Author Topic: 3D printing rocket engines  (Read 82006 times)

Offline docmordrid

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #20 on: 04/08/2014 07:06 am »
Some printers are using wires, akin to a MIG welder. Wire Feed Metal Deposition.

An outfit called Metalisys will make to-order alloy printing powders to size spec, and the unused portions should be reusable. Just about anything including titanium. Other companies are already providing inconel powders, which SpaceX is using to print the SuperDraco regen-cooled abort/landing thruster.
« Last Edit: 04/08/2014 07:14 am by docmordrid »
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Offline R7

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #21 on: 04/08/2014 09:04 am »
Could ink-jet principle work with liquid metals, anyone trying that concept in 3d printing?

Many objects especially in rocketry are mostly axisymmetric and relatively thin walled, are any machines taking advantage of these properties to speed up the printing?
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Offline baldusi

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #22 on: 04/08/2014 01:10 pm »

Could ink-jet principle work with liquid metals, anyone trying that concept in 3d printing?
Those technologies only work on 2D. There are actually three technologies. Ink jet (HP), bubble jet (Canon) and magnetic loop (Epson). HP simply throws a drop of ink. Canon heats the ink until it actually explodes. And Epson has a continuous jet that it keeps deviating magnetically and recirculates it, when you need a drop they simply turn off the magnet that recirculates it. The only system that could work is the bubble jet, and the energy consumption would be huge. And even then, you'd need a 5axis print head and some way to measure what actually stuck so you can keep throwing material to your nominal form. I don't believe that such a print head and feedback complexity would be either cheap nor superior to current technologies. Plus, heat treatment is important for metals and making them liquid is not a good idea. Please note that sinthering uses very specific temperature right on the threshold.

Quote
Many objects especially in rocketry are mostly axisymmetric and relatively thin walled, are any machines taking advantage of these properties to speed up the printing?
Not that I know of. But such symmetry works very well for a lathe. But that's because you take material out. Adding isn't so easy while turning. Mainly because to take out you can make a point as thin as you need (your bit). But printing heads are big and wide. Or better, lathes take advantage of the concave solution, while for additive you have a convex one.

Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #23 on: 04/08/2014 04:09 pm »
Could ink-jet principle work with liquid metals, anyone trying that concept in 3d printing?

Many objects especially in rocketry are mostly axisymmetric and relatively thin walled, are any machines taking advantage of these properties to speed up the printing?

that's why you should keep an eye on this thread and read the links. 
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33141.0

I've tried to add the new processes and new toolsets, they come out almost daily.
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #24 on: 04/08/2014 04:10 pm »
With the exception of either a post or platform to start from, I think 3d printing of rocket engines in microgravity might be the most effecient way of building a rocket motor, bar none.differing layers of metals could be added and alloys that aren't possible in a 1 gravity environment could be mixed and used in ways that are difficult to imagine.
As an example; A rocket engine that utilizes a cooling system in a cermet bell nozzle could both improve the durability of the engine while reducing the overall mass required.  By making the Cermet in microgravity, you can control more precisely the layers of metal and ceramics for the best possible combination of materials.
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Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #25 on: 04/08/2014 04:12 pm »
Now, what would be extremely interesting is if you could 3D print with multiple metals. You could make the lining and add heat pipes. And I've always wondered about fiber wrapping the MCC and Nozzle with kevlar or such. But we're far from that technology yet.
You can use >1 material with some new devices, and Epson announced a few weeks ago a 5 year plan for a large scale  multi-material industrial printer for production. There was also talk of printing cars.

Printing cars or custom cars is being done.   Epson wishes to leapfrog with their printer to the market when ready.
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Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #26 on: 04/08/2014 04:37 pm »
I understand rocket engines are usually made of copper because it can easily  be machined with the cooling channels and also has good heat conduction properties. However copper is not a very strong material and also not very heat resistant.
Now, what would be extremely interesting is if you could 3D print with multiple metals.

The "Term" 3D Printing is misunderstood.   Dozens of new toolsets fall under the term 3D printing.

Quote
And I've always wondered about fiber wrapping the MCC and Nozzle with kevlar or such. But we're far from that technology yet.

What your talking about is composite materials.   The toolsets are available now from the high end to DIY home market because of the Reprap driving.
« Last Edit: 04/08/2014 04:38 pm by Prober »
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Offline baldusi

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #27 on: 04/08/2014 08:42 pm »
I understand rocket engines are usually made of copper because it can easily  be machined with the cooling channels and also has good heat conduction properties. However copper is not a very strong material and also not very heat resistant.
Now, what would be extremely interesting is if you could 3D print with multiple metals.

The "Term" 3D Printing is misunderstood.   Dozens of new toolsets fall under the term 3D printing.
I know. I've used a 5 axis mill, a CNC lathe, a plasma pantograph and own a CNC micromill and I've used my brother's Makerbot. I understand the difference between SLS and EBS. What I'm thinking off is making embedded strengthening component of a different material. Imagine a turbine blade with an exterior of copper that has radiator inserts inside the blade, with an internal part made out of Inconel with Tungten reinforcements.

