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AMT Tech Report: Issue #151

Composite laser-assisted tape winding. Lightweight ships for better fuel and emissions. Combining nickel and copper to 3D print temperature-resistant ship parts. Off-world construction takes a step closer to reality.
by Stephen LaMarca
Mar 25, 2021

Composite laser-assisted tape winding. Lightweight ships for better fuel and emissions. Combining nickel and copper to 3D print temperature-resistant ship parts. Off-world construction takes a step closer to reality.

Here's the latest tech article roundup from this week's Tech Report.

1. Composite Laser-Assisted Tape Winding 

Fiber/tape/tow placement technology is probably my favorite manufacturing tech. This isn’t that, but tape winding is like the less fancy little brother, so it’s still exciting to see this pop up in my newsfeed. Fun fact: I actually have an old high-pressure air (HPA) tank from my middle school paintballing days behind my desk at the office. It’s made of carbon fiber from the tape winding process. This is everything you need to know about laser-assisted tape winding of thermoplastic composites. 


2. Shipbuilding Composites 

Building a seaworthy ship from composites can weigh as much as 40% less than a steel equivalent and offer a considerable reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. However, there are currently no guidelines for such composite vessels, as regulations covering composite shipbuilding only cover vessels up to 490 tons and approximately 82 feet in length. That’s a yacht, bro, not a ship. And before you try to flex, it’s only a yacht if you’ve got a helipad. Don’t @ me. 


3. Corrosion-Proof Metal Powders for Maritime Additive 

3D Systems and the Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding division are formulating copper-nickel (CuNi) and nickel-copper (NiCu) alloys specifically designed for producing robust and temperature-resistant parts. “By 3D printing these new materials instead of using conventional casting, Newport believes that it’ll be able to create seaworthy valves, housings, and brackets at reduced lead times of up to 75%.” Another fun fact: “German silver” is a really pretty CuNi alloy that’s neither German nor silver. It’s also typically used in high-end watchmaking and not shipbuilding. 


4. World’s First 3D-Printed Rocket Pad 

Being one of the world’s largest additively produced objects, naturally, it’s from Texas. “Working with a team of students from 10 colleges and universities across the US, ICON used its proprietary technology to 3D print a reusable landing pad using materials found on the moon.” 


5. Audi’s Using Additive Hot Form Tooling 

FYI: when the article mentions “saloon,” they’re not talking about a bar. It’s U.K./European for “sedan.” “The company’s move reflects its increased confidence in the reliability and quality of additive manufactured parts, and in future, it plans to utilize the technology to build its electric vehicles as well.” 


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Stephen LaMarca
Manufacturing Technology Analyst
Stephen LaMarca has a background in physics and is passionate about mechanical devices. He oversees and operates AMT’s testbed, including a 5-axis CNC ...
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