get a quote

3D Printed Turbine Blades Ultimate Guide

3D-Printed-Turbine-Blades-Ultimate-Guide(1)
Austin Peng
Published 1 Jun 2024

3D printed turbine blades are a breakthrough success in the most challenging applications for the technology.

3D printing is enhancing production, prototyping, and maintenance in turbomachinery manufacturing.

It’s a good alternative to any other manufacturing technology for a wide range of turbine blades.

Its higher production efficiency, smaller carbon footprint, and no material waste make it the most suitable technology for manufacturing turbine blades.

In this article, you will learn everything related to 3D printing turbine blades and how it can cost-effectively produce them.

What are 3D Printed Turbine Blades?

3D printed turbine blade is one of the complex parts in the machinery manufacturing industry, which is composed of blade body, tenon and blade crown.

A blade profile is a spatial surface formed by the basic blade profile according to a certain stacking law.

With 3D printed turbine blades, a wide range of inks can be utilized enabling a full range of printed functionalities.

It appears to be the perfect manufacturing method for the production of turbine blades.

You can adapt all the functionalities you’ve envisioned for in your turbine blades design and can perform reactivity in your process with 3D printing.

What-are-3D-Printed-Turbine-Blades

The accurate design of your turbine blades based on your technical documentation is one of the most critical steps of 3D printing.

3D printed turbine blades shorten the design cycle with great flexibility to quickly experiment and present more accurate models.

With a physical mock-up meticulously created down to the most exacting details, you can engage in the review process in a meaningful way that aligns your visions and reduce rework down the line.

3D printing allows the manufacturing and designing of more complex turbine blades than traditional manufacturing processes.

What are the Benefits of 3D Printing Turbine Blades?

3D printing is cost-effective and suitable for manufacturing high-end turbine blades.

It has hardly any printing limitations giving freedom to design and print complex geometries.

It’s also ideal for both small and large-scale models, design verification, and short production runs.

What-are-the-Benefits-of-3D-Printing-Turbine-Blades

3D printing is known to be the perfect technology for manufacturing turbine blades because of the following reasons:

  1. Volume/Budget: Using 3D printing for low volume production is more cost-effective than any other manufacturing technique and avoids expensive tooling costs.
  2. Production lead times: It offers fast production lead times to fulfill your urgent demands and requirements. 3D printers are fast and can process complex turbine blade designs with ease and rapidly.
  3. Design freedom: Models that are expensive or impossible to manufacture are now possible with 3D printing in cost-effective manners without any design limitations.
  4. Process flexibility: You can make design alterations to the models after production has begun or in between batches without any additional charge.
  5. Mass customization: 3D printing allows complete customization of your turbine blades with a vast library of custom options, materials, and 3D printing technologies.
  6. Simple process: The simple process of 3D printing without any design restrictions help to process your complex design for manufacture requirements with ease.

With many materials and surface finishing options, 3D printing dominate the industry of manufacturing turbine blades featuring complex geometries.

How 3D Printing Affects the Cost and Performance of Your Turbine Blades?

How-3D-Printing-Affects-the-Cost-and-Performance-of-Your-Turbine-Blades

3D printing technologies make sure that the materials and design elements of your turbine blades must be accurate enough to maintain high precision.

3D printing enables us to manufacture complex blade designs with completely revised and improved internal geometries.

3D printed turbine blades can endure hot temperatures, rotational forces, and high pressure of the turbine’s high-speed operation.

Moreover, 3D printing accelerates the manufacturing of turbine blades with increased efficiency and availability.

As the 3D printed turbine blades already reached the strength and effectiveness of current blades, it has also been shown to cut down manufacturing time by 35% and cost by 15-30%.

What are the Best 3D Printing Technologies for Manufacturing Turbine Blades?

3D printing has become the potential key technology for manufacturing high-performance turbine blades.

Advanced 3D printing technologies, like SLS, PolyJet, and SLM open up new attractive prospects in the manufacture of turbine blades.

It enables highly precise solutions to manufacture turbine blades from powdered high-performance materials.

