3D printers are also being used to help upgrade Soviet-type Su-22 and MiG-29 fighter jets owned by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, allowing for cost effective conformity with NATO requirements.
Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze (WZL) Nr 2 S.A, one of Poland’s largest aviation companies, is overhauling and modernising the Su-22 and MiG-29 aircraft, and is using 3D printed parts prior to the final CAD modelling to verify they fit with the existing geometry of the aircraft.
The rapid prototyping shows any discrepancies between the CAD geometry delivered by the manufacturer and the physical geometry of the planes in the hangar, proving to be the fastest way to dispel any doubts before parts are built or shipped.
WZL are using the M200 printer, developed by Polish company Zortrax, which is aiming its current range of desktop FDM 3D printers at the professional market – including the aviation and automotive industries.
Zortrax is soon to launch its Inventure printer, which promises high quality models thanks in part to its closed heated chamber and soluble support material as it aims for better dimensional accuracy and repeatability of printed pieces.
“With Inventure we are taking one step further towards the professionalization of 3D printing,” emphasises Zortrax CEO Rafał Tomasiak. “The solutions applied in the printer offer the opportunity to print with even greater accuracy and with material that allows for easy processing and ensures high impact resistance.
“At the same time, the price of the device along with its small size will make it affordable not only to large companies, but also to small workshops or labs. The technology currently used by Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 2, among others, will become even more available to professionals in every organization, irrespective of size.”