Fused-filament fabrication (FFF) has received considerable investment from the aerospace industry because it offers the enticing capability of on-demand fabrication of complex spare parts, while simultaneously expanding the engineering design space and minimizing costs for low-volume part production. This is particularly important to the aerospace industry where storage space for parts is limited, part count is low, and often times getting parts on location (i.e. space, the moon, Mars) is very expensive. NASA has been a major leader in implementing additive manufacturing (AM) in current systems, but adoption is still slow because of post-process inspection requirements. If parts are to be made on-site in non-terrestrial environments post-process inspection may not be available, so closed-loop control of FFF is necessary. Consequently, a significant opportunity exists to develop tools that bridge the quality control gap between current FFF technology and fully-closed-loop systems.
3D Printed Hybrid Rocket Grains
3 current customers pursuing this application
Companies are forecasting dozens of machines to meet rate demands
3D printing fuel on Gateway, Lunar and Martian facilities > Future “gas stations”
Shelters & Laboratories
Benefit from the tools, furniture, HVAC, and appliances 3D printed from the lightweight pellet feedstock
Light weight feedstock can be supplied in bulk to support unlimited applications
Future waste streams can be converted into feedstock
A wide range of markets have turned to pellet extrusion technology for serial production solutions (HVAC, commercial goods, agriculture, foundry, aerospace, and automotive). Each of these markets are leveraging the technology for tooling, prototyping, and low rate high mix product demands.