The first carbon fiber part 3D printed for the US Air Force: a first aid kit restraint strap for B-1 aircraft. (Photo courtesy Business Wire.)
The first carbon fiber part 3D printed for the US Air Force: a first aid kit restraint strap for B-1 aircraft. (Photo courtesy Business Wire.)

The Utah Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI) has reportedly created its first carbon fiber thermoplastic 3D printed part for the United States Air Force – a first aid kit restraint strap for the B-1 aircraft. The part was made using a 3D printer from project partner Impossible Objects.

UAMMI was awarded federal funds to create carbon fiber additive manufactured parts for the US Air Force in 2018. The aim was to replace broken parts on older legacy aircraft as most original parts are no longer produced.

In many B-1 aircraft, the Air Force experienced failures with original restraint straps, Impossible Objects says. As original replacement straps are no longer manufactured, there can be significant costs and wait time to have a new parts produced through traditional means.

‘Additive manufacturing represents a huge opportunity for Utah’s advanced manufacturing industry,’ said Jeff Edwards, UAMMI executive director. ‘The composite additive parts that we are creating for the Air Force will significantly reduce both the time and cost of aircraft repairs.’

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