Lockheed Martin’s Nanotechnology and 3D Printing Robot Arm

Dan Hedges of ENGINEERING.com speaks to Slade Gardner from Lockheed Martin about their 3D printer and nano-tech.

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Dan Hedges of ENGINEERING.com speaks to Slade Gardner from Lockheed Martin about their 3D printer and nano-tech.

 

This looks like a popular few exhibits.
Things are going great. We've got a lot of traffic here at the Lockheed Martin nanotechnology booth. We've had a lot of visitors here at the additive manufacturing display. [There is] a lot of interest in the nanomaterials and nanotechnology area. It's really been great.



Tell me about your 3D printer display.
Well this robot is a 6-axis articulated arm, and we're building a structure.


The structure we're building is a notional, Orion space capsule. This model will be about three feet tall when we're complete.


We're building it out of ABS plastic.



What is ABS plastic?
ABS is a low-cost commodity Polymer. It's called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS. It's a low melter, it blows very nicely, and it has good tax.


So when we deposit layer to layer on this particular structure as we're building it, it melts at a nice low temperature so that we can do it here at the festival. It also sticks to itself very well so that we can build a layer upon another layer easily. Finally, it's a low-cost material so we can build really large parts.



All right, now tell me about the nano-tube exhibit.
Our nanomaterials exhibit has a pretty wide variety of materials that are either invented, innovated, or applied by Lockheed Martin scientists and engineers.


This particular F35 wing cap has nano-fibers in it. It also has some other reinforcement and some carefully selected polymers. But, this wing cap is a synthetic material reinforced with nano-fiber that's as strong as aluminum, at a much lower cost.



Can I try to squeeze it?
You can squeeze it, but you could break it if you really wanted to.


You could squeeze it to see how strong and stiff it is. It's not indestructible, because of the design and the stress concentrations in the part. But you can see it is a sturdy part, it handles aerodynamic loads sufficiently, and it's good enough for the wing tip of a F35.