The world’s largest 3d printed object, 3d printed trim-and-drill tool, is developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to be evaluated at The Boeing Company. It has received the title of the largest solid 3d printed item by Guinness World Records.
ORNL printed the lower cost trim tool in only 30 hours using carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite materials. It will be tested in building the Boeing 777X passenger jet. At 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall, the 3d printed structure is comparable in length to a large sports utility vehicle. And, it weighs approximately 1,650 pounds.
“The existing, more expensive metallic tooling option we currently use comes from a supplier and typically takes three months to manufacture using conventional techniques,” said Leo Christodoulou, Boeing’s director of structures and materials. “Additively manufactured tools, such as the 777X wing trim tool, will save energy, time, labor and production cost and are part of our overall strategy to apply 3d printing technology in key production areas.”
During an awards ceremony held at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, the component was 3d printed on the lab’s Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine. The Guinness World Records judge Michael Empric measured the trim tool. He proved that it exceeded the required minimum of 0.3 cubic meters, or approximately 10.6 cubic feet, and announced the new record title.
“The recognition by Guinness World Records draws attention to the advances we’re making in large-scale additive manufacturing composites research,” said Vlastimil Kunc, leader of ORNL’s polymer materials development team. “Using 3d printing, we could design the tool with less material and without compromising its function.”
After ORNL completes verification testing, Boeing plans to use the world’s largest 3d printed object- trim and drill tool in the company’s new production facility in St. Louis and provide information back to ORNL on the tool’s performance. The tool will be used to secure the jet’s composite wing skin for drilling and machining before assembly.
The trim and drill tool measures 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide, and 1.5 feet tall. It’s comparable in length to a large sports utility vehicle and weighs approximately 1,650 pounds.
Uses of the world’s largest 3d printed object
- The trim-and-drill tool will be used to help make a wing part on the Boeing 777X airplane, a passenger jet.
- It will be mainly used to work on the parts of the aircrafts in the future.
- It will save energy, time, labor and production cost and are part of the overall strategy to apply 3d printing technology in key production areas.
- The trim-and-drill tool will be used in a new Boeing factory in St. Louis, put to work on the unique wings of the upcoming 777X airliners, which are due to begin production next year.
- It will be easy to manufacture as it is printable in just 30 hours, which is an impressive time and cost saver, considering the existing metal version currently takes about three months to manufacture.