Great Resources: Design guidelines for selecting/using stainless steels
This extensive guide from the Nickel Institute helps designers better understand the large family of corrosion-resistant stainless steels. It describes typical corrosion modes and how to select materials to minimize or prevent corrosion. Forty-seven figures help illustrate important characteristics of, and end-use applications for, 57 different stainless steel types, including chemical compositions, physical and mechanical properties, properties at elevated temperatures, and heat-transfer characteristics. Get your guide (no registration required).
Compressed Air: New website offers better ways to improve efficiency and safety
EXAIR.com® is the new digital home of Intelligent Compressed Air® products for industry. EXAIR’s new website has improved the product selection process by providing descriptions immediately from the homepage. An improved account management and ordering process streamlines access to historical orders, allows one-click repeat orders, and eases editing of your information. This website is fully responsive to provide a consistent experience whether using a PC, tablet, or smartphone. A comprehensive search functionality enables users to quickly locate model numbers and related information. Click here to check out EXAIR's new site.
SOLIDWORKS 2018 is here!
With SOLIDWORKS 2018, teams can collaborate concurrently to design a product or part more rapidly and cost efficiently, validate its function and manufacturability, manage its data and related processes, streamline and automate its manufacturing, and inspect it. Any changes in design or manufacturing are fast and easy to manage and automatically flow to all related models, programs, drawings, and documentation. A standout new feature is SOLIDWORKS CAM, which provides rules-based machining with knowledge capture for the automation of manufacturing programming. Plus, there are improvements to many of the SOLIDWORKS features you already use. Learn all about the SOLIDWORKS 2018 launch.
Industry First: One hose, three uses
Gates has launched a multi-purpose hose that serves the needs of three distinct markets: fuel transfer, hydraulic return and suction lines, and 20R5 coolant applications. The Multi Master SD MegaFlex line is the first of its kind to simultaneously meet SAE 100R4, SAE J30R5, and SAE J20R5 requirements. It has a 1:1 bend radius, an ARPM Class A tube, and is also MSHA compliant. It features a corrugated chloroprene cover and steel helix reinforcement. Offered in sizes from 3/4 to 6 in. Click here to learn more.
Designing for Moldability White Paper
Whether you’re new to the injection molding process or a veteran of manufacturing, Designing for Moldability offers an insightful guide to draft, radii, surface finish, materials and other thermoplastic molding considerations. It’s more than 20 rapid injection molding tips designed to help improve the moldability of your plastic parts. Download your free copy today!
Mike Likes: New 3D-printing materials from DuPont
Proven over decades of use, DuPont Hytrel thermoplastic elastomers and DuPont Zytel nylons offer high quality, reliability, and performance in various applications in a wide range of industries -- and now the materials are available as 3D-printing filaments. Hytrel is available in two different hardness levels (Hytrel 3D4000FL with a shore D of 40 and Hytrel 3D4100 with a shore D of 60) for customers to make flexible, functional parts that combine resiliency, heat, and chemical resistance with strength and durability. With Zytel 3D1000FL, customers will be able to make strong and stiff functional parts that have a high heat deflection temperature, low warpage, low sensitivity to moisture, and excellent surface aesthetics. Learn material specs on the DuPont site. Purchase exclusively on the Coex site.
Carbon composite bellows springs for lightweighting and more
The Carbon Composite Bellows Spring (CCBS) from MW Industries is a system of carbon fiber elements that combine to work as a high-performance, lightweight, and design-flexible compression spring meant to replace conventional coil springs or metallic Belleville disc springs. It offers value through unique dynamic characteristics and unparalleled in-the-field design flexibility. A functional spring is made from several individual elements, paired in sets and joined to make a stack. The spring rate of the stack is determined by the number of elements, the base rate of each element, and their series or parallel orientation in the stack. Applications include motorsports, aerospace, outdoor recreation, general industry, and high-performance activities. Click here to learn more.
Mike Likes: Designing with Wave Springs eBook
We know how critical it is to specify the right spring for your design. With tens of thousands of wave springs designed, and counting, Smalley has tackled design challenges in nearly every industry. Their eBook, "Designing with Wave Springs," helps you find the right spring for your application and details how Smalley engineers offer space-saving solutions. Get this valuable resource.
