Travis Air Force Base has fielded an industrial-sized 3D printer to manufacture nonstructural aircraft components. Accredited by the Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Stratasys F900 3D printer uses Ultem materials to produce plastic parts, the U.S. Air Force said Monday.
USAF selected three members from the 60th Maintenance Squadron to be trained and certified by an instructor from the University of Dayton Research Institute as technicians. The service branch noted it took eight months before the printer was deployed.
“There were facility requirements that had to be met, and then installation and certification processes to complete,” said Master Sgt. John Higgs, aircraft metals technology section chief at the 60th MXS. “After, we needed to decide who could operate the printer, then have a UDRI instructor certify them,” added Higgs.
Higgs said other organizations and Air Force bases have sent requests for the production of supplies. In addition, 60th MXS intends to utilize the printer to yield other products aside from aircraft parts.