As we leave August and enter September, we’ve got a few webinars and virtual events to tell you about in this week’s roundup. There’s a webinar from Rize today, September 1st, one from PostProcess Technologies on the 3rd, and another by Stratasys on the 3rd as well. Check out all of the details below!
RIZE Uses SOLIDWORKS to Contribute to COVID Response
Like so many other companies during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, RIZE has had to adapt to a new normal. The company did so by developing a brand new digital operating rhythm and moving industrial 3D printing to the home offices of its engineers, enabling them to design and create face shields for essential workers, first responders, and healthcare workers. RIZE will be hosting a webinar this Tuesday, September 1st, at 2 pm EST, titled “Accelerating Medical Devices Innovation and Improving Patient Outcomes,” where the company’s President and CEO Andy Kalambi will team up with Suchit Jain from SOLIDWORKS Dassault Systèmes and fellow RIZE employee Alex Orphanos to discuss how the company utilized SOLIDWORKS solutions to ramp up medical device innovation.
During the webinar, attendees will learn how to enable better cost and performance through engineering new materials, create smarter workflows by integrating 3D printing into the workflow, conform to FDA requirements by using the full color, text, and images for Intelligent Parts offered by RIZE, and more. Register for the webinar here. You will then receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.
PostProcess Technologies to Present Trend Survey Findings
On Thursday, September 3rd, at 11:30 am EST, PostProcess Technologies will be releasing the results of its 2nd Annual Additive Post-Printing Trends Report in an interactive, real-time webinar, “What’s On the Horizon for Post-Printing: Insights from Market Trends Survey 2020.” The company tabulated and summarized the data from the survey, which has grown since its 2019 survey, with important insights and highlights, and will soon publish the results in a comprehensive report. But for now, the short webinar will reveal the proprietary data gathered during the 2020 survey on current 3D printing and post-processing trends, and will end with a Q&A session with the company’s post-process experts.
“Attend this presentation as we unveil proprietary insights tabulated from our survey data on current trends and methods for post-printing, and just what is in the cards for this developing sector.”
You can register for the 30-minute-long webinar here.
Stratasys on 3D Printing Aircraft Production Parts
Also on September 3rd, Stratasys will be holding a webinar, “Challenges Of Manufacturing Aircraft Production Parts,” about how its Aircraft Interior Solution can be used to provide aerospace companies with a “faster, more streamlined process.” Niccolò Giannelli, Aerospace Application and Account Manager for Stratasys, will be speaking during this webinar about, among other topics, how it’s easier to certify 3D printed aircraft parts using this solution.
The webinar will take place from noon to 12:30 pm on Thursday, September 3rd. You can register for this webinar here.
Will you attend any of these events and webinars, or have news to share about future ones? Let us know!
We’re finishing the week out with some more formnext news for 3D Printing News Briefs: Poly-Shape presented a metal 3D printed Francis Turbine at the event. Moving on, Etihad Engineering opened a 3D printing lab for aircraft parts with EOS and BigRep, and Y Soft launched an online collection of 3D lessons for educators.
Poly-Shape’s 3D Printed Francis Turbine
At formnext 2019 last week, French company Poly-Shape presented something rather unique: a 72 kg Francis Turbine made with its Directed Energy Deposition-powder (DED-P) metal 3D printing technology. Turbine components are often used in the aerospace and energy industries, and DED-P printing can be used to fabricate the raw part, with its complex geometry, in less than 3 days; in fact, the Francis Turbine was printed in just 55 hours.
“The DED-P process is operated within a 5-axis CNC machine thanks to a material depositing system,” a Poly-Shape press release stated.
“By minimizing the needed allowance (typically < 1,5 mm), the part machining is reduced to finishing operation. In case of hard to access areas, the DED and the machining production can be sequenced such as the tool accessibility would be released.”
