3DGBIRE X Gravity Industires Case Study

The 3D Printed Jet Suit - using the HP MJF 5200, Ultimaker S5 and BCN W50 3D printing technology to create one of the most incredible engineering feats in history.

Company

Gravity Industries designs, builds and flies Jet Suits, pioneering a new era of human flight. Gravity’s Founder and Chief Test Pilot, Richard Browning, established the company to challenge perceived boundaries in human aviation. The company’s focus is relentless evolution of the technology and bringing this inspirational spectacle to live audiences all over the world in the form of the International Race Series and other performance events.

Industry

Aviation

 

Challenge

With 1,000 horsepower, the jet suit is not quite suitable for anyone to use, as it requires an extreme level of control to function properly. The suit itself holds the fuel tank for the engines in a backpack, and each arm is equipped with a two-engine configuration that weighs up to 90 lbs. When the suit is in action, the engines can reach temperatures of up to 700oC. The Jet Suit currently can perform speeds in excess of 80mph and is technically capable of reaching an altitude of 12,000ft. Weight is always an issue to be considered. It’s critical to create a system whilst constantly considering the weight, aerodynamics and how that affects flight agility and capability.

Solution: Additive Manufacturing Technologies

The design freedom of 3D printing reduces the suit’s part-count significantly
by consolidating several assemblies into one, with far fewer components to glue and bolt than would be necessary with other manufacturing methods.

HP MJF 5200

Large-scale volume production manufacturing-ready additive manufacturing.

 

Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

The Ultimaker S5 is built to run continuously and maximize uptime. Its best-in- class technical specifications deliver performance you can rely on. Designed for your success, the Ultimaker S5 is part of the complete Ultimaker 3D printing solution – one trusted by hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide.


BCN3D Epsilon W50 & Smart Cabinet

A powerful professional 3D printer, designed to deliver large-scale parts with industrial-grade materials, thanks to features such as its passive heated chamber and full enclosure. Powered by our Independent Dual Extruder (IDEX) system, the Epsilon W50 delivers exceptionally strong functional parts with quality and precision.

 

“The ability to turn CAD design into something tangible and testable within a matter of hours has been absolutely critical to our progress.”

Gravity’s Founder Richard Browning

 

The Gravity Industries flight system comprises aluminum and polymer arm mounts that hold two turbines each, and a fifth turbine mounted in a nylon backpack with steel base support. All these components are created with 3D printing.

Results

The Jet Suit is testament to the tenacity of Additive Manufacturing reverse engineering, rapid prototyping & industrial material selection. By pushing the boundaries with both 3D printing technology and polypropylene, Gravity have showcased what’s possible when you have the right expertise and ingenuity. 3D printed polypropylene is 90% recyclable, lightweight and flexible while still being incredibly durable - ideal for taking to the skies. Previously it would take more than two weeks to custom build the core structure out of aluminum riveting and bolt together manually. Print time is now just 24 hours, taking assembly time from two weeks to two days.

Benefits have included introducing lightweight complex additions to the Jet Suit with a low part count featuring a consolidation of the parts and easier assembly. This has also enabled Gravity to build a more efficient geometry and to concentrate material only in the areas where it was most needed. Essentially, it means that the Gravity Jet Suit can fly farther and faster.

Printing in polypropylene has made it possible to create multi-functional components, with lots of internal flow parts which move air through the Suit to keep it cool. The additive manufacturing of engine components like Gravity’s arm mounts is becoming increasingly common, albeit on a much larger scale in the aerospace sector.

This technology has also previously been tested in the Lake District. Working with the Great North Air Ambulance Service, Browning was able to showcase how his suit might make for a great emergency paramedic response tool in a mountainous environment. The British Royal Navy have also used the suit to conduct a ‘visit, board, search, and seizure’ exercise. The high-risk operation usually involves a team hooking onto and infiltrating a moving ship using a fast boat, but Browning was able to hop onto the HMS Tamar, a Royal Navy Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol ship, using just the Jet Suit.

The Gravity Industries flight system comprises aluminum and polymer arm mounts that hold two turbines each, and a fifth turbine mounted in a nylon backpack with steel base support. All these components are created with 3D printing.

To introduce 3D Printing into UK & Ireland Businesses 3DGBIRE offers 30- day trial units to our customers to integrate before investing into AM.

Book an Additive Manufacturing  consultation on how your business can adopt AM

About 3DGBIRE

3DGBIRE are the UK and Ireland’s premium professional 3D printing experts, supplying printers, service, support, training and other market-leading products within the 3D printing industry. We are focused on helping businesses integrate 3D printing into their workflow with the intention of reducing production costs, supporting manufacturing innovation and reducing lead times. Our team also offer 3D / CAD training. If you are considering adopting additive manufacturing into your business or would like to find out more, call 3DGBIRE, and speak to an expert.

T: 01257 228 411 E: sales@3dgbire.com

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