Tag Archives: additive manufacturing
NASA calls 3D printing “game changing for new mission opportunities”
This space technology demonstration may lead to more efficient manufacturing of rocket engines, saving American companies time and money.
NASA‘s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland conducted the successful tests for Aerojet Rocketdyne through a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement.
A series of firings of a liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen rocket injector assembly demonstrated the ability to design, manufacture and test a highly critical rocket engine component using selective laser melting manufacturing technology. Aerojet Rocketdyne designed and fabricated the injector by a method that employs high-powered laser beams to melt and fuse fine metallic powders into three dimensional structures.
“NASA recognizes that on Earth and potentially in space, additive manufacturing can be game-changing for new mission opportunities, significantly reducing production time and cost by ‘printing’ tools, engine parts or even entire spacecraft,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “3D manufacturing offers opportunities to optimize the fit, form and delivery systems of materials that will enable our space missions while directly benefiting American businesses here on Earth.”
This type of injector manufactured with traditional processes would take more than a year to make but with these new processes it can be produced in less than four months, with a 70 percent reduction in cost.
“Rocket engine components are complex machined pieces that require significant labor and time to produce. The injector is one of the most expensive components of an engine,” said Tyler Hickman, who led the testing at Glenn.
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s additive manufacturing program manager, Jeff Haynes, said the injector represents a significant advancement in application of additive manufacturing, most often used to make simple brackets and other less critical hardware. “The injector is the heart of a rocket engine and represents a large portion of the resulting cost of these systems. Today, we have the results of a fully additive manufactured rocket injector with a demonstration in a relevant environment.” he said.
Glenn and Aerojet Rocketdyne partnered on the project with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. At the Air Force lab, a unique high-pressure facility provided pre-test data early in the program to give insight into the spray patterns of additively manufactured injector elements.
“Hot fire testing the injector as part of a rocket engine is a significant accomplishment in maturing additive manufacturing for use in rocket engines,” said Carol Tolbert, manager of the Manufacturing Innovation Project at Glenn. “These successful tests let us know that we are ready to move on to demonstrate the feasibility of developing full-size, additively manufactured parts.”
For more information about Aerojet Rocketdyne, visit: http://www.rocket.com
For information about NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/glenn
For more information about the Air Force Research Laboratory, visit: http://www.afrl.af.mil
The Manufacturing Innovation Project is supported by the Game Changing Technology Program in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech
MGX by Materialise Leads the Charge in 3D Printing and Artist Collaboration
At the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago, Joris Debo talked about a brave new art world pioneered by Materialise with their Mammoth Stereolithography 3D printing technology. Materialise is a Belgian based company that is involved in additive manufacturing (3D printing) in many industries like software development, rapid fit (automotive & aerospace), biomedical (CT & MRI scans) & orthodics among others. Debo is the Creative Director at MGX, which is the consumer goods division for Materialise and he is especially passionate about using 3D printing technology to “create objects that are both art and functional.”
MGX has become a company that closely works together with artists to come up with new pieces that would be very difficult and extremely labor intensive to make without 3D technology. Joris noted, “When I arrived in the company eight years ago, there were two people that were not engineers. Over the years, we’ve commissioned people, like Patrick Jouin, for a new era of digital aesthetics.”
MGX is in multiple collaborations with artists and fashion designers like Iris Van Herpen for example. Van Herpen has revolutionized fashion with mesmerizing futuristic designs that push the boundaries of art and fashion. In fact, a lot of her pieces are found in museums after they hit the runway. Debo notes how like Van Herpen, the “people that make these dresses are the new craftsmen.”
3D printing also allows the combination of traditional art with very high end furniture that matches the art. Joris pointed out how if you have a Jackson Pollock in your home and you want something to match the Jackson Pollock, an artist can custom create a piece or multiple pieces of furniture to match the Jackson Pollock using MGX’s 3D printing technology. Debo further noted how it’s “not only about 3D printing but about craftsmen that can finish the pieces.” This applies to pieces of furnitures, sculptures and even art replicas like museums have begun to use recently.
