Rockets To Space: Revolutionary and Fully 3D Printed

Space Ambitions Soon To Be Realized

Cape Canaveral in Florida is one of America’s busiest spaceport and soon it will become the new home of a startup company, Relativity Space, that has ambitious plans to have its very own launch site at the Cape for its future 3D-printed rockets. After a successful new deal with the US Air Force, Relativity will modify the site to suit its rocket technology. As of now, Relativity has done 124 test fires of its rocket engine, in pursuit of launching the company’s first rocket by 2020.

Since the way rockets have been built hasn’t really changed in the last 60 years, Relativity aims to upset the entire process of making rockets. The company wants to veer from the traditional way of using the assembly line of machines that are complicated and time-consuming, and workers piecing together the different machine parts. It’s going to automate the entire rocket-building process using giant 3D printers -everything from engines to the propellant tanks.

With headquarters in Los Angeles, Relativity has the largest metal 3D printer by volume, capable of creating parts up to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Called Stargate, printers like this for manufacturing can produce about 95 percent of the vehicle through 3D-printed automation, while 5 percent will use human interaction – testing, shipping, and very small amounts of manual assembly.

Printers like Stargate are meant to save money by consolidating the parts needed for each vehicle, making incredibly complicated parts in just one piece. The company will be able to produce rockets with 100 times fewer parts than normal. For example, the engine injector and chamber are made of just three 3D-printed parts, when traditionally, such sections would require nearly 3,000 parts.

All the complexity is in the software; It’s able to make shapes of almost any complexity. The design can also quickly be adjusted if needed, simply by changing the software. 3D printing will allow the company to simplify the manufacturing process, shortening the time it takes to build each rocket. The goal is to get to a point where it only takes 60 days to manufacture one vehicle. That is achievable because of the robotic automation and 3D-printing technologies.


Looking To Be Part of Space Exploration in Seattle

3D Composites, 3D printing company in Seattle, has been in the business of supporting the aerospace industry for 30 years. We look forward to being a part of rocket launches in the near future.

Children’s Playground Equipment: From Virtual Reality to 3D

Just A Fun Project With A Purpose

In recent years virtual reality has gained a substantial amount of popularity. There are many games and software products in development or already released. A small portion of those focus on the creation of 3D models, for a variety of purposes such as game development, architecture and art.

Virutal Reality and 3D Model

There’s a thesis that argues the necessity of virtual reality in designing models in 3D. Entitled, “Designing Playground Equipment with VR and 3D Printing,” its author Christian Knaapen says that there is a break in the connection between the 3D model on the 2D screen and the final object. The final object should have the capacity to be interacted with, to be walked around; that’s why it needs virtual reality.

However, converting models made in virtual reality to 3D prints is not straightforward. 3D prints need to show some desired properties as, the object should consist of one connected component that touches the printing platform, it should be able to stand without falling over, and it should be structurally sound.

In the project, the author implements a program that analyzes these properties on models made in virtual reality. It is the first 3D print analysis program that works in virtual reality. To test this program, the author collated 35 students from a local school to design playground equipment in Google Blocks. Then the models were analyzed and 3D printed.

There were 16 groups formed in total, comprising children in groups of two or three. The children underwent three phases for this project: the first phase is introduction to Google Blocks and designing of their playground equipment. By the second phase, they have finished their designs. Lastly, they used the author’s software program to be able to analyze the models they’ve designed. They they’ve finalized everything, the designs were 3D printed and tested according to the desired properties – at least one connected component to the printing platform, standing without falling, and structural soundness.

Even though this project was an initial step towards understanding virtual reality-created models conversion to 3D printing, further study is necessary. While not the project’s main objective, the children had a great time designing their own playground equipment. They were thrilled being introduced to virtual reality and 3D printing.

Trying Kids’ Fun Models from Imagination

We might not yet be creating 3D printed playthings from virtual reality in Seattle, but your kids can have some fun designing their own stuff. If your kid has got an idea, let’s 3D print it.

3D-Printed Blood Vessels: Towards Saving Lives

In Aid of Cardiovascular Medicine

Can you imagine 3D printed blood vessels replacing hardened human arteries or veins in the treatment of cardiovascular disease? Some scientists are on the road to this possibility.

Engineers from the University of Colorado at Boulder have developed a 3D printing technique that allows for localized control of an object’s firmness, such as that of blood vessels like arteries, opening up new biomedical advances in the treatment of hypertension and other vascular diseases.

Looking for a Solution

We know that hardened blood vessels are associated with cardiovascular disease, but looking for a solution for viable artery and tissue replacement has historically proven challenging. However, in this study, recently published in the journal Nature Communications, outlines a layer-by-layer printing method that features fine-grain, programmable control over rigidity, allowing researchers to mimic the complex geometry of blood vessels that are highly structured and yet must remain pliable.

