How 3D Printing is Reshaping Aerospace Manufacturing
- | Aerospace prototypes in under 24 hours
- | Cut costs by up to 90% compared to machining
- | Flightworthy FST & UL94 rated plastics, resins and metals
Forge Labs delivers comprehensive solutions for aerospace manufacturing. Upholding stringent quality standards, we ensure material traceability along with industry-leading reliability.
Additive manufacturing revolutionizes aerospace design by enabling unique benefits in crafting aircraft parts, ground equipment, jigs, fixtures, and composite layup tools. 3D printing removes the cost premium associated with complex designs, allowing engineers to shift from hard-to-machine components to more cost-effective, 3D-printed alternatives. Modern high-performance materials used in 3D printing enable rapid and cost-efficient customization across a range of lightweight, flight-ready thermoplastics, composites, and metals. Furthermore, intricate assemblies can be simplified and optimized, significantly reducing assembly time, payload volume, and potential failure points.
Precision Aerospace Prototyping
We provide access to the industry's most advanced 3D printing technologies, which enable the creation of prototypes with tolerances as tight as +/- 0.1mm, intricate details as fine as 0.2mm, and features as thin as 0.7mm—all without compromising structural integrity.
Flightworthy Plastics & Metals
3D printing and additive manufacturing pushes the boundaries of what was previously possible with traditonal manufacturing. The shift to3D printing has significantly trimmed aircraft fuel expenditure and air drag. With the aerospace sector's trajectory toward heightened efficiency, 3D printing stands out as a game-changer.
Canadian Aerospace Manufacturing
Manufacturing locally ensures quicker turnarounds due to reduced shipping times and logistical complexities. Forge Labs Canadian proximity to aerospace manufacturing allows for real-time collaboration, facilitating easier design iterations, and immediate resolution of any production challenges.
Our Aerospace Manufacturing Process
Forge Labs' instant quoting platform helps strengthen your supply chain and obtain custom parts tailored to your needs—whether for prototyping, R&D, validation, or full-scale production. Leverage our advanced capabilities and capacity to accelerate your timelines and meet deadlines. Additive manufacturing offers aerospace engineers the capability to efficiently customize lightweight parts, resulting in significant reductions in both CO2 emissions and fuel costs. Even a 1kg weight reduction can decrease CO2 emissions by up to a tonne over an aircraft's lifespan. As the aerospace sector seeks efficiency boosts, 3D printing emerges as a pivotal solution, enabling longer flights with fewer emissions. Forge Labs utilizes certified materials like ULTEM 9085, Antero 800NA, and Titanium Ti64.
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Solutions for Aerospace Designers
Complex Geometries and Weight Reduction
3D printing technology offers the capability to fabricate intricate and highly complex geometries. This capability is particularly important in aerospace, where lightweight and structurally optimized components are fundamental. Engineers can create parts with geometric features that were previously impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods. Lightweight lattice structures, for instance, can be designed to reduce weight while maintaining mechanical strength. Aerospace-grade alloys, advanced composites, and optimized geometries can be leveraged to produce parts with high strength-to-weight ratios. Lighter components translate to reduced fuel consumption and extended range for aircraft, as well as enhanced payload capacity for rockets and spacecraft. This weight reduction not only contributes to operational cost savings but also aligns with sustainability goals by reducing the carbon footprint of aerospace operations.
Reduced Costs of Low Volume Production
The aerospace industry often requires low-volume production of custom or specialized components, making traditional manufacturing processes cost-prohibitive due to expensive tooling and setup costs. 3D printing mitigates this challenge by offering a cost-effective solution for low-volume production runs. Engineers can produce components as needed, eliminating the need for large inventories and reducing the financial burden of maintaining extensive stocks. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for aerospace applications, such as producing spare parts for older aircraft models or crafting specialized components for research and development purposes. By harnessing the affordability and rapid turnaround times of 3D printing, aerospace engineers can meet specific production requirements without compromising on cost-efficiency or quality.
Test fit, form, and function in as little as one business day. Experience unparalleled design freedom without the added costs of complexity or concerns over tooling changes. Forge Labs' advanced Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers deliver precision with expansive build platforms, allowing for single prints of parts up to 59 inches without sectioning or assembly. For functional testing, we recommend our high-performance materials through Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF), and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), empowering aerospace designers to produce prototypes that mirror final products in appearance and performance.
Repair and Maintenance
3D printing offers aerospace engineers an invaluable solution for repair and maintenance operations. When aircraft components wear out or sustain damage, traditional replacement parts may be expensive, hard to source, or subject to long lead times. With 3D printing, engineers can rapidly produce replacement parts on-site, minimizing downtime and reducing costs associated with grounded aircraft. Moreover, the ability to reverse-engineer and reproduce legacy parts becomes achievable, extending the operational life of aging aircraft. This technology can also facilitate the creation of custom tools and fixtures for maintenance tasks, improving efficiency and safety during repairs. By integrating 3D printing into their maintenance workflows, aerospace engineers can ensure the continued reliability of their fleets.
Case Studies in Aerospace
Lightweight AUV Drones Using FDM
How 3D printing has been used to manufacture ultra light UAV drones using Stratasys 3D Printing.
FDM Jigs & Fixtures
Real world applications on how 3D Printing FDM Jigs & Fixtures are being used on the factory floor.
Frequently Asked Questions