10 innovations in the 3D printing realm

10 innovations in the 3D printing realm

Summary: What are some of the most exciting inventions and investments in 3D printing today?

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

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  • 3D printed parts for fighter jets

    This year, UK fighter jets have flown for the first time using parts created through 3D printing. 

    BAE Systems announced that metal components produced through the technology were successfully used in Tornado aircraft based at Warton, Lancashire. According to the firm, further development could bring down the Royal Air Force's maintenance and service bill by over £1 million in the next four years.

    Mike Murray, head of airframe integration at BAE Systems, said:

    "You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things. You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there, which means you can also start to support other platforms such as ships and aircraft carriers."

    Via: The Guardian

    Image credit: BAE Systems

  • Ceramic printing

    Bristol University students in the United Kingdom have been experimenting with 3D printing, and have unveiled the first machine capable of printing out useful, reliable ceramic objects. The 3D ceramic tableware printer prints a porcelain material which is touted as "superior" to what other printers on the market can produce. Taken commercially, such inventions could bring down both manufacturing cost and time of production.

    Via: UWE

    Image credit: Bristol University

  • The Gigabot

    Size matters, at least to the makers of the Gigabot, a large format 3D printer capable of building objects 600mm x 600mm x 600mm, which is basically unheard of in today's desktop 3D printers. 

    After launching a Kickstarter campaign and reaching beyond $200,000 in funding, Gigabot creators re:3D hope to put a manufacturing-standard 3D printer in to the hands of small businesses worldwide.

    Via: Kickstarter

    Image credit: Gigabot

Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • So, when can I print my own personal F-16?

    Parts is parts.
    It would be a tad bit more impressive when they can print entire assemblies with disparate materials.
    But they have to start someplace, so this is as good as can be expected for now.
  • Up to a point ...

    "This year, UK fighter jets have flown for the first time using parts created through 3D printing."

    But no critical parts; not one. Lids, knobs, covers ... trivia
    • Rocket engines good enough?

      NASA really likes experimenting with 3D printers, first printing food and now engines;
  • In time supply

    This technology has amazing application potential. Just imagine, you have a 3D printer that can be moved from place to place on a large cargo plane. You also have a plane that has been grounded because it is showing metal stress to the vertical stabilizer. You could fly the printer in and produce the part, reducing the down time and/or the need to stock parts at various bases. Commonly replaced parts could be produced when the printer is not on a particular job. It is not much of a stretch to have a multi head printer that can apply different materials in the production of more complex parts.
    • Not really feasable for most aircraft parts, I would imagine

      you can't just print off a critical part and install it in a plane as a replacement.

      That printed part needs to go through the same internal inspection process as a cast or machined part does, and that is a precise science using equipment that may not be transportable.

      How do you know that you didn't "print" in a stress? The last thing I would want is an uninspected printed turbine blade spinning in the engine next to me...
  • Pointless statement regarding printed guns:

    The truth of the matter is that printing your own gun is still both more expensive and more difficult that making one using conventional gunsmithing/fabrication methods. The fact that anyone handy with a lathe can make a rifle has never been a convincing argument on any side of the gun control debate.

    Stating "if everyone can print off their own guns, there's little point in gun control regulation" Is about as useful as stating "if everyone can grow their own pot there's little point drug legislation" or "if everyone brew their own beer, there's little point in taxing alcohol".
  • Re: Houses

    How would one of them stand under normal conditions.

    I live in an urban area where the houses on most streets are subject to quakes induced by traffic of heavy vehicles. Define that as meaning any vehicle bigger than a medium commercial vehicle which can cause your present house to shake as it passes by. And also add what the big tractor-trailers and city and intercity buses do and I see those houses not lasting more than six months.

    Now let's talk about "real" earthquakes. Real seismic events would bring such a house down so fast, it scares me to even think about it.

    So would I live in one of those?

  • Thanks, Charlie

    You do a great job covering the world of 3D printing in all its aspects. It's good to read about a developing technology and the ways it's being put to use for the good and less good of people around the world in such a positive light.

    I especially loved the coverage on the development and use of replacement body parts and prosthetics. I know this will be a boon to those who need them and will bring down the cost of the devices while making them more fitted to the individual at less cost to the manufacturers.
  • 3d printed humans and life sized mario kart

    I'll be blown to the Max if this happened.
    Raleigh Brecht
  • Not the safest for whom?

    Government? Criminals?

    "While potentially placing guns in the unlicensed hands of the general public isn't the safest option,"

    In the United States, where the right to keep and bear arms by the individual cannot be infringed, there is no other option.
    Licensing doesn't make a weapon any safer, it merely violates individual rights.
    • Exactly

      You are exactly correct. All that gun control legislation accomplishes is to put law-abiding citizens at a disadvantage, because criminals don't follow the law in the first place.

      Gun control legislation is exactly the opposite of what one would logically do if one desires to reduce violent crime. Just look at what has happened in states and nations with the strictest gun control laws: the murder rate has skyrocketed.

      In areas with strict gun control laws, criminals know that their victims are defenseless so they can commit their violent crimes with impunity.
  • The only point to gun control regulation

    is the subjugation of the citizenry. I'm sure Syria's Assad fully agrees with gun control regulation, along with every other despot in the world.

    "While innovative and potentially useful in the military, if everyone can print off their own guns, there's little point in gun control regulation."
  • The long term implications for manufacturing

    This phrase speaks volumes

    "You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things. You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there"

    After mechanisation and industrial robots comes another blow for the unskilled worker. Why pay someone to make anything when the printer can do it for you?

    The idea that we need a workforce to "support the ageing population" is becoming more and more bogus. Raw materials to feed into the printer suddenly seem more important - and of course, the more of us there are, the less raw material per person.