NAVSEA approves first metal 3D printed shipboard component for U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has approved the first 3D printed part, a prototype drain strainer orifice (DSO) assembly, for shipboard installation.

“This install marks a significant advancement in the Navy’s ability to make parts on demand and combine NAVSEA’s strategic goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines while maintaining a culture of affordability,” said Rear Admiral Lorin Selby, NAVSEA Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, and Naval Engineering.

The 3D printed prototype drain strainer orifice (DSO) assembly component. Photo via NAVSEA.
The 3D printed prototype drain strainer orifice (DSO) assembly component. Photo via NAVSEA.

NAVSEA and additive manufacturing

NAVSEA, the largest of the U.S. Navy’s five systems commands, builds, buys and maintains naval ships, submarines, and combat systems to “meet the fleet’s current and future operational requirements.” With this responsibility, the command has previously integrated new technologies such as additive manufacturing to advance overall ship maintenance.

The command has 3D printed a tie bolt anti-rotation tool used for fixing structurally supportive frames and trusses, an F-35 stealth fighter landing gear door component, and flip-top valves for oxygen masks worn by Naval aircraft crews. With experience in plastic materials, Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS), manufacturers of Navy aircraft carriers, proposed installing a prototype metal DSO assembly on the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) ship for test and evaluation.

“By targeting CVN 75 [USS Harry S. Truman], this allows us to get test results faster, so-if successful-we can identify additional uses of additive manufacturing for the fleet,” added Rear Admiral Selby.

The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Photo via the U.S. Navy/ Michael Chen.
The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Photo via the U.S. Navy/ Michael Chen.

Testing and evaluation of the DSO

The DSO assembly is a steam system component that enables drainage and the removal of water from a steam line while in use on an aircraft carrier. The metal 3D printed prototype has passed functional and environmental testing, which involved the evaluation of material, welding, shock, vibration, hydrostatic, and operational steam.

This process used traditional mechanical testing to identify requirements and acceptance criteria. Following such tests, the prototype assembly will be removed for analysis and inspection.

“Specifications will establish a path for NAVSEA and industry to follow when designing, manufacturing and installing AM components shipboard and will streamline the approval process,” said Dr. Justin Rettaliata, Technical Warrant Holder for Additive Manufacturing.

“NAVSEA has several efforts underway to develop specifications and standards for more commonly used additive manufacturing processes.”

Final requirements are still under review as the 3D printed DSO assembly continues to be evaluated within a low temperature and low pressure saturated steam system.

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Featured image shows the 3D printed prototype drain strainer orifice (DSO) assembly component. Photo via NAVSEA.

Review: Copymaster 3D 300 top (generic term) 3D pressman

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Rolls-Royce Advance3 motor (generic term) to “pioneer” region (generic term) with 3D writing (generic term) and precocious materials

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Digital metalliclic announces mechanization to beforehand consecutive metallic accumulative industry (generic term)

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NAVSEA approves archetypal metallic 3D written sea constituent for United States government naval forces

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The United States government Navy’s Naval Sea Systems bid (NAVSEA) has approved the archetypal 3D written part, a paradigm drainage strainer orifice (DSO) assembly, for sea instalation. “This instal Marks a important advancement in the Navy’s ability to brand parts on economic process (generic term) and harvester (generic term) NAVSEA’s strategical goal of on-time bringing of ships and submarines piece maintaining a … Continue reading “NAVSEA approves archetypal metal 3D written sea constituent for United States government Navy”

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Watch: Thermwood 3D prints 12 foot aircraft tool for Boeing 777X

Indiana’s Thermwood Corporation, the developer and provider of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) technology, has conducted a joint demonstration program with global aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

Completed in August 2018, the project culminated in Boeing’s purchase of an LSAM system and Thermwood’s delivery of a 12 foot long, 3D printed aircraft trim tool for development on the Boeing 777X plane series.

Large Scale Additive Manufacturing

Founded in 1969, Thermwood Corporation is traditionally a manufacturer of CNC routers and systems serving woodworking, automotive, aerospace/aviation and defense industries. By applying its CNC expertise to 3D printing, the company introduced its line of LSAM systems to the market in 2016.

With a build volume of up to 10 ft x 5 ft x 100 ft, LSAM machines are production-ready systems for industrial application. Installed at ground mobility company Local Motors LSAM is used to produced parts for the autonomous Olli bus. The technology is also employed by the U.S. Navy.

In a project with chemical producer Techmer PM and Purdue University, Thermwood previously used an LSAM machine to produce a single-piece drip pan mold for a Boeing Chinook helicopter.

The final drip tray, molded using a 3D printed PSU mold. Photo via Thermwood.
Chinook helicopter drip tray, molded using a 3D printed PSU mold. Photo via Thermwood.

Vertical Layer Print

The Boeing 777X trim tool delivered by Thermwood this year was 3D printed using the company’s upgraded toolhead, which allows the deposition fiber reinforced composites. As such, it consists of 1,540 lbs of 20% carbon fiber reinforced ABS plastic.

