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[deleted] t1_j8mu1es wrote



asshatnowhere t1_j8nsj26 wrote

Funny, at my last job I was literally developing and building a pseudo printer that would be used to determine a process for testing this very thing. In a nutshell, this device would function similarly to a metal 3d printer but it would very accurately weigh every single layer to calculate bulk density of the powder and through laser scanning methods look for potential voids in each layer. The idea is that it would be used as a metric for honing in on 'best practices' for optimal printing.


BeardySi t1_j8ntzg1 wrote

Interesting, any details available?


asshatnowhere t1_j8obyck wrote

In short, it functions like a DMLS printer where you have a build plate that descends and a moving blade to deposite the layer. The idea is figuring out a way to completely decouple the build plate after a layer is deposited so that it can be weighed, the area of the layer is known, and then the build plate is returned to its original position. The challenge is the tolerances involved. We're talking fractions of a milligram, and the build plate needs to be returned to the same position with thousands of an inch (mixing units, fight me). The other challenge was not losing a single bit of powder during the decoupling and not disturbing the layer. Then you also had to purge the seal in a pure nitrogen and dry environment.

I left the project fairly early though as I had changed jobs. But the prototype was showing promise although never fully tested.


Jumpbase t1_j8odw1r wrote

The Company Phase3D is doing something similiar but only with a heigthmap of the spreaded and/or melted powder, at the company im working in we're currently in the planning stage to build somehting like this in our Ceramic 3D Printer


Confused-Engineer18 t1_j8qm7c3 wrote

That kinda genius, I wonder if a cruder method could be used with fdm printing via using load sensors in the print bed.


CW3_OR_BUST t1_j8mzhgk wrote

Sometimes a chunk of metal is easier to get than a how many barrels of such a fine powder, too. Powdered metal isn't exactly straightforward. There's a lot of ways that the process can go wrong, and leave contamination in the powder from tooling and transportation. On the other hand, a billet of most alloys is easy to make any size, and a lot cheaper in most cases, and can give much more repeatable crystal structure.


cjameshuff t1_j8naiwr wrote

> Sometimes a chunk of metal is easier to get

Sometimes it's the only way to get a particular material. You're not getting single-crystal structures out of a powder bed, for example. And processes such as forging bulk materials can have desirable effects on its microscopic structure.

And yes, there are also things you can do with additive methods that you can't with casting and machining. Different manufacturing approaches have different tradeoffs. Ultimately, you'll make most effective use of these techniques by applying them where they're most effective, rather than, oh, trying to print an entire rocket or something.


nsa_reddit_monitor t1_j8nl1f1 wrote

I want them to print an entire rocket because then I can take those designs and print a really tiny rocket at home.


DaoFerret t1_j8o64km wrote

Knock knock knock

This is the department of homeland security! Your neighbor said you were building rockets in your garage!


erinaceus_ t1_j8odyk7 wrote

Yes, and it really worked! I was over the moon when I found that out!


shadowmage666 t1_j8nrdas wrote

There is a company called fabrisonic that uses sound waves to essentially weave different metals together but they also have a process which is almost reverse 3d printing by removing parts of the metal. They said in a documentary that they also produce metal parts for nasa where they need liquid or gas channels inside of a sealed object, by using their method of creating the objects as one piece they can make objects that will be more able to handle strong environmental shifts in pressure and temperature however they do not have the reduced weight capacity that some of those other semi hollow devices and these new meta shapes have , however they can create objects which normally wouldn’t be able to exist.


Barrrrrrnd t1_j8obtkq wrote

Man I love living in the future. I wonder how they are able to account for possible issues with micro-cracks at the edge of the channels inside the closed object. Just normal x-ray?


shadowmage666 t1_j8on1df wrote

Good question; not really sure how their QA process works but they probably have some type of intrusive scanning


dblink t1_j8uwmgt wrote

Ultrasonic testing is probably the most common method of non intrusive/destructive scanning.


ackermann t1_j8o8ok0 wrote

Relativity Space, who are trying to 3d print an entire rocket, must be putting a lot of work into these problems…


Sniflix t1_j8p4gmp wrote

They are supposed to launch this year. Even NASA and the Chinese are heavy into 3D printing rockets. Rocket Lab has been launching 3D printed rocket engines with success. There are dozens of other companies trying to make the engines the same way.


thomascardin t1_j91gvad wrote

And they are naming their components based on Starcraft. Spot the nerd!


