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A team of U.S. Marines in Maryland 3D printed landing gear component that attached to the door of the F-35 stealth fighter aircraft. The Marines were able to replicate it for 9 cents, and it will save $70,000 in costs per jet.
The aerospace and defense industry is increasingly using additive manufacturing to reduce material costs, decrease labor content, and increase availability of parts at point of use. The part in question was a small landing gear component that mounts on the landing gear door; as the landing gear door closes it presses the landing gear into the latch. Though a small and simple part, the only conventional means of replacing the part was to order the entire landing gear door - a process that’s time-consuming and expensive. Using 3D printing, a team of engineers from Combat Logistics Battalion 31 (CLB-31) in Carderock Division of Naval Surface Warfare Center was able to have the part printed, approved for use and installed within a matter of days.
Piece - Separate - Gear - Door - Cost
“You can’t buy the piece separate from the landing gear door which is a cost of $70,000," said Sam Pratt, Mechanical Engineer at the Carderock Additive Manufacturing Project Office who provided the technical support to the team. "By having the capabilities to print in the field, we were able to replicate the part for a cost of roughly 9 cents."
Pratt was assigned to analyze how 3D printers performed in shipboard conditions and also to train CLB-31 Marines on Solidworks, when he was asked by the maintenance platoon officer to help create a replacement part for a landing gear door.
Maintenance - Platoon - South - Korea - Marines
“I was with the maintenance platoon in South Korea training Marines from CLB-31 on the processes of drafting a design and how to apply it to printed items,” Pratt said. “I was told they were having issues with...
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