What-are-the-Best-3D-Printing-Technologies-for-Manufacturing-Turbine-Blades

The advantages of 3D printing technologies like the following are being leveraged more and more in the industrial environments:

  • Individualized mass production
  • Functional design
  • High energy & resource efficiency
  • Shorter innovation cycles

High-efficient 3D printed turbine blades must withstand extreme conditions include high pressures, tremendous centrifugal forces, and high temperatures.

3D printing technologies like PolyJet revolutionized the development of turbine blades and offer potentials for refurbishment and spare parts on demand.

What are the Materials for 3D Printing Turbine Blades?

What-are-the-Materials-for-3D-Printing-Turbine-Blades

Recent advancements in 3D printing technologies enabled the involvement of multiple materials in the manufacturing processes.

Polycrystalline nickel superalloy is a key focus of 3D printing to produce turbine blades because of the following reasons:

  • It allows the turbine blades to withstand high pressures
  • It allows the turbine blades to withstand extreme temperatures
  • It can withstand the rotational forces of a turbine running at high speed

Beyond that TiAI is 50% lighter than the nickel-based alloy used in traditional low-pressure turbine blades, and a blade made of this material could reduce the weight of the entire low-pressure turbine by 20%.

Polycrystalline nickel superalloy is critical to advancing the turbine blade market.

Furthermore, the latest 3D printing software can help optimize these materials to produce lightweight, topology-optimized, turbine blade core structures.

How 3D Printing Cut the Turbine Blades Manufacturing Costs by Half?

3D printing has many advantages; however, cost reduction is of key importance which includes the very low cost of manufacturing turbine blades.

Engineers and designers rely heavily on the manufacturing process to dictate the end design.

3D printing technologies enable you to make significant savings by lowering the costs of short production parts or prototypes.

The cost of 3D printing turbine blades is based on a series of factors including; volume and size, quantity and type of material used, time, and working technique.

How-3D-Printing-Cut-the-Turbine-Blades-Manufacturing-Costs-by-Half

The material used in the manufacturing of turbine blades influences the costs of 3D printing.

3D printing in a fully optimized manufacturing environment and can help reduce the following costs:

  • Material costs
  • Machine depreciation costs
  • Electric energy costs
  • Operational costs
  • Post-processing costs:
  1. Grinding
  2. Impregnation with an epoxy resin
  3. combining with metal components
  4. Painting or glueing

Conventional manufacturing processes inherit strict limitations on assembly rules, manufacturability, and overall feasibility.

On the other hand, 3D printing helps you step outside of design practices for the conventional manufacturing process without resulting in increased cost and labor.

Manufacturers perform accurate cost-effectiveness analysis to calculate costs of 3D printing turbine blades based on their experience and technology.

Why Choose DEK?

We are experts in producing high-performance turbine blades for high-temperature applications in turbomachinery.

DEK achieved a breakthrough with 3D printed turbine blades for applications where accuracy, surface finish, and the materials’ quality are of paramount importance to ensure operational performance of the service parts.

The following is what makes us the top 3D printed turbine blade manufacturer:

  • Our fully-optimized manufacturing facility
  • State-of-the-art 3D printing equipment
  • Cost-effective 3D printing materials and services
  • Testing facility to verify the quality of your turbine blades
  • Reducing lead times by up to 90%

Moreover, we can accelerate the development of your turbine blades with increased efficiency and availability.

Our staff of engineers can optimize the turbine blades manufacturing process both structurally and hydrodynamically.

Hopefully, our work advances the effort to produce more durable, recyclable, and less expensive turbine blades.

Austin Peng
Co-founder of DEK
AUTHOR
Hello! I'm Austin Peng. I manage a factory that specializes in CNC machining, injection molding, and sheet metal fabrication for small quantity production and rapid prototyping solutions. When I'm not immersed in work, I love diving into football matches, exploring new travel destinations, enjoying music, and staying updated on the latest tech trends. Feel free to chat with me about anything, whether it's work or life!

FAQ

News & Blogs

Read more articles that may interest you