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Using EMP To Punch Holes In Steel

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you'll-need-some-big-batteries dept.

Technology 165

angrytuna writes "The Economist is running a story about a group of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology in Chemnitz, Germany, who've found a way to use an EMP device to shape and punch holes through steel. The process enjoys advantages over both lasers, which take more time to bore the hole (0.2 vs. 1.4 seconds), and by metal presses, which can leave burrs that must be removed by hand."

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What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (0, Redundant)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787684)

And how to protect the workers' health from the bombardments of the EMPs?

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787758)

Luckily for us, humans aren't terribly good conductors and thus would be essentially unharmed by an EMP.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787786)

Don't whiz on the electric fence!

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787844)

Due to the physics of fluid dynamics, a urine stream would largely break apart before it would hit the fence its self and thus a current would have a fairly difficult time traveling up the urine stream to you. More so considering that urine isn't a very good conductor unless it has fairly substantial amounts of various salts in it. I wouldn't do it but it isn't *quite* as deadly as it sounds. See mythbusters' take [kwc.org] on the matter.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787864)

yeah man, but you're puttin your JUNK on the line... you shouldn't do that lightly

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787986)

I agree. For example, I think vaginas are fucking revolting. They look like monster faces for fucks sake. They leak blood. BLOOD. And sometimes babies, little mini-people that come into this world screaming and shitting. It's both a biological oddity and quasi-mystical force of nature, and when I think of sticking my dick into one, I imagine it temporarily transitions into a multidimensional hell where up is black and down is white and people hear with their noses. And when my cock returns, it looks and feels and smells like my cock, but it is subtley transformed in some uncanny way, never to be the same again.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788016)

Well there goes my sex drive.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788136)

Mac user I see. It's not a vagina's fault that your father left your overbearing mother.

Try humiliation interspersed with light bondage. She will be such a filthy, dirty, disgusting bitch that the nastiness of her vagina will cease to bother you.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

Airborne-ng (1391105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788414)

Well when you put it that way...... nah, nvm I'd still do it.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (2, Informative)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787958)

When I was a small boy, I had a friend who lived on a farm. This lad tried it and relayed to me that it's just as bad as it sounds. (Also, in my observation, urine streams do not tend to break apart, and urine also is VERY salty.)

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788026)

(...and urine also is VERY salty.)

uhh, thanks for sharing.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788092)

Hey, this is supposed to be a haven for geeks. How can you claim to be a geek or scientist if you've never tasted urine? It is mostly sterile, after all...

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (3, Interesting)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788634)

"urine streams do not tend to break apart"

Interestingly enough, I have done the appropriate experiment to really determine whether that is true. I was in a bathroom where a strobe light was running (at a science-themed party, no less), and by tuning its frequency, I could get a good view of the nature of my urine stream. Initially it is continuous, but it breaks up into small droplets fairly quickly--perhaps after a foot or so. With the strobe set correctly, the droplets appear almost stationary.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788390)

In 99.9% of the cases. However there are exceptions to everything Mythbusters do. There are statistical exceptions to a few of their experiments. Trust me.

When dealing with an electric fence it's best to go and grab it with both hands than tip toe up to it and try and touch it lightly. However I sort of like the feeling of the pulse traveling across my body.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788520)

uhhh....

You can get electrocuted by peeing on an electrified fence: confirmed

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788602)

Except if you read through the link you provided, it says it does work for an electric fence, but not for the third rail of a subway:

  • You can get electrocuted by peeing on an electrified thrid rail: busted
  • You can get electrocuted by peeing on an electrified fence: confirmed

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (3, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787876)

Nonsense. The human body has an average resistance of 300-1000 ohms. Not great, but far weaker than modern electrical insulation.

Evidence has been shown that some frequencies in the EM spectrum indeed do cause damage to DNA and in some cases that damage is propagated to future divisions of that cell, meaning the damage is permanent.

From an industrial point of view, this is very interesting. Laser cutter machines are expensive to purchase, but upkeep isn't high and they are very versatile. A machine like this doesn't seem to have the versatility of a laser and might even consume more power. Punches are very fast but manual deburring is expensive.

