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Monday, May 19, 2014

RedEye's additive manufacturing technology builds fuel tanks for Lockheed Martin using 3Dprinting.


RedEye, a division of 3-D printing manufacturer Stratasys, partnered with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company to 3-D print two fuel tank simulators for a satellite form, fit and function validation test and process development. The biggest tank measures 15 feet long, making it one of the largest 3-D printed objects RedEye has built.The parts were manufactured using RedEye’s Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology, which allows for a faster development process and cuts in half the cost of machining. The 15-foot tank was built in 10 different pieces, and the smaller tank was built in six pieces, both using polycarbonate (PC) material. The tanks took nearly two weeks to print, with final assembly time amounting to 240 hours.“This project is unique in two ways — it marks the first aerospace fuel tank simulation produced through additive manufacturing and is one of the largest 3-D printed parts ever built,” said Joel Smith, strategic account manager for aerospace and defense at RedEye. “Our ability to accommodate such a large configuration and adapt to design challenges on the fly demonstrates that there really is no limit to the problem-solving potential when you manufacture with 3-D printing.”