Airwolf 3D and JetPack Aviation will display 3D printed JetPack components at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 7, 2016. JetPack Aviation and Airwolf 3D believe that a JetPack should be just that - a jet turbine powered backpack capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), but also lightweight and compact. Small enough to fit in the trunk of a car, the JetPack is capable of carrying its pilot thousands of feet above the ground.
Early testing of JetPack Aviation's JB-10 indicate that it will achieve flights over 10,000 feet in altitude, at speeds greater than 100 mph, and with an endurance of 10 minutes.
Developed by the creators of the world's first civilian RocketBelt, as flown at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games opening ceremony and in countless films and television shows, JetPack Aviation has created the world's only true JetPack.
"We had been investigating more affordable options for rapidly prototyping our new JetPack fuel tank and teamed up with Airwolf 3D to print our tank on their AXIOM 3D printer with its large build volume" stated lead designer, Nelson Tyler.
The process of developing the JB-9 has been one of many years of design, testing and redesign. A JetPack, by its nature, must be lightweight and compact, have crisp handling, and be stable in all three axes of flight. While the RocketBelt catalyzes hydrogen peroxide fed under pressure into a silver screen catalyst pack, a JetPack requires systems to start and cool engines, manage fuel flow, and capture operating information for display to the pilot. While the airframe design was helped by their earlier experience with RocketBelts, it still required numerous prototype iterations to arrive at the functional engine configuration and management systems.
JetPack Aviation invests enormous amounts of manpower to model the engine mounts and airframe, while also conducting airflow analysis for engine positioning and inlet cowling design. "Airwolf 3D's latest AXIOM 3D printer was the key enabling technology to allow us to rapidly prototype our new JetPack fuel tank prior to committing to actual tooling" stated Nelson Tyler, Designer JetPack Aviation.
"We are thrilled to be working with JetPack Aviation to advance the future of transportation and proud that the AXIOM 3D printer was selected as the means to achieve JetPack's rapid prototyping needs" stated Erick Wolf, CEO and founder of Airwolf 3D.
For the JetPack tank, making a master pattern using traditional 5-axis CNC machining of modeling foam or aluminum costs between $5,000 and $12,000. However, using the AirWolf 3D AXIOM 3D printer, the total cost was less than $400. By utilizing the isothermal printing conditions of AXIOM's chamber, and applying the WolfBite adhesive, it is possible to print large ABS pieces without cracking or deformation. ABS is the preferred material for tooling, as it is significantly more dimensionally stable than PLA.
"The application of low cost desktop 3D printers allows small or startup companies to make large tooling for composite layups, patterns for casting and rotomolding, vacuum forming tools, and even low volume production injection molds, previously the exclusive domain of large or very specialized manufacturing organizations" said Prof. Miodrag Micic, Sc.D., Ph.D., M.T.M., CSWP., a department chair and professor of engineering design technology at Cerritos College.
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