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Engineering Materials
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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  9 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.
3D Printing & Rapid Prototyping Added to Golden Mousetrap Awards
Engineering Materials 
2/3/2014  20 comments
The products and services in the materials and assembly category of the Golden Mousetrap Awards keep expanding. This year, we've added a new section: 3D printing and rapid prototyping materials, tools, and services.
Learning Labs Focus on Robotics & Manufacturing
Engineering Materials 
1/30/2014  3 comments
At the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show next month UBM Canon is introducing Learning Labs. Here's what's up on the sessions covering robotics and manufacturing.
Carbon-Reinforced Compound Bests Metal Specs for Injection Molding
Engineering Materials 
1/29/2014  15 comments
RTP Company has developed carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic compounds for injection molding with specs that vie with metals in their stiffness and strength.
Software Will (Help) Make 3D Printing Metals in Space a Reality
Engineering Materials 
1/28/2014  19 comments
Granta Design's materials information management software has helped optimize materials and processes for additive manufacturing in the ESA's AMAZE program to make space-quality metal components in space.
Learning Labs Focus on Materials & 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 
1/24/2014  6 comments
Next month the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show, and co-located events, will feature 30 two-hour Learning Labs. Here's the skinny on the sessions covering materials and 3D printing.
Google Buys Boston Dynamics: Is That a Good Thing?
Engineering Materials 
1/22/2014  28 comments
Google's expected target applications for its new robot division are in manufacturing and retailing, and its other robot purchases are right in line. So why did it buy Boston Dynamics, the leading-edge military robot company?
3D Print Metals For Under $2,000
Engineering Materials 
1/21/2014  31 comments
You can build a low-cost open-source 3D printer that makes metal parts for less than $2,000, designed by Joshua M. Pearce and his team at Michigan Technological University (MTU). MTU and Sigma Labs have signed a memorandum of understanding to support commercial development.
First 3D-Printed Metal Part Flies on UK Military Jet
Engineering Materials 
1/16/2014  23 comments
A 3D-printed metal aircraft end-production component has been successfully flown on a test flight conducted by BAE Systems for Britain's Royal Air Force.
Plastic Replaces Metal in Car Engine
Engineering Materials 
1/13/2014  27 comments
Ford replaced brazed metal manifold components in two new V6 engines with DuPont's Zytel HTN PPA resin, saving 1 lb. in weight and $1 in cost per engine.
Slideshow: 3D Systems Changes What Engineers Can Do With 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 
1/9/2014  15 comments
3D Systems has introduced printers, services, and software that will change what engineers can do with 3D printing. These include a bigger and faster SLA build volume, another printer that does multiple colors in plastic, one that prints plastic multi-material objects bigger and faster, ceramic 3D printing via the cloud, and a universal print driver.
Slideshow: 3D Printing Metals in Space
Engineering Materials 
1/7/2014  24 comments
The European Space Agency (ESA) has begun a program for designing a large-scale 3D printer that will work in space to make high-performance metal components and even entire satellites.
Slideshow: 3D Printing Shifts to End-Production Manufacturing
Engineering Materials 
12/31/2013  14 comments
EOS is taking steps to establish additive manufacturing as an efficient process in industrial production. The shift comes as interest grows in several vertical industries to integrate AM technologies and processes into existing manufacturing flows.
Slideshow: Finnish High-End Steel Maker Comes to US
Engineering Materials 
12/30/2013  15 comments
Rautarukki Corp., a Finnish specialty steel maker known for its sustainable practices, has opened offices in Pittsburgh and Toronto. It will target its products toward transportation, heavy lifting, mining, and other industrial applications.
Slideshow: 3D Printed ABS & Nylon 12 Get Stronger, Tougher
Engineering Materials 
12/16/2013  2 comments
Stratasys has introduced two 3D printing materials stronger than their predecessors: the second generation of digital ABS for Objet Connex multimaterial 3D printers and FDM Nylon 12, which is designed for the company's Fortus 3D Production Systems.
Slideshow: Composites Go to Mars on MAVEN Spacecraft
Engineering Materials 
12/13/2013  3 comments
A spacecraft on its way to Mars is carrying core structures made with carbon-fiber composites. Launched November 18, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft is the first designed for exploring and understanding the red planet's upper atmosphere.
Slideshow: NIOSH Gives Nanomaterials Handling Recommendations
Engineering Materials 
12/12/2013  1 comment
New materials handling guidelines from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health give recommended engineering controls for nanoscale materials, which just keep proliferating.
Slideshow: Design & 3D Print Custom Metal Implants
Engineering Materials 
12/9/2013  8 comments
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
Report: Gasification R&D Focuses on Non-Recycled Plastics
Engineering Materials 
11/26/2013  41 comments
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Ceramic Matrix Composites LEAP to High Volumes
Engineering Materials 
11/21/2013  13 comments
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Slideshow: Seismic Shifts in 3D Printing Materials
Engineering Materials 
11/15/2013  15 comments
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
Slideshow: 3D Printing Is Cheap & Green for Plastics
Engineering Materials 
11/11/2013  15 comments
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
Engineering Plastics Get Tough, Lightweight
Engineering Materials 
11/4/2013  19 comments
Engineers are using more plastics derived from petroleum, biological sources, and recycled materials in consumer electronics, automotive, healthcare, and offshore oil and gas applications.
