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February 09, 2016Volume 12 Issue 06


Image - Completely Updated New Full Line Catalog: <br>Full of New Fasteners
Completely Updated New Full Line Catalog:
Full of New Fasteners

Micro Plastics introduces its new 300-page catalog #40 containing thousands of fastening solutions for engineers and product designers. Find hundreds of new problem-solving products, including Spacers, Washers, Clips, Clamps, Ties, Bushings, Screws, Nuts, Rivets, and Plugs. Micro Plastics specializes in Nylon threaded fasteners, but the company also offers extensive product lines for wire management and circuit board hardware. FREE samples are available upon request.

Click here for more information.


In this issue of Designfax

  • Supersize wind blades are 650 ft long
  • Collaborative robots on wheels come to manufacturing
  • Concrete with built-in de-icing
  • Wheels: Super-slim film heater for electric cars
  • Cool Tools: Wireless comes to laser alignment
  • Engineer's Toolbox: Piezo motor technology basics
  • Springs: Lite Compression provides more options
  • Plastics: Laser clear-to-clear plastic welding
  • Machine Building: Tiny drives show their muscle
  • Motors: AutoTune for motors
  • Videos+: Technologies and inspiration in action
    • Clever engineering hides one image inside another
    • Show and Tell: Making a 3D-printed Lightsaber
  • Most Popular Last Issue
    • Can incandescent bulbs make a comeback?
    • Engineer's Toolbox: New alloy is amazingly tough
    • Navy micro-UAV named POPULAR SCIENCE best
  • New Products
    • Electrical, Mechanical, Motion
    Cover Image: Sandia engineers push limits with 200-m wind-blade designs

News

Nano-coating makes coaxial cables 50 percent lighter

NASA tests propellant-free solar sail deployment for asteroid-surveying CubeSat

Wireless sensors could make diesel engines greener

DARPA seeks cyborg-devices engineering and production partners (really)



Feature articles
Supersize wind blades are 650 ft long
A new design for gigantic blades almost two football fields long could help bring offshore 50-megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the United States and the world. Sandia National Laboratories’ research on the extreme-scale Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor (SUMR) aims to design a low-cost offshore 50-MW turbine requiring a rotor blade more than 650 ft (200 m) long, two and a half times longer than any existing wind blade.
Read the full article.
Image -
Protogami shows the interaction of materials and surface finishes, and demonstrates features like clips, slots, and hinges. Get your Protogami today!


Image - When collaborative robots on wheels come to the manufacturing floor
When collaborative robots on wheels come to the manufacturing floor
When the first UR5 robot arrived at Scott Fetzer Electrical Group (SFEG), it was met with some skepticism but quickly named "Waldo," inspired by the popular "Where's Waldo" books featuring a friendly fellow that keeps appearing in new places amongst crowds of people. One day Waldo the robot would be bending sheet metal; the next day he would be performing pick-and-place tasks. SFEG, a manufacturer of electrical motors and components, has 14 easily programmable Universal Robots now that have optimized production by 20 percent.
Read the full article.

Image - Concrete with built-in de-icing could improve roadway safety
Concrete with built-in de-icing could improve roadway safety
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor of Civil Engineering Chris Tuan has added a pinch of steel shavings and a dash of carbon particles to a recipe that has literally been set in concrete for centuries. The new ingredients conduct enough electricity to melt ice and snow in the worst winter storms while remaining safe to the touch.
Read the full article.

Image - Wheels: <br>Super-slim film heater is hot prospect for electric car interiors
Wheels:
Super-slim film heater is hot prospect for electric car interiors

If you don't want to freeze in your electric car, you have to make a few concessions because heating devours a substantial portion of the power supply. But researchers in Germany have a solution: a highly energy-efficient coated film that produces a broad, radiant heat.
Read the full article.

Image - Cool Tools: Wireless comes to laser alignment
Cool Tools: Wireless comes to laser alignment
Pinpoint Laser Systems has introduced the Microgage Wireless Laser Receiver, a convenient new option for use with the Microgage PRO Laser Alignment System, which brings the advantages of wireless technology to both routine and complex measurement and alignment tasks. Setup and operation are faster and easier, and the wireless working range has been expanded to 180 ft. The Microgage Wireless Laser Receiver is suited for checking many geometric alignments such as: equipment straightness, gantry flatness, machinery squareness, rail and guide parallelism, bore alignment, and more. And now you can connect four or more wireless receivers to your display.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Engineer's Toolbox:<br>Piezo motor technology questions answered
Engineer's Toolbox:
Piezo motor technology questions answered

There's a new kind of piezo motor in town, and it's got legs. The Piezo LEGS® rotational motor is a direct-friction drive that provides precise motion without any mechanical play or backlash. There are no gears or transmission, so changing the direction of the motion will introduce no error. The simple Piezo LEGS motor is also extremely stiff. Find out the answers to frequently asked questions about this exciting new and evolving motor technology.
Read the full article.

