Computed Tomography for Quality Control for Additive Manufacturing Parts

NCMS Project #: 142058

Problem: Additive manufacturing (AM) is currently used by many industries for rapid prototyping, but in the aerospace market significant hurdles must be overcome due to challenges pertaining to the accuracy and tolerance requirements for aircraft parts.  Quality control of these AM parts must be reliable, verifiable, fast, and affordable.  As such, methodologies that will determine the quality of AM parts need to be developed and implemented.

Benefit: With the ultimate goal of producing parts on-demand, anytime, anywhere, and on any machine, quality control of those parts is of utmost importance to ensure airworthiness, safety, readiness and mission accomplishment.  This initiative will provide new functionality that could be used by the operational forces, increasing productivity, and will provide a streamlined process for all forces to utilize.

Solution/Approach: Computed Tomography (CT) scanner has the ability to “see inside” the printed part and is able to scan components and validate internal geometry and defects Using a CT scanner coupled with engineering software, the AM component can be compared to the original engineering prints.  The overall objective of this initiative is to demonstrate and examine the processes and methodologies needed to rapidly verify the quality of AM components. 

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Validation of material viability 
  • Ensure airworthiness of AM parts 
  • Improve mission safety 
  • Increase warfighter readiness 

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force

Industry Participation:

  • Big Metal Additive
  • Comet Technologies USA
  • Essentium3D
  • Meld Manufacturing Corporation
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Repair turn-around time
  • Obsolescence management and continued maintenance capability
  • Safety
  • Improved readiness

Focus Area:

  • Additive manufacturing