background image
The Centre, AMAERO and the jet engine
project have been supported by the Austra-
lian government via the Australian Research
Council (ARC), the CRC program, Commer-
cialisation Australia, the Science and Industry
Endowment Fund (SIEF); Monash University
and Safran.
Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
3D printing has been used since the 1980s
by the aerospace industry, usually to produce
prototypes. With more complex, expensive
printing machines being built in recent years
(such as those with lasers to melt metal
powders, used by MCAM), more opportunities
for different materials and therefore differ-
ent applications are opening up. Printing in
metals has its challenges, including the high
temperatures required and safety issues that
accompany them.
A SmarTech report (
aerospace-strategic-implications) suggested
the main benefits to the aerospace industry
are: reduction in lead time, which is the time between the beginning and comple-
tion of a project/process; reducing the weight of parts; reducing operational and
production costs; and reducing impact on the environment from production pro-
cesses, though the actualities may not meet some expectations.
Some designs that might require multiple parts to be created and then fused are
able to be printed in one piece, and designs easily tweaked. Materials waste can
reportedly be reduced by as much as 90%, which means a significant savings when
using expensive materials such as titanium. There is also the benefit of being able
to print parts on an as-needed basis rather than stockpiling replacements, and cut-
ting the need for moulds and tools.
Professor Xinhua Wu
Director of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing and the ARC Centre of
Excellence for Design in Light Metals, Professor Xinhua Wu brings extensive exper-
tise to the work. Her history includes collaboration with Rolls-Royce, the European
Space Agency, Airbus and Bombardier. And she has big plans for Australia¡¯s aero-
space industry.
¡°A lot of global companies are slow to consider Australia due to its remoteness from
the major manufacturing centres, but there is a lot of impressive research being
conducted by exceptional researchers,¡± Wu says.
Web links: Amaero: ; Monash Centre for Additive Manu-
facturing: ; Safran: ;
ARC Centre of Excellence for Design in Light Metals:
The World¡¯s First 3D Printed Jet Engine
Spectacular proof of concept has aerospace companies lining up
Nestle candy goes
natural... Pg 3
Umphrey¡¯s McGee lights
up Aspen... Pg 12
Nutrition reaching
Pg 9
Wedding expo dress
Pg 4
Made in Melbourne and on display at
the Avalon International Airshow
February 26, 2015: Monash University
researchers along with collaborators from
CSIRO and Deakin University have printed
a jet engine. In fact Monash and their
spin-out company Amaero, have printed
two engines. One is on display this week
at the International Air Show in Avalon,
while the second is displayed in Toulouse at
the French aerospace company Microturbo
The engines are a proof of concept that¡¯s
led to tier one aerospace companies lin-
ing up to develop new components at the
Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing
in Melbourne, Australia. And the project
has created advanced manufacturing op-
portunities for Australian businesses large
and small.
Microturbo (Safran) provided an older -
though still in service - gas turbine engine.
It¡¯s an auxiliary power unit used in aircraft
2015 MARCH #6-2
such as the Falcon 20 and was chosen because Microturbo (Safran) was willing for the
internal workings to be displayed.
¡°It was our chance to prove what we could do,¡± says Professor Xinhua Wu, the direc-
tor of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing. ¡°But when we reviewed the plans
we realised that the engine had evolved over years of manufacture. So we took the
engine to pieces and scanned the components. Then we printed two copies.¡± It was
a complex project that took a year, with funding from Monash University, the Science
and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), and others.
¡°Xinhua and her Monash team have demonstrated their mastery of additive manufac-
turing in metal. The partnership with Microturbo (Safran) is a success story that was
recognised last year when Safran gave the team its Prize ¡®Innovation for Product and
Technology¡¯ for the excellent work carried out in partnership with Microturbo and the
University of Birmingham. Monash and AMAERO are already key partners for our new
developments and we are keen to have their help in developing new technologies for
our future engines,¡± says Jean-Franois Rideau, head of R&T from Microturbo (Safran).
¡°The project is a spectacular proof of concept that¡¯s leading to significant contracts
with aerospace companies. It was a challenge for the team and pushed the technol-
ogy to new heights of success - no one has printed an entire engine commercially yet,¡±
says Ben Batagol, of Amaero Engineering, the company created by Monash University
to make the technology available to Australian industry.
¡°Australia¡¯s manufacturing industries need access to the latest technologies to stay
competitive,¡± says Professor Ian Smith, Monash University¡¯s Vice Provost for Research
and Research Infrastructure. ¡°This Centre allows them to rapidly prototype metal de-
vices across a wide range of industries. It¡¯s part of a large integrated suite of facilities
for research and industry at Monash,¡± he says.
Image: The 3D printed jet engine on display. Credit: MCAM