i3D MFG Services Request a Quote
I3DMFGI3DMFG

3D Aerospace Printing

By Stephanie Wehrhan

What can be 3D printed? Talking Materials

What can be 3D printed? Talking Materials

There are many options for metal materials in the world of 3D printing. The most common metals used to print parts are Aluminum, Titanium, Inconel, and Stainless Steel. Each of these metals hold unique properties that set them apart from one another. Depending on the desired use of the part, certain materials are more sought after for specific applications and performance vs others.

Aluminum is widely used in the Aerospace industry because of its lightweight material properties. Aluminum has a high strength-to-weight ratio, low density, and natural anti-corrosive properties meaning it doesn’t degrade due to oxidation. AlSi10 is i3D MFG’s most common aluminum powder and generates a high success rate in parts with thin walls and complicated geometries. Another option available is Al6061, which is a highly ductile and cost effective aluminum that prints more than 50% faster than AlSi10. For this reason, it’s becoming more popular in the AM industry for customers seeking faster build times.

Titanium is another popular choice for customers seeking high corrosion resistance with their parts. Similar to Aluminum, Titanium provides low weight and high strength making it an ideal material for Aerospace and Automotive applications. Titanium is commonly used as an alloying element with Aluminum or Steel to achieve specific properties in terms of ductility, strength, and hardness. Ti64 powder is well suited for projects requiring weight reduction and bio-compatibility. Ti64 typically hardens to 36-41 HRC after heat treatment.

Inconel comes from a family of high-performance alloys, known for its strength and resistance to thermal degradation. Because of this, Inconel alloys (such as IN625 and IN718) hold up when used in high temperature applications. Industries such as the Aerospace and Automotive industry use Inconels because they provide superior heat resistance with a typical heat treatment hardness of 40-47 HRC.

Similar to Inconel alloys, Haynes 282 is a super-alloy developed for high temperature structural applications and provides excellent resistance to strain-age cracking. Haynes 282 also has high ductility making it easy to fabricate and machine, because of this it is a popular material choice for the Aerospace and Automotive industry. Haynes 282 powder typically hardens to 20-32 HRC after heat treatment.

Stainless Steel is commonly sought out for projects that require high resistance to heat and corrosion. Our stainless steel powders are medical grade and typically harden to 40-45 HRC after heat treatment. Due to its characteristics, Stainless Steel is a particularly good choice for parts requiring high strength and hardness. Stainless steel parts can be machined, welded, polished, and coated making them ideal for corrosion resistant applications.

Whatever your desired application is, i3D can help assess your needs and provide suggestions for materials that will cause your project to excel. From prototypes to production ready parts, we’re happy to navigate customers through our selection of high-performance metals to help pick the right material for any given project.

I3DMFG Additive Manufacturing EOS

By i3d

How 3D Metal Printing Works (Video)

How 3D Metal Printing Works

So how does 3D metal printing work? Sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics and explore one of the questions many people have about 3D printing. We have all seen the press, the hype and some of the incredible things 3D printing can do, but 3D metal printing (Additive Manufacturing) stands on it’s own when it comes to quality and leadership in paving the way for the new era and generation of manufacturing.

With that, our friends over at Praxair, Inc. have produced this incredible video on how 3d metal printing actually works.

Rocket-Chamber

By i3d

Delphi Precision Imaging Leads Additive Manufacturing Industrial CT Inspection

Delphi Precision Imaging Leads Additive Manufacturing Industrial CT Inspection

One of our incredible partners, Delphi Precision Imaging has just released new videos and materials for their work in Industrial CT Inspection. They are leading the way in Quality Control and Inspection in the 3D Metal Printing industry (Additive Manufacturing). This comes at a critical time when the industry itself is being shaped in terms of quality control, inspections, and overall ability to provide advanced analysis of parts.

Check out Delphi’s newest PDF’s and Videos:

By i3d

I3DMFG Contributes To Industrial CT For Use In Additive Manufacturing

I3DMFG Contributes To Industrial CT For Use In Additive Manufacturing

I3DMFG has been mentioned in an article alongside Delphi Precision Imaging with regards to new part designs that would be impossible with traditional machining methods  and require new measurement tools.