Shimada_Tiddy_Twist t1_j8ofc2j wrote

Quality can not be made by testing, it can only be achieved by working on the process.

  • some japanese dude probably

Boostedbird23 t1_j8os4zu wrote

Voids are expected in castings, especially steel castings. We do our best to design the tooling to minimize it. However, we also factor those expected defects into the (derating fatigue, for example) material properties when we do our FEA analysis. It seems like these 3D printed designs would be no different.


bohemica_ t1_j8qvr5t wrote

Glad we have FEA, additive manufacturing really wouldn’t be easy to implement without it. I say this because AM is still a rather under-standardised field and will probably remain that way for a while, at least process-wise. Of course you have a general idea of what happens when you change parameters or object geometry, but without simulating things on a case by case basis, no way you would be able to produce a reliable part.


monchota t1_j8nw9qm wrote

All of that can easily seen and detected. This is high end manufacturing, not someones at home printer.


FluffyGarbage23 t1_j8ouhyx wrote

But the cost of ink and the cost of producing a rocket is almost the same!


cat_prophecy t1_j8odj1e wrote

What's the difference in QC testing these parts vs. QC testing literally any other Aerospace part? When I worked in GA, the people doing welding needed to have their welds all x-rayed, magnafluxed, or whatever. Certainly there are ways of finding and addressing porosity or voids in a 3d printed part.


dtroy15 t1_j8qna8p wrote

I work in medical. Implants are cycled to test their long term durability. 3D printed implants often have this problem - one implant will survive 300k cycles, another only 5k. Same material, same design, made by the same manufacturer on the same equipment at the same time.

Metal printing has a long way to go before it can approach the durability of machined parts.


tequilamockingbrb t1_j8o2cfi wrote

This paragraph and the resultant comments made me join your sub. That's some brilliant info!


Mateorabi t1_j8qhs2r wrote

I wonder if a 3d printed lost-"wax" process would work better. 3d print it, pack it in sand, pour in molten alloy that melts the 3d printed object. Get the same shape but with cast material.


Cumupin420 t1_j8q3e1f wrote

I work at a medical manufacturing plant that has these printers. They can do anything they want and can control everything. If there is a void they can program it to not happen, takes a lot of time but it gets done.


BeardySi t1_j8mg3i8 wrote

Not exactly new, and if NASA are still CNC machining these they're missing a trick.

We've been printing this sort of thing in titanium for aerospace customers at work for years.


bohemica_ t1_j8moupm wrote

Maybe in part due to size limitations. The pictures show parts manufactured in a powder bed. The article then goes on to say they‘re still designed around conventional milling. So who knows.


shifted1119 t1_j8njs82 wrote

Your example is still post-machined. Usually grown then wired then machined. If you can just machine it, it’s probably faster depending on quantities.


bohemica_ t1_j8nqljp wrote

Depending on how it’s designed, you might actually not be able to machine it due to inaccessible inner structures. It‘s not exactly time or cost-effective, though.


BeardySi t1_j8nvas9 wrote

Indeed. The real benefit of printed parts is you can make geometries that are not possible to machine.

Plus, I dread to think of the time and cost involved in machining that kind of thing out of a 250x250x400 titanium billet. Not many have NASA'a deep pockets!


Extra-Cap2029 t1_j8nn55q wrote

Why do so many articles get an “Akshuuually” response here? They’re confidently incorrect responses half the time. So weird.


Diriv t1_j8nqaxx wrote

Higher concentration of enthusiastic hobbyists/workers that like to talk about the things they think they know to people who, actually might, listen.


imaverysexybaby t1_j8o1ngo wrote

NASA engineers are famous for their lack of ingenuity, also jets and rockets are totally the same problem space.



