Create a free Industrial Equipment News account to continue

GM Turns Chevy Colorado Into Fuel Cell Military Vehicle

The ZH2 is the most extreme fuel-cell-powered EV that GM has ever made. Also, a new carbon fiber 3D printer and dust problems on the ISS.

Mark X Carbon Fiber 3D Printer

On Tuesday, Markforged launched the Mark X, an industrial-scale 3D printer that allows engineers, manufacturers, and designers to print strong and precise carbon fiber parts for robotics, automotive parts, molds, and many other industrial applications

The Mark X is a fiber composite 3D printer with a 330 mm x 250 mm x 200 mm (X, Y, Z) build volume, while the overall footprint (575 mm x 467 mm and 928 mm) allows the printer to still fit in your shop.

What I found interesting was the Mark X’s in-process laser inspection and 50-micron surface finish, which makes it easier to print usable parts.

A laser sensor is attached to the print head to scan parts at any point of the process to make sure that tolerances are being met, and part quality is improved by including encoders on the print head, silent stepper motors, and a high stiffness Z-axis motor.

The printers run on Eiger software, a Google Chrome-based cloud solution that allows operations managers to oversee and monitor multiple printers at the same time.

Earlier this year, Markforged received $20M in a Series B funding, and it appears as though they’ve put it to good use.

According to the company, the Mark X will ship in Q4 of this year and cost $69,000 USD.

Dust Problems on ISS

The space station has a dust problem, which when you consider the fact that Chinese engineers may have lost all control of their space station, might not be that dire of a situation, but still our astronauts' eyes are itchy.

Here on earth, our dust settles, but in zero gravity it remains airborne, and sets off our astronauts' allergies.

Well, a team of researchers at Colorado State University, working with Pittsburgh-based RJ Lee Group have created the TPS100, a portable air quality sampler that could, as early as next week, be up at the International Space Station for 32 days detecting dust particles.

The project is a low-cost, low-risk experiment that will characterize airborne particles, and ultimately, help develop a permanent dust-sweeping solution that works in low gravity.

The hope is that the TPS sampler will give NASA a clearer understanding of the ISS’ air quality, with the goal of increasing astronaut safety and wellness.

The TPS100 can collect particles down to nanometer scales, which is 1,000 times smaller than the smallest particles already identified.

Hopefully, after a month in space, the device can help the International Space Station pass white glove tests for years to come.

GM Shows Off Fuel Cell Military Vehicle

This week, GM revealed the Chevy Colorado ZH2, which the company says is the most extreme off-road-capable, fuel-cell-powered electric vehicle that it has ever made.

The ZH2 is 6½ feet tall and more than seven feet wide, and built on a stretched midsize pickup chassis. It rides on 37-inch tires and the U.S. Army will test its modified suspension in extreme field conditions next year. It also hopes to find out whether or not hydrogen-powered vehicles are a viable option for military missions.

The vehicle features an Exportable Power Take-Off unit, which allows users to remove the fuel cell to power applications in remote locations.

GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (or TARDEC) collaborated on the Colorado ZH2 and went from contract to concept in less than a year.

GM and TARDEC have fuel cell development labs that are only 20 miles apart from one another in southeast Michigan. And calibration testing will continue at GM’s Milford Proving Ground into early 2017, when the vehicle will be turned over to the Army for a year of field testing.

This is Engineering By Design with David Mantey.

More in Product Development