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3D Aerospace Printing

Boeing 3D Printing

By i3d

The Use Of 3D Printing At Boeing

The Use Of 3D Printing At Boeing

The use of 3D printing at Boeing is alive and strong and here’s how they are using it. Leo Christodoulou is the Director of Structures and Materials, Enterprise Operations and Technology at Boeing  (NYSE:BA). During a presentation at the recent Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace, Defense and Space conference he gave insights into how 3D printing is increasingly used at the world’s largest aerospace company and the largest U.S. manufacturing exporter.

The Pentagon just recently awarded Boeing a $679 million deal for the Super Hornet spacecraft which features at least 150 parts made using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) metal 3D printing. To date, there are more than 50,000 additive manufacturing parts being used successfully on Boeing aircraft.

Christodoulou, explaining the advantages to additive manufacturing, said:

AM holds at least three promising advantages. First, AM enables designs with novel geometries that would be difficult or impossible to achieve using CM processes, which can improve a component’s engineering performance. Second, AM can reduce the “cradle-to-gate” environmental footprints of component manufacturing through avoidance of the tools, dies, and materials scrap associated with CM processes. Third, novel geometries enabled by AM technologies can also lead to performance and environmental benefits in a component’s product application.

The general belief from Boeing’s perspective is that 3D printing will dominate tooling and it can cut costs by up to 70% which is extremely significant.  Additionally, Boeing sees ways that additive manufacturing can actually begin to create new design innovations and architectures.

future of additive manufacturing

By i3d

The Future Of Additive Manufacturing

The Future Of Additive Manufacturing

Last year, GE made headlines in the Additive Manufacturing world when they announced the purchase of Arcam AB and Concept Laser. This was the largest deal to date in the 3D printing industry. GE, somewhat of a newcomer to 3D metal printing, is now helping to push and define the future of additive manufacturing.

GE’s current Chief Productivity Officer and Senior Vice President, Philippe Cochet spoke many years ago about how, “the application of insights from digital connectivity with intelligent devices will elevate the skills of our workforce.”

As GE has ventured into the industry, they have defined three levels of thinking about additive manufacturing at an industrial level:

  • Component thinking
  • Systems thinking
  • DfAM (tearing down the product and designing for additive manufacturing)

The well known CFM LEAP-1A Fuel Nozzle is classed as level 1 additive thinking. In this case additive manufacturing was applied to an existing multi piece part, reducing the number of components from 20 to a single piece. One particularly costly process that was eliminated by the move to 3D printing was that a nickel alloy brazed together with  foils using gold, in traditional nozzle method is no longer required.

An example of level 2 thinking is the CT7 Combustor. This was an 18 month project on an engine that powers fixed wing craft. By using 3D printing, over 100 pieces were consolidated into one. (systems thinking)

Level 3, however, is where GE is today. An example is the Advanced Turboprop engine (ATP). 855 parts were reduced to 12 and the new process eliminated structural castings (though some casting is still required). The ATP has 20% lowered mission fuel burn, 5% weight reduction and the test schedule was reduced from 12 to 6 months.

Achieving these types of results is what will be driving additive manufacturing and the future of the industry. This gives freedom to enterprises seeking to push the boundaries of what is possible.

3D Printing Aerospace

By i3d

3D Printing Aerospace With Donald Godfrey

3D Printing Aerospace With Donald Godfrey

Donald Godfrey of Honeywell is a pioneer is the additive manufacturing segment, and more specifically the use of 3D metal printing (DMLS) for Aerospace parts at Honeywell. He recently sat down for an interview (podcast) and discussed 3D printing Aerospace in regards to how rapid prototyping is providing incredible time and cost savings as well as detailing what engineering students need to know and be doing in school right now if they want to pursue this field.

Don is the chair to the Honeywell Aerospace Intellectual Property Steering Committee for Additive Manufacturing Technology. He’s responsible for the integration of 3D printing into the business cultures, really trying to find ways to put that into different areas within the company.

During the interview, we learn that Honeywell has really been a huge champion for 3D printing and specifically in the aerospace segment.  Don gave a great example,

Let me give you an example. When we do turbine blades, we don’t do turbine blades and it’s not our intention to do turbine blades in production. But for prototype, we do. It may take three years to get your hands on a production blade. Typically, what happens is that after you get that cast blade and it’s machined perfectly to print, you’ll flow air through it or you’ll put it in an engine test. Some engineer will want to go and change it.

