Defence 3D Printing

Some really interesting news recently about 3D printing in the defence aerospace sector.

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And an older post where I had a quick look at 3D printing for defence construction i.e. printing buildings and bridges

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Ace Rimmer
January 9, 2014 3:40 pm

I do like the fundamental idea of this, although I’m sceptical on a couple of points. You can have the component made of anything as long as its plastic and who signs the component off as acceptable and airworthy?

I’m guessing it will only be used for none critical items, and only until the real item turns up in the post. Also, knowing contractors, they will expect the customer, at least the MOD, to purchase access to the blue prints to allow printing in the first place to prevent copyright violations. Ok, BAE printed the components, but then they designed and manufactured them in the first place. Allowing a squaddie tech in the far flung reaches, 50 miles behind God’s back, to do the same, is a different matter altogether.

Great principle, will be interesting to see it in practice, and at a reduced cost.

January 9, 2014 6:27 pm

There are additive manufacturing processes that will give you metal parts. As good, so far as static strength goes, as one produced by any other means. At present, durability is a problem.

As for quality control goes, as long as suitable controls are in place there is no reason why it shouldn’t be possible. Technicians are trained to assemble parts so it isn’t so much different. To start with it will be non-critical parts. Handles, covers – stuff that isn’t a critical safety issue if it does break. Once you have data of how it works in the field you can start making an assessment of whether you can use it for more important parts.

The Other Chris
January 10, 2014 12:05 pm

Worth tracking the “Amaze” project (fully funded ESA initiative with European backing) if you’re after the nitty-gritty:

If you’re after a quick digest, the BBC also discusses the topic:

Bottom line is that for a growing number of components, Additive Manufacturing is rapidly becoming a superior process for the product itself and not just for the convenience or enabling factors alone.

Ace Rimmer
January 13, 2014 5:37 pm

I liked this, especially, “Traditionally it can take six months to design and produce a new component, but we have been able to significantly reduce this – to as little as two weeks.” – not a word I use often but – awesome!