News reported that the Russian Army has been utilizing a 3D printer to repair MiG-31 fighter, which greatly improved efficiency and reduced costs, proving the promising quality of China-manufactured 3D printers.
According to the data, the MiG-31 is a Soviet / Russian tandem two-seat all-weather interceptor. It is equipped with two D-30-6 afterburning engines and a single afterburner thrust of 151.9 kN, promising Sonic cruise capability, reaching maximum flight speed of Mach 2.83. The MiG-31 support combat radius of 720 kilometers, maximum take-off weight of 46200 kg, a practical ceiling of 24,000 meters, endurance time of 3.6 hours, one-time refueling can fly for 6-7 hours. All the highlights make it one of the main fighters of the Russian Air Force.
According to Alexei, their team encountered a huge problem when carrying out the MiG-31 fighter upgrade project-the hard-to-produce new parts could not fit into the fighter. All parts were produced according to the design drawings, but the fighter was repaired in different factories and the parts drawings were also modified in various ways. As a result, new parts produced according to the original drawings could not be installed at all.
If the team continued the original the production process, it would take a long time on re-measuring, trail-manufacturing, installing, adjusting the problem component parts. The the tedious workflow couldn’t complete until the newly produced parts can perfectly fit into the specific position.
Alexei explained that it takes an average of 340 hours to rebuild a small part and costs between 2000-7850 rubles.
At the dilemma situation, Alexei learned that foreign counterparts have already been using 3D printing technology for rapid production of fighter parts, so Alexei bought a 3D printer and 3D printing filament from China through Alibaba.com. The 3D printing machine and filament cost 16,000 rubles (about $215 USD). From then on, they used the 3D printer to try out the fighter component parts, which brought the whole project back to life.
3D printing is essentially a manufacturing technology. Unlike traditional manufacturing, which requires raw materials for final molding, 3D printing technology is an "out of nothing" manufacturing process. No waste is generated, which can effectively save costs. After the first trial of Alexei's team, it seemed like it had opened the door to a new world, surprising that 3D printing technology was simply Blackhorse technology.
Although 3D printing technology has only entered the public eye and attracted widespread attention in recent years, 3D printing technology has made its debut in the aerospace industry early on. This is not the first time that professionals have pushed 3D printers. The ground crew of the Air Force also "advertised" 3D printers. They used 3D printing technology to cleverly solve the maintenance problems of F-35B fighters. Whether it is the Russian aviation boss or the US Air Force, they all agree with 3D printing technology.