back to article Vulture 2 spaceplane rises from the powdered nylon

There's mounting excitement here at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters as we prepare to receive the parts of our Vulture 2 spaceplane. Our chums down at 3D printers 3T RPD Ltd have just dusted off the outer wings and wingtip rudder assemblies, seen here in these rough CAD views. The top couple of images show …

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Fascinating

Michelangelo said "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

Now it seems to be literally true (although in plastic!).

Well done to all concerned, this is proving to be fascinating.

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says

If it had been me I would have secretly changed the print program and they would have brushed off the powder to discover a gigantic Playmobil astronaut with a cracked helmet and arms held out zombie-style.

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Coat

Re: says

A cracked helmet? Jesus, that sounds painful.

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Trollface

Re: says

Still beats a helmet in your crack though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: says

"If it had been me I would have secretly changed the print program and they would have brushed off the powder to discover a gigantic Playmobil astronaut ..."

Call me old fashioned but I would have changed it so it printed a gigantic penis with attached scrotum.

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Alert

Re: Still beats a helmet in your crack though.

Speak for yourself mate.

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Anonymous Coward

Elf and safe Tea.

Good to see he is wearing a mask to stop all that powder from clogging his lungs... he's just about got the mask over his lungs.

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Great work. Looking forward to the rest of the saga

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I dun geddit

I dun geddit... is the block of powder being broken down to be fed into the printer, or is the block of

powder the result of the printing process, and the plane is hidden inside? If the latter, I really didn't think that was the way 3d printers worked...?

It's really not obvious from the text OR the pictures.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: I dun geddit

It's the latter. The process is shown in the video.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: I dun geddit

The opposite of regular 3D printing then, subtractive rather than additive? Like how Apple make their unibody cases?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: I dun geddit

It's additive. The machine deposits a thin layer of powder. A laser passes over and burns solid the required surface, creating successive thin slices of the part, one on top of the other. After each burn, another thin layer of raw powder is deposited and the laser passes again. That process repeats hundreds and hundreds of times, to create the part. The unburned powder is what's left around the part at the end. The advantage of the unused powder is that it supports the part during printing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I dun geddit

How does unused powder get out of sealed cells? Or does the CAD design have to include holes for the powder to escape? Otherwise the poweder will be stuck in the design adding weight?

Or is there some secret sauce which allows this not to happen?

Sadly not able to view the video until I am without corporate firewalls.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: I dun geddit

You can't have a sealed cell - there must be an aperture to the outside in any void. The parts are cleaned off with a high-pressure mix of the nylon powder and air. Then you just have to hoover the last bits of nylon powder out, rub down with a cloth and you're good to go.

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Is it wring that I read "and a couple of days later were ready to attack this big block of powder"

And thought, jeez man, that's a lot of charlie.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

It'd certainly give Scarface something to get his nose round for a couple of days.

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Oh dear!

" And thought, jeez man, that's a lot of charlie. "

So.. if you used *that* to print a few aircraft, would it be a crack fleet?

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Who can take the sunrise, sprinkle it with dew...

Nylon? Not powdered sugar? I'm disappointed.

Well, maybe you can make smaller scale versions of your models to decorate your victory cakes.

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Anonymous Coward

Question

In the pictures it appears that the only part in the print is the wing. Also in the movie it appears to be only one part per print.

A lot of volume it wasted. Is it not possible to fill the printed volume with multiple pieces separated by say 0.5 mm?

I ask because I expect the printing process to be expensive. I also want to understand the limits of the technology.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Question

A fair question. In fact, the wing wasn't the only part in the powder, but 3T removed other clients' bits for the photographs. They pack as many parts into each print as possible, to minimise waste.

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recycle

The unused powder can be re used? Maybe after some filtering

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3d are efficient

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WTF?

So does it still qualify as a paper airplane?

Just asking.

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FAIL

Nylon powder smoke!

Don't breathe this.

(that's not even the right mask or the right way to use it)

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Strength?

I wonder how strong these components are compared with a standard extruded plastic component ,of course both of a less intricate design?

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