A 17.5 foot long, 5.5 foot wide and 1.5 foot tall the 3D printed aircraft design tool has earned the title of largest solid 3D printed item by Guinness World Records.
The 1,650 lb. apparatus known as a trim-and-drill tool is comparable in length to a large sport utility vehicle and will ultimately be tested for use in building the Boeing 777X passenger jet. Basically the tool will be used to secure the jet’s composite wing skin for drilling and machining before assembly according to researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL) who developed the tool.
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ONRL said it printed the tool in only 30 hours using carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite materials.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
According to ONRL, the tool was 3D printed on the lab’s Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine and Guinness World Records judge Michael Empric measured the trim tool, proved it exceeded the required minimum of 0.3 cubic meters, or approximately 10.6 cubic feet, and announced the new record title.
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ORNL researchers said that after the lab completes verification testing, Boeing plans to use the 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.
Production of the 777X is scheduled to begin in 2017 and delivery is targeted for 2020.
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