3D Printing in Manufacturing: Boeing

3D Printing in Manufacturing: Boeing

Boeing and 3D Printing in Manufacturing The First 20,000 If you want a true testimony that 3D printing in manufacturing is here to stay, all you have to do is look at the growing importance of 3D printing at Boeing. In the early days of 3D printing, Boeing began using the technology for rapid prototyping and creating parts that would be difficult to produce with traditional manufacturing processes, especially parts that have intricate grooves or openings embedded in the interior. By June of 2013, Boeing’s use of 3D printing had become so widespread that they had installed more than 20,000 printed parts in their aircraft. These 20,000 parts were all non-mechanical and were used in ten different commercial and military planes. The Dreamliner, one of Boeing’s prized luxury planes, included 30 different 3D printed parts. The Next Steps – Jet Engines and Earth’s Orbit In April of 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the first 3D printed part to actually be used in the jet engine itself. Designed by GE Aviation, the part houses an engine sensor. Boeing and GE will now be working together to retrofit engines for the 777 to include the 3D printed parts. While this is the first part to make its way into the engine, GE indicates that it will not be the last. In fact, GE has detailed a plan to use 3D printed fuel nozzles in the LEAP engine for the Boeing 737MAX and Airbus A320neo. There will also be 3D printed nozzles in the GE9X for the Boeing 777X, which will be the largest jet engine in history. In October,...
Gizmodo Highlights Things That Couldn’t Exist without 3D Printing

Gizmodo Highlights Things That Couldn’t Exist without 3D Printing

Recently, Gizmodo put out a great article highlighting things that couldn’t exist without 3D printing. While you should definitely check out the full article for yourself, here are some of the highlights: When Airbus announced that it was getting in on the 3D printing game last year, they explained that 3D printed parts could reduce the weight of their planes by as much as 55%. If you have ever had braces or a retainer, you know that one of the most unpleasant parts of the experience is suffering through the impressions of your teeth. Today, dentists can use CAD files to create detailed 3D prints of your teeth and gums. Doctors have been using 3D printing to assist with the placement of stents in two ways. In some cases, they have used a 3D printed model of the patient’s organs to properly place the device. In other cases, the doctors have 3D printed the stents themselves so that they perfectly fit the patient’s individual anatomy. Speaking of cool medical advancements. Doctors have rigged a printer to print living cells that form collagen and cartilage. With this printer, doctors were able to create a living trachea replacement. In fact, the potential for more advanced medical applications is so exciting that they may someday even be able to weld together organic molecules to print organic compounds, which, among other things, could make it much easier to quickly test drugs. 3D printing is truly revolutionizing the way that things are made. Learn more about the amazing advancements in 3D technology by signing up for our newsletter.  ...
Animals Saved by 3D Printing

Animals Saved by 3D Printing

With robotic hands, custom-printed splints, and medicine that can be printed to specific doses, the news is full of ways that 3D printing can help humans live healthier, more productive lives. But, if you look close enough, there are also some really amazing examples of how 3D printing has also been helping some adorable members of the animal kingdom.  Here are a few of our favorite stories about animals saved by 3D printing. 1. A pelican’s new beak. When a pelican began acting strangely at the Dalian Forest Zoo, staff members soon realized that the bird’s beak was damaged. Because a beak is vital to both food gathering and determining a pelican’s social status, a beak is crucial to a pelican’s survival. After two attempts at repairing the beak through other methods, zoo workers decided that they would try to use a 3D printer to make the necessary repairs. Because it appeared that there was already some new growth, doctors determined that it wasn’t necessary to print the entire beak. The final product is a 3D printed extension that screws into the pelican’s original beak, allowing the pelican to feed normally once more. 2. A turtle’s new home. A turtle’s shell protects them in a number of ways, including from bacteria and infection. In some cases, poor nutrition can lead to a bone disease which can cause the shell to wear away. When that happens, a turtle can be left painfully exposed. This is the fate that turtle Cleopatra was facing. Luckily, however, Cleopatra was taken in by Canyon Critters Rescue. Here, founder Nicola “Nico” Novelli determined that he...
Benefit from a 3D Printer at Home, no Experience Required

