Aerospace & Defense 3D Printing Applications

Last Updated on by DesignPoint Team

How A&D Leverages 3D Printing Technology


The Aerospace and Defense Industry is way ahead of the 3D Printing game. As one of the biggest and earliest adopters to additive manufacturing, they figured out long ago what we all now know– 3D Printing is changing the way we do business. From the smallest fixture to the largest fuselage, 3D Printers save the A&D industry time and money without sacrificing quality. Here’s just a few examples of what the aerospace industry 3D prints to help spread its wings.

Just Right Jigs and Fixtures

That little component that guides your part into place for assembly has a big impact on your production line. If the fixture is at all flawed it can lead to a slow down (or stop) in production that affects your bottom line. A broken fixture also throws a monkey wrench into production while you endure long wait times for a new one to be made. Thanks to Markforged’s composite and metal 3D Printers, the aerospace industry creates durable, strong and accurate jigs and fixtures 50x faster and at a 20x lower cost than traditional CNC machining methods. The reduced print time and cost savings allows the industry to get their parts assembled fast and effortlessly.

Endless End Use Parts

From fuselages to fuel tanks, the aerospace industry is 3D printing a variety of end use parts. The main reason? Fuel and production cost savings. Parts made with additive methods are created using far less waste than traditional CNC machining, which keeps the materials cost down. These parts are also more lightweight than their subtractive manufacturing counterparts, causing a significant reduction in drag. Less drag results in less fuel costs – a win, win for manufacturers AND the environment. With BigRep’s large-scale 3D printers enabling even larger end use parts to hit the production floor faster, it’s no wonder why the aerospace industry is thinking big about their 3D printing possibilities.

Perfected Prototypes

Functional prototypes serve as the last stand between an idea and the finished product. During their research and development phase, aerospace engineers and designers rely heavily on the accuracy and strength of 3D Printed prototypes to test their designs in real-world situations. The testing process often calls for multiple revisions to the design, which makes 3D Printers a go-to choice for prototyping. Iterations of 3D Printed prototypes can be produced in-house with minimal time and labor constraints, freeing up the designers to test more options without slowing down their time-to-market.

Aerospace pioneers capitalize on 3D Printing for everything from the research & design phase to the finished product.  Are you ready to join the growing list of innovators who add in additive to their shop floor? Contact us to help your business take flight!

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