Alloy angels

ONE of the great advantages of 3D printing is being able to escape the constraints of traditional production processes, and to make things with unique shapes. The powerful computer-aided design programs that are used to run 3D printers help engineers achieve this. Algorithms calculate the most efficient structure required to achieve the lightest weight and […]

A 3D-printed smile

A SET of straight and gleaming teeth makes for a beautiful smile. But how many people who have undergone a little dental maintenance know that they may have inside their mouths some of the first products of a new industrial revolution? Tens of millions of dental crowns, bridges and orthodontic braces have now been produced […]

Getting the pulse racing

DURING the first world war it was observed that when armour plating was hit by shrapnel some of the bits not only embedded themselves into the metal but ended up welded to it, a process that normally takes a great deal of heat. Laboratory tests later showed that if one material is accelerated fast enough […]

Knit me a car

New materials for manufacturing Material difference Materials science is rapidly transforming the way that everything from cars to light bulbs is made, says Paul Markillie Leader here http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21679531-materials-science-changing-way-things-are-designed-and-made-knit-me-car Technology Quareterly report here: http://www.economist.com/technology-quarterly/2015-12-05/new-materials-for-manufacturing

NASA and 3D printing

AEROSPACE was one of the first industries to take up three-dimensional (3D) printing. This is because 3D printers are good at making things which are complex and lightweight. The machines work additively, building up layers of material only where it is needed. This allows multiple parts to be consolidated into a single item, rather than […]

UPS and 3D printing in the supply chain

THE emergence of three-dimensional (3D) printing will have a revolutionary effect on manufacturing, but it may be equally disruptive for firms that make much of their living warehousing and delivering spare parts for companies. Now, one of the biggest delivery firms, UPS, is going to test 3D printing in its stores. Stratasys, a Minneapolis company […]