University of Pennsylvania researchers integrate ‘Embodied Logic’ into 3D printed smart objects

Engineers from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) have created bioinspired 3D printed structures that move and react to its environment.

Such objects do not require electronically-integrated systems, but, much like the venus fly trap, uses atmospheric stimuli to operate; the University of Pennsylvania team have dubbed this as “embodied logic”. The researchers published their study in the journal Nature Communications.

“Inspired by nature, we embody logic in autonomous systems to enable them to respond to multiple stimuli,” the study states.

“Using 3D printable fibrous composites, we fabricate structures with geometries near bifurcation points [where an object splits]. When suitable stimuli are present, the materials swell. This forces a key geometric parameter to pass through a bifurcation, triggering rapid and large-amplitude self-actuation.”

The following clip from the University of Pennsylvania displays a 3D printed venus flytrap which only closes when weight is inside and the actuator is exposed to a solvent.

3D printed bistable lattices

According to Jordan Raney, an assistant professor in Penn Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and leader of this research, “Bistability is determined by geometry, whereas responsiveness comes out of the material’s chemical properties.”

“Our approach uses multi-material 3D printing to bridge across these separate fields so that we can harness material responsiveness to change our structures’ geometric parameters in just the right ways.”

The team created active structures with “gates” that can be controlled by simple changes in the environment. These gates contained non-electric actuators. With a lattice formation, the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based and hydrogel-based structures, maintain elastic energy for kinetic movement. PDMS is a silicon-based organic polymer. Furthermore, the team used water and oil-based solvents, to activate the 3D printed structures.

“[This] could be useful for applications in microfluidics,” added Raney.

“Rather than using a solid-state sensor and microprocessor that are constantly reading what’s flowing into a microfluidic chip, we could, for example, design a gate that shuts automatically if it detects a certain contaminant.”

An embodied logic actuator releasing its elastic energy. Clip via Penn State.
An embodied logic actuator releasing its elastic energy. Clip via the University of Pennsylvania.

4D printing with shape-changing materials

Shaping-changing have been used in additive manufacturing to create 3D printed moving objects, i,e, 4D printing. Recently, Nicole Hone, an industrial design Master’s student at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, designed several 4D printed interactive plants using multi-material 3D printing and elastopolymer composites.

Prior to this, researchers from the University of Bristol and University of Bath, created a 4D printed smart material from 3D printed ink that harnesses cellulose fibers to transform in response to water.

The study, “Bifurcation-based embodied logic and autonomous actuation,” was co-authored by Yijie Jiang, Lucia M. Korpas, and Jordan R. Raney.

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Featured image shows an embodied logic actuator releasing its elastic energy. Clip via the University of Pennsylvania.

Metal Powder Industries Federation publishes standards for additive manufacturing

The worldwide Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) has published A Collection of Powder Characterization Standards for Metal Additive Manufacturing. A compilation of nine existing test methods relating to metallic powdered feedstock, the document is intended to help “clarify the technology as an aid in conducting business” for designers and manufacturers.

Championing powder metallurgy for over 50 years 

Founded in 1944, in the closing days of WWII, the MPIF is a not for profit organization headquartered in Princeton, NJ. Presently, the federation is formed by the aligning interests of six trade associations including the Metal Injection Molding Association, Refractory Metals Association, and the Association for Metal Additive Manufacturing, whose members include HP, LPW, GE Additive, ExOne, and Desktop Metal.

Overall, the MPIF exists to serve this interests of these industries, helping to keep the workforce informed through a range of resources, events and training.

It’s Basic Powder Metallurgy Short Course, including a module on additive manufacturing, is tipped to be “the powder metallurgy industry’s longest running course” and has been active for over 50 years.

Metal alloy powder. Photo via PyroGenesis
Metal alloy powder. Photo via PyroGenesis

Making sure powder goes with the flow

The MPIF’s recently published collection contains standards relating to the preparation of powder samples, material purity, flow characterization, particle size, and powder packing. MPIF Standard 02, for example, describes a method of testing for impurities, like oxygen, carbon and sulfur, in a metal powder. As detailed by the MPIF, “Typically, the primary information learned in this test is the amount of easily-reduced oxides contained in a powder. It can also be show if there is appreciable moisture content in the powder.” Completion of this test determines factors that could affect alloy quality and overall process control.

