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Aerospace 3D printing| Made-in-China 3D Printer Save Russian Army MiG-31 Fighter

News reported that the Russian Army has been utilizing a Chinese 3D printer to repair MiG-31 fighter, which greatly improved efficiency and reduced costs, proving the promising quality of China-manufactured 3D printers.

According to the data, the MiG-31 is a Soviet / Russian tandem two-seat all-weather interceptor. It is equipped with two D-30-6 afterburning engines and a single afterburner thrust of 151.9 kN, promising Sonic cruise capability, reaching maximum flight speed of Mach 2.83. The MiG-31 support combat radius of 720 kilometers, maximum take-off weight of 46200 kg, a practical ceiling of 24,000 meters, endurance time of 3.6 hours, one-time refueling can fly for 6-7 hours. All the highlights make it one of the main fighters of the Russian Air Force.

According to Alexei, their team encountered a huge problem when carrying out the MiG-31 fighter upgrade project-the hard-to-produce new parts could not fit into the fighter. All parts were produced according to the design drawings, but the fighter was repaired in different factories, and the parts drawings were also modified in various ways. As a result, new parts produced according to the original drawings could not be installed at all.
If the team continued the original production process, it would take a long time on re-measuring, trail-manufacturing, installing, adjusting the problem component parts. The tedious workflow couldn’t complete until the newly produced parts can perfectly fit into the specific position.
Alexei explained that it takes an average of 340 hours to rebuild a small part and costs between 2000-7850 rubles.
At the dilemma situation, Alexei learned that foreign counterparts have already been using 3D printing technology for rapid production of fighter parts, so Alexei bought a 3D printer and 3D printing filament from China through Alibaba.com. The 3D printing machine and filament cost 16,000 rubles (about 1,800 RMB). From then on, they used the 3D printer to try out the fighter component parts, which brought the whole project back to life.

3D printing is essentially a manufacturing technology. Unlike traditional manufacturing, which requires raw materials for final molding, 3D printing technology is an "out of nothing" manufacturing process. No waste is generated, which can effectively save costs. After the first trial of Alexei's team, it seemed like it had opened the door to a new world, surprising that 3D printing technology was simply Blackhorse technology.
What makes 3D printing omnipotent in various industries?
1. Traditional craftsmanship requires 11 steps to make a prototype, while 3D printing requires only 4 steps;

2. The original part took 340 hours from design to manufacturing and 3D printing only 29 hours, which was 11 times more efficient than before;

3. The original batch of prototypes cost 1 million rubles, while 3D printing required 12,000 rubles, with an average cost reduction of 98.7%.

And all that is achieved by a Chinese 3D printer with a price of less than 1,800 yuan. This is almost negligible for the Nizhny Novgorod "Eagle" aircraft manufacturer, and the minimal cost in exchange for great benefits.
Although 3D printing technology has only entered the public eye and attracted widespread attention in recent years, 3D printing technology has made its debut in the aerospace industry early on. This is not the first time that foreign people have pushed China-made 3D printers. The ground crew of the Air Force also "advertised" 3D printers made in China. They used 3D printing technology to cleverly solve the maintenance problems of F-35B fighters. Whether it is the Russian aviation boss or the US Air Force, they all agree with China's 3D printer technology.