A patent for an innovative futuristic 3D printer that as rumour has it is capable of printing objects of virtually any shape out of synthetic diamonds has been filed by US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. This machinery would be largely utilized for creating items like drill bits, however it might also be used for making customized jewellery.
Despite the fact that it is famous for its striking fighter jets, defence specialist Lockheed Martin possibly will soon add customized wedding rings and earrings to its gigantic inventory of planes, missiles, and satellites. A patent has been filed for a diamond-printing 3D printer by the Maryland-headquartered company which it says is efficient enough to be used for developing ultra-strong drill bits, saws, knives, and lightweight armour. However, it can be stated without any doubt that the technology probably will later be used for creating valuable items in the field of customized jewellery.
Filed on April 4 by inventor David G. Findley, the Lockheed Martin Patent refer to a new 3D printing method which would make use of a pre-ceramic polymer and nanoparticle filler in order to create synthetic diamond objects of virtually any shape. The futuristic 3D printer would deposit alternating layers of a ceramic powder and a pre-ceramic polymer dissolved in a solvent, as per the patent. Each layer of the polymer would then be deposited in the shape of a single “layer” of the print, before being “baked” at temperatures exceeding 100°C once the ceramic has formed. The process would carry on until the complete 3D shape had been constructed, after which any excess ceramic powder could be removed.
Even though the several forms of ceramic 3D printing have already become a usual thing, the Lockheed Martin patent specifies that a diamond-forming pre-ceramic polymer could be used to create 3D printed diamond objects. Hypothetically, that process may be used to build some particularly durable items, like drill bits, sharp objects, and even lightweight armour. In addition to this, the printer might also be employed for creating objects made of combinations of materials, with “multiple types of pre-ceramic polymers and multiple types of ceramic powders” combined to offer many technical benefits.
According to the patent,
“Diamond is among the hardest known materials, has a high melting and boiling point, and is an excellent thermal conductor as well as electrical insulator. Objects made out of diamond may be able to take advantage of these properties. For example, tools made out of diamond, such as drill bits, saws, or knives, may be more durable than tools made of conventional materials due to the hardness of diamond. Diamond can be produced in a variety of ways including as a powder in the form of diamond nanoparticles and from the pyrolysis of a pre-ceramic polymer.”
By means of the patented 3D printer, other items that could be created are brake pad inserts, avionics boxes, lightweight armour, diamond dialysis filters, and vacuum micro-electronics, while the 3D printed jewellery industry will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the progress of the thrilling concept. By means of 3D printing, numerous jewellers are now capable to offer a higher level of customization as compared to the past using either 3D printed plastic parts or 3D printed casts, which can then be used to create metal pieces.
Well, the actual question that you need to address is has Lockheed Martin unearthed a diamond in the rough with this 3D printing invention, or is the concept just “fool’s gold” for naive additive manufacturing prospectors?