Archive for the ‘Mechanics’ Category

PEEK Awareness

Posted by Editor On May - 15 - 2018

PEEK Awareness

Find out more about one of 3D printing industry’s toughest materials

PEEK, otherwise known as polyetheretherketone, is one of the most useful plastics ever created. With an extremely high printing temperature and a strong crystallinity to its composition, PEEK provides a wide range of useful, even lifesaving, products.

PEEK is insoluble in common solvents. It is also biocompatible, and due to its extreme heat tolerances, is perfect for sterilization in medical applications.  A perfect case in point is the use of PEEK to provide a 7-year-old child a new lease on life by being used to replace a portion of his damaged skull.

The medical industry is not the only one to benefit from PEEK’s unique qualities. Automotive and aerospace industries are also making practical use of this material.

Thanks to SpecialChem.com, a complete explanation of PEEK’s characteristics and tested structural parameters is available on their Omnexus division of their site. To find out more about PEEK and its applications and qualities, please see https://omnexus.specialchem.com/selection-guide/polyetheretherketone-peek-thermoplastic

The Daily 3D Detail: New Algorithm Speeds Up FDM 3D Printing

Posted by Editor On October - 24 - 2017

University of Michigan’s Smart and Sustainable Automation Research Laboratory (S2A Lab) reports they written a new algorithm capable that can speed up an FDM 3D printer to operate up to ten times the speed.

Researchers 3D-printed a 37.23mm-wide scale-model of the U.S. Capitol Building in three hours and six minutes, achieving an acceleration rate of 10 m/s2.

An ordinary 3D printer accelerated to this point without the new algorithm would result in a failed print because of shifting layers from vibrations of the stepper motors.

Molong Duan and Deokkyun Yoon, researchers of the Michigan study, under the direction of Professor Chinedum Okwudire, said, “The motion of the printer’s build platform is along the x -axis, while its print head moves along the y – and z- axes.

“All three axes of the printer are controlled by stepper motors, but the focus of this study is on controlling its x – and y- axis motions which generate significant vibration, due to the printer’s flexible structure, as its print head and build platform move.”

In an industry raft with acronyms, there’s one more to add to the list: LPFBS (limited-preview filtered B-spline). This is the method devised by Duan, Yoon, and Okwudire addressed by the algorithm. By using an online feedback loop, a realtime check system is conducted that constantly rights the printer head for an accurate position.

The value of the algorithm could be considerable for 3D printing, as it can be easily implemented in spooler software, applicable to all levels of desktop 3D printers, and much less costly than sensors and hardware options.

The report was published in the scientific journal Mechatronics and available at ScienceDirect.com. For more on the story, visit 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 23 - 2017

Altair’s award presentation and gallery celebrates the nexus of technology + design

By Gregory van Zuyen

Converge 2017 Event Report

Christine Outram of Veritas Prep speaking at Converge 2017 on five trends to watch

We will start with the name of the guy you want to know most. His name is Chad Zamler. Why? Becaue he’s the guy that will give you a pass to Converge 2018. If you are lucky, he may still get you passes to Converge 2017 in other cities.

Converge? What’s that? you ask. Why, it’s the only thing in the world more brain-blowing, more creativeley inspiring, more idea-intoxicating than TED talks on steroids. It all happened here at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 13. If you were anywhere close to Southern California that day, it was the place to be.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Stuart Fingerhut of The Visionary Group photographs the Airbus Lightrider, a 3D-printed electric motorcycle displayed at Converge 2017

The accomplishments and innovations of the people that spoke at Converge is astounding. Through the Converge award program — presented by Altair‘s entertaining CMO Jeff Brennan — we are introduced to the thinkers and artists that give us license to think more imaginatively and more expansively than we thought possible. These are the brilliant and inspired genii of our generation, worthy of world respect.

