How a BattleBot was built using Onshape
Learn how RoboGym Robotics, a veteran BattleBots team, said goodbye to Solidworks and took their design game to the next level using Onshape, the cloud-native, all-in-one CAD and PDM solution. RoboGym was able to analyze key components of their Roundhouse BattleBot like its armor and weapon bar, run simulations, collaborate, iterate, and optimize their design to its fullest.
Read this informative Onshape blog.
Who knew? How colorants affect plastic
In plastic injection molding, one aspect of polymer characteristics that doesn't always get the consideration it deserves is the addition of colorant. Believe it or not, there is a whole scientific body of knowledge about the ways in which adding color to plastic can affect its behavioral properties. This short article by Denny Scher of ICO Mold takes a high-level look at some of the different, and surprising, ways colorants can affect plastics.
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Smart fixed flange bearings unlock predictive maintenance
igus has developed intelligent two- and four-hole fixed flange bearings with wireless sensing capabilities for wear detection. Constructed from self-lubricating, high-performance plastic, the bearings feature an integrated abrasion sensor, thin circuit board, and cableless battery supply. Wear interrupts the board's conductor paths, causing the electronics to lose the signal. The sensor then transmits a long-range network signal to an igus i.Cee switch cabinet module for analysis, including the percentage of abrasion.
Learn about igus smart bearing technology.
Screw jack configuration and selection tool
Thomson has added a screw jack config and select tool to its online engineering toolset to help design engineers optimize and specify screw jacks for applications involving loads up to 100 tons. Screw jacks are increasingly replacing hydraulic cylinders in many ultra-heavy, low duty-cycle applications. Enter load, speed, travel, duty cycle, and other motion parameters.
Retaining magnets from JW Winco: Universal and clever
JW Winco has expanded its magnet line to support more applications with new materials, shapes, systems, and even raw magnets. Learn about their latest offerings, including retaining magnets designed for corrosive environments (GN 50.8), encapsulated magnets designed for sensitive or painted surfaces (GN 51.8), handle magnets (GN 53.3), and powerful magnets designed to handle challenging environs (GN 52.6).
3D print tool steel with the ease of a plastic
The Virtual Foundry, a pioneer in advanced 3D-printing materials, is excited to announce the launch of their latest innovation: M300 Tool Steel Filamet™ (not a typo). This material answers the demand for FFF 3D-printable Tool Steel, delivering unparalleled strength and versatility. What sets this material apart is its seamless compatibility with various 3D printers, including Creality, Bambu Lab, Ultimaker, and more. The filament prints effortlessly, resembling the ease of working with PLA (plastic).
New from Ruland: Inch-to-metric rigid couplings
Ruland Manufacturing now offers rigid couplings with inch-to-metric bores as a standard product, giving users a wider range of off-the-shelf couplings. This expansion is the latest addition to the company's inch-to-metric, standard coupling product line that includes seven types of motion-control couplings and universal joints. Instead of re-machining or ordering custom-made couplings, using off-the-shelf, inch-to-metric rigid couplings saves time and money.
Case study: YouTuber builds one-of-a-kind PC chassis with Xometry's manufacturing services
Learn how Josh Sniffen, the YouTuber behind the popular PC-building channel Not From Concentrate, leaned on Xometry for a wide range of manufacturing options, personalized DFM feedback, and order management support for his latest creation: the HEXO ATX.
Read this very cool Xometry case study.
E-Z Lok threaded insert CAD models available in online catalog
E-Z Lok, a leading manufacturer and master distributor of threaded inserts for metal, plastic, and wood, has recently launched an online CAD library to showcase a wide selection of its products. Built by CADENAS PARTsolutions, this catalog streamlines the design and spec process for engineers, MRO, and OEMs. Datasheets available for download.
Learn more about E-Z Lok threaded inserts.
70% longer service life for linear bushings
As a result of an optimized production process, Bosch Rexroth's segmental linear bushings with plastic cage used in a wide variety of industries achieve a load capacity that is up to 20% higher and a service life that is up to 70% longer. They are part of a Rexroth round guide with a matching shaft. The increase in load capacity makes it possible to use a smaller size in many cases while meeting the same requirements. Downsizing reduces system costs, saves space, and reduces weight.
Trick to measuring angles in SOLIDWORKS
Learn from the pros at TriMech how to take angle measurements easily in SOLID-WORKS. TriMech has an entire YouTube channel dedicated to SOLIDWORKS tips, and the company is excellent at training too.
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6 considerations for selecting a ball valve
Ball valves are the ideal valve of choice for liquid and gas conveyance lines ranging from diesel fuel to compressed air. Although these valves may seem simple, there's a lot more to them. Parker Hannifin offers valuable advice on body materials, configuration, seals, venting, and more in this informative post.