Etihad’s 3D Printing Lab for Aircraft Parts
Bernhard Randerath, VP Design, Engineering & Innovation, Etihad Engineering; Abdul Khaliq Saeed, CEO, Etihad Engineering; Markus Glasser, SVP EOS; H.E. Ernst Peter Fischer, German Ambassador to the UAE; Marie Langer, CEO EOS; Tony Douglas, Group CEO Etihad Aviation Group; Martin Black, CEO BigRep.
Etihad Engineering, a division of the Etihad Aviation Group, partnered with EOS and BigRep to open a 3D printing lab. It’s one of the first airline MROs in the Middle East that’s received approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for designing, producing, and certifying cabin parts made with powder bed fusion technology, two years after receiving approval for filament 3D printing. The laboratory is located at the Etihad Engineering facility, adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport, and houses two industrial 3D printers – the EOS P 396 and the BigRep ONE. It was opened officially in a ceremony last week, and in recognition of the relationships between Etihad, EOS, and BigRep, was attended by His Excellency Ernst Peter Fischer, German Ambassador to the UAE.
“The launch of the new facility is in line with Etihad Engineering’s position as a leading global player in aircraft engineering as well as a pioneer in innovation and technology,” said Bernhard Randerath, VP Design, Engineering and Innovation for Etihad Engineering. “We are extremely proud to collaborate with EOS and BigRep to expand our capability and support the UAE’s strategy to increase production technology and cement its position as a global aerospace hub.”
Y Soft Launches be3D Academy for Educators
The Y Soft Corporation has launched its be3D Academy, available as part of its YSoft be3D eDee 3D printing solution for education. There are many benefits to using classroom 3D printing as a tool for learning, and adoption in schools is growing fast, but developing lesson plans that incorporate the technology can be difficult, due to lack of knowledge or access. The company’s new online collection of teacher-tested 3D lesson plans in STEAM subjects make it easy for educators to teach in 3D. The be3D Academy lesson plans provide tools like student worksheets, presentations, video tutorials, and 3D model files, all of which can be made on the YSoft be3D eDee printer with its certified filaments.
“3D printing is particularly valuable in the classroom to convey complex subjects. When students can touch and adjust physical objects they have created, understanding increases. Comprehension of STEAM subjects can be difficult, and be3D Academy’s lessons make concepts interesting and fun. be3D Academy lesson plans range from creating castles to understanding geometric shapes and volumes to creating a Da Vinci bridge as a science learning project,” said Elke Heiss, the Y Soft Chief Marketing Officer.
The be3D Academy is open to all educators looking to add 3D printing to their classrooms.
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“Sciaky is proud to work with the Saint Exupéry IRT, Aubert & Duval and Airbus on this exciting project. Industrial metal additive manufacturing technology continues to break new ground every day, and Sciaky is committed to keeping EBAM at the forefront of this movement,” said Scott Phillips, the President and CEO of Sciaky, Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, Inc. (PSI).
In terms of work envelope, Sciaky’s exclusive EBAM technology is probably the most widely scalable metal AM solution in the industry. It’s the only industrial metal 3D printing process that has approved applications for air, land, sea, and space, with gross deposition rates up to 11.34 kg of metal an hour, and is able to manufacture parts from 203 mm to 5.79 meters in length. Rather than just melting the outer layer of the metal powder, the EBAM process completely liquefies the metal wire feed.
The fast, cost-effective EBAM process offers a wide range of material options, including titanium, for large-scale metal applications, and uses its adaptive IRISS (Interlayer Real-time Imaging and Sensing System) to combine quality and control, as the patented system can sense, and digitally self-adjust, metal deposition with repeatability and precision. It is mainly due to the IRISS system that the Chicago-based company’s EBAM 3D printing process is so good at delivering, as the company puts it, “consistent part geometry, mechanical properties, microstructure, and metal chemistry, from the first part to the last.”
The goal of its combined MAMA project with Airbus and Aubert & Duval is to combine traditional metallurgy (high-power closed die forging) with new wirefed metal 3D printing techniques, such as Sciaky’s EBAM process, in order to come up with new processes for manufacturing titanium alloys that can be used to make aircraft parts. Based on the caliber of its partners, Sciaky made a good decision in joining the R&D initiative – Airbus is a 3D printing pioneer in the aerospace industry, and Aubert & Duval creates and develops advanced metallurgical solutions for projects in demanding industries, such as nuclear, medical, energy, defense, and aeronautics.
