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Windmill Blade Molds 3D Printed By National Labs (energy.gov) 70

MountainLogic writes: Last year ORNL produced a 3D printed Shelby. This year, the National Labs are using the mother of all 3D printers to make windmill molds cheaper and faster to produce in the US. The size of the current 150 foot utility scale blades are being extended with these techniques. US DOE is providing a leading role to advance US manufacturing technology and competitiveness. Welcome back rust belt, we missed you.
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Windmill Blade Molds 3D Printed By National Labs

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  • Link to TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2016 @03:37PM (#51472369)

    http://energy.gov/eere/article... [energy.gov]

    For mobile users till that gets fixed.

  • Huh? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why not 3D print the blades directly? I was told, in no uncertain terms, that 3D printing is the future, and anything else is just Luddite.

    I was told 3D printed houses, 3D printed cars,3D printed airplanes,3D printed Mars colonies,3D printed rockets,3D printed food,3D printed organs.

    Now all you have is a big mold? So what?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2016 @04:02PM (#51472587)

      3D printed objects aren't the strongest due to the way the layers are laminated together. I imagine the last place you'd want a weak join is on a 150+ foot long blade swishing through the air. Better to make the mold and then form the actual blade in the mold.

      • 3D printed objects aren't the strongest due to the way the layers are laminated together. I imagine the last place you'd want a weak join is on a 150+ foot long blade swishing through the air.

        You betcha.

        Especially since a spinning blade gets more efficient as it gets faster. Higher speed = lower torque for a given horsepower density, so a higher tip speed ratio (TSR) wastes less energy "twisting" the air downwind.

        Efficient wind turbines run at a TSR of 6 or higher - which means that in windy conditions the

      • Perhaps, just perhaps, thats why they are printing the MOLDS not the blades?

        But, I know thats a bit much to ask, actually comprehending what you read..

        BTW, you also also wrong about strength, you can directly print in sintered titanium if you want (but this wont be..)

        • You do realize that you are responding to someone who was responding to someone else right?

          AC:

          Why not 3D print the blades directly? I was told, in no uncertain terms, that 3D printing is the future, and anything else is just Luddite.

          I was told 3D printed houses, 3D printed cars,3D printed airplanes,3D printed Mars colonies,3D printed rockets,3D printed food,3D printed organs.

          Now all you have is a big mold? So what?

          But, I know thats a bit much to ask, actually comprehending what you read..

          Perhaps you should remove the log in your eye first...

      • Also, laying up composites is a very fast process. It is also an additive process like 3D printing. 3D printing a 150' turbine blade is not fast. 3D Printing excels for some things, but it does not and never will, excel at everything.

      • They ARE making the mold...

        3D printers to make windmill molds

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      I was told, in no uncertain terms, that 3D printing...

      No, you weren't told that. At least not by anyone credible. That's just your feverish little mind making stuff up to fit your 3D-printing-is-hype narrative.

    • Laying up composites is much, much, faster. And it actually is an additive process as well. 3D printed molds can be made much, much faster than traditional molds. You don't need to make a model, and you don't need to use a subtractive process.

  • Assuming this story isn't from Europe, are you sure they made a mold? Or did they make a mould. I suspect that perhaps they made a mould based on context. Mould: a hollow form or matrix for giving a particular shape to something in a molten or plastic state. Mold: a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae.
  • "SPA/BSA: You wouldn't download a car!"

    "ORNL: Actually..."

  • Windmill Blade Molds 3D Printed By National Labs

    That does sound a lot friendlier than "wind turbine."

  • Mother of all 3D printers, you say? So if we kill that one, no more "3D-printed" nonsense? Hm...

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