Engineer's Toolbox: The secret to living hinges that fold flat
Living hinges are often used to produce a container and its lid as a single molded part. If properly designed, they can open and close thousands of times without ever losing strength or flexibility. Proto Labs provides valuable tips on designing these (sometimes thin and fragile) parts.
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Bottom tapped rails available for quick ship
Bottom tapped rails are useful for mounting from the bottom of a base, as well as when contamination protection is required -- eliminating the need for bolt-hole caps. See the available models from THK, including standard and radial LM guides and standard and radial caged ball. All units are available for quick shipping.
Non-marring blowoff nozzle protects expensive equipment
EXAIR's new PEEK 1/2 NPT Super Air Nozzle™ has been engineered to produce powerful blowoff without damage to expensive equipment. It features PEEK plastic construction and excellent resistance to damage from harsh chemicals and temps up to 320 F (160 C). The PEEK Super Air Nozzle is great for blowoff, cooling, and drying applications located in general industrial or corrosive environments.
Flex thixotropic one-component dual-cure epoxy
Master Bond UV23FLDC-80TK is a moderate viscosity, cationic-type system that offers both UV light and heat curing mechanisms. It cures readily within 20 to 30 sec when exposed to a UV light source. The adhesive can also undergo a secondary heat curing for shadowed areas, typically curing in 60 to 90 min. The system's adaptability to varying depths and applications, such as encapsulation and bonding, enhances its versatility. Well suited for uses where low stress is critical.
Standard parts with signal feedback included
JW Winco standard parts are becoming even more functional -- multifunctional, to be precise. From smart stop bolts that report whether workpieces are precisely positioned in the machining process to cabinet handles with signal lights and fluid level indicators with electronic REED contact signals, intelligent standard parts from JW Winco ensure greater safety, higher efficiency, and increased stability. Many more very useful options available for a wide range of applications.
Particle foam perfectly distributed thanks to simulation with Ultrasim
BASF's Ultrasim simulation solution now includes Infinergy, an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU) that is used in a wide range of applications to make components with particle foam -- from bicycle tires to the soles on shoes. Identify and solve problems related to pneumatic filling when distributing particle foams in molds, even taking gravity and mold closing into consideration. Avoid those pesky air pockets.
Best practices for making technical drawings
Ambiguities in technical drawings can cost extra money when a part must be redone or reworked, leading to unexpected project delays. It is essential to create clear technical drawings the first time around. Did you remember to include an isometric view if possible? Did you limit the number of hidden lines? Xometry lays out 14 tips that to help engineers create clear and professional manufacturing drawings. A solid review.
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NEW! Semi-automatic pin installation technology from SPIROL -- Better, faster fastening
SPIROL's new video showcases their updated Model PR and Model CR Semi-Automatic Installation Machines for Pins, Alignment Dowels, and Bushings. The video demonstrates how to operate the machine, details standard features, and optional quality and error-proofing enhancements. More than 80% of the components in this installation equipment are standard, pretested, production-proven, off-the-shelf parts. This translates into faster delivery, greater reliability, and lowest cost for equipment of comparable quality.
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Are fasteners over-torqued in your assemblies?
According to Mountz, if you currently use a click wrench for your bolting application, you should proceed cautiously because click wrenches are easily misused, which leads to over-torque events. Replacing a click-wrench with a Mountz FGC cam-over wrench helps prevent operator anomalies and over-torque occurrences, because a cam-over mechanism physically prevents the operator from over-torquing fasteners.
Tools for robotic metal weld grinding
There are many ways to automate grinding processes, but according to ATI Industrial Automation, "Compliance is the key to successful robotic grinding applications." Learn about the pneumatic compliance built into ATI's tools -- the CGV Compliant Angle Grinder and the PCFC Passive Compliant Force Control device -- that exerts a constant force and compensates for surface irregularities to ensure consistent results and facilitate easier robot programming.
How BMW Group uses ExOne binder jetting tech to make parts
3D-printer maker ExOne and BMW have worked together for more than two decades on additive manufacturing projects. This video showcases how the premium automaker uses ExOne binder jet sand 3D-printing technology to manufacture water jacket cores in serial production. Binder jetting is one of the fastest 3D-printing methods for producing high-quality and complex precision parts in high volume.
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NEW: Build parts together with Teamspace from Xometry
Xometry's Digital Manufacturing Marketplace has just launched Teamspace, a new product feature that makes it easy for you and your team to build big ideas together. Teamspace is a collaborative workspace within your Xometry account that gives you and members of your team quick and easy access to quotes, order placement, part status, tracking info, and more. Turbocharge the way you make custom parts using additive manufacturing, CNC machining, sheet and tube fabrication, plastics, metals, and more.
