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3D printing: helping the US blow stuff up

by • July 22, 2016 • No Comments


It is not only planes, trains and automobiles that work extra
effectively when they’re lighter, stronger and 3D printed. Now the US Missile Defense Agency has turned to ExOne to turn it into silicon carbide components.

The three-year deal is worth extra
than 1.5 million and the end outcome should be lighter, faster and extra
efficient missiles that can travel extra
on a set fuel load. ExOne uses a binder jetting technique that is ideal for this job.

What is binder jetting?

Binder jetting involves via a liquid binder, selectively applied to powder particles, to form a solid object in a specific shape. It has a number of benefits and can be utilized to create finished products in metal, sand and ceramic.

Silicon Carbide is closely related to sand, that means it does not require much post processing after the binder jetting process. Other products, like metals and ceramics can go through the same process, but they frequently require extra
curing and sintering.

And what is Silicon Carbide?

Silicon Carbide occurs naturally as the rare mineral Moissanite. As a stone, this is a budget alternative to diamond for engagement rings and other high end jewelry. The form of Silicon Carbide that the US military can be interested in is at the other end of the scale for the missile assist structures it can begin with, the complex wearing substance that is frequently utilized in high-performance brakes thanks to its resistance to high temperatures and general durcompetence.

Rick Lucas, ExOne’s Chief Technology Officer, commented, “We are elated to have the opportunity to work on this amazing project with the MDA. This application demonstrates the one-of-a-kind benefits of our binder jetting innovation as it applies to direct printing; in this instance we can be developing silicon carbide materials for missile component assist structures.

“Compared with traditional creations, our 3D printed components can allow the MDA to improve its ballistic missile defense process performance and reduce mass through one-of-a-kind creations and materials, that are key benefits of binder jetting 3D printing for this and most other industries.”

A huge industrial mold maker from ExOne

What can ExOne printing equipment do?

ExOne provides industrial 3D printing equipment and is at the cutting edge of binder jetting innovation. Its printing equipment can create parts of up to 735 x 355 x 355 mm in ExOne’s patented Nickel-based superalloy, IN Alloy 625, and other metals that have discovered favour as impellers and turbine blades that have to endure amazing forces.

The company in addition specialises in printing equipment that create sand cores and molds for rapid casting of one-off or limited run components that can go up to 2200 x 1200 x 700mm. Binder jetting as a process can create much sizeabler structures, too, and has created architectural structures as big as a room. The silicon carbide missile parts are most likely to be more compact than that.

Just in time making with leading effects

3D printing should donate it the competence to indulge in extra
real world experimentation to ideal their creations. It in addition donates them the competence to stock up quickly if the worst takes place and the US suddenly requires a sizeable amount of short or long-range missiles. It is only in time making, with the fate of the nation at stake.

There is a payoff for the man and woman in the street here. The competence to stock up the armoury in a hurry means that the US government does not require to stockpile weapons to the same extent.

That means it can just have the plans and the production eager to go at all times, but it does not require to create the missiles that we all hope can never be required. By moving to 3D printing the US military may, potentially, create missiles and other weapons on site in the next, too, that can be a huge advantage.

As an industry, 3D printing should take this as yet another ringing endorsement. Missiles and military equipment only has to work, ideally, and it’s a clear sign of the expanding confidence in additive making that the MDA is turning to 3D printed parts on a much sizeabler scale.


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