BLT produces metal 3D printing piping and turbopump components for a 100-ton liquid oxygen methane engine

Metal 3D printer manufacturer Bright Laser Technologies (BLT) relied on its metal AM technology to support Beijing Star Glory Space Science & Technology Company (i-Space) in crafting piping and turbopump components for their 100-ton liquid oxygen methane engine, known as “JD-2.”

Over the course of March 1-2, 2023, JD-2 completed two semi-system joint tests under real operating conditions. Currently, the engine is in the midst of intensive technical research and engineering development, with plans for comprehensive testing and assessment on the horizon.

Customers’ demands for superior performance, shorter development cycles, and cost-effective solutions for intricate pipeline parts have been met head-on. These components, known for their delicate, thin-walled structures and complex designs, have historically suffered from deformations during production. Traditional manufacturing methods, plagued by extended production cycles and wasteful material usage, have proven inadequate. BLT developed a customized process solution that benefited customers by lowering production costs, accelerating product iteration, and improving the quality and accuracy of the parts.

Piping parts printed by BLT

Turbine pump components are typically divided into two key sections: the screw shell section and the guide vane section. Within the screw shell section, there exists an internally designed rotating type variable cross-section flow channel, demanding high requirements for flow channel surface roughness. The guide vane section comprises multiple blades, requiring a high degree of blade deviation and surface roughness. BLT achieved the integrated formation of intricate runners and effectively controlling deformation during production. The finished part has a high pass rate, dimensional accuracy, and roughness to meet the needs of use. The thinnest part of the blade is only 0.3mm, which shortens the production cycle of the part while maintaining quality.

Turbine pump parts printed by BLT

The parts were produced by the BLT from a self-produced TC4 and nickel-based superalloy after a thorough analysis of the parts’ service requirements. The key parameters for part forming were also determined based on the process characteristics of the part. The BLT-S515 and BLT-S600 were used in this project, and the strength and performance of the parts met the requirements of the “JD-2” liquid engine after inspection.

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