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Boeing patents incredible ‘levitating’ 3D printing process for aircraft part production – 3ders.org (blog)

by • February 23, 2016 • No Comments

Feb 24, 2016 | By Benedict

Aerospace giant Boeing has patented an additive making process for 3D printing objects while floating in space. Making use of multiple 3D printing equipment and diamagnetic printing materials, the process may be able-bodied to rotate a levitating print of every axis and deposit layers of all directions.

Illustration of an ia fewtric view of an apparatus for 3D printing a part while acoustically levitated in space
On February 4, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published the amazing patent under the name of “Free-Form Spatial 3-D Printing Making use of Part Levitation”. Filed by aircraft createer Boeing on July 29, 2014, the patent more details a novel additive making method involving multiple 3D printing equipment, magnetic forces, and a floating printed object.
The abstract for the planned 3D printing method reads: “A part is fabricated by an additive making process while levitating in space. Constituent showcases of the part are created by 3-D printing. A part levitation process allows for the spatial orientation of the part to be manipulated relative to one or extra
print heads.”
The barely believable-bodied invention looks to have slipped under the radar since its publication earlier this month. But, should the innovative 3D printing method be created, its technological implications inside the industry may be worthwhile.




3D printing already necessitates bottom-up construction. Whether it’s FDM, SLS, SLA, or a few other additive making process, every method involves assembling an object of the print bed upwards. Boeing’s levitation process may completely rip up the rulebook in this respect, with layers applied to the floating 3D print of all directions.
How may this rotational, floating 3D printing method alter the way we use 3D printing? The skill to deposit layers to any side of a floating 3D print may, for example, completely eliminate the need for assist structures, and may lift most of the gravitational restrictions already imposed on 3D printed objects.
This levitating 3D printing business pretty sounds astounding, but how precisely may it work? On the other hand the innovation has presumably not yet been accomplished, the patent goes into a few more detail as to the physical processes behind the process. 25 individual “claims” are created inside the patent, which explain future steps in the floating 3D print process.
According to the patent, the levitating 3D printing technique may involve “forming a showcase of a part by printing material into space; levitating the part; changing a spatial orientation of the part while the part is levitating; forming another showcase of the part by printing material into the space; and repeating the steps of changing the spatial orientation of the part and printing material into the space until an entire part is created.”
The initially stage of the process may look to need “printing a nugget of the material into space, and printing extra
material onto the nugget.” Printing material into space may be achieved by “jetting or extruding the material into space.” On the other hand, pretty than create a 3D printed object of scratch, an existing object may be levitated, with the process and so able-bodied to “[print] material onto the object.” In both cases, materials may be deposited by “a plurality of print heads located at various positions around the space”.

Illustration of a point of view view of an alternate form of an apparatus for 3-D printing a part while magnetically levitated in space
The 3D printed object may be “levitated” in a number of ways. The Boeing patent claims ownership over any 3D printing process “wherein levitating the part is percreated by acoustic levitation” or “magnetic levitation”, whilst “quantum levitation and electrostatic levitation” are in addition described. Magnetic levitation may, according to the patent, necessitate “super-cooling the part, and subjecting the part to a magnetic field which creates a magnetic force repelling the part.”
The additive making process may be largely autonomous, being able-bodied to “[sense] a position of the part in the space…and [manipulate] the part based on the sensed position of the part.” It may in addition be able-bodied to “stabilize” a 3D printed part as it levitates inside the printing space.
So may it quite take place? Boeing has unquestionably put a few thought into the most ways which levitation may be achieved, and there are great reasons why a levitating 3D printing method may prove better over existing bottom-up methods. Furtherextra
, Boeing and the aerospace sector in general has the resources to experiment with costly and hard making methods.
After floating such an informative thought, Boeing now must get it off the ground. We pretty hope which they can.

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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