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ESA 'Amaze' Project Aims To Take 3D Printing 'Into the Metal Age'

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the do-we-have-star-trek-replicators-yet dept.

Space 74

dryriver sends this BBC report: "The European Space Agency has unveiled plans to 'take 3D printing into the metal age' by building parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects. The Amaze project brings together 28 institutions to develop new metal components which are lighter, stronger and cheaper than conventional parts. Additive manufacturing (or '3D printing') has already revolutionized the design of plastic products. Printing metal parts for rockets and planes would cut waste and save money. The layered method of assembly also allows intricate designs — geometries which are impossible to achieve with conventional metal casting. Parts for cars and satellites can be optimized to be lighter and — simultaneously — incredibly robust. Tungsten alloy components that can withstand temperatures of 3,000C were unveiled at Amaze's launch on Tuesday at London Science Museum. At such extreme temperatures they can survive inside nuclear fusion reactors and on the nozzles of rockets. 'We want to build the best quality metal products ever made. Objects you can't possibly manufacture any other way,' said David Jarvis, ESA's head of new materials and energy research."

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74 comments

Oh yes yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137097)

I heard the same nonsense about manufacturing in space 40 years ago. Impossible alloys! Precious pure medicines! Yeah, right. Grow up you loons, you're being had.

And now, someone will come along saying computers got better, therefore everything else will get better at the same rate even though there's no common thread.

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137117)

Sadly, they've made a better idiot, like yourself.

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137161)

I heard the same nonsense about manufacturing in space 40 years ago.

The ESA project involves 3D printing on Earth, not in space. Of course, one cannot expect a Slashdot poster to actually read the article before commenting.

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137451)

I don't see where I said that this 3D printing will be in space? I just said 40 years ago there was equal hype about manufacturing in space. It went nowhere.

There simply isn't anything that can be improved by that much anymore. Fusion? What kind of metric is that? We don't HAVE any fusion reactors or rockets!

So, about this "actually read before commenting" philosophy you espouse, it sounds like a good idea, eh?

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45138357)

I heard the same nonsense about manufacturing in space 40 years ago.

manufacturing in space

in space

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45140017)

Yes, I said I hear today the same kind of promises about 3D printing as I heard about "manufacturing in space" in the 1960s. I never said this 3D printing in this article, today, now, on this website, is in space. Jesus Christ. You fucking lackwits can't even parse two sentences but you think you understand materials science and engineering.

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45138509)

I think the poster was being kind, and giving you the benefit of the doubt that you were actually trying to be on-topic. You've only pointed out that his assumption was wrong, that you were purposely being off-topic.

Re:Oh yes yes (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#45140781)

well. there is a difference.

that there's already processes that have been already used to create objects impossible to create by forging and machining. so they're more or less just jumping aboard the bus...

Flaming RepRaps (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 6 months ago | (#45142193)

geometries which are impossible to achieve

Now they just need to work out the Transformations that were too hard to find.
Just beware of poisons in your bloodstream.

Re:Oh yes yes (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 6 months ago | (#45137419)

And yet everyday we are using alloys, materials, and medicines that 40 years ago were all but a dream.

Hybrid synthetic fibers, hell the metal alloy's used in your cell phone, and laptop didn't have mass production status 40 years ago. 40 years ago building things at sub 100nm processing was considered all but impossible.

The real trick isn't when it is first possible to do something or even when it is available to a select few, but when any idiot can do it. The microwave oven took 15 years to go from proof of concept to an affordable counter appliance. and another 10 years for decent ideas on how to use it practically.

Metal 3D printing is a good 20+ years from everyday use. but it starts today.

Re:Oh yes yes (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 6 months ago | (#45137645)

Metal 3D printing is a good 20+ years from everyday use. but it starts today.

Technically, it started like 30 years ago, and we've been using manual additive welding for much longer than that, but who's counting...

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137807)

Hybrid synthetic fibers, hell the metal alloy's used in your cell phone, and laptop didn't have mass production status 40 years ago. 40 years ago building things at sub 100nm processing was considered all but impossible.

Alloys.

Re:Oh yes yes (1)

sootman (158191) | about 6 months ago | (#45139123)

> The microwave oven took 15 years to go from
> proof of concept to an affordable counter
> appliance. and another 10 years for decent
> ideas on how to use it practically.

