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3D DMLS & DMLM Printing for Thrusters and Rockets

3D Metal Printed Thrusters

i3D MFG™ 3D printed thruster successful test fire. Image courtesy of Parabilis Space Technologies. “…congrats on this thruster! I know it was a tough part and a short timeframe, but you guys really pulled it off and should be proud.”

NASA recently tested a rocket engine 75% composed of 3D printed DMLS parts. “This new manufacturing process really opened the design space and allowed for part geometries that would be impossible with traditional machining or casting methods,” said NASA designer David Eddleman.

3D DMLM and DMLS printing allows for the production of components with highly complex geometries from exotic metals like Copper, Inconel, Haynes, Monel K, and Titanium. This type of 3D metal printing is not only used frequently for research purposes, but also as a cost-efficient manufacturing measure. For example, Aerojet reports that its rocket, made entirely from DMLS parts, reduced manufacturing costs by 65 percent.

DMLS/DMLM uses a 3D model to direct its lasers to fuse material together layer by layer in optimized micro slices. Because there is no waste or scrap metal, the cost of printing in exotic metals like titanium and Inconel is reduced by 50-70%.

Thrusters

3D Metal Printed Rocket Thruster

Image courtesy of Bagaveev Corp. “Your printing methods are so good that we flow much more than expected from small holes.”

3D DMLS printing is excellent for thruster manufacturing. Rocket scientists are able to eliminate potential leaks or failure points by integrating and printing multiple part assemblies as one seamless part. The ability to incorporate micro channels and organic flow patterns allow for the creation of efficient and custom designs, which are desirable for the manufacturing of satellites and rocket thrusters.

First 3D Printed Rocket Launch Courtesy of Bagaveev Corporation

Satellites

3D Metal Printed Satellites

DMLS is ideal for the construction of satellites and satellite components due to its allowance of up to a 70% weight reduction. Though lighter weight, DMLS parts still maintain the same part strength and integrity as traditionally made parts. Solid components can be latticed in custom honeycomb patterns for further weight reduction and improved part function. i3D MFG™ is proud to supply NASA and other partners with leading edge 3D metal printed components.

Robotics

3D Metal Printed Robotics

The complexity, customization, and durability of 3D DMLS printing makes this process ideal for the manufacturing of robotic components. Custom lighter weight and low volume parts are cost effectively 3D printed in aluminum, copper, titanium, Inconel, Haynes, Monel K, maraging steel, and stainless steel. Our designers and engineers can use exotic metals previously too expensive in traditional fabrication to upgrade aluminum parts while improving or maintaining costs and weights.

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Our Metal Technologies

Aluminum (Al)

Ideal for use in parts with thin walls and complex geometries, AlSi10 is our most common DMLS aluminum powder. AlSi10 is useful in projects requiring good thermal and low weight considerations.

Titanium (Ti)

Ti64 features superior corrosion-resistance, strength, weight reduction, and biocompatibility. It is the ideal material for medical device, aerospace, UAV/UAS, defense, firearms, energy, and automotive applications.

Stainless Steels

DMLS/DMLM stainless steel is a medical-grade, serializable, and corrosion-resistant steel. After heat treatment, stainless steel hardens to 40-45 HRC. Our stainless-steel equivalents include 15-5, 17-4, 304L and 316. Parts made from can be machined, spark-eroded, welded, micro shot-peened, polished, and coated if need be.

Maraging Steel

Maraging (Tool) Steel (MS1) & Stainless Steel (PH1).  Our steel powders have excellent strength and mechanical properties.  MS1 is a pre-alloyed, ultra-high strength steel powder most commonly used for tooling applications.

Inconel (INC718/INC625)

A chromium alloy with excellent heat resistance, IN718/INC625 are DMLS nickel that also features a typical heat treatment hardness of 40-47 HRC (370-450HB).  IN718/INC625 are often used in rocket, space, aerospace, firearms, energy, and automotive industries.

Custom Powders

i3D MFG has access to the latest DMLS/DMLM machine parameter sets and enabling i3D to create custom powder applications for aerospace, UAV/UAS, rocket, defense, firearms, oil& gas, energy, automotive, and casting customers.

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