New optical fibre 3D printing technique!

http://www.itproportal.com/2015/07/03/new-optical-fibre-3d-printing-technique-being-researched/

New optical fibre 3D printing technique being researched

New optical fibre 3D printing technique being researched

The researchers at the University of Southampton are currently investigating a new way of manufacturing optical fibre. And that is through 3D printing, or, in other words, additive manufacturing.

This new research could potentially pave the way for more complex structures that can be capable of unlocking a host of applications in many different industries, such as telecommunications, aerospace, biotechnology, etc.

As of now, there are a couple of ways to manufacture optical fibre. One of them is with the help of a piece of glass from which the optical fibre is drawn. This gives manufacturers a consistent length and shape of the fibre. In the case of 3D printing, it is difficult to control the shape and composition of the fibre, which results in limited flexibility in design and the capabilities that the fibre can offer.

The new additive manufacturing technique is currently being developed by Professor Jayanta Sahu, along with his colleagues from the University of Southampton’s Zepler Institute and co-investigator, Dro Shoufeng Yang from the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. We believe that the new manufacturing technique will help manufacture preforms that are far more complex and have different features along their lengths.

Professor Jayanta Sahu says that “We will design, fabricate and employ novel Multiple Materials Additive Manufacturing (MMAM) equipment to enable us to make optical fibre preforms (both in conventional and microstructured fibre geometries) in silica and other host glass materials.”

Professor Sahu further says “Our proposed process can be utilised to produce complex preforms, which are otherwise too difficult, too time consuming or currently impossible to be achieved by existing fabrication techniques.”

One of the most challenging things of 3D manufacturing optical fibre, is making the preform, especially when it has a complex internal structure. Consider the photonic bandgap fibre for instance. It is a new type of microstructed fibre that is anticipated to revolutionise the telecoms and datacoms industries in particular.

With the help of the new additive manufacturing technique, the researchers will be able to design and manufacture the complex internal structure of the optical fibre using ultra-pure glass powder. And as is the case with 3D printing, the researching will be able to manufacture a complex preform, layer by layer, gradually building up the shape of the optical fibre.

There are still numerous challenges that they will have to face, such as the high melting temperature of glass, the need for precise control of dopants, refractive index profiles, waveguide geometry, etc. any changes in those things will result in the alteration of the fibre.

itproportal.com

by Nabil Ansari | 03/07/2015

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3D printing with glass

http://makezine.com/2015/06/26/new-3d-printer-uses-molten-glass/

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New 3D Printer Uses Molten Glass

Micron 3DP, a maker of extruders for 3D printing, has been exploring an exciting new area: 3D Printing with glass.

This exploration seems like a somewhat natural transition for the company. The “hot end” of the 3D printer is the part of the extruder assembly that literally melts the plastic which is then deposited in layers to make an object.

Many new materials have been appearing on the market, but they are typically mixtures of plastic that can melt at temperatures below 300 degrees Celsius. Micron has been toying with the ability to go to a much further extreme with this prototype which melts glass at a temperature of up to 1,640 C (2,984°F)!

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While the prints may not look too impressive initially, keep in mind that there is currently no quality control on glass rods to ensure that they are the perfect diameter for constant extrusion. With this in mind, you can surely excuse the crude and clumpy results. If Micron 3DP finds the right partner for further development, we could begin to see a whole series of glass created specifically for its printing properties just as we’ve seen in plastic filaments.

Printing in glass could have several benefits. Assuming that there was no contamination from materials in the hot end itself, glass can be food safe and even be used in medical practices. Due to the much higher melting point, glass parts will not be susceptible to warping as plastic parts are.

While glass is fun to imagine, simply having an extruder set up, no matter how crude, that can melt things consistently at that temperature opens up a lot of possibilities. Some fine tuning on temperature and we may see some simple and crude metal printing come out of this as well.

