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Engineering Materials
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Consumer-Grade 3D-Printable Metal Casting Resin
Engineering Materials 
6/26/2014  12 comments
MadeSolid is offering a 3D-printable casting resin for making small metal parts for things like jewelry. It costs a lot less than previous alternatives and can be used with multiple consumer-grade printers -- an industry first.
SABIC & Kringlan Develop Carbon Composite Wheel
Engineering Materials 
6/25/2014  11 comments
SABIC and Kringlan Composites are developing a thermoplastic carbon composite wheel with a matrix based on SABIC's ULTEM resin. Kringlan says its process is geared toward high volumes, short cycle times, and in-house recycling of production waste and end-of-life materials.
Slideshow: igus's 3D-Printable Bearings Material
Engineering Materials 
6/20/2014  5 comments
igus is offering its tribological, integrated lubricant polymer in a filament for 3D-printing custom bearings, bushings, and prototypes. The Tribo-Filament is compatible with any filament fusion printer that has a heated nozzle and print bed, and uses ABS filaments.
Automotive Lightweighting Groups Get Serious
Engineering Materials 
6/16/2014  7 comments
Industry trade groups, materials manufacturers, and software companies are getting serious about helping automotive manufacturers with vehicle lightweighting. This spring, four different consortia and partnerships were formed.
Ford & Heinz Test Tomato-Based Plastic
Engineering Materials 
6/13/2014  13 comments
Ford and Heinz are testing bioplastics that use waste tomato fiber. Researchers have made some composites and are evaluating their properties, with the goal of making a strong, lightweight composite that can be used in a car's non-structural components.
Climb Glass Walls Like a Gecko With DARPA Tech
Engineering Materials 
6/12/2014  8 comments
For the first time ever, a human has scaled a glass wall using an adhesive inspired by gecko feet. The DARPA-funded research that developed the polymer microstructure technology on handheld paddles is part of the agency's Z-Man program to help soldiers in urban environments.
10 Robots You Don't Want to Mess With
Engineering Materials 
6/10/2014  76 comments
Our current crop of military robots includes small, tank-like unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), more specialized types like large autonomous vehicles, and both large and small winged robots, one carrying its own fuel cell.
Memory Polymers Are Stronger, Cheaper & Recyclable
Engineering Materials 
6/6/2014  7 comments
Stronger, lighter, cheaper, self-healing, and recyclable, too? IBM says they're all true about its new family of industrial thermoset polymers.
3D Print Plastic & Electronics in One Pass
Engineering Materials 
6/5/2014  4 comments
Stanford University grad students have developed open-source technology that 3D prints conductive traces and plastic in one pass. Their startup is selling a liquid syringe extruder that plugs into a filament fusion printer, a plug-in replacement dual extruder, and a dual-extrusion 3D printer.
Lockheed & RedEye Team to 3D-Print Rocket Fuel Tanks
Engineering Materials 
6/2/2014  21 comments
Lockheed Martin and RedEye have 3D-printed two huge rocket fuel tank prototypes, the biggest of which is 6.75 ft. long. The project took much less time than traditional manufacturing methods, at about half the cost.
Slideshow: Airbus Launches All-Composite, All-Electric Plane
Engineering Materials 
5/27/2014  79 comments
Airbus Group's all-electric, all-composite training aircraft took its first public flight last month during the company's E-Aircraft Day in Bordeaux, France. The experimental aircraft was designed and built as a technology demonstrator for small planes used to train pilots.
BASF Reveals More BMWi3 Materials
Engineering Materials 
5/20/2014  9 comments
The BMW i3's carbon fiber composite breakthroughs include contributions from several suppliers. BASF, which already announced its carbon composite rear seat pan, recently said more of its plastics and composites play a role in several parts of the car, some of which are firsts in a production vehicle.
3D Printing Needs to Open Up
Engineering Materials 
5/19/2014  13 comments
The prototyping-based models 3D printing has used for 30 years must change if the industry is to continue growing and shift to production parts, says a new Lux Research study.
Slideshow: Plastics Showcased at Aircraft Interiors Expo
Engineering Materials 
5/16/2014  15 comments
At the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2014 show in Hamburg, many companies got a chance to showcase their plastics for a variety of applications in aircraft interiors. Some introduced new materials. Others announced new applications or qualifications for their products.
Slideshow: Proto Labs Buys 3D Printing Service Bureau
Engineering Materials 
5/13/2014  18 comments
Not long after 3D printing leader Stratasys bought two service bureaus, rapid prototyping service bureau extraordinaire Proto Labs has embraced the technology by buying a service bureau focused solely on additive manufacturing. Before this acquisition, Proto Labs has concentrated on CNC machining and injection molding.