Zsem_le t1_j8odmae wrote

Maybe because most of the things wrote in an article anywhere is mostly for making advertisement money and not for informing anyone.


OverlordQ t1_j8oepsl wrote

This is Reddit, home of Dunning–Kruger


kou_uraki t1_j8nrsys wrote

3D printed metal has limitations that machined parts don't when it comes to strength. It has gotten better, but it still is not as good.


Angdrambor t1_j8n4n47 wrote

>if NASA are still CNC machining these they're missing a trick.

Was that in the article?


mnic001 t1_j8n5faw wrote

Yes, it specifically talks about the desire to switch to additive manufacturing


tearfueledkarma t1_j8ooq11 wrote

Safe to say NASA has much higher standards of quality they must meet. When you're designing something that cannot break for months or years.. after riding on a rocket.


Ranger5789 t1_j8mgp5b wrote

Different methods, yours created by algorithm, their's by ai.


C-D-W t1_j8mybav wrote

The line between a procedural algorithm and AI is pretty blurry. The term AI is thrown around a LOT to describe things that would have never been described as AI 10 years ago despite being the exact same code.


nitrohigito t1_j8mq429 wrote

If you mean they're using topology optimization instead of generative design, how would you know?


CW3_OR_BUST t1_j8mypbw wrote

Kinda indistinguishable if it works all the same. Either way, nobody knows how the heck it works, but it works.


HazHonorAndAPenis t1_j8n6rdi wrote

I mean, it's creating a defined mesh of the part and the forces for each connection point on said mesh are calculated utilizing a defined matrix and some good old fashioned math, which you could do by hand but would take an untold amount of lifetimes for a single part.

But yeah, Topological optimization and generative design are really the same thing.


BeardySi t1_j8nu6g8 wrote

This. Design optimisation is design optimisation however you get there.


TrumpetSC2 t1_j8n1852 wrote

The NASA one is created by a genetic algorithm, not AI or machine learning


Randommaggy t1_j8njz0p wrote

Genetic algorithm is more accurately described as AI than most "AI" Tools out there.


TrumpetSC2 t1_j8nl8mf wrote

IDK I work in a lab that does genetic algorithms work and I think most of the grad students/profs working on GAs would oppose that point of view


Randommaggy t1_j8oi1yp wrote

How is a genetic algorithm that optimizes for a set of constraints fundamentally different from a GAN or reinforcement learning model except in implementation details and resource-efficiency?
The discriminative network in a GAN is the provider of constraints aka part of the training dataset or the measurer of fitness.
The generative network proposes solutions and refines it's weights based on the fitness of the output.

There are differences but the premise is more similar than dissimilar.

Your funding would also likely be better if you could convince people that it is a form of AI maybe branded as a subcategory of supervised reinforcement learning.


TrumpetSC2 t1_j8onhk8 wrote

There is a big terminology issue going on here.

A GA is fundamentally different from AI because a GA does a very specific thing: It evaluates a set of solutions (called a population) and uses some method to choose some of those to reproduce (selection) and then recombines some of them (crossover), and applies random changes (mutation) to generate the next population, and iterates hopefully increasing fitness over time. It is an algorithm for optimizing solutions, and is not specific to things like learning systems or neural nets.

GANs are neural networks trained in a specific process, where there are networks that are solving the problem and networks that are trying to generate difficult input, to put it simply.

Reinforcement learning is a broad learning approach that covers a ton of different learning algorithms all with their own secret sauce, and it can be applied to decision making agents of many kinds, including neural nets and AI systems, but also other things like simple robots with state machines.

It would be incredibly disingenuous to say GAs are AI/ML, equivalent to GANs or a kind of reinforcement learning because those things are all very different and specific in ways that they aren't compatible ideas.

