The Air Force has 3D Printed the First Aircraft Engine Part

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To prove that 3D printing can save time and money. A team at Tinker Air Force Base has collaborated in what is the first usable 3D printed aircraft engine part.

The Need

A slowdown in the supply chain caused by Covid-19 has prompted the need for a specially designed aircraft engine gasket.  Engineers at Tinker Airforce Base, Air Logistics Command decided to show how 3D printing could be exploited to create the needed “anti-ice gaskets”.

Conclusions

The team successfully designed, printed and tested the gaskets, decreasing the lead time from 120-136 days to 14-21 days.  Air Force officials have stated “We haven’t had a 3D printed metal component in Air Force engines before, but in the next 12-24 months, this technology will open the door to more complex and critical components that help to improve our sustainment efforts moving forward.”

Information on this article can be found at https://www.tinker.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2296780/tinker-units-collaborate-produce-first-3-d-printed-engine-component/ .