3D Printing News Unpeeled: Engineered Living Materials, Wheels & Apache Helicopter Parts


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 Vonka Racing is an enthusiast drift team that has been using a large desktop FDM system to print wheel covers, specifically turbofan type wheels. They have issues with rigidity and too much flex but have only be on it for a week. Now of course this is very dangerous and they will need to switch from PLA to make this work but it is nonetheless a fascinating development. Why are there so few car enthusiasts using 3D Printing to improve their cars? They could do so much, and the group is so big. Is it just lack of CAD knowledge? 

ASTRO and MELD along with the US Military aim to  3D Print a main rotor system for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter replacing forged parts. They have now made a main rotor link assembly that took 45 miniatures to deposit and eight hours to 3D print in 6000 Series Aluminum. The lead time on this part is usually a year if it is forged. The team will try fatigue testing in 2024, which is always our Achilles heel. 

At the University of California San Diego Debika Datta and others have made engineered living materials using 3D Printing, alginate and cyanobacteria. The structure has been optimized to be the ideal home for the programmed bacteria to survive. They have been shown to be able to break down a dye used in blue jean production and decontaminate the water. Subsequently they can then be exposed to theophylline which destroys them. This is one of those news items that completely rocked and changed my thinking about many things. 

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