Converge 2017 awarded nine people for their contributions to the nexus of design and technology. The awards do not go lightly. The value of thought that the award winners provide our planet are so worthy of contribution, the very small 3D-printed statuette they receive is all that more precious a symbol of meaning. How ever much the cinematic world considers the Oscar, that’s how much more the techno-design world will consider the award of the Converge Chair of Accomplishment.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Tim Prestero’s Firefly incubators for third-world countries has saved babies’ lives already

The Converge 2017 presentation began with Tim Prestero of Design That Matters. It’s hard to condense the feels of his talk into a paragrpah, because he dealt with the construction of infant incubators for third-world countries. He went blow-by-blow through the process he had to go to through to design and create a device that would drastically reduce the greatest cause of infant mortality; lack of warmth combined with the common onset of jaundice.

Prestero explained his search for a solution that solved all the issues coming from doctors, nurses, patients, hospital administrators and repair personnel. His years-long odyssey resulted in the Firefly, a portable basinet that provided life-saving UV rays from both above and below the baby. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this man is personnally responsible for the preservation of thousands of lives.

It gets better from there. Christina Outram of Veritas Prep brought unimaginable insight into the future with her analysis of trends to watch; the tracking of recycled electronics, the death of websites through speech-driven apps, customizing the user experience for keener levels of market share, and more. Again, you wish you were there.

When it comes to industrial design, few hold the authority of Tim Morton. The contribution he and Newell Brands have done for Rubbermaid alone earns him a lifetime achievement award. In his talk he introduced concepts like “plaid,” a mixing of the verticals and horizontals of an industry for conceptualizing better product design.

Architect Doris Sung of DOSU Studio Architecture was next, speaking about her development of smart materials for an application to architecture. A professor at University of Southern California, Sung turned an academic investigaton into bimetal composition into a solution into autonomously heating and cooling buildings through the natural process of turning otherwise flat, combined pieces of metal into a curled, ventilating, basketweaved surface by the action of solar heat.

Columbia University Professor of Engineering and Data Science Hod Lipson came on stage next and blew our minds with self-learning robots that seek the rewards of self-duplicating. Like humans, only with robots. He even tore the arm off one of the robots to see how it would adapt. Stunning.

The playlist gets better. Bill Washabaugh is sculptor leading a troupe of phenomenal people at Hypersonic. The NYC-based organization develops industrial installations of themed robotics, the result is a three-dimensional spectacle of awe and wonder.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Breaking Wave by Hypersonic is an example of Bill Washabaugh’s contribution to using technology in design

Greg Lynn of Greg Lynn FORM led us into a journey into the future that cannot be forgotten once seen, especially as it is already here. His design of valet robots trained to follow owners is expected to provide pedestrians greater functionality in populated areas. His vision is epic in scope and magnitude by the virtual simplicity of robots that follow you and carry your stuff for you. This development is soon to be literally at your heels in a short time to come.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Guests examining products made possible through the use of Altair’s numerous enterprise solutions

Michael Peng was next. In architectural circles, Peng is the master. Peng was the force behind Gensler’s construction of the 2,073 ft. Shanghai Tower. One of the many notable features of the tower is that its exterior skin twists 120 degrees around the building to shield it from typhoons. Peng took less than thirty minutes to explain how he did it.

Jason Lopes was the show finale. Lopes works for Carbon and he regaled the audience with stories of his days with Stan Winston and Legacy Effects studios. As their lead systems engineer, Lopes oversaw many notable products, and one of them was the construction of a 14-foot animatronic beast for San Diego’s Comic-Con. Operated by four men inside, this one-of-a-kind creation came to life in a record 30 days thanks to Lopes’ use of 3D-printing. The beast went on to wow the crowds for Jimmy Kimmel Live! show — and wowed us as well.

The event concluded with dinner and entertainment by Nick Waterhouse. For the fortunate creatives that were able to attend this uplifting affair, it will never be forgotten. For those that yearn for the keen gleanings of design’s Mt. Olympus, this is the place to be next year.

