The key to a new Hewlett-Packard high speed printer is a very intricate injection molded ceramic part. As part of a $1.4 billion, five-year research project, HP design engineers approached a British ceramics company, called Morgan Advanced Ceramics, and asked if it could develop a piece that features 3,900 print nozzles. HP eyed ceramic because of its strength and hardness. Until recent years, ceramic was never a top choice for intricate, small parts because of the poor flowability of common ceramic compositions, and the expense of secondary machining. Morgan is now in full production of the component, which is part of a built-from-the-ground-up piece that rapidly distributes ink to paper, allowing full-color prints in 14 seconds.
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.