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Air Force tests 3D-printed part for 65-year-old bomber

A team from Tinker Air Force Base has built the first 3D-printed metal part for a jet engine already in service. Members of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, a wing of the U.S. Air Force Sustainment Center, successfully tested the component that marks a significant milestone for the future of aircraft maintenance.

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Instead of molding or sculpting a new anti-ice gasket from an existing piece of metal, the crew used additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, to create the component. The gasket goes on the TF33-P103 engine, which is used for the E-3 Airborne Warning aircraft, the E-8 surveillance aircraft, and the six-decade-old B-52 Stratofortress.

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“This accomplishment is truly a historical first,” said Johnny Tsiao, propulsion structural competency lead for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “This is a digitally designed and digitally engineered component that represents a substantial milestone in Air Force sustainment.” The project […]

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