Structural 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. The steel node shown here is the first component to be produced using the new method.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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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