The dual-hinge operating mechanism in Motorola's PEBL mobile phone is made with injection molded 17.4 PH stainless steel to a density of 7.6 g/cm³. The innovative design positions the clamshell cover so that it slides down and flips open in one movement. The flip slider and hinge barrel are made by Advanced Materials Technologies Pty Ltd. of Singapore. According to the molder, the MIM process allows a very complex thin wall, overhanging structures and three-dimensional design. Both parts are coined, machined, polished and plated. It's estimated that it would have cost five times more to machine these parts. They won the grand prize in the electrical/electronic components category of the 2006 Powder Metallurgy Design Awards competition sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation. For more information on the design awards, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4933-517.
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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