Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

EADS, EOS Pair for AM Sustainability Study

Regardless of how promising a new technology appears, most companies are going to want to test its capabilities before deciding to invest. The volume of research data increases every time another company decides to look at the technology, until eventually the technology is deemed right for the job at hand.

Perhaps taking their cue from companies like GE Aviation or Rolls Royce, EADS has paired with EOS to test the sustainability of parts made using additive manufacturing (AM). The results of that study were recently made public with the publication of a case study that pits direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) against rapid investment casting. Continue reading

3D Systems Unleashes a Flood of 3D Printers

When 3D Systems first started on its acquisitions spree, there were whispers wondering if the company could successfully integrate so many different corporate cultures into a meaningful whole. If 3D Systems’ display of additive manufacturing (AM) might at Euromold is anything to judge by, it seems as though the company’s strategy of expansion by acquisition has been successful.

Joining its previous announcement of the ProJet 4500 and 5500X, 3D Systems offered up three more new 3D printers during its new product announcement video stream, direct from Euromold. The ProX 300, ProX 500 SLS, and ProX 950 SLA have been added to the company’s burgeoning portfolio of AM systems and services. Continue reading

Rapid Ready Roundup: Microsoft 3D Builder, Open Source Lab, DMG Mori, and Victoria’s Secret

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

We’ll start today’s Roundup with some AM news from Microsoft. The tech giant has shown a fair amount of interest in AM, first with its Windows 8.1 support for 3D printers and now by releasing a simple, free app named 3D Builder. Rather than offering another 3D design program, 3D Builder acts like a library of printable objects that can be viewed, duplicated, and scaled to fit a user’s requirements. Continue reading

Rolls Royce Looks to Additive Manufacturing for Jet Engine Parts

Even if you’ve never seen a part built using additive manufacturing (AM), you may soon be riding near one when you take a flight. More and more companies in the aerospace industry are catching on to the idea that AM can save them time and money in the manufacturing process. GE Aviation plans on leveraging the technology to build around 85,000 nozzles for use in its jet engines, and other companies are also investigating the potential of AM.

One of those companies is Rolls Royce. The company’s civil aerospace division is currently at work devising ways of using 3D printing to build various jet engine parts. Like other aerospace companies, Rolls Royce is interested in AM for its capability to build complex parts more quickly, with less material waste, and from lighter materials. Continue reading

Solid Concepts Uses Metal Additive Manufacturing to Build a Gun

Gun control is a hot button issue in the wake of tragedies like Sandy Hook. Reasonable arguments from both sides of the issue are generally lost in the tumult of emotional response and counter response. Additive manufacturing (AM) has been drawn into the controversy following the successful firing of Defense Distributed’s 3D printed “Liberator” pistol. The successful test raised all sorts of concerns over the potential for AM to cause mayhem, and even prompted some political figures, such as Senator Chuck Schumer, to call for new forms of regulation to cover firearms built using 3D printing.

While the initial wave of interest over the Liberator eventually died down, worries about AM built guns continued to crop up from time to time in the form of ill-advised stunts to smuggle (empty) 3D printed guns onto planes and trains, and even into government offices. A raid by police in Manchester, England even raised the specter of 3D printed guns being manufactured illegally in the UK, before cooler heads determined the “gun parts” were actually additional parts to build or repair a 3D printer. Continue reading