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Engineering Materials

NASA 3D Prints Rocket Engine Parts

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ChasChas
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Platinum
New process - Old design
ChasChas   11/26/2012 1:10:46 PM
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The picture looks like welded tubular design - why?

Why use a new process on an old design?

Upgrade the design to fit the process.

G W Brewer
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Iron
Great News!
G W Brewer   11/26/2012 4:29:02 PM
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This is such excellent news!

We have been looking high an low for a way to on-board manufacture parts for the Dilithium platform orientation modules. Also, those pesky anitmatter nozzle modulators.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Steps to the future
Jack Rupert, PE   11/26/2012 4:42:14 PM
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I had not heard that the 3D printing capabilities had evolved beyond the prototype plastic materials.  This seems to be a big step forward.  Any news on multi-material printing yet?

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Steps to the future
Ann R. Thryft   11/27/2012 12:37:32 PM
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Jack, as mentioned below, these are very different app and technology areas. Here's a manufacturing publication article (plus comments) about industrial AM increasing the use of metals and how different these uses, and technology, are from the maker movement level of machines and materials:
http://www.manufacturing-executive.com/thread/2532
And here's a DN article about industrial 3D printing with non-plastic materials:
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=252293
There are others listed at the bottom of this current article.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: NASA prints rocket engine parts
Charles Murray   11/27/2012 6:56:18 PM
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You raise a number of good points, William K. I, too, was impressed by the fact that NASA would consider this process for a functional part. This could be a sign that 3D printing is finding its niche in low-production-volume parts.

garyhlucas
User Rank
Silver
Re: Steps to the future
garyhlucas   11/27/2012 8:37:51 PM
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You probably aren't aware that 3D printing of titanium hip replacements have already captured a large percentage 30%? of the market already. They leave the structure somewhat porous so that the bone can actually grow into it.  CT scans are used to create the 3D model used to make the part specifically for your joints. What a great use of this process!

Robespierre
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Iron
Re: Interesting new process
Robespierre   11/28/2012 3:13:10 PM
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Cabe, the term "3D Printing" only confuses people, doesn't explain the various technologies and is a very weak term to encapsulate an entire industry.  Supposedly, the term "3D Printing" was supposed to replace the term "Rapid Prototyping" and does a weak job at it because people assume the machinery are printers, such as some cheap thing sitting on a desk.  The more powerful term is "Additive Manufacturing" and encapsulates the host of part producing technolgies with strength.  Some Additive Manufacturing technologies produce plastic parts i.e. made in Nylon; ABS; Acrylic, etc. and some of these parts are perfectly fine for use as a Rapid Manufactured functional part and are present on space aircraft to this day.  Within the Additive Manufacturing industry exist systems that produce parts in metal, layer by layer, and the parts go directly into the human body, or into jet engines.  Turbine blades for commercial aircraft are made directly in a select couple of additive manufacturing technologies, with the welds being stronger than the titanium itself.  Some parts require the HIP (Hot Isostatic Process) prior to final stamp of approval, but nonetheless, they are functional parts ready for installation. The article here is factual, with the only exception that these types of parts have been manufactured via additive manufacturing for years.  It is not new news within the industry but is now coming out as giant leaps in the additive manufacturing metals process has now become better, cheaper and faster.   

Robespierre
User Rank
Iron
Re: Steps to the future
Robespierre   11/28/2012 3:17:43 PM
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Excellent post!  The porous areas intentionally left in the titanium parts are called "net structures".  It won't be long before a larger % of all implants are produced in the metal part printers. 

Robespierre
User Rank
Iron
Re: Steps to the future
Robespierre   11/28/2012 3:20:31 PM
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Jack, Objet Geometries sells multi material 3D printers.  Arcam (Sweden) sells metal part producing systems using an electron beam. 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Interesting new process
Ann R. Thryft   12/3/2012 3:03:28 PM
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Robespierre, thanks for your comments on nomenclature. As I posted in the comments section of a different article http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=251754 the term "3D printing" is now used, confusingly, to refer to all types of additive manufacturing. One of the reasons for this is no doubt the fact that the term "3D printing" gets a lot more attention than the term additive manufacturing, probably because it's immediately easier to visualize what's meant, at least by those not familiar with AM. It's also true that much of the actual 3D printing done in the beginning of that version of AM used (and uses) inkjet technology, very similar to the printers that sit on our desks, so it's a valid term for that sector of AM. I'm not sure what you mean by "these types of parts have been manufactured via additive manufacturing for years." NASA using AM to make rocket engine parts is pretty darn revolutionary.

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