Michael Empric measuring the record-breaking 3D printed tool.
Michael Empric measuring the record-breaking 3D printed tool.

A 3D printed trim-and-drill tool, developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to be evaluated at The Boeing Company, has received the title of largest solid 3D printed item by Guinness World Records.

The lower cost trim tool was printed 30 hours using carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite materials, which will be tested in building the Boeing 777X passenger jet. The 3D printed structure 17.5 ft long, 5.5 ft wide and 1.5 ft tall 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.’

Guinness World Records judge Michael Empric measured the trim tool, proved it exceeded the required minimum of 0.3m3, or approximately 10.6 ft3, and announced the new record title.

‘The recognition by Guinness World Records draws attention to the advances we’re making in large-scale additive manufacturing composites research,’ said Vlastimil Kunc, leader of ORNL’s polymer materials development team.

Boeing plans to use the additively manufactured trim-and-drill tool in the company’s new production facility in St Louis, MI, USA. The tool will be used to secure the jet’s composite wing skin for drilling and machining before assembly.

This story uses material from ORNLwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.