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3D Printing Can Keep Aging Air Force Aircraft Flying

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posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 09:36 AM
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3D Printing Can Keep Aging Air Force Aircraft Flying



Roper says that 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, can produce many of the parts for which the Air Force finds itself desperate, from C-5 gasket handles to F-15 longerons. “If I need two or three parts for a B-52,” he says, “I can just turn that over to one of our printers.” In the past few years, the Air Force has made thousands of parts this way, and it can work for just about anything made of metal or plastic. Composite and carbon fiber could work too, even circuit boards.


Pretty cool the AF is using 3D printing to keep aircraft flying.

Go figure that there's thousands of parts orders that go unfulfilled every year. Simply because the companies that make the parts are out of business. Or that the parts orders are small and it would not be economically feasible for suppliers to make money off the order.

And while 3D printed parts might not be good enough for critical parts. Maybe things like toilets seats and other small parts might be in the range of problems 3D printing can solve.




posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 09:41 AM
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a reply to: grey580

Forgive my ignorance, but I do believe 3D printer can only print plastic objects.

You would get in trouble if suddenly you need a metal part.

I would also question the reliability of those pieces, on the long term.
edit on 17-12-2019 by TaninimLong because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 09:52 AM
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a reply to: TaninimLong

There's an additive 3D printing technique called laser sintering. So 3D metal parts can be produced.

Watch the video.




posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 09:53 AM
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a reply to: grey580

Nice



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 09:56 AM
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But will they still be charged an insane amount for the part or will it finally be what its suppose to be?



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: Lysergic

Good question.

I would imagine that for some things it would be way cheaper. Or at least it should be theoretically.



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: TaninimLong

Ignorance forgiven. There are metal 3d printers that can print anything from aluminum to titanium to stainless steel.

Jaden

P.s. Turnkey metal printers start at around 150k



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 10:51 AM
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a reply to: grey580

The Israeli Air Force has been doing this for years.

3dprint.com...



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 10:51 AM
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Take a look at what these guys are doing.
Relativity Space
www.relativityspace.com...



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 10:57 AM
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a reply to: grey580

I run a crew of 10 that print 24 hours a day on 3D printers and it's absolutely scary that parts for aircraft are being made from this stuff. We use it for tablet cases and it's strong, but I wouldn't trust it with my life.



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 10:59 AM
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originally posted by: TaninimLong
a reply to: grey580

Forgive my ignorance, but I do believe 3D printer can only print plastic objects.

You would get in trouble if suddenly you need a metal part.

I would also question the reliability of those pieces, on the long term.


You can print metal, but it's infused into the filament. As is wood, carbon fiber, and a few other things. Still wouldn't want to depend on it to keep me alive.



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 11:38 AM
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a reply to: LSU2018

Any metal parts for aircraft have been tested to destruction before being allowed to be installed on any aircraft. Then they're tested again. The process to certify parts is not a quick or easy one.



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 12:05 PM
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I work with 3D printing occasionally, and although the parts I've needed aren't for aircraft, we did have a short run of laser sintered parts as a prototype. These can absolutely be production quality. You sinter the rough shape and machine to finish. Simpler alternative than creating new castings or machining from a solid billet block or whatever.



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 12:10 PM
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a reply to: LSU2018

In your opinion. Would it be good enough for a toilet seat?

Or maybe knobs or levers?



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 12:13 PM
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originally posted by: grey580
a reply to: LSU2018

In your opinion. Would it be good enough for a toilet seat?

Or maybe knobs or levers?


After the latest Boeing fiasco.....
I'm not too sure anymore.



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 01:09 PM
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I will be first in line for a 3-D printed liver made of my own cells.



posted on Dec, 17 2019 @ 04:09 PM
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I use 3d printing all the time with my restoration business.If its not parts its tooling..
Laser Sintering is the best way metal is done for aircraft as in castings.The other way is to use them as casting masters for lost PLA casting..



posted on Dec, 18 2019 @ 02:48 AM
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originally posted by: Lysergic
But will they still be charged an insane amount for the part or will it finally be what its suppose to be?
Still $300 for a toilet seat cover made with 3D printing, not cheap but less than it used to be:

Air Force No Longer Spending $10,000 on Toilet Seats, Officials Say

It seems to me that there is no way to justify a $10,000 price tag for a toilet seat lid. It's just not credible. It needs scrutiny," the senator said.

Roper said 3D printing would lower the cost to $300 per part.



posted on Dec, 18 2019 @ 03:06 AM
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Certainly cheaper for one-off productions when compared to the cost of making dies and tooling up a factory for mass production. There'll be a cutoff point in terms of number of any single part beyond which conventional mass production is the cheaper option.



posted on Dec, 18 2019 @ 07:28 AM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur

But you need to remember. They can't just go to Walmart and get a normal toilet seat.

It's basically a custom made 1 off or small amount of toilet seats. $300 is not really that much.



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