As another example, MPIF Standard 03 details the use of a standardized funnel to determine the flow rate of a metal powder.

A Collection of Powder Characterization Standards for Metal Additive Manufacturing can be bought and downloaded from the MPIF here.

Other standards beneficial to the metal additive manufacturing industry include the ASTM International document for powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printers,  SAE International‘s standards supported by the FAA, and the maritime additive manufacturing guideline from DNV GL.

A Collection of Powder Characterization Standards for Metal Additive Manufacturing. Image via the MPIF
A Collection of Powder Characterization Standards for Metal Additive Manufacturing. Image via the MPIF

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Featured image shows metal additive manufacturing powder. Photo via Stratasys.

UK researchers develop 3D printed crystal inspired metamaterials for more damage-tolerant parts

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and Imperial College London (ICL) are exploring crystallographic microstructures in metallic alloys to improve the durability of 3D printed parts.

As a result of this research, the team has developed ‘meta-crystals’ that incorporate novel lattice compositions, mimicking the structure of a single crystal – a material in which the composition is continuous and unbroken, with no grain boundaries.

“This approach to materials development has potentially far-reaching implications for the additive manufacturing sector,” said Professor Iain Todd, from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

“The fusion of physical metallurgy with architected meta-materials will allow engineers to create damage-tolerant architected materials with desired strength and toughness, while also improving the performance of architected materials in response to external loads.”

3D printed meta-crystals

Lattice structures are frequently utilized within 3D printed materials as an infill pattern, making components lighter, stronger, and more flexible. According to the researchers, such structures replicate the structure of a metallic single crystal as it maintains a uniform layout with nodes all conforming to a regular array.

Despite its ability to withstand deformation at extreme temperatures, single crystal materials are said to have limitations relating to their mechanical performance. For example, then the structure is compressed, the lattice can split from one or more of the planes of nodes, causing permanent deformation.

“In polycrystalline materials – those with many crystals – the alignment of the atomic planes is random, so when a shear force is in a particular direction, a crack will slow down or stop when it meets a crystal,” the study states.  

Thus, the researchers began to mimic polycrystalline microstructures in 3D printed lattices with the aim of developing robust, damage-tolerant materials.

Demonstration metal 3D print showing varying orientations of mesostructures. Photo via the University of Sheffield.

Advances in multi-material 3D printing

By computer modeling atomic structures, the team intends to change the way materials are designed. Following experimental testing of components made from their meta-crystals, the researchers found that the 3D printed parts were highly energy absorbent.

The polycrystal-like material was able to withstand around seven times the energy before failure when compared to the materials mimicking the single-crystal structure.

Dr Minh-Son Pham, Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials, ICL, explained, “This meta-crystal approach could be combined with recent advances in multi-meta-material 3D printing to open up a new frontier of research in developing new advanced materials that are lightweight and mechanically robust, with the potential to advance future low carbon technologies.”

The research paper entitled, Damage-tolerant architected materials inspired by crystal microstructure” is co-authored by Minh-Son Pham, Chen Liu, Iain Todd, and Jedsada Lertthanasarn.

Schematic of polygrain structures. Image via University of Sheffield.
Schematic of polygrain structures. Image via the University of Sheffield.

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Featured image shows an artifact with varying orientations of mesostructures. Photo via the University of Sheffield.

€500,000 available in Metalysis and ESA space exploration competition

The European Space Agency (ESA) and UK metallurgic company Metalysis have launched a €500,000-reward competition to devise systems that will aid space exploration.

The competition is to design a process-monitoring system that works with Metalysis’s existing electrochemical cells. These cells convert refined oxides and ores into metal alloy powders, including those used in 3D printing for aerospace, automotive and manufacturing industries.

If electrochemical cells can harness off-world ores and turn them into 3D printing materials, astronauts could one-day 3D print whatever they need, in space, without the need for costly supply runs from Earth. ESA explains that in-situ resource utilisation is vital, “to sustainability, and a stepping stone in humankind’s adventure to Mars and farther into the Solar System.”

Metalysis metal powder. Photo via the company
Metalysis metal powder. Photo via Metalysis.

Living on the moon

It is hoped that Metalysis’ materials technology can be applied to in-situ resource utilization.

