To achieve the most efficient path to qualification, Stratasys proposed pre-work. Through the America Makes/NIAR qualification project that yielded a highly repeatable F900™ 3D printer with ULTEM™ 9085, we’ve demonstrated the value of having publicly available characterization data. We recommend more projects in a similar vein – perform public qualifications on relevant materials and processes in order to build a reference toolbox to quickly deploy those properties on replacement part qualifications. In addition, we recommend continued investment in tools like Digimat that can accurately model 3D printed parts.
With reference information and robust tools, and by resisting the urge to redesign the part for additive manufacturing, qualification can be reduced to only the tests and analysis that are unique to the specific part or part family. This is how we sprint for approval, and we’re proud to say the USAF agreed. We took a Silver medal in this challenge as well!
And the most impressive part, in my mind, is the fact that the USAF gave us a month to come up with a demo part, and three weeks after we delivered parts, an Antero 800NA part flew on an F-16. Imagine what we can do with robust data sets and tools already in place!