For example, some GA researchers use GAs to generate patches to buggy code. This has nothing to do with learning, there is never a model of the program, the evolved solution is purely a patch description of code. It bears no resemblance to these other methods and has nothing to do with neural nets/ai/etc. It makes no sense to try to lump these things together when some are concepts, some are algorithms, some are specific neural network designs, all with different components, purposes, and applications.

Now they can be used in conjunction. Like if you have ever heard of NEAT, it is a GA for evolving neural networks, and the neural networks are AI/ML. Also you can evolve an agent for a reinforcement learning process, but they would be separate steps. Neither is a subset of the other.


ThirdEncounter t1_j8nsn96 wrote

Where's the intelligence in genetic evolution? Intelligence is an outcome of evolution, not part of it.


Randommaggy t1_j8ohpv5 wrote

Where is the intelligence in the glorified inverted indexes with result blending bolted to them that are paraded about these days?
Inventing authors and papers that sound plausible when asked for citations is a strong indication that the smoke and mirrors make people ascribe a lot of intelligence that is simply not there.


brihamedit t1_j8nqi5j wrote

Nice. This is like proper next gen scifi stuff. I wanna see how human body support structure would look like considering all strength and weight issues in the body, in this evolved structures style. I wanna see one version for the inside support structure and another one for outside like a body suit.


MetricVeil t1_j8mgh1n wrote

Really interesting read. Thanks for posting. I had never heard of 'generative design' before. :)


troyunrau t1_j8o68s8 wrote


Basically, letting the computer fill spaces using some constraints. Artists love it. But also, for example, game designers (need to create a forest? Well, you could 3D model each tree, or create a generator that generates 3D models of trees...)


MetricVeil t1_j8oydoo wrote

For me, it is the engineering aspect that I find the more intriguing. A kind of applied evolution to creating optimal structures. :)


Qeric99 t1_j8pwtg6 wrote

Same concept as directed evolution in the life sciences. Don’t know exactly how to make something better? Let iteration and selection handle it for you.


MetricVeil t1_j8v4uah wrote

>Let iteration and selection handle it for you.

Yep, computers have been a boon in that respect.

Reminds me of an old Sci-Fi trope of alien ships being 'grown', not constructed.


dCLCp t1_j8mgiul wrote

I would have appreciated if they highlighted some of the downsides in this article. There is always a downside. Just off the top of my head, we know that these "thousands of bespoke parts" work, but we don't know how they work precisely. They can make predictions and hopefully nothing breaks in a way we don't understand (because it works in a way we don't understand) but as projects become increasingly sophisticated with more and more moving parts and separate contracts layers of siloed bureaucracy... eventually the people that designed part A will make something that interacts with part L in a way that they didn't predict because the parts weren't designed in concert from the ground up. They were designed separately and artificially. The parameters were known but parameters change. Mistakes also happen. How resilient will these parts be when suprises happen?


youarenotyourstuff t1_j8motvt wrote

I agree that downsides should be discussed along with benefits.

I disagree that we don’t know how they work. Part of the process of generating these designs is defining the interfaces to other parts, the loads and the pass/fail criteria. You literally have to define how it works to the algorithm to get the design in the first place.

If you get those things wrong, even classically designed parts can fail. Garbage in yields garbage out.

This is also the reason for validation. Validation often finds unanticipated or misunderstood interactions and manufacturing defects. Which is why it’s needed regardless of design method.

And if a part fails, then you know something in the process (design or manufacturing) is flawed and you chase down the root cause, find an effective solution and correct the process that produced the issue.

Basically, it’s all standard engineering practices for bespoke designs. It’s not easy, but it’s nothing new.


dCLCp t1_j8mr1nk wrote

What do you think are the downsides?

Someone else mentioned standards. It's impossible to standardize anything when everything is bespoke. What else?


youarenotyourstuff t1_j8mtm65 wrote

A big one is that designing with this process means at every step you are highly dependent on complex software modeling. Instead of using well known design rules to develop your design, you have to run a sophisticated algorithm that probably needs a hefty amount of compute power. Then you have to run FEA on literally every part, again needing lots of resources. That kind of software isn’t cheap and neither are the computer clusters.

