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GE Is So Stoked About 3D Printing, They're Using It To Make Parts For Jet Engines

•, The Economist

This is a small precision-engineering firm employing 130 people in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio.

Morris Technologies has invested heavily in 3D printing equipment and will be printing bits for a new range of jet engines.

Morris Technologies uses a number of 3D printing machines, all of which work by using a digital description of an object to build it in physical form, layer by layer. Among the 3D printing technologies used by Morris Technologies is laser sintering. This involves spreading a thin layer of metallic powder onto a build platform and then fusing the material with a laser beam. The process is repeated until an object emerges. Laser sintering is capable of producing all kinds of metal parts, including components made from aerospace-grade titanium.
One of the attractions of printing parts is that it saves material. Instead of machining components from solid billets of metal, in which much of it may be cut away, only the material that is needed to shape the part is used. Printed parts can also be made lighter than forged parts, which promises fuel savings.

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