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F-22 Receives First Metal 3D-Printed Component

22 January 2019
UPI reported that a metallic 3D-printed component has been installed on an “operational F-22 Raptor for the first time, which the Air Force hopes will lower costs and reduce maintenance time.” The titanium cockpit part was “installed by the 574th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Hill Air Force Base in Utah on Wednesday,” and replaced a conventional aluminum component. According to 574th Squadron Director Robert Lewin, “One of the most difficult things to overcome in the F-22 community, because of the small fleet size, is the availability of additional parts to support the aircraft.” The Air Force “noted 3D printing allows for replacement parts on short notice without minimum order quantities.” The printed bracket was made from a titanium powder and is resistant to corrosion, replacing a “corrosion-prone aluminum component in the kick panel assembly of the cockpit.” The part can be “ordered and delivered to the depot in as soon as three days, the Air Force said.” At least five additional metal 3D-printed parts are “planned for validation on the F-22.”  (Image: F-22 Raptor. Credit: Rob Shenk from Great Falls, VA, USA | Wikipedia)
More Info (UPI)

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