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Lockheed Martin files patent for a synthetic diamond 3D printer

by • August 18, 2016 • No Comments


Lockheed Martin, the aerospace company, have filed a patent for a new kind of 3D printing device. The patent, filed on April 4 by inventor David G. Findley, describes a new way of 3D printing which may use a pre-ceramic polymer and nanoparticle filler to turn it into synthetic diamond objects of fairly much any shape you can dream up.

swarovski cow

Any shape! I wanted a diamond T-Rex, but sadly my Google image search wasn’t up to the task. Image: Crystal Fox

“[The] method comes with depositing alternating layers of a ceramic powder and a pre-ceramic polymer dissolved in a solvent. Each layer of the pre-ceramic polymer is deposited in a shape corresponding to a cross section of an object. The alternating layers of the ceramic powder and the pre-ceramic polymer are deposited until the layers of the pre-ceramic polymer form the shape of the object. The method comes with heating the deposited ceramic powder and pre-ceramic polymer to at very least a decomposition temperature of the pre-ceramic polymer. The decomposition temperature of the pre-ceramic polymer is less than a sintering temperature of the ceramic powder. The method additional comes with removing excess ceramic powder which the pre-ceramic polymer was not deposited onto.”

-excerpt 3-D Diamond Printing By means of a Pre-Ceramic Polymer with a Nanoparticle Filler patent, David G. Findley.

Synthetic diamonds printing device

Image: US Patent and Trademark office, Lockheed Martin

Whilst the printing device can most most likely have the major function of building drill bits, sharp objects and perhaps actually lightweight armor, this may be excellent news for jewelry manufacturers. With almost no restrictions on customization, jewellers can let their imaginations run wild.

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company which employs close to 98,000 folks of the world and is principally engaged in the research, create, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of high end innovation systems, products and services.

Lockheed Martin is led by Marillyn A. Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

3D printed optical measurement cell housing.

3D printed optical measurement cell housing. Image: tctmagazine.com

What else is taking place with 3D printing and diamonds?

Diamond innovation specialists De Beers Technologies has invested in two Stratasys 3D printing systems, the Fortus 360mc and a Dimension 1200es, to ramp up production of parts for equipment in the diamond industry. Initially the company were outsourcing their 3D printed needs, but the addition of the two machines means round the clock production at its diamond R&D centre in Maidenhead, UK. The 3D printing devices are utilized to turn it into automated methods for verifying and sorting diamonds, as well as helping engineers manufacture machines which ensure all synthetics and treatments can be detected.

“Whenever I come up with an idea the initially idea is always ‘can it work?’. Now we can put it on the Fortus overnight so which the upcoming day we are testing it, assessing it, and figuring out any limitations. We can and so modify the create and put it back on the 3D printing device overnight. The next morning we are testing the upcoming iteration. In terms of reducing development time, it’s not easy to put a value on what 3D printing has saved us.”

-Senior Mechanical Engineer, Andrew Portsmouth, De Beers Technologies.

One of the components, the optical measurement cell housing (pictured above), may be not easy to turn it into without 3D printing.

“The way it’s been createed means there is no other way to manufacture it than with additive making, and it has most benefits for the reason of which,” Andrew explained. “Manufacturing it on the Fortus 360mc represented a three- or four-fold reduction in production cost compared with than the previous machining method just for the reason it’s a much cheaper process.”

Featured image: a regular diamond. Image: Sciencenews.org



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