|Flying Robots deployed to print a 3D Stainless Steel Bridge via Mashable tweater hurdle
With 3D printing being a process of creating three dimensional solid objects specifically from a digital file, the latest mission of its application, which is 3D printing robotics on a stainless bridge -where flying robots are at work has catch many tech aficionados with amazement. In fact, although arguably -this is one of the miracles that technology has brought forth –so far.
To be precise and square with facts, the construction of a 3D print out is achieved by using addictive processes. An addictive process entails the creation of objects by placing down successive layers of material -bit by bit until the object is fully formed.
Ideally, an engineer designs the object and lays down all the dimensions in a plan, the information is then transferred to a computer, in a special file – mostly a Stereolithography (STL) type-of-file. In essence, the process of manufacturing the object is computer controlled and monitored from start to the end.
The stainless bridge being printed by drones moving in mid-air
While 3D printing has faced equal measures of success and challenges, building bridges proved more tricky and technical –compared to all areas of its application. That is bearing the fact that wider spaces are involved and more so the challenge of accessibility due to extreme topography. However, with flying robots, engineers have already begun printing a test bridge.
A team -from The Alan Turing Institute begun the project by employing a vast sensor network and installing equipment. These two factors aided in taking the actual measurements of the site, where the bridge is set to cross over a canal in Amsterdam -by 2018.
As expected, statisticians, mathematicians, structural engineers and computer scientists were involved during the onset of the project and men! The work is on now, as you can see progress in a photo tweeted by Mashable.
Quality concerns and assurance
It’s natural to have concerns about the stress tolerance that a robotic 3D printed bridge can withstand between layering –well, as a quality assurance strategy, the printing process is closely monitored. And more refreshing is that the bridge can be X-rayed on site.
As in, testing and confirming the quality of structural components of similar nature takes place in hydrocarbon tanks, wind farms and other engineering facets – so it’s something that happens.
Unlike Ultra Sound Testing, often done on welds, X-rays easily bring any issues or gaps in layering or flaying forces. Perhaps that’s why the project was approved to continue. Well, 3D printing is beyond structural engineering.
|Via 3D structural
Other latest application of 3D printing
An analysis to examine the effectiveness of this rather new technology of production hints that companies have so far saved billions in production, after deploying the 3D technology. Lately, three-dimensional printing is being used to create smartphone cases, medical equipment, car parts, fashion accessories and the most astonishing of all, artificial organs.
3D printed Organs
Hospitals relied on handmade implant structures to aid their patients, back then. That took time and something the victims, like those that needed artificial breathing organs passed on waiting on the line. 3D printing technology has drastically improved that in fact, organs are now printed from the patient’s own cell.
Dr. Antony Atala, a Regenerative Medicine specialist at Wake Forest is on record having made artificial scaffolds with the help of 3D printing. The scaffold comes out first then it is coated using living cells, nonetheless, research is on to establish printers that will be able to print scaffolds and living cell at the same time.
3D Printing in the auto industry
General Motors recently employed 3D printing to save time on prototyping the parts of the vehicle. They used a stereolithography, design software, mathematical data and laser sintering to create parts from liquid resin –intended to improve the Malibu.
3D Printing in the Space
Not long ago, NASA, the space company manufactured a rocket engine injector from a 3D printer, which unexpectedly passed a major hot fire test –the engine injector generated a thrust 10 times greater than any other ever mad from 3D printing before.
The future of 3D printing
With many companies trying to exploit this upcoming tech, indications are that 3D printing will fast expand to many areas in future. With, medical application, customized consumer products, and custom parts replacement recording the fastest growth.
Medical researchers are on record experimenting with the idea of making artificial bones using 3D printers. A few companies have also set aside funds to investigate the likelihood of printing organic materials, which could be used for surgeries or replacing defective human parts.
In the near future, we could also witness customized candy gifts, chocolate sculptures and edible centerpieces among other products all done by 3D printing robotics technology.