CINCINNATI—The United States Air Force and GE have begun the third phase of their ‘Pacer Edge’ pathfinder research at GE Additive‘s facility here. This phase is focused on 3D printing four parts that are currently obsolete: a bellcrank, gearbox seat, anti-icing valve body, and a cross shaft arm. Both the cross shaft arm and bellcrank have been successfully printed in cobalt-chrome on a fleet of M2 Series 5 system.
The program's final phase is intended to establish the USAF’s own metal additive production infrastructure initially at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. This capability will alleviate long lead timetables that currently plague the casting and forging industries.
“Pacer Edge represents a monumental step forward in innovative partnership with industry. Through this program, our enterprise team will deliver safe and timely propulsion readiness in support of the United States warfighter,” says John Sneden, director of propulsion at USAF.
“Public-private initiatives like the recently announced ‘AM Forward’ initiative will also help to address DoD’s sustainment and readiness challenges head-on," says Lauren Tubesing, director of operations, military programs at GE Additive. "Strengthening U.S. supply chains, by encouraging small and medium-sized manufacturers across the United States to adopt metal additive technology, will create a nationwide network of qualified additive manufacturing suppliers."