It didn't take that long. My parents were using our microwave to reheat coffee since the day they brought it home. (30 years later, that's still its #1 use.)

ew, ick (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 6 months ago | (#45140359)

Reheated coffee is suitable only when there are no more fresh beans available.

Re:ew, ick (1)

trenien (974611) | about 6 months ago | (#45141425)

To think that reheated coffee is suitable for anything but the drain...

You must be American.

Re:ew, ick (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 6 months ago | (#45151175)

Or someone recognizing that coffee is the vehicle of a drug delivery system and that that someone needs some WD-40 for the brain NOW, not in however long it takes to make a new cuppa.

When I creak and groan and hobble out of bed if there's a half-mug of coffee from last night I don't even bother nuking it. THEN I can proceed to combine nicely-roasted beans and filtered water into something more palatable. If there's no coffee when I awake do not approach unless maybe the house is burning - and even then I might check to see how fast it's spreading to see if there's enough time to make a pot.

Now then, this 3-D metal printing sounds interesting; seems like there are some nifty possibilities - a multi-stage, multi-route valve for hydraulics, regulators, cooling loops or fractional distilling (and really almost a logic gate of sorts), maybe; rocket engines of course; submersibles; mechanical locks; a novel clamp or fastener; obviously for prototyping, just-in-time spare parts, one-off manufacturing; artists ought to be able to have some fun with it; and maybe even a slick coffee maker in the offing.

With the richness of inputs, being able to seamlessly place everywhere in a piece the optimum alloy for its characteristics rather boggles, and that very seamlessness might ease constraints from the various mechanical co-efficients of this and that. I'd imagine one could build in some interesting electrical properties as well. I don't suppose one could make a solid metal transistor, though, and even if, who'd want a forty-pound CPU?

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45142899)

> The microwave oven took 15 years to go from
> proof of concept to an affordable counter
> appliance. and another 10 years for decent
> ideas on how to use it practically.

It didn't take that long. My parents were using our microwave to reheat coffee since the day they brought it home. (30 years later, that's still its #1 use.)

Since the first commercial microwave oven was built by Raytheon in 1947, the numbers seem pretty close on the mark (Of course, it was huge and completely unaffordable to Joe Blow, but so is everything at first).

Re:Oh yes yes (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 months ago | (#45144631)

The microwave oven took 15 years to go from proof of concept to an affordable counter appliance. and another 10 years for decent ideas on how to use it practically.

It didn't take that long. My parents were using our microwave to reheat coffee since the day they brought it home. (30 years later, that's still its #1 use.)

Wrong. The microwave oven was invented in 1945, thirty five years before they were affordable. Citation [wikipedia.org]

Re:Oh yes yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45143153)

Er, please look up "grocer's apostrophe".

Re:Oh yes yes (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 months ago | (#45144529)

I heard the same nonsense about manufacturing in space 40 years ago. Impossible alloys! Precious pure medicines! Yeah, right. Grow up you loons, you're being had.

40 years ago cell phones were sci-fi fantasies. Flat screens were sci-fi fantasies. Recording TV shows in your living room was a fantasy. Playing a record album (not a cassette) in you car was my schizophrenic friend's fantasy (I told him he was nuts. He was, but we have CDs in cars now). There were no treatments for schizophrenia, now many schizophrenics lead normal, productive lives from new medicines. You car had no air bag, ABS, fuel injection, electronic ignition. If you took a photo you couldn't see it for a week unless you had a Polaroid or your own darkroom. There was no internet.

You not only have no imagination, you've not been paying attention.

Re:Oh yes yes (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 6 months ago | (#45145821)

From our friends at Wikipedia:

In the 1940s, hot rodder Stuart Hilborn offered mechanical injection for racers, salt cars, and midgets.[6]

One of the first commercial gasoline injection systems was a mechanical system developed by Bosch and introduced in 1952 on the Goliath GP700 and Gutbrod Superior 600.

Fuel injection has been around for a lot longer than 40 years. Other than that I tend to agree with you.

Re:Oh yes yes (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45147779)

Yes, it was invented and in limited use (racing), but it wasn't widespread in passenger cars until the eighties.

loose acronym (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about 6 months ago | (#45137153)

Amaze is a loose acronym for Additive Manufacturing Aiming Towards Zero Waste and Efficient Production of High-Tech Metal Products

I got AMATZWAEPOHTMP ... not even close. Sounds like someone just really wanted to spell a word from all that

Re:loose acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137459)

Yeah, scientists are clever like that... especially the guys at DARPA. Sometimes they don't even care if the expanded acronym has any sensible meaning as long as the acronym itself sounds cool. Like ISIS, which can be expanded as Integrated Sensor is Structure - not even joking.