Also, you have to put a lot of effort into defining your requirements very precisely and uncovering hidden requirements. For example, if you need a lot of strength in a part do you need that in both directions or only one? If you only need strength in one direction the best solution might be a steel cable, but I don’t know if there algorithms would consider that.

There’s also part integration. Things have to be designed for manufacturing and service (part tolerance stack up, order of operations, tool and hand clearances, etc.)

You also have to carefully consider your validation and what assumptions it makes about the parts that might no longer be true.

In the end, generative design is probably only worth the effort for specific parts or even portions of those parts, not the whole product.


____Theo____ t1_j8ny30p wrote

But all of these considerations are also in play when you design something without the gen algo. This is just engineering lol


youarenotyourstuff t1_j8o99hm wrote

Yeah that’s my point. All the normal engineering steps apply for sure. Just some of them are made more difficult due to a complex shape instead of a beam.


Khaylain t1_j8n3fig wrote

There's also a problem with adding on stuff later. For example you have some brackets to hold something, one made classically with mostly square shapes, the other with this type.

Then you later need to add some way to attach another thing to the bracket. With the classic version there might be the option to just add some threaded holes and it's done, with the AI/topographical version you'll probably have to start "from scratch".


C-D-W t1_j8myxi8 wrote

I disagree. We know exactly why they work because they are using Finite Element Analysis to test them, just like we would with any other part.

In fact, the neat part about this process is that they are basically using FEA in reverse to create them. So we're using math that we know works from zillions of different validations on traditional parts - and feeding that into an algorithm that just connects the load point dots in the most efficient way possible given certain constraints.

So I would say it's more reliable than you give it credit for.

But the biggest downside, and the reason you won't probably ever see this style of design used more widely is that manufacturability is a huge pain and/or expensive. Outside of 3D printing technology, these things are very hard to actually construct.


dCLCp t1_j8mzagt wrote

Mmm yes thank you this is the type of input I was hoping for.


t6jesse t1_j8mpkpx wrote

I think the AI is using the same software tools as humans are to analyze each iteration's strength - it's not thinking in some alien language. Also it's reacting to prompts and parameters set by humans. The only difference is it has the patience to brute-force every possible solution, whereas human engineers usually think in terms of what they've seen before.

I think all the issues you've laid out are issues that any large and sophisticated project would face, not specifically an Ai-powered one.


dCLCp t1_j8mqus4 wrote

That's fine but the main thrust of my point (hence why I lead with it) is there ARE downsides. And they didn't discuss those which makes this article less good because I'd already heard about them doing this stuff. I knew it was being used, and while this article did elaborate more than some random scimag article I read 7 years ago that was talking in theoretical terms, it should have also elaborated more on the downsides because this type of writing is almost sensationalistic when that is the exact opposite that I want from science journalism. I want to know the whole truth.


____Theo____ t1_j8nzeli wrote

I think your confusing this tool as some panacea where engineering input is no longer needed. It’s not automating the whole design process. It’s just a tool for one part of it, all the additional concerns you have mentioned are part of the engineering process. If you have AI start dictating the requirements, inputs, and validation then yea that gets scary. This is just a design tool


dCLCp t1_j8obwc2 wrote

I think you are missing my point entirely which is merely that we deserve to know more.

That's it. Everything else is just me speculating as an example and your own assumptions about ME based on those speculations while ignoring the only thing I cared about.


____Theo____ t1_j8opcx2 wrote

I hear what your saying. I should mention that I am a mechanical engineer. And to directly address your original post. Your concerned that it’s not clear that the part is designed to appropriately handle the loads or that conditions may change and it may no longer work properly.

The part design can only be robust enough to handle the conditions it is designed for. Getting the right requirements is the first step of the design process. If the requirements change the part would need to be totally re evaluated. This would be true wether it’s designed traditionally or not.

Both methods evaluate the part in the same way. The same simulation of the part would be done (fea). I don’t see any point where the engineer would not be sure if the part can withstand load conditions given. There’s no hidden magic.

