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December 16, 2014Volume 10 Issue 47


Image - 2015 COOL PARTS CALENDAR
2015 COOL PARTS CALENDAR
Designed by designers and engineered for engineers, our annual Cool Parts Calendar features the visions of product developers across the nation and around the world. It features holidays, industry tradeshow dates, and (of course) those elusive days of the week.

Request your free calendar today.


In this issue of Designfax

  • Tiny rotary engine concept is 4-lb powerhouse
  • Designing a new kind of tattoo machine
  • Conductive clay shapes energy storage
  • Wings: Bell Helicopter 3D prints end-use helicopter parts
  • Mike Likes: Strongest injection-moldable thermoplastics
  • Engineer's Toolbox: Computers of the future
  • Holiday giving: A new eBook just for you
  • Product: Mini voice coil actuator packs a punch
  • Mystery Box: Add some geeky spice to your life
  • Tools: 'App store' for Universal Robots
  • Product: Armored solar panels
  • Videos+: Technologies and inspiration in action
    • Navy shipboard laser zaps targets in Persian Gulf
    • World's largest 3D-printed wrench
  • Most Popular Last Issue
    • Wings: NASA tests shape-changing aircraft flap
    • Blu-ray improves solar cell performance
    • Michelin opens plant to build airless radial tires
  • New Products
    • Electrical, Mechanical, Motion
    Cover Image: The X Mini engine prototype by Liquid Piston [Courtesy: Liquid Piston]

News

IDC reveals Top 10 worldwide manufacturing predictions for 2015

New Mazda MX-5 to feature bio-based engineering plastic that doesn't need paint, even when used in exterior

DARPA's 'FedEx to GEO' project to make sending payloads to space faster, easier

Be better in 2015: 13 negotiating techniques taught at the Wharton School of business



Feature articles

Image - Tiny inverse-Wankel rotary engine concept is 4-lb powerhouse
Tiny inverse-Wankel rotary engine concept is 4-lb powerhouse
Noise, excessive vibration, and relative inefficiency are drawbacks of the piston-based internal combustion engines (ICEs) that power today's lawn and garden equipment, such as leaf blowers and lawn trimmers. But now MIT startup LiquidPiston has developed a 4-lb rotary concept that it says is significantly smaller, lighter, and quieter, as well as 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the ICEs used in many such small-engine devices.
Read the full article.

Image - How to design a new kind of soft-touch tattoo machine
How to design a new kind of soft-touch tattoo machine
Initially inspired by components he got from Radio Shack, Mike Snijders designed a game-changing tattoo machine that marries the nuanced performance of the dual-coil design with the ease of use, minimal maintenance, and long lifetime of DC motors.
Read the full article.

Image - Conductive clay aims to shape the future of energy storage
Conductive clay aims to shape the future of energy storage
In the race to find materials of ever-increasing thinness, surface area, and conductivity to make better performing battery electrodes, a lump of clay may have just taken the lead. Materials scientists from Drexel University's College of Engineering invented the clay, which exhibits conductivity on par with that of metals and can easily be molded into a variety of shapes for easy processing.
Read the full article.

Image - Wings: <br>Making production-grade, flight-certified hardware with industrial 3D printing
Wings:
Making production-grade, flight-certified hardware with industrial 3D printing

Selection of a dual laser-sintering machine for manufacturing nylon aircraft parts was a deliberate choice for Bell Helicopter and Harvest Technologies. It came about as a result of careful study and testing, focusing on intertwined technical and financial benefits that made good business sense. Learn how flight-certified end-use parts are "grown" from plastic and nylon powders.
Read the full article.

Image - Mike Likes: <br>Strongest injection-moldable thermoplastics
Mike Likes:
Strongest injection-moldable thermoplastics

The new Kyron MAX series from Piper Plastics bridges the performance gap between components produced via standard injection-molding compounds and pre-preg lay-up composite materials. These materials aim to change the way design engineers think of plastic materials significantly. The unique combination of a proprietary high-pressure molding technology, coupled with a state-of-the-art material technology, is used to produce the highest strength structural components made from thermoplastics today. These new materials offer mechanical properties which meet, and in some cases exceed, those of metals.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Engineer's Toolbox: <br>It's a power struggle -- Sandia engineers push to innovate computers of the future
Engineer's Toolbox:
It's a power struggle -- Sandia engineers push to innovate computers of the future

Computing experts at Sandia National Laboratories have launched an effort to help discover what computers of the future might look like, from next-generation supercomputers to systems that learn on their own -- new machines that do more while using less energy.
Read the full article.

