in savings for each Dreamliner, at least,” starting in 2018 when many more parts are being printed, Chip Yates, Norsk Titanium’s vice president of marketing, said in a telephone interview.

Read more about the collaboration here.

Carbon 3D print series of 10,000 parts for Oracle Labs servers

The 3D model (left) and a 3D printed branch (right) of the brackets stacked one on top of the other. Image & photo via Carbon

Oracle Labs, the R&D branch of multinational computer technology corporation Oracle, has used Carbon CLIP technology to 3D print a series of end-use brackets for use in its micro servers. 10,000 of the parts were needed to align circuit boards in the systems, and production was turned around within days instead of months. At first, Oracle planned on a component design reliant upon injection molding to hold the circuit boards. This method proved to be ineffective at producing such small parts within the required time frame, and the method didn’t support multiple design iterations.

“Instead of printing parts by inch CLIP let us print parts by hour. That’s game changing” – Craig Stephen, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Oracle Labs.

Read the full article at 3DPI.

Mining Materials for 3D Printing in Space

The first part 3D-printed from metal harvested from a meteorite. (Courtesy of Planetary Resources)

“Everything has a finite amount of resources. Everything has a cost and benefit”.

With limited resources, how can we populate multiple planets with only one livable environment? Fortunate for us, all of our resources originated in space. Planetary Resources made a point at the CES 2016 that mining asteroids was the future. It did this by using 3D printing and metal from a meteorite to produce a part. In addition, 3D printing may be the process of how things are built in space. Scientists have already 3D printed plastic objects in space, and they believe we can 3D-print metals. However, it might be simpler than this. If water freezes on the surface of the planets we are looking to build on, and there is hydrogen and water as a resource on these bodies, 3D printing ice in the shape of buildings might provide a robust housing. Sound nuts? NASA didn’t think so and awarded $25,000 to a team that designed a Mars Ice House for NASA’s 3D printed habitat challenge.

Read more about our space-faring possibilities at Machine Design.

 

Come back next week for another edition of News-In-Review and touch base at our Twitter feed where we share more AM and IIoT related news!

Week in Review: 4th October to 10th – AM Put in Perspective

Here we go for another Week in Review.

Additive manufacturing is more than a production tool with advanced features and mouth-watering opportunities, it is a puzzle block of an international effort to realize the vision of the industry of the future, or Industry 4.0. As such, this week we saw further movements in international cohesion as AM standards become the focus of huge global collectives and more questions arise in the face of new financing and leasing unknowns.

Let’s dig in.

ISO & ASTM International Create Additive Manufacturing Standards Development Structure

download-16

As questions arise and larger companies begin pumping out 3D printed components, the need has been obviously for cohesion. And both the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and ASTM International have stepped in to take care of business, creating the Additive Manufacturing Standards Development Structure. This will offer a comprehensive and much-needed framework that those involved in both additive manufacturing and 3D printing can use for technical standards.

Read the full article here.

Financing the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Manufacturers are no longer restricted to traditional financing arrangements where they would pay for equipment over time and use their own personnel to monitor and service that equipment. Now a variety of purchase/service hybrid arrangements are available and, says Amos, financial executives are increasingly looking at a “fourth generation” of financing which looks “like a service contract by a service provider to a service user.”

Read more here.

New 3D printed titanium satellite inserts by Atos and Materialise are up to 70% lighter

The part in question is a highly loaded insert that is used as mounting point for big and heavy structures, including panels in satellites. As the companies revealed, a joint team performed a comprehensive study of currently used parts, and reduced their weight: in total, the weight was reduced from 1454 grams to 500 grams – a highly impressive 66 percent reduction. It currently costs about $20K to send a single Kg into orbit – so 3D printing more efficient components could save millions in the aerospace sector.

Read more about it at 3Ders.

 

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