Rocket engine with 3D printed parts successfully tested by Chinese aerospace industry

It
definitely looks like 3D printing technology has a bright future in aerospace
industries. Over the last few months we’ve seen the development of numerous 3D
printed parts are not just intended as prototypes, but that might actually even
go to space. 
Just this week we’ve seen 3D printed engine by NASA, but it looks
like Chinese developers are definitely not staying behind. For engineers from
Institute 41 (part of the China Aerospace Science and industry Corporation)
have already successfully tested an engine ignition device that has been
created using 3D printing technology.

This
is reportedly the first time Chinese engineers tested a 3D printed rocket
component, but it seems to be very suitable for the job. Shell structures
typically used for the ignition components in rocket engines are very difficult
to design and produce, and are very costly and time-consuming to create.
Engineers felt themselves bottlenecked, so a team from the ignition technology
research laboratory of Institute 41 began incorporating 3D printing into their
R&D process.

In
collaboration with local manufacturers of 3D printing equipment, these
engineers eventually and successfully 3D printed the first set of shells for
ignition devices. To ensure these shells met all design requirements,
researchers produced hundreds of 3D printed test samples, which were submitted
to various extensive testing sequences.

These
excellent results, and the reduced costs, have already convinced Institute 41
to direct their focus to design optimization and to make full use of the
advantages of 3D printing. 

According to Chinese media, it is expected that the
use of 3D printing technology will be expanded to other aspects of ignition
production as well, and even to the manufacturing of other engine components.
(Via. 3ders.org)

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