More on Converge, including how to register, is available at http://event.converge2017.com/.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 16 - 2017

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

There was much to see and discover at this year’s WESTEC Conference

WESTEC 2017, the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show and expo, delivered an impressive selection of companies on display, with much to see and discover.
Geared toward the milling and fabrication crowd, the show was a cavalcade of robotic devices, cutting tools, software engineers, filtering systems, and, of course, 3D printing manufacturers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

VP of sales Marc Franz at Raise3D, a new 3D printer manufacturer promising superior resolution and affordable costs

A new appearance this year was 3D printing manufacturer Raise3D. Vice President of sales Marc Franz was there to promote the new company, and he was enthusiastic about the resolution quality of his company’s products, especially when their price tag is approximately $1,000 less than comparable 3D printers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

UnionTech representative Fred Kaplan, SOMOS’s Kevin Zarkis, and internationally-recognized industry expert Frank Speck at the UnionTech booth

Another company worth mentioning is UnionTech. The Chinese company has only recently begun marketing their products here in the U.S., but they are making a significant impact in the industry with the quality of their stereolithography prints. Jeremy Owen, midwest sales manager for RP America, mentioned that adding UnionTech to their list of companies they represent has given them a tremendous advantage in providing their customers with flawless SLA printing. And since UnionTech is open-source, material availability is unlimited and maintenance on the machines is a breeze.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Airwolf3D sales representative Paul Gallagher was swamped by WESTEC 2017 attendees at the Airwolf3D booth

Airwolf3D was also there, but it was hard to get a chance to speak to the staff through the student crowd that was three-deep at the booth. With the success of their Hydrofill water-soluable support material and the growing popularity of their Axiom 3D printer, it was easy to understand why they were a conference favorite. Other 3D printers there included 3D Systems, Stratasys, MarkForged, HP, Rize, and Ultimaker.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Taylor Dawson of Hexagon displays both the ease of use and robust functionality of the Hexagon scanning software

Matterhackers was available for guidance on materials and online rapid prototyping questions, as was Purple Platypus. 3D scanning companies were also present and they included Innovmetric, Zeiss, Creaform, FARO, Capture3D, and Hexagon. As high-end 3D scanning remains an expensive but necessary investment for companies to make, WESTEC proved to be a great venue for comparing scanning products.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang talks about his company’s recent landmark innovation in rotary cutting tools, an adapter that uses ultrasonic vibration for improved CNC performance

Every show has something new to discover, and WESTEC 2017 was no exception. This year’s surprise development in technological innovation goes to AccuServe.
While this product may not be directly related to the practice of 3D printing, the inspired genius of their newly patented device could not escape our attention.
We spoke at length with AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang regarding the creation of their CNC tool adapter and were amazed at what this device can do for milling and drilling operations.

“What we have created is the next step in the use of ultrasonic frequencies to improve the cutting tool operation,” said Huang as he held the tool. “Before this, there was UM, ultrasonic manufacturing, which uses sound waves to penetrate materials. This is RUM, rotary ultrasonic manufacturing.”

Huang pointed out that, when dealing with dense, hard materials such as tungsten and high-tempered glass or ceramics, machinists would have to increase their revolutions up to ridiculously high speeds to burrow into the material. Through the use of RUM and the application of ultrasonic frequencies directed to the cutting tool, machinists were able to burrow faster, at lower RPMs, with cleaner, tighter results. “Because the ultrasonic frequencies are able to ‘peck’ at the surface being drilled, the molecular structure of the material is weakened and the build-up of material on the cutting tool is shaken away. With the addition of this adapter, precision is increased dramatically, and the instance of material fracture is greatly reduced.” Huang went on to say that the companies using their product were reporting a 30% to 70% reduction in cutting time and a valued cost savings in their material inventory, thanks to the lessened rate of fracture. The price tag for the adapter is under $12,000 — a comparable savings to the $400,000 CNC machines that can do similar work with similar RUM technology.

To find out more about the RUM cutting adaptor, visit AccuServe at AccuSereMTS.com. And be sure to sign up now for next year’s WESTEC conference.

The Daily 3D Detail: WESTEC 2017

Posted by Editor On September - 12 - 2017

Westec 2017

Just one of the fun things to see at WESTEC 2017

WESTEC 2017 opens today at the Los Angeles Convention Center (1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles) with a wide assortment of booths and vendors all promoting the latest in industrial design. Billed as the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show, WESTEC provides everyone from aerospace to robotics a chance to showcase their latest developments and innovations. A host of speakers will also be on hand for the three-day event to provide much-anticipated seminar sessions for attendees.

