Forecast 3D showed off a replica it built of the classic Chevy Corvette LS7 small-block engine using rapid prototyping. Engineers used fused deposition modeling to print the intake manifold from an Ultem 9085 thermoplastic. They made the engine block in a two-step process -- employing stereolithography to build a master and then encapsulating it in silicone to create a mold. The company has used the mold to create 25 urethane castings of the block. The block replica is so detailed that it has real pistons, and oil can run through it. (Source: Design News)
I can easily where you might think 3D printing is being used mainly for figurines, naperlou, but that happens to be more about the nature of trade shows than about 3D printing. At trade shows, the idea is to get people to stop in their tracks and visit the booth. The Creature From the Black Lagoon accomplishes that more effectively than a medical catheter.
Never do much with? My vinyl art sits on my shelf very nicely as I gaze at it adoringly!
It's no surprise that this technology is being used in that sub-culture/industry. The market went mainstream a while ago. You can get Simpsons, South Park and Marvel collectibles. Real artists, like Michael Lau, need another medium. Geek culture is very popular. This is great for new artists.
Sorry I missed the (Medical-?) exhibition, but I'm a little puzzled as to the content being "showcased" there. I was expecting to see diabetes-self-check-portables, or, heart-rate monitors; but I see mostly Non-Medical, "Wow" factor models of engines& vehicles, skulls & monsters! Maybe I didn't miss anything after all ,,,,, Considering such a high number of Rapid-Prototyping suppliers are attempting to drum-up new business there, I would think they would show more relevant examples to the industry in attendance-? ,,, Like maybe "Clean-Room" equivalent 3D printing-?
This is very similar to when wire EDM's first really started appearing in toolrooms around here. They never demonstrated wire cutting actual die components, but instead the program cut a familiar figure. The one I saw most was Mickey Mouse. Horses were also very popular. I asked a factory rep why and he said just what Charles said, "To catch a prospective customer's eye. Once they stop to talk, we can talk about machine specifics, but if they just walk by that conversation never takes place."
I really liked the Renishaw Equator 300 gauging system - I can see how that would really help QC inspection and increase throughput. Their website offers some great information and testimonials. Here is an interesting video I found that showcases its functionality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkW5NsZxyMA
One thing is for sure about this new engine, it is better than the other one. I notice that it looks much simpler with rather fewer parts. However it is very important that the new engines be made so as to ensure that they are more efficient. The efficiency not only goes for fuel consumption but also for reduction of pollution. I have always been a big fan of Chevy Corvettes and this comes as good news. With the improved engine people should be able to explore the full potential of the corvettes so that they become even bigger road monsters.
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