A few years ago, a team of eight GE Aviation engineers decided to give additive manufacturing a whirl and 3D print a helicopter engine. Using a laser beam to weld together hair-thin layers of a metal powder, they combined 900 different parts into just 14, including one engine segment that used to have different 300 components. The printed parts were also 40 percent lighter and 60 percent cheaper. “To make these parts the ordinary way, you typically need 10 to 15 suppliers, you have tolerances, you have nuts, bolts, welds and braces,” said Mohammad Ehteshami, the engineer who led the effort. “All of that went away.”

Today, Ehteshami runs GE Additive, a new GE business dedicated to developing 3D printers, materials and engineering consulting services.

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3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, News