Why is Apple so successful with its new designs? Well, one answer is that it breaks the rules when it comes to injection molding. One of the basic rules taught to new industrial designers is to always leave a draft angle so molded parts can be easily slipped from a mold cavity. Apple’s Designer-in-Chief Steve Jobs said the heck with that, according to an article in the current issue of MIT’s Technology Review. Apple designs computer housings with zero draft. It costs more for special ejection, but Apple achieves a unique box-like look. It also means designers can pack more in the housing and money is saved on packaging and shipping costs. But concept is king at Apple. Apple also makes extensive use of a two-shot molding process it calls “double back”.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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