I noticed in the article they said this works based on magnetic repulsion, and also that it works on stainless steels. I'm curious if this works on the largely non-magnetic 300 series SS.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787926)

Nonsense. The human body has an average resistance of 300-1000 ohms. Not great, but far weaker than modern electrical insulation.

The magnitude of the induced current depends largely on the inverse of the resistance for which steel is magnitudes lower than human flesh. That means that the field would need to be truly colossal to do the same thing to a human being that this punch is doing to the steel.

Evidence has been shown that some frequencies in the EM spectrum indeed do cause damage to DNA and in some cases that damage is propagated to future divisions of that cell, meaning the damage is permanent.

ionizing EM radiation certainly. Terahertz can also create bubbles in the DNA helix which can impair proper cell division but there is *zero* evidence that the fields involved in the EMP press do any of this.

I noticed in the article they said this works based on magnetic repulsion, and also that it works on stainless steels. I'm curious if this works on the largely non-magnetic 300 series SS.

The punch works because it induces a current in the metal which creates a magnetic field to oppose the one that induced the current in the first place. It does not depend on the magnetic properties of the metal. This means that roughly anything that is highly conductive like Aluminum, 303 stainless, copper etc. could be punched with the device. Largely non-conductive materials like humans can not be punched with the EMP punch.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (4, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788524)

humans can not be punched with the EMP punch at present energy levels.

There, weaponized that for you.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788532)

It's easier just to build a rail gun and be done with it. Why build a device that is capable of several thousand tesla field strength just to weaponize the EMP punch when a rail gun could punch through a tank with similar specs?

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788544)

I never claimed it would be efficient, or even tactically advantageous. Just that a human could be hurt by EMP, provided enough energy. Humans are a not perfect resistors.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788772)

Why build such a device? .. maybe because punching holes in humans is a lot more awesome than any railgun. Unless it's a planet-shooting railgun. Hmm.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

geekhammer (1722584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788986)

Nonsense. The human body has an average resistance of 300-1000 ohms. Not great, but far weaker than modern electrical insulation.

The magnitude of the induced current depends largely on the inverse of the resistance for which steel is magnitudes lower than human flesh. That means that the field would need to be truly colossal to do the same thing to a human being that this punch is doing to the steel.

Evidence has been shown that some frequencies in the EM spectrum indeed do cause damage to DNA and in some cases that damage is propagated to future divisions of that cell, meaning the damage is permanent.

ionizing EM radiation certainly. Terahertz can also create bubbles in the DNA helix which can impair proper cell division but there is *zero* evidence that the fields involved in the EMP press do any of this.

I noticed in the article they said this works based on magnetic repulsion, and also that it works on stainless steels. I'm curious if this works on the largely non-magnetic 300 series SS.

The punch works because it induces a current in the metal which creates a magnetic field to oppose the one that induced the current in the first place. It does not depend on the magnetic properties of the metal. This means that roughly anything that is highly conductive like Aluminum, 303 stainless, copper etc. could be punched with the device. Largely non-conductive materials like humans can not be punched with the EMP punch.

Yeah, we are not carbon or water are we? Of course we are conductive. We just need to be grounded. However, I imagine the scientists insulate the area in such a way that the metal is grounded and the floor humans stand on is insulated. I remember one time walking about one hundred yards from huge electrical wiring that was about five stories up. However the ground was usually near saturated in the surrounding fields. You could hear an electrical buzz in the area, and get a little tingly zap from any metal surface that is in contact with the ground. My guess is the height of the tower, the humidity, and ground water nullified the insulating properties for the electrical wires, therefore allowing some leakage through the metal towers to the ground. With the ground water being high and metal objects being a great conductor and us being so conductive (snicker), when we walked near (without rubber soles) and touched metal, and thus being grounded caused a discharge. We aren't conductive or anything though? Right? Carbon and water brah!

