How companies and individual researchers use 3D printing: news digest
Startups and heavyweights don’t lose interest in additive technologies and produce details of trains, architectural objects, and even engines of space rockets! Follow the digest of the 3D Print Expo press service to keep your finger on the pulse of new studies and burning news in the universe of additive technologies.
Space startup creates a 3D printed rocket engine
Brooklyn-based space startup Launcher Inc. successfully tested a new product. It is a rocket engine with a 3D printed combustion chamber. Hot tests of Engine-1 took place on September 27. As stated on the Twitter page, the temperature peak was reached within 30 sec with no damages to the combustion chamber.
Inc. is focused on commercial launches of small satellites. It is aimed at lowering the cost of launches in terrestrial space. The startup intends to build budget satellites and sell launches at the price of $10 m to representatives of business organizations and research labs. The company was founded by Max Haot, an American entrepreneur who used to own telecoms business and later sold it in order to immerse in cosmic exploration. He confesses that Elon Musk and SpaceX products inspire him.
The space startup leverages additive technologies to construct low-budget rocket engines, particularly selective laser sintering (SLS) based on the equipment of the German company Electro Optical Systems (EOS). Engine-1 is expected to be a predecessor of Engine-2, its copy enlarged by about 40 times. It would improve trust up to five tons.
MIT scientists present swarm robotic systems for additive manufacturing of glass-plastic constructions
Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology chaired by Associate Professor Neri Oxman presented a new product: swarm robotic systems. The robots use additive technologies to produce fiber-optic tubes. The scientists took the working principle of a silkmoth that creates a cocoon as a base as well as observed ant colonies. The mechanisms work together, and a swarm can be scaled if needed.
Fiberbots, these robots is a bit bigger than a human palm each. They construct an all-around photopolymer resin tube reinforced by glass fiber. It is dried by an inbuilt ultraviolet radiator. Each robot has a simple engine to move inside the tube as well as an inflatable envelope to hold steady. One-by-one, they lay a reinforced yarn to build a tube of a needed size.
Robots can maintain the needed tube bend so that constructions intersect in certain points. The swarm systems get consumable materials and power via a cable on the ground.
General Electric to introduce additive technologies in manufacturing
American conglomerate General Electric currently tests the 3D printing technology to manufacture details for railway transport, including new eco-friendly hybrid diesel-electric locomotives.
GE activity embraces air, auto, water, and railway transport. The company is a veteran of locomotive production and is recognized as a leader of the North American market. It is also implementing 3D printing in ship and airplane manufacturing. Currently, railway transport is next in line.
As reported by Vice President at General Electric Dominique Malenfant, inkjet powder 3D printing is the most prospective: powder layers get glued by a binder, and dies are sintered in furnaces. It is a variant for batch production for the possibilities of cost reduction. The company develops inject powder installations. The first one was presented in December 2017 and is expected to enter the commercial market in 2019.
As stated by the company engineers, the advantage of using 3D printing to manufacture new transport means lies in its time-saving capability. Casting of details takes several months (including manufacturing of a prototype, form, casting, processing, and assembling) while printing — only 2-3 days. What is more, 3D printing models are easier to change.
Experts at General Electric expect to quickly and effectively solve their main task by means of 3D printing: a hybrid diesel-electric locomotives. By 2025, the company intends to lunch more than 250 types of details for railway transport.
3D printing helps a Japanese guy complete Rubik’s Cube
A Japanese guy with a nickname Human Controller created a self-solving Rubik’s Cube. There are Arduino controllers reinforced by a 3D printed capsule inside the puzzle. Sensors of turning angles memorize moves of facets that later are performed inversely.
Electronics makes gaming experience fascinating: you rotate facets and then just see a Rubik’s Cube self-resolve. Nonetheless, the developer had to think hard in order to place all sensors and controllers inside of a standard cube. As a result, he used plastic to produce a 3D printed round centerpiece and put wires and microchips, fixing plastic facets on top.