A new aircraft manufacturer called Boom Supersonic is developing aeroplanes which can fly at speeds of almost 1,500 miles per hour.
The design of Boom’s planes are reminiscent of the Concorde, the world’s first supersonic commercial jet airliner, operational from 1969 to 2003.
But unlike the Concorde, Boom Supersonic’s planes are likely to feature numerous components produced using 3D printing, a technology which didn’t exist when Concorde was flying.
The Concorde was eventually ended partly because of the cost of supersonic air travel, but Boom Supersonic is hoping to reduce the expense through the utilisation of new design and manufacturing techniques and technologies.
Boom has what’s described as a “technical partnership” with Stratasys, the additive manufacturing technology company which supplies very high-end 3D printers.
The two companies say they want to “bring the commercial airline industry one step closer towards routine supersonic travel”.
Aimed at shaping the future of high-speed aviation, the three-year agreement was signed to help Boom accelerate production of advanced tooling and production-grade aircraft parts based on Stratasys FDM 3D printing technology.
FDM is fused deposition modelling, one of the techniques for additive manufacturing or 3D printing.
The companies say that by leveraging the design freedom, production speed, and heightened cost efficiencies of additive manufacturing, Boom plans for the first flight of XB-1, their supersonic demonstrator, to take place next year.
Boom is using Stratasys FDM-based Fortus 450mc and F370 3D printers – both designed to produce on-demand parts leveraging production-grade thermoplastics, as well as advanced manufacturing tools that perform even under aviation’s most challenging environments.
Boom says its supersonic airliner will fly 2.6 times faster than any other aircraft on the market today.
Accelerating to 1,451 miles per hour, the planes could reduce typical New York to London flight times of seven hours to just over three hours.
Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom, says: “Supersonic flight has existed for over 50 years, but the technology hasn’t existed to make it affordable for routine commercial travel.
“Today’s significant advances in aerodynamics, engine design, additive manufacturing, and carbon fiber composite materials are transforming the industry at all levels. Additive manufacturing helps accelerate development of a new generation of aircraft.
“With a proven track-record of success across aviation and aerospace, Stratasys now becomes a key catalyst in our design and production processes – helping to transform the future of aviation through the power of 3D printing.”
The companies say the agreement which allows Boom to utilise use 3D printing solutions, materials and expert services will improve production speed and enable greater cost savings and performance across critical engineering and manufacturing processes at Boom’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado.
Rich Garrity, president of Americas for Stratasys, says: “Boom is working towards a major breakthrough in supersonic, commercial airline travel – and we’re excited Stratasys is now playing a strategic role in helping them achieve their goals.
“We are proud to add Boom Supersonic to a roster of leading aerospace companies successfully implementing our additive manufacturing solutions to deliver new innovations in aviation.
“Stratasys’ engineering-grade, high-efficiency 3D printing solutions are perfectly suited for producing the complex part designs and custom manufacturing tools this industry demands.”