Nature is full of amazing materials. Wood and bone, for example, are natural composites with finely-tuned microstructures. They have optimized fiber alignment for enhanced strength. At Fortify — an additive manufacturing startup — we wondered if harnessing the power of natural composites in 3-D printing could help us to create high-performance end-use parts.
Our observations of the natural world led to the development of our fluxprint technology, which utilizes magnetic fields in a 3-D printer to align carbon fibers throughout a printed composite part. This process results in high-performance components with high-geometric complexity and incredible strength-to-weight ratios. Continue reading
If you’re not familiar with topological or topology optimization, a simple description is that we are using the physics of the problem combined with the finite element computational method to decide what the optimal shape is for a given design space and set of loads and constraints. Typically our goal is to maximize stiffness while reducing weight. We may also be trying to keep maximum stress below a certain value. Frequencies can come into play as well by linking a modal analysis to a topology optimization.
Why is topology optimization important? First, it produces shapes which may be more optimal than we could determine by engineering intuition coupled with trial and error. Second, with the rise of additive manufacturing, it is now much easier and more practical to produce the often complex and organic looking shapes which come out of a topological optimization. Continue reading
What is reverse engineering and why do I need it?
Reverse engineering has been an industry buzzword for some time and it has come to mean several things. The traditional picture it conjures is of several engineers gathered around a physical part, taking various physical measurements in an attempt to fully understand its shape and form. Their end goal is to re-create the part through any one of several manufacturing methods, where the manufactured part is nearly identical to the original.
Years ago, vocational training centered on teaching students to manually operate machines for shops or factory applications. Today, apprentices at training centers like the Remscheid Vocational Training Center in Germany learn complete processes for successful production — from CAD via CAM to machining (CNC) to finished component. To prepare apprentices for successful careers in the mechanical and electrical industries, the vocational center requires them to learn a number of software programs. For the past five years, ANSYS SpaceClaim has been their CAD software of choice. Continue reading
Drones have been in the news a lot recently. The near miss between a commercial flight and an unidentified drone in Florida has been broadcast around the world and has opened lots of questions about how the issue of drones in civilian airspace will be handled as the number of drones increases exponentially. This has spawned discussion regarding the safety of aircraft in the event of a collision with a drone. What is for certain is that the FAA have got their work cut out to ensure the safe management of the exponential growth of the drone phenomenon. Continue reading