The first automated fiber placement machine in the UK, shown here with employee Tim Smith of GKN Aerospace, will help speed production of complex composite aircraft structures like wings. (Source: National Composites Centre)
williamlweaver, thanks for quoting Twain, one of my favorite authors. The image that quote always gives me is the idea of the spiral path of time and change. I think your comparison with the automated loom invention is a good one. Automating carbon composite production could have effects at least as far-reaching.
As Mark Twain famously said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." This sure looks similar to the invention of the automated loom that produced textiles using patterns of holes placed on punch cards. That development helped to spur the Industrial Revolution. Solving the problem of long composite lay-up time may spark a similar revolution in materials...
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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