The world’s biggest aerospace engineering companies are using additive manufacturing to cut production and prototyping times. Siemens has been able to use the technology to replace broken gas turbine blades in 4 weeks as opposed to 44 in some cases. With growing tracking in composite-based 3D printed materials, it is becoming easier to lightweight and innovate designs for aerospace. Just last month, Rocketdyne had a successful test fire of a 3D printed piston.
But what about additive manufacturing in space itself? In September, a company called Made In Space developed a zero-g 3D printer that made it’s way up to the International Sparce Station. Last month, the crew was in need of a wrench for maintenance, but did not have one available. Rather than wait for the next costly trip up, the crew was able to receive a digital file and print the wrench in space!
News Drill Down
- An article from The Economist talks about stigma of 3D printing vs additive manufacturing, and using it on a much larger scale than a “hobbyist.”
- 3D Printing Industry writes about Aerojet Rocketdyne’s successful firing of their 3D printed piston.
- Space.com has several articles about Made In Space’s zero-g 3D Printer and even gives instructions on how to print your own copy of the wrench sent to the ISS.
- 3D Printing.com lists 5 potential uses for 3D Printing in the aerospace industry, including 3D Printing as a service.
The Economist: Three-dimensional printing may help entrench the world’s engineering giants
3D Printing Industry: Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Test Fires CubeSat Rocket with 3D Printed Piston
Space.com: 3D Printing
3DPrinting.com: 5 Potential Future Applications of 3D Printing Within the Aerospace Industry
Prospector has a special section dedicated to 3D printing materials… start your search here
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