Exone end to end binder jetting service

AV-8B Harrier Aircraft Landing Gear is Repaired With 3D Printing After Incredible Emergency Landing

INTAMSYS industrial 3d printing

Share this Article

harrier2Over the past several months, we have seen the U.S. Army make huge strides in the study and implementation of 3D printing to make personnel lives safer, provide potentially better food options, and allow for repairs on the fly. They have also been studying the use of the technology to create more precise weapons, that will ultimately prevent collateral damage during combat. The U.S. Army certainly appears to be at the forefront of 3D printing, among other U.S. Military branches.

While the Army publicizes a lot of their 3D printing initiatives, that doesn’t mean that similar advancements are not occurring within the other branches of the U.S. Military. Without a doubt, 3D printing is being used to some extent within all 5 divisions of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Back in May, Marine Captain William Mahoney’s nose landing gear failed on his AV-8B Harrier fighter jet.  He was forced to make a very unique vertical landing, to rest the nose of the aircraft on top of a stool, aboard the USS Bataan (LHD5) aircraft carrier. In the video below, you can see Mahoney landing the plane in the same way we are used to seeing helicopters land.

After the successful landing, thanks to the elite training that Mahoney had received, and his excellent ability in executing the maneuver, technicians aboard the Bataan, as well as artisans at the Fleet Readiness Center East, in North Carolina, were tasked with successfully repairing the landing gear as quickly and safely as possible.

Doug Greenwood, an aerospace engineer, as well as other workers on the Bataan, dismantled the nose cone of the aircraft. “The hard landing damaged a portion of one of the structural frames in the nose cone,” Greenwood explained.

harrier

The team of technicians decided that the best course of action would be to remove the damaged section and then replace it with a matching section that could be cut out from a spare frame at the Fleet Readiness Center East. “Sheet metal reinforcements, called ‘doublers’ would be needed to mate the donor section with the undamaged portion of the frame, which remained in the aircraft,” Greenwood said. “The challenge for FRCE was to manufacture the reinforcement doublers and get them to the ship for the repair.”

Patternmaker Caleb Guelich, left, and Engineer Justin Reynolds, both of Fleet Readiness Center East, inspect polymer form blocks made through 3D printing.   (U.S. Navy photo by Dave Marriott/released)

Patternmaker Caleb Guelich, left, and Engineer Justin Reynolds, both of Fleet Readiness Center East, inspect
polymer form blocks made through 3D printing. (U.S. Navy photo by Dave Marriott/released)

Fortunately the technicians were up for this challenge. Using the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) CAD model, the team designed the forming tools in less than 48 hours, with one of the forming tools taking 5 hours, and the other 30 hours to completely 3D print. The tools were printed using a polycarbonate material, that features very high compressive strength. It can withstand pressures of up to 4,000 pounds per square inch.

“Using traditional, nondigital tool design and building processes, manufacture of the doublers would likely have taken two to three weeks,” Greenwood said. “Using the 3-D digital data and AM, time and cost were reduced significantly.”

Once the tools were finished 3D printing, they were used to form the flat patterns into the doubler parts. Once the forming process was complete, the parts were heated and then painted. All-in-all, it took just one week from the time the technicians recieved the OEM CAD model until the new parts were ready to be put onto the aircraft.

This goes to show you that the military has many uses for 3D printing. Without the technology, this process would have taken much longer, and cost tax payers more money. What do you think about the military’s use of 3D printing to repair this aircraft? Discuss in the AV-8B Harrier forum thread on 3DPB.com

Share this Article


Recent News

$51M to Ramp up 6K’s Production of Batteries and 3D Printing Metals

Secret Audit Reveals US Military’s 3D Printing Tech Vulnerable to Cyberattacks



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Briefs, September 9, 2021: Events, Materials, & More

In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, the first Formnext + PM South China finally opens this week. In materials news, a biomedical company introduced what it calls the first purified...

Featured

US Navy Issues $20M to Stratasys to Purchase Large-Format 3D Printers

The U.S. Navy has been steadily increasing its investment into practical 3D printer usage, as opposed to research. The latest comes in the form of a whopping $20 million contract...

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: August 22, 2021

From food 3D printing and GE Additive’s Arcam EBM Spectra L 3D printer to 3D printing and CAD in a post-pandemic world and topology optimization, we’ve got a busy week...

Featured

The Largest 3D Printed Structure in North America: a Military Barracks in Texas

ICON’s latest 3D printed training barracks structure in Texas signals another positive step for the additive construction industry. Described by the company as the largest 3D printed structure in North...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.