“That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
Aerospace, whether you think about rocket ships, fighter jets or commercial aeroplanes, there is no denying that it is one of the biggest sectors in the world right now. It’s also one of the fastest-growing markets out there from a value of $298 billion in 2020 to a predicted $431 billion in 2025 at a rate of 7.7%.
So, what does 3D printing have to do with this? After reading my last article which I’m sure everybody did, we know that the state-of-the-art technology of 3D printing gives consumers the option of creating new specific objects. Aerospace particularly benefits from the flexibility that 3D printing offers since they can now make specific tools and objects which cannot be produced by regular factory machines or by hand. As mentioned, this offers a wide array of new possibilities, whilst also make the overall production of Aerospace cheaper and more environmentally friendly with less waste of resources and production time.
An example of what 3D printing is doing to the Aerospace industry comes from the Aerospace company “SpaceX”. The company founded by space cowboy and billionaire Elon Musk is currently producing the “Superdraco” engine, which is the first engine ever built completely through 3 printing. Therefore, making it the fastest and cheapest engine ever, with superior strength, durability, and fracture resistance quality. (SuperDraco – Wikipedia, 2021).
The enhancements of the Automotive industry due to 3D printing, are probably more relatable since let’s face it most people own a car and not a plane. 3D technology allows cars parts to be made at a much faster and cheaper rate than previously thought possible. Nowadays the introduction and usage of 3D printing are more crucial than ever since more time is spent on money on R&D than advertising, meaning the use of new techniques like 3D printing is fundamental to stay ahead of the competition.
In several major US auto manufacturers, 80 to 90 per cent of each initial prototype assembly has been 3D printed. Some of the most popular components are air intake, parts of the exhaust and ducting. These parts are designed digitally, 3D printed, and fitted on a car in short order, then tested through multiple iterations. Rapid prototyping enables a shorter development phase and reduced time to the final part.
The most intriguing example of this is with the production of speciality car manufacturers such as sports cars, luxury cars and hypercars. Because of the unique vehicles that they are producing they are always looking into new ways to create the parts for these extraordinary vehicles. 3D printing is being used to create custom brackets, spacers, and grommets as well as complex, specialized, units made to the individual requirements of the purchaser. One great example is the creation of personalized inscriptions for interior components such as the dashboard or doors.
What can we expect more in the future of 3D printing?
En.wikipedia.org. 2021. SuperDraco – Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperDraco#Manufacturing>
Market, 3., 2021. 3D Printing Automotive Market Technology, Application, Region – 2020 | MarketsandMarkets. [online] Marketsandmarkets.com. Available at: <https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/automotive-3d-printing-market-250218997.html>
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