Better 3D Printing Initiatives For the Space Sector

Prototyping For Space And Beyond

AML3D is Australia-based and a renowned metal 3D printing bureau that provides additive manufacturing on demand services. It specializes in large scale 3D metal printing for manufacturing, aerospace, defence, maritime, mining, and other industries.

It uses its patented wire additive manufacturing (WAM) technology which works by combining electric arcs with welding wires as feedstock to produce large-scale free-form parts.

Now AML3D, from Adelaide, is making its first entry into the space sector through a partnership with a still undisclosed US aerospace firm. Using the WAM process, AML3D will produce a specialized 3D printed high-strength, corrosion-resistant alloy prototype part for the company in its first move into the space exploration supply chain. The technology is particularly suited to the fabrication of bespoke parts with high-performance materials like titanium.

The high-strength and robustness afforded by WAM technology are what attracted the US aerospace company to AML3D. The process is also more cost-effective compared to traditional casting, forging or billet machining methods. AML3D considers the collaboration a recognition of their capabilities in the field of space exploration.

The space exploration sector is a rapidly growing field and it may also be a great opportunity for AML3D to expand their strategy into the North American market. It has strong R&D initiatives and demonstrated space sector prototyping expertise to play a wider role in this booming industry.


Serving The Aerospace Industry for Years

3D Composites has been serving the aerospace sector for decades. If it’s for space exploration, know that we specialize in creating quality 3D Printed prototypes.

3D Printing

How 3D Printed Aids Can Save Cost In Education

Helping The Teacher To Engage Students

Did you know that teachers who use 3D printed learning aids can save a lot for their teaching institutions? According to researchers from Michigan Technological University, as much as 86% of total cost savings can be realized with 3D printed products compared to purchasing from retailers like Amazon. In fact a total cost of $1.7 million has been saved so far by the education community as found out by the research team when 38 designs that were 3D printable were assessed and evaluated.

3D Printers in Schools

Many schools have used 3D printers for some time. Others have used 3D printed models to engage students in medical, dental, and nursing schools, which visualize the basics of anatomy. Likewise, 3D models increased student engagement in engineering, architecture, and design. Some schools have their own 3D printing labs with the help of industry partners.

The MTU study investigates the economics of classroom-based 3D printing of open-source digital designs of learning aids, focusing on the use of open-source desktop 3D printers. With 38 learning aid examples (clock, brain model, spinal cord model, combustion engine, Pythagorean theorem visual, etc.), using LulzBot 3D printers and 3mm PLA filament, the researchers analyzed the functionality, physically printed and calculated mass ratios, and 3D printer energy consumption to determine a dollar-to-kilogram cost for printing. They also calculated the economic viability of the designs, taking into account their printing and assembly costs, and compared them to equivalent or inferior commercial products.

Their analysis was that manufacturing the average learning aid themselves translated to 86% savings to teachers. Also, having a 3D printed learning model instead of purchasing one is equivalent to savings of 1 kg of commercial filament. Additionally, the average learning aid can also be downloaded 1,500 times, meaning it can be potentially distributed worldwide. Per year, each design means a savings of $11,800 and a total of $450,000 savings with the 38 designs. The return on investment would be more than 100%.

At the BETT 2020 tech show, there is a goal of bringing more 3D printers into schools due to the benefits of 3D printing and 3D design into learning institutions.


Designing and Printing For Teaching

If you have an idea that can make teaching and learning more engaging, come to 3D Composites. We design and 3D print great learning aids for all levels.

Bioprinting New Technology May Create Living Brain Cells

Advancing Bioprinting

How did a team of scientists from the University of Montréal, Concordia University and the Federal University of Santa Catarina successfully 3D printed living mouse brain cells? Simple, by using a newly developed bioprinting technology. It’s called LIST which stands for Laser-Induced Side Transfer.

Some people jump to conclusions and expect that with 3D printing capabilities and its close to sci-fi reputation for bioprinting, human organs for transplants can now be realized. Truth to tell, when it comes to brain organs and cell replacements, the possibility is still quite distant. However, the development for disease modeling, drug testing, and implant manufacturing is very promising.

Using LIST technology, sensory neurons can be 3D printed, with 86% of them still alive even two days after printing. It showed that the technique can maintain high printing resolution and reproducibility, and be applicable with different bioink viscosities. Hence, it proved that it can overcome some limitations associated with other bioprinting techniques, such as donor preparations, ink viscosity, and cell viability.

