3D printing commercial aircraft parts (and burning them with a Crème brûlée torch)
by Joris | September 9, 2010
One of the biggest problems with 3D printing materials is that they’re basically built to fail. Traditionally materials have been chosen specifically because they have low melting temperatures or are weak. 3D printing is now entering a phase whereby the parts used increasingly must be strong, robust and functional for use in the real world. Delicate prototypes still have a place but increasingly the market will have to cater to direct digital manufacturing whereby final parts are produced on demand. One material showing us where thing are headed is Ultem 9085. This material, made by Saudi firm Sabic, is made for use on Stratasys FDM machines.
The combination is a powerful one. Ultem has been certified for use on commercial aircraft, is strong, very light, has very low toxicity when burned, high melting temperature and is actually flame retardant. It is a portent of a new class of materials with advanced properties that are certified for advanced uses. To show you just how awesome Ultem is, we took a Crème brûlée torch to it to show you how the material resists burning and..(you should really be watching the video already).