Aerospace-Grade Composites Will Repair Themselves
Engineering Materials 
5/12/2014  35 comments
Wouldn't it be cool if fiber-reinforced composites could repair themselves? Engineers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology think they've found a way to do it.
Shrimp Club Inspires Stronger Aerospace Composite
Engineering Materials 
5/9/2014  6 comments
The carbon-fiber-reinforced composite is both stronger and resists impact better than similar materials typically used in aircraft.
Slideshow: Recyclable 3D Printing Material Beats ABS & PLA
Engineering Materials 
5/8/2014  4 comments
What if you could get a 3D printing filament that's strong like ABS, but easier to use like PLA, and more flexible than both? Better yet, what if it was also recyclable? Startup independent 3D printing materials company MadeSolid offers that material: PET+.
RoboClam Digs Deep to Monitor Ocean Floor
Engineering Materials 
5/5/2014  6 comments
A robotic razor clam -- actually a digging robot -- burrows into sand with high efficiency.
3D-Printed Bioplastics Coming Soon
Engineering Materials 
4/25/2014  27 comments
Bioplastics formulator and manufacturer Sierra Resins and distributor 3D Printlife are working together to introduce a new biofilament for 3D printers.
Solar Impulse 2 Flies New Materials
Engineering Materials 
4/24/2014  26 comments
Solar Impulse 2 -- a 100% solar-powered airplane -- has been completed. It features several advanced materials, some developed specifically for next year's attempted around-the-world flight.
Composite Rocket Fuel Tank Will Explore Deep Space
Engineering Materials 
4/23/2014  8 comments
NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
Turtle Inspires 3D-Printed Car Frame
Engineering Materials 
4/22/2014  6 comments
German engineering firm EDAG Group showed a single-piece, 3D-printed car body design inspired by a turtle at the Geneva Motor Show. It came about after an assessment of how additive manufacturing could be applied to making industrial components, modules, and complete vehicle bodies.
Stratasys Expands 3D Printing Materials Options
Engineering Materials 
4/21/2014  6 comments
Stratasys is buying assets of a key player in materials testing and R&D for its FDM filament printers, and there's a new polypropylene material for the PolyJet series of 3D printers.
Video: 3D-Printed Drone Flies High
Engineering Materials 
4/16/2014  8 comments
3D printing has met up with drones in a 3D-printed UAV. University of Sheffield engineers printed the prototype drone in 24 hours from ABS plastic using Fused Deposition Modeling.
3D Pictures of Huge, Self-Assembled DNA Structures
Engineering Materials 
4/15/2014  5 comments
Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
3D Printing High-Strength Carbon Composites Using PEEK, PAEK
Engineering Materials 
4/14/2014  6 comments
Arevo Labs' end-production 3D printing technology for carbon composites includes a high-temperature, filament fusion printer head design and firmware for use with the company's new carbon fiber and nanotube reinforced high-temperature matrix polymers like PEEK.
Stratasys Buys 3D Printing Service Bureaus to Expand End Production
Engineering Materials 
4/11/2014  3 comments
Stratasys will buy Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies and combine them with its RedEye service business. The plan takes aim at end-production manufacturing and will create one of the biggest commercial 3D printing and AM service bureaus.
World Industrial Robot Demand Falls
Engineering Materials 
4/10/2014  9 comments
The International Federation of Robotics reports that global sales of industrial robots decreased by 4% in 2012 over 2011. The biggest hit was electrical/electronics manufacturing, down by 13%; but by region, the Amerficas did well.
Slideshow: New Carbon Composites for Volume Car Production
Engineering Materials 
4/9/2014  21 comments
At the JEC Europe 2014 composites show in Paris, many companies showcased their carbon fiber composite products, especially for volume automotive manufacturing. Some companies touted their contributions to BMW's all-carbon composite body-in-white. Others introduced automotive products and processes.
Report: Biochemicals, Bio-Based Materials Capacity to Jump
Engineering Materials 
4/1/2014  1 comment
A report forecasts a big capacity increase for bio-based materials and biochemicals, including those that go into bioplastics. These are mostly based on first-generation feedstocks like corn and sugarcane, but second-generation cellulosic feedstocks continue to grow slowly.
Report: Biofuels in Transition to Next-Gen Feedstocks Will Slow Growth
Engineering Materials 
3/31/2014  8 comments
The biofuels industry is about to make the transition to next-generation, non-food-based feedstocks. The bad news is, this transition will slow capacity growth by a lot. But that means growth slows, not that capacity declines.