Currently this system is only a prototype, but Micron3DP is seeking a partner to further develop and refine the idea for market.

makezine.com

by  | June 26th, 2015 6:00 am

Mainstream 3d printing

http://www.ibtimes.com.au/3d-printing-breaking-mainstream-1450988

3D Printing

3D Printing Is Breaking Into The Mainstream

Five years ago, the thought of “mainstream 3d printing” might seem a little far-fetched for the practical manufacturer. However, the technology has advanced in such a rapid pace that the number of industries applying the process continue to increase. At the moment, 3D printing can produce anything from human stem cells to airplane parts. Indeed, the possibilities with additive manufacturing are limitless.

Analysts at research company Gartner said that a technology has officially become mainstream when it reaches an adoption level of 20 percent. In 2014, a PWC survey revealed that more than two-thirds of 100 manufacturing companies were using 3D printing, with 28.9 percent stating that they were still experimenting on processes in which they would implement the in-demand technology.

Additionally, 9.6 percent of the companies revealed that they were in the stages of prototyping and production, and these companies include General Electric, Boeing and Google. Companies that belong to this tier testified to the advantageous effects of 3D printing, which include time saving and cost efficiency. Another survey held by the International Data Corporation, or IDC, revealed that 90 percent of the companies that use 3D printing are very satisfied with its benefits.

Large companies represent biggest buyers of 3D printer, but the high number of smaller and independent businesses opting to use 3D printing is still difficult to ignore. Keith Kmetz, vice president of Hardcopy Peripherals Solutions and Services at IDC, stated that companies that apply 3D printing are well aware of its positive benefits.

“These printers are typically acquired for a specific creation workflow, but once in place, the usage expands rapidly to other types of applications. The early adopters who recognized the substantial cost and time-to-market benefits of 3D printing have carried the day, but it’s their overall satisfaction and the ability to expand usage that will ultimately drive 3D printing to the next level,” said Kmetz.

In the next couple of years, more companies are expected to switch to 3D printing, and more materials will be used for a wide array of products. Currently, the most commonly used materials are basic plastics, ceramics, cement, glass and numerous metals such as titanium and aluminum. The demand for these materials will continue to increase, especially for titanium. Titanium is heavily used in the medical, aerospace, and automotive applications of 3D printing, in the form of personalised surgical implants and fuel tanks.

To sustain 3D printing’s use of titanium when it hits the mainstream, the global pipeline for the semi-precious metal should be secured for the following years. Thankfully, several mines in South America are already on their way to produce high-grade supply of titanium, such as White Mountain Titanium Corporation (OTCQB: WMTM) in Chile. White Mountain Titanium sits on a deposit in Cerro Blanco that contains 112 million tons of high-grade rutile. Companies applying 3D printing can benefit from it once the mine starts distributing the supply around the world.

ibtimes.com.au

by  | June 04 2015 12:11 AM

3D printing a jet engine and car

http://singularityhub.com/2015/05/26/why-3d-printing-a-jet-engine-or-car-is-just-the-beginning/

Why 3D Printing a Jet Engine or Car Is Just the Beginning

The 3D printing (digital manufacturing) market has had a lot of hype over the past few years.

Most recently, it seems this technology arena has entered the “trough of disillusionment,” as 3D printing stock prices have taken a hit. But the fact remains: this exponential technology is still in its childhood and its potential for massive disruption (of manufacturing and supply chains) lies before us.

This article is about 3D printing’s vast potential — our ability to soon 3D print complex systems like jet engines, rocket engines, cars and even houses.

But first, a few facts:

  • Today, we can 3D print in some 300 different materials, ranging from titanium to chocolate.
  • We can 3D print in full color.
  • We can 3D print in mixed materials — imagine a single print that combines metals, plastics and rubbers.
  • Best of all, complexity and personalization come for free.

What Does It Mean for “Complexity to Be Free”?

Think about this: If you 3D print a solid block of titanium, or an equal-sized block with a thousand moving components inside, the time and cost of both 3D printings is almost exactly the same (the solid block is actually more expensive from a materials cost).