TL/DR Wether it’s an organic shape or traditional design. They are evaluated for suitability/ strength the same way. And in both cases the design is only as good as the requirements given. If requirements change, designs always need to be re-evaluated no matter the method the geometry was formed.


Arbiter51x t1_j8mifz1 wrote

I think that major problem is nothing in these designs can be certified to be built to any form of technical standard or building code.

We see this problem in the nuclear industry all the time- its very difficult to advance new building codes when you are locked into ASME / ASTM and 10CFR because they all rely on underlying codes (B31, B51) which are built on decades old, proven design. Everything in Nuclear is mission critical, and I would imagine it's the same in Space travel. High quality, proven design, based on established codes and known calculations to back them up. That is proper engineering design.


youarenotyourstuff t1_j8mq5tb wrote

Aerospace is completely different to building design.

In aerospace designs are custom out of necessity due to each part being highly mass optimized, interdependent on other parts and having different design goals and trade offs from project to project. Also, each part is highly validated and inspected as well as painstakingly assembled in (usually) very clean environments. The exact safety factor of the product is well known and controlled to a low ratio.

In building design, designs are using either commodity parts or commodity materials that are produced too much less exacting precision, often made on site exposed to the elements. So design knows the exact safety factor isn’t known and needs to be large to make up for this. There’s also always human lives at risk.

So building design rightfully has to be very conservative, regulated and has no impetus to change quickly. Aerospace design has to be less prescriptive and less safe just to make it to orbit. That doesn’t mean there’s not a ton of very good engineering involved in both fields, it just means more design freedom for aerospace.


Arbiter51x t1_j8mrazc wrote

Is it possible to do design validation for designs like in the article?


C-D-W t1_j8my5am wrote

I think the idea that most parts aren't already bespoke is a misconception. Everything structural on a rocket or space craft is bespoke. Only built for that craft. Maybe only built a handful of times. So that part is nothing new.

Validation for these designs would be no different than anything else. Finite Element Analisys (FEA) would be used first to evaluate the structure and any changes required to meet the specification would be made before prototyping.

However, what's neat about these procedurally generated parts is that it basically is FEA in reverse. Instead of doing design iteration from idea to part - you just tell it the specification and it designs a part that meets that out of the gate.

The only real downside is that you're much more limited on manufacturability. Either it can't be made using traditional methods and requires 3D printing. Or maybe it can be made on a CNC milling machine but it requires a 7+ axis machine center and takes 100x longer to make. Which for some parts might actually be fine, but for others the added cost would never make sense.

Really interesting topic I'd say.


youarenotyourstuff t1_j8mu4yq wrote

Yes. These designs are basically highly optimized, non-uniform load structures. You validate their load capability the same way you validate complex parts designed by humans: finite element analysis (FEA).

Edit: FEA is how you validate before your first prototype is made. You also CNC or 3D print a prototype and physically stress it just like any other part. Design validation is NOT just done on paper. It also is done on prototypes made using non-production equipment / tooling.


r_a_d_ t1_j8mymq6 wrote

FEA is actually part of the generation process... It's basically iterating different designs and validating many times. So the output of the process is already at least FEA validated. You would then do all the additional validation that you would typically do on a classically designed part as well.


Portmanteau_that t1_j8oxlc0 wrote

It's the same in the medical field as well. Extensive V&V for any 'new' device, even if it's based on predicate devices. I think a lot of laypeople aren't aware of the quality and regulatory requirements already in place for industries like these.


J3SS1KURR t1_j8ooell wrote

I was about to say the article does mention it, but I went back and reread to confirm and realized I had used my own knowledge to supplement or something because yeah, they literally don't talk about the cons of this tech in the article at all. That's bad. I guess I understand why after looking at the type of the content the site produces, but it's still disingenuous when the crux of this problem right now is figuring out whether these designs will hold up at the microscopic/atomic level under the extreme temperature and pressure forces, states, and changes they'll be routinely subject to. Besides sending them up to test, there isn't currently a nice way to ensure the performance specs.