How to replace metal with thermoplastics
Have you ever considered replacing your metal parts with plastic parts? It could be a viable option -- especially when it comes to the flexibility of manufacture, faster production cycle times, and the cost effectiveness of replacing metal parts with plastic parts. SolidWorks' Jeff Osman details general best practices to keep in mind regarding both design and manufacturability
Osman has more than 23 years of experience in the mechanical CAD industry. Read this informative blog.
Compressed Air: Aluminum SmartPipe+ is clever solution
SmartPipe+ is now available from Kaeser Compressors. This versatile, modular, no-rust aluminum piping system features lightweight materials and simple, compression-style connections. Available in multiple sizes from 3/4 in. to 2-1/2 in., SmartPipe+ is ideal for headers and branch lines all the way down to the point of use. It has a low coefficient of friction and provides the best possible laminar flow. The full-bore fittings minimize pressure drop, while the leak-free connectors prevent costly compressed air loss. SmartPipe+ can easily be integrated into existing steel, copper, or aluminum systems and can be modified to accommodate changing needs. Ten-year warranty. Click here to learn more.
Electromagnetic actuated clutches
Miki Pulley’s CS Electro-magnetic Actuated Clutches are durable, versatile, and have excellent torque-transmission features to provide an efficient connection between a motor and a load. Benefits include low inertia, minimal drag, and very quiet operation. They function utilizing the magnetic force generated by the energized coil, providing engagement of input and output members of the clutch. Available with three different armatures, they feature an integrated bearing design that makes mounting fast and easy while ensuring application concentricity and excellent system runout. Available in bores ranging from 10 mm to 15 mm, with brake torques ranging from 3.687 ft-lb to 236.02 ft-lb (5 Nm to 320 Nm). Click here to learn more.
Mike Likes: New innovative way to take up tolerances!
Smalley Linear Springs are a continuous wave-formed (marcelled) wire length produced from spring-tempered materials. They act as a load-bearing device, having approximately the same load/deflection characteristics as a wave spring. Linear Springs are now available as a standard part in carbon and stainless steel, with over 200 sizes. Click here to learn more.
Top 15 acme/lead screw questions answered
Acme lead screws convert rotary motion into linear motion by turning either the screw or the nut. Lead screws and nuts are highly customizable. But do lead screws and nuts need to be lubricated?
And how do you decide which Acme screw product to use? Christopher Nook, CEO, Helix Linear Technologies, answers the most often asked questions for these versatile and vital mechanical components. Read the blog post.
3D positioning system locks devices in space
A new 3D positioning system that simplifies the setup of cameras and other devices for research, laboratory, process, and packaging applications has been introduced by Stafford Manufacturing Corp. The system consists of a rugged group of mounting components, including a base that can securely attach to any flat surface, stepped and straight-through couplings, and precision shafting that can be easily adjusted and locked. Featuring a ball-end shaft and clamp-mount accessory with an infinitely adjustable range of motion, this system lets users move, tilt, and swivel to position and lock devices in space. Click here to learn more.
Smith Metals Products adds Titanium Metal Injection Molding capabilities
Smith Metals Products has added Titanium Metal Injection Molding (TiMIM) capabilities to its MIM portfolio of materials that include stainless steels, alloys, and ceramics. TiMIM involves mixing powdered Titanium metal with a binder material to compose a feedstock capable of being handled by injection molding equipment. Metal injection molding allows complex Titanium parts to be shaped with precision in a single operation and in high volume as compared to traditional Titanium machined metal components. Adding TiMIM capabilities opens a new, wider range of component applications for Smith Metal Products, where strength-to-weight ratio parts are desired. It is often accomplished with superior features using Titanium compared to other strong (but much heavier) metals like steels. Click here to learn more.
