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Boeing Qualifies Startasys’ High-Performance Material for 3D Printing

Recognizing High-Performance Materials

It is well-known that Boeing, the aerospace manufacturer giant, has been aggressively using additive manufacturing in their craft designs and processes. Recently, the company has qualified 3D printer OEM Stratasys’ Antero 800NA thermoplastic filament for their flight parts. Hence, the filament can now be used to manufacture end use components aboard its planes.

What is the Antero 800NA filament?

The Antero 800NA is a high-performance PEKK-based polymer. It is designed specifically for Stratasys’s industrial-grade FDM 3D printers (ex. F900 and the Fortus 450mc). The combined excellent mechanical and low outgassing properties of PEKK with the design freedom of FDM 3D printing is a beneficial proposition.

A high-performance polymer is also called high-temperature plastic or high-performance thermoplastic. They are different from other types of plastic. They are distinguished by their temperature stability and their mechanical properties. They are often chosen for applications requiring good chemical resistance, performance at high temperatures, low coefficient of friction and high strength. They are used in many demanding applications across different industries such as oil and gas, nuclear, chemical, and aerospace. High-performance plastics include: PTFE, PCTFE, PEKK, PEEK, PFA, FEP, ETFE, ECTFE, PPS, and PES.

The Antero 800NA has a tensile strength of 93MPa and an elongation at break of 6%. The high strength, heat and chemical resistance, toughness, and wear resistance of the filament make it an excellent alternative to metals such as aluminum for aerospace applications.

Stratasys says that Boeing has recognized the beneficial use of the Antero polymer to meet applications that couldn’t have been 3D printed before. Additive manufacturing is ideal for simplifying aerospace supply chains both in original equipment and the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO). After extensive testing, Boeing has now added Antero 800NA to its Qualified Products List (QPL). It is the first of Stratasys’ materials to be qualified for its chemical and fatigue resistance capabilities.

Boeing has become increasingly involved with various additive manufacturing technologies and materials as a result of technological advancements in the industry. This is just one of the recent mutually beneficial partnerships that bodes well for the industry and the general public safety.


New 3D Printing Material That’s Tough and Water-Soluble

Reducing Post-Production Costs

AquaSys 180 is an innovation created by Infinite Material Solutions, itself an award-winning innovator of 3D printing materials and material design based out of Prescott, Wisconsin. The company’s aim is to build material solutions and processes that redefine the manufacturing industry. AquaSys is a filament family that is not a printing material itself but a printing material support. It has made its official launch just recently. It is a breakthrough product because this printing material support is water-soluble .

How will this unique product benefit the industry?

Did you know that much of the cost of a 3D printed part can come from post-processing tasks that can be time-wasting? Support materials can cut down most of the tasks involved.

There are traditional support filaments in the market but they don’t provide the optimal support manufacturers need. If you are producing complex geometries, there is the added difficulty when you break away the supports. There are a lot of water-soluble materials but they can’t stand up to the temperatures required to support engineering-grade build materials.

AquaSys filaments are designed to meet the rigorous demands of advanced additive manufacturing applications. They make 3D printing easier, faster, more cost-effective, and more viable as a method for creating end-use parts with desirable thermoplastics.

They have a high-performance stability, thriving in higher temperatures than any other water-soluble support material. That translates to high-quality, warp-free parts with more materials than ever before. They dissolve quickly, enable complex designs, and leave behind a smooth finish; thereby reducing post-processing time. All that is needed is tap water, no harsh chemicals are required. They’re also safe to use, and generally safe to discharge in most waste-water systems.

When the company introduced AquaSys 120 in 2018, it was the first water-soluble support compatible with popular build materials such as ABS. AquaSys 180 is poised to attract a larger audience, especially within the aerospace and automotive industries which produce end-use parts made from PEI or PEEK.

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3D Printed NASA Rocket Parts: From the Moon to Mars

Bigger, Cheaper, and Faster Manufacturing

NASA is preparing for the human exploration of Mars and 3D printing is going to play a huge role in it. Experts, engineers and academia are working to make this happen. An emerging technology by NASA, called Rapid Analysis and Manufacturing Propulsion Technology (or RAMPT) will be using metal powder and lasers to produce large, complex engine components like nozzles and combustion chambers never done before. The advantage is that the most difficult and expensive rocket engine parts can be produced for a lower price. Other companies in the aerospace industry can apply this manufacturing technology to the medical, transportation, and infrastructure industries.

Via the new technology, NASA has printed one of the largest engine nozzles for a rocket. It measures 40 inches in diameter and 38 inches tall with its own cooling channels. Blown powder directed energy deposition can produce these large structures, and it’s cheaper and quicker than traditional fabrication techniques. Compared to one year long production via traditional welding, this nozzle was done in just 30 days.

NASA’s Space Launch System (or SLS) rocket team and the Orion spacecraft, the exploration vehicle that will carry the human crew to space, are the backbone to NASA’s deep space exploration plans, including sending the first woman and next man to the Moon in 2024 and establish sustainable exploration by the end of 2030. SLS is investing in RAMPT to certify it for spaceflight. Together they will build and evaluate a nozzle that is up to 5 feet in diameter and 7 feet tall, all at reduced schedule and cost.