And I've always wondered about fiber wrapping the MCC and Nozzle with kevlar or such. But we're far from that technology yet.

What your talking about is composite materials.   The toolsets are available now from the high end to DIY home market because of the Reprap driving.
Of course that you could fibre wrap it with a CNC machine. I'm talking about an embedded fibre wrapping inside the solid. There's not current technology to mix fibres and metals.
« Last Edit: 04/08/2014 08:42 pm by baldusi »

Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #28 on: 04/08/2014 10:09 pm »
I understand rocket engines are usually made of copper because it can easily  be machined with the cooling channels and also has good heat conduction properties. However copper is not a very strong material and also not very heat resistant.
Now, what would be extremely interesting is if you could 3D print with multiple metals.

The "Term" 3D Printing is misunderstood.   Dozens of new toolsets fall under the term 3D printing.
I know. I've used a 5 axis mill, a CNC lathe, a plasma pantograph and own a CNC micromill and I've used my brother's Makerbot. I understand the difference between SLS and EBS. What I'm thinking off is making embedded strengthening component of a different material. Imagine a turbine blade with an exterior of copper that has radiator inserts inside the blade, with an internal part made out of Inconel with Tungten reinforcements.

And I've always wondered about fiber wrapping the MCC and Nozzle with kevlar or such. But we're far from that technology yet.

What your talking about is composite materials.   The toolsets are available now from the high end to DIY home market because of the Reprap driving.
Of course that you could fibre wrap it with a CNC machine. I'm talking about an embedded fibre wrapping inside the solid. There's not current technology to mix fibres and metals.

A) One Auto firm has been in production for a couple of years making a new metal finished part. Comes out of two different alloys combined.

B) some old technology can do it, and some new ways can also mix it.
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Online Blackstar

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #29 on: 04/09/2014 01:15 am »
With the exception of either a post or platform to start from, I think 3d printing of rocket engines in microgravity might be the most effecient way of building a rocket motor, bar none.differing layers of metals could be added and alloys that aren't possible in a 1 gravity environment could be mixed and used in ways that are difficult to imagine.


You might want to look up the power requirements for metal additive manufacturing.

You might also think about how the technology might actually work (or not work) in microgravity.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #30 on: 04/09/2014 02:47 am »
With the exception of either a post or platform to start from, I think 3d printing of rocket engines in microgravity might be the most effecient way of building a rocket motor, bar none.differing layers of metals could be added and alloys that aren't possible in a 1 gravity environment could be mixed and used in ways that are difficult to imagine.


You might want to look up the power requirements for metal additive manufacturing.

You might also think about how the technology might actually work (or not work) in microgravity.

ESA seems to think it'll work on ISS,

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/3D_printing_for_space_the_additive_revolution

and at the last Makers Faire there was a liquid metal jet deposition printer that only used 400w. Aluminum now, more later.

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/09/30/potential-home-metal-3d-printer-vader/
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Offline bubbagret

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #31 on: 04/09/2014 02:55 am »
"Build Speed: 20 mL/h"
It takes about 20 drops (from a standard eye dropper) to make one mL
« Last Edit: 04/09/2014 02:59 am by bubbagret »

Offline sanman

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #32 on: 04/09/2014 03:45 am »
You might want to look up the power requirements for metal additive manufacturing.

You might also think about how the technology might actually work (or not work) in microgravity.

Depends on the method. You might find that electroplating or electroforming could achieve strong parts without the same high power requirements, because it's not using heat as the basis for mass deposition.

Offline baldusi

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #33 on: 04/09/2014 04:14 am »

I understand rocket engines are usually made of copper because it can easily  be machined with the cooling channels and also has good heat conduction properties. However copper is not a very strong material and also not very heat resistant.
Now, what would be extremely interesting is if you could 3D print with multiple metals.

The "Term" 3D Printing is misunderstood.   Dozens of new toolsets fall under the term 3D printing.
I know. I've used a 5 axis mill, a CNC lathe, a plasma pantograph and own a CNC micromill and I've used my brother's Makerbot. I understand the difference between SLS and EBS. What I'm thinking off is making embedded strengthening component of a different material. Imagine a turbine blade with an exterior of copper that has radiator inserts inside the blade, with an internal part made out of Inconel with Tungten reinforcements.

And I've always wondered about fiber wrapping the MCC and Nozzle with kevlar or such. But we're far from that technology yet.

What your talking about is composite materials.   The toolsets are available now from the high end to DIY home market because of the Reprap driving.
Of course that you could fibre wrap it with a CNC machine. I'm talking about an embedded fibre wrapping inside the solid. There's not current technology to mix fibres and metals.

A) One Auto firm has been in production for a couple of years making a new metal finished part. Comes out of two different alloys combined.
Can you tell me what part it is? Copper is extremely difficult for additive processes due to heat transfer properties, for example. And mixing two complementary solids is something I haven't heard of.

