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Aerospace and Space Case Studies

This sector is increasingly turning to Additive Manufacturing technology for aerospace prototypes and series production parts which can be used for testing or as final production components, as it designs parts to make the most of the technology’s benefits.

Our portfolio of materials now includes Flame Retardant Nylon 12, which is being adopted by the aerospace industry for end-use parts in behind panel applications such as low pressure aircraft ducting, environmental control systems ducting and air outlet valves.

Any reduction in weight in an aerospace part delivers a quantifiable reduction in the lifetime CO2 emission of that plane.  Metal and plastic AM parts are being designed and built to aerospace engineers’ specifications and are being used for a range of applications.

The technology also allows for complex geometries to be produced – often with intricate internal lattices – which maintain strength whilst reducing weight and resulting in a final part which can perform multiple functions and fit into a non-standard space.

We are producing parts that are being sent into space in satellites as well as manufacturing parts for major aerospace companies.

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    Plastic AM for radio-controlled Spaceplanes

    Plastic 3D printing has assisted in the development of moulds to be used as fuselages for flying radio-controlled Swift Mark4 Spaceplane models …

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  • Close up of 3D printed Gear Box Housing and Heat Exchanger

    R&D project gives 100% production quality assurance

    3T’s latest R&D project aims to give customers 100% production quality assurance in their metal 3D Printed parts by developing an automated non-destructive inspection process to identify any internal or external defects such as porosity, internal cracks, microstructural defects and trapped powder, along with their location …

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  • E-box in titanium using metal AM

    AM reduces production steps, lead time and cost

    Using metal AM, we produced a new “E-Box” resulting in a reduction in the number of production steps from 38 to 9 and lead time reduced from 20 weeks to 5 weeks. Furthermore, the cost of the component was reduced by more than 30% ...

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  • BAE Breather Pipe

    AM Production for Aerospace

    Working with our customer BAE, we have produced batches of breather pipes which are now being used by their customers on in-service aircraft. By using Plastic AM rather than traditional manufacturing methods, the project leadtime was reduced from six months to just four weeks ...

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  • Blue Peter UAV built by 3T

    Blue Peter UAV built by 3T

    BBC Research and Development and the University of Southampton worked together to develop a low cost solution for some of the BBC’s aerial filming requirements. The University approached 3T to join the project following on from the success of the previous partnership in 2011 which resulted in the world’s first AM plane.

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  • Gear change hydraulic actuator system

    Gear change hydraulic actuator system

    Designed for electronic twin-clutch gear change in a high-performance vehicle, the original gear change hydraulic actuator system was machined from two aluminium blocks and assembled using bolts. The hydraulic pathways were conventionally drilled and plugged, creating multiple right-angle bends. The brief was to review the part and redesign it to take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing.

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  • SAVING Project - saving litres of aviation fuel

    SAVING Project – saving litres of aviation fuel

    The SAVING Project wanted to take a conventional part, redesign it to take advantage of the benefits of Additive Manufacturing thereby reducing its weight, in order to demonstrate the potential energy saving possible during the product’s lifetime use.

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  • Within - heat exchanger challenges designers

    Autodesk Within – heat exchanger challenges designers

    Working with Within Technologies, we wanted to produce a concept heat exchanger with a radical new approach to design which would demonstrate that additive manufacturing (AM) frees designers from constraints imposed by traditional manufacturing technologies.

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  • University of Southampton - AM Aircraft takes flight

    University of Southampton – AM Aircraft takes flight

    Professors Keane and Scanlan from the Southampton University worked in partnership with 3T to produce 'the world's first 3D-printed plane'* - The Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) - which has successfully taken flight.

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