NASA Additive Manufacturing | 3D Printing Aerospace | Aurora Flight Sciences

NASA Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace

01-Additive manufacturing aerospace components - 3d printing models

Aerospace industry is one of the most exciting fields of the development of Additive Manufacturing (I.e. 3D Printing). This sector accounts for almost 20 % of the overall Additive Manufacturing business today, according to the Wohler survey. Light weight and high strength materials are probably recommended in aerospace applications. Additive Manufacturing’s value relies on reduced prices, improved production efficiency and an rise in a range of items to meet customer needs. Additive Manufacturing is a major technology that enables complex structured products to be designed and manufactured that have improved mechanical strength and weight at lower cost as well as less least lead time. In order to produce limited volume, the aerospace industry substituted traditional moulding and machining techniques with 3D print technology.   Additive Manufacturing provides low-cost design and fabrication on a limited production volume.

BAE Aerospace 3D Printing

Around 20 years ago, the aerospace industry proposed Additive Manufacturing. The primary application for 3D printing was prototyping, design and development of jigs, fixtures and tools. In addition, 3D Printing is used in on-demand situation to manufacture spare components. The opportunity to manufacture on-demand substitute parts lowers the costs for the development of products that will never be purchased when modern equipment is redundant and therefore saves inventory in the factory. For reference, 3D printing window breather pipes are currently used by BAE Systems in jetliner aircrafts. The cost of such pipes is 40 % lower than that of the injection moulding pipes developed and manufactured as needed.

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01-3D printed metal parts-metal 3d printing-3d printing aerospace

Aurora Flight Sciences & Piper Aircraft & Lepron in 3D Printing Technologies

Piper Aircraft manufactures equipment with polycarbonates (PC) which can endure 3000 to 6000 psi hydroforming pressure. Furthermore, Aurora Flight Science developed wings which weigh one third of the metal parts extremely dense. Those wings have circuitry integrated. In order to use remotely controlled helicopters, Lepron produced 200 different models. Aerospace industries are required to substitute tiny parts with 3D printed components, thus reducing the machinery’s weight. Examples include armrests, seat belts, food tray and several other components.

01-Wings 3D printed in Aurora Flight Sciences

NASA Additive Manufacturing

In a pressurized cabin in the spacecrafts, NASA recently built a rover reported as Desert RATS. The rover will carry people to Mars. This contains 70 3D imprints from flame retardant vents and containers, camera mounts, wide glass doors, front bumpers, advanced electronics, and many more. The materials used to 3D print of the rover component were Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), PC/ABS (Polycarbonate/Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and Polycarbonate (PC) and they were developed with the 3D printing machine, FDM Stratasys.

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Future Additive Manufacturing Requirements

Companies have implemented Additive Manufacturing without major improvements in their goods for quick growth. This transition is mostly attributed to the quickly evolving economy and the low cost of constructing these small intrinsic products. A variety of hurdles must be addressed in order to promote Additive Manufacturing progress.

01-Polycarbonate Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene aerospace components

Some of these challenges include:
  1. The present Additive Manufacturing pace is slower for the development of bulk production;

  2. There are few choices for polymeric materials;

  3. The production of large components is not permitted by the current machines.

In addition, businesses are required to follow a totally distinct business strategy by customizing the commodity for the finished product and ensuring production on demand. Future work will support the growth of firms with  complex geometry and multifunctional structures, which enable new solutions to complicated challenges.The mechanical or thermal response of components may be modified through Additive Manufacturing strategies through the use of functionally graded materials. In fact, on-demand processing lowers expense and avoids future storage loss.

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