3D Printing Revolutionizes Aviation Industry

October 7, 2016 Industry News

Today, 3D printing technology is revolutionizing the aviation industry as 3D printed structural components are integrated into aircraft that are flying above and beyond engineers’ wildest dreams. The idea of creating an unmanned aerial system (UAS), commonly know as a drone, from a majority of 3D printed components is no longer just a futuristic possibility, but something that may be seen in the near future.

What is 3D printing?

The process of 3D printing involves creating three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file by laying down layers of material—one on top of the other—until the final object is created. Skilled engineers use computer software programs to design the desired parts and then print them using a 3D printer.

How are 3D printed aircraft changing the industry?

This revolutionary process is an industry game changer as it not only saves time, but virtually eliminates outside manufacturing and reduces labor costs.

Today’s heat-resistant composite materials used in the aerospace industry, including 3D printed components, are enhancing structural properties and increasing fatigue life, making the structures more corrosion-resistant and reducing the weight of the structure, thus allowing for better structural performance.

A significant factor, if not one of the most important, is how these innovative systems can keep man out of harm’s way. The aviation industry uses UAS to take images and collect data in dangerous areas such as war zones and fires. This safety factor is critical in gathering important information while keeping man safe in life-threatening situations.

Engineering and Engineering Technology Degrees

Vaughn College offers a wide range of engineering and engineering technology degrees that can prepare students for an exciting career in aeronautics and set them apart from the competition.

The below programs are just a few of the majors offered at Vaughn that provide students with a rigorous and comprehensive course of study to enable them to become successful in their chosen fields.

3D prototyping innovation center

Last month, the engineering and technology department at Vaughn launched their 3D prototyping innovation center, which was equipped with 15 3D printers and two 3D scanners. This space offers students a hands-on opportunity to bring their classroom knowledge to life by applying the concepts they learned and then turn them into physical objects.

“Our 3D prototyping innovation center is just another way we are placing advanced technology at our students’ fingertips and challenging them to be the best they can be,” said Dr. Hossein Rahemi, engineering and technology department chair.

Join the club

Vaughn students and faculty agree that there’s no better way to stay ahead of the curve in this ever-changing world of technology than to join one of their on-campus clubs. Just this past May, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Club coordinated their first International Drone Day event in an effort to raise awareness and celebrate these flying wonders. Among the workshops was an introduction to 3D printing.

Dr. Hossein Rahemi’s thoughts on the future

“My vision is to keep students engaged and give them a platform to have an elevated mind,” said Dr. Rahemi. “The idea of using 3D printed structural components is already proving to be successful. I believe we will see the use of this technology increase dramatically in the future for the manufacturing of aircraft parts.”