Doug Vining Printing up a new industry

3D printing is becoming big business. In fact it's building an entirely new industry. There are still many challenges and obstacles to be overcome, but think back on the original personal computer industry, and how that stumbling infant grew to be the giant commodity industry it is today. There are several niche industries being spun out of the development of 3D printing, and new metal powders is just one of them.
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Posted: 23 September 2014 at 17:32

Doug Vining HP gets its 3D groove on

So we're finally going see the biggest name in printers getting onto the 3D bandwagon. This will be a pivotal point for HP. It will either become a big name in 3D printing or fade into irrelevance like it did with pocket computers and smartphones. It's a big deal, either way, and something that HP doesn't want to mess up.
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Posted: 29 October 2014 at 21:22


Few places offer a higher cost for storage of spare parts and more urgent need for "just in time" delivery than spacecraft. NASA has intelligently begun to solve both challenges by printing objects on the International Space Station (ISS). The greatest benefit is likely the ability to spontaneously create objects that no one could have thought to bring along, making the ingenuity of the huge earth-bound support team almost immediately available on the ISS. "Huston, we have a problem, could you invent a widget for that. We'll print it up here." Check this article:

Aircraft could be “reconfigured” in flight, employing a low resistance, “rocket-formed” configuration for launch, that “grows” printed lift surfaces, solar power arrays, debris shields or re-entry heat shields, (or maybe just printing new plates and cups for the service of meals later in flight).

Building space outposts becomes much more feasible through employing 3-D printing capabilities adapted to utilise the materials present on other planets as “ink”.

Inter-corporeal printers could be used to manufacture medical devices, for example stents, directly at the location required. Just put the print head on a catheter, which serves as a duct for the printing material.
Posted: 26 December 2014 at 17:32

Doug Vining Metal printing dreams and reality check

We've enthused about the potential for 3D printing in titanium and other metals to completely revolutionise manufacturing as we know it, and indeed, in the aerospace industry, printing specialised components from titanium powder is enabling novel designs.

But in 3D printing titanium and the bin of broken dreams Spencer Wright takes a deep dive into the current state of the art, and science, of metal printing. And it's a bit of a nightmare, but with a lot of potential to improve in the future.

"Today, 3D printing metal parts via a distributed supply chain is a myth, full stop. And while I’m as excited about that vision as the next guy, distributed manufacturing will continue to be a pipe dream for the foreseeable future. A distributed manufacturing ecosystem can only exist once there’s a robust network of suppliers capable of making parts repeatably."
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Posted: 18 March 2015 at 12:50

Doug Vining Big time for metal printing

GE's new metal printer can print parts over a metre in diameter and, in the future, even larger. Another example of how this technology is advancing exponentially!

"General Electric’s beta version of its newest metal 3-D printer (pictured) was unveiled Tuesday at Formnext, the largest trade fair for additive manufacturers. Like most metal printers, it uses lasers to transform powder into a solid metal form, but this printer was made with the goal of overcoming size limitations that have dogged previous designs. It can print metal parts up to one meter in diameter, and according to GE, it can be adapted to push size limits even further.

This yet-to-be-named printer went from idea to beta testing in just nine months, and it has already been used to make a jet-engine combustor liner. GE has been using 3-D printing to produce its own metal parts for years, notably parts for its jet engines, but this printer will not just be for internal use. The printer will be widely released next year, GE says, specifically targeted at the aviation, automotive, space, and oil and gas industries."
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Posted: 16 November 2017 at 16:21

Doug Vining VW's plans for 3D printed parts

Aircraft manufacturers like Boeing have been using metal printers for some time, to produce specialised parts for aircraft from titanium powder. Even jet engines have adopted 3D printing for complex components like fuel nozzles. Auto companies like Volkswagen have also used them for rare parts and concept models, but now VW plans to use HP metal printers for mass production. Perhaps our MindBullet on this subject, from four years ago, was pretty close to the mark!
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 12:02
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