The world’s first 3D-printed jet engine was presented at the Australian International Airshow in early 2015. The creation of the engine, by Monash University researchers in collaboration with CSIRO and Deakin University, has already led to partnerships with international aerospace industries.
In fact, the researchers have printed two engines—the second is on display in Toulouse at the French aerospace company Microturbo (Safran).
The engines are a proof of concept that’s led to tier one aerospace companies lining up to develop new components at the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing in Melbourne, Australia. The project is also creating advanced manufacturing opportunities for Australian businesses large and small.
Microturbo provided an older—though still in service—gas turbine engine to copy. This is an auxiliary power unit, used in aircraft such as the Falcon 20 executive jet, and was chosen because Microturbo was willing for the internal workings to be displayed.
“Printing the engine was a chance to show what we could do,” says Xinhua Wu, Director of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing.
The Centre is already working on reducing the weight of the engine, as well as other projects such as developing surgical instruments and helping local businesses.
The Centre, their spin-out company AMAERO and the jet engine project have been supported by the Australian Government via the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Cooperative Research Centre program, Commercialisation Australia, the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, Monash University and Safran.