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (3, Funny)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787922)

You're the sort of wet blanket who during the space battle scenes of Star Wars leans over and whispers, "There's no sound in space," aren't you?

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788180)

Contrary to the thoughts of George Lucas, no sound in space is much more dramatic.

Stanley Kubrick understood this with 2001.

--
BMO

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788210)

The first line of dialogue in the movie 2001 a space Odyssey was 23 minutes into the film.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788488)

And where is Stanley Kubrick now? Dead, that's where! That's what you get for being confusing!

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788728)

Contrary to the thoughts of Stanley Kubrick, no plot in space is much more boring.

George Lucas understood this in the 70's but then forgot it in the 90's.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788794)

That really depends on what the director wants to achieve. Silence in space can be more dramatic if you're looking for suspense, sure.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787796)

Lead codpieces.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788658)

Wear a tinfoil hat of course. It's not like this EMP can punch holes through metal or anything.

Re:What if EMP leaks out of the factory? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788708)

And how to protect the workers' health from the bombardments of the EMPs?

I'd worry less about the worker's exposition to EMPs than about their loss of hearing from the noise of the holes being punched by this gizmo when the mostly silent lasers are replaced by those things that are likely to be pretty noisy.

PPC (1)

Theodore (13524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787696)

PPCs, PPCs, blasting all the way... (ok, enough of jingle bells).

an alternate past (5, Funny)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787718)

The article focuses on how this is a more "peaceful use" for the EMP. I disagree: when the robot apocalypse finally arrives, and a rogue T800 drives after you in into a steel mill, it will be damn useful to have an EMP device used for shaping steel rings handy to stop the cybernetic killing machine. As an added benefit, an EMP would destroy the cpu, meaning no Cyberdyne Systems, and I get my 5 hours back wasted on T3 and Terminator Salvation!

The mechanical press was, like, so 1984.

Re:stop the cybernetic killing machine (5, Funny)

snikulin (889460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787794)

He is our governor now, you insensitive clod!

Re:stop the cybernetic killing machine (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788158)

Better check whether the state's budget problems are due to a slightly excessive allocation to Cyberdyne Systems via front companies or dummy government departments.

Longevity? (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787722)

The site the wear on machine dies as a factor, but what's the expected number of discharges that these super-capacitors can be expected to survive, the coils?

Re:Longevity? (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787776)

The capacitors can probably take several million discharges before there's any "wear" on them however the coils must withstand some degree of stress repeatedly which is a concern over the long term due to metal fatigue.

Weapon? (1)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787738)

If it can burst through steal, couldnt it burst through human flesh aswell?

Re:Weapon? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787792)

No. Human flesh is not terribly conductive and thus would not experience anywhere near the induced field that a conductor like steel would. The only exceptions would be if you had metal in you like a pacemaker.

Re:Weapon? (1)

dierdorf (37660) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787806)

Humans are not usually very magnetic. You've already been hit with a pulse from an extremely powerful superconducting magnet if you've ever had an MRI.

Re:Weapon? (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787866)

The device works because it induces a current in the conductor (steel in this case) which creates a magnetic field which opposes the field that caused the induction in the first place. This is why you could also punch through non-ferrous metals like Aluminum with the EMP "press." The reason it wouldn't punch a hole through a human is entirely due to the fact that we are poor conductors of electricity which means that it is essentially impossible to induce an electric field strong enough to allow the device to punch a hole.

Re:Weapon? (4, Funny)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788196)

Humans are not usually very magnetic.

Are you sure? There are some humans that I have found to be highly repulsive...

Re:Weapon? (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788328)

hehe

Re:Weapon? (1)

Jello B. (950817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788778)

Go back to myspace.

Re:Weapon? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787814)

I suspect that occupational hazard specialists wouldn't recommend kissing one; but the ability of a strong magnetic pulse to deform a material depends on that material being conductive enough to have an induced current and a (temporary) magnetic field of its own. Metals qualify, humans are pretty iffy.

