China develops first space-based metal Additive Manufacturing system

December 9, 2014

Scientists in China have developed a new Additive Manufacturing (AM) machine, the first of its kind in China, that will allow astronauts to produce a range of items made from stainless steel, titanium alloy and nickel-based superalloy, whilst in space.

According to Wang Lianfeng, a Senior Engineer with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC) in Shanghai, the machine is capable of printing products such as optical lens brackets used in space borne equipment, complicated components used in nuclear power testing equipment and impellers used in aircraft research.

“The products made will have to be tested thoroughly, due to the strict quality requirements of aerospace products,” stated Wang, adding that the prospect for 3D printing is promising.

The dual laser AM machine uses both long-wave fibre and short-wave carbon dioxide lasers and has a build size of up to 250 mm. Several patents have been applied for.


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In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Revolution, not evolution: General Motors on building an AM culture and the AM Dream Machine
  • The power of Additive Manufacturing in the hands of artists: Public works to small batch production
  • Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF
  • Improving carbon capture efficiency through Additive Manufacturing in the race for a liveable climate
  • The System of AM Systems: How Metal Powder Works’ in-process powder production could change metal AM
  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

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