Titomic have unveiled the world’s first 3D printed high-performance titanium rocket.
Demonstrated at FormNext, a 3D printing trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, the rocket is a scaled version of Australian rocket company Gilmour Space’s ERIS-S rocket.
Titomic created the rocket using its Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) 9000 platform. The manufacturing process was undertaken in Melbourne at Titomic’s headquarters, and took 27.6 hours. The TFK 9000 can build structures of up to 40.5 cubic metres, in a 9x3x1.5m space.
Titomic has been able to achieve build rates of 20kg per hour.
The demonstration highlighted the potential to additively manufacture a full-scale rocket in 165 hours with the TKF technology.
According to Titomic, the TKF solution would enable rockets to be made with affordable titanium and other super alloys. Utilising additive manufacturing, instead of subtractive, reduces the cost of titanium needed to produce such rockets or missiles. With greater interest in the process, costs could be further reduced, said Jeff Lang, managing director of Titomic.
“Previously, titanium was more than twice the price of stainless steel but with the development of new supply chain of titanium powder and Australia’s significant mineral sand resources of about 280M tonnes of titanium, Titomic is at the forefront of advancing technology for future sustainability of the Earth’s resources and reducing carbon emissions for global manufacturing.’’
In addition, due to titanium’s reduced weight, when compared to stainless steel, an increased payload mass is possible, improving the economics of space operations. Other benefits of the metal include greater strength than stainless steel 301, in addition to having higher fatigue and tensile strength, lower thermal expansion, and a specific heat capacity. Titanium has triple the thermal shock resistance of stainless steel, which makes it valuable for high stress applications in space and military applications.