The following information was made available by Matt Fowler (check our People Page):
The Acoustics Program, a joint NOAA/OSU cooperative research group is now printing their own hydrophone pieces. A grant from CIMRS, thanks to Dr. Michael Banks, director of OSU’s Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS) provided the department with the Ultimaker 2, a 3-D printer.
The Acoustics Group is now manufacturing internal components for 20 new hydrophones currently under construction at HMSC. The 3-D printer takes a drawing from a CAD program and prints the drawing using melted plastic. As the print head moves in the X and Y dimensions, the print platform slowly lowers allowing the printing of one .2mm layer at a time.
Use of this technology allows engineers to quickly and inexpensively fabricate prototypes to test and incorporate new components for the various instrument platforms currently being developed. With this technology, an engineer’s designs are only constrained by the materials the printer can use, and their imagination.