Making a Fuel Injector Nozzle for a Jet Engine using DMLS

Often parts and designs will come to Xometry that may require additional work to improve their ability to manufacture using 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing).

By Greg Paulsen · August 24, 2014

Often parts and designs will come to Xometry that may require additional work to improve their ability to manufacture using 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing). Xometry's experienced staff is ready and willing to work with customers to modify a part so it will come out great each and every time. FGC Plasma’s Fuel Injector Nozzle is one of those success stories.

FGC Plasma Solutions is well on their way to revolutionize the efficiency and means of fuel combustion for jet engines. Xometry has had the privilege of s using our Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) capabilities to help FGC Plasma manufacture prototype fuel injector nozzles for their designs and experiment. Below is the story of the first piece we made and how it came to be!

NextLine received a file for DMLS, 17-4PH Stainless Steel. Upon reception, the NextLine team of experts took a closer look to review its design for Direct Metal Laser Sintering.
Xometry received a file for DMLS, 17-4PH Stainless Steel. Upon reception, the Xometry team of experts took a closer look to review its design for Direct Metal Laser Sintering.
The feedback begins – we contacted the customer with initial feedback on the files to see where it could be improved for manufacturability. The ultimate goal of this is to make the part build more predictably and consistent over-and-over using our process.
The feedback begins – we contacted the customer with initial feedback on the files to see where it could be improved for manufacturability. The ultimate goal of this is to make the part build more predictably and consistent over-and-over using our process.
Some review of where overhangs are needed – minor tweaks can make all the difference for a successful build.
Some review of where overhangs are needed – minor tweaks can make all the difference for a successful build.
Mission successful! FGC Plasma was able to deliver an updated file with angled fins and other design-for-manufacturing improvements.
Mission successful! FGC Plasma was able to deliver an updated file with angled fins and other design-for-manufacturing improvements.
Another view of the file. In this case we decided to build it straight up and down. Time to take care of the overhangs
Another view of the file. In this case we decided to build it straight up and down. Time to take care of the overhangs
The Xometry team decided to support this piece with a cone-shaped support structure. Yes, this was a little overboard for support structure but we wanted to make sure everything build evenly.
The Xometry team decided to support this piece with a cone-shaped support structure. Yes, this was a little overboard for support structure but we wanted to make sure everything build evenly.
Fresh out of the machine! This piece printed overnight on our 3D Systems ProX 100 – we could tell from the get-go that the part was a success.
Fresh out of the machine! This piece printed overnight on our 3D Systems ProX 100 – we could tell from the get-go that the part was a success.
A view from the front – note that the perpendicular tube needed support. We debated tilting the piece (so the tube would be at a 45 degree angle) but felt this orientation reduced the risk to the critical fin features.
A view from the front – note that the perpendicular tube needed support. We debated tilting the piece (so the tube would be at a 45 degree angle) but felt this orientation reduced the risk to the critical fin features.
Close up of the fins and internal channels.
Close up of the fins and internal channels.
Trimming off the support structure made easier using our in-house machining capabilities. We pathed around the piece with an endmill and used a small cutter to remove any residual material underneath the lip.
Trimming off the support structure made easier using our in-house machining capabilities. We pathed around the piece with an endmill and used a small cutter to remove any residual material underneath the lip.
Time to get this part off the build platform!
Time to get this part off the build platform!
Here’s where our wire EDM gets real handy – it slices through both the support and part to remove it from the build plate. Very little manual work was needed to get the height to spec.
Here’s where our wire EDM gets real handy – it slices through both the support and part to remove it from the build plate. Very little manual work was needed to get the height to spec.
The parts sliced off of the build platform after wire EDM.
The parts sliced off of the build platform after wire EDM.
Making sure the part was to height and had an even surface. We used manual tools to remove the support material under the perpendicular tube feature.
Making sure the part was to height and had an even surface. We used manual tools to remove the support material under the perpendicular tube feature.
The final result!
The final result!
A view from the top.
A view from the top.
I am extremely pleased with how the part came out. It still amazes me how the finished product can look exactly like the CAD drawing

Felipe Gomez, President of FGC Plasma

The destination of the nozzle – a plasma-assisted combustion chamber!
The destination of the nozzle – a plasma-assisted combustion chamber!

Since this project we have continued collaborating with FGC Plasma on other novel designs that take advantage of additive manufacturing (where increased complexity does not necessarily mean increased cost).

Did we learn something too? Heck yes we did! After running this part we determined a better way of approaching support of the overhang, we refined our part cleaning process, and refined our EDM programs for speeding up the preparation of the build plate.

We get all types of projects and applications at Xometry and are able to deliver functional products within a week of order. Whatever the project is we are happy to lend our services to make sure it comes out right the first time! Are you interested in Direct Metal Laser Sintering (metal 3D printing)? Do you have a design that needs review? Let me know and I’ll be happy to help!

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