Posts in category: ‘Competitions’

FEA and 3D printing – challenges and potential workarounds

3D printing is challenging the ways that Finite Element Analysis (FEA) methods are traditionally employed to assess the structural adequacy of engineered components. Thanks to 3D printing technologies, it is no longer a safe assumption that materials can simply be modelled in FEA software as uniform homogeneous solids. Indeed, a 3D printed cube of material is not what it appears to be on the outside, as it can be built from the ground-up, piece by piece and may actually possess a complex internal cross section composed of intricate void spaces such as complex hexagonal honeycomb structures.

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Inside the Enable Community Foundation’s (ECF) prosthetic challenge with Andreas Bastian

The Enable Community Foundation (ECF) challenges the GrabCAD community to lend a hand and take part in a challenge to create a 3D printed terminal device for those with limb differences. The ECF and the e-NABLE community believe that limb differences should never serve as barriers towards living a fulfilling and extraordinary life.

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Challenge helps NASA pack for Mars

NASA’s Advanced Exploration System (AES) Division’s Logistics Reduction Project is trying to decrease the dependence on earth resupply for future long duration space missions. This is done via direct mass reduction, re-purposing logistics, and conversion of waste into useful by-products (gases, water, solids). We are trying to pack everything for Mars but our suitcase is too full. So we need to be smart about what we take, how we maximize the use of those items, and create new uses for the items once they’ve met their original purpose.

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Behind the scenes with Alcoa & the bearing bracket challenge

After receiving an overwhelming number of entries for our GrabCAD Challenge, Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings (AFSR) quickly set forth evaluating each design using a systematic approach. PH15-5 material properties were applied to the parts to determine their mass. We then placed each design within the given part envelope to ensure the requirement was met. The entries that did not meet the part envelope were not considered further. As a next step, we evaluated the stress under both load conditions using FEA.

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Evaluating 3D printed parts – if you can, show off the part

Like all GrabCAD Challenges, the Oxygen Valve Splitter Challenge presented a difficult problem: create an oxygen valve splitter that allows for independently controlled flow rates. As the valve splitter is meant for “low-resource environments,” participants had to design their part with certain considerations in mind (speed, minimal post-processing, and printability on a basic FDM machine). In addition to earning the top prize, the winning part has the potential of saving lives.

With over 130 designs submitted, our large panel of judges worked hard to determine the winning entries. While in the ideal world all Challenge participants would have been able to test their designs by printing them out, it is understandable that not everyone has access to a 3D FDM Printer just yet. Luckily, some of the judges including Victoria Au  (3D4MD) and Adam Arabian (Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Seattle Pacific University) were able to print out the finalist entries to test the devices. Here, Andrzej Stewart at the Hi-SEAS IV mission, explains the methodology his team used to evaluate entries.

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