The project’s first phase has global funding in the amount of €4.2 million. 50% of this funding is supported by the French State as part of its “Investing in the Future” program (Programme Investissement d’Avenir, or PIA), while the other half is funded by industrial partners of the initiative.
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Metal 3D printing startup VELO3D came out of stealth mode last year with its innovative, support-free laser powder bed fusion process that offers a lot more design freedom than most metal systems. Since the company commercialized in 2018, it’s made known that aerospace manufacturing is one of its largest target markets, and since that time at least two OEMs in that industry are using its Sapphire 3D printing systems to make parts. Now, it has just announced a partnership with Colorado-based Boom Supersonic – the company working to build the fastest supersonic airliner in history.
“Boom is reimagining the entire commercial aircraft experience, from the design, build, and materials used. Our technology is designed to help innovators like Boom rethink what’s possible, empower advanced designs with little or no post-processing, and enable an entirely new approach to production,” said VELO3D’s CEO Benny Buller. “Boom needed more than just prototypes and we’re thrilled to help them create the first 3D-printed metal parts for an aircraft that will move faster than the speed of sound.”
Boom, founded in 2014 and backed by several investors, employs over 130 people to help realize its vision: use supersonic travel to make the world significantly more accessible to the people who live in it. The company wants to bring businesses, families, and cultures closer together, and has recognized that 3D printing will help speed up the process. Recently, Boom renewed its existing partnership with Stratasys in order to create 3D printed parts for its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft, which is exactly what VELO3D will be doing as well.
“High-speed air travel relies on technology that is proven to be safe, reliable, and efficient, and by partnering with VELO3D we’re aligning ourselves with a leader in additive manufacturing that will print the flight hardware for XB-1. VELO3D helped us understand the capabilities and limitations of metal additive manufacturing and the positive impact it would potentially have on our supersonic aircraft,” said Mike Jagemann, the Head of XB-1 Production for Boom Supersonic. “We look forward to sharing details about the aircraft development and improved system performance once XB-1 takes flight.”
The 55-seat, Mach-2.2 (1,687 mph) aircraft is the first supersonic jet to be independently developed, and is made up of over 3,700 parts, combined with multiple advanced technologies, such as a refined delta wing platform, an efficient variable-geometry propulsion system, and advanced carbon fiber composites. Because the demonstrator aircraft – a validation platform called the “Baby Boom” – has such demanding precision, performance, and functional requirements in order to reliably provide safe and efficient travel, Boom is using VELO3D’s Intelligent Fusion technology to make the metal flight hardware for the jet, as it offers more design freedom, process control, and quality assurance; these qualities are essential in challenging design environments.
Boom is also working with VELO3D in order to leverage its customer support partnership, market expertise, and ability to guarantee consistent production quality. The supersonic flight company hopes that by utilizing metal 3D printing, it will be able to improve system performance and speed up the development of its XB-1 – which should eventually fly at twice the speed of sound – and any future aircraft as well.
The two companies have already conducted validation trials together, which were successful in their accurate performance and achieving the desired results. VELO3D developed two 3D printed titanium flight hardware parts, which will be part of the ECS system and make sure that the supersonic aircraft is able to conduct safe flights in any conditions; these parts will be installed on the prototype aircraft early next year.
In addition, the company also 3D printed some engine “mice” for Boom, which were used to validate the additive process.
Engine “mice” as 3D printed on the VELO3D Sapphire system
“The mice allow for high engine operating line testing, ensuring we can achieve safe flight at all conditions,” Ryan Bocook, a manufacturing engineer at Boom Supersonic, said in a VELO3D blog post.
“The 3D printed mice helped Boom execute the test plan and validate predictions, and furthers the success of the program.”
