Cransfield University Unveils What Many Believe Is The Biggest 3D Printed Metal Part Ever

Cranfield University

Cranfield University

Utilizing Cransfield University’s Wire + Arc Additive Manufacture (WAAM) process, researchers were able to 3D print an absolutely monstrous spar.

At approximately 20 feet long and 661 pounds, many believe the double-sided 3D printed spar, comprised of aerospace-grade aluminium, is the biggest 3D printed metal part ever.

The idea behind the experiment was to explore the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce giant metal parts for the aerospace sector, as well as the oil and gas, automotive, marine and energy industries.

Head of Cranfield’s Additive Manufacture program, Professor Stewart Williams had this to say:

“Hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on medium to large-scale components by the aerospace industry each year. There is great potential for significant cost savings in terms of waste and production efficiency if we can transform the way these parts are manufactured. This demonstration clearly shows the potential of the WAAM process with this newly-acquired machine for changing future manufacturing processes.”

The team at Cransfield estimate WAAM can enable substantial cost savings, as much as 70% compared to the traditional machine-from-solid approach.

This notion bodes well for the future of manufacturing large structural components within the aerospace industry.

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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