Free Essay

3d Printer Bridge

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By john12walk
Words 971
Pages 4
How Robots Are Building a 3D-Printed Metal Bridge in Amsterdam 1) Title Slide 2) Article Information 3) Key Terms and Vocabulary * MX3D – is a company that researches and develops robotic 3D print technology. * Selective Laser Melting (SLM) - is a manufacturing process that uses 3D CAD data as a digital information source and energy in the form of a high-power laser beam, to create three-dimensional metal parts by fusing fine metal powders together. * Welding - is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing fusion, which is distinct from lower temperature metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering, which do not melt the base metal. * Autodesk - is the California-based software company behind AutoCAD, a computer-aided design software that helps architects and engineers model real-world objects in the digital sphere.

4) What is this 3D Printed Metal Bridge?
The 3D printer bridge, which is on track to be completed by 2017, is one of MX3D creations. The bridge will be constructed entirely by robots that can "print" complex steel objects in midair. The bots are like mechanical, welders that melt together layer upon layer of steel to form a solid object.

It's the first time that Tim Geurtjens (The Co-founder and chief of MX3D) and his colleagues are designing and building a bridge using this printing technology. Until now, the company was mainly using its robots to build free-form sculptures and giant pieces of furniture. This is a great way to show that its version of 3D printing is extremely useful for making all kinds of things in the real world.

To build the bridge, the bots will move along a specially designed track, printing a section of the bridge and then rolling along the track over that new section to print the next section. Because the streets of Amsterdam are so narrow and crowded with pedestrians, the actual printing of the bridge won't take place in the city. Instead, MX3D is building the bridge inside a giant warehouse.

5) Issues Caused by the 3D Printer * There are many issues that these printers cause. 3D printers are potentially hazardous, wasteful machines, and their societal, political, economic, and environmental impacts have not yet been studied extensively. * 3D printers have many negative effects. * Why put so much effort into relying on a 3D printer to build an ordinary bridge that can simply be made by man. * 3D printers are energy hogs. When melting plastic with heat or lasers, 3D printers consume about 50 to 100 times more electrical energy than injection molding to make an item of the same weight. * Unhealthy air emissions. 3D printers may pose a health risk when used in the home. The emissions from desktop 3D printers are similar to burning a cigarette or cooking on a gas or electric stove. Few gas particles can settle in the lungs or the bloodstream and pose health risk, especially for those with asthma. * Reliance on materials. One of the biggest environmental movements in recent history has been to reduce reliance on plastics, from grocery bags to water bottles to household objects that can be made from recycled materials instead. The most popular and cheapest 3D printers use plastic filament.

6) 3 Insights/Main Points * The huge printing robots can't build enormous structures (they can only print as far as their arms can extend), but they can create objects that are significantly bigger than those created using other 3D printing methods for metals, like selective laser melting, or SLM. SLM is a 3D printing process first developed in the 1990s. It involves using a laser to melt tiny particles of metal (such as aluminum or titanium) onto a metal base. * Traditional welding (the kind in which actual humans use handheld torches to fasten together pieces of steel) is another affordable option for bridge-building, but it's also a much slower process than the one carried out by MX3D's bots. The robots will get the job done anywhere between 10 and 1,000 times faster than traditional metal welders. * That's not to say that iron-working robots are going to "take over the industry," said Geurtjens. However, the robots can do the dangerous and dirty parts of a job — the things humans can't (or at least shouldn't) be doing. And that's what makes the company's technology "a big deal," this is because it makes the company richer as it pays less employers, and has to deal with any injuries. 7) Discussion Questions 8) Course Connections * This article does relate to business, and what we learned in class. 3D printing can be used as a marketing tactic. Such as in the real world right now Audi (the car brand) looks to put 3D printed metal end parts into their cars. Their main objective of using metal 3D printed parts within actual automobile production has suddenly become an arm’s reach away from becoming a reality.

* EFFECTS ON CANADAINS: This article does not relate to any ordinary Canadian at the moment. In the future I am positive we will see a growth to 3D printing. I believe 3D printing will take over many manufacturing jobs we see today. This is a bad sign for the employers but instead it will be more efficient.

9) Conclusion * I hope that 3D printers will have a positive impact in the future, as it will replace humans, and take less time for jobs. This will reduce human accidents and injuries. In the future, you might see torch-carrying robot arms building bridges for cars or trains, or even more advanced places. The bots could also be useful at sea, to fix offshore oil rigs, or in space, to repair broken satellites. But for now, Amsterdam is the only place you can see the mechanical welders in action.

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