These mice helped to facilitate testing, which included flow distortion simulation at the inlet, by decreasing the nozzle area in order to help simulate stall conditions while the engine is running from part power to mil power.
Not only did Boom Supersonic receive 3D printed flight hardware out of its partnership with VELO3D, but the company’s engineers also had the chance to familiarize themselves with the limitations and capabilities of 3D printing in terms of supersonic aircraft.
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The C-5 Program Office, Air Mobility Command, and the 436th Airlift Wing from Dover Air Force Base have completed installation of 3D printed parts on a C-5 Super Galaxy plane (tail number 70035). This latest hardware installation was completed with just several weeks of 3D printing, including inspection and testing of parts. The Rapid Sustainment office (RSO) reports that they made and installed a total of 17 parts, made of both 3D printing polymers and metal. Actual installation required less than three days.
“It is innovative ideas such as these that continue to drive down sustainment costs, leading to improved weapon system readiness,” said Eddie Preston, a senior materials engineer for the RSO. “If you can imagine sitting on a commercial aircraft, everything around you including parts of the seat you are sitting in, we can print.”
And while the military in general may have been using 3D printing and additive manufacturing quietly and before anyone knew about it—just like other auto companies such as BMW and aerospace entities like NASA and GE—they are now able to create many different prototypes and parts that would not have been possible before. Many times, strength is the issue, but weight is also a major factor in many cases, allowing for lightweight components that make a huge difference in aviation (and space travel).
The 3D printed parts are installed in the following areas on the C-5 aircraft:
Crew bunking areas
Reading and emergency light covers
Air Force representatives said that aluminum seal retention handles were redesigned via 3D printing processes for better ergonomics, lighter weight, and overall strength. The benefits of 3D printing were in full force during this project too as they were able to cut turnaround time in production exponentially, especially in getting rid of the usual two-tone paint scheme. Print time averaged 24-48 hours and engineers worked with the materials supplier so that parts could be 3D printed in the color required for the cabin—streamlined without any additional painting necessary.
As is so common today, many parts that need replacing or maintenance may be difficult to find or simply not available at all—or it could take months or even years to attain them or make them. As this project continues, however, the C-5 Program Office and RSO teams plan to install 20 more components. Some are being 3D printed in metal (titanium and other alloys) and some in a variety of polymers, with their catalog of parts continuing to grow for future use and reference. Just with the first 17 3D printed parts installed, the RSO projects they will save tens of thousands of dollars, along with improving parts and performance—and even more importantly, weapon system readiness.
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According to the case study, CRP Technology was able to “highlight the perfect union” between its advanced SLS 3D printing technology and high-performance, composite Windform materials – particularly its Windform XT 2.0, a polyamide-based carbon fiber reinforced composite. Metaltech S.r.l. designed the model.
The goals of Leonardo HD’s project included:
design and manufacture an internal main structure out of aluminum alloy that can easily have new geometries added
complete the work in a very short timetable, but with an extremely high level of commonality and reliability
make components out of materials with high mechanical and aerodynamic characteristics
3D printed aircraft propeller spinners
These goals are why Leonardo HD was referred to CRP Technology – it would be able to meet these goals while 3D printing the external parts for the wind tunnel model, which was designed, manufactured, and assembled in order to complete a series of dedicated low-speed wind tunnel tests. Some of the parts that were 3D printed for the wind tunnel model include nose and cockpit components, fairings, external fuel tanks, rear fuselage, wings, and nacelles.
The level of detail that went into these 3D printed parts “is crucial to the applied loads to be sustainable,” as the wind’s aerodynamic loads in the tunnel are high. So load resistance was one of the more important project aspects, along with maintaining good dimensional tolerances, under load, of large components.
“It is important to remember that the performance of these components affects the final performance of the entire project, especially because the external fairings have to transfer the aerodynamic loads generated by the fuselage to the internal frame,” CRP Technology wrote in the case study.
3D printed tail fairing
The tests needed to cover the standard range of flight attitudes at Leonardo HD’s Michigan wind tunnel facility, in addition to Politecnico di Milano, and varying external geometries were changed during testing, so that technicians would be able to gain a better understanding of “aerodynamic phenomena.”
