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Engineering Materials
Slideshow: 3D Printing Will Go to Mars
9/13/2012

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Unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturers such as Honeywell are using 3D laser sintering to make a multitude of parts and subsystems, including engine housings, fuel tanks, and fuselages. The vehicle, its parts, and its payload can be changed quickly for different customers or different missions. Paramount, a 3D Systems company, has made parts for Honeywell's T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle. The British Army has adopted the T-Hawk MAV for use in Afghanistan, and the US Army is using it for its Future Combat Systems Class I UAV. The parts are made with Paramount's high-temperature laser sintering process. Its materials can be processed at 380 C, are naturally nonflammable, and don't outgas. (Source: Honeywell)
Unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturers such as Honeywell are using 3D laser sintering to make a multitude of parts and subsystems, including engine housings, fuel tanks, and fuselages. The vehicle, its parts, and its payload can be changed quickly for different customers or different missions. Paramount, a 3D Systems company, has made parts for Honeywell's T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle. The British Army has adopted the T-Hawk MAV for use in Afghanistan, and the US Army is using it for its Future Combat Systems Class I UAV. The parts are made with Paramount's high-temperature laser sintering process. Its materials can be processed at 380 C, are naturally nonflammable, and don't outgas.
(Source: Honeywell)

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JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Concerns about extreme Cold
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/13/2012 4:18:50 PM
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My initial thought about using the prototype materials was the thermal risks; meaning brittleness and prone to shattering in the extreme cold Martian temperatures. But I recalled a recent environmental test done to an SLS prototype housing.  It was placed in a cold chamber at -55°C and an impact test was run, simulating a sharp impact at extreme cold.  The housing was designed with a 2mm wall thickness, and the SLS didn't even dent, let alone shatter.  And while Martian climate can exceed -55°C, that was the lowest limit of our chamber's capability. But I'm convinced; at least for SLS.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Fascinating
Ann R. Thryft   9/13/2012 12:34:40 PM
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Jenn, Contour Crafting's potential blows my mind. I mean, 3D printing whole buildings? It's still under development and started out as a mold-making technology for constructing large industrial parts. The inventor expanded the concept to a method for building quick emergency shelters after disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina or major earthquakes. The website says it can produce structures such as houses or larger multi-unit buildings, and that "embedded in each house [are] all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning." That's amazing enough, but the process is also designed to use naturally occurring local materials like clay or plaster. That's a big one--no expensive engineering-grade plastic needed. Here's the inventor giving a TED talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdbJP8Gxqog

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D printing has come a long way
Ann R. Thryft   9/13/2012 12:31:52 PM
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Beth, I was surprised to discover the Stratasys/NASA project, and then 3D Systems' testing with Made in Space, which was the spark that began this slideshow. Tough stuff indeed!

Cadman-LT
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Re: 3D printing has come a long way
Cadman-LT   9/13/2012 10:20:52 AM
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I really like the electron beam freeform fabrication that seems very neat. It sounds almost like welding, but forming parts.

Cadman-LT
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Re: 3D printing has come a long way
Cadman-LT   9/13/2012 10:15:22 AM
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I was wondering about the 0-gravity, but they have already done it. Amazing!

Cadman-LT
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Re: 3D printing has come a long way
Cadman-LT   9/13/2012 10:09:57 AM
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That Contour Crafting seems unreal. I bet that's a few years off, but then again you never know.

Cadman-LT
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Re: 3D printing has come a long way
Cadman-LT   9/13/2012 10:00:35 AM
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Yes Beth, I agree. It seems like a month or so ago we were talking about similar things and now here they are here. It just begs the imagination to think about 2 years from now or 5 or even 1 year. I knew this would be big, but it's blowing up! 

Jennifer Campbell
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Fascinating
Jennifer Campbell   9/13/2012 8:27:51 AM
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This is fascinating, stuff, Ann. I'd like to learn more about Contour Crafing. Do you have any idea about what other cool projects they are working on?

Beth Stackpole
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3D printing has come a long way
Beth Stackpole   9/13/2012 8:10:06 AM
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Defintely out of this world examples of 3D printing. Very cool that this technology is playing a role in space exploration. It really confirms how far the materials have come in terms of choice and durability/reliability that they are even an option for such serious engineering.

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