Machine Learning makes metal 3D printing more efficient

An aerial view of the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. Image via mun: planetRussian researchers have used machine learning to make metal 3D printing more efficient.

3D printers require fine tuning of positioning and control algorithms using mathematical models to reach optimal performance. This is a lengthy and arduous process and it could take weeks to set printing parameters. Even then, the possibility of printing error is always present.

To overcome such problems scientists at the Laboratory of Lightweight Materials and Structures of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have developed a neural network for a metal 3D printer.

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Metal AM: Metal Additive Manufacturing hits critical mass with 875% growth

PrototypingRapid prototyping technology, building parts by creating a series of successive layers, began in the 1980s in Japan and immediately became a subject of interest in the U.S. The first patent, which coined the term stereo lithography (SLA), was granted in 1986 to Chuck Hull in the U.S. His 3D Systems company created the first prototype equipment in 1987 and launched the first commercial equipment in 1988.

Metal AM Beginnings: By the early 1990s, a half-dozen technologies based on layering principles were in the early stages of commercialization. Many subsequent approaches evolved from using liquids as the base material to using powders. Until the advent of powders, it was technically impossible to consider metal prototypes. The race to achieve metal prototypes now began. Twenty-five years later, the industry has achieved metal additive prototypes and is on the cusp of widespread Metal Additive Manufacturing (Metal AM).

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How did GE Power Engineers learn from 3D printing mistakes to become leaders in field?

Epic failures often are just a precursor to great success in the realm of invention and innovation. Kassy Hart, a lead additive manufacturing engineer for GE Power, can certainly attest to this, and her team has their own corresponding motto relevant to the challenges in creating: ‘Fail fast to learn fast.’

Initially, Hart had a substantial learning curve in attempting to 3D print parts at GE Power’s Advanced Manufacturing Works in Greenville, South Carolina. She and her team were beginning to work in metal 3D printing. Hart made a metal 3D printed probe (an item called a super rake) for use in evaluating engines during testing. Build space was not taken into account correctly though, and Hart remembers the print expanding all the way to the edge, resulting in great difficulty for removal.

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3D: Rise of the metal printing machines

  • The 3D printer market is forecast to grow strongly in 2017 – 29% for Industrial printers and 20% for Consumer printers.
  • 3D Industrial metal printer companies have gained market share compared to 3D Industrial polymer printer companies.
  • Recent 3D metal printer acquisitions by General Electric and market entry of 3D polymer printers by Hewlett-Packard offer stiff competition to Stratasys and 3D Systems.

You wouldn’t know it from financial reports from Stratasys (SSYS) and 3D Systems (DDD), but the 3D printing industry is alive and well and growing. According to The Information Network’s report entitled “3D Printing: Material and Equipment Opportunities, Trends, and Markets,” Industrial 3D printers are slated to grow 27% in 2017. The Industrial segment of 3D printers is the sweet spot of metal printers, primarily because revenues of these high-priced units are growing at the expense of polymer printers.

The Industrial segment is characterized by high prices, low sales volume, and increasing average selling prices (ASPs). In contrast, the Consumer segment is characterized by low prices, high sales volume, and decreasing ASPs.

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3D printing makes stainless steel three times stronger

Researchers have developed a way to 3D print stainless steel that triples the strength of the material.

3D printing has been used in everything from printing meat substitutes to vehicle components and has also prompted entirely new business models based on blueprint sharing and outsourced printing services.

Companies including GE, Siemens, and HP are all placing their bets on the future of this manufacturing process, and while 3D printing is currently reserved most often for weaker materials such as paper or plastic, metal is also of interest.

HP recently hinted at the 2018 release of a platform designed to “transform [3D metal printing] into more mainstream, high-volume production,” and as a research team from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have now demonstrated, the future of our metal products can be improved no end by 3D printing methods.

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3D metal printing is the new normal

More and more, manufacturers are looking for high-volume outputs from their 3D printers. Here’s a look at seven of the latest 3D metal printers from the NED Directory to get you up to speed.

3D Printing

3D printing is no longer solely an imaginative feature of a science-fiction movie. It is now an increasingly mainstream tool and a great way to save money in the long-run. Here’s a look at a few of the latest 3D metal printers that offer unique techniques, high-volume manufacturing, and material saving attachments.

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Slideshow: 3D metal printing is the new normal

More and more, manufacturers are looking for high-volume outputs from their 3D printers. Here’s a look at seven of the latest 3D metal printers from the NED Directory to get you up to speed.

3D Printing

3D printing is no longer solely an imaginative feature of a science-fiction movie. It is now an increasingly mainstream tool and a great way to save money in the long-run. Here’s a look at a few of the latest 3D metal printers that offer unique techniques, high-volume manufacturing, and material saving attachments.

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Metal-based additive manufacturing: about to take off?

Major industrial companies have been making serious acquisitions lately, seeking to strengthen their capabilities with metal additive manufacturing. Brent Balinski spoke to Mark Cola, co-founder and CEO of Sigma Labs, about what it all means.

The last few months have been big ones for industrial, no-gimmick 3D printing, for areas including aerospace.

In early September, GE Aviation – already a leading adopter – announced that it would spend $US 1.4 billion acquiring Germany’s SLM Solutions and Sweden’s Arcam.

The two European companies manufacture machines that use lasers and electron beams, respectively, to fuse metal powders – including titanium alloys – as well as offer expertise in areas such as powder metallurgy and software.

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