3D Printed Rocket Engine Parts Pass Hot Fire Test
Nov25

3D Printed Rocket Engine Parts Pass Hot Fire Test

The technology of additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, is dramatically influencing the way companies design and build machinery for a wide variety of applications. NASA has recently become interested in additive manufacturing as a way to cheaply and expeditiously run necessary tests. In partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA recently completed the first hot-fire tests on a copper-alloy rocket engine thrust chamber assembly, marking the first time that rigorous tests proved that parts manufactured by a 3D printer can withstand the severe stresses inflicted upon combustion engines in an actual space launch.  NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne conducted 19 tests in all. The test subjects were four injector and thrust assembly configurations. NASA explored various injector operability points and fuel mixture ratios. All of the tests were determined to have terminated successfully.Tyler Hickman, lead engineer for the testing performed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, was elated with the results. “The successful hot fire test of subscale engine components provides confidence in the additive manufacturing process and paves the way for full scale development,” he said. NASA’s groundbreaking tests have wowed many scientists and proponents of additive manufacturing. As Aerojet Rocketdyne put it, copper alloy presents a complex challenge during the 3D printing process. As the copper’s elements are brought down to a micro-scale, the material’s properties are often significantly sub-standard when compared to typical copper. Aerojet Rocketdyne found a way to discover and exploit processing characteristics. The company performed rigorous testing on the copper alloy in order to determine how the alloy performs in the environment of a 3D printer. According to Paul Senick, project manager at Glenn Research Center, “Additively manufactured metal propulsion components are truly a paradigm shift for the aerospace industry. NASA and its commercial partners continue to invest in additive manufacturing technologies, which will improve efficiency and bring down the cost of space launches and other earth...

Read More
Could Light-Generated Jewelry Be The New “Girl’s Best Friend”?
Nov24

Could Light-Generated Jewelry Be The New “Girl’s Best Friend”?

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend – or so the saying goes. However, this may not be the case for much longer. A new idea in the making could truly broaden the horizons of those who are choosing the perfect something sparkly to coordinate with their attire. Neclumi, an art collective based in Warsaw, is designing something new: light-generated jewelry. The name might make one think that it is jewelry that becomes brighter and more vibrant when exposed to light. However, this is not the case at all. Light-generated jewelry means exactly that. This jewelry is not made of silver, bronze or gold. It is made of nothing but light. Like many of the latest creations in technology, it all starts as an app on a smartphone. With the help of a tiny projector that clips to the collar of the wearer, the app  creates a variety of different moving patterns on the skin. This gives the wearer the appearance of having a brightly lit, constantly moving, uniquely-designed necklace. There is no denying this is a very modern look that many will enjoy wearing. The creator of this artistic form of jewelry still has a few kinks to work out before it can be released on the market, but, chances are good that it will be quite popular when released. Some may even prefer to “wear” this jewelry in combination with their actual jewelry. Time will tell if this new technology earns the success that is predicted. While it is unlikely a light-generated engagement ring will ever take the place of traditional gold and diamonds, this may turn out to be a great way for people to add some pizzazz to their...

Read More
GE Returns to Manufacturing Roots
Nov24

GE Returns to Manufacturing Roots

Under CEO Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric is divesting or shrinking parts of its financial services businesses (which took a hit during the 2008 financial crisis), in order to return to its roots as an industrial manufacturer. With a $3 billion loan from Warren Buffett, GE has spent the past six years adopting practices that imitate startups in Silicon Valley to take it in this new (old) direction. GE indicates that it can bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and improve competitiveness by focusing on quick turnaround. It has set up a growth board called FastWorks to evaluate new technology ideas and make speedy decisions on which ideas to green-light and spend time and capital developing. Ideas come from GE employees or are being crowdsourced. FastWorks operates out of a GE R&D center in San Ramon, CA that opened in 2012 and now employs 1,000 people. GE is developing the software to connect to heavy machinery and to make equipment more efficient. FastWork-related projects include new flow meters for oil wells, a new diesel engine and a dual-fuel power generator. In its industrial restructuring, GE is emphasizing infrastructure markets. Another theme at work in the strategy is manufacturing products for export to emerging markets in need of materials and equipment for building houses, bridges, roads and airports. Global markets that consume more keep GE manufacturing. As GE exits consumer financial services and focuses on being an industrial tech company, it plans to grow its infrastructure earnings to be 70% of GE’s total by 2016 (compared to 55% in 2013). GE’s imagination is at work to bring America manufacturing back to life, but it will take years, if at all, to replace the more than 1 million manufacturing jobs that the U.S. lost during the financial crisis and...

Read More
The 3D Printing Boom Begins – This Christmas!
Nov24

The 3D Printing Boom Begins – This Christmas!

There’s a new player on the holiday gift scene. The 3D printing industry is set to take this holiday’s shoppers by storm. Changing Technologies, Inc. (CHGT) is prepared for burgeoning stocks as the season sets in. According to CHGT CEO Omar T. Durham, “2014 might just be remembered as the first 3D Printed Christmas. Further validating mainstream acceptance of the cutting-edge technology, the White House even hosted its first-ever 3D-Printed Ornament Challenge!” Clearly the popularity of 3D printing has spread to the highest levels of our society, and the economy reflects this: the 3D printing market is forecast to grow over 500% in the next 5 years, and should reach $3.8 billion this year alone. A new company focused on bringing emerging technologies to consumers, Changing Technologies Inc. aims to be a forward-thinking organization looking to market the next, best thing in developing sciences. They have recently created a new subsidiary, 6th Dimension Technologies, for just this purpose and are forecasting further growth as the 3D printing market continues to expand. CHGT is currently leveraging global demand for 3D printing consumer items as well as other growing technology areas, and already stands alongside companies such as Voxeljet, ExOne and Arcam AB. On whitehouse.gov, Stephanie Santoso stated that “3D printers are now available for about the cost of a laptop, and in some cases even less. “One of the biggest benefits of the technology lies in the fact that alterations can be quickly and cheaply made to the shape of an object.” This opportunity for creativity through industry has spread to the White House and beyond, making 3D printing a powerful market which will stand the test of consumer...

Read More
New Robot Makes Creating New Life Forms Easy
Nov21

New Robot Makes Creating New Life Forms Easy

It’s entirely possible that the biggest changes in society during this century will come about due to innovations in biotechnology. One of the most talked about is the OpenTrons project. This open-source liquid-handling robot was developed in the Brooklyn, New York community biolab, Genspace. With open-source technology, anyone is able to build, modify or copy the the work depending on their personal preference, and can do so at the ridiculously low price of $35, the price of a Raspberry Pi microcomputer.  The popularity of 3-D printing has helped dramatically reduce the price of a basic OpenTrons to $2,000 by making it possible to cheaply and accurately duplicate the mechanical components. The thinking is that, much like people who work together coding to develop computer websites, software and apps, those working in Genspace-type facilities across the world will collaborate on biotech projects. One of the projects backers says this project is built for researchers who are not interested in programming but are interested in using simple interfaces.  Using robots eliminates the need for researchers to perform mind-numbingly repetitive jobs that lend themselves to errors caused by lapses in concentration. Other similar projects include Modern Meadow, which attempts to keep animals alive by “printing” such things as leather and meat through means of biotech, and synthetic biology tries to create genetic breakthroughs in such things as life-saving drugs and fertilizer by piecing together new organisms. One of the hopes is that standard lab protocols will be established in order to produce regular data that can then be duplicated. The end result would be that researchers could spend their time using their minds to think up new possibilities instead of becoming laborers who works with their...

Read More