Titanium is a super strong and light weight metal, and is ideally suited for many design projects ranging from recreational equipment to aircraft. But act now to lock up supplies if you hope to use it to any significant extent in the next several years. Reason: Major aircraft OEMs are securing projected needs through very long-term supply agreements. Boeing, Rolls-Royce, and most recently United Technologies Corp. have all signed long-term commitments to buy the material from major suppliers such as Timet, Allegheny Technologies and Russia’s Vsmpo-Avisma.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.