In February this yr it’s possible you’ll bear in mind an article detailing a composite 3D printer patent granted to American international protection firm Northrop Grumman. Now it has a emerged that one other crew from the military-friendly firm has been engaged on a 3D printable composite materials.
As detailed by the summary this latest patent, dated 19 February, 2019, the invention pertains to, “A system and technique for producing a uniform steady fiber filament.” The tactic consists of the usage of magnets to feed the fiber creating “uniform steady fiber filament.”
“An isometric view of a steady fiber tow being fed right into a polymer tube utilizing a radial and axial magnet” Picture by way of US10207426B2
The curiosity in composite 3D printing
With the distinctive properties that composite supplies present it’s not laborious to think about why Northrop Grumman can be investing in its growth. In some instances, fiber-reinforced supplies exhibit a energy corresponding to metals, however they’re a fraction of the burden, and the associated fee.
One main composite 3D printer producer is Markforged. For 2 years in a row its staple Mark Two 3D printer, which is able to processing carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar strengthened supplies, has taken dwelling the Enterprise 3D Printer of the Yr (Polymers) award. Different notable names on this subject embody Unimaginable Objects, which raised $6.four million in Collection A funding a few years in the past, and Fortify, the Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) startup that just lately raised $2.5 million in seed funding.
Additional establishing the clear worth positioned in composite supplies by engineers and the 3D printing business normally, final yr main OEM Stratasys launched its Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Version (CFE).
Invention of a brand new materials
The patent “Steady fiber filament for fused deposition modeling (FDM) additive manufactured (AM) buildings“(US10207426B2) was initially filed by Northrop Grumman Methods Corp in October 2015. It was then printed in April 2017, earlier than lastly being granted in February 2019.
The inventors credited on the patent are Daniel J. Braley, Anthony M. Tamayo and Eric G. Barnes. Braley was a Senior Manufacturing Expertise Improvement Engineer and Program Supervisor at Northrop Grumman the time the patent was filed, and Tamayo a Mechanical Engineer. Each have since moved on to roles at worldwide aerospace firm Boeing, with Braley now Additive Manufacturing Technical Focal for the corporate in St. Louis. Barnes then again has labored for Northrop for nearly three a long time. Since October 2013, Barnes has been the corporate’s Additive Manufacturing Fellow, inside the Aerospace System Sector. As a part of this position, Barnes is answerable for integrating additive manufacturing all through the corporate’s manufacturing processes.
The Northrop Grumman course of for producing 3D printable composite filaments. Picture by way of US10207426
Overcoming the challenges of different materials manufacturing
Aiming to harness the superior energy of steady carbon fiber supplies (versus these containing chopped fibers) the Northrop Grumman patent describes a type of sheathing course of for producing composite supplies. Within the technique, the fiber is hooked up to a magnetic tow. A second hole tube, composed of chosen polymer, can also be hooked up to a magnet that runs round its circumference. Harnessing the forces between these two magnets, the tactic ensures that the fiber content material is steady, and uniformly fed via the polymer tube, to create a size of filament.
With this mehtod the crew overcomes a number of the challenges related to different strategies of filament fabircation. As defined within the dialogue “Recognized strategies to create a steady fiber filament that features a fiber tow with a resin thereon consists of operating the fiber tow via a shower of the molten resin and permitting the resin to harden across the fiber […] Sometimes these programs and processes are time – consuming and costly. As well as , the method is troublesome to regulate and there is an absence of uniformity within the resin that hardens across the fiber.”
“Thus, these is a necessity within the artwork for a dependable technique to create uniform steady fiber filaments which can be appropriate for FDM AM buildings.”
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Featured picture exhibits a cross part of the system used to make the composite filament. Picture by way of US10207426B2
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