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By i3d

U.S. Air Force General Proclaims Additive Manufacturing As A Massive Game Changer

Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) has been a rising trend that has the potential to revolutionize nearly everything we manufacture from human organs to mechanical components to firearm parts.

General Ellen Pawlikowski, Commander of the Air Force Material Command, compared the importance of additive manufacturing to other game-changing technologies like hypersonics, directed energy, and autonomy, stating,

“If you were to ask me what’s the fourth game changer, in my mind it’s additive manufacturing.”

I3D MFG agrees with these statements as they have been at the forefront of this  game-changing technology for nearly two years now, producing some of the most complex and revolutionary parts for their aerospace, firearms, heat exchanger and thruster clients

For the Air Force, these types of 3D metal parts, including flexible electronics, sensors, fuzes, energetics and warheads, help AFRL achieve the longer-term goal of using technologies like DMLS to rapidly prototype advanced capabilities for warfighters.

Dr. Amanda Schrand, principal investigator for FLEGOMAN at the AFRL/RW stated,

“We are maturing additive manufacturing to address technical challenges in fuze technology and ordnance sciences to increase the lethality of small weapons, and enable modular and flexible weapons. We also hope to decrease the time it takes to refresh critical components as well as decrease the cost to produce a weapon and its components. We are currently focusing on additively manufacturing survivable fuze electronics such as detonators, switches, capacitors and traces, leveraging the expertise of our colleagues at the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Sensors Directorate, Air Force Institute of Technology and Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. Additionally, we are developing tailorable, lightweight, cellular warhead cases and structural reactive materials that offer strength and energy on demand. Finally, we are exploring ways to improve energetic materials by printing them rather than pouring them.”

I3D MFG, is able to use their experience and engineering to design, recommend,  and produce advanced metal components using additive manufacturing (DMLS) in order to fuel the next-generation of 3D metal printing techniques.

By i3d

PiperJaffray Report: Metal 3D Printing A Bright Spot In The 4th Quarter

PiperJaffray released the results of their 4th Quarter 3D Printing Survey which can be found in our Library.  Please download it and read the entire article as it’s a great deep dive into the current and future state of 3D metal printing.

What they found for the 4th quarter was an indication that system demand remained challenged from the 3rd quarter.  As it turns out, PiperJaffray believes that Q4 and 2015 turned out to be challenging for the entire industry as a whole as users digested excess capacity which had built up over the years.

They also believe poor macro and FX conditions, as well as vertical specific headwinds in the Oil and Gas industry, played a role in the disappointing year for many 3D printing companies.

Though the data looks a bit discouraging in the report, it is encouraging to hear from industry contacts that interest and demand is beginning to reaccelerate for 3D technologies and they believe pipelines are strong heading into 2016. PiperJaffrays believes this is evident by the accelerating 1-year growth expectations from both Stratasys and 3D system resellers.

All in all, as the report points out, industry experts believe it will take additional quarters to get through some of the headwinds affecting companies in 2015, but are optimistic we will see a turning point in the second half of 2016.

Access the report here to see a full industry breakdown with insights and analysis.

By i3d

3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing) Gives The Ability To Create The Nearly Impossible: With Limitations

Marc Saunders, Director – Global Solutions Centres at Renishaw, recently discussed how Additive Manufacturing (AM), a specifically 3D metal printing, can give us the ability to create components from designs that would be nearly impossible to produce conventionally.

As he points out, it’s not as simple though as having “unfettered freedom” to do whatever we want.  There are capabilities and limitations.

Mr. Saunders does a great job pointing out some key design considerations for laser melted metal parts. Here’s a few he points out:

  • Feature Size
  • Surface Finish
  • Overhangs
  • Lateral holes
  • Minimizing supports
  • Residual stress and distortion

Give the article a read in order to get the details on these key considerations.  As Marc point out,

“AM gives us huge freedom to design parts differently, but we do need to be aware of some of the characteristics and limitations of the process, so that we create parts that can be built successfully.

The DfAM rules described above are not too onerous in practice, and actually encourage us to consider ways to make parts that are lighter, faster to build, and more cost-effective.

Modern design and build preparation software helps enormously to find an optimum design, orientation and support strategy so that we can produce consistent parts economically. “

 

By i3d

3D Printing Is Here To Stay

In a recent article in the Dayton Business Journal, a good friend of ours, Chris Collins, published an article all about keeping Dayton ahead of the technology curve and one of the things leading that curve is 3D printing.

The article discusses the fact that Dayton has always been seen as somewhat of a declining economy with the downfall of the automotive industry but in fact it’s actually a hotbed for the manufacturing industry.  Dayton also happens to have one of the most cutting-edge research and development facilities in the United States at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which has initiatives in place to offer the local economy vendor priority.

In the article, Chris discusses why Additive Manufacturing is the next big industrial revolution and he want to help put Dayton right in the epicenter that revolution.

To really help put something behind that statement he uses the example of how NASA sends 3D printing files to the International Space Station where they can print them out for research and testing purposes.  No needing to make something, package it, then ship it.  Additive Manufacturing cuts out so many inefficient processes that it just makes sense to become the next revolution in the industrial/manufacturing world and all the way down to the consumer market.

