One of the world's leading producers of private aircraft has just announced that the engine powering its newest airplane is made almost entirely of 3d printed parts.
The Cessna Denali, which is aimed at flyers that want their own private aircraft at a reasonable price tag (of course, it's all relative), has an engine made out of multiple titanium parts that would not have been possible without 3d printing, in turn decreasing the weight and cost of the Denali.
Produced by GE Aviation, the turboprop engine "will feature a handful of complex 3d printed titanium and steel components that will replace hundreds of individual parts," according to GE Reports. "Though the engine is a turboprop, GE included technology from jet engines to increase the pressure and temperature inside the compressor and the turbine and extract more work. Pilots will even fly the plane like a jet, controlling the engine and the propeller with a single lever."
The announcement is another example of aviation firms scrapping their old methods of production and replacing them with 3d printed parts, which allows their designers to think about geometric efficiencies that reduce production and utilization costs, as well as airplane weight and range.
"GE’s advanced turboprop engine will have a number of 3D-printed parts," wrote GE Reports. "The engine will burn up to 20 percent less fuel and achieve 10 percent more power than other engines in the same class."