Case studies

We are engaged in a wide variety of projects, to address specific industrial design challenges and to develop innovative approaches to design for manufacture:

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Embedding Components During the SLA Process

Techniques developed by the AMRC Design and Prototyping Group (DPG) have increased additive manufacturing’s potential applications to include embedded components.

DPG researchers set themselves the challenge of creating an additively manufactured product with a component that had not been additively manufactured inside.

They used stereolithography (SLA) to create a USB memory stick by building the case around the circuitry instead of having to make it in two halves and then join them together once the circuit had been placed inside.

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Optimisation of FDM composite lay-up tooling for additive manufacture

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Optimisation of FDM composite lay-up tooling for additive manufacture

Researchers at the AMRC Design & Prototyping Group have succeeded in cutting the time take to make a suite of carbon composite lay up tools by more than 45 per cent, while reducing the amount of support material needed by more than 80 per cent.

The Group designed and additive manufactured (AM) the tools as part of a larger project.

The initial AM tool design followed a somewhat traditional form and the savings were achieved by applying design for additive manufacturing principles, using, amongst other things, tool path data, including the width of deposited material bead, generated by the software associated with the production equipment, a Stratasys Fortus900mc.

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Additive manufacture cost comparison

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Additive manufacture cost comparison

When the AMRC Design & Prototyping Group (DPG) needed to quickly and accurately manufacture a number of diablo rollers, approximately300mm in diameter, it rejected the idea of using additive manufacturing (AM) because it would not be cost effective, compared to traditional machining methods.

However, a detailed investigation and careful re-design has shown using AM methods could achieve an overall net benefit.

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Fractal Geometry for Wing Design

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A Study of Fractal Geometry for Wing Design

The AMRC Design and Prototyping Group (DPG) has carried out a study of self-supporting printed structures for UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) wing design.

The designers used fractal mathematics to model an internal structure for a wing resembling that of an insect wing.

The aim was to develop a wing that could be printed by the fused deposition modeling (FDM) process, using Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) without using additional material for structural support.

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AMRC Powered UAV

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Rapid Manufactured Fixed Wing UAV

High-flying engineers from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Design & Prototyping Group, gained worldwide publicity when they used their expertise to develop an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Now, they have taken another step forward, developing their original glider to incorporate electric-powered, ducted fan engines.

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UAV Fixed Wing

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FDM-printed fixed wing UAV

A team of engineers from the AMRC’s new Design & Prototyping Group (DPG) have designed, manufactured and flight tested a prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) airframe constructed entirely of ABS plastic, using Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) technology.

The recent increase in the use of both additive layer manufacturing and UAVs has led to the availability of a number of 3D printed UAVs for a range of applications. Small wingspan, fixed wing aircraft are used for applications ranging from hobby flying to reconnaissance and humanitarian aid.

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AMRC Circuit Bracket

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Optimisation of a circuit board bracket for additive manufacture

The AMRC Design & Prototyping Group designed and manufactured a circuit board bracket as part of a  larger development project.

The bracket was designed and manufactured very quickly to mount a new circuit board measuring 56 by 80 mm neatly and securely to the prototype device, using existing mounting points.

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Drilling between stacks

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Passive input gearbox: innovation for robotic drilling

Engineers in the AMRC’s new Design & Prototyping Group have developed a compact gearbox for an innovative robotic drilling system. Using the gearbox, the automated system can quickly adjust its parameters when drilling complex aerospace structures containing both metal and composite materials.

The latest aircraft use an increasing amount of carbon fibre and other composites. By using these lightweight materials instead of metals, aircraft can be made lighter and more fuel efficient.

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