3D printed Rocket engine

3D printed Rocket engine

Three-dimensional printing technologies are constantly evolving and have increasingly diverse areas of applications. If originally 3D-printers were suited only for creation of models and prototypes, now it is quite possible to print functional details at once. Here is a recent example of 3D-printing possibilities: used with nickname RocketMoonlighter demonstrated 3D-printed liquid rocket engine (LRE).

In amateur rocket production solid rocket motors are mainly used. The main reason is their simple design. At the same time, liquid engines that will ensure the best performance are not available for simple amateurs because their construction is much more complex and one needs special equipment to manufacture them.

3D printed Rocket engine 1

3D-printers are just perfect for production of parts of irregular shape with complex internal structure. But is there a suitable for 3D-printing material that can withstand the temperature and pressure inside rocket engine? There is a technology of direct metal laser sintering, which allows printing directly from metal powder, and finished model is not very different in strength from a solid piece of metal.

The heart of the engine - combustion chamber – is printed using direct laser sintering of stainless steel. Naturally, it is still impossible to do such things at home, so the engine was ordered to one of the companies engaged in industrial 3D-printing. Cost of the order amounted to several thousand dollars.



Propellants - self pressurized N2O and commercial Propane

Design Thrust - 5 kgs.

Combustion chamber pressure - 8.5 bar.

Ignition - Direct spark using NGK-R847 spark plug and AC Delco D514A ignition module

Construction - regeneratively cooled with oxidizer.


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