…Experienced material researcher Olaf Rehme of Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) has used a 3D printer to create Christmas trees from gas turbine steel. The special steel that Rehme uses for printing the Christmas trees is a nickel alloy.
During the process, commonly known as direct metal laser sintering, the laser beam moves across the bed of metal powder, releasing high energy in the form of heat and melting the metal, and generates an initial layer of the three-dimensional object. Parts are built up additively layer by layer. At the end of the process, a large amount of powder is left over that can be reused for the next printing cycle. This process allows for highly complex geometries to be created directly from the 3D CAD data, fully automatically, in hours and without any tooling.
Siemens has been using 3D printing processes to speed up gas turbine repair. For certain types of turbines, defective burner parts are simply reprinted on a 3D printer, reducing repair times by as much as 90 percent. Researchers at Siemens CT are now working on processing techniques that would be able to printing objects with extremely high ductility. To generate electricity, turbines have to turn and turn fast. It means that materials of turbine blades need to have high ductability against the massive centrifugal forces. 3D printing with metals can’t yet meet these demands. For the little steel-hard trees, however, the technology is sufficient….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!