In addition to the keynote speeches by IBM and TITAN America MFG, there will be panel discussions on additive manufacturing and smart manufacturing. A smart manufacturing hub will be on display for businesses to tour, and a machining academy has been set up to help polish skills.

It’s Not Too Late to Register
Attendees can still register for free access to the WESTEC 2017 expo floor through a promo code available thanks to Polymer Molding on their Facebook page.

Key development made in 3D-printing copper

Researchers in Germany have made a breakthrough in the ability to laser melt copper. Image courtesy of Fraunhofer ILT.

The selective laser melting (SLM) method of 3D-printing is effective for most metals and many alloys, with the unusual exception for pure copper. While copper alloys have been used in the past, using SLM for copper has failed to the high degree of reflection affecting the laser attempts.

A new development being announced at the formnext 2017 trade show in Frankfurt, Germany by Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has changed that outlook. The research project, funded by AiF German Federation of Industrial Research Associations, indicates that by using laser light in the green spectrum range, in the 515 nanometer wavelength, the absorptivity grows, thereby requiring less power needed to achieve consistent melting results.

Because pure copper is more electrically and thermally conductive than most metals and alloys, the need for pure copper parts is substantial and proves to a lucrative aspect of 3D-printing. But copper reflects up to 90% of laser radiation, so only a small amount of the energy is received by the material. Also machine components can be damaged by the reflected radiation, and when the copper transitions to a liquid state, it results in an unstable remelting process.

“We are hoping for a more homogeneous melt pool dynamics so that we can build components with high material density and achieve other positive effects, such as a higher detail resolution,” said Daniel Heussen, a Rapid Manufacturing group research fellow, of the new SLM approach.

Fraunhofer ILT is building its own green laser source as a result of the studies. The project is referred to as “SLM in green,” the goal of which is to produce a laser with an output of 400 watts in the green light wavelength (515 nm). If successful, devices will be able to 3D-print intricate objects in pure copper, which will be a boon for the construction of electrical components.

For more on the story, see Sarah Saunders’ article at 3DPrint.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: JPL searching for 3D printing interns

Posted by Editor On August - 30 - 2017

JPL searching for 3D printing interns

Opportunities now exist to be a part of JPL’s manufacturing team

Jet Propulsion Laboratories, located in Altadena, California, near Pasadena, is on the lookout for students interested in robotics and space exploration.

The posting on the job website Indeed.com is soliciting applications for work in their Mechanical Systems Engineering, Fabrication and Test Division. Duties include working with a team to develop mechanisms and mechanical systems; building prototypes to prove out mechanism design concepts; running tests to help inform design decisions; and analyzing test data to ensure that the team finds the most important results.

Applicants must be currently enrolled in full-time courses in a college or university pursuing a bachelors, masters, or PhD in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, material/science, physics, robotics, structural engineering, operations research, or related technical discipline. Applicants must also have a 3.0 grade average to be considered.

Visit Indeed.com for instructions on applying.

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Posted by Editor On August - 27 - 2017

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

As many parents of young children understand, the commodities markets (gold, silver, pork bellies) shamefully neglect to catalog the ongoing rate of one of the world’s most collectible items: LEGO blocks.

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Image by Cmglee courtesy of Wikipedia

As LEGO blocks continue to hold their dollar value over time, the prospect of 3D-printing them grows. LEGO blocks are originally made of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and can be easily duplicated by most 3D printers. STL (stereolithography) files for LEGO block downloads have been around for years.

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Image of downloadable LEGOs by pokesummit

As the “world’s most powerful brand” LEGO has a strong tradition based on a singly mindful element of their product. It’s virtually impossible to replicate precisely. Even asian knock-off brands of LEGO blocks fail miserably across the board in terms of ease of use and reliability. And forget about having them work together with true LEGOs.

