Suppliers of additive fabrication systems have been touting the potential for direct digital manufacturing for years. Now more of them are starting to walk that walk–by using their own additive machines to make parts for their new machines. The latest example comes from Stratasys, which this week revealed that 32 of the parts on its latest large-format fused deposition modeling (FDM) system were produced via FDM. This machine, the FDM 900mc, features a big 3×2x3-ft build envelope and has been designed from the ground up to support direct digital manufacturing. Among the FDM parts on the new machine is a touch-screen bezel. With direct digital manufacturing, Stratasys can create this low-volume part on demand, saving an estimated $100,000 of tooling costs and at least six weeks of tooling lead time. Stratasys isn’t alone in using its own technology to procure parts for its machines. EOS GmbH has employed a similar strategy on its Formiga P100 system. Read about it in this earlier post. For a more comprehensive look at direct digital manufacturing news and some how-to tips, go to Design News’ Factory of the Future page.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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