Using the South Yorkshire-based company’s electrochemical cells, astronauts could produce the materials required for construction and manufacturing of equipment on-site, as well as propellant for landers and ascenders. The ability to use local raw materials to build technology on the moon is a necessary first step in eventual colonization on the moon, Mars, or further afield.

This competition follows continued initiatives by the ESA to greater utilise 3D printing for producing in-situ materials in space. This includes a partnership with Austrian ceramic 3D printing specialist Lithoz to create detailed spare parts from a lunar regolith simulant – an Earth material synthesized to approximate raw materials found on the moon. The agency envisions using 3D printers to build a lunar base.

To win the Metalysis–ESA Grand Challenge, entrants must design a prototype circuit (aka a breadboard) that demonstrates the following:

  1. the ability to be attached to an existing electrochemical cell developed by Metalysis and to retrieve process related data from the cell;
  2. a total size of the equipment which is applicable to the size of the electrochemical cell, and modular with Metalysis’ technology scale up;
  3. a level of energy consumption which is only marginal to the energy employed by the electrolytic cell;
  4. the ability to detect changes occurring at the cathode during the process including the metallic status of the product.

Also of interest to the judging panel are breadboards which will provide live information on the salt properties and composition of the metal. ESA suggests that the following analysis techniques are likely to be of use: X-ray diffraction and/or fluorescence; raman, infrared or laser spectroscopy; and neutron scattering.

Photo shows the Metalysis process of turning ores into metal alloy powders. Photo via Metalysis.
Photo shows the Metalysis process of turning ores into metal alloy powders. Photo via Metalysis.

Other projects for 3D printing in space

Companies that have made plans to use extraterrestrial materials include Made In Space, a Californian maker of “off-world” 3D printers, which devised a plan to turn asteroids into autonomous spacecrafts that could fly to mining stations in outer space. Earlier last year, NASA renewed its Small Business Innovation Research contract with Made In Space, encouraging the company to continue developing its Vulcan Hybrid Manufacturing System, which, once complete, will be capable of working more than 30 different materials, both polymers and metals.

Aluminum NASA logo made using Made In Space's Vulcan manufacturing system. Photo via Made in Space
Aluminum NASA logo made using Made In Space’s Vulcan manufacturing system. Photo via Made in Space.

Metalysis’ recent developments

Last September, Metalysis entered industrial-scale production, now capable of producing about 10,000 – 100,000 kg of metal powders using its Generation 4 industrial powder production plant.

The company also entered the FAST-forge project to produce metal alloys from lower priced inputs. Specifically, this involves taking a solid feedstock and producing a solid product without melting it. This process is applicable to about 30-40 elements in the periodic table, the company estimates.

The three steps in the Fast-forge process from left to right. Photo via Metalysis.

To enter the Metalysis–ESA Grand Challenge, apply via the ESA website.

Are you impressed with Metalysis, the ESA or any of the other organisations mentioned in this article? You can nominate them in the 2019 Printing Industry Awards.

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Featured image shows an artist’s rendition of a Moon base. Image via ESA.

3D printing news sliced Zortrax, Aectual, GEWO 3D, Admaflex, Create O&P 3D

Today in Sliced, our 3D printing news digest, we collect all the latest news on artistic applications, product releases and medical news.

In addition to the title companies, we feature Metso, MakerBrane, Mighty Oak Medical, designer Patricia Urquiola, custom lighting company LimeLite, and artistic shoe brand Ica & Kostika. We also have some business updates, from Merck to startup companies, including Indian startup, Next Big Innovation Labs and Swiss startup 9Tlabs.

3D printing applications for architects and construction

Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola has designed a luxury products exhibition room with custom 3D printed floors. The exhibition was for the BMW 7 car series. It featured Urquiola’s signature furniture and bespoke 3D printed flooring in a wavy white pattern, inspired by the Northern Lights. The floors were designed using 3D printing techniques by Aectual, a Dutch design-tech company that makes flooring out of bio-based plastics.

Patricia Urquiola custom-designed floors, 3D printed via Aectual. Photo via BMW.
Patricia Urquiola custom-designed floors, 3D printed via Aectual. Photo via BMW.

Dutch construction companies Bam Infra and Weber Beamix have opened Europe’s first 3D concrete printing plant in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The first project was a 3D printed bicycle bridge. Following this, the province of Noord Holland ordered four 3D printed concrete bridges. Province area manager Barry Hol said, “We believe in this technique. At some point, you also have to break through the chicken-egg problem.”

