Stronger fasteners and gas/fluid connections are a hard sell in a mature industry; the better path may be turning recycled plastic into bricks that screw together.
For immediate release
Dale E. Van Cor, April 8, 2020
Samples of 3D printed Wave threadsTM invented by Dale E. Van Cor have undergone destructive testing at the University of New Hampshire Olsen Manufacturing Center. This includes a standard 5/8” fastener that explodes in this video UNC thread. The wave thread fastener explodes more dramatically at Wave Thread. This is part of the gemini_project, a study by Mr. Van Cor comparing standard with wave threads. Metal parts are being made for testing.
Getting new threads to this point involved developing engineering software to create the thread data and 3D print files. One of the tools that was developed is the CAT process for making parts at
any resolution. The standard nut in the destructive testing had 46,000 points at a resolution of 100 microns. Next, the same part made with laser sintered steel at a resolution of 40 microns has 287,000 data points. Same part at the limits of its fabrication process creates the best possible load bearing surface.
The plan was to sell 3D print files through dataforged.com. First get the delivery system operational then move into the gas/fluid applications. This includes a new way to seal all 3D printed threads. Also, how to increase the load on a wave threaded pipe thread by reducing the stress on the ends and increasing the load bearing capacity in the middle.
The wave thread is one of four in a new genre of high surface contact threads. It has different physical properties such as being able to evenly distribute stress ( see stress concentration graph) that increases its strength. A thread is a circular wedge. Standard thread have 30-35% surface contact while Van Cor threads are in the ninety percentages limited by fabrication tolerances. Unscrewing them requires breaking the friction seal. There are three are patents issued, three pending.
This work has been in process for a dozen years with $247,000 invested. Analysis is needed on how heat is conducted; how vibrations are transmitted instead of absorbed. The elimination of the clearance space reduces the fatigue from micro-movement of load cycling and other mechanical stresses. That alone will expand product life and increase the number of materials that can be used. For example titanium threads has fatigue problems accumulated from micro-movements. The biggest barrier in this marketplace is it is a mature science in the domain of engineering with little innovation. Everything was known about threads 60 years ago. Engineers use what is proven to them. Something with a bigger impact is needed and that could be the key threadTM in bricks made from recycled plastic.
All threads resist their load linearly and while the concentric threadTM can screw around a corner (see vancorthreads.com), the key threadsTM resistance is more spherical; an evolution in what threads can do. A specific application is a construction key brickTM with key threads on four sides that can be made from recycled plastics. What would be assembled with a rubber mallet would take a sledge hammer to disassembled. It would first have an outer shell like a soda bottle, but eight times thicker, using high quality plastic with key threads. Then it could be filled with materials from the dump. Shopping bags, soda straws, plastic lawn chairs, packaging that is ground up, melted and entombed in the shell. If you are in a mining area, slag or toxic coal ash could be added to that mix.
The software development to make key threaded parts and molds will be 3D printing parts in May. Strategic partners would be plastic injection molding equipment manufacturers that have expertise on the range of materials that would be needed for new machines to handle a variety of recycled plastics. The demand would be anywhere in the world with a supply of recycled plastics. Another is the Lego Group in Denmark that has manufacturing and global distribution, plus product development of toy brick assemblies. The toy key bricks are called keynectorsTM.
One impact would be building material for houses in 3rd world countries. These bricks would be a solid wall against the elements. They could be in domes or semi-circular Quonset huts. They could go in road beds or retaining walls. This would turn the 85% of recycled plastic that ends up in a land fill into a commodity.
Currently applying for an SBA loan for key brick development. That is to make and brake 3D printed threaded shells to determine the best thread design. Then pack these shells with materials from the dump. Literally grind and heat up a mixture of plastics that can be poured into these shells. The purpose is data. What are the projected uses, costs and profitability. An automated plant with injection molding equipment is expensive. First make it work, then make it work better.
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