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United Kingdom The Military Technology

RAF Fighter Flies On Printed Parts 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the make-me-another dept.
Rambo Tribble writes "In what is being touted as a milestone, Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 fighter jets have flown with 3-D printed parts. The announcement came from defense company BAE Systems, and it depicts the program as a model for cost-saving. From the article: 'The parts include protective covers for cockpit radios and guards for power take-off shafts. It is hoped the technology could cut the RAF's maintenance and service bill by over £1.2m over the next four years.'"
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RAF Fighter Flies On Printed Parts

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  • It is hoped (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:00PM (#45880971)

    "It is hoped the technology could cut the RAF's maintenance and service bill by over £1.2m over the next four years."

    Yeah it's always hoped that it will save money, yet somehow government contracting just gets more and more expensive every year.

  • Re:Fools (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:01PM (#45880979)

    Without automation, the average car would cost more than a million dollars, just getting the people in who can repeatedly file a part down to the tolerances needed. That new iPhone would cost thousands, if not able to be made at all (good luck soldering the BGA chips.)

    Automation is a fact of life, and jobs change. When I was a teenager, I loved the job of running around with a hard disk for reimaging machines... but that has been replaced by PXE booting. Life goes on.

    The more automation the better. It benefits us all, other than the people with the dead-end work.

  • by bob_super (3391281) on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:03PM (#45880995)

    Just what we need. Management will say "just print it, you have the files" and not realize that titanium was specced for a reason.
    You mean you actually needed that stabilizer to not shear off at mach 2?

  • Re:Fools (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:14PM (#45881099)

    +----------+
    |--Please--|
    |--Do Not--|
    |-Feed The-|
    |--Trolls--|
    +----------+
        | |
        | |
    ...\|||/...

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:14PM (#45881105) Homepage

    Mach 2? Try 40 mph once it starts vibrating and flexing. These surfaces are subject to significant aerodynamic forces even in a small airplane - that's why they're there in the first place...

  • Re:It is hoped (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday January 06, 2014 @04:51PM (#45881529)
    Yeah that's a well known tactic - if you're not intelligent enough to refute the argument then attack the speaker. 4chan is that way ----->
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2014 @06:02PM (#45882261)

    Of course there are reasons to make spare parts with a 3d printer.

    First of all, one printer can produce any number of spare parts that the material is good enough for.

    Secondly and more importantly, things -- especially in the military, tend to hang around for a long time. It's not unusual for stuff to still be in use when not only the production run has ended, but the original manufacturer has been bought up, met with financial disaster, the tools and jigs necessary to produce the parts have been destroyed, sold or dismantled and the original people who designed them while in their forties have not only retired but died of old age.

    Any reasonably imaginative person could think of a million cases where a 3d printer could be a god-send.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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