Humans, being gooey sacks of largely salt-water, are slightly conductive and they do do some electrical signalling internally; so a very strong magnetic field could well have an effect(TMS [wikipedia.org] exploits this fact to noninvasively alter the function of brain tissue). A very strong magnetic pulse to the brain could have odd effects, a very strong pulse to the heart might be an issue, and a really strong pulse just about anywhere might be enough to cause electrical flailing or burns.

That said, though, the weapon potential would be absurdly poor. Magnetic field strength falls off quite quickly with distance, so you would need some truly heroic equipment to have any effect on somebody more than a few centimetres away. You'd be much better off simply discharging the capacitor bank through the victim rather than the coil. Or just hitting them with a wrench.

All the alternatives to good old-fashioned chemical propellants and sharp objects face serious challenges on the road to practicality; but strong magnetic fields aren't even in the same league.

Re:Weapon? (2, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787984)

I'm wondering just how much a strong magnetic field like this could accelerate a bullet-like metal object.

Re:Weapon? (2, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788198)

The upper limit on a .45ACP is 21,000psi or 1,400ATM.

The "EMP press" generates 3,500ATM.

--
BMO

Re:Weapon? (0)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788970)

The upper limit on a .45ACP is 21,000psi or 1,400ATM.

The "EMP press" generates 3,500ATM.

My understanding is that pressure is mostly a function of your gun's strength and/or the hardness of the bullets you're using. If you use high pressure bullets in a weak firing chamber, ka-blooey. If you use 'soft' bullets with a lot of grains, the bullet will deform and your gun will possibly go ka-blooey.

IIRC, 50,000 psi (~3,400 ATM) is the upper limit for most rifle and handgun rounds, although 65,000 psi rounds are used for test purposes.

Re:Weapon? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788236)

Very considerably indeed [navy.mil] ...

(TFA gives no real sense of how much power is involved in their setup, so it is hard to say how much accelerating it could be made to do; but magnetic accelerators in general are capable of impressive velocities. Though, much to the dismay of science-fiction fans everywhere, they require vast amounts of electricity, so handheld versions of any practical use are awaiting the invention of some treknobabble power source.)

Re:Weapon? (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788214)

How about disabling their vehicle, or punching a hole in their tank to facilitate an ambush or use of other weapons?

Re:Weapon? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788538)

I think the land mine, man-portable anti-armor weapons, and IEDs in all their forms will probably fill that gap more economically for the foreseeable future.

Re:Weapon? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788652)

What if you want to capture your target for questioning, or imprisonment / ransom, rather than blowing them up?

So you blow a hole in their tank and then hit them with nerve gas to temporarily stun them, so you can slap the cuffs on and haul them to the tortur^H^H^H^H^H^H interrogation chamber.

Re:Weapon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787830)

You're not too bright, are you?

Re:Weapon? (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788326)

To add something new to what the other repliers have said, human body is mostly transparent to EMP. It's not mostly transparent to bullets, knives, and a variety of other lethal tools. The EMP punch wouldn't add anything new to the huge list of ways to deliberately kill people.

Not a new idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787818)

This is not a terribly new idea. I watched video of this technique being used to cut, punch and shape steel over 30 years ago. In fact the video demonstrated punching a hole in steel through a sheet of paper leaving the paper untouched. The only thing that has changed is the technology in the capacitors.

Hard to see it being practical (2, Insightful)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787820)

I won't say never, because people who say "That'll never be practical!" are inevitably made to look like idiots at some point. That said, it's hard to imagine this working well for punching applications.

This process seems to have some inherent disadvantages for punching holes. Compared to an ordinary turret punch, the tooling will be very expensive and will take a tremendous amount more power to operate. It is also not clear if EMP tools will be able to punch arbitrary shapes, or how the press would operate in an industrial setting without damaging its own working area or doing Something Unfortunate with the waste metal, or if it can operate at anything like the speed of a flywheel-driven punch. The may of course be certain applications where it will become valuable or even indispensable, but for general-purpose punching, I don't see it.

For forming applications it's a very interesting idea, though.