Re:loose acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137727)

Well, admittedly 'Amaze' sounds more like the title for a manufacturing technology project, while 'Amatzwaepohtmp' sounds more like the name of a lovecraftion terror-entity that crawled out of some ancient tomb.

Lasers + 3D printing = Nerdgasm (4, Informative)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about 6 months ago | (#45137159)

Laser sintering is an awesome field but it has been around awhile.

Here's a "How it's Made" about the process from almost 3 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6Px6RSL9Ac [youtube.com]

Re:Lasers + 3D printing = Nerdgasm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137245)

Yeah, for real. I printed my wife a silicone mooncup replica for our anniversary two years ago and we've never looked back.

Re:Lasers + 3D printing = Nerdgasm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137357)

Yeah, but it's gonna go big soon. Some important patents expire next year.

Flame spray has been around since 1910... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 6 months ago | (#45149081)

... but I don't know when numerical control was first done for it? My father worked on a system to put metal on the bottom of ceramic cookware to improve heat conductivity at METCO in the 1980s, although even then that was done by hand for tests. Flame spray was commonly used then to build up worn metal shafts for repairs. From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_spraying [wikipedia.org]
"In classical (developed between 1910 and 1920) but still widely used processes such as flame spraying and wire arc spraying, the particle velocities are generally low ( [less than] 150 m/s), and raw materials must be molten to be deposited. Plasma spraying, developed in the 1970s, uses a high-temperature plasma jet generated by arc discharge with typical temperatures >15000 K, which makes it possible to spray refractory materials such as oxides, molybdenum, etc."

Thanks for everything, Dad!

Re:Flame spray has been around since 1910... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 6 months ago | (#45151335)

Holy... wow. This and a handful of other posts were eye-openers for me. Thanks, all. Sheesh, I gotta get out more. I mean, I can sort of forgive my ignorance because of not having need for exposure in this area, but to be that ignorant of it...

My limit was wood working. People who do stuff in metals have always amazed me. Even straight-forward mill work is neat; then add in 'tuned' forging, heat treating, all that, it's half-magic to me, let alone the ways to forecast and arrive at particular crystalline structures. Reminds me of some of the stuff my p-chem prof showed us about the X-ray crystallography he was doing in the Sixties. Cold-spray, flame spray, wonderful stuff. We do all these neat things and can't have a budget or privacy - amazing again.

I swear, this life-extension and brain-transplant or transfer into clones or androids has gotta come through soon and be affordable on Medicare, 'cuz I've already got a lifetime or two backlog of reading to do just from the last year from /. alone. That, or become comfortably adept at Buddhist simplification.

Re:Flame spray has been around since 1910... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 6 months ago | (#45275463)

Yeah, it is amazing what is possible technologically compared to politically/socially. I wrote a related essay here:
"Getting to 100 social-technical points"
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/openmanufacturing/BByqMARHqOw [google.com]
"One can think of it this simplified way. Imagine abundance for all takes a society earning 100 "social-technical" points. :-) These points come from the multiplication of the "social" points times the "technical" points.
So, 50 * 2 = 100.
Or, 2 * 50 = 100.
or, 10 * 10 = 100.
    Social points might be things like learning to share better, or learning to get along with each other better in resolving conflicts with less damage, or in general, even eventually a global mindshift:
      "Global Mindshift: The Wombat"
      http://www.globalcommunity.org/flash/wombat.shtml [globalcommunity.org]
Technical points are like the ones we are usually talking about here, how to make things efficiently and effectively.
    Let us consider three scenarios for these points, with the numbers as above. ..."

These levels can probably go up and down. So, the USA is maybe a 3 out of 100 socially (for emphasizing selfishness over community and short-term over long-term) but maybe an 10 out of 100 technologically/infrastructurally? So, 3 * 10 = 30, or about a third of the way to abundance for all? Fusion power might increase that technology level to 20? A 1960s/1970s-like social renaissance might bring the social level back up to 10? Put both of those together, and we easily could provide abundance for all (like Bucky Fuller wrote about being possible decades ago). Add nanotech-based 3D printers to fusion to bring the US tech level up to, say, 30, and even with social problems keeping the US at 3, at 3 * 30 = 90 we would be close to providing abundance for all. Still might not be there because at a social level of 3, ideas like "artificial scarcity" (such as copyright, patents, DRM, etc.) still seem like productive helpful ideas as opposed to immoral harmful ones. Or, if the USA got up to 10 socially, with say a "basic income" for all, then our current technology might be enough for abundance for all. Yet, having said that, "the future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed" (William Gibson), so one can see more advanced communities socially here and there (including on the internet here and there) and some technology ideas have not yet become widespread but may soon. Inside a social bubble like, say, the Google Corporation, there is abundance for all already.

