3D Printing

One of the classes I am in this semester is 2.014: Engineering Systems Development (or something like that) ie. the Rapid Development Group. I’ve been involved with the Rapid Development Group for two semesters now. The Rapid Development Group is working on  the Seawater/Aluminum Reactor for use in AUVs similar to the REMUS. The goal is to develop a power source for autonomous underwater vehicles that outperforms Lithium Ion Batteries and extends the REMUS mission from 3 days to 3-4 weeks.  My group is working on the Waste Management sub-system of the project. This semester has involved a lot of design work and a particularly large amount of re-design work.

Here’s some of our final parts as they are being 3D-printed and cleaned. After they are cleaned, the parts are ready to get a coating of epoxy and then they’ll be ready to integrate into our sub-system and eventually the overall system. I’ll do a complete write-up on the project and the different subsystems at the end of the term. For now, here’s a teaser.  Oh and you’ll be able to tell from the pictures but the parts for our sub-system will all be bright orange. This was just a function of what plastic was available to print with. It’ll make a loud statement at our presentation to Lincoln Labs on May 3rd.

Here is one part getting printed. This will be the lid for our purge chamber. The part is about halfway printed in this picture.

Here is one part getting printed. This will be the lid for our purge chamber. The part is about halfway printed in this picture.

This clean station contains a chemical bath that removes the support material that the 3D printer uses to support the plastic as it cools. Removal of the support material typically takes three to four hours.

This clean station contains a chemical bath that removes the support material that the 3D printer uses to support the plastic as it cools. Removal of the support material typically takes three to four hours.

Removing the lid of the clean station, the part (here, the settling stage body) is visible but so is the chemical bath. Gloves were definitively required in this case.

Removing the lid of the clean station, the part (here, the settling stage body) is visible but so is the chemical bath. Gloves were definitively required in this case.

The settling stage has a bizarre geometry but all these crazy features have specific, important roles in our subsystem.

The settling stage has a bizarre geometry but all these crazy features have specific, important roles in our subsystem.

Because 3D printed parts our porous, these parts need to have an epoxy coating added to them after printing. We are using them in our system as containers to hold water / waste, and they need to be watertight. We've tested the epoxy on some of our 3D printed prototypes of these parts and we were successful in waterproofing the prototype parts.

Because 3D printed parts our porous, these parts need to have an epoxy coating added to them after printing. We are using them in our system as containers to hold water / waste, and they need to be watertight. We’ve tested the epoxy on some of our 3D printed prototypes of these parts and we were successful in waterproofing the prototype parts.

Hopefully, the parts will come together and we’ll be able to have the parts printed and epoxied by Friday! This has been a long semester (especially since I’m involved in a large number of project classes) and I’ll be very excited to be finished with everything once the end of May rolls around.

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