Yet Another Printed Airplane, And a Plastic Rolls-Royce Turbofan

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Fariss Samarrai of the University of Virginia reported on two fellow students and a faculty advisor who “printed” a two-meter (6.5 feet) wingspan airplane. Third year engineering student Steven Easter was part a group that “built” a one-quarter scale Rolls-Royce turbofan replica using 3D printing, a method in which components are created from thin layers of material fused together.  Because the material used was plastic, the engine cannot be “fired up,” but is run with compressed air. It would be nice to think that all the pieces come out neatly finished and ready to go, but in this project, students had to add a great deal of hand finishing and assembly. According to Popular Mechanics, “…[faculty advisor David] Sheffler gave the …