That is a real problem because the tooling, to get to that point, you’ve already spent $600,000, $700,000, you’ve waited three years and now somebody wants to go change it. That means that tool that you just spent three quarters of a million dollars on, somebody’s out there machining on it. With this technology, what I can do is print those blades in about two weeks.

I can print what we call a rainbow of blades. Meaning, I can make some just a little bit different than others. Maybe the openings are a couple of thousandths larger or maybe the shapes just a slight differentiation from the baseline. I can do all of that in less than a month. Then, I can, say, if I made five different shapes of blades, I can take the best blade and then take that CAD file, go back to the casting house and say, “Make this.”

That’s some really good insight into what the future of this industry is. Don had a lot more to say and some incredible examples of how DMLS is shaping an entirely new generation of engineers and manufacturing industries.  You can listen to the podcast here.

 

By i3d

Historic 3D Printed Rocket Engine Flight by Bagaveev Corporation

Historic 3D Printed Rocket Engine Flight by Bagaveev Corporation

I3D MFG 3D prints rocket thrusters in metal for Bagaveev Corporation. Bagaveev wanted to show how far the technology has moved and relevant Powder Laser Forging is by publishing a video on YouTube that shows their historic test of its 3D printed rocked engine flight.

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By i3d

U.S. Air Force General Proclaims Additive Manufacturing As A Massive Game Changer

Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) has been a rising trend that has the potential to revolutionize nearly everything we manufacture from human organs to mechanical components to firearm parts.

General Ellen Pawlikowski, Commander of the Air Force Material Command, compared the importance of additive manufacturing to other game-changing technologies like hypersonics, directed energy, and autonomy, stating,

“If you were to ask me what’s the fourth game changer, in my mind it’s additive manufacturing.”

I3D MFG agrees with these statements as they have been at the forefront of this  game-changing technology for nearly two years now, producing some of the most complex and revolutionary parts for their aerospace, firearms, heat exchanger and thruster clients

For the Air Force, these types of 3D metal parts, including flexible electronics, sensors, fuzes, energetics and warheads, help AFRL achieve the longer-term goal of using technologies like DMLS to rapidly prototype advanced capabilities for warfighters.

Dr. Amanda Schrand, principal investigator for FLEGOMAN at the AFRL/RW stated,

“We are maturing additive manufacturing to address technical challenges in fuze technology and ordnance sciences to increase the lethality of small weapons, and enable modular and flexible weapons. We also hope to decrease the time it takes to refresh critical components as well as decrease the cost to produce a weapon and its components. We are currently focusing on additively manufacturing survivable fuze electronics such as detonators, switches, capacitors and traces, leveraging the expertise of our colleagues at the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Sensors Directorate, Air Force Institute of Technology and Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. Additionally, we are developing tailorable, lightweight, cellular warhead cases and structural reactive materials that offer strength and energy on demand. Finally, we are exploring ways to improve energetic materials by printing them rather than pouring them.”

I3D MFG, is able to use their experience and engineering to design, recommend,  and produce advanced metal components using additive manufacturing (DMLS) in order to fuel the next-generation of 3D metal printing techniques.

DMLS Warheads

By i3d

New Case Studies: Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) Optimization Warheads And Aircraft Wings

We have added two new case studies to our DMLS Resource Library.  Major David Liu and others at the Airforce Institute of Technology (AFIT) have published groundbreaking studies based on Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) optimization of aircraft wings and lattice-reinforced penetrative warheads.

Topology Optimization Of An Aircraft Wing

For the additive manufacturing industry and specifically DMLS aircraft printing, this is a very important study.  Here’s the summary from the white paper which can be found here in our library:

Topology optimization was conducted on a three-dimensional wing body in order to enhance structural performance and reduce overall weight of the wing. The optimization was conducted using commercial software on an aircraft wing with readily available schematics, allowing a stress and displacement analysis. Optimizations were accomplished with an objective of minimizing overall compliance while maintaining an overall design-space volume fraction of less than 30 percent. A complete wing segment was post processed and 3D printed. Future analysis involves the optimization of a complete wing body with comparison to the baseline structure. The resulting designs will be 3D printed and wind-tunnel tested for process verification. A design will also be manufactured using metallic additive manufacturing techniques as a proof of concept for future aircraft design. The final optimized solution is expected to provide a weight savings between 15 and 25 percent.

