3D-Printed Telescope Takes (Nice!) Pix of the Moon
Engineering Materials 10/21/2014 4 comments The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
12 Robots That Play Sports
Blog 10/20/2014 15 comments Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Get Your Gadget Freak On
Gadget Freak 10/16/2014 1 comment Design News and Allied Electronics have raised the stakes for our second-annual Gadget Freak of the Year contest. The top three gadgeteers will be awarded a total of $10,000. Don't delay, enter today!
MSC Software Spiffs Up Its CAE
Blog 10/16/2014 2 comments A recent example of a major CAE revamp is MSC Apex, released last month by MSC Software Corp. In a discussion with Design News, MSC executives noted that its next-generation platform is designed to substantially reduce CAE modeling and process time, “in some cases from weeks down to hours.”
Understanding the Hardness of Metals
Blog 10/13/2014 8 comments When designing metal parts, it's important to specify their hardness. However, many engineers have only a shaky understanding of what hardness actually is, or how it's measured. This article helps clear up that confusion.
Video: Tiny Humanoid Robot Flies Plane
Engineering Materials 10/13/2014 9 comments A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
China's Emerging 3D Printing Market Will Grow 4X
Engineering Materials 10/10/2014 12 comments Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
How to Think Like an Engineer
Blog 10/8/2014 28 comments Most engineers spend a lot of time thinking about how to solve design problems, but not much time thinking about how we think. Using analogies can help you come up with more, and possibly better, design ideas.
IAPD Plastics Expo Gives Engineers Alternatives
Engineering Materials 10/8/2014 8 comments You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
Top 20 US Graduate Engineering Programs
Blog 10/7/2014 7 comments As promised when we listed the top undergraduate engineering schools, here are the top 20 US engineering schools based on their graduate programs. We looked at a number of rankings and created an overall list based on an average.
Is Your Star Rising?
Blog 10/7/2014 1 comment Help Design News recognize engineers who are ahead of the trends and making big moves in the design engineering community. Nominate a Rising Engineering Star today.
Engineering Disasters: NASA’s Genesis Probe Got it Backwards
Blog 10/6/2014 22 comments The Genesis was a NASA probe designed to gather a sample of solar wind and return it to earth -- the first mission designed to bring samples back since the Apollo Program. Launched on August 8, 2004, the probe did a great job getting close enough to the sun to collect samples. But the return ride turned into a disaster.
Littelfuse Takes Its Message to EE Students
Electronic News & Comment 10/6/2014 7 comments In an attempt to deal with the insidious problems of over-voltage and over-current, engineers from Littelfuse Inc. are taking their message about circuit protection to engineering schools.
The Job Market: Robots vs. Humans
Engineering Materials 10/3/2014 6 comments Some studies say that robots take away certain jobs from humans, but give us others in return. So far that's worked in the past, but things may be changing.
India's Mangalyaan Probe Reaches Mars
Blog 9/30/2014 13 comments Three days after NASA's MAVEN probe reached Mars, India's Mangalyaan probe went into orbit around the red planet. India's first interplanetary mission, and the first successful Mars probe launched by an Asian nation, has a total project cost of nearly $600 million less than MAVEN's.
Siemens Furthers STEM Initiative in NC
STEM Connection 9/30/2014 2 comments Siemens PLM Software has made an in-kind donation of software to Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina for its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Division.
MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Engineering Materials 9/25/2014 17 comments NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has entered Mars' atmosphere, carrying instruments to help Earthlings figure out what happened to it. Launched last November, the spacecraft arrived at the red planet right on time after a journey of 442 million miles.
Airbus' 3D-Printed Metal Spacecraft Hinge
Engineering Materials 9/22/2014 10 comments Airbus Defence and Space has 3D printed titanium brackets for communications satellites. The redesigned, one-piece 3D-printed brackets have better thermal resistance than conventionally manufactured parts, can be produced faster, cost 20% less, and save about 1 kg of weight per satellite.