Re:Hard to see it being practical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788376)

> The may of course be certain applications where it will become valuable or even indispensable, but for general-purpose punching, I don't see it.

I'm sure someone will figure out a use. Then the operating costs will be characterized like they have been for every other manufacturing method.
Excellent!

Re:Hard to see it being practical (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788474)

They don't mention how this compares to high pressure water jets, which I would assume is both faster and cheaper than laser, and doesn't leave any burrs. I'm not an expert in sheet metal forming, so someone feel free to correct me, but while I'm sure EMP will have very specific uses in the future, hydro-cutting will remain a better option in 99% of situations for the forseeable future.

Metal presses (2, Informative)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787836)

Not all burrs left by a punch press need to be removed by hand. Small pieces may be burnished, rotoblasted, or vibratory finished. Still takes time, I guess.

Re:Metal presses (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788666)

Small pieces may be burnished, rotoblasted, or vibratory finished. Still takes time, I guess.

I once had a girlfriend like that - and you guess correctly.

Article Has No Meat. (5, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787846)

Hi. I'm a metalworking professional, with a heavy background in tool and die work.

>metal presses, which can leave burrs which must be removed

The burr side, if you've got sharp tooling, doesn't have much of a burr. Also, when you assemble the product, the burr side goes away from the user. Speaker grille material, for example, is always mounted on the finished speaker burr side in. If you've got a large burr punching holes in steel, then you have dull tooling and/or wrong punch-to-die clearance.

>.2 seconds per hole

Too slow. Much, much too slow. Call me when it can equal 600 strokes a minute on a conventional press.

>by hand

Someone's never heard of tumbling, flame deburring, electrochemical mass finishing, etc.

>This article is written as if there's no tooling involved and there's no die or stripper plate to back up the steel as it's distorted by the EMP. It goes on to say that it can do away with molds. LOL QUE?

Total misunderstanding by the journalist.

--
BMO

Re:Article Has No Meat. (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787886)

To follow up, a conversion error by the journalist:

Pressure of 3500 atmospheres.

That's not 3 small cars. That's 17.5 Volkswagen Golfs (2010).

Re:Article Has No Meat. (1)

Belisar (473474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787980)

Are you sure?

An atmosphere is defined as roughly the pressure exerted by one kilogram of mass in Earth gravity on one cm^2. The article claims the area is also around one cm^2 large, so that means the mass would be about 3500 kg. A 2010 VW Golf weighs about 1,451kg, so this would actually be less than 3 cars.

Re:Article Has No Meat. (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788082)

Yeah, you're right, I did a weird conversion with english measurements.

In a square inch it's 17.5 VW's

--
BMO

Re:Article Has No Meat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788692)

WTF? THis is the 21st century and we have the metric system. Take your foot-pound-slugs and get the fuck off my planet!

Re:Article Has No Meat. (4, Funny)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788768)

Have you considered working for NASA?

Re:Article Has No Meat. (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788002)

According to my source [caranddriver.com] a typical Volkswagen Golf 2010 Rabbit weighs 3100–3250 pounds or 1410-1480 kg (rounded) and since 1 atmosphere is very nearly 10N/cm^2 and a 1 kg mass exerts ~10N force we can conclude that 3500 atmospheres is like balancing ~2 and 1/2 Volkswagen Golf 2010 rabbits on a 1cm^2 area. So the journalist wasn't that far off from the truth this time.

Re:Article Has No Meat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787904)

600 stroke a minute ... by hand? .... That's what she said

Re:Article Has No Meat. (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788346)

>by hand

Someone's never heard of tumbling, flame deburring, electrochemical mass finishing, etc.

That's great if your part doesn't have a very high tolerance. If you're machining pieces for the aerospace industry, those methods will totally ruin the part.

Re:Article Has No Meat. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788486)

If you are doing parts for the aerospace industry, I'm betting you won't be doing 600 strokes/minute with dull tools, either.

Re:Article Has No Meat. (2, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788514)

>implying there's no such thing as precision deburring.

http://www.burlyticsystems.com/ [burlyticsystems.com]

>implying that finishing ruins parts

Get out.

