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Heading to Mars? Pack a 3D Printer!

If NASA’s Journey to Mars project succeeds, the astronauts who make the 140 million-mile (225 million-km) trip to the Red Planet in the 2030s will need someplace to stay. The space agency is looking at 3D printing, using on-site materials, to manufacture humanity’s first deep space home.

3D Printing Large Metal Parts for Land, Sea, Air

Sciaky Inc. (Chicago) has staked its claim to being the leading provider of metal 3D printing solutions for large parts approved for land, sea, air, and space applications, with the latest success being its Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) technology. Sciaky was called upon to manufacture a titanium variable ballast (VB) tank for a submarine manufacturer.

The Quest for Safer 3D Printing Materials

When Desktop Metal introduced its “office-friendly” Studio metal prototype printer earlier this year, the company renewed attention on the issue of safer materials for binder jetting, an additive manufacturing method.

First Plastics, Then Metals and Now Composites

Impossible Objects LLC, a Chicago-based company, has brought to market a new composites material manufacturing technology known as Composite-Based Additive Manufacturing (CBAM) 3D technology which produces Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) or Polymer Matrix Composite (PMC) parts.

Airbus Installs 3D Printed Titanium Aircraft Production Part

Airbus has achieved a 3D printing first with the installation of a 3D printed titanium bracket on a series production commercial aircraft. Manufactured by Arconic, a global technology, engineering, and advanced manufacturing company, the 3D printed titanium bracket was installed on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB.

Tooling and Workholding Systems

“We are developing solutions for power workholding such as hydraulic swing clamps and block clamps, because the real estate on a fixture is so valuable,” says Jason Betz, product specialist for Carr Lane Roemheld (St. Louis). “This pushes the use of smaller workholding components as much as possible because the more parts on the fixture the greater the productivity.”

Metal Parts Follow Tough Plastics Act

When you walk into the Redeye On Demand facility in Eden Prairie, MN, you enter into one version of the factory of the future. There you will see a bank of 100 high-end Fortus fused-deposition modeling (FDM) machines from Stratasys that provide the capacity to build real, functional parts with production-grade thermoplastics directly from CAD data.