3D Printed Structure

Recent advances in rapid manufacture capabilities will allow the application to satellite structures.  Satellite structures made using rapid manufacture techniques may be made more cost effectively, be able to incorporate structural complexity previously impossible, allow physically complex optimised structures to be developed that reduce mass, reduce component count and increase functionality.

3D printing is a maturing technology. There has been a steady progression of increased resolution, increased speed of production, reduction of unit costs and a widening of material choices. Currently satellite structures are conventionally manufactured predominately using composite structures formed either through hand lay ups or manufactured by CNC techniques.  Regardless the structure configuration tends towards laminar plates with components and other structures attached by numerous secondary structures. By utilizing 3-D printing techniques with aerospace grade materials, load optimised structures with few joins and few parts can be manufactured allowing the production of low mass geometries currently not feasible. The application of this work would be applicable to other mass critical structural designs.