Old Jeep Tests a New 3D-Printed Carbon Fiber Part By Running Them Over

It was the only logical way to test the brake pedal. Also, AK-47 maker designs a giant, golden robot and the aircraft that is bigger than a football field has new launch vehicles.

Kalashnikov Unveils Giant Golden Robot

The last time we heard from Kalashnikov, the firearm manufacturer had developed a new anti-riot vehicle that serves as a people plow for crowd control. The Shchit (Shield) was essentially a garbage truck with a cattle catcher on the front.

Now, the maker of the AK-47 has published photos of a new golden robot. Business Insider claims it's something out of Aliens, but it is clearly a combination of OCP's ED-209 from Robocop, and the AMP Suit from Avatar.

The Igorek is 13 feet tall and weighs 4.5 tons. The robot has giant, but clunky claws that are operated by a pilot who is stationed behind tinted, bulletproof glass.

According to Russian media outlets, Kalashnikov will likely show off an updated version of the robot at the Army-2020 forum. 

Stratolaunch Has Launch Vehicles

Paul Allen's Stratolaunch made headlines again this week. On Monday, we found out that the unique aircraft, which is larger than a football field, has a new family of proprietary launch vehicles that will begin to enter regular service by 2020.

These systems would launch while the Stratolaunch was in flight and be able to reach various parts of space and launch satellites. According to Stratolaunch, which is competing with other private space companies like SpaceX, the process of sending a satellite into space will "be as easy as booking an airline flight."

The company will offer the Pegasus, a proven vehicle with more than 35 successful launches thatwill be ready for the first flight in 2020.

The others vehicles will take a little longer to develop. The Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV) looks to be the economic option with a 3,400 kg payload and a deadline to be in service by 2022. The MLV - Heavy is still in early development, but will nearly double the MLV payload to 6,000 kg.

The Space Plane launch vehicle is a reusable aircraft that will at first operate as a cargo vessel, but eventually be able to transport crew. The Space Plane is currently in the design study phase.

The company plans to share more launch vehicle designs by the end of the year. I just want to know if one of them is biggerr than the space plane concept.

Brake Pedal 3D Printed on New Carbon Fiber Printer

I was lucky enough to receive one of the first parts printed on the new Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition 3D printer from Stratasys. The part is a brake pedal. 

This particular part has a lattice structure to show two important attributes. One, the printer's water soluble support material, which washed away without a trace. The other attribute is that even though the part isn't completely filled, it is still nearly unbreakable.

The part is printed with Stratasys's proprietary carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12 which consists of 35% chopped carbon fiber. According to the company, other materials and parts currently on the market only have about 10%-15% โ€” though, I've tested them and they are pretty tough as well.

Stratasys unveiled the new 380mc CFE this week. The machine ships for about $70,000. Until now, if you wanted to print this brake pedal, you could, but only as an upgrade on the Fortus 450mc or 900mc, machines that would run you anywhere from $200,000-$350,000.

So far, the tech has been good enough for some major race car teams, like Team Penske, which has used the material to build parts and prototypes for its IndyCar and NASCAR race cars. The teams like the ability to make a lightweight part that is impact resistant and stiff.

But how durable can it be? To test it, I ran it over with my 1997 Jeep Cherokee Sport, which weighs about 3,000 pounds (including the clown masks in the back). As you can see from the video, the part held up under the weight. The pedal fractured, but the arch remained intact. 

This is Engineering By Design. 

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