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.

Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thinking Ahead with 3D Printing: Five Technologies to Watch

A 3D printer's moving parts can lead to vibrations and a flawed final product. Engineers at the University of Michigan anticipated the problem — and now, thanks to their algorithms, machines can do the same.

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Will "print-and-go" structures lead to printable robots?

As seen in this week's Tech Briefs TV video, MIT researchers envision many possibilities for devices that self-fold without external stimuli.

Question of the Week : Materials
Do you see valuable applications for 3D-printed Kapton?

Our lead INSIDER story today showcased a new Kapton-like material, developed by a team at Virginia Tech. The researchers hope that the 3D-printed polymer will support new applications, including deep space exploration.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sound-Off: How Does Recycled Powder Impact a 3D-Printed Part?

In the additive manufacturing process, leftover powder is often recycled for the next job. Do the raw materials degrade with time and exposure?

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sound-Off: Who is Using 3D Printing for Thermal Management?

By reducing size and weight, 3D-printed parts provide an opportunity to improve thermal control systems. So which major industries are leading the way and using additive manufacturing to stabilize product temperatures?

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sound-Off: What is Live Tooling?

When features need to be removed from a product, manufacturers often use a subtractive process known as CNC machining. In a Tech Briefs presentation last week, engineer Tony Holtz made a case for a more “Rapid” method.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
The Next 3D-Printed Part: A Hack?

See what’s new on Tech Briefs, including a three-layer way of securing the growing number of 3D-printed parts being placed in today’s vehicles and airplanes.

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Are you concerned about the integrity of 3D-printed parts?

This week's INSIDER story features a new method for verifying the integrity of critical 3D-printed parts, from brakes to aircraft components. What do you think? Are you concerned about the integrity of 3D-printed parts?

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sound-Off: How to Sell Additive Manufacturing to the Organization

How do you convince program managers to take an additive manufacturing approach to tooling? A 3D-printing pro shares lessons he learned about how to overcome obstacles from leadership.

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Secure 3D Printing: 'Three-Layer' System Protects Parts from Hackers

A 3D printer is essentially a small embedded computer — and can be exploited like one.

Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and Rutgers University have developed a “three-layer” way of certifying that an additively manufactured part has not been...

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 : Medical
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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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 : Materials
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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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 : Materials
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.