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Technology MIT fires a rocket motor made using 3D-printed plastic

15:00  30 april  2017
15:00  30 april  2017 Source:   engadget.com

USC's student-built rocket soars to record altitude

  USC's student-built rocket soars to record altitude A student-built rocket soared to an altitude of 144,000 feet. The Fathom II rocket was designed and manufactured by students at the University of Southern California Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL). Fathom II blasted off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, going as fast as four times the speed of sound, according to a statement from USC. The university captured the record-breaking launch on video, including footage from a camera onboard the rocket during the flight.

If you're going to 3 D - print rocket parts, you'd want to make them out of metal to handle the stress, right? Not necessarily. MIT has successfully test- fired what it believes is the first completely 3 D - printed rocket motor to be made with plastic casing.

When it comes to heat, plastic is usually a pretty bad idea, which is why it has been advised not to use plastic together with hot things, like However the folks at MIT have done just that (via Engadget) when they decided to cobble together a rocket motor that has been made out of 3 D printed plastic

  MIT fires a rocket motor made using 3D-printed plastic © Provided by Engadget If you're going to 3D-print rocket parts, you'd want to make them out of metal to handle the stress, right? Not necessarily. MIT has successfully test-fired what it believes is the first completely 3D-printed rocket motor to be made with plastic casing. That's right -- an all too easily melted material was sitting a virtual hair's breadth away from super-hot propellant. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but apparently it worked well -- it generated real thrust, and there was only a small amount of damage to the motor's throat after the initial run. A second test didn't fare so well (it would be useless for moving anything), but MIT hadn't intended for the motor to fire more than once.

The Latest: University of Idaho blast critically injures 1

  The Latest: University of Idaho blast critically injures 1 The Latest on University of Idaho explosion (all times local):6:40 a.m.University of Idaho officials say one person is in critical condition and three others are in stable condition following an explosion in a parking lot where people had gathered to test an experimental rocket. Vice President for Infrastructure Daniel Ewart says the explosion happened just before 10 p.m. Thursday outside the school's steam plant.Northwest Organization of Rocket Engineers member and student Grant Thurman says the club tried testing rocket fuel but when one of the club's co-presidents ignited the fuel, it exploded.

If you're going to 3 D - print rocket parts, you'd want to make them out of metal to handle the stress, right? Not necessarily. MIT has successfully test- fired what it believes is the first completely 3 D - printed rocket motor to be made with plastic casi…

Our motor is the first to be made on an accessible, high strength 3 D printer : the Markforged Mark We used Markforged’s Eiger slicer to lay out the infill and set up the fiber routing required for our The assembly of the plastic rocket is quick and easy: apply grease, slide in place, screw on the end cap

This wasn't just a because-we-can experiment. Metal 3D printing is expensive (the printers alone cost hundreds of thousands of dollars). MIT's printer, a Markforged Mark Two, costs "just" $13,499. That's not exactly an impulse purchase, but it could give small teams a chance at building rockets that would otherwise be impossible with a relatively modest budget. And while it's not stated, it's easy to see larger space agencies using this to keep costs down, especially for rockets that are unlikely to be used more than once or for long durations.

There's a lot to accomplish before that happens. The scientists are researching larger, more resilient motors. Eventually, they're aiming for plastic-hulled rockets powerful enough for flight. Don't be surprised if you one day see lighter, cheaper rockets that only use metal sparingly.

MIT Rocket Team

GE is working on a massive 3D printer for jet engine parts .
The company reveals plans for the 'world's largest' 3D printer that uses metal powders.GE Additive is a new business under the larger GE umbrella. It is developing what it calls "the world's largest laser-powered 3D printer" to create parts that fit within one cubic meter cubic of space. "The machine will 3D print aviation parts suitable for making jet engine structural components and parts for single-aisle aircraft," said GE Additive's Mohammad Ehteshami in a statement. "It will also be applicable for manufacturers in the automotive, power, and oil and gas industries.

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