A great thing about college demonstration projects is they don't have to have any commercial prospects. That's a good thing for students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, who call their model an anti-gravity device. Despite that moniker, the machine uses the same principles that let high-speed magnetic levitation trains float above their tracks. The MSOE levitator uses analog instrumentation amplifiers donated by Analog Devices, a pulse-width modulated H-bridge from National Semiconductor, a coil, a feedback control compensator and Allegro MicroSystems Hall-effect sensors to magnetically suspend an object in mid-air.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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