 

Topology Optimization of Additively-Manufactured, Lattice-Reinforced Penetrative Warheads

A second case study along with a great presentation by Captain Hayden K. Richards and Major David Liu discusses the groundbreaking effect of DMLS on lattice-reinforced warheads. Penetrative warheads, characterized by massive, strong, and tough solid cylindrical cases with ogive noses, are generally manufactured using traditional techniques such as subtractive fabrication processes. In these processes, material is removed from pre-formed solid masses to produce simple shapes.

Recently, the development of sophisticated additive manufacturing (AM) machines, known colloquially as 3D printers, has revolutionized the process of building metal parts.

Visit our library for access to these incredible studies which help to reinforce the growing use of DMLS in critical industries such as aerospace and firearms.

i3DMFG-3D-Printing-Services-Aerospace

By i3d

3D Printed Rocket Parts? Yes!

Are companies successfully making 3D printed rocket parts?  As the 3D metal printing industry continues to mature using technologies like Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) for bridge manufacturing using metals such as Inconel and Titanium, there has been an uptick in the number of successful 3D printed rocket parts.

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By Erin Stone

Can 3D Metal Printed Rocket Parts Hold Up To Stress Tests?

As part of it’s AR1 booster engine project, Aeroject Rocketdyne put some 3D printed rocket parts under fire. The parts were subjected to a round of hot-fire tests in preparation for an AR1 engine production by 2019.  Can 3D Printed parts hold up to such strenuous and exhaustive testing?

A little background.  Aerojet Rocketdyne is currently developing the AR1 for full production.  The AR1 is a 500,000 lb thrust-class liquid oxygen/kerosene booster engine which is an American-made alternative to the likes of the Russian built RD-180.   Aerojet is preparing for the replacement of the RD-180 due to a new rule from the National Defense Authorization Act which was enacted in 2015 that calls for the replacement of the RD-180 for “national security space launches by 2019.”

Due to the function of a booster engine, these types of tests come at an important time for 3D metal printed parts.  The industry is experiencing significant growth in the use of Inconel and Titanium metal powder printing which has yielded incredible results in not only the aerospace industry but in the firearms and medical industries as well.

In order to bring the AR1 to market by 2019, testing has to begin now and it’s an incredible amount of heat and stress they are placing these 3D metal printed parts under. The motivation for these hot-fire tests was an evaluation of various main injector element designs and fabrication methods.

A few of the injectors were fabricated using Selective Laster Melting (SLM) and Aerojet has invested heavily into the use of SLM capabilities for rocket engine applications.

Aerojet Rocketdyne fully believes that the AR1 single-element hot-fire tests are the highest pressure hot-fire tests (over 2,000 psi) of a 3D metal printed part in rocket engine application.  Because of the success of these tests, Aerojet Rocketdyne says that 3D metal printing will account for a potential 70% reduction in cost for production of the main injector, and a possible nine-month reduction in part lead times.

So. Can 3D metal printed rocket parts hold up to extreme stress testing? Yes!  And this is just the beginning of an upward trend as 3D metal printing using Inconel, Titanium, and Maraging Steel see massive success in other large industries such as firearms and medical.  Stay tuned for your next 3D printed car….

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Boeing 3D Printing
The Use Of 3D Printing At Boeing
future of additive manufacturing
The Future Of Additive Manufacturing
3D Printing Aerospace
3D Printing Aerospace With Donald Godfrey
Hot-Fire Tests Show 3D Printed Rocket Parts Rival Traditionally Manufactured Parts
U.S. Air Force General Proclaims Additive Manufacturing As A Massive Game Changer
DMLS Warheads
New Case Studies: Additive Manufacturing (DMLS) Optimization Warheads And Aircraft Wings
i3DMFG-3D-Printing-Services-Aerospace
3D Printed Rocket Parts? Yes!
DMLS Stands Out as 2015 Focal 3D Printing Technology