Manufacturing electrodes
Posted: 07 July 2012 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Would this technique work well enough for manufacturing the tungsten electrodes?  3D RAPID PROTOTYPING PRINTING

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Posted: 07 July 2012 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This company uses electron beams for the heat source.  Other companies use lasers.  It may be a less costly way to experiment with different materials and designs.

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Posted: 09 July 2012 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Pretty cool stuff.  I can’t speak for tungsten, but Molybdenum and Niobium are easy enough to machine that it only takes a couple weeks to get parts made.  If you have an experiment planned in advance like different electrode lengths or diameters, the parts can be made in parallel. 

It is not clear to me that 3D printing is producing “bulk” properties quoted for materials like tensile strength and conductivity.  If 3D printing is as good a bulk it could be an interesting path forward.

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Posted: 12 July 2012 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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3-D Prototype printing is for creating models. If you were casting from the model, it might be an advantage. It is not a production machine, the cost of a single prototype is expensive, compared to the process you are currently using(that is why it takes a week). Find a CNC machine that will kick out your electrodes at your specifications from cast raw stock.

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Posted: 12 July 2012 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Huh.  I know that 3D printing is used for making some MEMs devices at lower cost and faster than say lithography.  I’m sure it will take time to get to full scale stuff up but I thought it was closer to real macroscopic items.  I’m sure it will be difficult to compete with CNC technology for some time to come.

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Posted: 12 July 2012 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I am sure it depends on the size of the item. MEMs are pretty small, aren’t they? What size are the electrodes? Looking at the 3D RAPID PROTOTYPING PRINTING pdf (above) it would be good to give these folks a call, with all the questions and see what they have to say. They advertise “high-density tungsten powder” in the molding process, which tells me the final product does not come out of the 3-D printer.

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Posted: 12 July 2012 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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MEMs are less than 100 um features and smaller.  It is usually about repeating a pattern like a microchip in lithography. 

Electrodes vary from machine to machine, but I would say they are macroscopic objects (>1 mm).  At the ~2MA level the anodes tends to be 5-10 cm in diameter with lengths over 20 cm in some cases.  It is perfect territory for CNC and other approaches.  3D printing might make it easier to install cooling channels and other features in an anode that are difficult to do with conventional machining. 

I’ve been told for tungsten MEMS techniques that molds are sometimes used to hold the powder in place.  It is a two step process.  A plastic-type material comes out of a 3D printer.  The powder is poured in and a laser is used to locally melt the tungsten around the mold in a way that doesn’t damage the mold.  Powder can be added as the process moves forward in a layer by layer approach to add more material.  The second step is like 3D printing but I’m not sure it is technically 3D printing. 

If “highly packed powder” is used, it probably means 80% of theoretical density.  Typical tungsten vendors like McMaster-Carr sell rods at ~80% theoretical density.

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Posted: 13 July 2012 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Anyone considered making a MEMs DPF?

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Posted: 13 July 2012 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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A long shot of a possibility would be the use of 3-D printing for a miniaturization of the DPF in smaller applications. Just a thought running through the wishful thinking neurons. grin

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