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. Read the full article.
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. Learn more.
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). Learn more.
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). Learn more.
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. Learn more.
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. Learn more.
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. View the video.
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. Read the Parker blog.
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. Read the full article.
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. View the video.
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. Read the full article.
Researchers use acoustic voxels to embed sound with data
Columbia Engineering researchers, working with colleagues at Disney Research and MIT, have developed a new method to control sound waves using a computational approach to inversely design acoustic filters that can fit within an arbitrary 3D shape while achieving target sound-filtering properties.
Led by Computer Science Professor Changxi Zheng, the team designed acoustic voxels -- small, hollow, cube-shaped chambers through which sound enters and exits -- as a modular system. Like Legos, the voxels can be connected to form an infinitely adjustable, complex structure. Because of their internal chambers, they can modify the acoustic filtering property of the structure; changing their number and size or how they connect alters the acoustic result.
Acoustic Tagging. By optimizing the structure of acoustic voxels, Columbia Engineering researchers can control the acoustic response of an object when it is tapped and thereby tag the object acoustically. Given three objects with identical shapes, they can use a smartphone to read the acoustic tags in real time by recording and analyzing the tapping sound and thereby identify each object. [Credit: Changxi Zheng/Columbia Engineering]
"In the past, people have explored computational design of specific products, like a certain type of muffler or a particular shape of trumpet," says Zheng, whose team presented their paper, "Acoustic Voxels: Computational Optimization of Modular Acoustic Filters," at SIGGRAPH 2016 on July 27. "The general approach to manipulating sound waves has been to computationally design chamber shapes. Our algorithm enables new designs of noise mufflers, hearing aids, wind instruments, and more -- we can now make them in any shape we want, even a 3D-printed toy hippopotamus that sounds like a trumpet."
He adds, "We also have proposed a very intriguing new way to use acoustic filters: We can use our acoustic voxels as acoustic tags, unique to each piece we 3D print, and encode information in them. This is similar to QR codes or RFIDs, and opens the door to encoding product and copyright information in 3D printing."
Last year, Zheng's team used computational methods to design and 3D-print a zoolophone, a xylophone-type instrument with keys in the shape of zoo animals. The zoolophone represented fundamental research into vibrational sound control, leveraging the complex relationships between an object's geometry and the surface vibrational sounds it produces when struck.
In this new study, Zheng's team came up with a computational approach that would enable better design for manipulating acoustic propagation of many products, such as automobile mufflers and instruments.
"With 3D printers today, geometric complexity is no longer a barrier. Even complex shapes can be fabricated with very little effort," Zheng notes. "So the question is: Can we use complex shapes to improve acoustic properties of products?"
They proposed using acoustic voxels, single, modular acoustic filter shapes, whose acoustic filtering behavior can be precomputed using numerical simulation. They developed a new algorithm that allowed them to assemble the acoustic voxels -- like Lego bricks -- into complex structures to produce the targeted acoustic filtering properties.
The creation of acoustic voxels has also led Zheng's team in a completely new direction: acoustic tagging to uniquely identify a 3D-printed object and acoustic encoding to implant information (like a copyright) into an object's very form.
Acoustic filters work by manipulating sound waves; acoustic voxels have given the team a way to exactly control that manipulation.
A unique voxel assembly produces a unique acoustic signature. Two objects may have the exact same exterior appearance, but if their hollow interiors contain different voxel assemblies, each object, when filtering a sound wave, produces a sound unique to that object. The researchers recorded the sound made by objects with different voxel assemblies and used an iPhone app they created to accurately identify each object.
Acoustic tagging could be a valuable complement to QR codes and RFID tags, both of which entail operations entirely separate from manufacturing. If fabricators can build ID information directly into the object, they will save the time, effort, and expense of individually labeling parts, especially useful when building larger structures from many separate pieces. Acoustic tagging could also encode copyrighted originals, such as 3D-printed figures from individual artists like Jeff Koons or companies like Disney or Marvel.
Zheng's current acoustic voxels project is for fabricating sizable objects producing audible sounds, and his team has been able to demonstrate how information and identification can be embedded into the acoustics of an object, requiring no additional procedures or labor after fabrication. They are looking ahead to how they might use acoustic voxels to computationally control ultrasound waves.
Says Zheng, "We are investigating some of the intriguing possibilities of ultrasonic manipulation, such as cloaking, where sound propagation can be distorted to hide objects from sound waves. This could lead to new designs of sonar systems or underwater communication systems. It's an exciting area to explore."
The work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and Adobe.