“There is no growth in the comfort zone.”
– Jocko Willink
1. HP Tries Their Hand at EOAT
“As the use of robotics in production is increasing, we are seeing tremendous growth in the use of 3D printing for customized parts for end-of-arm tooling … There can also be a benefit in converting machined parts. CNC Würfel, an automation specialist, used to CNC machine a gripper adapter that allowed one robot arm to support 3 different grippers. This part was so complex, though, that it took about 8 weeks to make. Since complexity has no impact on production speed for MJF, they were able to easily convert this part over and achieve a 2 day lead time plus 66% in cost savings.”
2. Skunk Works Employing Robots to Keep Their Secrets
Robots can work quickly under the cover of darkness, and of course don’t come equipped with loose lips. Go ahead and add “no costly security clearance required” as a pro to implementing automation. “Skunk Works has already used these robots and demonstrated some of their advanced capabilities on the X-59A Quiet Supersonic Transport testbed, or QueSST. This experimental aircraft is under development for NASA as part of a project to explore ways to mitigate the shockwave and associated noise from sonic booms … In addition to simply being able to quickly and accurately drill and fasten structures for advanced aircraft, the robots are capable of being programmed to perform this work autonomously, with a human operator present mainly to provide an additional margin of safety. The robots are mobile, which means they can go to where the work is, rather than the other way around.”
3. Restoring Custom Coachbuilding with Additive
“Coachbuilding” really isn’t a thing anymore. Sure, the Italian design houses like Pininfarina, Zagato, Gruppo Bertone, and Italdesign Giugiaro are still around under contract with the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari, and soda fountains, but I’m talking about real, old-school coachbuilders like Duesenberg. Duesenberg had different “models” but each car they made was an entirely bespoke, one-off build for that customer. Otherwise, the models were just different chassises with a small selection of engines to choose from, if applicable. Similar to modern airliners! Well, this car here is kind of like that… but not really. Looking at the spec sheet, the Radford Type 62 2 is quite possibly JUST a Lotus Evora GT playing dress-up with 500 pieces of additive accoutrements made with Stratasys. I say “just” an Evora because the Evora JUST so happens to be a car that dreams are made of, and this Type 62 2 fits that description well.
4. Advanced Manufacturing Breaks Lap Record
Look at this silly quick lap of the Czinger 21C carving around Laguna Seca. I’ll wait… You just watched possibly the greatest American car lap possibly the greatest American racetrack. This car, nay, track WEAPON is produced in a state of the art facility implementing only the most advanced of manufacturing technologies. “Uh, but Steve, isn’t that like the same as a Formula 1 car or Le Mans Prototype? Because they can lap Laguna Seca almost ten seconds fa…” Shhh! A lap time on par with current GT3 class racecars is plenty fast, especially for a street-legal car that YOU can actually own (assuming your pockets are deep enough)!
5. The Best 3D Scanner That’s Already in Your Pocket
“Originally used for military purposes and satellite tracking, LiDAR sensors have been rolling out in select handheld devices over the last few years. Starting with the iPad Pro, and now included in the iPhone 12 Pro as well, the benefits of LiDAR are numerous for augmented reality applications and camera-related functions as well.” But can it export in .stp, .stl, etc? It wouldn’t solve the whole part about CAM and turning your scan into an executable program, but this is still a cool tool!
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