Additive Manufacturing Strategies

India’s Defense Minister Parrikar is Presented with 3D Printed Model of SU-30 MKI Fighter Aircraft

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(image by Pradip Das)

(image by Pradip Das)

One thing I love about covering the 3D printing space is that it is really a worldwide phenomenon. We see the technology being used in almost every country, across every continent around the globe, to one extent or another. Whether it is third world countries utilizing the benefits to provide for more self sufficiency, or perhaps the economic juggernauts of the world using it to create products previously unthought-of, there is always a surprise on the horizon.

In India, 3D printing is really beginning to take off. The country is really seeing the technology go to use within the jewelry industry, with new 3D printer manufacturers popping up left and right, as well as service providers for those who can’t afford to purchase their own.

For one company, called Zeus Numerix, 3D printing is just one part of their business model. Suman Mohandas, Head for Innovations and the lead for 3D works at Zeus Numerix, uses an X400 3D Printer from German RepRap to print many different objects for clients as well as the company itself. Recently, however, they were presented with an opportunity to show the country a bit more about 3D printing.

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“The 3D printer is mostly engaged to print scaled models for marketing purposes,” Mohandas tells 3DPrint.com. “And so when the opportunity arrived to meet the Defense Minister (Manohar Parrikar), we thought that a 3D printed model of the IAF’s frontline fighter aircraft, the SU-30 MKI, would help us make a mark on the minister.”

So, that’s exactly what Mohandas and the rest of the team at Zeus Numerix did. They designed and 3D printed a scaled down replica of the SU-30 MKI.

“We do a lot of engineering simulations such as dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, stress analysis, computational electromagnetics, aero-acoustics etc. for various national laboratories and design offices,” said Mohandas. “Irrespective of the kind of simulations we do, a high quality surface mesh is always required. It is one such surface mesh that we converted to STL format, scaled and used for the 3D print. Slicing was done using Cura, and the model was printed in two halves before being glued together. [It] took about three days to have everything printed and assembled.”

parrakar3The model was presented to Parrikar at an event at Victor Menezes Convention Centre, where he spoke of the need for in-house production of their own reliable weapons. Parrikar explained how he wished to bring technical institutions to India in order to expand research in the defense sector. The presentation of the 3D printed SU-30 MKI was very fitting.

The model was printed in two sections in order to fit on the print bed, and then it was bonded together. The final result was quite impressive.  It should be interesting to see what is in store next for Zeus Numerix.

What do you think about this 3D printed model that was presented to one of India’s most well respected men? Do you think we will continue to see 3D printing become more mainstream in India? Discuss in the 3D Printed SU-30 MKI forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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