Image - Holiday giving: A new eBook just for you
Holiday giving: A new eBook just for you
Download this free eBook from igus! Learn tips and tricks for designing with cable carriers with this brand new eBook. Learn the basics of cable carriers, discover the differences between plastic and steel cable carriers, and learn about green automation and cable distribution rules. No registration required.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Product: Mini voice coil actuator packs a punch
Product: Mini voice coil actuator packs a punch
The small, yet powerful model LAH04-10-000A Linear Voice Coil Actuator (VCA) from BEI Kimco Magnetics delivers a peak force of nearly 0.5 lb and measures just 0.375 in. OD. With a total weight of 0.37 oz, the moving-magnet design produces over 20 times its own weight in terms of force with an operating stroke of 4 mm (0.157 in.). No moving wires and a high heat dissipation make this VCA particularly well-suited for high-duty cycle applications such as pick-and-place machines, remotely controlled switching, medical and laboratory equipment, military and aerospace.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Mystery Box: Add some geeky spice to your life
Mystery Box: Add some geeky spice to your life
New startup Geek Fuel aims to bring a little surprise and inspiration to your existence, monthly if you prefer, with a grab-box subscription service full of science fiction, fantasy, and video game-inspired goodies. Choose a 1-, 3-, 6-, or 12-month plan. Multi-box programs keep the mysteries coming. December's box included Star Wars Pez, Geek Fuel t-shirt, Halo micro action figure, stickers, playing cards, and more. Reward your inner geek -- or that special little geek in your life -- for being a creative thinker and doer.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Tools: Universal Robot launches URCaps 'app store' for UR robots
Tools: Universal Robot launches URCaps 'app store' for UR robots
With URCaps, Universal Robots has created the equivalent of an app store for its lightweight, easily teachable, and highly competent robots. URCaps is a platform where distributors and integrators can present accessories that run successfully in UR robot applications to end users. The online platform features useful accessories, hardware, and software extending the capabilities (or "caps") of the robot arms developed by the Danish robot manufacturer. The first 43 caps, a combination of workbenches, vision solutions, cables, jaws, and grippers, are already featured on the platform and have been through thorough trials and integration testing.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Product: Armored solar panels
Product: Armored solar panels
A new solar panel system for defense forces provides ballistic protection and is lighter and more portable than systems currently available. The PowerArmor unit from IDG Europe has low-reflectance solar panels protected by an anti-ballistic surface made in an exceptionally strong unidirectional fiber-reinforced composite. The composite is based on an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber (UHMWPE) produced by DSM Dyneema and branded as "Dyneema, the world's strongest fiber." It replaces the aluminum normally used for portable solar panels, which provides no ballistic protection. IDG says this is the first time that solar panels have been given such a high level of ballistic protection. Panels made in Dyneema also weigh around 20 percent less than aluminum panels of the same thickness.
Click here to learn more.

Most popular last issue

Image - Wings:<br> NASA tests shape-changing aircraft flap for first time
Wings:
NASA tests shape-changing aircraft flap for first time

This past summer, NASA, Air Force, and small-business researchers replaced an airplane's conventional aluminum flaps with advanced, shape-changing assemblies that form seamless bendable and twistable surfaces. Flight testing has begun to determine whether flexible trailing-edge wing flaps are a viable approach to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce noise generated during takeoffs and landings.
Read the full article.

Image - How a Blu-ray disc can improve solar cell performance
How a Blu-ray disc can improve solar cell performance
Who knew Blu-ray discs were so useful? Already one of the best ways to store high-definition movies and television shows because of their high-density data storage, Blu-ray discs also improve the performance of solar cells -- suggesting a second use for unwanted discs (as solar cell templates) -- according to new research from Northwestern University.
Read the full article.

Image - It's TWEELy happening: Michelin opens world's first manufacturing plant to build airless radial tires
It's TWEELy happening: Michelin opens world's first manufacturing plant to build airless radial tires
On November 20, 2014, Michelin marked the opening of its newest plant in North America. The Greenville, SC, facility will produce the innovative MICHELIN X TWEEL Airless Radial Tire for commercial applications. The TWEEL comprises a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit.
Read the full article.

Videos+: Technologies and inspiration in action
Navy shipboard laser zaps targets in Persian Gulf
Officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced December 10 that the laser weapon system (LaWS) -- a cutting-edge weapon that brings significant new capabilities to America's Sailors and Marines -- was successfully deployed and operated for the first time aboard a naval vessel in the Persian Gulf. Sailors aboard the USS Ponce worked daily with LaWS over several months and reported the weapon performed flawlessly, including in adverse weather conditions of high winds, heat, and humidity. After a lot of moving-target practice, they noted the system exceeded expectations for both reliability and maintainability. The Navy has said in previous briefings on the technology that energy costs are about $1 a shot to fire.
View the video.

Video Image
World's largest 3D-printed wrench
Looking to fabricate your own 1:1-scale, really large prototype parts? Stratasys has you covered. Unveiled at Euromold a couple years ago, the company's Objet1000 system features a climb-aboard-size build tray (39.3 in. x 31.4 in. x 19.6 in.) and is able to print up to 14 different material properties within a single model. Wow. Fourteen in one model! It can also handle big jobs that you could only dream about in the past, like the world's largest 3D-printed wrench, which Objet's Sam Green says took a few days to print.
View the video.

Video Image

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