US Air Force to make some of its own replacement parts with 3D printing

Posted on 10/15/2019 7:20:17 AM By ASC

The Travis US Air Force Base 60th Maintenance Squadron has taken off in a different direction when it comes to sourcing some of the non-structural aircraft parts needed for aircraft maintenance. Piloting the new approach, which the Air Force reports will speed up the acquisition of necessary components considerably, is a Stratasys F900 3D printer using the Ultem 9085 high-performance thermoplastic.

To kick-start operations, the maintenance squadron used the 3D printing system to make latrine covers for the USAF’s largest aircraft, the transport C-5M Super Galaxy. According to the Air Force, the process, which could have taken as long as a year to accomplish through the normal chain of supplies, was completed in just 73 hours.

While the 60th Maintenance Squadron is currently the USAF’s only unit certified to used the 3D printing system, future plans are to have Travis printing nonstructural parts for other Air Force bases using blueprints developed by the University of Dayton Research Institute.

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