Complexity and personalization in the 3D printing process come for free — i.e. no additional cost and no additional time. Today, we’re finding we can 3D print things that you can’t manufacture any other way.

Let’s take a look at some of the exciting things being 3D printed now.

3D Printing Rocket Engines

SpaceX 3D printed main oxidizer valves (MOVs).

In 2014, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket with a 3D-printed Main Oxidizer Valve (MOV) body in one of the nine Merlin 1D engines (the print took less than two days —whereas a traditional castings process can take months).

Even more impressive, SpaceX is now 3D printing its SuperDraco engine chamber for the Dragon 2 capsule.

According to SpaceX, the process “resulted in an order of magnitude reduction in lead-time compared with traditional machining — the path from the initial concept to the first hotfire was just over three months.”

On a similar note, Planetary Resources Inc. (PRI) is demonstrating the 3D printing of integrated propulsion and structures of its ARKYD series of spacecraft. This technology has the potential to reduce the parts count by 100x, with an equal reduction in cost and labor.

3D Printing Jet Engines

GE recently engineers recently designed, 3D printed, and fired up this simple jet engine.

GE has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a complete, functioning jet engine (the size of a football), able to achieve 33,000 RPM.

3D printing has been used for decades to prototype parts — but now, with advances in laser technology, modeling and printing technology, GE has actually 3D printed a complete product.

Xinhua Wu, a lead researcher at Australia’s Monash University, recently explained the allure of 3D printed jet engines. Because of their complexity, she noted, manufacturing jet engine parts requires on the order of 6 to 24 months. But 3D printing reduces manufacturing time to something more like one to two weeks.

“Simple or complex, 3D printing doesn’t care,” she said. “It produces [parts] in the same time.”

3D Printing Cars

Last year, Jay Rogers from Local Motors built a 3D printed car.

Local Motors 3D printed car.

It’s made of ABS plastic reinforced with carbon fiber. As they describe, “Everything on the car that could be integrated into a single material piece has been printed. This includes the chassis/frame, exterior body, and some interior features. The mechanical components of the vehicle, like battery, motors, wiring, and suspension, are sourced from Renault’s Twizy, an electric powered city car.”

It is called “The Strati,” costs $15,000, and gets 80 kilometers range on a single charge. Today, the car takes 44 hours to print, but soon the team at Local Motors plans to cut the print process to less than 24 hours.

In the past, producing a new car with a new design was very expensive and time consuming — especially when it comes to actually designing the tooling to handle the production of the newly designed car.

With additive manufacturing, once you’ve designed the vehicle on a computer, you literally press *print*.

3D Printing Houses

WinSun 3D printed house.

In China, a company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering 3D printed 10 full-sized houses in a single day last year. They used a quick-drying concrete mixture composed mostly of recycled construction and waste material and pulled it off at a cost of less than $5,000 per house. Instead of using, say, bricks and mortar, the system extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and glass fiber material and prints it, layer by layer.

The printers are 105 feet by 33 feet each and can print almost any digital design that the clients request. The process is environmentally friendly, fast and nearly labor-free

Manufacturing Is a $10 Trillion Business Ripe for Disruption

We will continue to see advances in additive manufacturing dramatically changing how we produce the core infrastructure and machines that makes modern life possible.

singularityhub.com

by  | MAY 26, 2015

Habitats for deep space missions

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/science/news/nasa-3d-printing-competition-to-help-design-habitats-for-deep-space-missions-693876

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Nasa 3D Printing Competition to Help Design Habitats for Deep Space Missions

The US space agency has announced a new $2.25 million (roughly Rs. 14 crores) competition to design and build a 3D-printed habitat for deep space exploration, including Mars.

Along with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (known as America Makes), Nasahas devised the multi-phase 3D Printed Habitat Challenge to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.

It is part of Nasa’s Centennial Challenges programme.

“The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration,” said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges programme manager.

“This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it,” he added in a Nasa statement.

In the first phase of the competition, participants are to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3D printing offers.

