Project Management

Printing of 3D Parts in Aerospace Applications

From brain, to computer, to printer. This might not seem revolutionary, but if you throw in the word “3D” and “Aerospace,” you are talking about the future. 3D printing, as explained in this article by Kim Robertson and Jon M. Quigley, is reaching a point of sophistication where it’s fundamentally challenging the principles of design and manufacturing. The ability to create a prototype almost instantly—even before getting approval to explore the solution—was unheard of a decade ago. Now, however, it’s possible to create 3D printed manufacturing items and save money while doing it.

As this article explains, Aerospace development labs have led to 3D printing on a much larger scale:

December 2013 saw the introduction of 3D printed components created on a BAE Tornado fighter, GE Aviation’s LEAP engine will use 3D parts, and NASA announced the successful development of a 3D printed rocket engine component. Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GNK aerospace are also investing in additive manufacturing of finished products.

But it’s not just about creating 3D printed items for the sake of printing them. The article goes on to list some more of the benefits which would have taken much longer in the past:

In the field product improvements can be scanned, prototyped and more rigorously tested prior to being incorporated into the product line. One of the problems with earlier prototypes is their ability to stand up to the sort of tests that the final product would experience. For example, nobody would place a stereo lithography part on a vehicle and expect it to survive vehicle durability and reliability testing. Those concerns are reduced through 3D printing.

But the printing revolution isn’t limited to just aerospace. Dental labs are using 3D printing, and the application of the printing allows for the building of models used in architecture or car design. The benefit is an ability to critique and change the models quickly, perhaps even in just a few meetings, instead of the long prototyping cycle which existed in the past.

To read the full article, click here:

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