Manufacturing & Prototyping

Vehicle Maintenance Shelters Meet Structural Requirements Through FEA Analysis

Anchor Industries supplies tents and fabric products to the outdoor amusement and entertainment industries, and municipalities. With their experience in producing portable structures, Anchor re-entered the military market of vehicle maintenance shelters (VMS). The first Anchor VMS, designed several years ago to compete with another company’s lightweight maintenance enclosure (LME), was overpriced compared to similar products in the U.S. and Europe, so the company sought to create a more competitive and efficient shelter.

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Treatments To Produce Stabilized Aluminum Mirrors for Cryogenic Uses

Selected heat treatments are performed between and after fabrication steps.Five metallurgical treatments have been tested as means of stabilizing mirrors that are made of aluminum alloy 6061 and are intended for use in cryogenic applications. Aluminum alloy 6061 is favored as a mirror material by many scientists and engineers. Like other alloys, it shrinks upon cool-down from room temperature to cryogenic temperature. This shrinkage degrades the optical quality of the mirror surfaces. Hence, the metallurgical treatments were tested to determine which one could be most effective in minimizing the adverse optical effects of cooldown to cryogenic temperatures. Each of the five metallurgical treatments comprises a multistep process, the steps of which are interspersed with the steps of the mirror- fabrication process. The five metallurgical- treatment/fabrication–process combinations were compared with each other and with a benchmark fabrication process, in which a mirror is made from an alloy blank by (1) symmetrical rough machining, (2) finish machining to within 0.006 in. (˜ 0.15 mm) of final dimensions, and finally (3) diamond turning to a mirror finish. Two specimens ? a flat mirror and a spherical mirror ? were fabricated in each case. The blanks for all the specimens were cut from the same plate of aluminum alloy 6061-T651. (The suffix “T651” denotes a stress-relieving treatment that involves reducing residual stresses by mechanical stretching of the previously untreated alloy.) Of the five metallurgical-treatment/fabricationprocess combinations tested, the one found to exert the greatest stabilizing effect comprises the following ten steps:

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Portable Electron-Beam Free-Form Fabrication System

The electron beam in this system will be of relatively low voltage. A portable electron-beam free-form fabrication (EB F3) system, now undergoing development, is intended to afford a capability for manufacturing metal parts in nearly net sizes and shapes.

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Improvements in Fabrication of Sand/Binder Cores for Casting

Cores can be made stronger and more consistent. Three improvements have been devised for the cold-box process, which is a special molding process used to make sand/binder cores for casting hollow metal parts. These improvements are:

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Solid Freeform Fabrication of Composite-Material Objects

Parts specified by CAD data files could be fabricated as needed. Composite solid freeform fabrication (C-SFF) or composite layer manufacturing (CLM) is an automated process in which an advanced composite material (a matrix reinforced with continuous fibers) is formed into a freestanding, possibly complex, three-dimensional object. In CLM, there is no need for molds, dies, or other expensive tooling, and there is usually no need for machining to ensure that the object is formed to the desired net size and shape.

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Rapid Injection Molding Offers Alternative to Conventional Prototyping

Rapid injection molding produces a fully functional part from a 3D CAD model. Now more than ever, technological advancements drive the product design process.Increasingly powerful CAD programs allow more complex product designs, which in turn drive the demand for more complex prototypes. At the same time,fast-moving competitive markets require frequent design changes, shorter lead times, and tighter budgets. In short,prototyping must be faster, better, and less expensive.

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Process for Making Single-Domain Magnetite Crystals

Crystals can be chemically pure and free of defects. A process for making chemically pure, single-domain magnetite crystals substantially free of structural defects has been invented as a byproduct of research into the origin of globules in a meteorite found in Antarctica and believed to have originated on Mars. The globules in the meteorite comprise layers of mixed (Mg, Fe, and Ca) carbonates, magnetite, and iron sulfides. Since the discovery of the meteorite was announced in August 1996, scientists have debated whether the globules are of biological origin or were formed from inorganic materials by processes that could have taken place on Mars. While the research that led to the present invention has not provided a definitive conclusion concerning the origin of the globules, it has shown that globules of a different but related chemically layered structure can be grown from inorganic ingredients in a multistep precipitation process.

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