I think the tech itself is great. I'm also really fond of the innovations they've made with sound waves at Fabrisonic--for the longest time it seemed like magic because I couldn't wrap my mind around weaving sound waves into physically-real metals. After reading a couple research papers and going through the math/physics, I finally have a handle on it and how clever it is. It reminds me of the foundations of string theory. Both generative-design techs will undoubtedly lead to innovations and spin-off techs in other industries; biomedical being a primary branch.

I'm a biophysicist by title, but I have graduate degrees in astro/computational physics as well so this is definitely something I've been keen on. I'd love to ultimately get to work with the tech via collaboration or get something in my lab for student research if that's ever a possibility. It's a really cool next step to take that I think is brilliant. We already hijack so many natural processes in the lab (gene copying/tagging, medicines, plasmid-insertions etc.), that it makes sense to use a more biological process in the scaffolding of aerospace and rocket engineering as well.

The cons are extra important to pinpoint. Especially to the engineers, researchers, and scientists who are particularly interested in generative design. Finding ways to solve those problems are the very reasons some people even exist in these industries at all. I'm actually really impressed at the time scales they have this operating at. I'd be interested in seeing exactly what changes it comes up with on average in 2-4 hours period. That's an insane turnaround time. I was expecting changes on the level of days or weeks. Thus, I'm also curious about how the system is evolving and analyzing each generation. At this point I'm just rambling though, so I'll leave it at that. I agree, they should have outlined the key issues alongside the benefits.


-GuyFleegman t1_j8o48sx wrote

This seems like really great technology that could have a big impact in other industries eventually as well. Maybe 20 years from now we'll start seeing bony iterated frames showing up in cars.


ClassicManeuver t1_j8qmapx wrote

Maybe! For now, this seems too costly for mass uptake. Not the computing, but the manufacturing. What they’re marketing is truly marvelous with regard to the efficiency, but it’s still wayyyyyyyyy cheaper to cnc something that’s good enough. Give it another ten to twenty years… baby you’ve got a stew going.


Server16Ark t1_j8nm7fz wrote

I think that these sorts of articles are confusing the larger cost driver here: the payload. Other SpaceX-tier companies can emerge in the realm of cost per kilogram, but if you look at the total cost of one of their F9 launches, it rarely ever comes close to the price of the payload. Where price per kilo actually does matter in these instances are for small-sats and there just isn't a big enough market for small-sats to ensure the sort of growth you'd want. There are small-sat launchers out there, and a lot of them are trying to figure out ways they can amortize the cost of their vehicle toward zero (full reuse, never needing to do maintenance or minimal maintenance, barebones number of employees), since the market for small-sats just isn't anywhere near as large. The problem has lessened a bit now that the launchers have managed to exist longer than a few years, but I don't think we'll ever see a small-sat launch market that's anywhere near as healthy as the medium and heavy payload ones.

If NASA actually wants to make costs go down, they ought it be focusing on how they can construct their next space telescope at a tenth the cost, not focus on how to make rockets cheaper. Someone else will figure out how to do that, but no one is looking at the payload issue.


Decronym t1_j8on4c1 wrote

Acronyms, initialisms, abbreviations, contractions, and other phrases which expand to something larger, that I've seen in this thread:

|Fewer Letters|More Letters| |-------|---------|---| |CNC|Computerized Numerical Control, for precise machining or measuring| |DMLS|Selective Laser Melting additive manufacture, also Direct Metal Laser Sintering| |QA|Quality Assurance/Assessment|

^(3 acronyms in this thread; )^(the most compressed thread commented on today)^( has 8 acronyms.)
^([Thread #8570 for this sub, first seen 15th Feb 2023, 21:06]) ^[FAQ] ^([Full list]) ^[Contact] ^([Source code])


Oknight t1_j8p8z12 wrote

>Space launch costs have dropped like a stone over the last decade or two, but it still ain't cheap to lift mass into orbit – SpaceX's best prices are still well over US$1,000 per kilogram (2.2 lb).

People have SERIOUSLY not internalized what's about to happen.