engineer print

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This is an “Inception Drive,” it’s based on the strain wave gear/harmonic gear.

They’re also called pure rolling transmissions.

Gearing friction is rolling, making them incredibly efficient compared to traditional transmissions, and because of well-machined teeth they’re very accurate too.

Robots need them for smooth high-torque gear reduction, but they can also be used to increase speed, reverse direction, and even go neutral to stop.

Notice how fast the green arrow rotates compared to the yellow arrow in this 3D printed drive… that’s an awesome reduction ratio.

it’s dec 3rd where i am already so here’s this coloured pencil scribble because that’s all i’m good for

you know how you can go to a supermarket and buy those pre-made cakes with cartoons like winnie the pooh or thomas the tank engine printed on them with the implication that they’re for children’s birthday parties? they go to the store together and buy one of those

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Francis Bedford :: Bangor, View on Suspension Bridge, 1880 / src: National Science and Media Museum
A photographic view across the Menai suspension bridge in Bangor, North Wales. 

more [+] by this photographer

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New 3-D Printer Uses Light to Build Objects in Minutes

The next generation of desktop 3-D printers might do away with the excruciatingly slow process that current units use. Researchers have unveiled a printer that replaces the current extruder nozzle that squeezes out melted plastic one layer at a time with light and oxygen. 

The makers of the Carbon3D printer have demonstrated a technique they call continuous liquid interface production (CLIP), which grows 3-D printed parts out of a liquid resin bath. Ultraviolet light and oxygen work to build a stronger part in layers just tens of microns wide. Build times can be reduced from hours to minutes, they say.

Their work builds on the process called stereolithography, an additive manufacturing technique developed in the 1980s that builds parts layer by layer with liquid resin cured by light. 

“By rethinking the whole approach to 3-D printing, and the chemistry and physics behind the process, we have developed a new technology that can create parts radically faster than traditional technologies by essentially ‘growing’ them in a pool of liquid,” said University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill chemistry professor Joseph DeSimone, who coinvented the technique and is also Carbon3D’s CEO. See more images and learn more below.

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Electron soars on inaugural test flight, paving way for commercial operations.

Rocket Lab broke through the smallsat launch industry Thursday (May 25) with the first launch of its Electron rocket. Dubbed “It’s a Test” by the U.S.-based company, Electron carried a sensor package in lieu of satellites for this mission, providing engineers with over 25,000 channels of data.

Nine Rutherford engines – made in-house by Rocket Lab – powered the 56-foot rocket off its seaside launch complex on New Zealand’s Mahia peninsula. Launch Complex-1 is the country’s first orbital launch facility. Liftoff occurred at 4:20 UTC, or 12:20am EDT May 25.

Two and a half minutes after liftoff the rocket’s first stage fell away and a single Rutherford engine on the upper stage ignited. The vehicle’s payload fairing jettisoned as the second stage continued its powered climb to orbit.

Although the vehicle did reach space – defined as 62 miles above the Earth’s surface – Rocket Lab indicated after the flight that Electron did not achieve orbital velocity. The company did not go into detail on what the potential issues with the flight were that caused its sensor package to not achieve orbit.

Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex-1, located on Mahia Point, New Zealand. Orbital imagery courtesy Digital Globe.

Electron is one of only a handful of rocket’s designed entirely in the 21st century. As such, it features a plethora of unique technologies that make it stand out against other vehicles in the commercial launch market. Each Rutherford engine is 3D printed and is fed by all-electric pumps, earning the nickname “the battery-powered rocket”. The use of composite materials for the entire rocket’s body has never been done before and gives Electron a sleek black appearance.

Electron is the first rocket in a burgeoning class of small launchers to take flight that will cater to the small satellite market. Vector Space Systems recently completed a subscale, single-engine test launch of their Vector-R vehicle, however, full-scale test flights still need to occur.

Rocket Labs hopes to fly two more test flights in the coming months before Electron is declared operational by the end of 2017.

Click here for our preview story on Electron’s flight.

P/c: Rocket Lab

Printed tunnels

Credit: Crossrail Ltd

The Elizabeth line, as part of the Crossrail project in London –  currently the largest construction project in Europe – will feature concrete panels made using FreeFAB, a large-scale 3D printing technology that it combines the benefits of old and new construction technology.

Using a 3D printer with a build volume of 30 x 3.5 x 1.5 metres, large moulds are printed from a specially designed wax and used to cast the panels. 

3D printing makes it easier, faster and cheaper to create complex shapes. The Crossrail project involves panels that curve along two different axis, for which a mould could take about eight days.

The use of printed wax moulds is also more environmentally friendly, as they can be melted and the re-used.

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Preventing malaria isn’t enough. She’s researching a way to treat infectious diseases of the past, present and future. Inspired by Alexis Kaushansky, today’s scientist researching tomorrow’s cures.

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Geometric Desserts
Project from Dinara Kasko creates desserts using silicon cases designed with 3D software and 3D printed, all with geometric forms

A graduate from the University of Architecture and Design, Dinara worked as an architect-designer and a 3D visualizer. She liked what she was doing as an architect, but now is more interested in Patisserie.
“It just became more interesting to me at some point. From the moment I got into Patisserie I decided to try to add something new into it. I realized that the appearance is as important as taste. I tried to model my own moulds and print them with 3D printer and I liked what I got.”

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3d-printed “legos” we made in lab today - the blue one was made using fused deposition molding, the clear one with stereolithography

both were printed in runs of five, print time for each run was about an hour (not bad, especially for the stereolithographer!)

(you can still see traces of the orange polymer we used to build the supports on the first one, and the second one needs some more uv exposure to completely set and stop being sticky… post-processing is a bitch.)

classwork can be cool, sometimes :)

Printable solar cells just got a little closer

A U of T Engineering innovation could make printing solar cells as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper. Dr. Hairen Tan and his team have cleared a critical manufacturing hurdle in the development of a relatively new class of solar devices called perovskite solar cells. This alternative solar technology could lead to low-cost, printable solar panels capable of turning nearly any surface into a power generator.

“Economies of scale have greatly reduced the cost of silicon manufacturing,” said Professor Ted Sargent, an expert in emerging solar technologies and the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology. “Perovskite solar cells can enable us to use techniques already established in the printing industry to produce solar cells at very low cost. Potentially, perovskites and silicon cells can be married to improve efficiency further, but only with advances in low-temperature processes.”

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A hairy situation

Software from an MIT Media Lab-led research team has successfully enable quick and easy 3D printing of hairs, furs and other dense arrays of fine features on a conventional 3D printer, bypassing the use of CAD software to draw thousands of individual hairs that require lengthy computational time.

The software, titled Cilllia, allows the user to define the angle, thickness, density and height of hairs quickly.

The MIT team, led by graduate student Jifei Ou, argue that 3D-printed hair could fulfil tasks that have evaded previous 3D-printed materials including adhesion. To demonstrate the adhesive qualities, the team printed array that act as Velcro-like bristle pads.

Ou commented, ‘The ability to fabricate customised hair-like structures not only expands the library of 3D-printed shapes, but also enables us to design alternative actuators and sensors. 3D-printed hair can be used for designing everyday interactive objects.’

IDEO designer Kelly Schaefer remarked, ‘Perhaps more inspiring than any single output from this team is the idea of rethinking the 3D printing process itself, and the purpose of 3D-printed objects. The Cilllia team has challenged some of the current constraints of 3D printing processes, which makes me wonder what other constraints can be challenged and potentially eliminated.’