Aug 5, 2016 | By Benedict

US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has filed a patent for a new kind of 3D printer that could purportedly print objects of virtually any shape out of synthetic diamonds. The machinery would be primarily used to develop items such as drill bits, but could also be used to make customized jewelry.

Although best known for its fearsome fighter jets, defense specialist Lockheed Martin could soon add customized wedding rings and earrings to its massive inventory of planes, missiles, and satellites. The Maryland-headquartered company has filed a patent for a diamond-printing 3D printer which it says could be used to create ultra-strong drill bits, saws, knives, and lightweight armor. The technology could no doubt later be used to create valuable items in the field of customized jewelry.

A Lockheed Martin fighter jet

The Lockheed Martin Patent, filed on April 4 by inventor David G. Findley, describes a new 3D printing method which would use a pre-ceramic polymer and nanoparticle filler to create synthetic diamond objects of virtually any shape. According to the patent, the futuristic 3D printer would deposit alternating layers of a ceramic powder and a pre-ceramic polymer dissolved in a solvent. 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. This process would continue until the entire 3D shape had been built up, after which any excess ceramic powder could be removed.

While various forms of ceramic 3D printing are already commonplace, the Lockheed Martin patent specifies that a diamond-forming pre-ceramic polymer could be used to create 3D printed diamond objects. That process could potentially be used to create some extremely durable items, such as drill bits, sharp objects, and even lightweight armor. Furthermore, the printer could be used to create objects made of combinations of materials, with “multiple types of pre-ceramic polymers and multiple types of ceramic powders” combined to offer various technical advantages.

The diamond 3D printing process

“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,” the patent states. “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.”

Other items that could be created with the patented 3D printer include brake pad inserts, avionics boxes, lightweight armor, diamond dialysis filters, and vacuum micro-electronics, while the 3D printed jewelry industry will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the progress of the exciting concept. With the help of 3D printing, many jewelers are now able to offer a higher level of customization than ever before using either 3D printed plastic parts or 3D printed casts, which can then be used to create metal pieces.

A non-printed diamond

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? You decide.

Example of a 3D printed diamond object



Posted in 3D Printer



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Charles Savoie wrote at 8/11/2016 2:58:13 AM:

Marconi the radio pioneer, Alexander Siemens and other major inventors and patent holders (see also J. Ulyxes Koree) have been members over the years of the world's most publicity shy organization calling itself the "Pilgrims Society." Lockheed Martin is far too large to not have at least two board members in The Pilgrims New York branch, the original branch is in London. Glenn T. Seaborg who once headed the Atomic Energy Commission and a major league scientist, was another member. Glenn, what happened to that 65 million ounces of silver on "loan" from the Treasury Department? Friends, this single organization is by far, history's most fascination organization for many reasons.

DensityDuck wrote at 8/5/2016 8:50:19 PM:

"Lockheed Martin fighter jet" (image of a French business jet) lol

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