HomeNewsArticle Display

Travis AFB produces first certified 3-D printed aircraft parts

Travis AFB is the first field-unit location in the Air Force to have the Stratays F900 3-D industrial printer certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center for use on aircraft replacement parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

A Stratasys F900 3D printer prints aircraft parts, Aug. 15, 2019, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Travis AFB is the first field-unit location in the Air Force to have the Stratasys F900 3D industrial printer certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center for use on aircraft replacement parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Travis AFB is the first field-unit location in the Air Force to have the Stratays F900 3-D industrial printer certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center for use on aircraft replacement parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Tech. Sgt. Rogelio Lopez, 60th Maintenance Squadron assistant aircraft metals technology section chief, loads Ultem 9085 material into a canister for use in the Stratasys F900 3D printer, Aug. 15, 2019, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Travis AFB is the first field-unit location in the Air Force to have the Stratasys F900 3D industrial printer certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center for use on aircraft replacement parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Travis AFB is the first field-unit location in the Air Force to have the Stratays F900 3-D industrial printer certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center for use on aircraft replacement parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Latrine covers, the first aircraft parts authorized for use after being printed on the Stratasys F900 3D printer are on display Aug. 15, 2019, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Travis AFB is the first field-unit location in the Air Force to have the Stratasys F900 3D industrial printer certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center for use on aircraft replacement parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) --

The 60th Maintenance Squadron is the first field unit in the Air Force to be certified with an industrial-sized 3D printer that is authorized to produce nonstructural aircraft parts.

The Stratasys F900 3D printer, which is capable of printing plastic parts up to 36-by-24-by-36 inches, uses a material called Ultem 9085 that is more flexible, dense and stronger than typical plastic.

The printer, which is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center, offers new opportunities to create needed parts while saving time and money.

“It brings us a capability that we’ve never had before,” said Master Sgt. John Higgs, 60th MXS aircraft metals technology section chief. “There’s so many possibilities available to us right now. We’re just scratching the surface.”

Technicians are able to download blueprints from an online database that the University of Dayton Research Institute has approved.

“The Joint Engineering Data Management Information Control System is where we go to download already approved blueprints,” Higgs said. “Now, the University of Dayton Research Institute is working with the engineers to get those parts they developed into JEDMICS.”

The first approved project was printed on the Stratasys F900 Aug. 12 and will replace latrine covers on the C-5M Super Galaxy. Typically, parts that don’t keep the aircraft from performing their mission don’t have as high as a priority for replacement.

“The latrine covers we just printed usually take about a year from the time they’ve been ordered to the time they’ve been delivered,” Higgs said. “We printed two of the covers in 73 hours.”

Getting the printer operational was no easy task. It took eight months to get the system fully operational.

“There were facility requirements that had to be met, and then installation and certification processes to complete,” Higgs said. “After, we needed to decide who could operate the printer, then have a UDRI instructor certify them.”

Three members from the 60th MXS were chosen to be the first technicians trained in the Air Force for the initial certification. One of them, Tech. Sgt. Rogelio Lopez, 60th MXS assistant aircraft metals technology section chief, has been with the project since its inception.

“UDRI has not trained or certified anyone else at the field level except the three of us here at Travis Air Force Base,” Lopez said. “Now that we’re signed off on our training records, we’re the only ones who can operate, maintain and print on the Stratasys F900.”

Now with parts in production, all the hard work is paying off. There’s a new sense of urgency within the organization.

“It’s exciting because the Air Force is implementing new technology at the field level,” Lopez said. “The Air Force continues to encourage Airmen to be innovative by finding new ways to streamline processes and save resources.”

And since Travis AFB is the only field unit that is currently operational, requests from outside the organization are already coming in.

“We already have a list from the Air Force level to help them print and to backfill some supplies,” Higgs said. “This will ensure other bases can replace items sooner than expected with our help.”

Ultimately, the maintenance shop wants to use the printer for more than just aircraft parts.

“We have the capability to print parts on a production scale for a lot more customers,” Higgs said. “The overall goal is to generate products for every organization to support whatever needs they may have.”

Engage

Twitter
As part of @AETCommand's efforts to #AccelerateChange, Airmen and Guardians can access the “myLearning” digital pla… https://t.co/mAaG4pK8vi
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: During a recent visit to @DMAFB, a member of the staff knew I liked Spider-Man, so he placed one on a document used durin…
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Kicking off #WomensHistoryMonth, CMSgt. Naconda Hinton shares her story of climbing the ranks and becoming the first fema…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: How it started... How it’s going... Where it’s headed is up to you all. https://t.co/AwfY7DNtMb
Twitter
The B-21 Raider program continues to progress through the engineering and manufacturing development acquisition pha… https://t.co/11TSJHDBVU
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Tune in tonight as the @AFmuseum opens the 'Women in the Air Force' exhibit! #WomensHistoryMonth
Twitter
Nancy Harkness Love was an American pilot during #WW2. She pushed for and lead a group of female pilots to ferry ai… https://t.co/jSTe3yaQkd
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Air, Space & Army! Thanks for the ride! @16thSMA - your Soldiers were true professionals. #BetterTogether https://t.…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: THIS! Airmen taking care of Airmen! 🙌🏼 Have a fantastic Friday, folks — close it out strong. Take care of each other.…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: I’m always impressed to see the advanced training that happens at @NellisAFB and the Nevada Test and Training Range. This…
Twitter
.@341MissileWing supported @HQUSAFEAFAF’s Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control demo. The wing contributed… https://t.co/PeUDHxeDhc
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: I know we said Friday, but we wanted to get this out to you soonest. PT tests are pushed to 1 July. This is the right…
Twitter
Fueling the fight. #ReadyAF 😎 https://t.co/P21eDRLvXE
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Daniel Hulter & Austin Wiggins — appreciate the time and look forward to continuing the conversation...and of course,…
Twitter
RT @thejointstaff: #GenMilley: Today we are in the middle of a fundamental change in the character of war. Partnerships w/ industry will pr…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Airmen are our most valuable resource, and the #Airmen and their families at @HAFB are no exception. I’m grateful for the…
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: “Modernization is a must to ensure that safety, security, and reliability don’t erode and put our strategic deterrence…
Twitter
#AccelerateChange Action Order D - Design Implementation. "We must learn how to be agile and adapt to the future."… https://t.co/XNPdYx31QJ
Twitter
.@TeamEglin successfully flew an F-15E Strike Eagle with six JDAMs on a single side of the aircraft, showcasing a c… https://t.co/Ppn4xl4eVm
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Twin Eagles ✈️✈️ @usairforce F-15E Strike Eagles fly over Southwest Asia. https://t.co/wF06SAu5jJ
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,331,408
Follow Us