The aerospace industry has a long history of being an early adopter of leading-edge technologies. So it should come as no surprise that aerospace was one of the first industries to incorporate additive manufacturing (AM) throughout its product development lifecycle. Today, AM is being extensively used by leading aerospace companies for design modeling, functional testing, tooling, jigs and fixtures, and production. And new AM applications are being developed at a rapid pace.
The Stratasys white paper entitled “Additive Manufacturing Trends in Aerospace: Leading the Way” provides an overview on how nine leading aerospace companies are using AM in a wide spectrum of applications. The first of four excerpts from this paper explains how SelectTech Geospatial — which built the first 3D-printed unmanned aerial system (UAS) to take off and land on its gear — uses AM to build prototypes.
For SelectTech, AM offers the flexibility to iterate. It uses AM in a trial-and-error approach that avoids lengthy delays for analysis and simulation. Its process is simple, direct and efficient: Design, print, assemble, fly, learn and repeat. According to Frank Beafore, engineering director for SelectTech, “[There were] no failures; each attempt gave us information,” he said. “3D printing is an enabler.”
View or download the complete “Additive Manufacturing Trends in Aerospace: Leading the Way” white paper.