HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials
Biggest, Fastest Titanium 3D Printer
10/8/2012

Airbus, aerostructure manufacturer Aerosud, and the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, are partnering to develop the biggest, fastest 3D printer possible for making titanium aircraft and satellite components. Shown here, the Airbus A380 demonstrator aircraft arrives at the 2012 Farnborough International Airport.   (Source: Airbus)
Airbus, aerostructure manufacturer Aerosud, and the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, are partnering to develop the biggest, fastest 3D printer possible for making titanium aircraft and satellite components. Shown here, the Airbus A380 demonstrator aircraft arrives at the 2012 Farnborough International Airport.
(Source: Airbus)

Return to Article

View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Strength
naperlou   10/8/2012 10:48:16 AM
NO RATINGS
Ann, this is interesting news.  One question I would have is on the strength of the materials.  In general, machined materials are stronger than injection molded materials.  Of course, if the strength is enough for the purpose, then that is enough.  Then the speed of manufactur is all important.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength
Ann R. Thryft   10/8/2012 12:35:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Lou, the strength of the PM/sintered titanium powder metal parts produced by Dynamet has received approval from Boeing for use in structural aircraft parts, after a few years of testing. That news is pretty amazing on its own. The fact that Airbus has signed on to the Aeroswift aircraft structures project to help test selective laser-sintered titanium parts is another vote of confidence. It will be interesting to see what happens during that test phase.



Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength
Charles Murray   10/8/2012 6:33:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, do we know how big the printer is, or how big the parts can be?

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength
Ann R. Thryft   10/9/2012 12:35:16 PM
NO RATINGS
Chuck, I looked all over for build volume and printer size with no luck. The only clue is that it's designed to build components of large aircraft structures. I'm guessing several feet per side of build volume. Very large 3D printers exist in architectural apps for use with sand and soil and their build volumes can be 2m x 2m x 5m up to 6m x 6m x 2m, and even larger in the works.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Strength and Size
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   10/9/2012 1:00:17 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann - thanks for offering the large size baths that are still being developed.  I had no idea that 3D makers were developing apparatus that large. 6 meters square-?  That's enormous. That's about 50 feet across diagonal; large enough to make a wingspan frame.  Wow.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength and Size
Ann R. Thryft   10/9/2012 2:05:33 PM
NO RATINGS
Jim, note that those huge build volumes are for building architecture apps, not for aircraft. We don't know the build volume of the Aeroswift machine.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength and Size
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   10/9/2012 6:38:18 PM
NO RATINGS
OK, noted;  do you know an example of the architectural Apps -?  I'm fuzzy on that, and wondering if it's a stretch between architectural and aeronautical ,,, ?

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength and Size
Ann R. Thryft   10/10/2012 12:09:20 PM
NO RATINGS
Jim, the architectural apps are for buildings. If you google "3D printed buildings" you'll find several different versions. Unless you want to make airplanes out of sand and cement, there's no relationship in products. But figuring out to make larger build volumes is, to some extent, a generic 3D printing problem, which is why I mentioned the larger build volumes of the architectural apps.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength and Size
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   10/11/2012 1:11:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann- thanks- I did search per your advice, and found this:

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-08/researcher-aims-print-3-d-print-entire-houses-out-concrete-20-hours

,,,which opens a whole new paradigm for me. Very thought provoking and encouraging for new innovative methods for everyday things. (Too bad the associated comments under this linked story are so negative and narrow minded - it helps remind me that even break-thru progress has anchors to drag.)

