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 March 30th 2021, self-appointed “serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security” company Saab of Stockholm, Sweden announced that it had successfully trialled a 3D printed replacement hatch on one of its Gripen fighter aircraft. This was done in the skies above Saab’s Linköping facilities on March 19th as part of an experiment into 3D printing’s use in battlefield damage repair, with Saab proclaiming that this marked the first time that an exterior 3D printed part had been flown on a Gripen. (Linköping is also in Sweden.)

For further work, Saab intends to investigate using 3D printed hatches made using different materials that are both flexible and can withstand the cold temperatures at high altitudes. They also hope to find a way to bring 3D printing equipment into battlefield deployments. (Incidentally, the 3D printed hatch was made from a 3D scan of one removed from the aircraft, as no relevant computer model existed.)

Another recent example of 3D printing’s use with aircraft involves machine tool manufacturer Ingersoll Machine Tools of Rockford, Illinois and aerospace manufacturer Bell Textron of Fort Worth, Texas. On March 1st, they announced that they had 3D printed a 22-foot-long vacuum trim tool for use in the production of rotor blades. They proclaimed that it had been manufactured as a single part in 75 hours of continuous 3D printing, before taking a week to machine to the correct dimensions. In addition, they claimed that the tool’s whole manufacturing process had lasted a matter of weeks, as opposed to the circa 4 and a half months that it would take to make a mould for the would-be tool via conventional means.

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 “Aeroplane factory 1943 c” is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.