The top 30 submissions will be judged and a prize purse of $50,000 (roughly Rs. 31.5 lakhs) will be awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.

The second phase of the competition is divided into two levels.

Level 1 focuses on the fabrication technologies needed to manufacture structural components from a combination of indigenous materials and recyclables, or indigenous materials alone.

Level 2 challenges competitors to fabricate full-scale habitats using indigenous materials or indigenous materials combined with recyclables.

Both levels carry a $1.1 million (roughly Rs. 7 crores) prize each.

Winning concepts and products will help Nasa build the technical expertise to send habitat-manufacturing machines to distant destinations, such as Mars, to build shelters for the human explorers who follow.

“We believe that 3D printing has the power to fundamentally change the way people approach design and construction for habitats, both on earth and off, and we are excitedly awaiting submissions from all types of competitors,” said Ralph Resnick, founding director of America Makes.

References:

gadgets.ndtv.com

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/science/news/nasa-3d-printing-competition-to-help-design-habitats-for-deep-space-missions-693876

New materials used in 3D printers

Think 3D printers are the only thing that keep developing? Check out this article to see how the materials being used in 3D printers evolve as well 🙂

http://3dprint.com/22837/adding-quasicrystals/

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Advances in 3D printing aren’t only occurring in the technology of the machines or in the materials that can be used for printing, but also in the very creation of the materials themselves. As 3D printers become a prominent method for the creation of manufacturing components, the need for the production of stronger and more stress-resistant parts calls for the creation of new materials. And with global revenues of US $2.2 billion generated through additive manufacturing techniques, you can bet that this has the attention of a large number of researchers around the world.

At the University of Lorraine in France, researchers have developed a metal alloy with properties that are crystal-like in nature. This type of Complex Metal Alloy (CMA) is known as a quasicrystal and forms an integral component in the design and creation of new materials for 3D printing. CMA materials are of particular interest because of properties such as high resistance to wear and corrosion as well as low friction. The need to develop new CMA materials comes from the inherently brittle nature of the currently existing CMAs, something that prevents their implementation on a large enough scale to be useful to large manufacturers.

It is through the incorporation of this new CMA into a composite material, that addresses its inherent weaknesses while bringing its strengths into play, that may make this shift in scale possible. The composite material that has been developed for use in 3D printing to date, has mechanical properties similar to those present in composites of brass and steel, but provide the advantage of having a significantly lower density.

The research and its conclusions performed by Samuel Kenzari, David Bonina, Jean Marie Dubois and Vincent Fournée of the University of Lorraine, has been published in a paper titled “Complex Metallic Alloys as New Materials for Additive Manufacturing” and was published in the Journal of Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. The polymer matrix composites currently in use in 3D printing have been successfully reinforced with quasicrystals, according to the research team.

The success has been such that commercialization of the material is already underway. Researcher Vincent Fournée noted that there has been particular interest from the aeronautics and automobile industries as the reduction in density leads to a reduction in the overall weight of the vehicle. This lowered weight increases fuel efficiency, something which he says has great appeal to those sectors.

The next frontier for the application of this new material is in the area of health, and the researchers have already begun a series of new investigations that will lead in that direction.  What do you think of this new material?  Discuss in the Adding Quasicrystals to Complex Metal Alloys forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | NOVEMBER 4, 2014

Moon materials as an filaments to 3D printing?

Check out the concept behind self-sustainable SPACE 3D printing, which would lead to 3D printers in space (such as the one on the International Space Station) using materials from asteroids and the moon for 3D printing! 🙂

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/space-3d-printer-could-moon-dust-…

Moon dust may be used in 3D printers in space

This week the first 3D printer to be launched into space docked at the International Space Station, but the company behind the initiative is already thinking far beyond that – it wants to print using moon materials.

3D printing could have a revolutionary affect on space travel, with astronauts capable of printing key tools and parts instead of waiting for resupply ships. It will be both cost- and time-efficient.

But this first 3D printer, which reached the ISS on the latest SpaceX resupply mission, is just the pilot test.