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Strength and Size
Ann R. Thryft   10/11/2012 1:36:00 PM
NO RATINGS
Jim, so glad to give you info about something new that sparks your creative thinking. I think the potential of 3D printing technology can be applied in all kinds of ways we haven't thought about yet. I really enjoy doing that here at Design News. I don't expect everyone to agree or find what I write about interesting. But I'm glad that many enjoy the new and different technologies I find. Creativity has sometimes been defined as bringing together disparate elements in a new way.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Strength
Dave Palmer   10/8/2012 1:06:21 PM
NO RATINGS
@naperlou: Selective laser sintering typically doesn't yield a fully-dense part, so the mechanical properties would be significantly inferior to those of a forging.  On the other hand, it has been shown that selective laser sintering followed by hot isostatic pressing can give mechanical properties equivalent to conventionally-processed titanium.

It seems like a good move for South Africa to go from an exporter of raw materials to a manufacturer of high-tech components.  Other developing countries could benefit from this example.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Great article
Cadman-LT   10/8/2012 1:04:26 PM
NO RATINGS
Great article Ann. I always like learning about the new things they are doing with 3D printing. Titanium now, what's next? Keep the articles coming!

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Economics
Greg M. Jung   10/11/2012 9:08:35 PM
NO RATINGS
I am also impressed with the forward thinking ability of this South African consortium to strategically invest in processes that produce net shape titanium rather than raw titanium, thus capitalizing on much higher profit margins.  This vertical business integration will help both their organizations and their country.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economics
Ann R. Thryft   10/12/2012 12:00:55 PM
NO RATINGS
Greg, I agree, and I thought Dave's comments were also to the point regarding vertical integration in South Africa all the way from raw materials to exported products. Looks like a very wise business move for the country overall.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
3D PRINTING
bobjengr   11/23/2012 5:23:32 PM
NO RATINGS
Excellent article Ann.  I have followed "additive manufacturing" over the past few years and remain fascinated by the possibilities.   Right now it appears the various types are as follows:

·         (SLA) Stereolithography

·         (SLS) Selective Laser Sintering

·         (FDM) Fused Deposition Modeling

·         (3DP) Three Dimensional Printing

·         (Pjet) Poly-Jet

·         Laminated Object Manufacturing

Stereolithography, of course, was the very first.  There are two things that really amaze me about the processes: 1.)  The size of manufactured product grows each year and 2.) The materials used for the each method expand and grow each year.   I would not be surprised at all is the testing planned yield components that "make the grade" as far as specifications.  I suspect they could exceed expectations.  Again, great post.

  

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3D PRINTING
Ann R. Thryft   11/28/2012 11:28:22 AM
NO RATINGS
bobjengr, the number of AM techniques is actually pretty small. Basically, there's SLA, (S)LS, and FDM. Various forms of "3D printing" ("3DP" is a term invented by MIT), are simply doing AM with an inkjet-type nozzle that sprays material in all three directions (X, Y, Z) for creating layers. PolyJet, for instance, is not a separate method, but an SLA technique using inkjet methods. A caveat: the term "3D printing" is now used, confusingly, to refer to all types of additive manufacturing. You also listed Laminated Object Manufacturing, which (obviously) uses lamination. This is a rapid prototyping method that competes with SLA and SLS, but is not considered an AM technique.
One of the best AM resources I've found is here:
http://www.wohlersassociates.com

vkalanov
User Rank
Iron
Re: 3D PRINTING
vkalanov   1/8/2013 11:41:59 AM
NO RATINGS
My company Control Systems Technologies, LLC holds four patents in modular robotic technology.  We basically form a multi degree of freedom configuration (synchronous 6 DOF) around an application and thus shape a work space according to a customer's need.  Our path planning program is based on an API that is directly tied to SolidWorks thus enabling the user to form a 3D path within minutes (including cladding paths) to be executed on an existing part and/or slicing if the part needs to be built.  I think that this technology can be applied readily in 3D printing applications.  Please let me know who I may contact in order to see if there is a fit.

Many thanks,

Dr. Kalanovic, Owner

Vojislav.Kalanovic@sdsmt.edu

www.consytec.org

 

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
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.
Design News Webinar Series
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.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.
Dec 1 - 5, An Introduction to Embedded Software Architecture and Design
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