Air Force: C-5 Super Galaxy Plane Receives Seventeen 3D Printed Parts to Cabin & Crew Areas

Share this Article

The C-5 Program Office, Air Mobility Command, and the 436th Airlift Wing from Dover Air Force Base have completed installation of 3D printed parts on a C-5 Super Galaxy plane (tail number 70035). This latest hardware installation was completed with just several weeks of 3D printing, including inspection and testing of parts. The Rapid Sustainment office (RSO) reports that they made and installed a total of 17 parts, made of both 3D printing polymers and metal. Actual installation required less than three days.

“It is innovative ideas such as these that continue to drive down sustainment costs, leading to improved weapon system readiness,” said Eddie Preston, a senior materials engineer for the RSO. “If you can imagine sitting on a commercial aircraft, everything around you including parts of the seat you are sitting in, we can print.”

And while the military in general may have been using 3D printing and additive manufacturing quietly and before anyone knew about it—just like other auto companies such as BMW and aerospace entities like NASA and GE—they are now able to create many different prototypes and parts that would not have been possible before. Many times, strength is the issue, but weight is also a major factor in many cases, allowing for lightweight components that make a huge difference in aviation (and space travel).

The 3D printed parts are installed in the following areas on the C-5 aircraft:

  • Cabins
  • Crew bunking areas
  • Overhead panels
  • Reading and emergency light covers
  • Window reveals
  • Gasper panels

Air Force representatives said that aluminum seal retention handles were redesigned via 3D printing processes for better ergonomics, lighter weight, and overall strength. The benefits of 3D printing were in full force during this project too as they were able to cut turnaround time in production exponentially, especially in getting rid of the usual two-tone paint scheme. Print time averaged 24-48 hours and engineers worked with the materials supplier so that parts could be 3D printed in the color required for the cabin—streamlined without any additional painting necessary.

As is so common today, many parts that need replacing or maintenance may be difficult to find or simply not available at all—or it could take months or even years to attain them or make them. As this project continues, however, the C-5 Program Office and RSO teams plan to install 20 more components. Some are being 3D printed in metal (titanium and other alloys) and some in a variety of polymers, with their catalog of parts continuing to grow for future use and reference. Just with the first 17 3D printed parts installed, the RSO projects they will save tens of thousands of dollars, along with improving parts and performance—and even more importantly, weapon system readiness.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

 

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Recent News

MIT: Automated System Designs and 3D Prints Optimized Actuators and Displays to Spec

3D Printing in Construction: French Startup XtreeE Announces New Facility in Dubai



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Featured

Modular, Digital Construction System for 3D Printing Lightweight Reinforced Concrete Spatial Structures

Spatial structure systems, like lattices, are efficient load-bearing structures that are easy to adapt geometrically and well-suited for column-free, long-spanning constructions, such as hangars and terminals, and in creating free-form...

Thixotropy, Nanoclay and the Optimal Parameters of 3D Printed Concrete

In ‘The Effect of Material Fresh Properties and Process Parameters on Buildability and Interlayer Adhesion of 3D Printed Concrete,’ international authors strive to understand more about materials and parameters in...

Twikit Showcases Mass Customized Braces and Automotive Parts at Rapid 2019

Belgian mass customization software company Twikit showcased a number of mass customization cases and applications at RAPID + TCT 2019. The Twikit team was able to show BMW Group’s Mini...

An Indian Bioprinting Startup is Working on 3D Printed ‘Liquid Cornea’ for Corneal Grafts

In the last few years, there has been a continuous growth of bioprinting companies around the world, probably because the medical field is one of the most exciting industries taking...


Shop

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


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!