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Great Resources: Sheet metal design guide
If you're looking for a basic guide to sheet metal design, this one from Xometry will serve your needs well. Follow the design requirements and tolerances in this guide to ensure parts fall closer to design intent. This is the type of information you'll sock away and then refer to again and again.
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What's a magnetic GHOST fastener?
PEM® GHOST™ Fastening Technology from Penn-Engineering uses a fully concealed pinch-lock mechanism to create a secure and sleek lock with zero visible evidence of disassembly once engaged. Using a magnetic release tool on the concealed fastener actuates the internal components, unlocking the pinch-lock grip and instantly releasing the pin from the fastener. From automotive interiors to access control systems, this clever fastening tech is adaptable to many applications.
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Engineer's Toolbox: The secret to living hinges that fold flat
Living hinges are often used to produce a container and its lid as a single molded part. If properly designed, they can open and close thousands of times without ever losing strength or flexibility. Proto Labs provides valuable tips on designing these (sometimes thin and fragile) parts.
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Super strange material: Q-glasses could be a new class of solids
There may be more kinds of stuff than we thought. A team of researchers has reported possible evidence for a new category of solids, things that are neither pure glasses, crystals, nor even exotic quasicrystals. Something else.*
"Very weird. Strangest material I ever saw," says materials physicist Lyle Levine of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The research team from NIST and Argonne National Laboratory has analyzed a solid alloy that they discovered in small discrete patches of a rapidly cooled mixture of aluminum, iron, and silicon. The material appears to have none of the extended ordering of atoms found in crystals, which would make it a glass, except that it has a very defined composition and grows outward from "seeds" -- things that glasses most assuredly do not do.
The microstructure of this aluminum-iron-silicon mixture is odd. The round nodules are the q-glass, not crystalline but with a well-defined chemical composition. The spherical shape indicates they grow from an initial seed. The nodules use up iron and silicon in the mixture until the surrounding concentration of aluminum gets high enough to start forming the radiating, linear aluminum crystals. (Color added.) [Credit: Bendersky/NIST]
The solids catalog used to be pretty straightforward. Solid stuff was either a crystal or a glass. Crystals fill up space with atoms or molecules in specific, fairly rigid patterns. The positions of the atoms are fixed such that if you take any section of pure crystal and slide it up, down, in, out, or sideways a given distance, it will fit perfectly in the new position. That's translational symmetry. You can also spin the crystal through certain angles and the atoms also will line up; that's rotational symmetry.
Glasses have neither symmetry. They're just a random arrangement of their components, as if you'd taken a liquid and suddenly frozen everything in place without giving the atoms a chance to get in order. Which, in fact, is how metallic glasses are made.
In the 1980s, Dan Shechtman, an Israeli then working at NIST as a guest researcher, shook up this paradigm by finding evidence for quasicrystals, a new category of solids in which the atomic composition is fixed, and the material has rotational symmetry, but weirdly not translational symmetry. There is no long-range order to the pattern of the atoms.
The new material, which the research team has provisionally dubbed a "q-glass," can be shown by X-ray diffraction to have neither rotational nor translational symmetry, just like a glass, says Levine, but regardless, the atomic arrangement apparently is not random. "As the nodule grows, every atom still knows where to go," he says.
For one thing, the q-glass seems to have a strict chemical composition, according to Levine. Seen under a microscope, it's clear that, like a crystal, the spherical q-glass regions grow outward from a seed during cooling and exclude atoms that don't fit. "It's rejecting atoms that aren't fitting into the structure, and if there's no structure, it's not going to be doing that," says Levine. "It's amazing. Everything you can think about this thing behaves like a crystal, except it isn't."
The team used a variety of sophisticated techniques at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source to rule out other possibilities. The material might, for example, be a mass of randomly arrayed crystals so small they don't show up individually under the X-ray probes. But if such crystals were there, they'd grow slowly as the stuff is annealed. That doesn't happen. "We went through the laundry list of possibilities and disproved them, one by one," says Levine.
One possibility, say the researchers, is "frustration" -- two or more incompatible crystal orderings may start growing from the seeds and continually interfere with each other, destroying any long-range order. But, "one exciting possibility is that the q-glass is the first example of a 3-dimensionally ordered configuration of atoms that possesses neither translational nor rotational symmetry," says Levine. "Such structures have been theorized by mathematicians, but never before observed in nature."
*G.G. Long, K.W. Chapman, P.J. Chupas, L.A. Bendersky, L.E. Levine, F. Mompiou, J.K. Stalick and J.W. Cahn. A highly ordered non-crystalline metallic phase. Phys. Rev. Letters 111, 015502 (2013). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.015502.
Published September 2013
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