Joris discussed how art pieces or historical artifacts are sometimes too fragile to travel the world and thus insurance companies will not cover their repair if broken. Moreover, some artifacts, like King Tut’s mummy for example, are irreplaceable and is too risky to move regardless of the financial cost. To show King Tut’s mummy in New York City, National Geographic partnered with MGX in order to make a perfect replica that allowed people to feel they were actually looking at the real King Tut. These kinds of partnerships make it clear as to why museums like the Smithsonian is investing in 3D printing technologies that allow for their rare pieces from fossils to sculptures to be replicated. In sum, 3D printing technology is not only revolutionizing the industrial world, but it is already changing the aesthetics and culture around us, from clothing to furniture to historical artifacts and art pieces.
Authored by On 3D Printing contributor Rodrigo Garza Zorrilla, technology entrepreneur and advisor.
Inside 3D Printing Chicago
Inside 3D Printing Conference attracted 3,000 attendees and top exhibitors like MakerBot and 3D Systems to its inaugural event in New York. Now, after months of exponential growth and tremendous 3D printing coverage in the news, the conference will head to Chicago this July 10-11.
The topic has piqued the interest and involvement of government officials like Congressman Bill Foster of the 11th Congressional District of Illinois who will discuss digital manufacturing and its connection to policy, education, and jobs at the event.
Industry players, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors will meet in Chicago to discuss the impact of 3D printing on various fields. Speakers include Scott Crump, Founder and Chairman of the Board at Stratasys, Ralph L. Resnick, President & Executive Director of the National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining (NCDMM), and Cydni Tetro, Entrepreneur in Residence for Disney.
The event will even feature the designer and architect who created style icon Dita von Teese’s famous 3D printed dress to discuss 3D printing’s influence on fashion and art.
Sessions include Industrial Scale Additive Manufacturing Technologies, 3D Printing and the Future (or Demise) of Intellectual Property, and The Printed Athlete: How 3D Printing is Changing the Nature of Sports. View the full program here.
PERK: You’ll save 15% off your Gold Passport to the event with code ON3D. Register today.
GE 3D Printing Initiative Considered a Breakthrough
“General Electric is making a radical departure from the way it has traditionally manufactured things.” – MIT Technology Review
GE is embracing 3D printing. Starting with its aviation division, some complex parts will be created through additive manufacturing rather than conventional methods. This innovation could carry over into other divisions as well.
The MIT Technology Review referred to GE’s move as one of the top 10 breakthrough technologies this year, and provided more background on how GE got here.
Last fall, GE purchased a pair of companies with know-how in automated precision manufacturing of metals and then folded the technology into the operations of GE Aviation. That group doesn’t have much time to demonstrate that its new technology can work at scale. CFM International, GE’s joint venture with France’s Snecma, will use the 3D printed nozzles in its LEAP jet engine, due to go into planes in late 2015 or early 2016 (CFM says it already has commitments of $22 billion). Each engine will use 10 to 20 nozzles; GE needs to make 25,000 of the nozzles annually within three years.
3D printing is a cost advantage
It is widely believed the 3D printing is more expensive than conventional methods of manufacturing, but GE has found a way to make 3D printing a cost advantage, as the MIT Technology Review explains.
GE chose the additive process for manufacturing the nozzles because it uses less material than conventional techniques. That reduces GE’s production costs and, because it makes the parts lighter, yields significant fuel savings for airlines.
Image from GE Global Research.
3D printing firm ExOne has filed to go public. Based in North Huntingdon, PA, ExOne plans to raise up to $75 million in an IPO and list on the NASDAQ with the symbol XONE. The company’s latest annual revenue figure was $19 million.
Founded in 2003, ExOne develops 3D printing and additive manufacturing technology. As described on their website:
Our process solutions give manufacturers the freedom to produce objects that have virtually unlimited design complexity. We collaborate with our clients through the entire development and production process so that they are able to “materialize” new concepts — designs, prototypes, and production parts — precisely when needed. Production scale is irrelevant and lot quantities of one are just as efficient as lot quantities of one thousand. We offer both the services and the equipment to enable point-of-use manufacturing using additive manufacturing processes.
We support the use of traditional industrial strength materials ranging from metals to ceramics to glass, all used in revolutionary ways. Our full range of offerings also includes services and equipment for fabricating on a “micro” scale, which enables machining of small features with precision and speed. ExOne is the optimal partner for any industrial manufacturer who is transitioning their manufacturing business to the digital age.
Below is a video showing ExOne’s digital part materialization (3D printing) process for printing sand casting molds and cores, beginning with a digital file, going through solidification analysis, printing and finally casting a finished industrial part.
See our other posts about 3D printing stocks.