Large corporations in the aerospace and defense industry are building real airplane parts that are fully functional.

The aerospace industry is gravitating towards 3D printing not only because of the associated government funding, but because of the immense design benefits that come with it. Re-engineered parts of new design can significantly improve performance, efficiency, and greatly reduce the weight of components.

Furthermore, parts with complex geometries and components that were previously disparate can be fabricated without the additional cost. Not just that, corporations that use 3D printing in aerospace are also testing out the feasibility of 3D printed rocket components.

Product Design & Development (4/11/16) reports on five organizations which are getting one step closer to fully 3D printed aerospace vehicles and planes:

    • Orbital ATK has announced that they have successfully tested their 3D printed hypersonic engine combustor.
    • Boeing has patented a new technology that is capable of 3D printing objects while they are floating midair.
    • Airbus’ collaboration with Stratasys resulted in over one thousand 3D printed parts for their aircraft Airbus A350XWB. Their subsidiary company Premium AEROTEC has opened its very first manufacturing plant for 3D printing aircraft components made out of titanium.
    • Rolls-Royce’s collaboration with Airbus produced the largest 3D printed part ever flown.
    • Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma is using additive manufacturing for their depot operations. 3D printing is being used there to manufacture electric components, repairing parts, etc.

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3D Printed Parts in Real Planes