Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping & Tooling

Access a wide range of multimedia resources and the latest technical briefs that are essential to rapid prototyping and tooling, and technologies essential to the design cycle.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sound-Off: How Does ‘Cold Forming’ Impact a Part?

The manufacturing process of "cold forming" applies force to a metal as it is staged in a die. The technology, used originally in the early 1900s to create artillery shells, supports the creation of a variety of sophisticated, small parts, including fasteners, pins, and screws. But how do the...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
What's New on Tech Briefs: Brickmaking on Mars a 'Smashing' Success

With support from Congress and the President, NASA aims to send a manned mission to Mars by 2040. Establishing a human presence on the Red Planet, however, will require permanent shelters.

And lugging a pile of bricks on the nine-month, 35-million-mile trip is out of the...

News : Materials
A New Material for Mars Habitats? Mars Itself

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a compaction technique that may someday be used to turn Mars soil into building blocks for the Red Planet. The scientists' new method of applying pressure offers construction possibilities as NASA plans manned Mars missions in the...

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will 3D printing of tissue revolutionize healthcare?

This week’s Question: Our lead stories today featured interviews with Chuck Hull, inventor of the 3D printer, and industry expert Terry Wohlers. Though the medical applications for additive manufacturing are still in their early stages, organizations around the world have printed both hard...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
What's New on TechBriefs.com: 3D Printing's Next Frontier

In 1983, when Chuck Hull was spending nights and weekends building the first 3D printer, he couldn’t have imagined that someone would eventually use the apparatus to build a toaster from ashes.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How 3D Printing Began, Layer by Layer

In 1983, Chuck Hull worked for a small California-based company that used ultraviolet light to turn liquid polymers into hardened, or cured, coatings. Inside the firm’s lab on his nights and weekends, Hull found a way to make UV-curable materials the basis for his Stereolithography Apparatus, patented the...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
The 3D Printing Landscape: Then and Now

Frequently used as a design validation and prototyping tool in its early days, the 3D printer now supports a much wider range of applications, from shape-conforming electronics to the creation of printed living tissue. Tech Briefs spoke with industry expert Terry Wohlers about 3D printing's emerging...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: January 2017

HP, Palo Alto, CA, unveiled the HP Z2 Mini Workstation designed for users in CAD and other compute-intensive industries. The workstation is 2.3” high, and 90% smaller than a traditional business-class tower. It has the ability to support six displays and was designed for CAD users requiring smaller hardware....

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Design Lightweight, 'Stronger-Than-Steel' Material

A team of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has successfully designed a new 3D material with five percent the density of steel and ten times the strength. By compressing and fusing flakes of graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon, the sponge-link...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: November 2016

Wolfram Research, Champaign, IL, released Mathematica 11 technical computing software that features more than 500 new functions, including improvements in machine learning, 3D printing and geometry, mathematics, visualization and graphics, graphs and statistics, geography, text and language processing,...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
BGA Socket

Ironwood Electronics (Eagan, MN) recently introduced a new BGA socket design using high performance elastomer capable of 75GHz, very low inductance and wide temperature applications. The GT-BGA-2052 socket is designed for 17x17 mm package size and operates at bandwidths up to 75GHz with less than 1dB of insertion loss. The socket is...

News : Imaging
New Scanning Method Speeds Up 3D Printing

Penn State University researchers have used a beam deflector to increase the speed of 2D and 3D printing by up to 1000 times.

News : Materials
Using Light to 3D-Print Structures that Remember Their Shapes

Engineers are using light to print three-dimensional structures that “remember” their original shapes. The process of 3D printing shape-memory materials can also be thought of as 4D printing, as the structures are designed to change over the fourth dimension — time.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New at IMTS

Optomec (Albuquerque, NM) unveiled its LENS machine tool machines that integrate the company's metal 3D printing technology into standard CNC machine tool platforms. Three standard system configurations are offered, making hybrid and traditional metal additive manufacturing more affordable and accessible. The three systems are...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Intelligent Machine Tool Prototype