--
BMO

Wont be long now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787852)

Minituarize this and you got yourself a very strong gun with no bullets that can go through metal walls. Target won't know what hit him/her.

Re:Wont be long now (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787950)

You might hurt the metal wall, but if the target is itself not metal, it will be quite unharmed. But maybe you could use a focused EMP like this to accelerate a bullet down a (non-conductive) barrel? That would be pretty cool.

Re:Wont be long now (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788054)

Isn't that the idea of a rail gun?

Re:Wont be long now (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788078)

A rail-gun is named such because it utilizes two rails to send current through the projectile its self which induces a current that creates a magnetic field that opposes (repels) the one that created it and thus accelerates the conductive projectile along the conductive rails. The design requires that the rails be conductive.

Re:Wont be long now (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788494)

A coil gun, by contrast, does not. The term rail/coil is often exchanged, even though they are completely different ways to do the same thing - electrically accelerate a projectile.

Re:Wont be long now (1)

NF6X (725054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788300)

You might hurt the metal wall, but if the target is itself not metal, it will be quite unharmed.

If you can manage to get a chunk of that metal wall to hit a target on the other side, they may not be quite so unharmed. Many antitank weapons, for example, are designed to cause the interior surface of the tank's armor to spall, such that the resulting flying pieces of the tank's own armor shred the equipment and people inside the tank. It's even necessary to fully penetrate the armor in order to induce spalling (i.e., with HESH ammunition [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:Wont be long now (1)

NF6X (725054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788306)

Typo: I meant "It's not even necessary to fully penetrate the armor...".

Water jet? (2, Interesting)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787878)

Everyone I know in the metal manufacturing field is currently using water jet technology to cut holes. Easier, cheaper, and neater than lasers; and cuts any arbitrary shape, unlike a die punch. And - very importantly - safe for the operator.

So how come no comparison in TFA with water jet? EMP doesn't sound like it can do intricate shapes, and they're only going through very thin steel. Why replace a proven inexpensive technology with a new inferior one?

Re:Water jet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30787960)

Why replace a proven inexpensive technology with a new inferior one?

Because we've never done it before. That's why people do research (in theory...).

Re:Water jet? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788218)

I run a water-jet at a university, but I prefer a laser cutter or plasma cutter for CNC work. The water-jet is a pain to keep running. High pressure air and water, tubes, orifices to replace, mixing tubes that wear out, water filters, etc. Maintenance nightmare. I prefer to just have to clean the optics once in a while on a laser cutter and I can tell you that the laser cutter we have cuts much sharper than our water-jet.

The advantage of the water-jet? Will cut 4" of ANYTHING for one thing, and it will cut the brittles like glass and ceramics and stone that the others will not. Also rubber - I cut a lot of rubber with it.

Cheers.

Possible propulsion? (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787938)

Someone help me out here as I'm not a physicist, but if this machine produces enough physical force to punch a hole through steel, does it offer any possibility of being used as a propulsive force?

Re:Possible propulsion? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788046)

What you are thinking of is called a railgun which works along the same principle only this time the metal projectile isn't tethered to anything.

Re:Possible propulsion? (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788062)

Not necessarily a rail gun, but specifically the fact that this can produce enough physical force to actually punch through the metal. what happens if you unhinged this 'punch' so that it wasn't anchored and ramped up the force at a slower pace?

I realize this specific implementation would need metal to interact with, but I have to wonder if they can and will eventually learn to interact with gravitational fields from objects like the earth itself.

Re:Possible propulsion? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788106)

The field strength falls off considerably as you move away from the metal target which means that the force applied on the metal also dropps off rapidly. As for interacting with gravitational fields (I assume you mean manipulating them) with our current physics knowledge, manipulation of gravitational fields isn't possible to ny degree that is really useful. You can however, if you create a strong enough magnetic field, repel agaisnt the Earth's magnetic field (100+ teslas) however this is a very strong field far beyond what we can maintain currently.