Down the line, Made In Space is eyeing self-sustaining space 3D printing, where astronauts can use the materials from asteroids and other planets as the basis of the product they’re producing.

In the video Made In Space CEO Aaron Kemmer says his company is testing moon dust simulate in the printers specially designed for the ISS.

They may be preparing for that eventuality, but first Made In Space, NASA, SpaceX and all the other organisations with an interest in space manufacturing, need the inaugural 3D printer to work.

3D printing in space is complicated: the lack of gravity causes problems for the printing process, including convection complications, and then of course there’s the emitted noxious gases which won’t work so well in the sealed environment of a space station.

Made In Space’s microgravity is seen as the solution, with NASA signing off on both its safety and integrity.

But just how effectively it serves the 3D printing process in space will determine how fast agencies develop the technology, and how soon we’ll be using moon rocks and dust to make things.

The 3D printer now in residence at ISS was due to be launched last month, but take-off was delayed for a myriad of reasons.

Last week Kemmer said: “Today, we’re all here waiting for a rocket to launch. We were waiting yesterday—and we might be waiting until Tuesday or Thursday.

And this is the problem with the way we do space missions. With our printer, we are changing that. No longer do you have to say, ‘I hope that rocket launches, because those astronauts really need that fix.'”

After this one comes a second-generation printer – Additive Manufacturing Facility – that’s bigger and better able to use strong materials.

Success begets success, and before long we may have astronauts living off of alien land, using out-of-this-world minerals and materials to 3D-print whatever it is they need. 

UK.NEWS.YAHOO.COM
by Zachary Davies Boren, IB Times | Thu, Sep 25, 2014

3D printed shape shifting materials

3D printed shape shifting materials have been developed at MIT, which might be a breakthrough in the creation of shape-shifting robots that may have an influence in surgery for instance, where a robot can shift and move through a patients body without harming it.

http://3dprint.com/9220/3d-print-shape-shifting/

Two 3D-printed soft, flexible scaffolds

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, with the help of 3D printing, have developed a material that can switch between hard and soft. The material is described in a paper in the “Macromolecular Materials and Engineering” journal. It was developed by a team led by Anette Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and applied mathematics at MIT, and is made of wax and foam.

The material was created based on the needs of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agency wanted researchers to create robots that were octopus-like in that they could squeeze through tight spaces and then expand again. After much consideration, the research team decided that the only way they could meet DARA’s needs was to come with a material that could switch between being hard and soft.

“If you’re trying to squeeze under a door, for example, you should opt for a soft state, but if you want to pick up a hammer or open a window, you need at least part of the machine to be rigid,” Hosoi said to MIT News.

To create a material that was able to be “squishy” and rigid, the research team turned to foam and wax. They chose foam because it can be compressed, so that it is smaller than its normal size. They chose wax because it is hard when cool, but flexible when heat is applied. Creating the first batch of material was pretty simple. The research team dipped ordinary polyurethane foam in melted wax. Next, they encouraged the foam to soak up the wax by squeezing it.

During the next testing phase, the researchers 3D-printed the foam that they used in a lattice pattern instead of using regular polyurethane foam. They found that the 3D-printed foam worked better, perhaps because the research team was able to design the structure of the foam.  The way in which they enabled the material to harden or soften was by heated it via copper wires.

A potential application of the material is use in surgical robots. Because robots made of this material could change states at will, they would be able to move through a patient’s body without damaging it. Search and rescue missions are another potential use of the new technology. Robots made of the phase-changing material would be able to go where human emergency responders cannot, looking through rubble,  for survivors during catastrophes.

Now the research team is looking into using other materials that can be used for robotics in a similar way as the wax/foam combination. According to MIT News, the researchers are looking at fluids that have particles suspended inside them to see if they too can be made to switch from soft to hard in the presence of a magnetic or electrical field. Let’s hear your opinion on this 3D printed material in the shape shifting material forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below showing the material in action.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | JULY 16, 2014