First 3D printed bicycle bridge in Noord-Brabant, created by BAM Infra and Eindhoven University of Technology. Photo via BAM Infra.
First 3D printed bicycle bridge in Noord-Brabant, created by BAM Infra and Eindhoven University of Technology. Photo via BAM Infra.

Still on the subject of bridges, a 15-meter-long 3D printed pedestrian bridge has been installed in Shanghai – now the world’s longest 3D printed footbridge. According to Chen Xiaoming, deputy chief engineer at Shanghai Construction Engineering Machinery Group, the installation took 35 days to erect in Taopu Smart City Central Park. It is made of resin and other composite materials, and could last up to 30 years.

Testing of the 3D printed bridge in laboratory conditions. Image via Shine
Shanghai Construction Engineering Machinery testing the 3D printed bridge in laboratory conditions. Image via Shine.

Australian lighting fixtures company, LimeLite, has released three new light collections made using 3D printers from Poland’s Zortrax. LimeLite now has a farm of 30 3D printers, operating around the clock and producing approximately 20 lamps per day. 

A LimeLite lamp, 3D printed on a Zortax printer. Photo via Zortrax.
A LimeLite lamp, 3D printed on a Zortax printer. Photo via Zortrax.

Metso, a Finnish construction company, has received its first valves with 3D printed parts from its Helsinki plant. The valves are designed to withstand numerous fast open-close cycles without maintenance. The parts are part of a broader digitalization project at the company. 

Footwear brand Ica & Kostika has launched a new 3D printed shoe collection, called Exobiology. The shoes are shaped in exoskeleton-like structures, mimicking sea life such as corals and seahorses. The wearable art was built to be lightweight and durable, as well as complement the natural curvature of the foot. To develop the shoes, the company 3D printed them in Nylon PA12 and finished them with automotive grade electroplating.

Sea themed printed shoe design, by Ica & Kostika. Photo via Ica & Kostika.
Sea themed printed shoe design, by Ica & Kostika. Photo via Ica & Kostika.

New 3D printers and hardware product releases

At Formnext 2019, GEWO 3D, a German manufacturer of high-temperature FFF/FDM 3D printers, will present its new model, the PERFORMER260. The 3D printer has been developed for industrial additive manufacturing of high-performance plastics. Features of the new PERFORMER260 include integrated filament drying.

9T labs, a Swiss startup, is currently sending out beta units for a continuous fiber deposition 3D printer add-on. The CarbonKit can create industry grade carbon fiber composites, for producing strong, lightweight parts. The CarbonKit is made up of a carbon fiber PA12 spool, material box and printhead with dual extrusion, to be added to an existing 3D printer.

Upgrades to 3D printing software

Admatec Europe, a Netherlands-based company specializing in ceramic 3D printing, has released new software for its Adamflex 130 3D printer. The update allows the Adamflex 130 to handle multiple parts with unique parameter sets within one print job. Previously, the user could only change these parameters between layers – now, the user can set multiple different settings within a single layer.

This enables the user to change led power, pixel value and exposure time between different areas within the same layer. Controlling the settings for each part individually allows you to control the parameters for the smaller features separate from the rest of the geometry. This new feature also comes with an updated file format, a “SLC.zip” file extension, which can be opened and edited in Windows Explorer.

130 3D printer production line, by Admatec Europe. Photo via Admatec.
130 3D printer production line, by Admatec Europe. Photo via Admatec.

Similarly, the Beta version of MakerBrane, a website for sharing 3D print designs, has gone live. The website provides access to thousands of real-life parts to build anything the user requires. Visitors of the site can view a catalog of existing designs, each entry including information on the build-type, materials, difficulty to build, and the appropriate age range for the finished result (i.e., if the finished product is suitable for infants).

A design for a 3D printed tree on MakerBrane. Photo via MakerBrane.
A design for a 3D printed tree on MakerBrane. Photo via MakerBrane.

Additive manufacturing and the medical sector

New Jersey-based medical technology company, Additive Orthopaedics, has won FDA clearance for its patient-specific 3D printed locking lattice plates. The plates align, stabilize and fuse fractures and other problems found in small bones, such as those in the foot and ankle. The plates also enhance bone repair throughout the implant structure.

