3 exciting new 3D printed technologies to watch out for
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3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has unlocked access to materials and geometries once deemed impossible. Although the technology dates back to the mid-1980s, it is still relatively new. Here are three exciting new projects that will have a big impact on the industry or the world as a whole.
Printing large parts with recycled material
Oak Ridge National Lab researchers recently worked with engineers at Cincinnati, Inc. to print large parts using recycled materials. Cincinnati is the company behind the Big Area Additive Manufacturing Machine (BAAM) which can print 8-foot-by-20-foot parts and deposits about 80 pounds per hour, typically basic pellet thermoplastics.
A recent ORNL and Cincinnati demonstration showed the ability to print multiple materials via a single extruder and recycled composites in large scale applications. The team installed a dual feed system on the BAAM which allowed them to print with multiple materials using an extruder. They produced a 400-pound, 10-foot-long mold from recycled carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic and syntactic foam in seven hours. The mold reproduced a single facet of a precast concrete tool.
The technology has potential, primarily in reducing tooling costs and printing large structures with lightweight cores and specific properties.
Bio-impression of new noses
Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a new way bioprint 3D custom-shaped cartilage.
The team uses a personalized hydrogel mixed with cells taken from a patient and then printed in a specific shape. In a few weeks, the material is cultivated in a laboratory to become functional cartilage.
The work will have a significant impact on people disfigured by skin cancer by making it easier for surgeons to restore lost facial features.
Next, the team will transplant lab-grown cartilage into animal models to make sure it retains its properties. If all goes well, it could be the subject of clinical trials in the next two to three years.
Printing with tungsten
With a melting point of 3422 ° C, tungsten is an incredible material used to make everything from space rocket nozzles to heating elements in high temperature furnaces. Unfortunately, it is a fragile metal that is difficult to work with; the treatment is long and expensive.
Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) use Electron beam melting technology to make tungsten flexible and easier to process.
Electron beam fusion technology uses electrons accelerated under vacuum to selectively melt metal powder and build a part layer by layer. The electron beam preheats the metal powder and the carrier plate before melting, which reduces strain and stress on the material.
The work could lead to new components designed for high temperature applications in the aerospace, energy and medical industries.