Our Sites:  RFQwork  :: Google+ :: Our Facebook :: Our YouTube

Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Why Is the Pentagon Dragging Its Feet on 3D Printing?

              
   
  1. #1
    Administrator 3DPFadmin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    798
    Blog Entries
    2
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    1

    Why Is the Pentagon Dragging Its Feet on 3D Printing?

    In August 2010, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Llenza was perched in his jet ready to return to base in Bagram, Afghanistan, when a valve on the plane broke. “I was stuck,” he recalled. “The whole squadron was taking off and I’m sitting there.” The pilot would have to wait weeks for a replacement part to be shipped from a carrier in the Indian Ocean. A thought came to Llenza: “Wouldn’t it be great if I could walk back into the hangar and print out a part?”
    What Llenza had in mind was three-dimensional printing, a burgeoning technology that allows its users to transform digital models into physical objects. Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing works by extruding materials, including plastic, latex, and ceramic, through a printer nozzle layer-upon-layer until the object is fully shaped, like an inkjet printer with a vertical as well as horizontal axis. The process could have created a new valve for the lieutenant commander in a matter of hours rather than weeks, and for much less than cost of international shipping.


    More

  2. #2
    Hyperaddict
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    133
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I would guess that the Pentagon has concerns about quality control, particularly in something like a fighter, they're already receiving flak for issues the pilots are having with the F-22s.
    Who defines which parts are mission critical and what level of dimensional stability and accuracy is acceptable? If it is the plane manufacturer, it is in their best interests as the replacement part manufacturer to insist on levels of quality not accessible to a 3d Printed part.

    The DOD is notorious for a lengthy procurement process too, so even if they agree in principle on 3d Printing as a component replacement technology, I suspect it will be many years before a military-field grade 3d Printer is available for the soldiers, pilots, and mechanics in the actual field.

    Fortunately someone thought of it and the conversation has been started. I just want to have my surplus 3d Printer NOW and not in 25 years!

    Para

  3. #3
    Newcomer
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    1
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    One reason: reliable material properties.
    To design that valve originally, the aircraft designer had a full set of material variables for whatever it was made from available in MIL-Handbook-5 (now MMPDS). The material properties there are based on an original material form (cast billet, drawn bar, forging, etc.) machined in a known repeatable manner into a test coupon, with a known post machining treatment (ie temper (1/2 hard, annealed), surface finish, stress relief etc.). Tests for tensile yield, elongation, modulus, impact resistance, shock, shear strength etc are performed on thousands of coupons to get the MIL 5 values. This is a massive effort under the best of conditions. But when you add variations in additive manufacturing machines, and the fact that the metal was a powder before it was fused, you get another huge set of variables. Think about fatigue strength alone. Would you think that the fatigue properties of that valve material would be the same as one machined from a solid billet? I wouldn't think so, and I'd bet the pilot would rather not find out over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

  4. #4
    Newcomer
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Zionsville, IN USA
    Posts
    11
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    This is the problem with "the public's" understanding of 3D printing. It is fine for "look and feel" models, but the parts are NO WHERE near the quality, consistency, and strength of parts produced in traditional manufacturing techniques. Fantastic for prototypes, HORRIBLE for parts that need to be high quality.

    3D printed parts in mission critical components of a plane?! No Thanks!!!
    CAD, CAM, Scanning, Modelling, Machining and more. http://www.mcpii.com/3dservices.html

  5. #5
    Addict
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    61
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    kind of scary that fighter planes depend on plastic parts.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •