Boom Supersonic is revolutionizing commercial air travel by introducing sustainable, supersonic flight to the aviation industry. The company’s groundbreaking commercial airliner, called Overture, is dedicated to achieving superior standards in speed, safety, and sustainability. Overture is designed to be carbon-neutral, capable of operating on 100% sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and flying at twice the speed of today’s fastest passenger jets. In 2020, Boom unveiled XB-1, a demonstrator aircraft, and is currently conducting flight tests to achieve carbon-neutral operations.
Assembling the various components of the XB-1 demonstrator aircraft involves the drilling of numerous holes in its structural framework. Performing individual drillings can be highly time-consuming due to the need for precise hole placement. Additionally, the power-feed drilling process requires fixturing to support the drilling tool and ensure the correct angle for each hole. While conventional metal guides offer a practical solution, they come with high costs and long lead times.
To address this challenge, Boom’s engineers utilized 3D printing technology to create multi-hole drill guides that accurately locate fastener holes across larger sections of the aircraft’s structure. The drill guides were printed using FDM® Nylon 12CF carbon fiber and ULTEM™ 9085 resin materials on Fortus 450mc™ and F900™ printers. These robust and rigid thermoplastics provide the necessary strength and stiffness to support the power-feed drilling tools while ensuring precise hole placement.
By employing this approach, Boom achieved significant cost and time savings. For instance, by using just one typical drill guide, the company saved approximately $3,700 in material costs and reduced the lead time from weeks to days. Considering that over 700 drill blocks have been 3D printed for the XB-1 demonstrator aircraft’s production, the overall savings in material costs are substantial. Moreover, the time saved by using in-house 3D printing instead of traditional machining positively impacts the production schedule.
Contact Us today to know more about how 3D printing can revolutionize your manufacturing processes to streamline part productions for the factory floor.