Slideshow: More Seismic Shifts in 3D Printing Materials
Engineering Materials 
3/27/2014  9 comments
This is the fourth blog in an occasional series on 3D printing and additive manufacturing. This time, we'll tell you about architects 3D printing with ice and marble, some firsts in 3D printing titanium, and a university R&D team with a faster way to print multimaterial objects.
Slideshow: Drop-in Jet Biofuels Becoming a Reality
Engineering Materials 
3/25/2014  16 comments
Drop-in jet biofuels have started becoming a reality during the last year. Along with major deals between airlines, engine makers, and fuel producers, one main source may turn out to be renewable diesel already used in ground vehicles, which could make prices competitive with fossil jet fuels.
Slideshow: Robot Ants, Termites & Honeybees Get Autonomous
Engineering Materials 
3/19/2014  11 comments
We've found some swarms of robot termites, a robot modeled after a honeybee, and studies of ants to produce stronger robot joints and muscles.
Shrimp Shells Make Compostable, Moldable Bioplastic
Engineering Materials 
3/18/2014  15 comments
Wyss Institute researchers at Harvard have created a low-cost, biodegradable plastic made from shrimp shells that can be used to mass-produce 3D compostable consumer goods, using injection molding or casting processes.
3D-Printed Wood – Really!
Engineering Materials 
3/17/2014  42 comments
Does it sound like magic? It's not. You can 3D-print with wood filaments right now, using a choice of colors and filament widths. Objects made from these materials range from things resembling plastic or lumber to stunningly beautiful art pieces that look just like the real thing.
3D-Printing an Entire Car & a Bigger, Faster Commercial 3D Printer
Engineering Materials 
3/14/2014  16 comments
Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) is partnering with Local Motors to develop technology that will 3D-print an entire production-model car. A second deal with Cincinnati Inc. will develop a huge, very fast commercial 3D printer.
Slideshow: 3D-Printed Carbon Composite Yacht Model
Engineering Materials 
3/13/2014  7 comments
CRP Technology has 3D-printed a 1:14 scale model of a yacht in carbon fiber composites to demonstrate the possibilities and give a boost to boat design. The material and process are also used for under-hood motorsport applications and in aerospace.
Slideshow: 3D Printed Metal Bike Frames & Parts
Engineering Materials 
3/12/2014  27 comments
Final frames for a bike made by Renishaw have been 3D printed in titanium, and bike component maker Kappius uses EOS machines to produce complex tool steel end-product parts.
Carbon & Fiberglass Composite Compound Is Cheaper
Engineering Materials 
3/5/2014  9 comments
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic Bearings Are Real & igus Is Proving It on a World Tour
Engineering Materials 
3/3/2014  15 comments
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Fasteners, Adhesives Hold Things Together at MD&M West
Engineering Materials 
2/28/2014  3 comments
At the MD&M West show and co-located events in Anaheim, Calif., four companies displaying fastening systems and other assembly methods like adhesives stood out.
Baxter Shows Off His Moves at ATX West
Engineering Materials 
2/26/2014  16 comments
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
3D Printing Approaches End Production With Single, Multi-Materials
Engineering Materials 
2/25/2014  8 comments
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.
Sabic Brings Carbon Composites to Medical Devices
Engineering Materials 
2/21/2014  10 comments
Like most medical-grade plastics introduced at this year's MD&M West show, those from Sabic's Innovative Plastics division can withstand multiple sterilization processes and harsh chemical disinfectants. The big difference? Sabic's new compounds are high-modulus carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics.
Disease-Fighting Materials Spotlighted at MD&M West
Engineering Materials 
2/20/2014  22 comments
Most of the new materials on display at the MD&M West show in Anaheim, Calif. last week were developed to fight disease, especially the infections that hospital staff and patients are getting in large numbers. Many of the new plastics have also been developed with antimicrobial properties.
Slideshow: Adhesives Make BMW's All-Carbon Composite Body-in-White
Engineering Materials 
2/14/2014  6 comments
The new BMW i3's entire body-in-white is made of carbon fiber composites, a first in automotive mass production. Its construction has been made possible by Dow Automotive Systems' Betaforce structural adhesives.
Slideshow: Recycled Composites, Plastics Go Commercial
Engineering Materials 
2/7/2014  20 comments
Some plastics, like water bottle materials, are a lot easier to recycle than others, but progress is being made in materials availability. It's often spurred by the demands of big manufacturers.
America Makes Funds Second Wave of 3D Printing Projects
Engineering Materials 
2/6/2014  5 comments
The former National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute awarded funds to a second wave of 3D printing and additive manufacturing projects. They involve multiple processes, metal and polymer materials, and several companies we've discussed before.
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