Benefit from a 3D Printer at Home, no Experience Required

When we bring our 3D printers to an event, we always have a great time meeting new people and talking about the potential of 3D printing. While most people are really excited to see the printers in action, one of the observations we hear most often is, “it’s neat, but I don’t think that I have any use for it,” or “it doesn’t seem very practical.” While I can certainly understand why this is often a first reaction, here is why I truly believe that everybody can benefit from having a 3D printer at home For beginners When you skim through the hundreds of thousands of downloadable files available online, you will definitely see a bunch of knick-knacks and things that most homes just don’t need. But you will also find a whole lot of items that are extremely practical. Do you need new organizers for your drawers? How about a wrench for a project? Just download the files and hit print. Not only are these items fully customizable to your own unique space or project, but you also get to avoid a trip to the store. Some of those knick-knacks are actually really cool. There are some true artists at work on these sites who create beautiful vases that make fantastic centerpieces, one-of-a-kind pencil holders, Thor statues that your little ones are sure to love, and much more. When your kids are bored, you can print out a brand new board game, or open up one of the customizable files and let them have a great time tweaking their own ornament or action figure. If you are in...
Print Yourself in a 3D Portrait

Print Yourself in a 3D Portrait

Have you ever envisioned yourself as a real-life action figure? With the new 3D portrait booths, possibly coming to a store near you, you can create your exact replica in amazing detail. Step into the Booth Designed by the Artec Group, a manufacturer of 3D scanners, the Shapify Booth is a high tech scanner that maps your entire body in just 12 seconds. If you’re not sure exactly what pose you want to be printed in, don’t worry, the booth provides you with as many free test scans as you would like. Once you choose the perfect scan, the results are sent off to the company and turned into a printable file within 15 minutes. Then, all you need to do is either print the file with your own printers, or use a print service, such as the official Artec print service. See the booth in action: What moment would you immortalize? So far, the majority of the booths are placed in grocery stores, which means that most customers will be capturing their miniature 3D self in their everyday attire. Artec does, however, point out that the prints are a fantastic way to capture life’s special moments, such as weddings, birthdays, and pregnancies. One of Artec’s advertisements focuses on this idea as it tells a couple’s love story through their shapies. With a suggested starting retail price of $99 and going up to $199 depending on the size, the shapie isn’t necessarily a trinket that everyone can bring home from the grocery store on a whim, which brings the whole business model into question. What do you think? Would...
We Had a Great Day at the ESTEAM Conference

We Had a Great Day at the ESTEAM Conference

This week, we have had the amazing opportunity to participate in ESTEAM (which stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art, and math) at AB Tech. The kids were so excited to see the printer in action and it has been a lot of fun watching them work with the modeling software as they imagine what creations they would bring to life. We were lucky to have ABC 13 on-hand to capture the kid’s reactions in a news segment featuring Steve and our 3D printer as he spoke to kids at this year’s ESTEAM Conference.   During the ESTEAM conference, seventh graders attend a professional-like conference, where they will learn about future career opportunities and listen to lectures from role models working in fields the kids are interested in. This is a great way to motivate the kids as they start to think about their career path and how they want to direct their future education. At Tuesday’s event, there were more than 125 boys in attendance. Today, Steve is back once more, this time the girls get their chance to attend the conference and see the printer in action. During the session, the boys learned a bit about the basics of 3D design and the future of 3D printing. As the printer created a yellow elephant, the kids dreamed up all of the things that they would make with a printer of their own. It was really fun to see the wheels spinning and know that imaginations were coming to life. On Saturday, this fun week of education continues with the ESTEAM Expo. Held at the Ag Center from...