3D Printing

PET-like Plastic Made from Lignocellulosic Biomass

June 26, 2022 |

We have all read about so-called bioplastics. They are made from biological materials such as corn. Many bioplastics do not meet the requirements currently satisfied by oil-based commodity plastics such as PET though. PET, used extensively in plastic bottles, is valued for its low cost, ease of manufacture, and mechanical, thermal and chemical stability in a range of environments. These are all desirable features when manufacturing food-safe containers such as drinks bottles. Many bioplastics simply fail to live up to these requirements. In addition, not all bioplastics are as ecologically friendly as they are marketed to be. However, a new type of plastic made from biomass might be on the horizon thanks to a team of researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) who have been producing stable yet degradable plastics from lignocellulose. Lignocellulose can come from non-edible plant matter and is the most abundant raw material on Earth…    read more 

Elvis’ BMW Restored with AM

June 23, 2022 |

Elvis has a new biopic movie by Bas Luhrmann out this week. So that’s an excuse to talk about the story about how Elvis’ car was restored to its former glory thanks to 3D printing. When you think about cars associated with The King of Rock n Roll, you may not know that Elvis Presley was a big fan of BMW cars, and one in particular. Elvis spent some time in Germany where he served in the military, and he became acquainted with the 1957 BMW 507 roadster. He purchased a used model for just $3,750 which had previously won a hill climb event during its existence as a race car. It was originally painted in white, as you can see in the hillclimb picture below. Elvis car, pre-Elvis (Image credit: BMW) After his time in Germany was up, he returned to the US and took his roadster with him….    read more 

Printed Swiss Robot Aiming for Space

June 20, 2022 |

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. 3D printed space stuff is cool. It’s just as well because this year is turning out to be a boon for 3D printed space hardware stories, and this one is no exception. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich has teamed up with composite engineering company Scheurer Swiss GmbH to produce a bouncing space robot that will utilize a bouncing motion to traverse a low gravity asteroid, much like the hopping Japanese MINERVA-II-1 robots that bounced along the surface of the Ryugu asteroid back in 2016. The Swiss hopper is designed by ETH Zurich and will be 3D printed by Scheurer Swiss using carbon fiber composite printing. You can see the robot in the image below. Bouncing robot in all its glory. (Image credit: ETH Zurich) The Spacehopper robot has only three legs, as it was found to be the…    read more 

UCLA Reveals Printed Piezoelectric Meta-bots

June 17, 2022 |

Engineers at UCLA have unveiled a new method of printing functional miniature robots that can be manufactured with a single printing process. The little fingernail-sized robots, dubbed meta-bots are printed with their mechanical and electrical systems complete, and this is achieved by use of piezoelectric metamaterials. Typically, piezoelectric actuation only has a single degree of freedom when a single crystal is used. However, by use of 3D printing, the engineers were able to not only increase the number of degrees of freedom allowing more complex movements, but were able to couple mechanical strain with electrical fields therefore allowing not only propulsion, but motion in multiple degrees of freedom, decision making, and the capacity for ultrasonic sensing also. The sensing capability is able to measure the movement in its own structure also, meaning that the robots have the ability for feedback control. You can see the tiny meta-bot in the image…    read more 

Nuclear Debris Filter Design Gets the AM Makeover

June 14, 2022 |

Power company Westinghouse has announced that they have installed two 3D printed nuclear fuel debris filters in nuclear power plants in both Finland and Sweden. The 3D-printed nuclear fuel debris filter, dubbed the “StrongHold AM” has been installed in two Nordic Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) units. The first is installed at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Finland, specifically in the Olkiluoto 2 unit. The second StrongHold AM fuel debris filter has been installed in Finland, and at Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden (specifically Oskarshamn unit 3). The fuel debris filters will improve the reliability of both nuclear plants. You can see the debris filter in the image below. Debris filter. (Image credit: Westinghouse) While the name may suggest that this is a filter that filters fuel (like a car fuel filter), it is in fact for filtering the coolant around the fuel. Wear and tear in the reactor…    read more 

Record Set for Titanium Deposition Rate

June 11, 2022 |

In traditional manufacturing, it is said that when choosing a process, it’s best to opt for the one that removes the largest amount of material in the quickest amount of time. This applies to additive manufacturing as much as it does subtractive manufacturing. Sure, the part may need finessing before it’s a fully net shaped part, but in most cases, getting the bulk of the basic geometry formed as fast as physically possible without ruining the piece is the way to go. This is why injection molding and casting are preferred for rapid creation of net shape parts. All the deposition happens more or less in one go. In order for AM to even begin to compete with these methods, it needs to increase the deposition rate of the material. The Saint Exupéry Institute for Research in Technology (IRT), France, has raised the bar in that regard and has set…    read more 

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