HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials

NASA 3D Prints Rocket Engine Parts

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Page 1/3  >  >>
naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Interesting new process
naperlou   11/21/2012 10:50:51 AM
NO RATINGS
Ann, this is a great new process.  If it works, it will be a great way to produce these complex parts.  I wonder, though, whether they can eliminate all the welds.  That would be great. 

It is also good to see that there will be reuse of some of the existing rocket engine designs.  After the Apollo program the Saturn 5 tooling was mostly lost.  When the Shuttle was having problems NASA was in no position to use technology that had already been developed to fill the gap.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Interesting new process
Cabe Atwell   11/21/2012 3:59:42 PM
NO RATINGS
Even the best 3D printed part I have seen is not perfect. I would be hesitant to use anything "printed" in the propulsion sections of rocket tech where human life is involved. At least for now. It is a great first step on NASA's part. Perhaps their work will innovate the printing sector like their work has in many others.

I considered printing parts for a side company I did some work for, the quality I received was unsellable. This was after outsourcing to a company who had the latest. Perhaps in the future..

C

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Innovative
Greg M. Jung   11/22/2012 4:14:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Innovative idea for using the 3D printing process to make rocket components. Certainly part integrity needs to be tested, but in many cases, this process can make more complex parts for less cost with a faster delivery time. I expect this application of technology to grow in the future.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Steps to the future
TJ McDermott   11/22/2012 7:13:38 PM
NO RATINGS
3D paper printers.  3D plastic printers.  3D metal printers.  All create parts that are monolithic (granted, some 3D plastic printers can print two different types of plastic, or different durometers, but it's still plastic).

These are each steps into the future, where one machine will print multiple materials to make a complete item.  A valve built complete with internal seals comes to mind.

Scott Orlosky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Interesting new process
Scott Orlosky   11/24/2012 11:32:57 AM
NO RATINGS
I feel confident that this additive manufacturing process will evolve further just as it has over the last several years.  Who knows what process development will be incorporated into parts like these to make them a viable alternative in the harsh environments of rocket propulsion systems.  Nice to see the innovation that this technology is fostering.

TOP
User Rank
Gold
Re: Interesting new process
TOP   11/26/2012 9:48:14 AM
NO RATINGS
Cabe,


I think you are bringing up a non-issue. The whole point of the article was that NASA was evaluating the process. Having worked this industry I can assure you that the custom built machine, not the ones you may have used, will be thoroughly tested as will the process. If it can't be made to work it will be dropped. But given the payback if it can be made to work it will probably be pursued.


I have printed structural plastic parts that are still around today. Like any process for producing parts the engineer has to work with the process and not expect it to perform/behave like some other process.

Stephen
User Rank
Gold
Re: Interesting new process
Stephen   11/26/2012 10:09:36 AM
NO RATINGS
The J-2X engines for upper stages are a revision of the 1960's vintage J-2 upper stage Saturn 1B/Saturn 5 engines.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
NASA prints rocket engine parts
William K.   11/26/2012 10:16:54 AM
NO RATINGS
Having NASA involved will probably speed the maturing of the 3-D printing process, since they always demand the very most reliable parts, and usually there is much less urgency about reducing costs. That is a vital difference between the space program and much of the junk produced for the "consumer" market, which has the primary target of minimum production cost. When lowest price is the prime directive and sole target, quality and reliability usually suffer. So the NASA use of 3-D printing will help gain understanding of how to produce better quality.

I am impressed with the fact that some of the process is good enough to put it inconsideration. Of course the space program is a very logical area, since the production quantities are fairly small, which makes the creation of tooling for each part much less economical.

It will be interesting to see what benefits are delivered by the NASA involvement now.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Interesting new process
Ann R. Thryft   11/26/2012 11:53:43 AM
NO RATINGS
Lou, thanks for weighing in on this one: I was curious to see what you'd say. Cabe, the stuff you've seen is probably on the consumer and prototype level 3D materials and processes, which mostly use metal, not plastic. Both materials and processes are, of course, quite different for industrial and aerospace uses, and for high-end automotive. I've heard of several stories like yours of unacceptable parts coming from vendors in the non-industrial network. It's important to know where the wall is between the two app areas.



mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Innovative
mrdon   11/26/2012 12:21:29 PM
NO RATINGS
Greg, I agree. Using 3D printers to make rocket components is quite intriguing. I know the testing of these components are probably more stringent than with conventional manufactured parts. I know the Maker community would love to have access to one of these machines in their Makerspace!

Page 1/3  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team 100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
Design News Webinar Series
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Nov 3 - 7, Engineering Principles behind Advanced User Interface Technologies
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 11:00 AM
Sponsored by Stratasys
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Gates Corporation
Next Class: 11/11-11/13 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service