Metal is cool, but wood is pretty amazing in its own way. It is in a sense self-replicating, And to work with it artistically you need to think about grain and species and dryness and so on. Some woodworkers look for special branches shapes in the forest that they convert to things like chairs, tables, or special sculptures.

I've heard of education at some universities like MIT being called "drinking from a firehose". There is always so much to learn. The Buddhist path, in the sense of prioritization and simplification to some meaningful end may be a good strategy for having fun. Even just one Minecraft-like simulated world could be made effectively infinite, if you are looking for endless new vistas -- although in another sense, much of it is probably just more of the same.

Re:Flame spray has been around since 1910... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 6 months ago | (#45277243)

First of all is the really important question, "Does this guy ever sleep?" The answer, of course, is yes. He's cloned himself several times and has learned how to do effective, conflict-free, brain copying.

I like the soc-tech points, never seen it laid out like that, and it makes easy sense and calc, once one arrives at how to go about assigning those points to begin with. Actually, back of the envelope WAG calculation is neat, it allows for slop and helps show the shapes of things (which is not a shabby tune, either, come to think of it.)

One of the things that's struck me as odd and very wrong is how well the dinosaurs resist the apparent knowing of post-scarcity realities and convince so many that it's impossible to reach without resorting to the worst examples of regimentation combined with enforced sub-standard living conditions for all (except themselves, of course). This so they can continue the narrow Mammon game (deRopp) of accumulating valuta, owning the means of production, thus having control of how the world is organized and ruled. Works well for them, but apart from having an abundant supply of organic labor units, consumers, and cannon fodder, it's rather like they wipe their asses with the bulk of humanity. I'd hazard the guess that they might score rather low on the empathy scale. OTOH, maybe not. After all, they might see themselves and their peers as humans and the rest of us as sub-humans masquerading in the shape and form of real humans.

Ah, Richard Buckminster Fuller, one of my heroes. Dude's a trip, man, fuller of insights and thought-provokers than any handful of normal geniuses; he self-described as a geometer. It may have been in one of the Synergetics volumes where he had the thought experiment of describing sub-atomic particle interactions as icosohedra analyzed with integer fractions, ("geometry and arithmetic uber alles" - my description of it.)

Wood - even dead it has a feel to it. Sure, there's the mechanics, the engineering, the chemistry, but there's a half-dreaming thing when using it. Metal fascinates, wood soothes.

And not just M.I.T.; any university that retains some of the old intent and structure - a fire-hose, yes, to a burning mind, ablaze with curiosity and the need to know, to encompass, to understand. With at least a foot in the world - to build, explore, make better, more world-around enjoyable. Well, on a good day, anyhow. [grin]

Depending on what and how it is, a virtual world, along with a pet such as dog or cat, might offer a safe place to "deal with" certain otherwise often debilitating things such as PTSD, grief, depression, anomie. A place to explore, work out, arrange and re-arrange, one goal to find safeways to bring to RW and function, then heal and grow. Maybe.

Cheers, mate; by odd circumstance I have some more reading to do....

Listen, especially viz. the soc-tech points thing, thanks for putting into words a whole raft of different stuffs that's been working around in my mind on and off for a long, long time. It makes a convenient thought-structure upon which to hang stuff and play around with it better.

You mean DMLS? (2)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 6 months ago | (#45137181)

Um....people have already been doing this for some time now [wikipedia.org]. News that would be interesting to me would be to make 3d metal printing semi-affordable for the common hacker since most of these machines cost around $1,000,000. Right now 3d printing molds for metal casting is the only practical solution.

Re:You mean DMLS? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 months ago | (#45137217)

Yeah, I could have sworn I remember reading about 3D printed aluminum parts in aircraft already. Like, a few years ago. That's great they want to advance it, but "taking it into the metal age"? Please.

