We’re still in the early days of generatively-designed objects, but when combined with the capabilities of 3D printing, we’re already seeing some interesting results. One example is this new copper aerospike engine. [via Fabbaloo]
A collaboration between startups Hyperganic (generative AI CAD) and AMCM (additive manufacturing), this 800 mm long aerospike engine may be the most complicated 3D print yet. It continues the exciting work being done with 3D printing for aerospace applications. The complicated geometries of rocket nozzles of any type let additive manufacturing really shine, so the combination of generative algorithms and 3D printed nozzles could result in some big leaps in coming years.
Aerospikes are interesting as their geometry isn’t pressure dependent like more typical bell-shaped rocket nozzles meaning you only need one engine for your entire flight profile instead of the traditional switching mid-flight. A linear aerospike engine was one of the main selling points for the cancelled VentureStar Space Shuttle replacement.
This isn’t the only generative design headed to space, and we’ve covered a few projects if you’re interested in building your own 3D printed rocket nozzles or aerospike engines. Just make sure you get clearance from your local aviation regulator before your project goes to space!
[Integza] has worked hard over the last year, crafting a variety of types of rocket and jet engine, primarily using 3D printed parts. Due to the weaknesses of plastic, all of which conflict with the general material requirements for an engine that gets hot, he has had less thrust and more meltdowns than he would have liked. Undeterred, he presses on, now with a hybrid rocket aerospike design. The goal? Actually generating some thrust for once!
The latest project makes the most of what [Integza] has learned. The aerospike nozzle is 3D printed, but out of a special thick ceramic-loaded resin, using a Bison 1000 DLP printer. This allowed [Integza] to print thicker ceramic parts which shrunk less when placed in a kiln, thus negating the cracking experienced with his earlier work. The new nozzle is paired with a steel rocket casing to help contain combustion gases, and the rocket fuel is 3D printed ASA plastic. 3D printing the fuel is particularly cool, as it allows for easy experimentation with grain shape to tune thrust profiles.
With the oxygen pumping, the new design produces some thrust, though [Integza] is yet to instrument the test platform to actually measure results. While the nozzles are still failing over a short period of time, the test burns were far less explosive – and far more propulsive – than his previous efforts. We look forward to further development, and hope [Integza’s] designs one day soar high into the sky. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Hybrid Rocket Engine Combines Ceramic Aerospike With 3D Printed Fuel”
Liquid fuelled engines are throttleable and monstrously powerful, but highly complex. Meanwhile, solid rocket engines are simple and cheap, but once you light them, they’re going full-bore until burnout. Hybrid rocket engines offer perks from both worlds, with simple solid fuel and the ability to throttle down by regulating oxidizer flow. Naturally, [Integza] decided he should try and 3D print one.
The build came about somewhat by accident, as the 3D printed casing of one of [Integza’s] liquid-fuelled rockets continued burning once the fuel was turned off. This prompted the realization that he could 3D print rocket fuel, and simply supply oxygen, creating a hybrid rocket. Thus ensued much experimentation, going so far as to create custom sugar-loaded resin for more power and experimenting with ABS as a potential fuel.
Most of the rockets self-destructed within a few seconds and thrust was minimal, but the basic concept should be a goer. As always, [Integza] is struggling with the thermal limitations of plastics, but we fully expect he’ll one day get to a flight ready engine. His previous experiments show he certainly doesn’t give up. Video after the break.
Continue reading “An Attempt At 3D Printing A Hybrid Rocket Engine”
Rocket engines are undeniably cool. Experiencing the roar, seeing the fire, and watching the rocket blast off into the sky… what else can you ask for? Well, for [NightHawkInLight], a transparent rocket body is the answer.
Based on previous work by [Applied Science], he uses an acrylic rod as the rocket body and as the fuel. Bring a flame into the acrylic, apply oxygen from a canister at the other end of the body and voilà! The rocket engine starts nicely, and even better, the intensity of the burn can be controlled via the amount of oxygen provided.
Continue reading “Transparent Rocket Engine”