Re:Possible propulsion? (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788170)

its called a monorail

Re:Possible propulsion? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788776)

the comparison to a railgun is probably more correct then first thought of.

when i think about it, this EM-punch is basically just a railgun without the ammo. Or rather, the ammo is outside the "gun".

basically, one is building up a EM pulse so fast and so focused that one push parts of the metal out of the way faster then the surrounding metal can adapt, and it tears.

if the setup is designed correctly, the same system can potentially bend and punch just by adjusting focus and strength. A quick brainstorm suggests a grid of coils that's individually adjustable so that if one need a bend one use a number of them at lower power, but a hole takes just one or two at max.

Re:Possible propulsion? (2, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788302)

I doubt it would be very effective. Here's what's happening. A large power source builds up a charge in a bank of supercapacitors. This charge is fed into a coil, generating a magnetic field. The coil induces an equal but opposite field in the steel. The two fields repel each other, and since the coil is fixed in place, the steel under the core of the coil gets flung out of the way.

Now, if you had the large power source, the supercapacitors, the massive coils, and the supply of steel out in space, the whole shebang would indeed be moved by the steel slugs moving away. However, due to the mass of the "engine" and the weak "thrust", the whole thing would be impractical. In short, the device is a coil gun. You'd get more thrust out of a magnetoplasmadynamic device (same basic parts, but vapourize the steel instead of punching out holes. Higher velocity==more thrust).

The main problem, as with all electric rockets, is the power source. You need megawatts of power to get a few hundred measly newtons of thrust. That kind of power source does not come light. You need a nuclear reactor, or hundreds of square metres of solar panels. Massive.

Sharks... (1)

De-Jean7777 (926132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788034)

...with frickin' EMP attached to their heads!

And only requires one small fusion reactor! (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788140)

to power the damn thing. Go Iter!

Is the laser comparison fair? (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788146)

I have to ask the question, if, the EMP can punch so much faster than the laser, couldn't the guy that makes the laser just make one that is more powerful, and therefor, cuts faster? It seems to me that this comparison in the article is more of a selling pitch than a legitimate comparison of EMP vs the laser for metal working.

Re:Is the laser comparison fair? (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788188)

No. The problem with laser cutting is that when the laser vaporizes material off of the target, the vaporized material obstructs the beam to a degree which fundamentally limits the rate at which the laser can cut. Another concern is that lasers aren't the most efficient things at converting power into the coherent laser light necessary to cut through metal. It may be more efficnet from an energy standpoint to use the EMP punch rather than the laser.

Re:Is the laser comparison fair? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788206)

You can only cut so fast with laser do to the properties of the metal under cutting force. Is the old cookies in the oven. Directions say 350 for 15 min so 500 for 6 min is the same thing right? Wrong. If the power is turned up that increase in energy needs to go somewhere. The properties of the metal can only diffuse that so quickly. To fast and you ruin the edges of you blank. Machining 101 BTW

The Machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30788438)

I'm glad we are learning how to manipulate an EMP, so that when it becomes the only weapon we have against the machines, we can use it without having to turn off our hovercraft.

Magnetic forming (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788554)

This, as the article points out, is basically a beefed up version of magnetic forming. Magnetic forming has been around for decades. It's useful mostly for compressing cylindrical objects, so it's used on couplings, tube joints, and similar round objects I've seen it used in making hydraulic spool valves. It's a way to apply a completely symmetric radial squeezing force, which is hard to do at high precision with stamping dies or presses. Here are some examples of parts formed by magnetic forming. [magneform.com]

But for punching holes, there's no obvious advantage to magnetic forming.

media!? (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788878)

pics or gtfo

Bye bye ID cards and RFID passports (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788944)

"Your passport doesn't work, sir"
"Oh sorry, I work in a metal factory. I guess the passport ought to have had shielding"

Oh yes - probably deniability..

No video in the article (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789060)

Quite apart from potentially being fun to look at, it would have really helped to see a short clip of this in action. It could have informed things like: how thick the metal, how wide the hole, ...
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