This is the new reality: 3D printing of metal plane parts.
A group of researchers at Monash University in Australia, along with international collaborators, has printed all of the major parts for a jet engine. In fact, Monash and their spin-out company Amaero have printed two engines. One was on display in late February at the Avalon International Air Show at Avalon Airport, in Victoria, Australia, while the second is on display in Toulouse, France, at the French aerospace company Microturbo (a division of Safran).
We’ve all heard a lot about 3D printing lately, and even we at Designfax have to admit that sometimes the headlines are not indicative of the true state of affairs of the technology’s progression. In terms of 3D-printed cars, for example, it is usually the frame and body that are printed. The main components to run the vehicle are not. And traditionally, 3D printing has been used to great advantage for prototyping, not for end-use parts. But there have been exceptions and progressions.
“The project is a spectacular proof of concept that’s leading to significant contracts with aerospace companies. It was a challenge for the team and pushed the technology to new heights of success — no one has printed an entire engine commercially yet,” says Ben Batagol, of Amaero Engineering, the company created by Monash University to make the technology available to Australian industry and some worldwide partners.
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