HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials

3D-Printed Steel Building Structures

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Mechanical properties
Charles Murray   7/2/2014 6:09:08 PM
These parts are very impressive, Ann. When the mechanical properties are finally revealed, I wonder how this will compare to commonly-used A36 structural steels in terms of tensile and flexural strength, as well as modulus of elasticity.

78RPM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Mechanical properties
78RPM   7/2/2014 8:50:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Are any standards for mechanical and structural integrity being set or sought for this 3D printing method?  The possible shapes are certainly more complex than any that could be achieved via casting. But different printers have different resolution -- and different temperatures and print rates. How will such parts be certified?

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Mechanical properties
Ann R. Thryft   7/7/2014 11:57:45 AM
NO RATINGS
78RPM, there aren't any existing standards for 3D printing methods, although that's the subject of several America Makes (formerly NAMII) projects, as we've reported. We've also reported on ASTM standards efforts for 3D printed parts. There certainly are existing industry standards for steel parts in the construction industry. And that's certainly true in other industries using 3D printed metal parts for end-use apps, such as aerospace, sporting equipment, and medical and dental implants.



GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Mechanical properties
GTOlover   7/3/2014 9:51:57 AM
NO RATINGS
Not just the properties, but the construction techniques? I can see the part pictured requiring several elements bolted or pinned to it (as this is described as a node). But how does this look for a construction comany that has to eventually build a structure with these parts? Erector set building with detailed instructions? Afterall, wouldn't want to mix up the nodes if they are uniquely engineered and printed for a specific load path.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Mechanical properties
Greg M. Jung   7/4/2014 4:01:29 PM
NO RATINGS
Impressive indeed.  Previously 'impossible' shapes could now become a reality. 

Charles, I do agree with you, it would be interesting to compare the mechanical properties of these new materials with standard steel and confirm that these new properties are also consistent and repeatable for each 3D build batch.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Mechanical properties
Ann R. Thryft   7/7/2014 11:59:22 AM
NO RATINGS
Regarding comparable properties of 3D-printed metals, some such studies have already been done. Some are mentioned in this article we posted by Optomec:  
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=271188
Independent tests that actually showed better yield and tensile strength in 3D printed Ti-6Al-4V alloys used for structural components on aircraft made with Optomec's machines are discussed here
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=264842
Also, for comparison, specs for EOS' various steels and other metals, which conform to specific ASTM standards for mechanical properties and chemical composition, can be accessed here
http://www.eos.info/material-m
 



Debera Harward
User Rank
Silver
Re: Mechanical properties
Debera Harward   7/16/2014 11:41:34 AM
NO RATINGS
Ann thanks alot for such an interesting post , thats really very  great and amazing to see where the technology is moving and going 3 d printing is no doubt becomming very popular and it will be one of the famous technology in future.

Debera Harward
User Rank
Silver
Re: Mechanical properties
Debera Harward   7/16/2014 11:48:46 AM
NO RATINGS
No doubt this 3d printed steel should be compared with original steel and yes if the compositions and the strenght of both are same then definitely 3d printed steel is on its way towards future technology .

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Mechanical properties
Ann R. Thryft   7/18/2014 12:40:06 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for your enthusiasm, Deberah. I enjoy bringing "amazing but true" materials and assembly stories to our readers.



Jerry dycus
User Rank
Gold
Re: Mechanical properties
Jerry dycus   7/5/2014 9:55:38 AM
NO RATINGS
 

Charles, since Musk. SpaceX is buillding rocket engines from it , it look like they have mostly solved the strength.

And these are many time heated to blend the printing together though some laser, etc it on.

The major problem is time.  Except for patterns to make or be molds, a few units or ones that can't be made any other way, normal production is still better.

An interesting thing is most metals have 'grains' which could be harnessed to give even higher strength  3D can help do, cutting weight for higher streength/weight ratios.

BTW your newsletter links don't work for the last 2 days for my W-7 laptop.    

 

 

jhankwitz
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Mechanical properties
jhankwitz   7/7/2014 9:37:04 AM
NO RATINGS
Space-X Rocket Engines being built from it?  That statement implies that it's used to build the whole thing.  I'm sure that only a very select few parts are fabricated this way, not anywhere near the whole thing.  It would be interesting to know exactly which parts.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Mechanical properties
Ann R. Thryft   7/18/2014 12:37:39 PM
NO RATINGS
You're right, jhankwitz, it's specific parts on the SpaceX Dragon V2 that were 3D printed. OTOH, these are engine combustion chambers for the thrusters
http://3dprint.com/4740/spacex-dragon-2-3d-print/
which says a lot about the mechanical properties possible with direct metal laser sintering.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Mechanical properties
William K.   7/5/2014 12:37:24 PM
NO RATINGS
I concurr with Charles, in that while the parts certainly look good the proof would be in actual test results, since these creations are intended to carry loads that are at least "sort of known." And if it is as good as predicted then it will indeed open up a new realm of ways to build stuff. At some point it will be cheaper to desgn and print instead of design and have fabricated. Production speed is definitely a limiting factor, though. Presently engine blocks are produced at one per minute, likewise completed engines. Doing that with 3D printing would be quite an achievement indeed. But for short runs of machinery this method may be a very economical option.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Mechanical properties
Ann R. Thryft   7/7/2014 11:53:47 AM
NO RATINGS
Chuck, the mechanical properties of 3D printed metal parts used in end-production aerospace, medical and dental applications are the same as those they replace, otherwise they couldn't be used in those highly regulated industries. Same goes for that 3D-printed, load-bearing engine block we mention in this story, and the 3D-printed titanium bike parts in one of the links at the end of the  blog.



Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
3D Printing
Cadman-LT   7/4/2014 7:06:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Hey Ann, my favorite subject! Great article! Kittens be crazy...lol hope you get that joke

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D Printing
Ann R. Thryft   7/9/2014 12:36:31 PM
NO RATINGS
Hey Cadman, glad you liked this one. And yes, I sure do get that joke--glad to hear it.

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
climbing 3-D printers
ChasChas   7/5/2014 10:46:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Do you see what I see?

Climbing 3-D printers that print the whole structure.

Forget the heavy cranes!

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: climbing 3-D printers
Ann R. Thryft   7/9/2014 12:37:12 PM
NO RATINGS
ChasChas, I think you're ahead of the game there--great idea. This could be combined with those climbing robots that do maintenance on wind towers we wrote about

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=247655

eafpres
User Rank
Gold
...and beyond properties
eafpres   7/5/2014 5:37:33 PM
Frequently, I seem to be the annoying gadfly buzzing around and disturbing the otherwise pleasant conversation on 3D printing.

The issues with real-world application of these approaches in safety-critical applications depends on knowing the properties and behavior of the resulting material.  That is very true and has been stated already.  As engineers, we owe it to our clients or employers to consider what else might need investigation.  Here I offer a few areas of concern:

1) What are the dynamic properties of these complex structures under time variant and multi-axis loads?  Are there any unwanted resonances which could lead to premature or unexpected failure?

2) What are the failure modes for these parts in use?  For better or worse, many existing, accepted designs have decades of in-use field data showing they are reliable and if they fail, how they do fail.  This allows preventive maintenance and inspections, possibly installing monitoring, etc.  How do we approach that with these new alternatives?

3) How do these strucutres differ in their response to environmental variation from proven designs?  For example what is the thermal - dimensional behavior of the "node" shown in the article vs. the existing practices?  Buildings, aircraft, bridges--many of the targeted end applications often operate over a very wide range of temperatures, humidity, shock, vibration, etc.

4) Related to (2) and (3) what are the new corrosion behaviors of metal parts made this way?  Do they hold up better or worse?  Does the apparently high surface area lead to faster growth of corrostion per unit mass of the part?  Is that a concern?

5) The question of bolts was raised.  I would ask a related question--how are the bolt locations chosen for such an asymmetric part, and do the loads on the different bolts vary by location?  If so, how is this accounted for in the safety margins used in the design?

6) As noted already there is a high risk of improper installation.  Using either the wrong customized part, or installing it wrong.  This requires introduction of mistake proofing approaches into parts that in the past were "idiot proof".  This is no small matter--on another UBM forum we discussed how a high percentage of advanced electrical systems may be installed wrong.  Complexity creates high risk of this, and that risk must be mitigated.

7) Does the design with such parts make maintenance more or less difficult?  That may not matter for buildings, but could matter for other applications.  Most of the reports talk about all the benefits yet nothing about the negatives.  There must be tradeoffs.  As Heinlein coined in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress": TANSTAFL ("There ain't no such thing as a free lunch").

 

RandD
User Rank
Iron
Re: ...and beyond properties
RandD   7/15/2014 4:10:20 PM
NO RATINGS
eafpres: You raise several good points, but none are new. All would have to be considered for any new material, or construction technique. I'm sure all these same points were considered when riveted aluminum was being touted for airplane fuselages. Sometimes, it's not all knowable from day one, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried. It does mean adequate prudence is called for, good testing, and continuous evaluation. This is what we (Engineers) do.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: ...and beyond properties
Ann R. Thryft   7/18/2014 12:36:51 PM
NO RATINGS
RandD, thanks for the reminder about the process of engineering regarding new materials and assembly/construction methods. I suppose it could be summed up as "don't trust and always verify" which can only be done during the actual design process. I think of it a bit like the process called "discovery" in legal situations.

Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
3D printing for construction segment
Mydesign   7/7/2014 5:33:07 AM
NO RATINGS
1 saves
"The 3D printing of metal parts has been advancing, in medical implants, aircraft components, and aircraft engines. Even complex lattice structures are not unusual, as within has demonstrated in titanium implants. Now engineers at UK-based building design firm Arup have come up with a design method for 3D printing structural steel elements to be used in construction projects."

Ann, I think in application level 3D printing is expanding to almost all areas ranging from aerospace to medical to common structures. Good, would you think it will help any advancement in construction segment?

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
After a year or so of missteps, false starts, retractions, and postponements, inkjet office printer giant Hewlett-Packard has finally revealed just what it plans to do in 3D printing.
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
We've found an amazing variety of robot hands & arms in medicine, space, and service robots, as well as R&D and assembly. Some are based on industrial designs modified for speed or dexterity, while others more closely emulate human movements, as well as human size and shape.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team 100 to make (about $161 US).
Design News Webinar Series
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Nov 3 - 7, Engineering Principles behind Advanced User Interface Technologies
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service