Furthermore, the lattice design has smaller external pores and larger internal pores, to allow for the introduction and of pharmaceuticals for more efficient healing.

From left to right: Additive Orthopaedics’s lattice structure, plate / wedge orthopaedic device, and diagram of installment in the foot to combat a toe fracture. Images from Additive Orthopaedics.
From left to right: Additive Orthopaedics’s lattice structure, plate/wedge orthopedic device, and diagram of an installment in the foot to combat a toe fracture. Images via Additive Orthopaedics.

Indian 3D bioprinting company, Next Big Innovation Labs (NBIL), has been announced as one of 10 startups that will join the Accelerator program by science and technology company Merck. NBIL has developed a global 3D bioprinting platform and is working towards developing 3D Bioprinted Skin, called InnoSkin.

The team will join the Accelerator for three months at the Merck Innovation Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, and will have the opportunity to extend their stay by joining the company’s China Innovation Hub in Shanghai.

Colorado-based med-tech company, Mighty Oak Medical, has received CE mark clearance for its patient-specific, 3D printed FIREFLY pedicle screw navigation system, extending its use into the European market.

The FIREFLY navigation system is a physical guide to help surgeons before and during spinal fusion surgery. It features guide wire to ensure that screws are correctly placed within vertebral pedicles, and mechanically constrain the drill. Using FIREFLY, the surgeon can access a 3D printed patient-specific spine model to plan their procedure in advance, increasing efficiency and reducing risk in the operating theater.

The FIREFLY navigation system, a 3D printed guide to help surgeon access a patient’s spine. Photo Via Mighty Oak Medical.
The FIREFLY navigation system, a 3D printed guide to help surgeon access a patient’s spine. Photo Via Mighty Oak Medical.

In other news, Jeff Erenstone, the co-founder of Create O&P 3D, a printing orthotic and prosthetic manufacturer in New York, and co-creator of the first medical-grade 3D printed arm, has resigned.

Erenstone has decided to move on to focus on his non-profit organization, Operation Namaste. This organization aims to advance prosthetic care using applied 3D printing solutions, in areas where prosthesis are otherwise unavailable.   

Jeff Erenstone, Founder of Create O&P, constructing 3D printed prosthetics. Photo via Create O&P.
Jeff Erenstone, Founder of Create O&P, constructing 3D printed prosthetics. Photo via Create O&P.

3D printing and business

In research and business, the University of Birmingham will be working with Germany’s Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) to conduct research into additive manufacturing. Over the next 12 months, the partners will also collaborate across research fields such as energy, environmental Sciences, chemistry, and digitalization.

In aerospace, Mexican aviation company Aeromexico has adopted 8tree’s 3D surface wireless 3D scanner tool, dentCHECK, to enhance the efficiency of its dent-mapping. This process applies markings of dents on images of aircrafts where one or more defects have been identified.

Finally, Copper3D, a Chilean materials company, has begun a new European distribution and reseller agreement with UK printer manufacturer, 3D GBIRE. Copper3D takes the materials used in 3D printing and adds an additive based on copper nanoparticles to transform these materials into antibacterial nano-composites. This is to reduce the incidence of dermic disorders from 3D printed prostheses.

A Copper3D printed antibacterial cast (right) next to a conventional cast (left).
A Copper3D printed antibacterial cast (right) next to a conventional cast (left).

Inspired by an individual, or a company? Nominate in the upcoming 3D Printing Industry Awards 2019 – there are categories for startup of the year, medical application of the year and more.

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Featured image shows Sliced logo over a 3D printed shoe design, by Ica & Kostika. Photo via Ica & Kostika.

GEFERTEC and Linde Group partner to explore process gas and oxygen for metal 3D printing

GEFERTEC, the German developer and provider of 3DMP metal 3D printers and technology, has partnered with Linde Group, a Munich-based chemical company, to investigate process gas and oxygen within metal additive manufacturing.

Gases significantly influence the material properties of an additively manufactured part. Within the chamber of a 3D printer, the gas composition affects the weight, texture, and overall parameters of a component.

GEFERTEC’s 3DMP technology, which incorporates wire-arc melting based metal additive manufacturing to create near-net-shape components, heavily relies on the process gases.

3DMP technology

According to GEFERTEC, 3DMP technology promises to eradicate waste with “nearly 100% material utilization,” and cost savings of “up to 60% versus conventional manufacturing.”

