All-Electric Plane to be produced with 3D Printing

2 July, 2017

Eviation electric aircraft is designed to take 9 passengers up to 1,000km at more than 240kts. The company expects to begin flight testing in late 2018

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Aviation Industry helps 3D Printing to take-off in the market. This week, Stratasys from Rehovot, Israel and Minneapolis, US, announced that the Israeli startup from Tel aviv, Eviation Aircraft, is now using Stratasys 3D printing to develop its revolutionary all-electric commuter aircraft.  Eviation electric aircraft, called Alice, is designed to take 9 passengers up to 1,000km at more than 240kts. The company expects  to begin flight testing in late 2018 with commercial availability slated for 2021.

Alice of Eviation Aircraft“In the next four years, Eviation aims to make regional air travel a cost-effective and clean option that rivals any existing form of transit today,” says Eviation founder and CEO, Omer Bar-Yohay. “With people working and commuting across greater distances than ever before, we believe the solution will bring mid-range cities like Seoul and Beijing, or London and Paris, closer together through all-electric air travel.”

The plane uses distributed propulsion with one main pusher propeller at the tail and two pusher propellers at the wingtips, to both reducing drag and giving it extra redundancy. It will have Self-piloting technology enables unmanned flights, for increased flexibility and expansion of services. Alice will also use a Lithium-aluminum fusion technology delivers a 800 mile range per flight before re-charging is required.

3D printed Aircraft

The company took a “start from scratch,” holistic approach to the engineering of its aircraft. It also used Stratasys 3D printing to test many of its designs long before it needed to invest in actual certifiable parts. “The ability to create new iterations of designs with 3D printing and see how they perform in real-time is helping us reduce critical capital costs,” said Bar-Yohay. “Producing lightweight parts in complex geometries will also enable us to explore the possibility of 3D printing parts for the final aircraft.”

Eviation_Engine
3D printed version of the wing tip motor (on left), produced in 20 hours on the Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer in FDM ABS material, used until final motor (on right) was delivered (Photo: Eviation).

Eviation 3D printed its wing-tip motors in a matter of hours, enabling swifter design and functional evaluation, while waiting for the final motors to be shipped. Another key aspect of Eviation’s design is its ability to reduce interference drag on the exterior of the aircraft by employing smooth, curved surfaces. Eviation was able to create the required strong, geometrically complex, lightweight parts to support these surfaces by 3D printing a composite lay-up tool in ULTEM 1010 material, which was then covered with carbon fiber.

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