Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has entered the Guinness record books with the successful printing of the world’s largest 3D printed object.
Made from carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite materials, the new tool measures 17.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 ft (5.3 x 1.7 x 0.5 m) and weighs around 1,650 lb (748 kg). To meet the requirements of the record, the item needed to be one solid piece of 10.6 cubic ft (0.3 cubic m), which a Guinness World Records judge confirmed at a ceremony. “The recognition by Guinness World Records draws attention to the advances we’re making in large-scale additive manufacturing composites research,” says Vlastimil Kunc, leader of [Oak Ridge] team. “Using 3D printing, we could design the tool with less material and without compromising its function.”
Of course, the tool wasn’t designed just for world record glory: printable in just 30 hours, it’s an impressive time and cost saver, considering the existing metal version currently takes about three months to manufacture. [emphasis mine]
The highlighted text illustrates in one sentence why there is a push toward 3D printing. It is cheaper, faster, and will eventually provide much greater flexibility.