3D Printing in Aerospace
Can you 3D print a plane? Maybe not the whole thing, but you can print strong, lightweight parts as well as rapid prototypes that fuel innovations in aviation.
How is 3D printing used in Aerospace?
As early adopters of 3D printing technology, engineers in aerospace, defense and aviation have harnessed the versatility of 3D-printed parts to reduce weight and increase performance, both critical design considerations for aircraft.
3D-printed parts are strong yet lightweight, so whenever an engineer can replace a metal part with a durable plastic counterpart, it’s going to positively impact performance. Objects made with the right kind of 3D printer filament are well-suited for high-heat situations.
The aerospace industry uses 3D printing not just for end-use parts, but also for rapid and functional prototypes of new components and designs. 3D printing permits freedom in design, which is vital to continually improve aircraft function.
When we say aerospace, we mean 30,000 feet and beyond. 3D-printed parts have been to the moon, demonstrating their stellar capabilities.
3D Printing Use Cases in Aerospace
While the speed of 3D printing continues to catch up to the high demand for aerospace components, engineers have found dozens of uses for cost-effective, 3D-printed parts. While most end-use parts for aircraft are created with SLA or SLS 3D printing technology, FDM printers and thermoplastic materials are ideal for jigs, fixtures, protective gear and prototyping.
Protective Casings for Drones: Drones are ideal candidates for 3D-printed innovations because pilots want to protect their expensive equipment from damage, particularly around the camera. You can design and print an encasement for the camera using vibration-dampening and impact-resistant TPU.
Remote-Controlled Planes: 3D-printed parts are strong and lightweight, so if they perform for a real aircraft, they can be a cost-effective way to build and modify RC planes, too.
NinjaTek® Filaments in Aerospace
Our filaments are durability tested to protect your equipment investment, be it a drone camera or naval ship parts printed at sea.
FAQs about 3D Printing in Aerospace
Can you 3D print a plane?
Yes and no. You can’t print the entire thing, but 3D-printed parts are critical for aerospace designers and engineers thanks to their lightweight, high-heat-resistant properties. When prototyping and adjusting designs, it’s a cost-effective option to showcase new innovations before they take flight. 3D-printed aircraft parts undergo rigorous testing and adhere to a number of standards to ensure their safety and performance.
3D Printing by Industry
Don’t see the filament you need?
Schedule a custom filament consultation with our 3D Materials Engineering team.