Every day additively manufactured (AM) parts are being used in new applications as the industry rapidly matures. As additive parts become more economical for small productions runs and move beyond use solely in tooling and prototyping, the need to nondestructively inspect parts for quality increases as well.

“Industrial CT is an excellent inspection method for additive parts and components from the automotive, medical implant and aerospace industries where quality and a high degree of reliability are critical,” says Blake Chenevert, president of Delphi Precision Imaging. Computed tomography (CT) has some advantages over other nondestructive inspection methods for additive manufacturing.

There are a lot of challenges currently facing the Additive Manufacturing industry such as defects, parts coming out as intended, yields, and cost/benefits. The article addresses each of these topics head on and in the area of Quality Control Inspection, I3DMFG had this to say,

“As quality requirements evolve inside of a disruptive industry like additive manufacturing, finding tools and innovative approaches to using those tools to advance nondestructive testing methodology is critical,” says Erin Stone, president of I3D MFG, a DLMS printer.

The article continues on to discuss the many areas of quality control and I3D MFG is leading the way to help shape many of these standards as well as creating many of their own which are being recognized industry-wide.

SEDS I3DMFG

By i3d

Successful Rocket Test: SEDS UC San Diego

We were recently notified by SEDS UC San Diego that they had a successful test with their Colossus First Hotfire rocket. EDS UCSD, or Students for the Exploration and Development of Space at the University of California, San Diego, is a collection of motivated, passionate students determined to complement our studies with meaningful projects.

In the video below you can see the rocket launch and feel the excitement of the moment. They credit I3DMFG at the end and we couldn’t have been more happy to be a part of this. Here’s a quote from one of the students:

Over the weekend we conducted a successful test of our rocket engine, and wanted to share the good news! The engine is still in good shape after the test and we’re preparing to push it to it’s limits in September. Thank you for supporting this project, our hard work has paid off!

We can’t wait to see them push the limits!

SEDS I3DMFG

By i3d

I3DMFG Helps Sponsor SEDS Static Rocket Engine Test

I3DMFG Helped Sponsor A successful static rocket engine test by providing a 3D Metal Printed Injector for Colossus which used the Ignus-II engine!

From the SEDS Post on LinkedIn:

The test was conducted on June 16th, 2018 and marked the first successful attempt of a hot-fire of both Colossus and Ignus-II. This is a result of the culmination of over 2 years of work put in by over 60 SEDS members and marks the beginning of the next TEN years, where Colossus will be assisting collegiate rocketry teams everywhere to collect better data on their own engines.

I3DMFG was proud to be a part of this project along with several other sponsors. You can watch the results of this incredible launch in this stunning video.

By i3d

Reimagining Rocket Engine Design With 3D Printing

A UK Software company, Betatype, is pushing engineers to rethink and reimagine rocket engine design using 3D metal printing, or additive manufacturing.

The most recent example comes from a Betatype engineer, Marten Jurg, who has applied this philosophy while working on his postdoctorate degree.

Here’s exactly how they are pushing the boundaries of 3D printing:

  • They have successfully deployed an open file format called Arch which simplifies the handling of complicated CAD files
  • Engine processes an object for production in a powder bed fusion system.
  • Pilot assesses the optimal movements of a laser to produce fine details

Together, these components have allowed Jurg to integrate a fine lattice into the wall of an engine’s shell, resulting in an even cooling of the engine and its contents, typically fueled by liquid hydrogen that must be stored at −252.882 °C (−423.188 °F).

These “optimized” features of Betatype’s platform have enabled the engineers to create a sample of a scaled-down rocket engine printed in Stainless Steel 316L on an EOS M280 machine. Using a bigger machine, another company called AMAERO has taken Betatype’s platform and created an even larger version, bringing it to near operational capacity.

