Friday, January 31, 2014

EDD Takes GE

This past Thursday, General Electric Research and Development was kind enough to offer the InvenTeam the opportunity to tour their buildings. We mainly toured their rapid prototyping, and 3D manufacturing facilities. The class first met with two mechanical engineers, working with medium sized resin and polymer-based printers, much bigger than machines like the MakerBot, yet still manageable. These engineers allowed us to ask questions, and showed us the project they are currently working on, such as the new Leap jet engine (due out in 2016). From there the class went to a building that housed a metal SLM 3D printer, which lays down layers of extremely fine cobalt chrome-moly and uses either a 400W or 1000W laser to weld the metal together. After getting a look at these incredibly intricate machines, we were shipped off to a more industrial building, which housed extrusion machines and a cold spray “jet”. For an explanation of cold spray, The Slow Mo Guys and GE on Youtube have a great video of the exact machine that the team was introduced to. After our amazing tour, the InvenTeam was treated to lunch, and we were even joined by Juan Pablo, our new friend from GE! Just before leaving, we received a presentation about the future of GE engineering, and a brief outline of today’s focuses in GE and engineering as a whole, one of which was 3D printing. The whole team would like to thank GE again, for their hospitality and for the wonderful demos that many of GE engineers gave us. We hope to visit again in the future and can't wait to show them what we've done at the end of the year!