3D printed composite tools save Wartsila €100,000 in 8 months

Markforged, provider of metal and carbon fiber 3D printers, announced Wärtsilä — a technology group servicing the marine and energy markets — has achieved a breakthrough with the development of a 3D printed composite lifting tool for its engines by using Markforged additive manufacturing technology. The tool has been designed, produced, and tested by Wärtsilä in its premises using the company’s Additive Manufacturing Network. The testing procedure was carried out in collaboration with international certification agency Bureau Veritas, which has granted the tool Type Approval certification. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing Composites 2020-2030: Technology and Market Analysis

In order to service engines found in the field or in the factories, Wärtsilä’s teams often rely on custom lifting tools to move immensely heavy engine parts such as pistons. Traditionally, those tools are forged out of solid steel and are expensive, time intensive to manufacture, and too heavy to easily use or transport. The team turned to Markforged 3D printers to find a solution.

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The financial benefits of 3D printing

3D printing is no longer tomorrow’s promise; it is available for manufacture today. But with much competition in the investment sphere of technological innovations, from Artificial Intelligence to Augmented Reality, how do you make the business case for 3D?

Down the road, 3D printing will bring about a radical new era of total supply chain transformation, with local, print on demand solutions dramatically reducing both costs and time to market. But this will take time and, as Paul Croft, Director, Ultimaker GB explains; any business dealing with additive manufacture can explore 3D printing to achieve incremental gains today.

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U.S. Marines 3D print F-35 part to save US$ 70,000

A team of U.S. Marines 3D printed a part for the F-35 stealth fighter saving $70,000 in costs for a whole new landing gear door.

The landing gear of F-35A Lightning II. Photo via the Eglin Air Force Base

The component is a small part mounted on the door pressing it into the latch. It was designed and 3D printed by Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 31 (CLB-31) in Carderock, Maryland.

Sam Pratt, a mechanical engineer at the Carderock’s Additive Manufacturing Project Office, provided further technical assistance to the team.

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$10,000 Air Force toilet seat covers reduced to $300 thanks to 3D printing

Airmen wait to board a cargo aircraft. Photo via U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo.Following a letter from U.S. Senator, Chuck Grassley demanding justification for the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) expenditure on $10,000 military aircraft toilet seat covers, Airforce officials have announced that it will now pay $300 to produce the part thanks to 3D printing.

“You’ll think: there’s no way it costs that,” said Dr. Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics in a recent interview with Defense One.

“It doesn’t, but you’re asking a company to produce it and they’re producing something else. And for them to produce this part for us, they have to quit what they’re making now. They’re losing revenue and profit.”

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3D printing houses can cut construction time, cost and waste

In recent years 3D printing has delivered several exciting developments, from organs to race cars. Now, it’s adding houses to its repertoire.

3D printing housesDutch construction company Van Wijnen has partnered with the Eindhoven University of Technology to deliver five fully habitable, 3D-printed houses by 2019.

According Van Wijnen Manager Rudy van Gurp, Project Milestone (as it’s called) was in part a response to the shortage of people willing to take part in the laborious construction process.

“We need a technical revolution in the constructing area to respond to the shortage of skilled bricklayers in the Netherlands and all over the world,” he said.

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3D printing 10 times cheaper than machining for Moog Aircraft Group

Moog's aircraft portfolio includes work on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet, pictured here successfully landing in a crosswind test. Photo by Tom Reynolds/Lockheed MartinFDM 3D printing proves better than traditional manufacturing in this latest case study from Moog Aircraft Group (NYSE:MOG.A) and leading Stratsys reseller SYS Systems.

As a solution for spare parts and tooling, fused deposition modeling (FDM) is the 3D printing technology of choice for cutting costs and lead times at factories around the world. In recent news, Ricoh opted to switch out metal for FDM 3D printed plasticsat an assembly factory in Japan. And Spain’s Indaero won a lucrative Airbus contract on the back of its FDM part production.

The Moog Aircraft Group is already a key part of the supply chain for many aerospace/defence companies including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus and Northrop Grumman. In collaboration with SYS Systems, Moog identified FDM 3D printing as the best solution for producing bespoke fixtures, used in the machines that qualify aerospace-grade parts.

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Akili Labs makes medical field testing ten times cheaper using 3D printing

South African biotech startup Akili Labs has developed FieldLab, an accurate, affordable and portable 3D printed diagnostics lab that can cost as little as $1,500, or one-tenth of similar equipment.

The FieldLab was created by Akili Labs co-founders and Rhodes University Biotechnology Innovation Centre (RUBIC) graduate students Charles Faul and Lucas Lotter. Their aim is to give doctors and scientists a rapid and accurate means of identifying disease outbreaks on the spot.

The FieldLab in a box

FieldLab is a rapid field-testing “lab-in-a-box.” It allows medical professionals in remote areas and conflict zones to access equipment typically found in state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratories. By testing for certain viruses, bacteria, and fungi on site, they can quickly identify an outbreak of disease and take the necessary measures before it spreads and becomes an epidemic.

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Westinghouse chooses nuclear option for 3D printing projects due in 2018

Diagram of a Westinghouse nuclear thimble plug on the bottom of a fuel Holder. Photo via Westinghouse.US Nuclear Energy company Westinghouse has announced that it will be installing an additively manufactured fuel component by 2018. In doing so, it hopes to be the first company to do so for a commercial reactor.

The part in question will be a thimble plugging device, and its manufacturing and eventual installation will follow muliple simultaneous research and development into reducing costs for 3D printing obsolete components, fuel structural devices and prototypes.

The R&D projects include both internal research into 3D printed parts and two projects funded by the US Department of Energy.

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US Marines’ 3D printed drone is 200 times cheaper than production version

A marine prepares to hand launch a Raven drone/image via Defense Industry Daily3D printed drone technology has been an emerging area over the past year, with military surveillance use seeing a particular boom.

To add to the recent developments in drone delivery systems and swarming dronespurpose built to be air dropped, U.S. Marine TOW gunner Cpl. Rhet McNeal has developed a hand-launched fixed wing drone, with the help of NexLog (the US Marine Corps’ “Next Generation Logistics innovation group”, in conjunction with Penn State university) and Autodesk.

Autodesk is a CAD design development software company that additionally offers residencies to developers with full access of professional tools and advice at their purpose built Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco, California.

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Boeing turns to 3D-printed parts to save millions on its 787 Dreamliner

The aerospace industry has quickly found the utility in 3D printing items, both in reducing the cost of making parts themselves and in the cost reduction of operating aircraft with 3D printed parts, through the reductions in emissions and fuel use by having optimized designs.  With Boeing now using the technology in its Dreamliner, we can safely say that 3D printing is no longer just for prototyping, and is part of the manufacturing mix!


The move will reduce production costs for each Dreamliner by $2M to $3M

3D printed aircraft partsBoeing will begin using at least four 3D-printed titanium parts to construct its 787 Dreamliner aircraft and may some day rely on as many as 1,000 parts created via  additive manufacturing.

Boeing has hired Oslo, Norway-based Norsk Titanium AS to print the parts. It marks the first time that FAA-approved, 3D-printed titanium parts will be used as structural components on a commercial aircraft, according to the company.

The parts will be used near the rear of the Dreamliner, a mid-sized, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner. Boeing builds about 144 Dreamliners each year.

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