A 3D printed trim-and-drill tool, developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to be evaluated at The Boeing Company, has received the title of 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, which 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 sport utility vehicle and 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.”