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Peter Zelinski

Peter Zelinski has been a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop for more than a decade. One of the aspects of this work that he enjoys the most is visiting machining facilities to learn about the manufacturing technology, systems and strategies they have adopted, and the successes they’ve realized as a result. Pete earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and he first learned about machining by running and programming machine tools in a metalworking laboratory within GE Aircraft Engines. Follow Pete on Twitter at Z_Axis_MMS.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 16. June 2014

TV Commercial: Made in America

Could this be a sign of the times? The notion of manufacturing in the United States is now so favorable—so cool, in other words—that automotive floor mat maker WeatherTech made this bragging point the theme of its clever TV commercial.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 12. June 2014

Profiler Expected to Exceed 100 Cubic Inches per Minute in Titanium

Representatives of Fives Cincinnati say the company’s new five-axis, five-spindle “super profiler” is “the stiffest five-axis profiler we’ve ever seen in action.” Fives expects it to exceed 100 cubic inches per minute of metal removal in machining titanium aircraft components, once it is married to its dedicated foundation and high-pressure coolant system at the customer’s site.

“The industry needs to set new standards for producing titanium parts at the lowest cost per piece,” says Chip Storie, Fives Cincinnati executive VP. Features contributing to the stiffness and the resulting efficiency of this machine include a frame designed for dynamic stiffness, including a massive cross rail, as well as a robust spindle design. Learn more.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 10. June 2014

IMTS’s 3D Printed Car Will Be Made of Carbon-Fiber-Filled Plastic

The collaborative engineering and manufacturing firm Local Motors has announced that the car in this illustration will be 3D printed at this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). This car design—called “Strati” by its creator, Michele Anoé of Italy—was the winner out of more than 200 entries submitted to Local Motors’ 3D Printed Car Design Challenge.

At IMTS, the Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine developed by Cincinnati Incorporated and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be used to 3D print the major structure of the car. Rather than being made of metal, this structure will be printed in ABS that is 15 percent filled with carbon fiber. Local Motors advanced manufacturing engineer James Earle says this might be the first car to have a structure made entirely from carbon-fiber-reinforced material.

The moving components of the car will not be 3D printed. The motor (the car is electric) and powertrain will be assembled within the printed structure. In attempting to get Mr. Earle to catalog how much of the car will be 3D printed, I asked him, “The chassis, the body panels?”

Wrong question. Additive production enables manufacturers to rethink their designs, and part of that rethinking is replacing assemblies of discrete components with monolithic printed pieces. In the case of the car, that means the distinction between chassis structure and exterior panels goes away, says Mr. Earle. It’s all just one big piece. This monolithic car form is what will be generated at IMTS, in a 3D printing cycle that he guesses will take around 40 hours.

(Interested in learning more about additive manufacturing at IMTS? Check out the show’s Additive Manufacturing Workshop, co-produced by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.)

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 5. June 2014

Video from the Machine Operator’s Point of View

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XOEye is developing industrial eye wear with real-time data and video streaming capability. The live video (which generally can be turned on and off by the wearer) could be used to communicate shopfloor problems to engineering. Or, it could be used to let a manager look in on the work of an operator who is still in training. The footage above was recorded while an operator wearing the glasses performed a quick inspection of a workpiece at Peak Manufacturing (sister company to XOEye). Read more about the video- and data-enabled glasses.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 2. June 2014

How Do You Make a Howitzer Less Heavy?

With a piece of military artillery, you might think that more mass is better. In fact, an upper limit on mass is a critical factor in the design of the M777 howitzer. Because this weapon is transported via helicopter, it cannot exceed a strict weight limit. That means that when military engineers want to make an enhancement to the design of this gun, they have to find compensating weight savings for any new component they want to add.

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Manufacturing contractor Imperial Machine & Tool Co. recently found a way to give these engineers some freedom. By replacing solid metal nuts on this gun with nuts composed of a honeycomb structure on the inside (each nut is about as big as the palm of a man’s hand), this shop was able to cut the weight of each of these nuts in half.

The honeycomb nuts were grown through additive manufacturing. They would have been impossible to produce any other way.

Imperial Machine & Tool Co. is a decades-old manufacturer built on CNC machining that sees investment in additive manufacturing as being key to its continued success in the future. Read more about this company’s exploration of AM.

Lead photo courtesy U.S. Navy.

 

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