Week in Review: August 22nd to 28th

Here’s our new weekly news roundup, this time we’ve got a bit of everything: big names announcing new 3D printers and partnerships, 4D printing developments and automotive customization on the horizon.

Let’s dig into it.

Stratasys launches two new 3D printers, partners with Boeing and Ford on applications

Two new 3D printers from Stratasys could revolutionize aerospace and automobile manufacturing, the company announced Wednesday. The machines represent the next step in large-scale 3D printing for manufacturing, which experts say will completely change the field in the next decade. The Stratasys Infinite-Build literally flips FDM on its side, allowing you to 3D print on a vertical plane instead of horizontally, without size limits. It also operates at a speed 10 times faster than previously possible, Sevcik said. It can change in and out different types of material, with process control embedded in the system. Meanwhile, the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator enables automation of high-value composite parts for the aerospace and automotive industries, but also for industries such as sporting goods. The machine includes an 8-axis motion system, which uses precise, directional material placement to build strength while reducing or eliminating support strategies—rare for this type of manufacturing, Sevcik said. Stratasys also partnered with Boeing to define the requirements and specifications for the Infinite-Build to meet their needs for customized flight parts. Ford Motor Company is also exploring the machine’s abilities for car manufacturing, Stratasys announced.

Keep reading at TechRepublic.

Giving 3D Printing a New Dimension

A team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers has demonstrated the 3D printing of shape-shifting structures that can fold or unfold to reshape themselves when exposed to heat or electricity. The micro-architected structures were fabricated from a conductive, environmentally responsive polymer ink developed at the Lab. While the approach of using responsive materials in 3D printing, often known as “4D printing,” is not new, LLNL researchers are the first to combine the process of 3D printing and subsequent folding (via origami methods) with conductive smart materials to build complex structures. In the paper, the researchers describe creating primary shapes from an ink made from soybean oil, additional co-polymers and carbon nanofibers, and “programming” them into a temporary shape at an engineered temperature, determined by chemical composition. Then the shape-morphing effect was induced by ambient heat or by heating the material with an electrical current, which reverts the part’s temporary shape back to its original shape.

Read more at Additive Manufacturing.

Japanese 3D printed Copens could be customizable from 2017

Japanese automobile company Daihastu and 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys said last year that clients of Copen would be able to design and assemble customized 3D printed exterior panels. Recently they announced that the large-scale customization system is fully prepared and is waiting to be tested. At the moment, the Effect Skins have several different patterns and colors. All drivers could assemble and disassemble the panel according to their changing taste. It is said that there are totally 15 geometric and compound patterns to choose from. They are designed by the designers cooperating with this project. Besides, there are also 10 colors available. It takes about two weeks to change the color of their cars. Traditionally, this whole process could have taken as long as two to three months. What’s more, clients could even redesign their exterior panels, which means drivers of Copen could create unique “skins” of their own!

Read the rest at 3D Printing Industry.

Russian researchers are building a drone powered by a 3D printed engine

VIAM, in collaboration with the Russian defense industry Foundation for Advanced Research (FPI) has announced it will be developing a drone that can be powered by a 3D printed engine that has also been developed by VIAM and which was unveiled last month. The small-scale engine is reportedly made entirely from 3D printed parts, weighs only 900 grams, and has a thrust of 75 kilograms. According to VIAM, the 3D printed engine’s thrust could also be increased by another 75kg with only a minimal increase in mass. VIAM, which began working with additive manufacturing technologies in 2015 for the construction of a combustion chamber swirler for an upcoming PD-14 turbofan, has found that 3D printing offers them a more precise and efficient way of manufacturing parts. For instance, using laser sintering technology and metal powder materials, VIAM has been able to produce parts 30 times faster than with traditional manufacturing methods and with a high level of precision. In terms of structure as well, 3D printing has opened to doors for what can actually be produced.

Read the full article here.

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