Clean in Place Latches save time and money
Spend less time and money on cleaning and cleaning media with two new standard parts from JW Winco. The new GN 1150 latches are designed to repel dirt and can be cleaned in place. The Hygienic Design latches support the machine and system cleaning concept known as clean in place, or CIP for short. Two versions available: front hygiene (FH) for applications such as switch cabinets that must comply with hygiene requirements only on the outside, and full hygiene (VH) with additional seals for HD quality, even on the latch arm side.
Flex Locators for quick changeover of small and large fixtures
Flex Locators from Fixtureworks are designed for quick changeover of small and large fixtures, automation components, and more. They are ideal for applications that require frequent disassembly, providing excellent repeatability for locating and clamping in a single operation. Manual and pneumatic versions are available. Just turn the handle, knob, or screw!
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Injection-molded heavy-duty plain bearings for high mechanical loads
igus has introduced a new two-component plain bearing for high mechanical loads called the iglide Q3E series. With this new, greaseless offering, igus has, for the first time, found a way to manufacture heavy-duty bearings made of two layers of high-performance plastic using the cost-effective injection molding process. Applications include the construction and agricultural machinery industries.
Lasers used to 'heat and beat' 3D-printed steel provide new benefits over traditional hardening techniques
Researchers have developed a new method for 3D printing metal that could help reduce costs and make more efficient use of resources.
The method, developed by a research team led by the University of Cambridge in the UK, allows structural modifications to be "programmed" into metal alloys during 3D printing, fine-tuning their properties without the "heating and beating" process that's been in use for thousands of years.
The new 3D-printing method combines the best qualities of both worlds: the complex shapes that 3D printing makes possible, and the ability to engineer the structure and properties of metals that traditional methods allow. The results are reported in the journal Nature Communications.
3D printing has several advantages over other manufacturing methods. For example, it's far easier to produce intricate shapes using 3D printing, and it uses far less material than traditional metal manufacturing methods, making it a more efficient process. However, it also has significant drawbacks.
"There's a lot of promise around 3D printing, but it's still not in wide use in industry, mostly because of high production costs," said Dr. Matteo Seita from Cambridge's Department of Engineering, who led the research. "One of the main drivers of these costs is the amount of tweaking that materials need after production."
Since the Bronze Age, metal parts have been made through a process of heating and beating. This approach, where the material is hardened with a hammer and softened by fire, allows the maker to form the metal into the desired shape and at the same time impart physical properties such as flexibility or strength.
"The reason why heating and beating is so effective is because it changes the internal structure of the material, allowing control over its properties," said Seita. "That's why it's still in use after thousands of years."
One of the major downsides of current 3D-printing techniques is an inability to control the internal structure in the same way, which is why so much post-production alteration is required. "We're trying to come up with ways to restore some of that structural engineering capability without the need for heating and beating, which would in turn help reduce costs," said Seita. "If you can control the properties you want in metals, you can leverage the greener aspects of 3D printing."
Working with colleagues in Singapore, Switzerland, Finland, and Australia, Seita developed a new recipe for 3D-printed metal that allows a high degree of control over the internal structure of the material as it is being melted by a laser.
By controlling the way the material solidifies after melting, and the amount of heat that is generated during the process, the researchers can program the properties of the end material. Normally, metals are designed to be strong and tough, so they are safe to use in structural applications. 3D-printed metals are inherently strong -- but also brittle.
This still shows laser powder bed fusion of a powder layer of stainless steel 316L in the custom-made machine "AddME Printer" at NTU in Singapore. [Credit: Jude E. Fronda]
The strategy the researchers developed gives full control over both strength and toughness by triggering a controlled reconfiguration of the microstructure when the 3D-printed metal part is placed in a furnace at relatively low temperature. Their method uses conventional laser-based 3D-printing technologies, but with a small tweak to the process.
"We found that the laser can be used as a 'microscopic hammer' to harden the metal during 3D printing," said Seita. "However, melting the metal a second time with the same laser relaxes the metal's structure, allowing the structural reconfiguration to take place when the part is placed in the furnace."
Their 3D-printed steel, which was designed theoretically and validated experimentally, was made with alternating regions of strong and tough material, making its performance comparable to steel that's been made through heating and beating.
"We think this method could help reduce the costs of metal 3D printing, which could in turn improve the sustainability of the metal manufacturing industry," said Seita. "In the near future, we also hope to be able to bypass the low-temperature treatment in the furnace, further reducing the number of steps required before using 3D-printed parts in engineering applications."
The team included researchers from Nanyang Technological University; the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); the Paul Scherrer Institute; VTT Technical Research Center of Finland; and the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organization. Matteo Seita is a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge.
Source: University of Cambridge
Published November 2023
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