We begin our tour of the additive manufacturing industry this month in England.
3D Printing Industry reports Graphite AM, which is a British engineering service bureau and consultancy firm, has joined the Bloodhound LSR supersonic car project as “an official 3D printing partner.”
Graphite AM will apply “its SLS expertise and support the team’s ambitious goal of breaking the land speed record by supplying lightweight and high strength parts for the vehicle.” A company spokesperson elaborated: “we at Graphite AM have been delighted to be supporting the Bloodhound SSC project and have built an array of parts large and small. We are a small cog in a very big wheel and are proud to be supporting the project.”
This news comes on the heels of the Bloodhound team “confirming they would be trying for a 500 mph test run in October following the successful acquisition and relaunch by Yorkshire businessman Ian Warhurst in March this year.”
The Bloodhound LSR pilot and current World Land Speed Record Holder Andy Green “praised the manufacturing methods being applied to help the team reach above 1000 mph on land.” Green says, “even something as simple as a piece of ducting tells a fascinating story about the cutting edge technology being used in Bloodhound…[the SLS technology] produces a tough, high-temperature-resistant component in almost any shape. Just what we need, as this is very much next-generation technology.”
The Bloodhound is “powered by two engines – one a Rolls-Royce jet engine and the other a hybrid rocket thruster…so far, as of 2017, the Bloodhound LSR has completed its first recorded runway test attaining a speed of 200 miles per hour. Ramping up this effort, the vehicle has now been cleared for a 500 mph run on the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa. Once this stage is complete, the team intends to tackle the record-breaking 1000 mph mark in late 2020.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Interesting Engineering reports on the conclusion of a story we have been following for quite some time.
3D printing company Vertico, in conjunction with the University of Ghent, has finally completed their 3D printed concrete bridge. Vertico is incredibly excited by this development, as “this process eliminates the need for expensive molds and more importantly provides more form freedom to structures.”
Vertico’s Founder, Volker Ruitinga, explains: “this bridge showcases the range of possibilities 3D concrete printing offers. At Vertico, we believe this technology is the key to unlocking material optimization in structures, reducing CO2 emissions whilst simultaneously increasing productivity in the construction industry.”
The construction industry, understandably, is awed by this innovation. Indeed, “building concrete structures out of a 3D printer is revolutionary for an industry, which has long lagged behind others in terms of automation and production.” As Vertico elaborates, “there is a need for innovation in an industry which produces 23% of global CO2 emissions. This isn’t to say this industry does not seek innovation, just that it’s often just too costly to build unique forms and organic shapes with traditional techniques.”
Vertico goes on to add: “this project demonstrates the possibilities of the technique on a relevant and significant scale. The advantages of 3D (concrete) printing are being increasingly recognized and with this acceptance we will see more and more building and infrastructure projects such as this optimized bridge. The desire for material/CO2 reduction, automation productivity trends, and cost-effective production requirements make 3D concrete printing an innovation with a lot of potential.”
Next, Vertico is focusing on the construction of a 3D printed concrete dome house, which will begin production in February of 2020.
And what about shoes to walk on said 3D printed bridge? 3D Printing Media Network reports on the launch of a new generative 3D printed show collection developed by Ica & Kostika. Ica & Kostika is “a Portland-based emerging design studio accentuating the fusion of fashion design and technology. The studio highlights exclusive made-to-order production while focusing on computational innovation.”
Ica & Kostika’s branding copy is flavorful, to say the least: “fueled by passion, love, beauty, and brought to life by combining art and the highest levels of mathematics, we have forged our heels – the designers say on their website. Disruption is at the core of existence. The big bang disrupted time and space, within every one of us there is longing for disruption. This is our way.”
The studio’s new 3D printed shoe collection consists of four different groupings: each “available on-demand, in different styles, and in both metal and plastic. The core designs are inspired by sea-life and life-bearing structures in general and include Coral, Seahorse, Mycelium, and Spine.”
“The Spine design is available either as Spine DIY or Spine Metal. Starting at $800, the Spine DIY are a wearable shoe sculpture that manipulates the vertebrae of the spine to create a continuous form along the foot. Like other designs, this plastic version is 3D printed in nylon using a selective laser sintering process.”
“The partner AM service provide puts it into production upon receiving the order. The shipped shoes are not finished and the studio recommends getting a finishing cover done locally.”
Spine Metal, however, starts at $2,800. These shoes are 3D printed using steel, in a “binder jetting process, which is later infused with bronze, creating a material made from 60% steel and 40% bronze.”
This 3D printed shoe collection is sure to impress…
Finally, Forbes recently ran an interesting discussion concerning the possibility of 3D printed weapons of mass destruction being created in the near future. This discussion was kicked off by a recent report: “WMD Capabilities Enabled by Additive Manufacturing,” which was sponsored by the Negotiation Design & Strategy, LLC (NDS).
Forbes kicked off its discussion by referring back to the legal wranglings which have been occurring concerning 3D printed guns: the company Defense Distributed in the thick of it all… As the article says: “controlling access to guns and weapons is difficult. But controlling the access to data, all that is needed to print your own weapon, may be impossible. Now, imagine instead of a handgun, anyone with a 3D printer can print out a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD).”
Within Negotiation Design & Strategy’s report, the authors warn: “with the proper blueprints, WMD could be printed by rogue states, terrorists, and even those who have never had the ability to research/create such weaponry before.” As for how these “rogue agents” would get a hold of plutonium in the first place, the report never outlines…
The discussion goes on, however: “the development of missile systems or other delivery systems might be the most impacted by 3D printing. There might be other applications in chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. 3D printing is being used currently for printing parts for fuel assemblies in nuclear reactors, parts for missiles, warheads, and even explosives.”
Seeing how unreliable and difficult to create 3D printed guns are right now, though, it seems difficult to imagine a WMD being produced in a similar manner. However, the report is correct in heralding this warning. Technology can (and has) continued to improve, especially, as the report outlines, when 3D printing is paired with AI or nanotechnology.
The report “warns the potential for a ‘black swan’-type event involving an AM-centered military program to acquire truly novel unconventional/asymmetric military capabilities cannot be ruled out.”
Strategies will have to be developed in order to combat these possibilities in the future.
Stay here for more 3D printing updates.
Image Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry
Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry, Vertico, Interesting Engineering, Ice & Kostika, 3D Printing Media Network, and Forbes