The scientists found a unique way to take advantage of oxygen’s role in setting the final form of a 3D-printed structure. As oxygen may cause incomplete curing, they used a layer that allows a fixed rate of oxygen permeation. With tight control over oxygen migration and its light exposure, there’s freedom now to control which areas of an object are solidified to be harder or softer while keeping the shape intact and the same.

The idea was to add independent mechanical properties to 3D structures that can mimic the body’s natural tissue. This technology allows to create microstructures that can be customized for disease models. There remains a challenge: to create an even finer scale for the chemical reactions. Tremendous opportunities lie ahead.

Looking back, some two years ago, out of a research by the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, artificial blood vessels were bioengineered in the lab and implanted in young lambs. The vessels were observed to be capable of growth within the recipient. It was a groundbreaking new study. If confirmed in humans, these new vessel grafts would prevent the need for repeated surgeries in some children with congenital heart defects. The researchers were to determine the feasibility of requesting approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human clinical trials within the next few years.

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white glass architecture building

The New Look of Architecture: 3D-Printed Lattices

Light Construction Materials of the Future

It has now become practically impossible to develop stiffer designs after you see these 3D printed family of architectures that maximizes the stiffness of porous lightweight materials.

For lightweight construction, it is important that construction materials be made of internal components that are both light and with a degree of complexity, yet robust to be of maximum efficiency. 3D printing and other additive production techniques have now made it possible to manufacture materials with internal structures of previously unimaginable complexity.

A research team from ETH Zurich and MIT has developed and fabricated material architectures that are equally strong in all three dimensions, and that are simultaneously extremely stiff. They were able to show that it’s possible to determine mathematically in theory just how stiff materials with internal voids can become. For this research, the scientists are aiming to come up with stronger latticework. A characteristic feature of the design is that the stiffness in the material’s interior is achieved through plate-lattices rather than trusses.

Latticework is an openwork framework consisting of a criss-crossed pattern of strips of building material, typically wood or metal; the design is created by crossing the strips to form a grid or weave. Trusses, on the other hand, consist of triangular units constructed with straight members; the ends of these members are connected at joints, known as nodes which are able to carry significant loads.

Trusses are old designs, long been used, such as in the Eiffel Tower, and they are perceived to be lightweight. The scientists were able to use computer calculations, theory and experimental measurements, to establish a new family of plate-lattice structures that are up to three times stiffer than truss-lattices of the same weight and volume. They are not just stiff, approaching theoretical maximum values, but are also strong.

Via 3D printing, a micrometre scale was produced from plastic having all the constituent materials on all length scales that are universally applicable – from the very small to the very large.

Architectural Advances in Seattle

We at 3D Composites anticipate the advent of such fine advances in architecture where latticework is concerned. However, for now, when you have some need for parts or tools for construction purposes and you think they can be 3D printed, come see us, your experienced 3D company in Seattle.



How 3D Printing Revolutionized Medicine in 2018

3D Printing – Recreating Human Organs

The inroads 3D printing technology made in the field of medicine have truly been astounding. In just one year – 2018 – there have been many amazing breakthroughs and complex developments that advanced medicine to a state it is today. Let’s look at some of these groundbreaking inroads.

3D printed rib implant. A 3D printed polymer rib implant was received by a patient in Bulgaria whose 5th rib was removed due to a growth. An exact replica was implanted successfully without complications.

3D printed prosthetics. A reconstructive hospital in Jordan has, for 10 years now, been restoring missing limbs for patients who are war and bomb blast victims by 3D printed prosthesis.

3D printed ligaments. From the University of New Mexico 3D printed ligaments could represent a new breakthrough in the way these injuries are treated. Torn ligaments are common injuries and difficult to treat, carrying risk of future complications. A special electrospinning technique is used here.

3D bionic eye. Researchers at the University of Minnesota 3D printed photoreceptors on a hemispherical surface, a technique that could lead to an actual functional bionic eye, paving the way for curing blindness.

3D printed placenta on a chip. A miniature cell culture that behaves in the manner of a full-sized organ was printed to enable new insight into the way that conditions pass from mothers to babies.

3D printed artificial lung. This is the first truly wearable device that is compatible with human tissue and can provide both short- and long-term respiratory support for those suffering from COPD, especially prevalent among veterans.

3D printed neural scaffold. This could help patients with long-term spinal cord injuries, which cause loss of function up to and including complete paralysis, actually recover some function in the future.

3D printing an actual human heart is still to be accomplished in the future. BIOLIFE4D announced that it has successfully 3D printed cardiac patches, sooner than expected. A promising sign and one more step forward in the quest to 3D print entire new organs.


Looking Forward to Medical Breakthroughs in Seattle

Your 3D printing company in Seattle, 3D Composites, can help bring your ideas come to life when you think medical devices and tools, while looking forward to recreating human organs in the near future.