Slideshow: Carbon Composites for Cars Get Tougher & Faster
Engineering Materials 
11/1/2013  14 comments
Dow Automotive Systems has been talking about the company's latest automotive carbon composites and the adhesives used to join them. Both are getting tougher, with faster cycle times.
Single-Piece Aluminum Tank Hull Will Resist IEDs
Engineering Materials 
10/31/2013  7 comments
The US Army Research Lab and Alcoa Defense are developing a single-piece forged aluminum tank hull designed to protect soldiers and ground combat vehicles from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Engineers Reinvent Metal 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 
10/29/2013  15 comments
Engineers are reinventing 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM). The latest idea, from father/son-startup Vader Systems, uses liquid metal jet printing (LMJP) to make solid metal, full-production parts.
Slideshow: Optimizing the Design of Cars & Planes
Engineering Materials 
10/25/2013  15 comments
Sophisticated optimization software turns out to be a secret weapon behind aerospace and automotive companies' ability to successfully incorporate new materials like carbon composites into their designs. It's also behind several other innovations in aerospace and automotive design.
Video: Robotic Cubes Self-Assemble
Engineering Materials 
10/18/2013  26 comments
MIT researchers have developed self-assembling, flywheel-driven modular cube robots that roll around each other and across a surface. They also appear to jump through the air.
Researchers Use Engineered DNA to Develop Programmable Glue
Engineering Materials 
10/16/2013  6 comments
Researchers have used engineered DNA to develop a programmable glue that can be used with a variety of materials to create self-assembling, small-scale systems, such as surgical glue that stitches together selected tissues, reconfigurable computer chips, or lenses.
Muscle-Bound Bots Bench 80 Times Their Own Weight
Engineering Materials 
10/15/2013  34 comments
An electroactivated polymer (EAP) produces robotic muscles that lift 80 times their own weight, a new benchmark. They also store and convert energy that robots can use to operate themselves.
Plastic Car Sandwich Material Modeled on Bone
Engineering Materials 
10/14/2013  19 comments
Bayer MaterialScience has designed a prototype car trunk lid, using a sandwich structure with a dense outer skin made of a glass fiber/polycarbonate-based thermoplastic composite and a polyurethane foam inner core.
Slideshow: Composite Bridge Deck Lightens Loads
Engineering Materials 
10/11/2013  29 comments
Washington, D.C.'s crumbling 29th Street bridge has been replaced with one that has a fiberglass-reinforced composite deck.
DIY: Build Your Own Robotic Bug
Engineering Materials 
10/2/2013  27 comments
A crowdfunded DIY version of the cockroach-like DASH robot invented by engineering students at the University of California, Berkeley, is now available on Dragon Innovation.
Slideshow: 3D Printing Multiple Materials, Colors & Textures Gets Closer
Engineering Materials 
10/1/2013  21 comments
The ability to 3D-print multiple materials, colors, and textures in the same piece is getting closer with some major breakthroughs in hardware and software.
NASA Seeks Commercial-Sector Tech for Human Missions
Engineering Materials 
9/30/2013  8 comments
NASA is on a mission to involve commercial suppliers in advancing human space flight. Jacobs Engineering, NASA's partner in getting technologies and materials human-rated for space, will give details at the upcoming Design & Manufacturing Texas show.
Video: Baxter 2.0 Extends Robot's Reach
Engineering Materials 
9/27/2013  14 comments
A new software upgrade to Rethink Robotics' Baxter robot extends the innovative bot's reach, makes it easier to program more precisely, improves overall performance, and expands its uses in the small to medium-sized companies it was designed for.
Super-Slippery Coating Inspired by Carnivorous Plant
Engineering Materials 
9/25/2013  21 comments
A durable, completely transparent, super-slippery coating can turn regular glass into a material that doesn't stain, resists scratches, and repairs itself. It was inspired by the carnivorous pitcher plant, coated with an ultra-slippery surface that slides insect victims into its depths.
Slideshow: 3D Printing in the Medical Cloud
Engineering Materials 
9/19/2013  24 comments
Medical professionals can use 3D Systems' secure cloud-based Bespoke Modeling service to create, edit, share, and print sophisticated, full-color, 3D anatomical models from CT scans, MRI scans, or other digital imaging and communications data.
Slideshow: Robots Will 3D Print & Build Space Structures
Engineering Materials 
9/17/2013  21 comments
NASA is funding technology that would use robotics and 3D printing to construct parts of very large spacecraft and other structures in space. Doing this could reduce the cost and risk of building and launching systems and allow for bigger structures.
Slideshow: 3D-Print, Etch & Mill in 1 Machine
Engineering Materials 
9/12/2013  8 comments
The latest in Kickstarter's clever, ingenious, and useful manufacturing products is the Microfactory, which combines 3D printing, milling, and etching in one system.
Slideshow: 3D Print, Scan, Copy & Fax in 1 Machine
Engineering Materials 
9/10/2013  40 comments
What if you could 3D scan and copy objects and fax your files as well as 3D print them – using only one machine? AIO Robotics' Zeus 3D printer, funded on Kickstarter, also scans objects, copies them, and faxes .STL files to a remote Zeus for printing.
Report: China Faces Solar Shakeout, but Market Will Keep Growing
Engineering Materials 
9/9/2013  11 comments
A major study of China's tangled solar market concludes that although consolidation and near-term chaos are inevitable, so is continued growth and a return to profitability and price stability.
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Take a look through these film and TV robots from 1990 through 1994.
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