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.

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.

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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3D Printing Human Organs | 3D Printed Bone Tissue | 3D Printing Skin Tissue | 3D Printed Ear

3D Printing Human Organs

01-3D printed human organs - 3d printed organs - 3d printing body parts

Organ printing uses three – dimensional computer printing techniques in which a computer 3D model is placed into a 3D printer and lays out successive polymer or latex layers before 3D objects are produced. The material that was used by printer is a biocompatible polymer in the situation of organ printing. The following section discusses 3D Printed Bone Tissue, 3D Printing Skin Tissue, and 3D Printed Ear.

3D Printed Bone Tissue

3D printing technology solutions demonstrated significant benefits in creating porous scaffolds with macro pores designed for formulation in bone tissue engineering. Till now, though only one form of macro pore was reported in 3D-printed, organic ceramic scaffolds. In general, individuals scaffolds with a single type of macro pore possess significantly lower porosity and porous surfaces, limited oxygen and nutrition delivery to surviving cells, and new bone tissue formation in the centre of the scaffolds.

01-3d printed bones - tissue engineering - bone scuffolds

In China the above idea is considered as a subject of research and an alternative model is created. They prepared a hollow-struts-packed (HSP) bio-ceramic scaffolds combining high porosity with impressive mechanical strength with the surface area. The special properties of the hollow strut of biological ceramic boards have enhanced dramatically the attachment and proliferation of cells and further promoted the development of fresh bone tissue in the centre of the scaffolds suggesting that HSP ceramic scaffolds may be used to rebuild large bone defects. Additionally, it can be used to create another HSP ceramic scaffolds which show that tissue engineering, mechanical engineering, catalysis and environmental materials have wide acceptance.

3D Printing Skin Tissue

Patients with skin burns and severe wound injuries often have long-term recovery and extensive and costly treatments. The autologous split thickness skin graft (ASSG) is the most frequently used technique for treating large wounds. A skin tissue is implanted in the wounded region and tends to repair and heal the cut. This procedure is focused on extracting a layer of skin from some section of the patient’s body and re-applying it at the location of damage. The downside of ASSG is that it is constrained by the number of recipient areas, which produces another damage location as well. 3D biomaterial printing will mitigate the ASSG-related issues. Skin cells are grown in a laboratory and mixed for bioprinting with biocompatible polymers.

01-3d-printed-skin-graft - LASER based Inkjet Bioprinting Skin Tissues

LASER based Inkjet Bioprinting Skin Tissues

In Germany, laser research institute in Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) have documented the usage of a laser-based inkjet printing process for 3D skin printing. Such inks made of serum blood / gelatin and fibroblast fluid, keratinocytes and the biomaterials of collagen. Collagen is the main skin extracellular matrix portion (ECM). The team showed, by proliferating cells in histologic parts, that the laser-based printing system will not damage the cells.

3D Printed Ear by DIW Technique

The tympanic membrane, also referred to as eardrum, has a thin layer of tissue that absorbs sounder noise from ambient air and transfers it on to tiny bones in the tympanic (middle-ear) cavity in an auditory ossicular.

01-3D printing ear - 3D Printing Human Organs

In Harvard University, the tympanic membrane scaffold was designed using the Direct Ink Write (DIW) Process, consisting of materials focused on Poly dimethyl siloxane (PDMS), Polylactic acid (PSL), and Poly caprolactone (PCL). The team has proved that materials with similar properties can be designed and manufactured in comparison with human specimens. Concentration rings for each 3D graft organize high frequency displacement and acoustics, which were highly dependent on the patterns and mechanical characteristics, characterized by digital optoelectronics holography, vibrometry of laser doppler and mechanical dynamic analysis.

3D Printed Liver

01-3D printing Liver - 3d printed body parts - 3d organ printing

3D Printed Kidney

01-3d printed kidney transplant - 3d printed organs

3D Printed Lungs

01-3D printed artificial lungs - 3D Printing Human Organs

3D Printing Heart

     3d printed heart valve - 3d printed silicone heart - 3D printing hearts