In total, the tool took 43 hours 20 minutes to print, also served as a demonstration of Thermwood’s latest LSAM upgrade: Vertical Layer Print (VLP). Instead of depositing horizontally onto a print bed, VLP literally flips LSAM system on its side so parts are built up vertically, instilling different mechanical stresses in the layers.

After 3D printing the part was trimmed, within the same gantry system, to give a smooth surface finish.

The LSAM made trim fixture after machining. Photo via Thermwood Corporation
The LSAM made trim fixture after machining. Photo via Thermwood Corporation

The most 3D printing-inclusive aircraft yet?

The 777X series of commercial airplanes by Boeing have been in development since 2017 and are scheduled to fly in Q1 2019.

In addition to the 12 foot long trim tool made using LSAM technology, the 777X series also sees the introduction of Boeing’s record breaking assembly tool 3D printed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

The GE9X engine driving 777X aircraft also includes 3D printed fuel nozzles by GE.

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Featured image shows LSAM VLP of the Boeing 777X trim tool. Image via Thermwood Corporation 

Q&A: RMIT’s Dr. Kate Fox adding nanodiamonds to 3D printed implants

3D Printing Industry recently covered a study from researchers at RMIT University, Australia, proving that diamond-coated titanium implants could improve biocompatibility within the body.

Dr. Kate Fox led this research titled “Polycrystalline Diamond Coating of Additively Manufactured Titanium for Biomedical Applications,” which is published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

A senior lecturer at RMIT’s School of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, I interviewed Dr. Fox to learn more about the potential of nanodiamond technology and the next steps for her team’s research.

A hollow, 3D printed titanium cube. Heated for diamond coating. Photo via RMIT University
A hollow, 3D printed titanium cube heated for diamond coating acts as a demonstration in Dr. Fox’s research. Photo via RMIT University

3D Printing Industry: Are nanodiamond coatings exclusive to additively manufactured medical implants? 

Dr. Kate Fox, RMIT University: The diamond technology can be applied to substractively manufactured titanium if one so chooses. The 3D printed titanium implants however offer a lot more flexibility towards patient specific implants as the implant can be designed to fit the individual’s needs.

This [3D printed] titanium however, does not interact with the body as well as we would have liked. As a result, the study was to coat the 3D printed titanium with diamond to improve the tissue interface. Now that we can, it opens up the opportunity for customized diamond implants.

3D Printing Industry: One of the main advantages of 3D printing implants is adding porosity and other geometries to promote bone in-growth. Is this coating method successful at reaching into pores/scaffolds?

Dr. Kate Fox, RMIT University: The coating method is able to coat in a line of sight. The diamond does penetrate down the pores but it is necessary to turn the scaffolds in the reactor.

Basically, if the plasma within the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) chamber cannot see the surface, then the surface is not coated. This means the bottom of the pores are coated but coating is limited to 1-2mm on the side walls.

Image demonstrating the surface roughness of a 3D printed and diamond coated titanium implant. Image via RMIT University
Image demonstrating the surface roughness of a 3D printed and diamond coated titanium implant. Image via RMIT University

3D Printing Industry: Are there any specific applications that you believe diamond coated implants would work better than uncoated implants? i.e. Are there areas that are particularly challenging to biocompatibility?

Dr. Kate Fox, RMIT University: Biocompatibility is essential for all implants but for these diamond implants we are focusing on implants that will directly interface with hard tissue. Craniofacial, bone screws and bone plates are in our line of sight at the moment.

3D Printing Industry: Now you’ve proved the feasibility of diamond coatings, what is the next step for your research?

Dr. Kate Fox, RMIT University: The next step is to undergo a more comprehensive pre-clinical trial to truly understand the interaction of the implants with bone as well as scale up the technology to larger, more complex implants. And of course, find interested industry partners to share the journey with.

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Featured image shows a hollow, 3D printed titanium cube heated for diamond coating. Photo via RMIT University

Fraunhofer’s TwoCure technology realized in industry-ready 3D printer

TwoCure, an innovative SLA-based 3D printing method created at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Germany, has been developed into a prototype additive manufacturing system.

First presented by the institute and its partner German prototyping specialist Rapid Shape GmbH, TwoCure technology seeks to eliminate challenges associated with post processing.

Inside the prototype TwoCure 3D printer. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT
Inside the TwoCure 3D printer. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT

Support-free 3D printing 

Like SLA 3D printers, TwoCure is a process that uses a light source to solidify photopolymeric materials. However, unlike other technologies of this kind, the TwoCure process does not require the use of support structures, like trees, which are attached to the original CAD model.

In place of supports, objects 3D printed with TwoCure technology are contained within a wax-like resin. When 3D printing, this resin solidifies along with the polymer used to make a 3D object.

Holger Leonards, project manager “TwoCure” at Fraunhofer ILT, explains, “The material is applied warm and then irreversibly cured by light. At the same time the cooled machine ensures that whatever component we are creating layer by layer freezes to form a block together with the resin that has solidified like wax.”