Collins then hypothesizes that some day we won’t even need to ship any longer and in fact, when we buy certain products we will get them specifically made for our own personal selves instead of the generic “S-M-L-XL”.

He finishes by saying, “Make Dayton the place to go for everything 3D printing. Because you had better believe if we don’t adopt it, someone else will, if they haven’t already.”

This is certainly true about the entire Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) industry and it’s also true that it is not a fad or a trend, it’s hear to stay and it’s changing lives everyday even if you don’t realize it.

 

By i3d

Current Trends In The Additive Manufacturing Industry

Wohlers Associates sends a survey to service providers each year to help identify trends in the additive manufacturing (AM) service industry.

The 2015 survey asked for information about the respondents’ experiences in the calendar year 2014. (The 2014 survey was for 2013 calendar year.) The number of respondents continues to increase almost every year. This year, 87 service providers in 23 countries participated, with 38 from the U.S., eight from Germany, five from Canada, four from Australia, three each from China, France, India, and Italy, two each from Belgium, England, Netherlands, Spain, and Turkey, and one each from Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Thailand.

For 2015, the survey focused on the following areas as it relates to service providers in the Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) industry:

  • Primary Business focus
  • Secondary Business focus
  • Additive manufacturing services
  • Direct part production
  • Other services
  • Industries served
  • Equipment used
  • System performance

The report has some great comments by the industry respondents which really summarizes where the industry is at the moment.  One thing that stands out is the ups and downs as indicated by these two comments:

Excellent growth in 2014—we almost doubled our sales. Thanks to all who work and contribute to our industry.

We believe our rapid prototyping business declined because customers added capabilities in-house and reduced outsource business.

Market demand increased sharply in 2014. More and more end users began to try to use AM technology to solve their machining problem. Some end users began to design parts for manufacturing using AM technology. We certainly believe 2015 will much better than 2014.

Most of the service providers that responded to the survey had a positive year in 2014, in both the primary and secondary revenue streams. Based on this data and their comments, we believe the majority is in relatively good financial health when the survey was conducted in early 2015. As a whole, they are growing, and growth in 2014 continued a positive trend that began in 2010 after two years of decline.

Read the full report here in our DMLS resource library.

DMLS Warheads

By i3d

New Case Studies: Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) Optimization Warheads And Aircraft Wings

We have added two new case studies to our DMLS Resource Library.  Major David Liu and others at the Airforce Institute of Technology (AFIT) have published groundbreaking studies based on Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) optimization of aircraft wings and lattice-reinforced penetrative warheads.

Topology Optimization Of An Aircraft Wing

For the additive manufacturing industry and specifically DMLS aircraft printing, this is a very important study.  Here’s the summary from the white paper which can be found here in our library:

Topology optimization was conducted on a three-dimensional wing body in order to enhance structural performance and reduce overall weight of the wing. The optimization was conducted using commercial software on an aircraft wing with readily available schematics, allowing a stress and displacement analysis. Optimizations were accomplished with an objective of minimizing overall compliance while maintaining an overall design-space volume fraction of less than 30 percent. A complete wing segment was post processed and 3D printed. Future analysis involves the optimization of a complete wing body with comparison to the baseline structure. The resulting designs will be 3D printed and wind-tunnel tested for process verification. A design will also be manufactured using metallic additive manufacturing techniques as a proof of concept for future aircraft design. The final optimized solution is expected to provide a weight savings between 15 and 25 percent.

 

Topology Optimization of Additively-Manufactured, Lattice-Reinforced Penetrative Warheads

A second case study along with a great presentation by Captain Hayden K. Richards and Major David Liu discusses the groundbreaking effect of DMLS on lattice-reinforced warheads. Penetrative warheads, characterized by massive, strong, and tough solid cylindrical cases with ogive noses, are generally manufactured using traditional techniques such as subtractive fabrication processes. In these processes, material is removed from pre-formed solid masses to produce simple shapes.

Recently, the development of sophisticated additive manufacturing (AM) machines, known colloquially as 3D printers, has revolutionized the process of building metal parts.

Visit our library for access to these incredible studies which help to reinforce the growing use of DMLS in critical industries such as aerospace and firearms.

By i3d

I3DMFG DMLS Resource Library

Introducing Our DMLS Resource Library

I3D MFG™ has put together an online DMLS resource library for anyone that wants to learn more about the industry, materials used, and actual case studies of DMLS in action.  Here is what you will find in our library.

  Read more

i3DMFG-3D-Printing-Services-Aerospace

By i3d

3D Printed Rocket Parts? Yes!

Are companies successfully making 3D printed rocket parts?  As the 3D metal printing industry continues to mature using technologies like Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) for bridge manufacturing using metals such as Inconel and Titanium, there has been an uptick in the number of successful 3D printed rocket parts.

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U.S. Air Force General Proclaims Additive Manufacturing As A Massive Game Changer
DMLS Warheads
New Case Studies: Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) Optimization Warheads And Aircraft Wings
i3DMFG-3D-Printing-Services-Aerospace
3D Printed Rocket Parts? Yes!