In terms of legal precedent in the LEGO trademark, a number of companies have been sued for infringing upon the LEGO design of their interlocking blocks. LEGO patented their definitive shape of the bricks with their inner tubes in 1958, but the latest European Court of Justice ruling in 2010, stated the eight-peg design of the original Lego brick “merely performs a technical function [and] cannot be registered as a trademark.”

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Knock-off companies like Wise Hawk are shameless in their marketing and produce inferior products

So printing one’s own blocks are likely to run into the same quality control issues that plague all other attempts at replicating LEGOs accurately. But printing them at five times the size? That’s a different animal altogether.

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Mantis, a two-ton hexapod built by Matt Denton

Meet Matt Denton. Denton’s claim to fame is being the creator of the six-legged two-ton human-scale hexapod called Mantis. His latest contribution to the world is his giant-sized LEGO block creation, a five-times scale model of a LEGO go-cart, model no. 1972. Designed as a LEGO kit in 1985, this buggy cart with dual wheels and working rack-and-pinion steering took 168 hours to make — approximately seven days of printing. The end result weighed 5.1 kilos and cost a little over £100.

In his video series in two parts on the 3D printing of the blocks, Denton explains his tricks of the trade to replicate the LEGO creation in its massive size off a Lulzbot Taz 5 printer. Using extensive brimming to minimize warping at the edges, and foregoing support material in key spots were some of the techniques Denton employed. The video is extensive in construction detail, explaining which parts should be built in sections. No doubt this will not be the first of these mega-size LEGO creations, as anyone with a 3D printer can follow Denton’s lead through his step-by-step instructions.

It’s only a matter of time now until giant LEGO blocks becomes its own sub-Reddit thread. In the meantime, investing in LEGOs still proves to be a viable retirement plan for most parents.

Combining Metamaterial Design with Multimaterials

As we reported on July 28, metamaterial design provides innovative solutions of functional movement to otherwise solid constructs in 3D printing.

According to a recent study published in MIT News, researchers investigating the properties of multimaterial 3D prints have been able to determine specific property capacities available within tiny cube structures utilizing materials combined by the printing process.

Thanks to MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), which is supported in part by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) SIMPLEX program, researchers have been able to use algorithmic calculations to determine design schematics involving the properties of the materials used and their likely result in terms of flexibility and endurance.

The algorithmic-generated designs are gauged for stress tolerances using Young’s Modulus and Poisson’s Ratio for uniaxial tension. The diagram below displays a variety of structural designs and the results of their tests.

Combining Metamaterial Cesign with Multimaterials

Examples of multimaterial patterns possible through optomization. Image via Zhu, Skouras, Chen & Matusik

CSAIL’s Bo Zhu, the primary author of the study, commented in the article, “Conventionally, people design 3-D prints manually. But when you want to have some higher-level goal — for example, you want to design a chair with maximum stiffness or design some functional soft [robotic] gripper — then intuition or experience is maybe not enough. Topology optimization, which is the focus of our paper, incorporates the physics and simulation in the design loop. The problem for current topology optimization is that there is a gap between the hardware capabilities and the software. Our algorithm fills that gap.”

For more information on the study, see this article at 3DPrintingIndustry.com

The Daily 3D Detail: Making 3D printed parts stronger

Posted by Franka Schoening On July - 24 - 2017

Brandon Sweeney and Blake Tiepel in action

Brandon Sweeney, a Doctoral Student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and his advisor Dr. Micah Green, discovered a new technique to increase the durability of 3D printed parts. The process welds the layers together with the use of microwaves, increasing the pieces’ adaptability to real life manufacturing demands.

3D printers create objects by layering filament in the desired shape. These thin layers increase the possibility of fractures, limiting the applicability of some objects in the real world. While working on a different project, Sweeney was inspired to use carbon nanotubes and microwaves to weld the layers into one solid, more stable, part.

By adding the carbon nanotube to the outside of the filament, the composite gets embedded in the part during the printing process. A monitored heat source bonds the layers together, without melting the entire object.

In cooperation with Essentium Materials, the team hopes to integrate the electromagnetic welding process into the actual 3D printers. Find the article and video on azom.com.