The aerospace sector with its need for mission-critical components has been quick to embrace the advantages of additive manufacturing. Metal 3D printing liberates the designer and creates new pathways in the quest for strength, stability and lightness, all of which are critical elements in aerospace propulsion systems design.
We have been working with this industry for over 10 years and have developed sophisticated quality control systems to ensure all space craft are successfully deployed. Spacecraft and satellite manufacturers require functional components to be manufactured quickly, to a high quality and they also need to be cost effective.
Rocket engine parts we have 3D printed include thrust chambers, injectors and fuel supply fittings. Satellite parts we have 3D printed include thrust chambers, injectors and fuel tanks.
Aeromotors - Revolutionising drone design
We are working with some top aerospace organisations right now but for most of them, we are unable to share information with you, however, we can share our working relationship with Aeromotors Ltd and Bill.
Bill White’s journey started over 20 years ago when as a Christchurch engineer, he first started designing and building engines. He’s now revolutionising drone design.
Bill, an Aviation Propulsion Engineer and owner of Aeromotors has mostly worked in aviation but has also built car engines for Jaguar and the BMW V12. Currently he is designing and building engines for high altitude drones.
The smaller 3-cylinder engine he has re-designed and built is for a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) with a weight of 50kg and aircraft wingspan of six metres; it can fly to heights of 18,000 ft and has a cruise speed of sixty knots.
In Bill’s own words “this little engine is now a yard stick for the rest of the industry to catch up with.”
Bill’s aim is to design and build these engines to be proportionally lighter as all drone manufacturers want their drones to fly higher and further.
With Bill’s experience in developing, manufacturing and testing engines, he convinced his clients to go with a 4-stroke engine design despite this engine type being considered to be old technology in the small UAV world. Most drone engines are electric, a 2-stroke engine is inefficient, so Bill’s ingenious 4-stroke engine is leading the way.
Clever drone design takes innovative thinking and people who are willing to take bold steps along the way.
The parts we are 3D printing for him can’t be manufactured any other way and are printed in Inconel 718 (a high temperature alloy) and require high precision especially where mass matters. With rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing this is finally achievable.
When a new client first approaches us, we often 3D print a small number of parts to ensure they are fit for purpose and sometimes it can take a while to produce the right parts This was not the case with Aeromotors.
It was refreshing to see some great CAD designs specifically suited for our metal 3D printing process. We have printed production runs of manifolds, exhaust mufflers, collectors and more recently some engine sumps.
Quotes from Bill White, Aeromotors
“I have found RAM3D to be collaborative, helpful, and interested in the outcome of their work, which is a real attribute in the ongoing design and modelling of componentry that suits their processes. This makes for very predictable repeatability, which is a critical element of series or volume production."
Some examples of our work for the Aerospace Industry