Boeing looks to build 3D-printed modular satellites

Boeing Co. is taking steps to build satellites more quickly through new production practices that will rely more on 3D printing and involve fewer workers, which eventually could transform the aerospace giant’s traditional way of turning out high-end commercial and military spacecraft, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The company’s proposed changes, spelled out in an interview by Paul Rusnock, who leads Boeing’s satellite business, have already taken hold in the small-satellite world and shaken up that segment of the industry.

“Our roadmaps are really focused on simplifying the overall architecture and design of satellites so they can be assembled more quickly,” Rusnock said. “Making them simpler, easier to put together” also reduces production glitches, he said. The effort is part of management’s latest bid to become more competitive in an evolving industry. “We cannot continue to do what we’ve been doing and stay competitive,” he said.

Historically, satellites generally have relied on highly customized, by-hand assembly procedures that slowed production and boosted costs. But starting with small satellites, proponents of change are devising new methods that entail bringing together standardized, pretested modular components and sidestepping most of the painstaking testing and integration currently carried out on the factory floor.

Now, internal test protocols “basically tell the spacecraft to check itself,” Rusnock said.

The outcome, according to Boeing officials, ultimately is likely to reduce the longevity of some communications satellites – potentially cutting in half today’s typical useful life of 15 years or more – partly by eliminating certain expensive redundant systems on board.

The benefits of the new process, according to Rusnock, are slated to be lower acquisition costs for operators while provide them greater opportunities to launch upgraded technology before hardware becomes outdated in orbit.

Boeing’s satellite models typically take five years to design and build. Some of them can be as large as a school bus, weigh thousands of pounds and cost roughly $150 million. The number of satellites built annually can be counted on two hands.

Ultimately, Rusnock said, “there’s nothing stopping us” from realizing huge reductions in production schedules. Final assembly and painting of an entire Boeing 737 jetliner takes 11 days, he noted, “and we’re looking in that direction as to how we make that happen” for spacecraft.


source of article


Bobwi mini robot

Today it was announced that Netram will be bringing our version of “Bobwi” mini robot to market within the next 3-4 weeks. it will be available for purchase online at an affordable price,  for shipping throughout South Africa, so watch this space. Ours will be smaller compact version which will be ideal for younger kids to experiment with. This will give young minds an opportunity to develop and explore while having fun. They will be able to control the robot using their own smartphones. How cool is that?

Have a look at these videos to see some of the features you can look forward to.

Another version showing some dancing moves.  the possibilities are endless.


You want five reasons to teach your child robotics?

  1. Its fun
  1. A great way to introduce programming to young minds

Programming can be too daunting. By having control of a physical robot and seeing what goes wrong, young minds can learn what robots can and can’t do. They also learn the need for precise instructions. Robotics stimulates demand for teaching science, technology, engineering and maths in schools. Young minds learn about science, engineering and maths and get to understand the interrelationship of how these subjects link together.

  1. Provides them with useful job skills for future employment

There will be a need for people to be program mechanical devices in the near distant future. The drone industry has taken off. By programming robots at an early age, kids can discover if they have aptitude and interest in technology and robotic science and create a career path for themselves.

  1. Suitable for all children

Robotics are particularly suitable for engaging with children diagnosed with autism.  Robotics are great for  games and teaching skills to autistic children.  Repetition, predictability and clear emotions work well in developing these children.

  1. Demystifies Robotics

Understanding what machines can and can’t do is the best way to address fears of the unknown. By trying to build and program robots will gives children appreciation of their own capabilities and strengths. and its FUN!!

Prints here! Get your Prints!

With 3D Printers on the market priced between R10,000 to R25,000, we understand they are not the cheapest machines in the world but they are probably one of the most handiest. We’ve had a few situations where guys have needed a print done but simply can’t afford their own 3D printer, we have found a solution for  this.

Print Picture 2

Netram will now be rendering 3D Printing as a service. If you’re looking to get something printed and you have the model file available, all you need to do is send the artwork to us and we will get back to you with a quote, No problem.

We will soon be offering an artwork service for people who need a model to be made up, so if you’re looking to print a part that goes on the contraption for your What-cha-majig that no one has heard of, we’ll soon be able to help you out, but we will keep you updated when that service is available.

For now, your print sizes are limited to 200x200x200mm, which is pretty huge if you ask me. To give a ballpark figure, the calculation on price per print will depend entirely on the weight and time, The bigger the object or the more solid you need the object to be, will effect the price and vice versa. The file formats we accept are .OBJ .STL .DXF.  To get a quote, just send us an email with your artwork to

Print picture1

if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us an email or simply let us know in the comment section below.

Introducing Netram’s Nano

We have been on a 3D printing binge for quite a while here at Netram and it’s only for good reason as today we’ve hit a very important and exciting milestone. We are proud to announce our very own desktop 3D printer. Please welcome the NANO!

The NANO desktop 3D printer is entirely developed and assembled right here in South Africa. Containing a print volume of 200x200x200mm and total frame dimensions of  343x334x387mm, makes it small and light weight but still capable of printing the large sizes you’re looking for.The Nano uses unique extruding technology that our development team has refined, to produce prints down to 0.1mm layer heights at really fast speeds. It has a heated build platform which allows of printing any filament available from us including PLA, ABS, PVA, Flexible and Conductive filaments. It also has its own transparent doors on the side and the top to retain the heat, resulting in very little lift, these doors can be clipped on and off at any time.


Here are some of the technical specifications available for it:

  • Printing Method: Fused Filament Fabrication
  • Printing area: 200 x 200 x 200 mm +/- 5mm
  • Nozzle: 0.4mm (Interchangable)
  • Filament diameter: 1.75 mm
  • External dimensions: 343 x 334 x 387mm
  • Supported Filaments: ABS,PLA, Flexible, Nylon
  • Heated bed for minimal curling
  • Layer Height: Down to 0.1mm
  • Connectivity: USB and SD Card Printing

Despite all the technical jargon that you may or may not understand, with a little less light, The Nano looks beautiful!


The Nano is now currently available for purchase with a 3 week production lead time. For more information and photos, check out the product page

Rolling Out with New 3D Printing Filament!

As we all know, 3D printing filament is the blood of your 3D printer and If you’ve been in the 3D Printing industry for as long as I have, you’ll notice that finding a steady stream of good quality filament in South Africa can be really difficult, especially at prices that won’t break the bank. That’s a hurdle you just won’t ever need to jump again in the future. We are currently offering pre-orders for new 3D printing filament from Esun, so you have the chance to get your stock for a few months at a cheaper rate than you would get it anywhere else.

Esun is a 3D Printing filament manufacturer who has been working on their filament for over 10 years now, with that much experience at hand, they have their filament down to a very fine art. Their colours are gorgeous and their filament has zero diameter variance. They have been mentioned in the Make Magazine: Buyers guide to 3D Printing and have won numerous awards at 3D printing expo’s around the world for their A class quality filament. They are also the manufacturers of a new cleaning filament which is creating a stir on threads around the net. This cleaning filament will help cleanse your extruder of any filament residual and unclog filament jams. This is also available for pre-order from us, along with a conductive, flexible and UV reactive filament.

Check out the pre-order category now available on our website to reserve your stock. The Filament should land with us around the middle of October but don’t worry, a more specific date will be announced closer to the time.

3D-Printer-Filament-Blog1It’s all great having new filament, provided you have a 3D printer. So keep your eyes peeled regarding our exciting news coming up soon regarding printers!