A research group led by Professor Shirase Keiichi of the Kobe University Graduate School of Engineering has developed a prototype machine tool that can manufacture metal components and operates like a 3D printer. This development could speed up the manufacture of custom-made products such as dental implants and...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Space Station Crew 3D Prints Student-Designed Tool

A college student who won a NASA design challenge recently had the tool he designed 3D-printed on the Additive Manufacturing Facility on the International Space Station. The Multipurpose Precision Maintenance Tool was printed by astronaut Jeff Williams onboard the station.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
'On the Fly' 3D Printer Adjusts to Design Changes

In conventional 3D printing, a nozzle scans across a stage: depositing drops of plastic, rising slightly after each pass, and building an object in a series of layers. A new "on-the-fly" prototyping system from Cornell University allows the designer to make refinements while printing is in...

News : Test & Measurement
Light-Powered 3D Printer Creates Terahertz Lens

Researchers from Northwestern University used a light-powered 3D printer to create a terahertz lens. The imaging component is made from a novel metamaterial that exhibits properties not readily available in nature.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robotic Drones to 'Print' Emergency Shelters

Researchers from the University of Bath, Imperial College, and University College London have developed robotic drones designed to "print" emergency shelters. The flying robots will autonomously assess and manufacture building structures to help areas suffering from natural disasters.

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
'Cockroach' Robots Squeeze Through Cracks

UC Berkeley biologists have found robotic inspiration in the creepy ability of cockroaches to squeeze through even the tiniest crack.

News : Electronics & Computers
Graphene-Based Inks Enable High-Speed Manufacturing of Printed Electronics

A low-cost, high-speed method for printing graphene inks using a conventional roll-to-roll printing process, like that used to print newspapers, could open up a wide range of practical applications, including inexpensive printed electronics, intelligent packaging, and...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Print Glass Structures in 3D

A new system from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) creates strong, solid glass structures from computerized designs. The 3D-printing method allows researchers to construct optically transparent objects.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Design Tool Converts CAD Files into Visual Models

A new system from researchers at MIT and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel automatically turns CAD files into visual models that users can modify in real time. Once the design meets the user’s specifications, he or she hits the print button to send it to a 3D printer.

News : Materials
Robotic System Builds Biggest Composite Rocket Parts Ever Made

One of the largest composites manufacturing robots created in America will help NASA build the biggest lightweight composite parts ever made for space vehicles. The robot will build structures larger than 26 feet in diameter. The robot travelled across the country from Electroimpact,...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Special Delivery: NASA Marshall Receives 3D-Printed Tools from Space

Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, unboxed some special cargo from the International Space Station on April 6: the first items manufactured in space with a 3D printer.

The items were manufactured as part of the 3D Printing in Zero-G...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Measure Stress in 3D-Printed Metal Parts

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed an efficient method to measure residual stress in metal parts produced by powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM).

The 3D-printing process produces metal parts layer by layer using a high-energy laser beam to fuse metal...

News : Motion Control
Engineers Harvest and Print Parts for New Breed of Aircraft

Student interns and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center rapidly prototyped and redesigned aircraft using 3D-printed parts. The aircraft was custom-built by repurposing surplus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). By lengthening the wings, the team was able to improve aerodynamic...

News : Transportation
3D-Printed Power Inverter Enables Lighter Electric Vehicles

Using 3D printing and novel semiconductors, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a power inverter that could make electric vehicles lighter, more powerful, and more efficient.

At the core of this development is wide bandgap material...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Underwater Robot Skims for Port Security

MIT researchers unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot, a little smaller than a football, with a flattened panel on one side that it can slide along an underwater surface to perform ultrasound scans.

Originally designed to look for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks, the robot could also...

News : Electronics & Computers
3D Printer That Could Build a Home in 24 Hours Wins Global Design Competition

New York, NY – Contour Crafting, a computerized construction method that rapidly 3D prints large-scale structures directly from architectural CAD models, has been awarded the grand prize of $20,000 in the 2014 "Create the Future" Design Contest.

Contour...