The company has developed four 3DMP machines in its portfolio. This includes the arc603, a 3-axis machine capable of creating components up to 3 m³, with a maximum mass of 3000kg and the arc605, a 5-axis machine with a maximum capacity of up to 0.8 m³ and 500 kg mass.

GEFERTEC has also developed the arc405, a 5-axis, 0.06 m³ capabilities and a maximum mass of 200 kg, and the arc403, the 3-axis machine which has been recently installed by Airbus.

The arc605 3D printer. Image via GEFERTEC.
The arc605 3D printer. Image via GEFERTEC.

Investigating gas and oxygen for 3D printing

Within this research collaboration, MT Aerospace AG, a German aerospace company, will perform mechanical tests of 3D printed parts from 3DMP. The fabrication of such parts will take place at the additive manufacturing laboratory of Fraunhofer IGCV, where GEFERTEC’s machinery is installed. Fraunhofer is the fourth co-operation partner of this project.

Following these processes, the influence of welding parameters and process gas on the parts will be examined. The ultimate goal of this project is the production of larger parts at high production speed made of the titanium alloy Ti6Al4V. If successful, these 3D printed parts will meet the quality requirements for the aerospace industry.

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Featured image shows the GEFERTEC 3DMP additive manufacturing process. Photo via GEFERTEC.

Relativity Space to launch 3D printed rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Relativity Space, a Californian aerospace startup, has signed a contract with the U.S. Air Force to operate its own launch facility on one of their sites.

The agreement permits the company to test its 3D printed rockets at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The company plans the first launch of its Terran rocket at the end of 2020.

“We look forward to working with them as they continue the process to launch the Terran 1 vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,” said Thomas Eye, the director of plans & programs for the 45th Space Wing of the U.S. Air Force.

“We were impressed with Relativity’s seasoned team and its innovative approach to space technology.”

Relativity Space’s Terran rocket  launching from Cape Canaveral’s LC-16 launchpad.
A computer rendering shows Relativity Space’s Terran rocket launching from Cape Canaveral’s LC-16 launchpad. Image via Relativity Space.

The rapid growth of Relatively Space

Cape Canaveral has been used for launches from SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin. Relativity Space is the newest of these companies to use the launch station. In fact, the company was established because the founders, Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, both worked at Blue Origin and SpaceX,  and felt that neither company had seen the true potential of 3D printing for rocket manufacturing.

Aerojet Rocketdyne was the first company to manufacture and successfully test an engine that was entirely 3D printed, in 2014. However, to date, there are no 100% 3D printed rockets. Relativity Space is currently building a mid-size orbital rocket with 95% 3D printed parts.

Soon after its inception, Relativity Space grew rapidly, raising $45.1 million in three years. It has recently closed $140 million in Series E funding, and built one of the world’s largest 3D printers – Stargate – standing at 7 feet wide and 14 feet tall. One of the company’s goals for 2020 is to 3D print a 90-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide rocket, using the Stargate.

The Stargate 3D printer at Relativity Space HQ. Photo via Relativity Space.
The Stargate 3D printer at Relativity Space HQ. Photo via Relativity Space.

3D printed rocket engines

While SpaceX has been using 3D printed components for four years, most notably in its Superdraco engine, it has not yet moved into building entire rockets or rocket engines this way. However, it is beginning to use more additive manufacturing materials for other projects. Recently, SpaceX produced a 3D printed satellite with Telesat, a Canadian satellite communications company.

Blue Origin’s reusable rocket, New Shepard, was built with “over 400 additively manufactured parts,” according to its President, Rob Meyerson, who made a bid to use 3D printed components increasingly in the future. Lately, the company has been working on selling tickets for commercial space flights in 2019, and is currently developing reusable rockets with 3D printed components and materials.

One company that has produced a full rocket engine using 3D printing techniques is Launcher, founded in 2017. The New-York based company specialises in 3D printed engines (not necessarily for rockets), and last October, used its techniques to develop a liquid oxygen (LOX)/kerosene rocket, which can transport satellites into low orbit around Earth.

The Terran rocket is estimated to cost $10 million per launch, but Relativity Space anticipate that it will save money by using the Cape Canaveral launch pad – it would take about four years to build Relativity’s own launchpad from scratch, Ellis estimated.

