July 18, 2013

You can’t beat those brainy boffins at NASA when it comes to great ideas.

Not only do they know a lot about space travel, the solar system and other such clever stuff, they’ve now gone and printed a working part for a jet engine.

Yes, you read that correctly, printed a working part for a jet engine!

Of course, they didn’t use a Hewlett Packard like the one in the corner of your office. No, it’s 3D-printing, a technique involving computers and lasers which melts and fuses thin layers of metallic powders into a pre-determined design. But it is printing nonetheless.

And it’s impressive stuff; a technique NASA says may, in the future, replace traditional manufacturing.

According to the space agency, the component would normally take around a year to make but 3D-printing has cut that time to four months and shaved more than 70% off the costs.

The body has even suggested a similar process could one day be used by astronauts to make spare parts in space.

Here at Rix, we don’t know too much about that – after all, we’ve been around for much longer than the jet engine.

And not many of our farming or haulage clients have converted to rocket propulsion yet anyway.

But we love the idea and applaud NASA for their innovation because it is from projects like this that technology filters down into our industry.

We might not print engine parts, but we do know what to put in them to make them run well – to us, that part at least, isn’t rocket science.

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