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Boeing utilizes 3-D printer

Boeing ImDev system engineer Jake Irwin

Randy Jackson/Boeing

Boeing ImDev system engineer Jake Irwin lifts a
3-D model from the printer at the St. Louis site.

Boeing engineers are utilizing another dimension in printing to aid rapid prototyping efforts across the enterprise: 3-D printing.

3-D printing is similar to that of a standard inkjet printer. A computer generated 3-D model is sent to the printer, which divides it into extremely thin cross sections. A powder is layered across each cross section at a rate of one vertical inch per hour.

Teams across the Boeing enterprise are using 3-D printing in a plethora of ways, including fit check models, shop aids, tool mock-ups and visualization models.

“3-D printing allows us to model data analysis in an innovative way. Being able to see different levels of stress on a part can be very helpfully for our employees and customers,” said Dan Seal, Immersive Development program manager.

While many uses for this technology have already been identified, the ImDev team continues to seek additional ideas from across the enterprise.

“We’ve already seen 3-D printing be used in a multitude of innovative ways all across Boeing,” noted Seal. “We want everyone to be aware of the technology approach us if there is another application we haven’t thought of yet. We want to leverage this technology to help teams
across Boeing.”

3-D models created by a 3-D printer at the Boeing Phantom Works site in St. Louis, Mo.

Randy Jackson/Boeing

3-D models created by a 3-D printer at the Boeing Phantom Works site in St. Louis, Mo.