Quote
B) some old technology can do it, and some new ways can also mix it.
What sort of technologies are you referring to? Embedding fibers wrapping within a metallic solid is not something I've heard of. Of course things like glass reinforced acetal is common place. I'm talking more of something akin reinforced concrete. Where you have continuous fibers embedded with direction and continuity passing through specific parts of the solid for specific reinforcement.

Offline Adaptation

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #34 on: 04/09/2014 04:53 am »
Can you tell me what part it is? Copper is extremely difficult for additive processes due to heat transfer properties, for example. And mixing two complementary solids is something I haven't heard of.

You can plate them but this often has very poor bonding strength. 
You could possibly friction stir weld them. 

You could certainly arc spray (thermal spray) or supersonic cold spray it. 
These are additive processes and can be considered a rough printing method.  They have excellent bonding because the metals are embedded within oneanother, it can even create regions of traditionally impossible alloys.  A major drawback is that micro voids are impossible to prevent. 

You can codeposit physical vapors (two or more gaseous metals in a vacuum chamber simultaneously being deposited) this will also make non traditional alloys which will have good bonding.  But in order to get a good transition it will take a very long time.

If all else fails you can always explosively weld it. 


« Last Edit: 04/09/2014 05:12 am by Adaptation »

Offline R7

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #35 on: 04/09/2014 08:25 am »
Maybe one could make "Copper-Inconel" by depositing mixed copper-Inconel dust? Heat enough for Inconel particles to sinter, copper will melt briefly but remain locked in Inconel "sponge".

If above doesn't work the print porous Inconel piece and let molten copper seep in like in the making of Copper-Tungsten ?

and at the last Makers Faire there was a liquid metal jet deposition printer that only used 400w. Aluminum now, more later.

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/09/30/potential-home-metal-3d-printer-vader/

Just when I was asking for something like this... some day shops will have "Aluminium, Copper, Silver etc" cartridges next to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black :)
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Offline Prober

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #36 on: 04/09/2014 03:03 pm »
With the exception of either a post or platform to start from, I think 3d printing of rocket engines in microgravity might be the most effecient way of building a rocket motor, bar none.differing layers of metals could be added and alloys that aren't possible in a 1 gravity environment could be mixed and used in ways that are difficult to imagine.


You might want to look up the power requirements for metal additive manufacturing.

You might also think about how the technology might actually work (or not work) in microgravity.

and at the last Makers Faire there was a liquid metal jet deposition printer that only used 400w. Aluminum now, more later.

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/09/30/potential-home-metal-3d-printer-vader/

Its an interesting technology but would have to pass many loops for use in microgravity.   

"The first step in the printer process sees an on-board cuboid electric furnace melt metal ingot for the extrusion material. A conventional 400-watt power supply powers the device – energy efficiency is not a problem here. The furnace is seen in the feature image as encased in a glossy-black cube."

Linkage for updates:  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33141.msg1181050#msg1181050

Edit: add link
« Last Edit: 04/10/2014 06:28 pm by Prober »
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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #37 on: 04/09/2014 03:03 pm »
With the exception of either a post or platform to start from, I think 3d printing of rocket engines in microgravity might be the most effecient way of building a rocket motor, bar none.differing layers of metals could be added and alloys that aren't possible in a 1 gravity environment could be mixed and used in ways that are difficult to imagine.


You might want to look up the power requirements for metal additive manufacturing.

You might also think about how the technology might actually work (or not work) in microgravity.

ESA seems to think it'll work on ISS,

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/3D_printing_for_space_the_additive_revolution

and at the last Makers Faire there was a liquid metal jet deposition printer that only used 400w. Aluminum now, more later.

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/09/30/potential-home-metal-3d-printer-vader/

Dig a little deeper.


Offline catdlr

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #38 on: 06/18/2014 03:58 am »
a video of how 3D printing was used to create the engines for this acoustic testing of SLS.

NASA Using 3D Parts for Testing on Mini Model of World's Largest Rocket

Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., are using the latest technology -- 3D printing -- to make parts for a scale model of NASA's new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). The model is being used for acoustic testing, which will show how the powerful noise generated by the engines and boosters may affect the rocket and crew, especially during liftoff. The data will then be used to verify the design of the rocket's sound suppression system. (NASA/MSFC)

Tony De La Rosa

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: 3D printing rocket engines
« Reply #39 on: 06/18/2014 12:28 pm »
It occurs to me that we seem to keep thinking about an inkjet type of 3d printing.

Another approach would be more of an extrusion method where a wire or bar of metal is heated in a vacuum to a nearly moltant level, then extruded onto a platform, (which is also used to start the cooling process) in a continiously layered pattern, building up the particular part that one is trying to print.  Using a nearly moltant metal, extruded like toothpaste in a vacuum allows the metal to not only adhear to itself, but to also do so without contamination.  As this is not being reduced to a vapor, or being used in a sintering technique, the energy costs should be far lower than most other 3d metal printing techniques.
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