Boeing to 3D print titanium Dreamliner parts, according to Reuters
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    Default Boeing to 3D print titanium Dreamliner parts, according to Reuters

    "Norsk said it will print initially in Norway, but aims to have nine printers running by year-end at a 67,000-square-foot (6,220-square-meter) facility in Plattsburgh, New York."

    Printed titanium parts expected to save millions in Boeing Dreamliner costs
    | Reuters


    According to the article, in the crosshairs are forged parts. Not enough of an armchair metallurgist to know if the particular properties of forging can be replicated with printing, or if the design is modified to suit. FAA approval of four parts so far, and they're shooting for a kind of "type acceptance" of the process to streamline future approvals.

    Hmmm...

    Chip

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    The design is absolutely going to be modified to suit.

    Just because they were forged, before, doesn't mean they /needed/ to be forged, certainly. Heat treat techniques have improved such that the resultant parts are nothing to balk at, either. You can almost guarantee that there's a lot of mass left in the forged part because of manufacturing requirements/impossibilities, that won't be present in a DMLS part. Some are usable without final machining, some with very minimal post-machining. Depends on the parts. There are lots of air-duct pieces that are being made that way, due to the really crazy geometry sometimes required to route around things. Obviously those are unlikely to be titanium, more likely a plastic or nylon or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNieman View Post
    The design is absolutely going to be modified to suit.

    Just because they were forged, before, doesn't mean they /needed/ to be forged, certainly. Heat treat techniques have improved such that the resultant parts are nothing to balk at, either. You can almost guarantee that there's a lot of mass left in the forged part because of manufacturing requirements/impossibilities, that won't be present in a DMLS part. Some are usable without final machining, some with very minimal post-machining. Depends on the parts. There are lots of air-duct pieces that are being made that way, due to the really crazy geometry sometimes required to route around things. Obviously those are unlikely to be titanium, more likely a plastic or nylon or something.
    Actually the parts in question aren't DMLS.

    Norsk Titanium – Forged Strength at the Speed of Innovation

    Their technology involves "refining raw ore" into wire, and "robotic layer-building" in an "inert argon gas environment". Translation: robotic MIG welding with titanium wire.

    United Airlines Flight 232, a DC-10, crashed in July 1989 due to a metallurgical flaw in a titanium jet engine fan disk. Apparently the titanium had only been double-VAR refined rather than triple-VAR. The part eventually failed, blew up the engine, and took out the hydraulics.

    Hard to imagine a weld-layering process to have anywhere near the same level of refinement as any vacuum remelting process. We'll see how this plays out.
    Last edited by Orange Vise; 04-11-2017 at 06:13 PM.

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    Oh, this is something I hadn't read about at all so far. I thought this was IRT a different bit of news I saw about Boeing and additive manufacturing recently.

    That's pretty nifty. Have they said WHAT parts? "Structural" can mean a whole lot. We make a lot of "structural" parts. Some are pretty boring.

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    Boeing frequents the engineering college at my university. I actually got the chance to talk to them about 3D printing a little over a year ago. They had stories about the machines that were printing titanium parts for aircraft, some of which were already in use at that time.

    Really cool, but I would hate to be the guy that hit the go button on a print that cost several hundred thousand dollars only to come back to a failed part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nerdyrcdriver View Post
    Boeing frequents the engineering college at my university. I actually got the chance to talk to them about 3D printing a little over a year ago. They had stories about the machines that were printing titanium parts for aircraft, some of which were already in use at that time.

    Really cool, but I would hate to be the guy that hit the go button on a print that cost several hundred thousand dollars only to come back to a failed part.
    less exciting than hitting Go on machining a big hunk of expensive stock just to have it get ripped off the table and thrown through the door

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    they were most likely forged to to strength requirements, but forgings are solid, and heavy. you can make the same part much lighter and stronger with 3d printing. sometimes 3d printing is even better than forging due to the (lack of) concentrated internal stresses. making a jungle gym of internal ribs and braces puts the strength and fatigue resistance where you need it, and you can fillet/contour in such a way that there is almost 0% chance of stress cracking. not to mention there is no chance of having a part with voids (which sometimes leads to xrays being completed before a part is certified, ie.. extra cost)




    bottom line.. is that the price is going to go up, just due to the nature of the industry at this time, but ultimately.. the price should come down considerably (component vs component)

    all that said.. im not really that concerned with how they make the parts.. if they can give me a better/stronger part.. great.. i know 3d printing can do it.. its just physics... what im more interested in, is cutting my fuel bills.. if you can save 1% in fuel cost fleet wide.. your talking about dramatic $ savings.. if the entire military just saved 1% in fuel... thats billions of dollars in tax money we can put elsewhere

    quick napkin math.. 1% reduction in fuel purchases saves the goverment OVER 200 million a year. I based this solely on the 4 billion gallon number of estimated DOD fuel usage. so not all that is jet fuel but a huge chunk of it is.

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    I used to work for a company that was 3d printing parts for the aerospace industry. We made these machines in house and they just recently started to sell them. Mind you we would still machine some of the parts that came off of them.
    Laser Deposition Technology - Additive Manufacturing | RPM Innovations, Inc.


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