Today, the CAD-CAM approach is used to design models for wind tunnel testing, before an internal structural frame of aluminum and steel is milled and assembled. Then, 3D printing is used to obtain all external geometries. Because Leonardo HD used CRP Technology’s advanced 3D printing and Windform XT 2.0 material the project was completed much more quickly, with “excellent results and with high-performing mechanical and aerodynamic properties.”
CRP analyzed the dimensional designs that Leonardo HD had sent in order to make the best composite material recommendation: its Windform XT 2.0, with high heat deflection, increased tensile strength and modulus, superior stiffness, and excellent detail reproduction.
“The choice of the Windform XT 2.0 composite material was not casual, all the goals required by Leonardo HD were considered, such as the importance of a short realization time, good mechanical performances and also good dimensional characteristics,” CRP Technology wrote in the case study.
It was necessary to 3D print the single parts separately, as “some components were dimensionally superior to the construction volume of the 3D printing machines,” but CRP Technology was able to complete the project with no time delays. The company used CAD to evaluate the working volume’s functional measures in order to determine which parts to split, and to figure out how to maximize contact surface where structural adhesive would be added to the model.
3D printed aircraft nose and cockpit
It only took four days to 3D print the various parts of the components.
The case study noted, “Different confidential efficiencies, which are an integral part of CRP Technology’s specific know-how, allowed the reduction of the delivery lead time and allowed CRP to minimize the normal tolerances of this technology, and eradicate any potential problem of deformation or out of tolerance.”
The completed model underwent surface finishing, before it was assembled by Metaltech S.r.l. and mounted directly onto a rig assembly, so any small imperfections resulting from single components being put together could be optimized. Thanks to CRP Technology, this step was finished very quickly, and Leonardo HD was able to efficiently flatten the model’s surface and treat it with a special liquid to both prepare for painting and make the model waterproof.
Leonardo HD needed to review the behavior of the aircraft, and so completed a high-speed wind tunnel test campaign, which encompassed speeds Mach 0.2-Mach 0.6, on a new 1:6 scale model at NASA Ames Unitary Plan 11′ x 11′ transonic wind tunnel. The company called on CRP USA, based in North Carolina, to speed up the process, using its partner company’s SLS 3D printing and Windform XT 2.0 composite material to make the external fuselage and some additional components.
3D printed model installed in the 11’x 11’ test section at NASA Ames
While the architecture of the new 3D printed model, which spanned nearly 2 meters, is similar to the original AW609 version, some improvements were made so remote controls could be used for the wing flaperons and elevator surfaces. Additionally, by using four different 6-component strain gauge balances, all the loads were able to act on the complete model, the nacelle, the tail surfaces, and the wing alone.
The model was constructed in such a way as to be mounted in the transonic wind tunnel on a single strut straight sting support system.
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We’ve got business and education news galore in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. First, Voodoo Manufacturing has launched its new Shopify app, and BeAM Machines is partnering with Empa, while Sculpteo is working with a property developer to provide 3D printed apartment models. VSHAPER has signed an agreement with educational publisher Grupa MAC, and the United Arab Emirates is introducing 3D printing into over 200 of its primary schools. The US Navy will be testing the first 3D printed ship component, and Lufthansa Technik has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. Finally, maker Thomas Sanladerer shared on YouTube about his recent visit to the Prusa headquarters.
Voodoo Manufacturing Launches Shopify App
This spring, high-volume 3D printing factory Voodoo Manufacturing began its full-stack manufacturing and fulfillment service for 3D printing entrepreneurs, which allows users to outsource work like quality control and assembly for their products through its easy shopfront integrations with online marketplaces like Shopify. Now, the company has launched its own Shopify app, which will allow online sellers to create and customize 3D printed products and sell them on their own Shopify stores. Once the app is installed, users can make their first product in less than 5 minutes, which is then automatically added to their store, ready for purchase.
