Saturday February 04, 2017

Boeing's Space Taxi to Use More Than 600 3D Printed Parts

The 3D printing industry's growth in the past few years has been spurred by gradual acceptance by leading industry manufacturers. Even though 3D printing is still in it's infancy, it has shown it can produce products that are stronger than metal or conventional plastic manufacturing; while weighing significantly less than the competition. The icing on the cake is that 3D printed parts cost less to manufacture.

Aerospace manufacturer Boeing is looking to exploit this manufacturing wunderkind by hiring 3D printing specialists at Oxford Performance Materials to create more than 600 PEKK plastic parts for the 7 seat Boeing Space Taxi program. These plastic PEKK parts are expected to last just as long as conventionally manufactured parts, resist fire and radiation, have a -300آ°F to 300آ°F temperature rating, be stronger than aluminum, and cut costs while shaving off 60% weight! Remember that these parts have to be able to survive the extreme stress of rocket launch and sub zero space temperatures! This news would undoubtedly make Spacy9 and other 3D printing hobbyists here on the forums making Kaby Lake delid tools proud. For science!

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"What really makes it valuable to NASA and Boeing is this material is as strong as aluminum at significantly less weight," he said. Boeing said the weight savings on Oxford's parts is about 60 percent compared with traditional manufacturing. Boeing is building three Starliner capsules under a $4.2 billion NASA contract. Entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX is building a competing capsule under a $2.6 billion NASA contract.

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