Re:You mean DMLS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137329)

Imagine a printer that actually smelts or molecularly binds molecules to create new and unique materials that are then layered to make parts which were un-make-able before. Cool!

Re:You mean DMLS? (4, Informative)

kaiser423 (828989) | about 6 months ago | (#45137485)

Already can do. Look at Cold Spray - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_dynamic_cold_spray [wikipedia.org]

We have/had a Cold Spray machine here at work. Not a lot of business for it, so it's not active right now. You could just mix in various titaniums, steels, aluminum and make all types of fun semi-alloys. You could even mix plastic or other materials in there to get some really interesting and crazy materials, but none of them really exhibited true alloy-like characteristics. The most practical thing I saw it do was a local machine shop botched the job on the final pass of this hugely expensive large precision titanium piece that would require them to junk it and start over. We cold-sprayed the gouge back in and then they re-machined it correctly, saving tons of time, money and effort.

Problem is that alloys or unique materials nearly always get their unique properties due to the unique circumstances with which they were formed. There's always interesting steps to ensure that the bonds are as expected, like extreme pressure or heat, being under various gas blankets or fluids when combining, etc.

This is just melty where Cold Spray was deformative.

I mean this is cool. You can make some really neat things, but exotic alloys or new materials is definitely not one of them.Yea, you could stack materials or "thread" them together, but we're already pretty good at that using massive presses.

Re:You mean DMLS? (2)

LiavK (2867503) | about 6 months ago | (#45137569)

From the wikipedia article: "Gas dynamic cold spray (GDCS) is a coating deposition method developed in the mid-1980s in the Soviet Union." Nice. I've never heard of this technology. For a while I was working for a small startup doing some mechanical design and was doing research into exotic fabrication technologies. I came across some truly great technologies -- hydroforming, which uses hydrolic pressure to form metal into deep draw forms and Explosive Forming which, yes, involves using explosive to shape metals were two of my favourites.

Re:You mean DMLS? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45147957)

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2013)

Damned right it does because it's incorrect if it's what I saw demonstrated at SIU in the late seventies (although that one may have been a hot spray, it's been an awful long time ago).

Re:You mean DMLS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137243)

thanks for raining on the mainstream "geek" press parade. they still think microcontrollers were invented by arduino.

Re:You mean DMLS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45142311)

News that would be interesting to me would be to make 3d metal printing semi-affordable for the common hacker since most of these machines cost around $1,000,000.

I think it's still interesting news that despite you not getting a pony, manufacturers are going to be pooling their resources to try to improve 3d metal printing and make it semi-affordable for themselves.

Scary Implication... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137239)

Does this mean 3d printed guns will be viable now? This is actually really scary...

Re:Scary Implication... (3, Insightful)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 6 months ago | (#45137393)

Yes. For the low investment cost of, say, $250,000, you can own a machine that laser-sinters metal into something that will allow you to make most parts of a gun with the possible exception of the springs. Or, you could ya know, buy a gun on the black market for a couple hundred.

Re:Scary Implication... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137461)

couple hundred?? What country are you in? In the USA, average selling price for an illegal revolver (gun most likely to be used in crime) is something like $40...

Re:Scary Implication... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137791)

Right, but after that $250,000 investment, you can print as many as you want with no risk of getting caught every time you want another gun.

Re:Scary Implication... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 6 months ago | (#45137815)

For the low investment cost of, say, $250,000, you can own a machine that laser-sinters metal into something that will allow you to make most parts of a gun with the possible exception of the springs. Or, you could ya know, buy a gun on the black market

Today, $250,000. Ten years down the road, $2,500 and then you can churn out each gun for a marginal cost of $10 with absolutely no worries that the guy who sold you the materials is actually an undercover cop working an illegal weapons sting.

Re:Scary Implication... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45140277)

If the price of lasers capable of rapidly smelting highly durable metals drops to 1/100th of their price in 10 years, I'm going to become a lot less worried about the people worried about shitty printed guns, and a lot more worried about asshats with lasers capable of rapidly smelting highly durable metals

Re:Scary Implication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45144291)

I wouldn't be that worried unless that price drop applied to portable lasers and power sources too.

Nothing new there. (3, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | about 6 months ago | (#45137541)

You know, if you want to just automatically churn out metal gun parts, you could do it with a CNC mill for a fraction of the cost. It's not like automated metalworking is a new thing. The plastic gun was mostly a stunt -- a dangerous one at that.

Or if you were willing to put in the time and elbow grease yourself, you could mill your own parts by hand for a fraction of that with power tools bought from Home Depot. It's not like there isn't a wealth of material at your fingertips on the internet from a devoted community of paranoid "gotta be able to make this myself once the gubbermint takes mah gun away" people to get you started. As a bonus, many of these people are smart and meticulous (despite my teasing), and it's all legal with the right licenses, so the material's more trustworthy than your average Anarchists's Cookbook nonsense.

And if you really don't care about having a polished, reusable model to show off, zip guns can be made with entirely off the shelf parts found in your local tool store too.

Re:Nothing new there. (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 6 months ago | (#45137861)

Hell it's legal to do it without the proper licenses -- minus NFA weapons -- as long as you don't do it for the purpose of reselling. If you do sell a weapon or two -- as long as you're not doing it as a means of living -- all you need to do is slap a serial # on there.

Re:Scary Implication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137713)

Only if you think that the ability to defend yourself from statist oppression is scary. There is a reason that the first popular model for a 3D printed gun is called the Liberator.

Re:Scary Implication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45139717)

If "statist oppression" really decides to go after you, they will shoot you from a drone. Your guns will protect you about as well as a tinfoil hat. But perhaps you have both.

Re:Scary Implication... (1)

felrom (2923513) | about 6 months ago | (#45137997)

Have you ever tried to hand-fit a 1911 from individual parts, and blend the contours of the grip safety, mainspring housing and the frame into each other using only a dremel tool? Man, 3D printing will make it gloriously easy!

Contradiction (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#45137427)

There seems to be a contradiction between this illustration [bbcimg.co.uk] and the following quote, both which appeared in the article;

"One common problem is porosity - small air bubbles in the product. Rough surface finishing is an issue too," he said.

It would seem that a rough porous ball bearing would not be that effective.

Re:Contradiction (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 6 months ago | (#45140729)

Especially in bearings porous can be a feature, not a bug. In ball bearings I'd guess it's always a bug though.
Slide bearings are customary made sintered, since you can push oil through the bearing bush itself to lubricate the works.
One of the disadvantages is that you can't widen them with a simple lathe because that closes the pores.

Finally (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45137675)

I've been waiting for car vending machines for a year now.

Testing and Quality (2)

steelscalp (1383757) | about 6 months ago | (#45138149)

Parts destined for aerospace are subject to rigorous testing and the first dozen or more prototype parts usually are sacrificed for testing. Exact dimensions, strength, creep and fatigue resistance must all be determined and the statistical lower bounds must be established before any part can be certified as airworthy. For wrought alloys this stuff is old hat. Things like welding are more of a problem and fabricated parts have fallen out of favor due to the rigorous QA needed. Look also at the use of as-HIP powder parts for turbine disks, etc. (They aren't.) Additive manufactured parts will have to be tested and qualified. I think those issues have been underestimated so far.

I bet... (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 6 months ago | (#45138619)

Most readers looked at the headline and thought "Cool, 3D printed Metallica logos!"

Re:I bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45139743)

Not in my case. I wouldn't have had that thought without you post, but you're not wrong. It would be cool.

"you wouldn't download a ..." oops (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#45146529)

holy copyright infringement Batman!
There's people out there that'd do that just to piss off Lars.

Strength (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45139257)

Whenever they talk about strength they talk about using strong materials like tungsten. But most strong parts in the real world are made by forging weak (and cheap) materials like iron, to fix the crystal structure for the desired properties. I don't see how 3D printing will address this. If strength is only available via strong materials then applications will be severely limited.

Re:Strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45139771)

This is a good point. The way I pictured it, fancy materials of the future might get their interesting properties by consisting of very thin layers of familiar stuff, very deliberately arranged. But you're right, the progress that I know about in metallurgy all seems to be in controlling the crystal structure. I'm not sure if this level of control will ever be possible with 3D printing.

Really? (1)

bunkymag (1567407) | about 6 months ago | (#45139481)

I don't know, 3d printing obviously shows a lot of promise, but I find it hard to countenance it's even in the Stone Age as of yet ..

Who the hell wrote this? (1)

RespekMyAthorati (798091) | about 6 months ago | (#45140023)

This is my favorite line from the article:

"If we can get 3D metal printing to work, we are well on the way to commercial nuclear fusion."

Right. That's all we need.

Re:Who the hell wrote this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45142293)

That's true. There is plenty of coal lets just keep burning that forever.

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