Nov.12, 2014 | By Alec

While 'industrial strength' 3D printers have been around for some time, very few companies in manufacturing sectors have so far completely embraced this new form of manufacturing technology. Most of them are drawn towards 3D printing's unique prototyping abilities, and the unprecedented levels of customization it allows.

However, that has been slowly changing in the past year or so, as more and more companies have begun to loudly and publicly experiment with 3D printers. And recently American giants General Electric (GE) have just shown off their commitment to 3D printing by producing a 3D printed, fully functional miniature jet engine.

3D printing is, as the chief executive of General Electric Jeff Immelt said, making manufacturing 'sexy again'. Even President Obama argue that this the technology has the 'potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.'

GE is one of those huge and established companies that are fully embracing 3D printing technology. Specifically, they're using it to construct fuel nozzles for its LEAP jet engines, that could be actually used on aircraft as soon as 2015.

The LEAP jet engine that will feature 3D printed components.

Showing off both their technology and their commitment to 3D printing, GE have just released a video on their new 3D printed creation. It features David Bartosik, who works as an engineer at GE's Additive Development Center. His team designed a fully functional miniature jet engine for a radio-controlled airplane that exemplifies all the advantages of 3D printing technology. They redesigned an RC engine and 3D printed it out on an EOS M270 3D printer. Testing their impressive creation in an Aviation test chamber, the parts were able to achieve speeds of up to 33,000 RPMs.

As the GE's aviation spokesman, Rick Kennedy argued, 3D printing is especially suitable for producing 'highly sophisticated parts that are very difficult to make in a conventional way.' And in the case of jet engines, it is understandable that absolutely every part has to work properly.

Kennedy said that 3D printing offers that necessary level of precision. Not only does it allow them to achieve complex geometries usually unattainable, 3D printing technology also enables them to work with high-temperature, high-strength alloys that aren't usually accessible. Furthermore, these 3D printed parts should be up to five times more durable than traditionally produced parts, while also having the added advantage of consisting of fewer parts. Older nozzles could consist of up to 20 individual parts, while 3D printing is capable of producing more single entities.

When it comes to producing jet parts, only the best is good enough. That's why GE relies on a EOS M270 3D printer, that utilizes Direct Metal Laser Sintering technology (DMLS), which GE refers to as direct metal laser melting (DMLM). It features a 200-watt laser to melt together ultra-thin layers of metal powders. Comparable to more commonly seen SLS 3D printing, DMLS technology is not only much quicker than many manufacturing techniques, it is also capable of achieving better metal properties than SLS printing.

While this doesn't mean that all jet engines will be completely 3D printed in the near future, it does definitely reveal the company's dedication to this revolutionary manufacturing technology. While 3D printed nozzles can feature on aircraft next year, Kennedy even said that more 3D printed components can be expected in the next few years. Could the 3D printing revolution finally be picking up steam?


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


Maybe you also like:


Sarah wrote at 12/5/2014 8:32:34 PM:

Whats your source of this? That's why GE relies on a EOS M270 3D printer, that utilizes Direct Metal Laser Sintering technology (DMLS), which GE refers to as direct metal laser melting (DMLM)." Have you heard of Sigma Labs? They will be providing the much needed quality assurance software for GE's additive manufacturing.

Sarah wrote at 12/5/2014 8:13:51 PM:

Do you have a reference to this information? ". That's why GE relies on a EOS M270 3D printer, that utilizes Direct Metal Laser Sintering technology"? Have you looked into Sigma Labs quality assurance software GE will be utilizing?

I can no give er more captain. wrote at 11/13/2014 3:46:44 PM:

Nice achievement, but 33k rpm is barely tick over for an engine of that size. How hard can you push it ?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive