As inventive and imaginative as 3D printer technology is, so are the materials that R&D labs have come up with to build parts, including conductive thermoplastics.
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Daimler may be the first vehicle maker to offer 3D-printed replacement parts, but racing enthusiasts and car collectors like Jay Leno have been using additive manufacturing and 3D scanning for many years to replace worn-out parts or to enhance their rides.
In an automobile engine, seven types of screws out of approximately 70 are considered critical to achieving the engine’s specified design performance, despite high vibration and heat. The seven include bolts for the cylinder head, crankshaft, con rod, flywheel, and main bearing cap, as well as for the camshaft cap, camshaft sprocket and VCT.
Entrepreneurs and existing manufacturers are making 3D printers that automate production of composite parts, and are unique in their design.
The first kilowatt-class fiber laser for material processing was introduced by IPG Photonics in early 2002. Since that time, the adoption of fiber lasers for production applications has grown at a rapid rate. Today, fiber lasers are becoming the choice for most major production laser applications as well as converting traditional welding and cutting processes to fiber laser technologies.
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.
Sales of cars and light trucks plummeted during the Great Recession and General Motors Co. and Chrysler emerged from government-back bankruptcies in 2009. Since then, total industry deliveries have surged, hitting a record 17.47 million in 2015, according to Autodata Corp.
Even though it’s been around since the 1950s, when engineering-grade resins were first introduced, many manufacturers still are not familiar with the many benefits that metal-to-plastic conversion provides.
Materials researcher Metalysis Ltd. (South Yorkshire, UK) recently announced that it has developed a new synthesized graphene material that holds potential for future industrial production. Metalysis, which is focused on commercializing its proprietary electrochemical metal-powder manufacturing technology, said its R&D successfully produced graphene using the company’s own process.
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.