VELO3D, the California-based metal additive manufacturing firm has entered into a partnership with Colorado-based Boom Supersonic for 3D printing flight components for the XB-1 aircraft. Intelligent Fusion, VELO3D’S direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) technology, will facilitate the construction of the supersonic aircraft. The XB-1 is the first independently built supersonic jet that can travel at Mach 2.2 (or 1687 mph) with more than 3,700 parts equipped with custom composite structure, avionics, flight control actuators, tricycle landing gear, systems for pressurization and cooling, and a high-bandwidth telemetry system. The Sapphire System, VELO3D’s metal 3D printer has been built for high volume manufacturing and caters to the demands of customers in the aerospace, medical, and energy sector.
Mike Jagemann, Head of XB-1 Production, Boom Supersonic, stated that the high-speed air travel needs technology that is safe, efficient and reliable, and with this partnership, the company will be working with a leading firm in the additive manufacturing industry to print flight hardware for the XB-1. The Sapphire System allows engineers to create designs with overhangs under 10° and large inner diameters without support and features that are incorporated in-situ for closed loop melt pool control. After the commercialization of the Sapphire system last year, the company has announced that an aerospace manufacturer is using five of these systems for the production of additively manufactured rocket hardware. The partnership between the pair will facilitate the creation of complex parts that can endure the pressure of supersonic aircraft.
Boom Supersonic and VELO3D have completed validation trials on various parts that performed accurately and are currently working on two titanium flight components for installation on the prototype aircraft in early 2020. Both 3D printed parts will belong to the environmental control system (ECS) to ascertain that the aircraft can execute safe flight under all conditions. Stratasys recently announced an extension of its partnership with Boom Supersonic, adding seven years to the agreement dedicated to the development of flight hardware for the XB-1 aircraft.