The scientists wanted to prove that it’s possible to bioprinting adult sensory neurons via LIST, which uses low energy nanosecond laser pulses. They used DRG neurons from the peripheral nervous system of mice to prepare the bioink. After being 3D bioprinted, the samples were briefly incubated before being washed and re-incubated for 48 hours.

They believe the technique could form an important contribution to the field of bioprinting, particularly within drug discovery. It can also decrease animal testing; fewer animals will have to be euthanized for the benefit of human health because LIST uses human tissue, and not those of animals. With encouraging results, the researchers are moving onwards in the efforts to aid drug discovery for nerve recovery.


How Binder Jet 3D Printing Can Restore Our Threatened Coral Reefs

Mimicking The Toughness of Corals

The value of coral reefs in our oceans is no longer debatable, and thus there is much concern when these underwater ecosystems are dying over the last 30 years. Reports say that 55% of our reefs have perished over this time. If nothing concrete can be done about this, we may lose a very high percentage of those still alive in the next century.

Though coral reefs cover only a very small part of the ocean floor, about 25% of marine life depends on them. The reefs provide habitat and food for marine life, offer coastal protection to prevent shore erosion, reduce the impact of storms and hurricanes, it’s a source for pharmaceutical compounds and a boost to tourism. Nonetheless, many factors threaten the reefs causing them to die out, like pollution, overfishing, including climate change.

There’s a design workshop based out of California that is resorting to 3D printing to save the remaining threatened coral reefs. The workshop, called Objects and Ideograms, has done 3D printing of other objects before – like a coffee table and a coffee bar – and is now venturing into 3D modeling to create complex structures out of calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate is a limestone from which coral skeletons are made. Using binder jet 3D printing technology, the substrate is finely grounded and is printed to duplicate the tough and textural structure for the living polyps of coral to cling.

The workshop has partnered with the California College of Arts to build a floating laboratory at the San Francisco Bay in 2019. It is to serve as an environmental demonstration project and research platform. The plan is to use fiber-reinforced polymer composite substrate that is eco-friendly and will feature a range of topographies that can function above and below the water of the bay.

All are hopeful that a healthy and diverse underwater ecosystem using 3D printing technology and the most efficient substrate printing material can restore the threatened coral reefs for future generations.


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Maintenance Made Easy By 3D Printing Design

3D Print-Designing A Window For Added Value

There are design methods that incorporate 3D printing not given enough thought and consideration as to its maintenance. The technology is mostly made of plastic and, hence, versatile, but eventually becomes more expensive as they could not be maintained.

An example is the tilted window, or dual-action window, or tilt-and-turn window. It’s a design of windows that first became popular in Europe and were made out of extruded aluminum or polymer design. It can do a variety of functions by just changing the window’s handle direction: the window can be entirely opened to one side, or tilt it forward to open the top and let air in but prevent a burglar from getting in; one can escape through it in case evacuation is necessary, and most especially, it can be easily cleaned. Hence, both the outside and the inside of the window can be safely and quickly maintained. This benefit is not found in many older windows as they can only open outward. This window is designed for maintenance.

These windows became widely adopted for its unique tilting function as well as providing better insulation from noise outside and heat loss inside the home. It was not cheap but proved less expensive in the long run. Some of the mechanisms and design elements for these windows can be prototyped with 3D printing. A problem arises if this type of window is desired for an old model house, those with uneven walls, lack of level measurements, or variable holes for windows. 3D printing can make prototypes of end caps that can conform to the change in angles. Likewise, frames can be 3D printed so that the windows can be flush with the cavity.

Another aspect of design-for maintenance is the washing of windows. It happens that water goes down the windowsill and gets trapped there, leaving stains and damaging the paint. 3D prototyping can design a splash guard under the window or make a runoff guide to channel the water out. An entire building can save in cost of cleaning services and manpower. With a customized design, even installation cost can go down.

3D printing can solve problems of consumers by fitting their needs. 3D printing is highly flexible and improvisational. It offers efficiency and improvements to maintenance situations in even the most common applications, such as this: customizing windows and installations.

Prototyping To Customers’ Specifications

When you have an idea to make day-to-day duties and activities easier, safer, and convenient, let’s talk about prototyping. Visit us at 3D Composites for your needs.