Posted by: Lori Beckman 8. September 2014

Astronaut Delivers Keynote Address at Student Summit

Astronaut Wendy Lawrence will deliver a keynote address at the Smartforce Student Summit.

Educating students, teachers and parents about the career opportunities in manufacturing is critical to a thriving future U.S. economy. Additionally, it’s imperative to generate interest among girls and young women for careers in STEM fields, including manufacturing. This is why Astronaut Wendy Lawrence is a natural fit for bringing this message to the attendees at the Smartforce Student Summit, says Greg Jones, V.P., Smartforce Student Development, AMT.

Ms. Lawrence will deliver a keynote address on behalf of Sally Ride Science on Wednesday, Sept. 10, during the Smartforce Student Summit.

“I am very much looking forward to speaking at the Summit,” Ms. Lawrence says. “Like Sally Ride Science—a company I have worked with closely over many years—I am very passionate about building student interest in STEM. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for employers and industry groups like AMT to share that mission as well.”

Ms. Lawrence will focus her keynote on the lasting impact teachers (and anyone) can have on students when they expand STEM topics beyond the classroom and connect them to careers. “Introducing students to the array of women and men working in STEM is the best way to build student interest in these fields,” she adds.

Founded in 2001 by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, Sally Ride Science offers upper-elementary and middle school students professional development via the Sally Ride Online Academy, which helps educators incorporate career focused approaches into their existing instruction. Through teacher training programs, books and eBooks, and various events and services, the company shows students that science is creative, collaborative, fascinating and fun.

Posted by: Emily Probst 8. September 2014

Welcome to IMTS 2014: We Hope You Enjoy the Show

Starting NOW, we are blogging live from the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), which runs September 8-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. The show features more than 1,900 exhibitors from 112 countries and occupies 1.2 million square feet of floor space. If this doesn’t demand a week’s worth of coverage, I don’t know what does.

While you are at the show, we hope you stop by and visit Gardner Business Media (publisher of Modern Machine Shop) in the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Booth W-10. There, you will be able to network and see five unique displays dedicated to additive manufacturing, automation, automotive 2025, data-driven manufacturing and machine shop optimization.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 5. September 2014

Now Available: Additive Manufacturing September 2014 Digital Edition

For the cover story of the September issue of Additive Manufacturing, we return to Baklund R&D to describe how 3D printing fits into the distinctive philosophy and day-to-day activity of this noteworthy Minnesota machining business. Baklund R&D president Jon Baklund will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Additive Manufacturing Workshop at IMTS. Also in this issue, we look at the possibilities of additive manufacturing for repairing worn mold inserts. The digital edition of this issue is available now. To subscribe to Additive Manufacturing, go here.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 4. September 2014

Metal Additive Manufacturing for Parts up to 7 Feet Tall

The parent company to RPM Innovations has been additively manufacturing metal parts this size for years on machines built in-house. The machines will now be manufactured and sold to others.

One of the constraints on additive manufacturing machines that make metal parts from powder has been the relatively small build envelope of these machines. Rapid City, South Dakota-based RPM Innovations is now prepared to challenge that constraint with laser deposition additive manufacturing machines that have a build envelope of 5 ×5 ×7 feet. An 83-inch-tall rocket-like part made from Inconel 625 that was grown in one of this company’s machines will be on display in the Advanced Manufacturing Center at IMTS.

Robert Mudge is president of RPM Innovations, which was spun off last year from contract manufacturing firm RPM & Associates, a company he also co-founded. The parent company has been applying laser-deposition additive manufacturing technology for 10 years. Growing interest in the technology combined with customer pressure for bigger parts led the company to build machines with part-making envelope of 5 × 5 × 7 feet. The success of these machines, and the application track record so far, gave RPM & Associates the confidence to now launch a separate company both to provide contract additive manufacturing services and to manufacture various models of this machine for other users.

The RPM machines use a blown-powder approach to applying the metal. Deposition rates reach 2 to 3 pounds per hour, which is fast for a powder-based additive machine. Small additive metal machines, such as powder bed machines, can achieve finer detail that what RPM can do, says Mr. Mudge, though thin walls and precise features are possible on RPM’s machines as well. By contrast, he says some of the strengths that make the blown-powder machine distinctive include the abilities to perform cladding on existing parts and to repair worn parts back to their new profile.

One other strength is the ease of recovery if there is a problem in the build, he says. A flaw in the build cycle with some metal additive manufacturing machines requires the entire part to be scrapped. With RPM’s machine, the part can be pulled out, machined down to where it is still good, then returned to the additive machine to resume the cycle.

Most of the additive manufacturing work previously done on RPM’s machines is covered by non-disclosure agreements, so Mr. Mudge can’t elaborate on these parts, but he says many would probably be surprised by the application history this technology has already seen. Nearly 80 percent of its applications have been related to aerospace or defense, including aircraft engine components and aircraft structural components for “companies whose names you’d recognize,” he says. Inconel 625, Inconel 718 and titanium 6-4 are among the alloys that the machines apply routinely.

The rocket-like part took around 340 hours to build is approximately 7,000 layers, he says. And to the RPM staff, that is not all that long. “We have had big parts—not as tall as this, but broader and a lot more complex—that took us 1,800 hours to build,” Mr. Mudge says.

Posted by: Derek Korn 3. September 2014

Developing the Cover's Cool Caliper

The caliper rendering on the cover of our September issue (highlighting this Top Shops benchmarking results story) was produced by CAD specialists at Autodesk. What’s impressive is not just the end result, but also the speed at which they were able to complete this project.

Autodesk’s Sachlene Singh and Tanner Reid, Autodesk technical evangelists (awesome job title) along with Jay Tedeschi, technical marketing specialist for the manufacturing group, worked collaboratively on this project. They used a variety of Autodesk software design platforms to develop three different caliper concepts for us to consider. Tanner used Inventor (CAD product), Sachlene used Fusion 360 (cloud-based CAD product) and Jay used 3ds Max (3D modeling, animation and rendering software).

Because Fusion 360 is cloud-based product, it enabled the team to speed the design process by serving as a central repository where they could all access existing caliper models, in any number of file formats, rather than starting from scratch. Initial renderings were completed and presented to us in just two to three hours. In fact, those renderings were sufficiently detailed that they weren’t too far off from a final design. Once we picked the one we liked best, Jay spent a little more than a day tweaking the model in 3ds Max. This software effectively gives users the types of lighting, shading and other such tools that’d be used in an actual photo studio. The cool result is what you see on our September cover. Many thanks to our new friends at Autodesk.

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