With the rapid development of 3D printers in recent years, more and more people realize that the application of 3D printers is crucial. Today we understand how 3D printers bring more development and improvement to the aerospace industry. In addition, we will discuss the new solutions that 3D printers bring to industrial design and manufacturing processes.
What can be improved with 3D printers
The main problem in the aerospace field is the weight control of different parts. The heavier the aircraft, the more fuel is required. This means higher costs and also adversely affects the natural environment. In terms of flight costs, not only fuel, but also the production cost of parts. Of course, for safety reasons, parts produced by 3D printers must be of the highest quality, which means that they are expensive to manufacture.
Another problem facing engineers today is part testing. They can’t see the inside of the parts, and can’t intuitively understand whether the parts are correct and can be used safely. Each part must meet the specific requirements of different use environments. Traditional non-destructive testing (NDT) inspection methods are very time-consuming and ineffective. The number of analysis techniques used to detect object dysfunction is limited, and it does not provide a proper internal view.
How should we face these problems
The challenges facing NDT are obvious. This process is not efficient and the information about the detected object is incomplete. Moreover, for the future development of the aerospace industry, parts must be as light as possible. At present these problems can be easily solved using 3D printing technology.
CT scanning (also called X-ray computed tomography) is a technique that allows us to view the inside of an object. This is one of the latest trends used in the field of mechanical engineering, but because it is sometimes the only way to test mechanical parts, it will definitely become more popular. For engineers, this is a revolutionary technology that allows them to develop new parts more efficiently. CT scanning works similar to some 3D scanning methods. It takes multiple pictures from different angles and finally stitches together to create a 3D model image of the part.
3D printing offers them new possibilities to develop mechanical parts in a more efficient and innovative way. With 3D printing, engineers can design new functions to reduce the weight of parts while maintaining the robustness of the parts.
Real-world examples using 3D printing
To demonstrate the importance of 3D printing, we should talk about a real example, such as the crank of a helicopter rotor blade. It uses titanium aluminum alloy for 3D printing to improve weight optimization. The weight of the crank is a key factor in design improvement, which can only be achieved by means of 3D printing. Before 3D printing, we can only dream of reducing the weight of mechanical parts by 30%!
Of course, because the bell crack is part of the helicopter, safety is the top priority. With CT scanning, engineers can check factors such as precision holes and their diameters, deformation quality (such as the parallelism exposed by the crank arm), etc. By testing the size, location and geometry of the remaining gas inclusions, the repeatability of the machining process and the fatigue strength of the parts were proved.
Use 3D printing to increase your productivity
As you can see, 3D printing has brought innovation and high efficiency, and now even helicopter parts have been 3D printed. 3D printing eliminates time-consuming tools, allows the production of highly complex geometries, and can redesign solutions that perfectly fit your manufacturing needs. The ability to edit the internal structure of the part can reduce manufacturing costs and optimize material use.

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