manufacturing process. Rocket engineers hoped to use ad- ditive manufacturing as a means to consolidate parts, reduce labor and weight and create an overall more effi cient part with increased complexities in order to optimize injectors for future applications. One challenge of 3D printing a metal part for an injector on a rocket, however, is there’s no precedence for this process in this application.
To assist, NASA enlisted the collaboration of a variety of companies. Among them is Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. The company has fourteen DMLS manufacturing platforms in two Texas facilities, years of experience working with DMLS and is ISO 9001 and AS9100 certifi ed. Phillip Conner, DMLS manager at Stratasys Direct Manufac- turing, headed the internal team working on the injector. Conner had worked previously in the casting industry; he’s an expert in both the conventional and the new metal manu- facturing technologies. Conner, along with the Stratasys Direct Manufacturing DMLS project engineers acutely understand the challenges and benefi ts of working with metal additive manufacturing.
Metal additive manufacturing excels at making highly-complex designs signifi cantly faster than traditional manufacturing. Layers are drawn with a high-wattage fi ber laser (top) and the fi nal parts are completed in a matter of hours or days.