‘Custom Control Concepts’ Will Jazz Up Your Custom VIP Aircraft With 3D Printing

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In Seattle, WA, Custom Control Concepts practices their specialty of designing and building in-flight entertainment and cabin management systems. They’ve been at the trade for more than a decade, and they’ve installed their systems on some 150 VIP aircraft at their 80,000 sq. ft. facilities.

Bill WeaverThe company installs iPad integrations and they also use 3D manufacturing and printing as they build their high-performance entertainment systems for some of the largest personal jets. Bill Weaver, the president and CEO of Custom Control Concepts, says they’ve also doubled their use of 3D printers over the course of just the last three years.

In fact, the company utilizes nine large 3D printers and uses them to fabricate a variety of customized structures for Boeing VIP aircraft.

Custom Control Concepts says they rely on 3D printing as the combination of short production runs and custom look-and-feel finishes makes the process well-suited for the technology. Weaver says the company often uses an FAA-approved plastic, Ultem, to create the critical parts for their high-end interiors.

ultum1Now a 130-person team, Custom Control Concepts added 15,000 square feet of production space, and Weaver says the company plans to hire an additional 20 people before the year is out.

Using 3D printers, CCC creates unique housings and mounting hardware for video screens, speakers systems, and various control centers which lets them tailor their designs for each customer’s needs.

According to Weaver, the company makes a number of metal components as well.

“It allows us to do things as far as adding features to products, unique shapes and sizes,” Weaver says. “We can do things like design products with hollow wall structures, with internal structural supports.”

ultum2He adds that with their short production runs, often just a few objects and rarely more than a hundred, 3D printing means the company can speed the manufacturing process.

“It allows us to have a very fast moving prototyping environment here. Our engineers can design it, we can print it,” he said.

CCC says 3D printing technology lets them produce parts and enclosures “with creative and innovative designs not possible with traditional machining.”

“We use a flame, smoke, toxicity certified thermoplastic that is highly heat and chemical resistant,” the company says. “This plastic has an amazing strength to weight ratio, and will save precious weight without sacrificing quality.”

In Ultem, CCC has found an ideal material to build their highly-specialized parts. Ultem resins are a polyetherimide (PEI), amber-to-transparent thermoplastic which has characteristics similar to those of PEEK–and relative to PEEK, PEI is less expensive and features a natural flame resistance and very low smoke generation.

Do you know of any other companies who rely heavily on 3D printing and AM to customize high-end consumer goods? Let us know in the Custom Jet forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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