The US Patent office yesterday granted Apple Computer a patent for a process called double back injection molding used to make electronic housings. The process allows the distinctive glowing border effect in Microsoft's Zune player . The process allows creation of two different color effects as well as improved structural characteristics of the border wall. it avoids expensive and complicated action in tools. Apple uses double shot injection molding for both iPods and iMac desktop computers, which have a clear shell over a black or white layer. “The two shot injection process allows for a thinner walled enclosure that uses less materials and allows for added structural features that would not be possible using traditional molding techniques,” according to the patent summary. It was not clear, but seemed apparent, that Microsoft may have to pay a licensing fee to continue use of the process. One blogger stated, without documentation, that Apple was stealing Microsoft’s idea. Apple was not available for comment.
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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