Most of the hype around “democratization” as applied to additive manufacturing (AM) is based on the idea that people can design and manufacture unique products that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Of course, designing your own unique product requires you understand the basics of CAD design. It could be possible that interest in AM is building a pool of semi-qualified CAD users that could be put to work to produce specific parts or products if businesses have some way to motivate the masses.
Money is a pretty good motivator for most people. GE Aviation and GrabCAD are testing the waters of crowd sourced design by offering a cash prize to the top entries in an engineering challenge to produce a new loading bracket for jet engines. The new design should be optimized for AM and, while sponsored in part by GrabCAD, can be created in any CAD program.
By now it’s no secret that aerospace manufacturers are very interested in 3D printing. Additive manufacturing (AM) has begun to make its presence known at airshows, was already at work in the prototyping process and has become a key part of building a few, small aircraft and UAVs.
GE is just one company that has taken notice of AM and, late last year, made a significant investment in the technology when it acquired Morris Technologies, and its 3D printing service, Rapid Quality Manufacturing. Now GE is getting ready to flex its AM muscle with a large scale industrial test of 3D printing. Continue reading
Rapid Ready Roundup: 3D Systems, Mcor Partners with Staples, GE Aviation and the Evolution of the 3D Printed Wrench
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.
Let’s begin with a look at the newest versions of 3D Systems’ ProJet line of AM systems: the ProJet 3500 HDMax and CPXMax. Both printers have the same basic specs of the older models, but offer tablet and smartphone connectivity. Additionally, the HDMax has a new high speed setting (at a slight cost in potential resolution) and the CPXMax offers an improved net build volume at higher resolutions for its RealWax casting capability. Continue reading
Aerospace is the perfect industry for additive manufacturing. Planes are expensive to produce via injection molding and machining methods, and relatively few are made, so traditional manufacturing’s economies of scale don’t apply. Additive manufacturing can affordably produce custom parts on the scale aerospace needs, often without bolts and welds that lead to increased maintenance costs down the line. The key to additive manufacturing, as we’ve mentioned again and again, is materials.
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, 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.
If you follow additive manufacturing (AM) with any regularity you probably recognize the name Bathsheba Grossman. A recent Kickstarter campaign asked for investors to recreate one of Grossman’s sculptures on a larger scale. Once the goal was met, the design for the Rygo was sent to Enrico Dini to build in concrete using the D-Shape 3D printer.