Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.
On August 19th 2020, multinational conglomerate Honeywell of Charlotte, North Carolina announced that they had made the first 3D printed aircraft engine part to be certified as flight-critical by the Federal Aviation Administration. (Anything regulators consider flight-critical or safety-critical must unsurprisingly always function properly and its use on aircraft must be approved beforehand.) Technically known as the #4/5 bearing housing, the part is used in the Garrett ATF-3-6 turbofan engine on the French Navy’s Dassault Falcon 20G maritime patrol aircraft.
First used back in the 1960s, Honeywell claims that there are only circa 12 ATF-3-6 engines still used today on in-service aircraft, making it difficult to source replacement parts for them. In addition, Honeywell contends that the bearing housing is impractically expensive to replace due to how hard it is to manufacture and how little demand there is for it. This is coupled with how expensive the necessary tools are to produce replacement parts for the engine via conventional means, in this case casting molten metal. Honeywell have already put the 3D printed bearing housing into production and hope to manufacture dozens more by the end of the year.
Another example of a 3D printed aircraft engine part includes an ongoing metal 3D printing collaboration between 2 subsidiaries of multinational conglomerate General Electric of Boston, Massachusetts and the US Air Force. In May 2020, this resulted in the 3D printing of a sump cover for the F110 jet engine used in the US Air Force’s F-15 and F-16 fighter planes.
3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.
Disclaimer: Featured image of “Effect of TwinJet Exhausts GPN-2000-000362” is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that “NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted.”