“We wanted to make it ridiculously easy for ecommerce stores to diversify their product offering with 3D printed products. By applying 3D printing to the print-on-demand business model, we are opening up an infinite range of product categories for Shopify merchants,” said Max Friefeld, the Founder and CEO of Voodoo Manufacturing. “The Voodoo app provides a new source of high quality, customizable, on-demand products, that don’t require any 3D design experience.”
Before the official launch this week, Voodoo piloted the service with a group of beta users, including It’s The Island Life by graphic designer and Guam native Lucy Hutcheson. She is already successfully selling six different products made with the help of the new Voodoo app.
BeAM Machines Partnering with Empa
BeAM, recently acquired by AddUp, has signed a research and development agreement with Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. Together, the two will develop novel applications for BeAM’s powder-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology, which uses focused thermal energy to fuse materials by melting them while they’re deposited. This makes parts manufacturing much faster. The partnership has come on the heels of Empa’s acquisition of a BeAM DED 3D printer, which is located at its Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing in Thun and is used to integrate and test out innovative components.
Patrik Hoffmann, who leads the laboratory, said, “We are very excited to collaborate with BeAM’s engineers to push the boundaries of this innovative additive manufacturing technology and to develop a whole new range of applications for Swiss industries and beyond.”
Sculpteo 3D Printing Apartment Models
Together with Sculpteo, French property developer Valoptim is working to improve customer experience by providing clients with miniaturized 3D printed models of their future apartments when they sign their contracts, so they can better visualize and prepare for moving into their new home. These small, exact replicas give new owners an immersive experience, which is a definite value add. In addition, production of the 3D printed models is local, and can be done fast.
“Sculpteo uses the best machines and 3D printing processes on the market today. At first, we had the ambition to test the feasibility of 3D printing in the real estate sector. This innovative process has proven to be extremely interesting: the realistic rendering, with high-end finishes, allowed our clients to discover a miniaturized version of their future apartment enabling them to realistically imagine themselves living in it,” said Edouard Pellerin, CEO of Valoptim. “This innovation contributes to our business dynamic: constantly improving the customer experience.”
VSHAPER and Grupa Mac Sign Agreement
Polish 3D printer manufacturer Verashape has signed an agreement with Grupa MAC, the country’s top educational publisher, in front of Poland’s education curators at the recent Future of Education Congress. Per the agreement, Grupa MAC will use a network of educational consultants to distribute the VSHAPER GO 3D printers to kindergartens and other schools in the country. Grupa MAC recognizes that 3D printers are a good way to quickly present the effects of students’ learning, and the VSHAPER GO is the perfect choice, as it is easy to use and comes with an intuitive interface of SOFTSHAPER software.
“Classes with students are a perfect environment for the use of 3D Printing. Creating a pyramid model for history lessons, the structure of a flower or a human body for biology lessons are just a few examples, and their list is limited only by the imagination of students and teachers,” said Patryk Tomczyk, a member of the Grupa MAC Management Board. “We are happy that thanks to our cooperation with VERASHAPE, 3D Printers have a chance to reach schools through our network of educational consultants.”
3D Printing to be Introduced in UAE Primary Schools
Speaking of 3D printing in education, the Ministry of Education (MoE) for the UAE has announced that in early 2019, a country-wide introduction of 3D printing into over 200 primary schools will commence. As part of this new technology roll out, Dubai education consultancy company Ibtikar is partnering with Makers Empire, an Australian education technology company, to deliver a program that implements 3D printing and design. Makers Empire will supply 3D software, curriculum, teacher resources, training, and support to Ibtikar, which will in turn train MoE teachers to deliver the program.
“Through this rollout of 3D technology, our students will learn to reframe needs as actionable statements and to create solutions to real-world problems,” said HE Eng. Abdul Rahman of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education. “In doing so, our students will develop an important growth mindset, the skills they need to make their world better and the essential ability to persist when encountering setbacks.”