Image - Springs: Lite Compression provides more options
Springs: Lite Compression provides more options
If you are looking for compression springs that offer responsive action under light load conditions, the Lite Pressure series from Lee Spring should have you covered. The Lite Pressure series is ideal when a relatively low spring rate or workable load is needed in dimensions not normally available in a conventional compression spring. This new product line expansion provides more spring choices with larger outside diameters and even-lighter pressure springs, with new springs in the 1-psi to 15-psi range with incremental choices in between. The springs are made of passivated and ultrasonically cleaned Stainless Steel type 316 for excellent corrosion resistance.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Plastics: Laser clear-to-clear plastic welding
Plastics: Laser clear-to-clear plastic welding
A new Laser Welding System from Dukane Corp. allows clear-to-clear plastic welding without the need of any laser-absorbing additives. This system incorporates a recently developed 2-micron laser with a greatly increased absorption by clear polymers and enables a highly controlled melting through the thickness of optically clear parts. A new beam delivery system integrates both a programmable multi-axes servo gantry and a scan head, supported by proprietary LaserLinQ software, which harmonizes the action of both components moving the beam. This assures highly precise and controllable beam delivery when welding mid-size and large components. LaserLinQ also provides users with the ability to break complex weld patterns into separate geometric segments, modify each segment independently, and assign different welding parameters to each segment. Markets include medical, auto, aero, appliance, OEM, and more.
Click here to learn more.

Image - Machine Building: Tiny drives show their muscle
Machine Building: Tiny drives show their muscle
Siemens has just released its popular Sinamics G120C drive in AA size, which replaces the previous G120C frame size A in power ratings up to 2.2 kW (3 hp), including communication variants for USS, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, and Ethernet/IP. Offering high power density in a smaller footprint, the new “tiny drive” offers fully compatible replacement for the equivalent power ratings on the previous version. Typical applications include smaller test stands, mixers, conveyors, fans, pumps, compressors, and basic production machinery.
Click here to learn more

Image - Motors: AutoTune dynamically tunes motors for you
Motors: AutoTune dynamically tunes motors for you
AutoTune technology on Texas Instruments' DRV8880 and DRV8881 devices eliminates the time-consuming, iterative process of manual tuning 24-V stepper motors, saving weeks or even months of design time. This on-chip intelligence dynamically monitors the motor’s performance under varied conditions over its lifetime and adjusts decay settings appropriately. This functionality makes it possible to develop motors that run quietly and efficiently despite changes in motor properties, supply voltage, load, and torque.
Click here to learn more.

Most popular last issue

Image - Can incandescent bulbs make a comeback?
Can incandescent bulbs make a comeback?
Incandescent bulbs have always suffered from one major problem: More than 95 percent of the energy that goes into them is wasted, most of it as heat. That’s why country after country has banned or is phasing out the inefficient technology. Now, researchers at MIT and Purdue University may have found a way to change all that.
Read the full article.

Image - Engineer's Toolbox: <br>A nanoscale look at why a new alloy is amazingly tough -- especially when cold
Engineer's Toolbox:
A nanoscale look at why a new alloy is amazingly tough -- especially when cold

Just in time for the icy grip of winter: A team of researchers led by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has identified several mechanisms that make a new, cold-loving material one of the toughest metallic alloys ever.
Read the full article.

Image - Navy-developed micro-UAV named POPULAR SCIENCE 'Best of What's New'
Navy-developed micro-UAV named POPULAR SCIENCE 'Best of What's New'
The small glider called Close-in Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft (CICADA), developed by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory aerospace engineers, has been named '2015 Best of What's New - Aerospace' by POPULAR SCIENCE. The CICADA is a low-cost, GPS-guided micro disposable air vehicle that has no source of propulsion onboard. PopSci's highly anticipated list comes out annually at the end of each year.
Read the full article.

Videos+: Technologies and inspiration in action
Anti-counterfeiting: Clever engineering hides one image inside another
Scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a printing algorithm that hides one image within another when printed onto metallic sheets. Two images are printed together using an inkjet printer so that only one image can be seen at a time from a given angle. The technique could one day be used as a security element in passports and printed money to prevent counterfeiting.
View the video.

Video Image
Show and Tell: Making a 3D-printed Lightsaber
Sean Charlesworth from Tested checks out a 3D-printed lightsaber hilt that was assembled from 14 individually printed pieces. Jacky "Valcrow" Wan, the designer of this model, also created a four-piece kit. All the files are available online. With some proper finishing work, it looks as good as the original prop.
View the video.

Video Image

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