15 Great Hacker Movies
Blog 9/19/2014 35 comments Hacking has a long history in the movies, beginning with Tron and War Games and continuing through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Stratasys Reveals Latest Multi-Materials 3D Printers
Engineering Materials 9/18/2014 2 comments At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
GE Aviation Steps Up 3D-Printed Engine Parts
Engineering Materials 9/16/2014 5 comments GE Aviation not only plans to use 3D printing to mass-produce metal parts for its LEAP jet engine, but it's also developing a separate technology for 3D-printing metal parts used in its other engines.
20 Top Employers for Engineers
Blog 9/15/2014 16 comments We searched far and wide for the top employers for engineers. These companies were ranked by engineering professionals, engineering students, and engineering instructors and professors. Does your employer make the grade?
How to Harpoon a Comet
Guest Blogs 9/12/2014 9 comments In November, a European space probe will try to land on the surface of a comet moving at about 84,000 mph and rotating with a period of 12.7 hours. Many factors make positioning the probe for the landing an engineering challenge.
NinjaFlex 3D Printing Filament Gets Colorful
Product News 9/12/2014 16 comments NinjaFlex flexible 3D printing filament made from thermoplastic elastomers is available in a growing assortment of colors, most recently gold and silver. It's flexible and harder than you'd expect: around 85A (Shore A).
GE Redesigns Carbon Composite Blades for GE9X Engine
News 9/11/2014 4 comments Carbon fiber composites aren't a new thing in jet engine fan blades. Every so often, though, they have to be redesigned to take advantage of advances in carbon composite technology. This year, GE Aviation is designing new blades for the upcoming GE9X engine that will be thinner, lighter, and at least as strong as the composite blades on its existing engines.
NASA Invents Multi-Metals 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 9/3/2014 20 comments NASA's JPL and Caltech have achieved the mind-boggling feat of 3D printing multiple metals in a single end-part, grading from one alloy to another. They've also developed a method for combining metals with carbon fiber composites in end-production parts.
Video: Autonomous Military Robots Complete Mission
Engineering Materials 9/2/2014 3 comments More and more robots are becoming more autonomous all the time. Now Lockheed Martin has completed a demo mission with two completely autonomous robotic vehicles performing resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition.
ASTM Proposes New Standards for Metal 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 8/29/2014 6 comments Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Video: 1,000 Swarming Robots Self-Assemble
Engineering Materials 8/28/2014 13 comments The biggest robot swarm to date is made of 1,000 Kilobots, which can follow simple rules to autonomously assemble into predetermined shapes. Hardware and software are open-source.
Update: Converting Plastics to Energy Could Boost US Reserves
Engineering Materials 8/27/2014 23 comments Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
Report: Metamaterials Will Partly Depend on Additive Manufacturing
Engineering Materials 8/20/2014 8 comments Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX Reveals 3D-Printed Rocket Engine Parts
Engineering Materials 8/19/2014 9 comments SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
How to Machine Aerospace-Grade Composites
News 8/18/2014 21 comments UK researchers have come up with a method for machining aerospace-grade, carbon fiber-reinforced composites, along with high-strength aerospace alloys, using an ultrasonically assisted machining device. It also works on high-strength aerospace alloys.
Can Plastic Bearings Outperform Metal Ones?
Blog 8/6/2014 7 comments Plastic bearings are replacing metal in some pretty tough jobs. Sometimes they're equally effective and reliable, and sometimes they actually outperform those parts. We'll tell you all about how this is possible in an upcoming Design News Focus on Fundamentals course.
Update: Intelligent Composites for Structural Monitoring
Engineering Materials 8/5/2014 5 comments Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
Video: Sciaky to Sell Its Huge Metals 3D Printers
News 7/31/2014 6 comments Sciaky, provider of electron-beam additive manufacturing (EBAM) services, will start selling these machines commercially in September. The company has used its EBAM 3D printing technology for making very large, high-value, metal prototypes and production parts for aerospace and defense OEMs.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.