We’ve found some additional details on SpaceX’s surprising 3D printed SuperDraco rocket engine.
In a Q & A video reviewed by NextBigFuture, SpaceX Boss Elon Musk talked briefly about the 3D printed process. Musk declared 3D printing to be “critical” to the design and manufacture of the SuperDraco engine. Why? He says:
There’s certainly a reduction of parts count in the SuperDraco engine because it’s printed. In the normal way they have to make an engine is you have to machine a whole bunch of separate parts and then try to weld them together and so it makes it heavier, less robust and much more sensitive to make.
Musk alsO said they use a variety of metal 3D printers, including EOS, SLM and Concept Laser.
This is actually a story that should be repeated in many industries, who still persist in making components the old fashioned way.