Space Agency to ‘Take 3D Printing into the Metal Age’

(BBC) The European Space Agency (ESA) has unveiled plans to “take 3D printing into the metal age” by using additive manufacturing to build parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects. The Amaze Project in Europe is bringing¬†together 28 institutions to develop new metal components which are lighter, stronger and cheaper than conventional parts. The Amaze project that printing metal parts for rockets and planes will cut waste, save money and make the space industry more green.

The layered method of assembly also allows intricate designs – geometries which are impossible to achieve with conventional metal casting. Parts for cars and satellites can be optimized to be lighter and – simultaneously – incredibly robust.

Tungsten alloy components that can withstand temperatures of 3,000 Celsius were unveiled at Amaze’s launch on Tuesday at London’s Science Museum.

At such extreme temperatures they can survive inside nuclear fusion reactors and on the nozzles of rockets.
“We want to build the best quality metal products ever made. Objects you can’t possibly manufacture any other way,” said David Jarvis, Esa’s head of new materials and energy research.