3D printing reaches new heights

Scott Sevcik, vice-president aerospace business segment at Stratasys looks at some of the current trends and developments that highlight the technology’s ongoing ability to deliver opportunities for aerospace manufacturers and their suppliers.

The relationship between the aerospace and additive manufacturing (AM) industries is continually evolving, with both sectors driven by innovation and change. As leaders in these fields invest in and develop technologies, their paths overlap and inform one another. The unique capabilities of AM to produce complex geometries work in symmetry with the needs of manufacturers, who continually strive to achieve faster speeds and utilise complex part designs to increase efficiency.

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Optimizing the properties of recycled 3D printing materials

In an attempt to mitigate the environmental impact of 3D printing, several organizations have taken to creating recycled filament, made not only from failed prints but from water bottles and other garbage. Inexpensive filament extruders are also available to allow makers to make their own filament from recyclable materials. Not only does recycled filament help the environment, but it also helps 3D printer users to save money and be more self-sufficient, making the technology more viable in remote communities.


Top: virgin PLA, bottom: recycled PLA

3D printer manufacturer re:3D has been working on making their Gigabot 3D printer capable of printing with recycled materials, for the purpose of helping those in remote communities to become more self-sufficient. In a paper entitled “Fused Particle Fabrication 3-D Printing: Recycled Materials’ Optimization and Mechanical Properties,” a team of researchers used an open source prototype Gigabot X 3D printer to test and optimize recycled 3D printing materials.

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