US Navy Approves Test of First 3D Printed Shipboard Part
USS Harry S. Truman
The US military has long explored the use of 3D printing to lower costs and increase the availability of spare parts. Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilder in the US, has also been piloting new technologies, like 3D printing, as part of its digital transformation. In collaboration with the US Navy, the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division has worked to speed the adoption of 3D printed metal components for nuclear-powered warships. This has led to an exciting announcement by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA): a metal drain strainer orifice (DSO) prototype has officially been approved as the first 3D printed metal part to be installed on a US Navy ship. The assembly is a component for the steam system, which allows for drainage and removal of water from a steam line while in use. The 3D printed DSO prototype will be installed on the USS Harry S. Truman in 2019 for evaluation and tests. After one year, the assembly will be removed for inspection and analysis.
“This install marks a significant advancement in the Navy’s ability to make parts on demand and combine NAVSEA’s strategic goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines while maintaining a culture of affordability. By targeting CVN 75 [USS Harry S. Truman], this allows us to get test results faster, so-if successful-we can identify additional uses of additive manufacturing for the fleet,” said Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, NAVSEA Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, and Naval Engineering.
Lufthansa Technik Opens New Additive Manufacturing Center
Lufthansa Technik, a leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for civil aircraft, has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. The goal of the new AM Center is to bundle and expand the company’s experience and competence with the technology, which can be used to make individual parts more quickly and with more design freedom. As the world of aircraft is always aware of weight, making more lightweight parts is an excellent benefit of 3D printing.
“The new AM Center will serve as a collaborative hub where the experience and skills that Lufthansa Technik has gained in additive manufacturing can be bundled and further expanded,” said Dr. Aenne Koester, the head of the new AM Center. “The aim is to increase the degree of maturity of the technologies and to develop products that are suitable for production.”
Tom’s 3D Visits Prusa Headquarters
Maker Thomas Sanladerer, who runs his own YouTube channel, recently had the chance to tour the Prusa Research headquarters in Prague. Not only did he get the opportunity to see how the company makes its popular MK3 and and MK2.5, but Sanladerer was also able to see early models of the company’s recently announced SL1 resin 3D printer, as well as the Prusament filament production line.
“I always find factory tours like this super interesting because it’s the only chance you really get of seeing behind the scenes of what might really just be a website, or you know, a marketing video or whatever,” Sanladerer said in his video.
Sanladerer took the tour of the Prusa factory right after Maker Faire Prague, which the company itself organized and sponsored. To see behind the scenes of Prusa for yourself, check out the rest of the video below:
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GE Aviation will always be known for its 3D printed fuel nozzles, which it began producing in 2015. The complex components became something of a symbol for how 3D printing can change manufacturing, and this week GE Aviation hit a milestone – it produced its 30,000th 3D printed fuel nozzle at its Auburn, Alabama plant.
“This milestone isn’t just about reaching production of 30,000 fuel nozzle tips,” said Ricardo Acevedo, plant leader for GE Aviation Auburn. “The team should also be proud for their role in helping prove additive technology works in mass production for our business and others who buy GE technology.”
In 2014, GE announced plans to invest $50 million into its existing 300,000-square-foot Auburn facility, in preparation for taking on more additive manufacturing. The facility now has more than 40 3D printers churning out parts, and 230 employees currently work at the plant, which is continuing to grow. The number of employees is projected to grow to 300 in 2019.
A fuel nozzle is part of any engine that runs liquid fuels. It is responsible for spraying fuel into the engine, and it needs to be strong and capable of withstanding high temperatures, not to mention precise so that it can release the right amount of fuel at the correct rate. It’s a complex component, one that used to be made up of many parts – about 20, in fact, and those parts had to be separately manufactured and then welded together. By using 3D printing, GE Additive was able to produce the entire component, with all of its twisting geometry and interior chambers, in one single part.
Not only did 3D printing save an incredible amount of labor and time, but it also reduced the weight of the fuel nozzle by 25% and made it about five times stronger. Both the 3D printing and aviation industries, understandably, lost their minds a little bit when they learned about what GE Aviation had done. Thousands of orders immediately poured in for GE’s LEAP engine, which was equipped with the 3D printed nozzles, and the component became part of countless presentations as a tangible example of what 3D printing could do.