Entering into public-private partnerships, NASA is working with academia and industry to play an important role. With Auburn University in Alabama, RAMPT collaborates with specialty manufacturing companies already advancing the “state of the art” and making the developed technologies available to the private sector. It adds value to NASA missions as they share some development costs. The technology may also play critical roles in many other industries, including commercial space.


Understanding The Fascinating World of 3D Printed Food

The Basics of 3D Printed Edibles

3D printed food is still a very young industry. It still needs a broader adaptation from professionals and regular consumers. In this year, however, there are already exclusive 3D printing restaurants and dozens of food printers available on the market. The foods that can be 3D printed are limited to the processes available. Material extrusion is still the most common process for 3D printing food, and like FDM printing, requires paste-like inputs like purées, mousses, and other viscous foods such as chocolate ganache. However, there are possible combinations between doughs, mashes, cheeses, frostings, and even raw meats.

How does a food 3D printer work?

It works like a regular FDM 3D printer where a viscous material is deposited onto a surface to create a final object. On the other hand, binder jetting and SLS work with powdered foodstuffs, though it’s still debatable if these are viable for food printing. With most machines the raw material is fed into a syringe-like container and extruded as the nozzle is moved around to trace shapes and form 2D layers one at a time.

Do food 3D printers cook the food?

They do not actually cook the ingredients, but are more for architecting intricate shapes and designs. Usually, the food is ready to eat or needs to be cooked in an oven or grill when the 3D printing is done. An exception is the PancakeBot which does everything but the flipping. Ingredients can be any paste or semi-liquid state that could be turned into the right consistency for 3D printing. This includes salty foods like puréed vegetables, batters, doughs, cheeses, and sweets such as jellies, frostings, sugar decorations, chocolate, and mashed fruits.

Food 3D printers are mostly used for gourmet dining like in molecular kitchens or fancy bakeries. Edible wedding cake decorations and pizzas have been 3D printed. Plant-based meat is being 3D printed, too. Actually, the best chances of finding 3D printed food are in 3D printing events or culinary conventions such as 3D food printing conferences, as this is still a new technology.

The benefits and drawbacks of 3D printed food may concern many. On the positive side, there’s the freedom to create complex, intricate shapes and geometries that are impossible to reproduce manually or would take an extraordinary long time. Edibles are safe to consume provided that the machine and environment are clean. Meals can be personalized or customized and can be easily reproducible.

Downsides of 3D printed food are its time-consuming facet if complex or detailed designs are involved, the cost of the machine and some consumables; also is the length of training time and the preparation time required in pre-cooking and pre-processing of materials.


Design: What Sets Apart Metal 3D Printing Part Two

Read Part One

Applications and Companies

Traditional metal part fabrication has many constraints. Fortunately, there is 3D metal printing design to optimize a part’s functionality and reduce material, time, and cost. As metal 3D printing can create parts within parts, engineers can design a complex assembly in one piece. There are many metals and high-performance alloys available for 3D printing with some exclusive to 3D printing. From a wide range of stainless steels for hardness and strength to titaniums that are biocompatible and lightweight, the list includes cobalt cromes, alumiums, nickel-based alloys, gold, silver, platinum, copper, and more. Let us look at the top applications for metal 3D printing and which companies are 3D printing with metal.

Spare & Obsolete Parts

Metal 3D printing is extending the lifespan of discontinued equipment and expanding repair possibilities for many obsolete machines. 3D printing technology can not only produce a spare part when no part exists, but even improve upon the part, often reducing weight and the amount of material used. Companies that turned to metal 3D printing for spare parts: Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Deutsche Bahn, and the U.S. Marine Corp.

Surgical & Dental Implants

The medical device category of metal 3D printing applications is huge in scope and in volume. Metal 3D printing in healthcare is number one. In dental labs, 3D printing final metal stainless steel implants as tooth replacements is growing. The number of 3D printed metal parts that can be implanted into the human body is also huge. From bone replacements to cranial implants to vascular stents, the essential benefits of 3D printed body parts are customization and unique form.

Surgeons are helping drive a movement toward made-to-order implants customized for a patient’s unique needs. Companies that turned to metal 3D printing for implants: Swift Dental Group in the UK, Stryker, one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, Toughware Prosthetics, Colorado, USA, Graft3D Healthcare Solutions in Chennai, India, AK Medical orthopedic implants, China.

Jewelry & Decorative Arts

Jewelers turn to 3D printing with plastics for investment casting patterns, cheaper and faster to produce than traditional methods. 3D printing with precious metals is less popular. Competition is growing among online print-to-order service bureaus, and prices are going down. Artists and jewelers use the technology to print final pieces out of precious metals. Complex and delicate geometric designs, not possible through traditional methods, enable jewelers to offer unique and bespoke creations. Companies that turned to metal 3D printing for jewelry: Arlid Links, a cutting-edge boutique jewelry company, and Brazilian jewelry designer, Veronica Nunes with 3D printing service bureau Star Rapid.