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Engineering Materials
Slideshow: Seismic Shifts in 3D Printing Materials
11/15/2013

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Researchers headed by the University of Science and Technology of China have demonstrated a design optimization scheme that decreases the material needed to 3D print a solid object by 85 percent. They used, as an input test model, a version of the famous statue known as the flying horse of Gansu, shown here. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers headed by the University of Science and Technology of China have demonstrated a design optimization scheme that decreases the material needed to 3D print a solid object by 85 percent. They used, as an input test model, a version of the famous statue known as the flying horse of Gansu, shown here.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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Ann R. Thryft
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AM materials standards
Ann R. Thryft   11/15/2013 11:50:30 AM
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Although I listed it last, the ASTM standards effort to determine the mechanical properties of materials made with AM processes just might end up being the most important of these. There's continuing debate in the industry about the strength and durability of materials made by layering, and a metric for discussing and assessing them is a good start.

far911
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Re: AM materials standards
far911   11/16/2013 5:30:46 AM
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I still believe durability will be an issue along with cost effectiveness.

a.saji
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Re: AM materials standards
a.saji   11/17/2013 4:17:42 AM
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@far911: Respect !!! What is your opinion on this.. Which of this is important most for you .. Durability or Cost ????

notarboca
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Re: AM materials standards
notarboca   11/17/2013 4:38:18 PM
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I agree, Ann, the ASTM standards will provide a framework to stand on as the strength and durability debate continues.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: AM materials standards
Ann R. Thryft   11/18/2013 12:06:38 PM
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Agreed, notarboca. It's tough to discuss anything intelligently if you can't be sure you're talking about equivalent materials with the same properties.

Elizabeth M
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Re: AM materials standards
Elizabeth M   11/19/2013 5:17:33 AM
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I am enjoying your continued thorough coverage of this space, Ann. I would think the durability issue would be a big one, and it's interesting to see the techniques being devised to address it.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: AM materials standards
Ann R. Thryft   11/19/2013 1:06:59 PM
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Thanks, Elizabeth. Depending on the process and post-processing, durability can be, as we've seen, good enough in metals for rocket engine parts, among other things. Plastics can be another story, but it's worthwhile remembering that 3D printing has been used in aerospace and high-end race car applications for several years. What we need is a metric we can all point to if we're going to have any meaningful discussions.

Greg M. Jung
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Optimized Support Structures
Greg M. Jung   11/16/2013 7:44:29 PM
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I am especially interested in the optimized support structure (slide 3) which shows a dramatically reduced amount of support structure material being used.  This is can be very significant for certain applications.  Not only will this save money (less material used), but will also allow for a much faster cleanup of parts (saves time).  In addition to this, certain designs have very delicate features.  By creating a minum amount of material to remove on these delicate features, part breakage and damage can also be reduced.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Optimized Support Structures
Ann R. Thryft   11/18/2013 12:06:08 PM
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Greg, that's a good point about delicate designs and less support structure. That one hadn't occurred to me.

BillStruve
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3D Printing with metal clay
BillStruve   11/26/2013 9:23:46 PM
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A new way of 3D printing is to extrude metal clay, like Metal Adventures Inc. BRONZclay.  After the print is air dried, it is fired in a kiln to fuse the metal particles in the clay into solid metal.  This technique is used in the Mini Metal Maker: http://minimetalmaker.com/press  It is also being used successfuly in the Netherlands.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D Printing with metal clay
Ann R. Thryft   11/27/2013 12:34:53 PM
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Thanks for the tip and the link, BillStruve. I just came across the Mini Metal Maker. But I hadn't heard yet about Metal Adventures. It seems that new 3D printing methods and materials are being invented or refined every day. Can you tell me more about where this technique is being used in the Netherlands?

BillStruve
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Iron
Re: 3D Printing with metal clay
BillStruve   11/27/2013 3:52:14 PM
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Rik Theunissen and Noortje Meijerink used it to print sculptures, and in England, Imakr.vc ordered some for R&D. We have been supplying the clay to artists and jewelers for the last six years. You may also be interested in the AMPM (Additive Manufacturing with Powder Metallurgy) meeting in Orlando next May where I'll be giving a talk.

BillStruve
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Iron
Re: 3D Printing with metal clay
BillStruve   11/27/2013 3:57:44 PM
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Rik Theunissen and Noortje Meijerink used it to print sculptures, and in England, Imakr.vc ordered some for R&D. We have been supplying the clay to artists and jewelers for the last six years. You may also be interested in the AMPM (Additive Manufacturing with Powder Metallurgy) meeting in Orlando next May where I'll be giving a talk.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D Printing with metal clay
Ann R. Thryft   12/2/2013 11:51:28 AM
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Thanks for the details. It sounds like it's mostly aimed at craft, art, jewelry and hobby applications. I'm more interested in industrial and commercial uses. Do you think that's possible in the future?

BillStruve
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Iron
Re: 3D Printing with metal clay
BillStruve   12/2/2013 1:01:21 PM
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Yes!

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