The LEAP engine is the best-selling engine in the aviation industry, and the 3D printed nozzles saved a remarkable $3 million per aircraft. LEAP engines are known for their fuel efficiency, which is up to 15 percent better than the best CFM56 engines. Total LEAP engine orders are currently at over 16,300. The engines are a product of CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines.
“We’re leading the way of mass producing additive parts for the industry,” said Acevedo. “We’re continuously looking at ways of expanding the possibilities for the business.”
And the business will be expanding. Earlier this year, GE Aviation opened a new $200 million factory complex in Huntsville, Alabama that will be America’s first production center for unique materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composites, or CMCs. CMCs are extremely lightweight and can withstand very high temperatures, so they’re a major source of excitement for the aircraft industry right now. GE Aviation might be taking a moment to celebrate its 30,000 fuel nozzle milestone, but it certainly isn’t pausing its work.
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Aviation is one of the many industries around the world that’s increasing its adoption of 3D printing, which can be used to create the lightweight components and complex parts that are necessary for an airplane. The technology makes these parts with repeatable characteristics and consistently high quality, and can also decrease the amount of time, money, and materials needed to produce them, making the overall supply chain more efficient.
Speaking of these materials, we most often hear about components being made with strong thermoplastics and metals, such as titanium. But there’s another metal out there – a lightweight, corrosion-resistant aluminium alloy nearly as strong as titanium – that could be the hero we all need for the future of aircraft. I am of course referring to Scalmalloy, an aluminum-magnesium-scandium alloy developed and patented specifically for metal 3D printing by APWorks.
Scalmalloy is a highly ductile material that works on all existing powder bed SLM 3D printers. With a stable microstructure at temperatures of up to 250ºC, it’s highly weldable and can easily be machined for use in industries like aviation and automotive. Additionally, the material was developed specifically to use the lowest buy-to-fly ratio when compared to parts designed and manufactured using conventional methods.
The abstract reads, “The interest of selective laser melting (SLM) Al-based alloys for lightweight applications, especially the rare earth element Sc modified Al-Mg alloy, is increasing. In this work, high-performance Al-Mg-Sc-Zr alloy was successfully fabricated by SLM. The phase identification, densification behavior, precipitate distribution and mechnical properties of the as-fabricated parts at a wide range of processing parameters were carefully characterized. Meanwhile, the evolution of nanoprecipitation behavior under various scan speeds is revealed and TEM analysis of precipitates shows that a small amount of spherical nanoprecipitates Al3(Sc,Zr) were embedded at the bottom of the molten pool using a low scan speed. While no precipitates were found in the matrix using a relatively high scan speed due to the combined effects of the variation of Marangoni convection vector, ultrashort lifetime of liquid and the rapid cooling rate. An increased hardness and a reduced wear rate of 94 HV0.2 and 1.74 × 10-4 mm3N-1 m-1 were resultantly obtained respectively as a much lower scan speed was applied. A relationship between the processing parameters, the surface tension, the convection flow, the precipitation distribution and the resultant mechanical properties has been well established, demonstrating that the high-performance of SLM-processed Al-Mg-Sc-Zr alloy could be tailored by controlling the distribution of nanoprecipitates.”
3D printed Scalmalloy aircraft partition
The researchers fabricated Sc- and Zr-modified AI-Mg alloy using SLM 3D printing, and were then able to provide clarification on the relationships between the convection flow, precipitate distribution, mechanical properties, and scan speed. SEM and TEM characterize the various precipitation behavior between different scan speeds, and a relatively low scan speed helped to evaluate and explain how significantly the material’s hardness had improved.
Authors of the paper are Han Zhang, Dongdong Gu, Jiankai Yang, and Donghua Dai from NUAA, and Tong Zhao, Chen Hong, Andres Gasser, and Reinhart Poprawe from Fraunhofer ILT.
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