3D Printers: Baptism by Fire

With the ‘seamless’ design of 3D printed components beginning to enter the mainstream, engineers are realising the advantages of this method of creation. Fewer welds means a lack of weak spots, a massive advantage among industry sectors where heat and stress breakages are a non-option.

No sector could be more aptly described as ‘high-stakes’ than aerospace. The huge stress loads and extreme heat changes experienced by aircraft tend to make short work of poorly constructed components, with extreme consequences. The result is the highest construction standards in the industry, with an attention to detail more nuanced and careful than any other industry. The stakes are just that high.

However, along with this attention to detail is the requisite cost. Aerospace-quality components are wildly expensive, by virtue of this process – as they should be. With 3D printing, we now have the ability to create seamless components, eliminating a notable weak point, and bringing the cost down considerably.

Recently, 3D printers created a seamless rocket fuel injector for use on booster rockets used by NASA. These components were recently subjected to the Hot Fire test under load, and were heated to nearly 1000 degrees Celsius. They performed flawlessly, having been machined in one-eighth the time a conventional injector took, while costing roughly half as much.

That is the power of the 3D printing revolution. Join it now with Printin3D!

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