3D Printing News Unpeeled: Container Factories for Drones, DARPA & SWOMP

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Firestorm Labs, founded by Ian Muceus, formerly of Origin and Stratasys, aims to containerize drone factories. The company which has gotten $12 million from Lockheed and others hopes to print the Tempest drone on location. With a maximum takeoff weight of 25 kilos and a payload of 4.5 kilos and a length of 1.8m and a wingspan of 2 meters  it hopes to print it on location in 24 hours. This seems a bit ambitious but the idea is sound and much needed.

DARPA is working on the Additive Manufacturing of Microelectronic Systems program, or AMME, which hopes to make a 500-nanometer resolution machine smaller than a one cent coin under three minutes. The program looks to volumetric 3D printing and selective materials synthesis to make the biological, mechanical and electro optical devices of the future. This is the thing I´m the most excited about in Additive right now. 

Aerosint is alive, the part of Schaeffler has shipped a system, bought in October 2023 to SPS (Spark Plasma Sintering) company California Nanotechnologies. This may lead to new efficient ways to make ceramic and metal components of unique combinations of those materials. 

Sandia researchers have come up with SWOMP (Selective Dual-Wavelength Olefin Metathesis 3D-Printing) which uses both ultraviolet and blue light with the second wavelength preventing sticking to the vat. Love it. The process uses dicyclopentadiene, which is hazardous to make olefin parts which may be stronger and more resistant to chemicals and real world conditions than the materials we now use. Perhaps the team can make tunable rubber like materials as well. 

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