Hair trigger: Air Force designing flying systems that mimic insect biology
Researchers at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, have developed a novel, lightweight artificial hair sensor that mimics those used by natural fliers -- like in bats and crickets -- by using carbon nanotube forests grown inside glass fiber capillaries. The hairs are sensitive to air flow changes during flight, enabling quick analysis and response by agile fliers. [Air Force photo]
By Marisa Alia-Novobilski, Air Force Research Laboratory
Nature has inspired scientific and engineering innovations for hundreds of years. An apple falling from a tree inspired Isaac Newton to define the laws of gravity. The burdock burrs clinging to the skin of his hunting dog lead to Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral's invention of Velcro. The ability of the kingfisher to slice through water to catch prey inspired the redesign of the high-speed Japanese Bullet Train, enabling it to exit tunnels quietly at a speed 10 percent faster than predecessors.
For scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory, it is the hairs on bats and crickets that inspired the creation of artificial hair sensors, destined to change the course of agile flight.
"Ever notice how a cricket might stop chirping when you walk into a room? It's because it detects a big air disturbance and does not know if you are a friend or a foe," said Dr. Jeff Baur, a principal engineer in the Structural Materials Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. "Nature has given bats and crickets these fine hairs that they use to sense changes in their environment. We hypothesized that if we could engineer similar hairs at the surface of an aircraft, we could enable an agile flight system that can detect air changes and 'fly by feel.'"
[U.S. Air Force video]
Thus, a multi-directorate Artificial Hair Sensor team funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research was started to develop an innovative, adaptive, multifunctional structure for Air Force systems. Beginning in the lab as a "proof of concept" experiment, the artificial hair sensors have gained international interest, with aerospace companies and researchers eager to integrate these into their wind-tunnel models and flying systems.
Moreover, the research has also resulted in three patent applications based on the research activity -- a highlight for scientific research in any field.
Fly by feel
"We're providing new insights and non-traditional outlets for long-term (AFRL) research. The project has moved to the point where we are making these sensors, evaluating them in the wind tunnel within AFRL, and distributing them to collaborators across the globe to try them out in different concepts. It's exciting," said Baur.
For the Air Force, the need to understand ambient air data and its effects on aircraft performance, navigation, and more has become more critical as flying machines are now lighter and operate in diverse environments. The need for "fly-by-feel" systems, where aerial systems have distributed smart sensors to assess the external environment and change maneuvers during the course of flight, is increasingly important as agile fliers join the fleet.
Conventional aerial systems typically draw data from bulky "bolted-on" sensors, resulting in single-point measurements with delayed sensing. The Artificial Hair Sensor team created a novel, lightweight artificial hair sensor that mimics those used by natural fliers -- like in bats and crickets -- using carbon nanotube forests grown inside glass fiber capillaries. The hairs are sensitive to air flow changes during flight, enabling quick response by fliers.
Carbon nanotubes, revered by material scientists for having a high strength-to-weight ratio as well as their ability to conduct electrically, form the basis for these hair sensors and are grown inside of a glass capillary with electrodes on each end. With a diameter of less than one-tenth of a human hair, the sensors work when air flows over the fiber, compressing the carbon nanotube and causing a change in the resistance between the electrodes. This information is analyzed by a "brain-like" neural network, in which an algorithm is able to process and dictate a response.
"These can help to better understand aerodynamics or wind gusts in an urban environment, for example. Imagine my agile aircraft is turning the corner of a building -- the wind may change. If I have a system that can detect a gust is coming, I can adjust immediately to stay on course," said Dr. Greg Reich, a team member from the Aerospace Systems Directorate.
Though a large portion of development and bench-level lab testing of the sensors took place at AFRL, the team took advantage of pressure wave tubes developed at the Munitions Directorate by Dr. Ben Dickinson and wind tunnels within the Aerospace Systems Directorate to validate the sensor durability and sensitivity to speed.
"By changing the diameter of the capillary, we are able to detect different wind speeds and have shown success at up to 100 miles per hour," said Baur. "We are still in the process of evaluating durability, but already we have tested the same sensor for more than 316 hours. This shows great promise."
Another potential application for the artificial hair sensors, according to Baur, is in bonded composites. By applying the sensors across bonded material, researchers can internally detect what is going on inside of a bond, which may allow them to detect a break before it happens.
Ultimately, the artificial hair sensors are just one way the scientists and researchers at AFRL continue to advance technology and the state-of-the-art for Air Force systems now and the future.
"We're just working to understand how nature does things and taking advantage of this understanding and knowledge for the Air Force," said Baur.