Munich-based 3D printer manufacturer, German RepRap has revealed that, Airbus Helicopters, the helicopter manufacturing division of aviation-giant, Airbus, has installed one of its large-format machines to quickly prototype parts such as windshield wipers for its fleet.
Using German RepRap’s first of it’s kind X400 RepRap machine, the company has developed a new system for manufacturing and trialling functional prototypes of helicopter parts for its customers.
Frank Singer, manager of engineering at Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH, explained: "These windshield wipers require a multitude of tests with regard to their functionality and serviceability, as well as their ease of installation and the future manufacturing process."
Compared to traditional manufacturing methods such as CNC milling, the benefit of 3D printing in this process lies primarily in the lower costs and the ability to provide customers with a tangible and functional model that can be tested following CAD simulations. Gears, levers and shafts can then be manufactured quickly and economically with 3D printing and threads, bearings and sleeves can be incorporated into the 3D model later on.
German RepRap’s X400 3D printer is designed for small to large industrial users and with a print bed of 390mm x 400 mm x 320 mm (h), enables the production or large-scale parts. The X400 PRO V3 also comes with two extruders as standard to enable printing with two colours or materials at the same time.