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

The International Space Station – own 3D printer

Check out the first step towards self-sufficiency on the International Space Station; its very own 3D Printer! 🙂

http://www.cnet.com/news/the-iss-gets-its-zero-g-3d-printer/

The International Space Station has received its 3D printer, installed in its Microgravity Science Glovebox to move towards self sufficiency.

Astronauts aboard the ISS will soon be experimenting with additive manufacturing in microgravity, with the installation of the very first 3D printer in space.

Commander Barry Wilmore unpacked and installed the printer, built by Made in Space and about the size of a small microwave oven, in the Microgravity Science Glovebox on board the space station’s Destiny module, over the course of Monday, November 17.

This is the next step towards self-sufficiency for the ISS: a 3D printer capable of operating in microgravity would be able to help the astronauts manufacture their own components and tools, right there on the station.

The 3D printer installed in the MSG isn’t quite that printer yet — the astronauts will be using it to test how well 3D printing works in microgravity, and whether the objects printed will be as accurate as those printed on Earth. The printer will use a relatively low-temperature plastic feedstock, while the MSG will keep the astronauts safe from any potential malfunctions.

The first phase of printing will include a series of engineering test coupons. These will be sent back to Earth to be compared with control samples made by the same printer while it was at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, before being sent up to the ISS.

“This is a very exciting day for me and the rest of the team. We had to conquer many technical challenges to get the 3D printer to this stage,” said Made in Space lead engineer Mike Snyder. “This experiment has been an advantageous first stepping stone to the future ability to manufacture a large portion of materials and equipment in space that has been traditionally launched from Earth surface, which will completely change our methods of exploration.”

Commander Wilmore also performed the first critical system checks on the printer to make sure that it is operating as it should. Hardware and software are both in full operating condition.

CNET.COM
by | November 17, 2014 4:21 PM PST

3D print sand?

Markus Kayser has managed to 3D print sand by harnessing solar power. Follow the link for more!

http://techcrunch.com/…/3d-printing-with-sand-using-the-po…/

sand

“So what are you doing this weekend, Markus?”

“Oh, you know. Heading out to the desert and harnessing the power of the sun to make a 3D printer that can print objects out of sand. You?”

“… catching up on Breaking Bad.”

You know the kid in your old neighborhood that spent his spare time frying ants with a magnifying glass? This is like that — except instead of a magnifying glass, he’s using an big ol’ fresnel lens. And instead of roasting insects, he’s melting freaking sand into stuff.

Built by artist Markus Kayser, the “SolarSinter” concept isn’t too disimmilar from laser sintering printers used by operations like SpaceX to print otherwise impossible objects out of metal. A focused sun beam is a whole lot less precise than a finely-honed laser, of course — but the core concepts are the same.

I bet this guy could make a mean sand castle.

TECHCRUNCH.COM
by  | Sep 25, 2014

First 3D printer in space

It’s not just about 3D printing objects FOR space, its now about 3D printing objects IN space!

http://www.foxnews.com/…/world-first-3d-printer-in-space-w…/

The first 3D printer ever to fly in space will blast off this month, and NASA has high hopes for the innovative device’s test runs on the International Space Station.

The 3D printer, which is scheduled to launch toward the orbiting lab Sept. 19 aboard SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo capsule, could help lay the foundation for broader in-space manufacturing capabilities, NASA officials said. The end result could be far less reliance on resupply from Earth, leading to cheaper and more efficient missions to faraway destinations such as Mars.

“The on-demand capability can revolutionize the constrained supply chain model we are limited to today and will be critical for exploration missions,” Niki Werkheiser, manager of NASA’s “3-D Printing in Zero-G” project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said in a statement. [3D Printing in Space (Photo Gallery)]

3D Printing in Zero-G is a collaboration between NASA and California-based startup Made in Space, which built the machine that’s heading to the space station this month. The microwave-size 3D printer was cleared for flight in April after an extensive series of tests at Marshall.

3D printers build objects layer by layer out of metal, plastic, composites and other materials, using a technique called extrusion additive manufacturing. NASA hopes Made in Space’s device works normally aboard the station, thus demonstrating that 3D printers can produce high-quality parts in space as well as on Earth.

If that turns out to be the case, replacing a broken part or tool aboard the orbiting lab could be a matter of simply pushing a button.

“I remember when the tip broke off a tool during a mission,” said NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, who lived aboard the space station from December 2009 to June 2010. “I had to wait for the next shuttle to come up to bring me a new one. Now, rather than wait for a resupply ship to bring me a new tool, in the future, I could just print it.”

It will likely take the 3D printer from 15 minutes to an hour to print something aboard the space station, depending on the size and complexity of the object, researchers said. Blueprints for desired parts can be loaded onto the machine before launch or beamed up from the ground.

“This means that we could go from having a part designed on the ground to printed in orbit within an hour or two from start to finish,” Werkheiser said.

While the space station is the proving ground for this test, NASA officials see great potential for 3D printing beyond low-Earth orbit. For example, deep-space missions could benefit greatly from the technology, because it would be tough to ferry a spare part to a vessel already on its way to an asteroid or Mars.

“NASA is great at planning for component failures and contingencies. However, there’s always the potential for unknown scenarios that you couldn’t possibly think of ahead of time,” said Ken Cooper, principal investigator at Marshall for 3D printing. “That’s where a 3D printer in space can pay off. While the first experiment is designed to test the 3D printing process in microgravity, it is the first step in sustaining longer missions beyond low-Earth orbit.”

FOXNEWS.COM

by Mike Wall, Senior Writer | September 03, 2014

The secret of 3D printing

Looks like 3D printing’s heading for the stars too!

http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/…/spacex-secret-3d-print…/

SpaceX revealed late Thursday that one of the key parts of a rocket launched in January was 3D-printed, the first 3D-printed part of a rocket it has ever launched. It’s an amazing milestone, and all the more impressive for having been kept secret from the public until now. The 3D-printed Main Oxidizer Valve performed spectacularly, and marks only the beginning of SpaceX’s plans to use 3D printing, usually call “additive manufacturing,” for its rockets.

“SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21stcentury, ultimately making the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft more reliable, robust and efficient than ever before,” the company said in a release. “Compared with a traditionally cast part, a printed valve body has superior strength, ductility, and fracture resistance, with a lower variability in materials properties. The MOV body was printed in less than two days, compared with a typical castings cycle measured in months.”

The valve was used in a Falcon 9 launch on January 6, and had to deal with all of the extremes of pressure, temperature and vibration that a rocket launch entails. It worked just as hoped and just as well as it had in the final testing, which took three years of effort to get to. The success bodes well for the next step in SpaceX’s agenda, manned flight into space. The company is testing a 3D printed SuperDraco Engine Chamber to use with the Dragon Version 2 manned spaceflight program.

SpaceX’s stated goal has always been economical space flight, with reusable rocket boosters as its centerpiece. 3D-printed parts fit right into that. If the company can 3D print some or even most of its rockets, it would start out well below the usual cost today of a space mission, with the average mission getting cheaper and cheaper the more it can be reused. It could even someday expand its manufacturing systems to other kinds of transportation manufacturing, an important consideration as the world becomes more resource-conscious.

“SpaceX looks forward to continuing to fine tune both the SuperDraco engines and additive manufacturing program, in order to develop the safest, most reliable vehicles ever flown,” the company concluded.

INTHECAPITAL.STREETWISE.CO
by , Staff Writer | 08/01/14 @10:07am