The 3D printed copper E1 engine. Photo via Launcher
The 3D printed copper E1 engine. Photo via Launcher

Did you know, you can nominate your favorite aerospace company for the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2019? There are all sorts of categories to reward the best players of the year.

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Featured image shows a computer rendering of Relativity Space’s Terran rocket launching from Cape Canaveral’s LC-16 launchpad. Image via Relativity Space. 

Penn State researchers integrate ‘Embodied Logic’ into 3D printed smart objects

Engineers from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) have created bioinspired 3D printed structures that move and react to its environment.

Such objects do not require electronically-integrated systems, but, much like the venus fly trap, uses atmospheric stimuli to operate; the Penn State team have dubbed this as “embodied logic”. The researchers published their study in the journal Nature Communications.

“Inspired by nature, we embody logic in autonomous systems to enable them to respond to multiple stimuli,” the study states.

“Using 3D printable fibrous composites, we fabricate structures with geometries near bifurcation points [where an object splits]. When suitable stimuli are present, the materials swell. This forces a key geometric parameter to pass through a bifurcation, triggering rapid and large-amplitude self-actuation.”

The following clip from Penn State displays a 3D printed venus flytrap which only closes when weight is inside and the actuator is exposed to a solvent.

3D printed bistable lattices

According to Jordan Raney, an assistant professor in Penn Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and leader of this research, “Bistability is determined by geometry, whereas responsiveness comes out of the material’s chemical properties.”

“Our approach uses multi-material 3D printing to bridge across these separate fields so that we can harness material responsiveness to change our structures’ geometric parameters in just the right ways.”

The Penn State team created active structures with “gates” that can be controlled by simple changes in the environment. These gates contained non-electric actuators. With a lattice formation, the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based and hydrogel-based structures, maintain elastic energy for kinetic movement. PDMS is a silicon-based organic polymer. Furthermore, the team used water and oil-based solvents, to activate the 3D printed structures.

“[This] could be useful for applications in microfluidics,” added Raney.

“Rather than using a solid-state sensor and microprocessor that are constantly reading what’s flowing into a microfluidic chip, we could, for example, design a gate that shuts automatically if it detects a certain contaminant.”

An embodied logic actuator releasing its elastic energy. Clip via Penn State.
An embodied logic actuator releasing its elastic energy. Clip via Penn State.

4D printing with shape-changing materials

Shaping-changing have been used in additive manufacturing to create 3D printed moving objects, i,e, 4D printing. Recently, Nicole Hone, an industrial design Master’s student at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, designed several 4D printed interactive plants using multi-material 3D printing and elastopolymer composites.

Prior to this, researchers from the University of Bristol and University of Bath, created a 4D printed smart material from 3D printed ink that harnesses cellulose fibers to transform in response to water.

The study, “Bifurcation-based embodied logic and autonomous actuation,” was co-authored by Yijie Jiang, Lucia M. Korpas, and Jordan R. Raney.

Nominate for the upcoming 3D Printing Industry Awards 2019.

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Featured image shows an embodied logic actuator releasing its elastic energy. Clip via Penn State.

3D writing (generic term) intelligence chopped Zortrax, Aectual, GEWO 3D, Admaflex, make O&P 3D

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Today in Sliced, our 3D writing (generic term) intelligence digest, we collect all the latest intelligence on creator (related term) applications, product releases and medical intelligence. In add-on to the title companies, we feature Metso, MakerBrane, Mighty Oak Medical, interior designer Patricia Urquiola, custom-made lighting company LimeLite, and creator (related term) footwear (generic term) brand Ica & Kostika. We besides have any concern updates, … Continue reading “3D writing (generic term) intelligence chopped Zortrax, Aectual, GEWO 3D, Admaflex, make O&P 3D”

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GEFERTEC and Linde grouping spouse to research procedure gas and O for metallic 3D writing (generic term)

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GEFERTEC, the German developer and provider of 3DMP metallicliclic 3D printers and technology, has spouseed with Linde grouping, a Munich-based chemical company, to investigate procedure gas and O inside metallicliclic additive manufacturing. Gases significantly influence the worldly properties of an additively factory-made part. Within the enclosure (generic term) of a 3D printer, the gas mixture (generic term) affects the … Continue linguistic procedure (generic term) “GEFERTEC and Linde grouping spouse to research procedure gas and O for metallicliclic 3D writing (generic term)”

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