Betatype says this on their company blog,

PART OF OUR AIM WITH WORKING CLOSELY WITH PARTNERS SUCH AS MARTEN IS TO UNDERSTAND THE DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING CHALLENGES THAT EXIST WITHIN INDUSTRIAL ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING [….] BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES THAT DIRECTLY LEARN FROM EMERGING APPLICATIONS IS KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE REAL CHALLENGES FOR AM TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE.

Featured image: Marten Jurg’s rocket engine design, 3D printed with a cooling mesh wall on an EOS M280. Photo via Betatype

3D rocket engine preburn

By i3d

Significant 3D Printed Rocket Engine Milestone Reached

Aerojet Rocketdyne is pushing the 3D printing envelope once again with their latest tests. They recently reported two milestones that have been reached in the development of the 3D printed AR1 rocket engine.

Due to the outcomes of their testing, the AR1 rocket engine is now slated for certification by 2019 which will replace the Russian made RD-180 engine.

According to Aerojet, the “AR1 is the lowest-risk, lowest-cost-to-the-taxpayer and fastest path to eliminating U.S. dependence on foreign suppliers.”

So what part of the engine are 3D printed? The preburner, which drives the engine’s turbomachinery and features Aerojet’s “proprietary Mondaloy™ high-strength, burn resistant nickel-based super alloy.”

This milestone by Aerojet Rocketdyne also moves them a step closer to fulfilling a congressional mandate to end U.S. dependence on Russian engine technology for military launches. The company says that 3D printing is what has enabled them to get to this point.

Passing this milestone was also significant because they had to complete the Critical Design Review phase which has traditionally been harsh to do in regards to 3D printing.  They were able to successfully pass that so it was a huge milestone not only for Aerodyne but for 3D metal printing/additive manufacturing

Aerodyne CEO Eileen Drake explains that this milestone means the engine design is now finalized and confirmed before stating the company is “ready to build our first engine for qualification and certification.”

Aerojet-Rocketdyne-3-D-Printed-Copper-Thrust-Chamber-Assembly

By i3d

Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests 3D Printed Thrust Chamber With Success

Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests 3D Printed Thrust Chamber With Success

Aerojet Rocketdyne, a California based company, announced that they have successfully completed a hot-fire test of their 3D printed thrust chamber.

After the test, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Manufacturing Program Manager, Jeff Hynes, said,

“truly transformative as it opens up new design possibilities and paves the way for a new generation of low-cost rocket engines.”

The hot-fire test was done on the RL-10 rocket engine and 475 RL-10 engines have flown to space since their introduction in 1963. There have been a lot of upgrades since then and 3D printing has now taken them into a new phase.

The test and the fact that the thruster was created using 3D metal printing, is truly transformative. The 3D printed copper thrust chamber replaces a series of complex stainless steel tubes which were formerly used. By using 3D printing the company managed to reduce the number of parts in the thrust chamber by 90% to just two components. The design also improves heat transfer within the part, and took only a month to 3D print, saving several months of lead time.

Christine Cooley, Director of the RL10 program, feels that the successful test of the thruster will move the company forward. She suggested that the addition of 3D printing and the need to be more efficient is a result of many factors including growing competition. Several other companies are exploring the use of 3D printed rocket parts and one such company, Rocket Lab, is looking to send a rocket with a 3D printed engine to the moon.

 

1 2 3
I3DMFG Additive Manufacturing EOS
How 3D Metal Printing Works (Video)
Rocket-Chamber
Delphi Precision Imaging Leads Additive Manufacturing Industrial CT Inspection
I3DMFG Contributes To Industrial CT For Use In Additive Manufacturing
SEDS I3DMFG
Successful Rocket Test: SEDS UC San Diego
SEDS I3DMFG
I3DMFG Helps Sponsor SEDS Static Rocket Engine Test
Additive Manfactured Haynes 282 Rocket chamber
Delphi Precision Imaging & I3DMFG on Display at SAMPE
Reimagining Rocket Engine Design With 3D Printing
3D rocket engine preburn
Significant 3D Printed Rocket Engine Milestone Reached
Aerojet-Rocketdyne-3-D-Printed-Copper-Thrust-Chamber-Assembly
Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests 3D Printed Thrust Chamber With Success