Upon removal from the print bed, the 3D printed object appears encases in a kind of cake/a frozen black of waxy material. To retrieve the components from inside this block, the waxy resin is simply left to melt at room temperature.

A TwoCure 3D printed component emerges from its waxy block. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT
A TwoCure 3D printed component emerges from its waxy block. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT

Automated post processing

In addition to the support-free aspect of this technology, the TwoCure 3D printer is an advancement in automation for the team.

Once a job is finished, the waxy block and part are automatically ejected from the print bed onto a melting rack. In the future, the team plan to extend this automated feature to encompass cleaning and post curing – the other two steps required to finish a polymerized part.

Leonards adds, “Our plan is to enable users to add 3D printing jobs to a virtual queue that can then be processed around the clock in shifts that run without any human intervention,”

“In the long term, that opens up the possibility of carrying out additive manufacturing on a 24/7 operation basis.”

24/7 production

Automation is one of the key themes of additive manufacturing in an industrial setting. Other solutions seeking to improve this functionality include smart factories like the NextGenAM project, and software platforms such as the LINK3D AMES & Additive Workflow Software.

Fraunhofer ILT and Rapid Shape’s prototype TwoCure 3D printer will be shown at formnext in Frankfurt from the 13th through 16th of November 2018.

The prototype TwoCure 3D printer. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT
The prototype TwoCure 3D printer. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT

3D Printing Industry will be getting a low-down of the new TwoCure 3D printer and other hardware releases at this year’s formnext expo. To be the first with all our latest coverage of industry news and events subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook

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Featured image shows a TwoCure 3D printed component emerges from its waxy block. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT

Interview: Max Friefeld, CEO of Voodoo Manufacturing on Shopify, print farms and cookie cutters

I caught up with Voodoo Manufacturing CEO Max Friefeld to learn more about a newly launched Shopify App, how to manage a print farm with over 200 3D printers, and learn his thoughts about a perennial 3D printing forum favorite – food safety and 3D printed cookie cutters.

By means of introduction Shopify is an ecommerce platform with approximately 600,000 vendors. The new app created by Voodoo Manufacturing allows those vendors to fulfill orders via Voodoo’s FDM/FFF 3D printer farm. It joins services like Sculpteo’s cloud based 3D-printing solution as a way for vendors to lower inventory holding requirements and also allows agile vendors to quickly respond to opportunities.

3D Printing Industry: I’d like to know more about the decision to launch the app and whether this has been influenced in anyway by recent changes at 3D Hubs?

Max Friefeld: The app is the next step for us in expanding the applications of Fulfilled By Voodoo which we announced back in April. We wanted to open it up to people who did not have 3D design skills to make their own 3D printable products. Our shopify app is built to bring 3D printed products to the masses by making it fast and free to launch custom 3D products and sell them online.

3D Printing Industry: What is the reason for the focus on cookie cutters and how are these materials made food-safe?

Max Friefeld: Cookie cutters are just the one product in a long lineup of products we plan to launch. We are starting with cookie cutters, coasters, wall hooks, but we have dozens more products lined up after this.

We use food safe PLA plastic, and have tested our printing process with external vendors to verify that our parts are non-toxic after they leave the factory.

3D Printing Industry: Some have concerns about the suitability of FDM 3D printing for making food-safe objects and whether a cookie cutter should used more than once. In particular, the porosity of the filament and gaps between layers having potential for bacterial growth, the type of hot-ends (i.e. low levels of lead from brass nozzles) used on the printers and whether the printers are used for other purposes than making equipment intended to be used with food.

Max Friefeld:  As long as customers follow the guidelines, the products are safe for use. Our cookie cutters are not dishwasher safe, but should be cleaned with warm soapy water after each use. We do not recommend anyone eats raw cookie dough ever, always bake your cookies before eating.

3D Printing Industry: Will plug-ins for other platforms be released?

Max Friefeld: We wanted to start with Shopify because they are an industry leader in ecommerce, but we hope to launch on more platforms in the future.

3D Printing Industry: What has been the experience of the beta users, in particular can you say anything about the volume of orders coming via the Voodoo app?

Max Friefeld: Our beta users have been using the app for a little over 2 weeks. Although we cannot comment on the sales volume at this time, we are very excited by the early results. Integrations, # of designs, and sales are moving about twice as fast as we originally projected.

Our early beta users, like Lucy Hutcheson, and their customers have all expressed a lot of excitement about what we are working on.

3D Printing Industry: What can you say about how automation (such as the Universal Robot’s robot arms) is used at Voodoo Manufacturing?

We have built the first fully-automated manufacturing pipeline for Shopify. It’s amazing to watch. If you place an order right now, it will enter our order queue, be assigned to a printer, and start printing automatically. No human intervention required. If a Skywalker printer has the right color on it, your part will also be automatically harvested and sent to our QA and shipping processes. This is how we can handle thousands of unique orders every month without error.

We know that fulfillment for retail in the holidays is always a difficult time, which is why we’re excited to be using Skywalker with our Shopify integration. We are built for scale.

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Featured image shows Max Friefeld CEO of Voodoo Manufacturing.